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The facts outlined in the Dec. 8 column on global climate change are a call to action for all of us. The growing damaging consequences of climate change are obvious. Superstorm Sandy is the latest in a string of climate disasters, including droughts, mega-forest fires, a rise in sea level and arctic melting.

Global capitalism has been a great boon to humanity over the past 300 years. The developed world and increasingly the developing world have enjoyed rising living standards, health, longevity and knowledge.

But now we are reaping the whirlwind of the fundamental flaw in our economic system, the greatest market failure of all: not pricing in its environmental "externalities," especially effects of fossil fuel usage.

Potentially Sandy et al are a gift to humankind — a powerful call to fully acknowledge both the interrelatedness of all humanity and our deep interdependence with the natural world. One people, on one planet, with one future.

A sustainable modern economy for the long run is still possible. But failing to heed the gift of foreknowledge that science is giving us, our future will be increasingly bleak, one none of us would wish for our children.

We must act on the gift now. — Robert John Scheelen, Medford

In a letter to the Pentagon signed by six of seven Oregon members of Congress, the Defense Department is urged to hold KBR (defense contractor in Iraq) accountable for "negligently exposing our troops to toxic chemicals" after a $100 million successful suit brought by soldiers harmed in Iraq.

The lone non-signer? Of course, it's "our own" Mr. Walden. Who does this man represent, anyway? — Richard Ukena, Ashland

The "monstrous truck" on page 1 of your Dec. 7 issue is, indeed, monstrous. It's ironic that you should feature this war machine, so proudly announced by Medford's police department, on Pearl Harbor Day. Outrageous that a low-crime town that can't afford a public swimming pool should spend $260,000 on a SWAT vehicle appropriate only (if ever) in a war.

If Medford police want to conduct war, they should volunteer for service in Afghanistan. If they have masculinity issues and want to play at war, they should do it on their own dime. I can think of about a thousand better uses for the $260,000 spent on this dreadful, unnecessary piece of military equipment, such as a new public pool. — Julia Sommer, Ashland

The American Legion had a great turnout to our Grilled Tuna / Fried Chicken Dinner Friday, Dec. 7. I would like to thank all of the volunteers and businesses who helped make this so much fun, and such a success.

Centennial Golf Course and Dave Mills at Airport Chevrolet kindly donated things to our raffles which helped us out a lot. Thank you.

The Mail Tribune published online our event, as did KTVL, KDRV, KMED and KOBI. Thank you very much as well!

We had a large turnout that was a lot of fun thanks to all of our members and such a terrific community. Thanks again.

Remember to come on down to the Post at 100 E. Jackson in Medford for good times, good food and good company. — Kathy Wayne, Medford

It may be better to give than receive, but it's best to do both.

That happened Saturday at the Greensprings Inn where the Pinehurst School Foundation hosted its annual WinterFest benefit for the Pinehurst School District. Scores of folks from the valley drove up out of the fog to join the fun of listening to some fine musicians, enjoy homemade goodies, taste a little wine, score some fine Christmas gifts, pick out a fresh-cut tree and enjoy meeting new people all while helping to support Jackson County's last unconsolidated school district.

The school board, staff and students offer deep gratitude to all those who joined hands with us this weekend and helped to make the event a warm-hearted success. — Sam Alvord, Pinehurst District 94 administrator, Lincoln on the Greensprings

The tone of your article regarding Joel Heller and his alleged offenses at Little Butte Elementary implied he was guilty even after he was found innocent in all three separate investigations last year: police, the district attorney, the Eagle Point School District and the Oregon Teachers Standards and Practices Commission. You practiced cheap sensational journalism at the expense of a valued member of our community.

We have taught for a combined 62 years in this valley, and we understand the need to monitor and investigate thoroughly all allegations involving children and teachers, but we also know that after someone has been cleared by three separate investigations, that it should mean something.

We have known Joel Heller for 35 years, both personally and professionally. He is a man of integrity and decency. Your article alone has unjustly stained his reputation in this community. — Kim and Bill Gabriel, Ashland

Phoenix Food Pantry and Phoenix Food Project thank donors to the Ray's Food Place November Food Drive. The 1,095 pounds of items helps our community-supported hunger relief program. Thanks to residents, Ray's, Debby's Diner, Roscoe's BBQ and community gardeners who contribute to our year-round efforts.

Phoenix Food Project has gathered cash donations and 16,000 pounds of supplies in two years. Pickups are the second Saturday of even months. Visit www.phoenixfoodproject.org or call 541-778-1517.

Neighborhood Diaper Bank collects and distributes diapers and incontinency supplies, filling a hole in the safety net, including assisting Healthy Start in training new mothers. Donations are accepted at the Pantry. www.neighborhooddiaperbank.org or 520-609-4894.

The Pantry at Phoenix First Presbyterian Church is open Wednesday from 1 to 3pm, Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon, and the second and fourth Thursdays of the month from 5 to 7 p.m. during the free Community Dinner. We welcome all participants. — Karen Jones, Phoenix

I am commenting on the article that the Oregon Department of Transportation issued in booklet form in the Dec. 7 Mail Tribune. It's a must-read. See page 6 of the booklet.

They suggest replacing the present method of taxing gas at the pump by one of four new methods.

It is proposed to move to a 1.56 cents "per mile" fee to be charged to drivers through a method that would use GPS, smart phones, vehicle odometer electronics, mileage in/outside of Oregon, or the absolute worst yet, a flat-rate (fine) of $45 per car per month if you don't report your actual miles driven.

Why do we need a "new" way to figure gas tax? RUCPP, through the Oregon Department of Transportation said "... it is critical that we adapt and change as technology and the market change." What does that mean?

These proposals are suspect in so many ways that I am astonished they have got this far. Silence denotes acceptance; please don't let it be so. — P. Totzke, Medford