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I am a volunteer with Friends of the Animal Shelter working with shelter staff in an alliance to get all animals loving homes.

C. Atkins' Oct. 19 letter is undeserved by the shelter's staff and volunteers who give their time and efforts every day for hundreds of animals we take care of. Staff at the shelter is stretched very thin. They juggle many heart-wrenching decisions.

Perhaps that staff didn't speak with the writer in a kind fashion. I am sorry about that. Spend a day in staff shoes and you would think twice about attacking the county shelter. These are very caring, conscientious individuals who love animals.

During the height of kitten season, we had about 100 kittens (not counting the adult cats) in the shelter as well as an additional 60 in foster care with volunteers.

Donating to FOTAS is the best thing anyone can do to ensure the commitment to get every animal a loving home. Please do not let one person's disappointment stop donations in helping us make a difference.

Come down to the shelter and see all of us: dogs, cats, staff and volunteers in action. I think we do a proud service. — J. Alves, Ashland

Taxes and fees are imposed at state and federal levels not only to raise funds, but also to discourage behaviors that cost society money or that society considers less than desirable. The opposite is the case for tax credits and rebates; these are provided to encourage behaviors society considers valuable.

When we consider activities undertaken by humans and corporations that impose huge costs on society, it makes sense that they should be discouraged. An effective way to do this is to impose a fee for engaging in those behaviors.

Currently we (nationally, regionally) are suffering the consequences of decades, if not centuries, of using the air we breathe as a free dumping place for carbon pollution that results from burning coal, oil and gas. This behavior is imposing on us suffering through severe weather, heat waves, droughts, wildfires and acidified oceans.

Not only do we allow carbon pollution to continue without penalty, many of our elected representatives insist on granting the major polluters billions of dollars in tax incentives, as though we want to encourage rather than discourage this behavior.

It's past time to charge a fee for pollution, and eliminate incentives to keep doing it. — Louise Shawkat, Ashland

With support from nearly 1,000 registrants, over 300 Pasta Party guests, approximately 100 volunteers — and the generous donations from the nearly 140 corporate, business and individual sponsors — the fifth annual Monster Dash Run for Education was a huge success. Thank you!

This event was hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Ashland, leading sponsor Yogurt Hut, and the Ashland Schools Foundation to raise funds for the Ashland Schools Foundation's Impact Grant program for the current school year. Because of this event, hundreds of students will receive an enriched education in the arts, sciences, and across the curriculum.

Congratulations to the race participants, and a big thank-you to Yogurt Hut, all the volunteers and to the general public for supporting this fundraiser! — Ron Parker, Ashland Kiwanis Club

The Rogue Valley Harmonizers just finished their fall shows at Central Medford High School Auditorium, and we would like to thank the staff for their assistance. They were friendly, professional and effective, especially Jody Vizzini, Dalin Armstrong, Rich Garcia and Jose Muro. Thank you. — Robert Hall, president, Rogue Valley Harmonizers

The Affordable Care Act was passed because all the major players agreed our health care system needed reform. Too many Americans have to forgo treatment or go bankrupt, and nations that spend much less have better outcomes.

Expanding access to health care would benefit not only the uninsured, but those of us who pay for the ER to be their primary provider. To get Republicans on board, President Obama modeled his plan after one they submitted to Congress in 1993, later known as Romneycare.

Republicans became hysterical, warning that it was a plot to destroy America, but "Obamacare" passed, the Supreme Court upheld it and Obama was re-elected in spite of their hatemongering. Infuriated, they shut down the government and nearly crashed our economy. Welcome to the GOP's Mad Tea Party, where losing is tyranny and having a tantrum is leadership.

We need to fix the ACA, not repeal it. When other countries show that we can provide universal coverage, improve health outcomes and still reduce spending, it's criminally insane not to. If lawmakers received no better care than the least of those they supposedly serve, you can be sure we'd see major reforms without all the lunacy. — Michael Steely, Medford

The liberal cartoons and articles avoid a troublesome problem, a $17 trillion debt. Six more times we have increased our spending limit with no change in sight. No areas to cut spending? The Department of Energy, for one example, was created in the '70s to reduce our dependency on Arab oil. After 40 years we see little or no change. DOE wants an increase for 2014, $28 billion for their services. I suggest all federal departments could and should be cut by at least 25 percent. Ask any business how EPA is helping our business community. — Lynn Berntson, Jacksonville

D-Day 1944 was truly a day critical to the future of the world and America. Planning had taken years and involved thousands of people. The one day would determine if the plan would succeed or fail.

Following the final briefing just prior to D-Day, Winston Churchill said this: "Let us not expect all to go according to plan. Flexibility of mind will be one of the decisive factors. Risks must be taken." It is a shame our county in general and the nihilist wing of the GOP in particular won't follow Churchill's advice concerning the rollout of the far-less-critical plan that is the Affordable Care Act.

As with most large-scale endeavors, there will be SNAFUs and everything may seem FUBAR (to use World War II-era language), but everything will be fine in the end and the ACA will succeed like D-Day.

Maybe the millions and millions of previously uninsured Americans who will benefit from the ACA will insist on a new monument on the mall. — Carl Beckmann, Medford

In response to "Using us as puppet" (Oct. 21), my personal ambition is getting my "affordable health care," a.k.a. "Obamacare" and being able to use my money saved to buy a good pair of scissors to cut those strings. — Kathleen Bryan-Panos, Medford

I have thoroughly watched the action of the legislature and administration for the past seven years and came to the following conclusion. Any person who votes for an incumbent — Democrat, Republican or independent — in 2014 or 2016 is taking action that is the equivalent of treason. God save our USA because our politicians surely won't. I can't find an act by any one of them that shows they put the welfare of the nation ahead of their own re-election.

How many and who has been fired for the failure of the Obamacare website after three years organizing and over $300 million of taxpayer money to prepare it? A typical example of this administration's ability to run the USA. — Floyd Lamb, Medford