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Why is it in your articles, you never mention that the average salary and benefits that the district puts out per teacher per year is more than $91,000? That is more than $490 for less than a seven-hour day, or $70 per hour. The district in the new contract is offering more than $100,000 a year. — Rocky Wardle, Rogue River

As a retired pharmacist I can say that I learned the importance of education first-hand. With the help of teachers, I learned the skills I would need in college and later in my career.

Now is the time to support these remarkable individuals and demand that the School Board keep the promises and commitments previously made. — Judson Hyatt, Medford

Vote yes on Measure 15-119 to protect our county's agriculture from genetically modified plants.

Why avoid eating GMOs? Independent studies link them to many health problems, and they are banned in many places throughout the world.

Why avoid growing GMOs? Seeds migrate and contaminate non-modified crops.

Monsanto, Syngenta and other big corporations spent millions to defeat measures to protect consumers. They even object to labeling their GMO foods. They've sued farmers for unintentionally growing their GMO plants when seeds blew into their farms.

They don't play fair, so we can expect this to be a tough fight with lots of scare tactics and expensive ads. Don't be fooled. Vote yes on Measure 15-119 so that people in Jackson County can enjoy the safe, healthful, tasty, unmodified food that nature provides. — Mel Ginsberg, Ashland

Before the tea partiers get their panties in a bunch about President Obama issuing executive orders and referring to it as a "tyrannical power grab," let me remind them that a president is permitted by law to issue these orders.

All presidents have used them — and here's an interesting fact — President Obama has done so fewer times than every president going back 125 years! This president has tried to work with the Republicans in Congress for the last five years, but they have refused to work with him. He is not doing anything improper. So before you write screaming letters to the editor (especially after that misinformed and ridiculous Lisa Benson cartoon on the editorial page Jan. 29), do some homework. Barack Obama is trying to move the country forward where the Republicans will not. — Nancy Shulenberger, Ashland

Many have wondered over the years what makes the United States such a rich, powerful and noble nation. An old saying quoted in political speeches holds that our churches are responsible: "America is great because she is good, if she ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."

Another frequently quoted passage says, "Great nations usually last only about 200 or so years. They progress through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage. From great courage to liberty. From liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence to moral decay, then back to bondage." Where do you think we are in this scenario? — Gordon DeVos, Medford