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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Did anyone notice that in the business section of the Oct 19 MT, the Heart of Medford has a new brand name, Metro Medford?

Did anyone notice that their mission is "... to promote a cooperative business environment in downtown Medford as a regional center, working together to enhance, support and advocate for businesses in the downtown area."?

In other words, the HMA has two primary goals: Increase participation and cooperation of businesses in the downtown area and bring foot traffic back to the district. They hired Avant Marketing Group of St. Louis? I believe St. Louis is in the state of Missouri.

Does this mean that Medford does not have any local marketing businesses? — Robin E. Brown, Medford

Asante and Dr. Alan Bates should be lauded for their new partnership to divert patients out of the emergency room. I find this proposal very similar to the proposal I made for a Jackson County-sponsored nurse practitioner primary care clinic that accepts cash or debit card only at $30 per visit. You can see the details of my proposals I made during the 2012 Democratic primary at www.electmarksoderstrom.com.

It is unfortunate that Dr. Bates' clinic will probably charge $80 or more for a visit that could be done in a county clinic for $30, but either method is still much better than the $600-plus that an emergency room visit costs.

We need to divert the 65,000 unnecessary emergency room visits we have in Jackson County each year, put a Jackson County commissioner on the board of directors of each county hospital, institute the health cost savings programs of Europe and Japan in Jackson County, have public disclosure of the compensation levels of county hospital administrators and staff, survey why the costs of scans in Jackson County are so high, determine why only one anesthesiology group is allowed to service each hospital, and start working toward cutting health costs in Jackson County by $500 million. — Mark Edward Soderstrom, Phoenix

Oregon has the second highest number of registered sex offenders per capita in the country, and with the lack of help from our elected officials, we can be number one.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children tracks registered sex offenders across the United States and its territories. The State of Oregon has the second highest number of registered sex offenders (per 100,000 population) of any state or territory. Oregonians, wake up! — Charles Newell, Central Point

America had an important day of celebration on Sept. 17. In 1787 on that date, the hallowed Constitution was signed by 39 delegates. The recent celebration was almost nonexistent nationally as well as locally. The Jackson County Republican Women took time out of their busy lives to revive the great memory of that founding document in an event at Crater High School. For some years they also have distributed to the schools countless thousands of Constitutions for student and teacher perusal.

As a nation we have not only discarded and disregarded our history, but our understanding of our founding documents has diminished in favor of personal gratification. We need a statute for Oregon requiring all students to have a minimum proficiency in the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Federalist Papers to graduate. Instead of our local officials focusing on chimeras like same-sex marriage and silly casinos, let's learn about America before it is no longer America.

Is it not the right time to really learn what we as Americans believe? How about the Phoenix schools and other districts teaching more American history than world history?

It's still not too late, but the hour is drawing nigh, even at the doors. — Joel Marks, Medford

As member of the Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana, I have received several reports from Southern Oregon medical marijuana users on the Oregon Health Plan that their physician has told them that the OHP prohibits them from using medical marijuana. Some physicians are even refusing to sign an OMMP application using that excuse.

Those physicians are entirely wrong. While the genesis of their error can only be conjectured about, that erroneous claim has resulted in increased pain and suffering among those reporting patients. For the record, OHP has no such policy and never did. In fact, in a recent email, Tressa Perlichek, Oregon Health Authority Policy and Planning Assistant Section Manager, confirmed that OHP has no such exclusionary policy, and pointed out that OHP members are offered a 50 percent discount on their OMMP registration fees.

The most likely reason for this erroneous claim is physicians inserting their personal views into the discussion and using OHP as supposed reason to back them up. If anyone reading this letter has experienced this problem with their doctor, they should inform their doctor of the truth and ask for an explanation for being provided with false information regarding the OHP. Oregonians deserve the truth. — Laird Funk, Williams

Bikes on hiking trails? Bad idea. The recent arrest of a man who allegedly tried to sabotage a bike/hiking trail and the recent letter relating an incident of a hiker being slammed into by a biker both point to a problem that needs fixing.

Let me add another — bikes in the Ashland Watershed have created huge gullies and ditches, have trampled vegetation and have generally created a greatly increased level of erosion. Go up and see for yourself. Gullies six feet deep have been gouged out by these mountain bikes.

The Forest Service has apparently given up responsibility for monitoring mountain bikes in the Ashland Watershed. These terrorizing, fast-paced, trail-gouging machines treat these hiking trails like their own private BMX course, making it very uncomfortable for hiking, especially if you are with a small child or dog. These blazing machines come careening over jumps and through the brush sight unseen until they are right on you. There are closed roads that mountain bikes can use, but apparently these are not the preferred routes.

This is a call to the Forest Service and city to work to fix the problem; otherwise, mountain bikes should be banned from hiking trails of the Ashland Watershed. — Tom Dimitre, Ashland