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Letters to the Editor

After recently reading the accounts of the 20 firefighters who died this summer in Arizona and Oregon fighting wildfires, and the subsequent recognition event by Glendale/Wolf Creek residents for firefighters who battled their wildfires this summer, I was disappointed by the childish and condescending comments regarding the Medford Fire Department's "fire laddies" wish to build a new fire station in the letter "No Taj Mahal" by Hubert Smith (Sept. 20).

Although Mr. Smith makes a valid observation that a fire station should not resemble the Taj Mahal, it is doubtful that the numerous citizens in Southern Oregon who have been assisted or saved by firefighters (in some cases at the expense of firefighter life and/or injury) would share Mr. Smith's perception of firefighters as "fire laddies" or "lads." — John Mittendorf, Medford

When the Dalai Lama was asked what surprises him the most about man, he replied that man spends his life sacrificing his health to make money then spends all his money to recuperate his health. This quote is amusing and sad because it is true, but it does not have to be.

People can choose to be healthier and save themselves and everybody else some money. We can be responsible for our own health by increasing our activity, eating healthier and being aware of the ailments that afflicted your blood relatives that may require preventative actions in order for them to not afflict you.

I understand that this statement has the fallacy of any generalization, and a healthy lifestyle does not prevent all illnesses, but the illnesses that it does not prevent are usually less damaging for a person who has lived a healthy life.

Everybody wants health care, but nobody wants to be healthy until it is too late. We can take control of our health by the decisions we make every day or we can behave like helpless naïve children who need to be coddled and controlled.

Freedom is a privilege and a responsibility. — J. Cole, Jacksonville

Yes, we can secede! Yes, we should secede! Let's do it. The new state should be called Jefferson and we can pool our similarities with Northern California.

Closer, local and state control will mean less taxation on citizens, hospitals, businesses and less governmental interference in land-use regulation, environmental intrusion, as well as health care oversight. The new state of Jefferson will attract new business and encourage greater economic development and capital formation with lower business and personal taxes, and much more limited restrictions on land development. The people will be freer, more involved, more skeptical and more represented.

Sacramento and Salem are too remote for all "us rural folk, y'all." They have other agendas more important, like reinterpretation of the First and Second amendments, as well as misrepresenting marriage and the word "illegal." Certainly they can afford a Noah Webster dictionary with their taxpayer expense accounts.

Siskiyou County Supervisor Valenzuela said, "I don't have the time and money to chase a pipe dream. You can't put your head in the sand."

Mr. Valenzuela, ever hear of the Revolutionary War and George Washington? Without each you wouldn't have the right to be such a benevolent irritation. — Joel Marks, Medford

The founders of our great nation originally stated that only white, male landowners could vote or hold public office. But that has changed with the times. We have come to understand that didn't serve the cause of equality and freedom.

Then, American women asked to be included in the right to vote. They petitioned and protested, finally gaining access to this fundamental right. And America went through a monumental struggle in an attempt to give equality and freedom to people of color.

Now we are faced with yet another challenge, the right of same-sex couples to marry. This is our chance to ensure that equality and freedom really do matter. Hopefully, we the American people, will find the right path. It is time, once again, to act. — Judson Hyatt, Medford

As a United Church of Christ minister, I have been honored to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. Just like the weddings of straight couples, same-sex weddings are joy-filled occasions, accentuated by excited brides and grooms, delighted families and friends, beautiful words of hope, and meaningful vows.

Of course, in Oregon those ceremonies are not honored by our laws. That's because the Oregon Constitution contains a prejudicial clause that makes marriage between two men or two women unlawful.

Matt Witt's recent guest opinion expresses a father's hope for his daughter's freedom to marry a woman she loves and to build a life together in the security that their relationship will be recognized and protected by this state.

I share that hope. I have seen first-hand that there are no meaningful differences between gay and straight weddings. There are two people who love each other and want the world to respect their love. I cherish each opportunity I have to celebrate the gift of human love on a couple's wedding day. And I will cherish the chance to vote for legal marriage equality when it reaches the ballot. — Rev. Caren Caldwell, Ashland

Our nation suffers from a financial cancer that's growing rapidly and threatens to destroy us, but the average person is totally preoccupied with their busy lives.

One person who is not too busy to notice is Vladimir Putin. He was speaking to some students in Russia where he said, "The United States is living beyond its means and is shifting part of the weight of its problem onto the world economy, acting like a parasite." Sometime later he stated, "The United States' financial condition is a basket case."

Are these statements true? Foreign nations are buying our bonds and treasuries, and the Fed is still printing $85 billion a month. The best answer to this question is said in Joel Rosenburg's book, "Implosion."

"The only thing that will save America is for us to have another Great Awakening." This is where millions of people cry out to God for His forgiveness. — Gordon DeVos, Medford

One year ago, I traded in my older car for a newer vehicle at a well-established local dealership.

As car-buying experiences go, within a matter of hours my wife and I left the dealership feeling good about our purchase and transaction.

In August 2013, I was shocked to receive a citation in the mail for the vehicle I traded in and no longer owned. Appropriate calls were made and I was told the matter would be taken care of. Toward the end of September, I again received a citation for this same vehicle and more calls were made.

Not knowing what to do, I contacted DMV through its web site.

Much to my relief, an investigation was done by a DMV investigator and resolved in one day!

While reputable car dealers generally take care of the whole car-trading/buying experience, errors can occur along the way.

For any future car transactions privately or through a dealer, for my own peace of mind, I will download, fill out and personally send in the Notice of Sale or Transfer of a Vehicle form to the DMV (www.odot.state.or.us/forms/dmv/6890.pdf.) — R. Gilstrap, White City