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The advances made in science in the past 70 years are astronomical, yet some people, such as the author of a recent MT letter extolling the Westin A. Price Foundation — don't seem to care. The Westin A. Price Foundation was founded by a dentist who conducted research in the 1930s. It extols the "benefits" of a diet high in saturated animal fats.

There is a plethora of diet and nutritional advice available with varying degrees of credibility. But current and credible science based on sound research principles has made clear the link between diet and disease. At the forefront is respected researcher Dr. Colin T. Campbell, author of "The China Study," the largest nutritional study ever conducted. (For articles on the WAP Foundation and dietary myths, do an Internet search on "The Truth about the Westin A. Price Foundation" and "Deadly Dietary Myths").

As stated by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of "Eat to Live," to advocate eating a diet high in saturated fat is to ignore all of the nutritional research — especially of the past 40 years — that links this diet to shorter life spans and higher rates of heart disease and cancer. — Lin Bernhardt, Talent

If the federal minimum wage had kept up with apartment rents from the mid-1970s to today, the federal minimum wage would be $30; if the federal minimum wage had kept up with undergraduate tuition, the federal minimum wage would be $60. (University of California tuition numbers from Charles Ferguson's Predator Nation).

People now drawing benefits from Social Security contributed only 1 percent of their paychecks prior to 1950 and only 4.8 percent in 1970; today's workers contribute 7.65 percent. (www.ssa.gov).

Corporate taxes as a percentage of all federal income were 32.1 percent in 1952, but less than 9 percent in 2011. (Carolyn Lochhead, San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 21, 2012).

The corporate tax rate by statute is 35 percent, the historical average actually paid is 25.6 percent, and the average actually paid in 2011 was 12.1 percent, the lowest in 40 years. (CBO via CNBC, Aug. 29, 2012).

Ayn Rand cashed all of her Social Security checks. (Anne Heller's biography). — Hunter Greer, Ashland

On Saturday, Sept. 29, Ashland Kiwanis held a car wash to raise funds to help us support many of our children and community projects. We raised over $700. Kiwanis sends a big thank-you to the general public for letting us wash your cars, and helping to fund these projects.

We would also like to thank Ashland's Les Schwab for letting us use its parking areas for the car wash, and for providing the water. A "green solution" car wash soap and a special drain system were used to keep the soap suds away from the storm drain and Bear Creek.

Thanks also to the TOP Soccer club and the Lithia Springs Homes for Boys and Girls who volunteered to help with the car wash. We couldn't have done it without you!

To learn more about Kiwanis, please call 541-488-0532. — Ron Parker, President, Ashland Kiwanis

Dr. Gerald Holmquist, in his guest opinion on Sept. 21, would have us believe that organic farming is brown and growing genetically modified crops is green. To support this idea he lists several "benefits" derived from planting GMOs but nowhere does he cite any documentation to verify his statements. Perhaps that is because so many are inaccurate and misleading.

It behooves all of us concerned about the health of our environment and our own physical well-being to become informed and knowledgeable about GMOs. A great place to start is www.gmofreejacksonco.blogspot.com. On the home page is a link to "A Study on GMO Myths and Truths." This 123-page report was written by two men with Ph.D.s in either biochemistry or molecular genetics. The detailed table of contents helps locate answers to issues raised by Dr. Holmquist.

Another opportunity to learn about GMOs occurs on Oct. 11. Jeffrey Smith, author of "Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette" will give a presentation from 7 to 9 p.m. at Central Medford High School.

Do not allow Monsanto and other large chemical companies to determine what will be in the foods we eat. Please make use of the education and accurate information that is available. — B.J. Buxton, Medford

I have never written a letter to the editor before, but was moved to do so after reading "Smart Justice."

While I agree with most of the points in the article, I must grit my teeth in frustration about the part that said "recommend changes that fall short of overhaul of sentencing." Anyone whose family has been devastated by Measure 11 sentencing, as mine has been, would agree that changes in sentencing and parole guidelines are long overdue.

Measure 11 takes sentencing out of the hands of the judges, who can no longer adjudicate each case on an individual basis. Its guidelines can send a young, first-time offender to prison for terribly long sentences without hope of parole. A local public defender told me, "Oregon doesn't have a justice system anymore. It's strictly a 'punishment system.' "

The fear factor keeps Oregonians convinced that changes to Measure 11 would automatically jeopardize public safety. But it's time to bring back the concept of rehabilitation — and redemption — for those offenders who want to change and strive to do so. And consequently, changes in parole could save the state a lot of money. — Margaret Church-Kligel, Central Point

Thanks to the Ashland Independent Film Festival and Varsity Theatre for reshowing the movie "Five Broken Cameras." It tells the story of how Israel is stealing more Palestinian land, and when the Palestinians peacefully protest, they get met with tear gas, nighttime arrests and live ammunition.

The $3 billion a year we give to Israel in military aid is directly supporting the injustice the film depicts — a very sad use of our hard-earned American tax dollars. — Gene Robbins, Ashland

Perhaps Dignity is just what Ashland, our county and state need at this time in our history — an emphasis on life from the womb to natural death.

