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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Regarding our privacy and personal information, here are two suggestions:

1) Boycott companies whose security measures fail to protect our privacy and personal data. This will induce other members of the corporate community to spend more on security measures. The more dire the consequences of a security breach, the more they will spend to prevent them. They are highly influenced by cost-benefit analyses.

2) Use cash! — Richard Keleshian, Talent

Jackson County voters should reject genetically modified crops grown unchecked in our narrow and confined valley because some GMO crops have already contaminated areas away from their original experimental test plots.

This is not a hypothetical idea, but is a documented fact.

There are now Roundup-resistant weedy bent grass plants that have escaped at least 13 miles away from their test site following USDA regulated field tests conducted in Deschutes County. Originally created to serve as a golf course turf grass that will survive multiple applications of Roundup, the bent grass is now a weed that is actively spreading.

In another field trial in western Idaho that ended in 2006, pollen from a GMO grass blew across the Snake River and cross-pollinated with other grasses. Those grasses were detected in 2012 growing in fields in Malheur County.

Oregon State University scientists have stated "spontaneous hybridization adds a level of complexity to transgene monitoring, containment, mitigation and remediation programs." The simple fact is this: Mother Nature will spread genes everywhere because that is how biology works.

Please protect our Jackson County farmers from GMO crops by voting Yes on measure 15-119 this coming May. — Donna Breedlove, One Earth Landscaping, Medford

First it was Dobermans that got the stereotype as mean dogs. Now they want to ban pit bulls. How about banning irresponsible people from adopting them? And better yet, jail time if their dog harms someone. My heart goes out to the victims, but perhaps carry pepper spray when going into questionable areas?

We adopted a pit mix from the shelter six months ago. Her best bud is a Pomeranian, and she ignores the cat — because we taught her to.

I have seen my neighbor's Jack Russells tear up their goats, and their Rottweilers destroyed two dozen chickens. So better ban all herding dogs, I guess; it's a natural instinct.

If pit bulls are banned from Medford, I call on all owners to boycott the city. No more groceries or gas, et cetera, from your town. You should be ashamed! — Roberta Heffner, Talent

Friends of the Animal Shelter is the volunteer arm of Jackson County Animal Services. Our mission focuses on prevention, adoption and education for the humane treatment of companion animals. We promote responsible dog ownership including the licensing of all dogs as per state law and county ordinance and spaying/neutering to prevent unwanted litters.

Research shows that the size of the dog and the breed of the dog do not determine aggression or dangerous behavior. Therefore to enact a ban based on breed does not prevent aggressive behavior. Thus, we are opposed to breed banning, since it falsely assumes a dangerous dog is breed specific rather than behavior driven.

We will be providing verifiable facts and statistics on pit bulls to the task force, the Medford City Council and the media. — Peggy Moore, president, Friends of the Animal Shelter Board of Directors

Conceptually speaking, I am in favor of the existing "road diet" in Ashland and the proposed "road diet" on Old Highway 99 between Talent and Phoenix.

However, there is one detail which needs some careful consideration before enacting the proposal. And that is the issue of school buses.

When traveling this stretch of 99, especially in the morning hours, there is a high likelihood of encountering a school bus. In the current lane configuration, one at least has the opportunity to pass a moving school bus. But if the road is re-striped to one travel lane in each direction, passing a school bus will become impossible, thereby creating a long line of slow moving vehicles and frustrated drivers who must wait until the bus leaves the road in order to proceed at a normal speed again. So, I hope ODOT considers this issue because I think it will be problematic. — Robert Lynn Janssen, Ashland

Will 2014 be your best year ever? Here are six steps to follow.

Doors: You will encounter many closed doors. Signs will read: "Would Have", "Could Have", or "Should Have". Ignore them. The door you are looking for reads: "my future." Open it and enter.

Mistakes: Henry Ford said, "We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes." We all make mistakes. Learn from them and gain experience. Accept that some mistakes cannot be fixed, no matter what.

