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Regarding the Rose Parade, it was great seeing the cheerleaders from the University of Oregon and hearing the band, but it was disappointing to see that the band was not sporting uniforms that showed them off more.

I know the football team got new uniforms and helmets — how about treating the band to new outfits too? They represent the school and undoubtedly will be in the parade again. Quite possibly the size of the band might increase, too, and this is always a good thing. — Kate Bourne, Medford

Weather is what happens locally over the short-term; climate describes extended decade or century-long trends. Single unusual weather events may be caused by changing regional climate while repeated such events are most likely a consequence of changing climate.

Two stories recently regarding weather are worth considering. One is the Mount Ashland resort closure due to lack of snow, and the other concerns unseasonal conditions challenging the grape harvest.

Climate change projections indicate a substantial reduction in snowfall and snowpack accumulation throughout the high Sierra and Cascades. They also suggest summers will be substantially hotter and drier than historically, potentially compromising grape varietals now grown successfully in the Rogue Valley. Along with ski resort and vineyard managers, we should all plan for a changing climate.

We can't control everyone, but we can do what we can do. We should evaluate our daily activities contributing to carbon dioxide pollution and climate change: especially reducing the use of cars and electricity. The impact of millions of painless choices can be immense. We can support efforts to convince elected officials to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and, when voting, we should only support candidates of whatever party who acknowledge and will address climate change. — Alan Journet, Ph.D., Ashland, K.A. Conjour Consulting, professor emeritus of biology and environmental science at Southeast Missouri State University

In response to the letter from Sally Evans, I would like to point out that people who trap cats are not "cat abusers," but people who are trying to protect their property from cats who use their yards, flower beds and gardens as litter boxes. Garden hose? Let me give you an example of what it has cost me to try to keep my neighbor's feral cat colony out of my yard:

Motion-activated sprinkler, $80; motion-activated repelling sound box, $40; tarp to cover the entire yard, $60; gravel to cover the entire yard, $120; and pounds of red-hot pepper for the flower beds, $60.

Not one of these worked, and my front yard is still their litter box. Add to the list the trees that died from the cat feces and urine, and it's an additional $200.

I have not trapped any cats yet, but I am going to start so I can enjoy my yard, and my plants can grow in a clean environment.

You are welcome to come sit on my front porch with a garden hose 24/7 to keep the cats away while you inhale the horrible stench that the cats have created. I will even bring you out lunch and a cup of coffee. — Maxine Curtis, Central Point

The gunning down of an unharmed youth in Medford Jan. 5 is beyond insanity, showing the Rogue Valley what kind of madmen are out there working as civil servants with licenses to kill. He was not a murderer, nor was he a cartel drug king or a child molester, who run rampant on our streets while the law does nothing.

No, this was a kid with a probation violation. Your civil servants are out of control! Killing a 20-year-old, a child!

Who is this Fed? Charles Bronson? An out-of-control rogue cop gone mad?!

Fed or whatever, this man needs to be locked up, evaluated and put into a detention camp, a mental ward, for killing a child and for putting a whole community at risk!

He should be held accountable, and never own a gun again. — Sandra J. Daniella, Grants Pass

Thank you Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Peter DeFazio for introducing legislation that will better protect the Rogue River. I own a rafting company that operates on the Wild & Scenic Rogue. The Rogue is a nationally recognized natural treasure and its reputation as a pristine wilderness area helps me operate a successful business, provide jobs in the community and support other businesses such as restaurants, hotels and gas stations. Unfortunately, the river and its pristine reputation are not protected as well as they need to be.

The Rogue River is a centerpiece of a growing tourism and recreation economy in Southern Oregon that provides sustainable long-term jobs and opportunities. The list of businesses that are dependent on the Rogue River is long, and the ripple effect that recreation has through Southern Oregon's economy is significant. The legislation makes sense both environmentally and economically, and is supported by people and businesses from all walks of life and political leanings — including some timber groups.

This is an easy choice to make with broad support. We should protect this resource while we have the opportunity. Once again, thank you Rep. DeFazio and Sens. Wyden and Merkley! — Pete Wallstrom, owner of Momentum River Expeditions, Ashland

At ACCESS, we have a long, successful partnership with the Housing Authority of Jackson County to offer affordable housing to working families, and we believe that the proposed Cherry Creek Project is an important next step in meeting that goal.

ACCESS is dedicated to the creation of decent, safe, affordable housing. We know what it takes to create and maintain attractive, durable, energy-efficient affordable housing on a budget, and to meet strict state standards. Similarly, the Housing Authority is professional and very experienced and committed to doing the same.

Unemployment and record foreclosures have affected people locally. Families struggle to budget for food and medical costs after covering their rent or mortgage payment. We are seeing record numbers of people seeking help for the first time.

It is through partnership with a caring community that ACCESS provides food, shelter, warmth and outreach services to seniors and people with disabilities. The recent outreach by the Housing Authority to the neighbors of Cherry Creek is a positive step forward. We encourage an open-minded dialogue — Jackson County needs affordable housing options for working families now more than ever.

We know that every life we impact improves our lives together. — Cindy Dyer, ACCESS housing programs director, Medford

I want to thank the Westminster Presbyterian Church for its working angels that it has helping seniors in need — in my case, the delivery of some much-needed firewood. My winter home will be much warmer thanks to them.

I believe the Rogue Valley has the most caring community in the state of Oregon, and cares about its residents whether they're seniors or those who are just down-and-out. God bless all those who work and care for the needy. — Joyce Cook, Medford

I get so tired of hearing people suing, and this one is really bad. The people who buy property next to something such as the gun club, then build their houses, should know better. They know it's there, but they are so arrogant that they figure they can get rid of it.

Talk about selfish. That lead was there a long time, longer than when they bought the property, but did they worry about it then?

It's nice to be able to build a big, fancy house, but the doctor should have had common sense enough to know that the noise would probably bother them. This isn't about lead, it's about the noise they don't want to hear. Well, too bad the gun club was there first!

I'm not a member of the gun club, but am sick of hearing about places like this getting shut down or sued over someone building next to it. — Judy Westcott, Talent