Are we a better society for having permitted 54 million abortions since its legalization in 1973, or the premature loss of 596 lives in Oregon resulting from the legalization of assisted suicide? Where is the dignity in those facts? Please let's believe that the compassion we feel for the homeless, the helpless, and the marginalized in our community can also, should also be extended to the unborn and their parents and the dying and their families and friends. Life is so precious. Why are we afraid of embracing it? — Marilyn Gradwell, Jacksonville

The nation is polarized over many issues and a few are using their vast wealth to sow misinformation and disharmony among us.

On a recent evening, Chanticleer, an all-male vocal ensemble from San Francisco, treated an appreciative audience to songs composed over the past 400 years addressing humankind's most basic yearnings.

Ticket sales alone don't pay for premier groups like this, so donors and sponsors are sought.

Among the thousands who contributed to bring this fine performance to our community, Jim Collier stands out, again, using his financial resources to bring us such sweet harmony.

Mr. Collier, I salute you and your fine example. Oh, that others of abundant means would follow suit. — Eric Overland, Medford

Recently I saw an article in your newspaper regarding a possible pay raise for the city of Medford's employees. It stated that employees working for the city of Medford may be eligible for up to a 6 percent pay raise just because they obtain a degree. I agree that this proposal does not make sense, especially because the city would not take into consideration the field of study that the degree is in.

To me it seems that this sudden want to compensate for employees' degrees, is a very expensive statement that encourages people to get higher education. All the city of Medford is trying to do is point people to get degrees. Observers will be forced to follow that direction because they will be under the impression that they will not be able to get a decent job without some sort of degree. — Rochelle Owen, Rogue River

Thanks for the article "Correcting the sins of the past" about Bear Creek in Friday's "Outdoors" section. Bear Creek is most worthy of our time and attention! I would like to take this opportunity to clarify "a project to restore a side channel along Bear Creek near the U.S. Cellular ball park."

In fact, we are Coyote Trails' Jefferson Nature Center, an independent nonprofit in the heart of the U.S. Cellular Sports Park. We, along with Steve Koskella, Janette Kerbo, Scott English, Kerry KenCairn, Robert Coffan, the Bear Creek Watershed Council and dozens of volunteers, are the ones undertaking the restoration of the historic side channel. This is all being done at no cost to the taxpayers through direct donations, volunteer efforts and grants.

We are proud and excited about all the work Coyote Trails is doing and spearheading at the Nature Center since being given stewardship by the city of Medford and Medford Parks and Recreation. We will continue creating an outstanding Nature Center with a healthy Bear Creek for all of Southern Oregon to come and enjoy.

And yes, we also had the goats! — Molly Kreuzman, grounds and facility manager, Coyote Trails' Jefferson Nature Center

The next time you eat at a restaurant and receive a good meal and good service, thank the waiter or waitress for a job well done and also thank the cook(s) for their work. Both parties work very hard to please you, and a thank-you goes a long way in making their day a better one.

When the restaurant is full and the waiters and waitresses are extremely busy and a mistake is somehow made, please correct them in a pleasant way. Don't scold them; they are under enough pressure already.

A simple thank-you will make them feel better and will make you feel better. While you're at it, thank everyone who waits on you. It will make you a better person, and a happier person. Try it. — Terry M. Smith, Central Point

There he goes again. Gordon Dickerson writes decrying the bogeymen of his youth, those dirty commies and their collectives.

Dickerson reasons that only as autonomous individuals acting within a capitalist economic system will we somehow become cooperative and fully human. Unfortunately, Gordon ignores the collectives of our day, the corporations. We live under corporate governance and an economic system only barely recognizable as the capitalism of Adam Smith.

Let's hear what Chris Hedges has to say: "The corporation is about crushing the capacity for moral choice and diminishing the individual to force him or her into an ostensibly harmonious collective." All those thousands working for a major bank or oil company are just one happy family. I mean they all wear the same polo shirt, right? Your serve, Gordon. — Robert Doell, Medford

The science of genetic engineering could be good, but corruption has made it into a danger to our health and world economy. On Thursday, Oct 11, you can learn how GMO practices and products have been pushed with secrecy, collusion with governments and universities and minsinformation to the media. This is a moral issue; we need to know.

Jeffery Smith, the nation's foremost authority on GMO foods will be in Medford. Get information at www.jclac.org. — Ira Edwards, Medford

I felt sad for the Grants Pass family that was so upset by OSF's "Very Merry Wives of Windsor, Iowa" that they left early.

Blaming OSF is unfair; its website gives a good overview of the play, including an age-appropriateness warning. Shakespeare's original is known to be bawdy.

My partner and I enjoyed this production, which delightfully and equally spoofs American politicians, Iowans, Germans, Canadians, liberals, conservatives, gays, straights, parents, teenagers and even Shakespeare! — Wendyn Price, Talent