Success: There are many secrets to success. None work without the essential ingredient, tenacity. A dogged determination to succeed regardless of the barriers.

Barriers: Go around, over or through them to reach your goal. Learn from failures, and welcome obstacles as a challenge. Focus on solutions not excuses, and results not apologies.

Live: Nobody said that life would be easy or fair. Life is yours to live, to error, to forgive, and be whatever you decide to be. Live it with honor and die proudly.

Journey: Life is an incredible journey. Have a planned destination and road map. The journey is equally as important as the destination. Enjoy your journey while appreciating friends and family along the way. — Howard Wand, Rogue River

Are you trying to have more people not vaccinate their children by putting the picture you did with the title you chose under it? You put a picture of a child screaming while getting a shot with the title "This is really unfair"!

You want to know what you should have put? You should have put the picture of a pale child dying of H flu meningitis with a ventilator, wires and tubes and put the title "This is really unfair." Or a picture of a family after they are told their child has died of a preventable disease such as H flu meningitis and put the title "This is really unfair."

Vaccinating your child is not unfair. It is necessary for keeping them and our population safe from preventable killer diseases. My kids are the first in line to get their shots. And yes, they are normal. They don't have autism.

You want to know why? Because vaccines don't cause autism. No scientific research has ever shown that. Your picture and title are maddening and set an opinionated tone for your readers before they read one word. — David Brabec, Ashland

When I read the article about the Steve Kiesling Gold Hill kayak business zoning violations I was amazed at how he spun it.

While he illegally cut trees/plants in the riparian zone (on both sides of the river) he doesn't want to fix the damage and wants to build a "safety trail" instead (helping the park in the meantime). He says the will "probably" move the illegal structures "across the road" while later disputing that the structures are in the flood plain. Anyone viewing the structures can see that they could be swept down river by flooding as they are about 2 feet above the river line. Kayak gates are still in the riverbed. This all taking place in a critical habitat for the wild coho salmon.

His quote says it all: "It's getting to the point where this thing has to be by the book and that is a good thing."

The spin is perfect. Kiesling did as much as he could illegally and now that he has to do things like the rest of the good citizens of Jackson County it is a "good thing". It would be laughable if the damage to the river was not already done. — Steve Westview, Talent

Living and working in the Rogue Valley for 13 years (before relocating in 2002), I felt it was a decent, friendly place. Not any more.

Driving from Vancouver, Wash., to visit family and friends in Medford and California for Christmas, I was on I-5 in Medford when a guy with his family in the car pulled alongside me, reached out and, while glaring angrily, let fly with the one-finger wave. Then he raced away. A week later, on my way home, some other knucklehead in Medford did the same thing. But this time he stayed next to me for a long time, so I just smiled at him and flashed a peace sign. He kept waving his finger, dropped back, and tailgated me for a mile or so. This, I concluded, is just the behavior of ignorant, fearful, small-minded people who don't like the bumper stickers on my car — one says "Proud Democrat," the other says "Obama-Biden."

Grow up Medfordites; President Obama was elected by the majority, so get over it. Stop listening to the lies of the conservative media, the tea party and other propagandists, or at least try to be kinder to one another. — Steven Bair, Vancouver, Wash.

The article on Obamacare by Jim Doyle in the Jan. 12 MT contains a particularly insightful quote from Sen. Ted Cruz: "The most simple rule of economics is there ain't no such thing as a free lunch."

But folks persist in thinking that there is, at least when it comes to health care, thanks to some third party paying most of the bills. So they tend to think their health care is essentially cost-free, and this leads to over-use, scarcity of services and increased costs.

But surprise! The folks are paying for it after all, whether in insurance premiums, taxes, or — insidiously in the case of Obamacare — an attempted transfer of wealth from one segment of the population to another.

And that leads us back to TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. — Charles S. Chase, Medford