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In response to the letter "Truth does not matter": Generally speaking, the average Joe has no idea how the legal system works. Most of us don't know that if the district attorney's office doesn't proceed to prosecution, that does not equate to findings of "innocent" or "cleared" for the accused. It just means that the DA's office decided not to go forward for one of myriad reasons, including perhaps those politically based that have nothing to do with the accused, the victims or even the crime.

Also, when papers print that there have been "investigations," there may not have been even one formal investigation. There it is folks, your legal system.

That said, please know that I am confident that my husband would never take a case to lawsuit frivolously. He is an attorney advocating for children's rights since 1985, heart and soul. There is nothing smug about investigating and representing abused children. Ms. Wand's allegation that my husband would enter into a lawsuit for any reason other than what he believes is right and just is simply based on ignorance of the facts. My husband is a father to our two daughters first and a lawyer second. — Kathleen Petersen, Ashland

Abortion cheapens human life and teaches us that violence against the innocent is acceptable. — Drew Hymer, Medford

Friday morning, as I was reading two letters in the local paper whining about the money that was spent on a SWAT vehicle, 26-plus people (including 20 innocent children) were massacred inside an elementary school in Connecticut.

We can all argue the point of how, when and where money should be spent, and there will be as many ideas on the subject as there are people to argue the point. But can you please for one moment stop and think about the situations our police force, SWAT team members, etc., are put in? Every day these folks are put in horrible and unknown situations.

We can only hope that none of us ever have to experience what these families in Connecticut experienced Friday. I realize this special SWAT vehicle would not have prevented an act such as Friday's, but for the many tasks that our local law enforcement must face, let's at least give them the tools to perform the tasks in as safe a manner as possible. Remember, our local law enforcement members are someone's son, daughter, daddy or mommy, too. — Jon McUne, Medford

In response to everyone upset that MPD purchased a $260,000 SWAT vehicle: What price do you put on a human life? Whether the life saved is a citizen, police officer or even the suspect, attorneys would tell you $260,000 is cheap for a life or a seriously injured individual.

You can bet if MPD did not have this type of proven tool to safely resolve a tactical or high-risk search warrant situation, they would be sued and held liable for the loss of life or injury. From a risk-management perspective it was the right thing to do, but more importantly, from a humanitarian perspective it was the right thing to do.

Medford has one of the best police departments in the state, Chief George should be commended for his proactive management approach. To everyone who believes the unthinkable "couldn't happen in our small community," ask the citizens in Newtown, Conn. — Ed Mayer, Shady Cove

Frequently you print articles that only give one side of the story. It would be informative if you would seek out both sides.

One example is your frequent stories on global warming. Several years ago when the two sides debated at several conferences, the global warming scientists were proven wrong. To this day they will not show up and debate. There was a big anti-climate change conference in New York a couple years ago, and sources such as yours did not even report on it.

Read this open letter below from this Web page that's addressed to the U.N. secretary general and signed by 125 world scientists and weather experts: http://natpo.st/U2jmPN — Dan Gannon, Medford

I was proud to read the letter from Karen Jones reporting on the Phoenix Food Project's success this year. They've worked hard for their community, and so have the other four Food Projects in Jackson County: The Medford Food Project, the Ashland Food Project, the Talent Food Project and the Eagle Point Food Project.

Combined, these five all-volunteer groups collected and delivered more than 300,000 pounds of food in 2012 to 20 Jackson County food banks. On Saturday, Dec. 8, alone, they picked up and delivered more than 64,000 pounds of food.

This is especially amazing when you realize that all the food was picked up one green bag at a time, from more than 5,500 area homes. The Food Project is an inspiring example of what can happen when community members join forces to tackle community problems. Our thanks to the committed donors whose green bags of food have made such a difference. Anyone who'd like to join the effort, or learn more about it, can find information at www.neighborhoodfoodproject.org — John Javna, Ashland

"Penny wise and pound foolish," says my friend, Mel.

The Recycling Center is significant to the city of Ashland for many reasons.

It is always busy and well-run. This is not just a hippie thing, but truly represents a crucial imperative for all of us everywhere.

It has important services that are not provided anywhere else. It is convenient, easily accessed and saves Ashlanders the expense of a trip to the transfer station.

It seems that the only thing the council is concerned about is the cost, but if you really look at it, it is money well spent. — Randy Dolinger and Mel Canal, Ashland

Congress' negotiation surrounding the so-called "fiscal cliff" could have dire consequences for Southern Oregon small business owners and the economy. Small business drives local job creation. Our economy has already been hampered by a declining middle class, suffering high joblessness and wages that do not go up, which leaves less money in our pockets to spend at local businesses.

The Rogue Valley economy will be crushed by the proposed budget cuts and tax increases on working families. The Council of Economic Advisors estimates that consumer spending would fall by $2.5 billion in Oregon if a deal that protects working families is not reached. This will severely hamper local businesses and tourism. Local businesses would see this decline in consumer spending in addition to the increase in taxes and fees that will come without a deal. Tax deductions for investing in your own business will decrease dramatically.

How is that good for an economy that needs jobs? Congressman Walden and Congress need to step up, end the partisan games and give small businesses certainty and the ability to grow. Do not hamper the economy further by cutting the deficit at the expense of local businesses and consumers. — Aaron Powell, Medford

Thank you for your holiday spirit. Everyone at Conifer Gardens appreciated your loving shoebox gifts and all that was involved putting them together.

We as senior citizens look forward to the good times, and this caring gift means a lot. — M. Abbott, Medford

On Nov. 6, we elected a president intent on seeking equal status of economic bearing for all of the general public. His way of achieving this is to use the federal government to make the rich poorer. Think how much better off we would all be four years from now had we elected the one with a main goal and a proven ability to make the poor richer. — Floyd Lamb, Medford