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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

In response to Keith Van Horn's letter: My husband is "privileged" retired military like Dave Dotterer. Our "free" medical care is Medicare with a premium and a deductible, Tricare with a deductible and prescriptions with a variable co-pay like everyone else with insurance coverage.

When he enlisted in 1962 he was promised as part of his contract that if he stayed to retirement the government would provide free medical and dental care for him and his dependents for the rest of his life. Little by little all those contract provisions have been broken.

Alan Bates is a veteran himself and would probably be the first to say that those who stay 20 years or more deserve those few benefits that remain. — Elaine Wheeler, Central Point

Today I read the letters to the editor section and found Keith Van Horn's inaccurate description of a retired military member's benefits. He said that they were free.

When military members complete 20 years of active duty they are allowed to move into a retired status that does include a percentage of their prior base pay, medical coverage, prescription coverage and burial benefits. They also receive space available flights on military aircraft and base commissary and exchange privileges for life.

None of this is free, though. Every single part of it is earned through the sacrifices of continuous moves and challenges and often going into harm's way for two decades or more. This notion that some seem to have that any of this is "free" is pure fiction.

Twenty years is about a quarter of the average person's life and around one-third of an average adult life. Members know from day one of basic training that 20 years will earn them these benefits, and yet most opt to leave after one enlistment in the military. The benefits are nice, but they are too demanding for many to earn. — James N. Walker, Medford

In Gretchen Hunter's guest opinion on feral cats, she states TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs do not reduce feral cat populations. Interestingly, neither does euthanasia. This has been the method of choice for years and the feral population continues to escalate.

In an article entitled "Sound Science vs. Sound Bites", Best Friends Magazine documents the flaws and inflated numbers stated by the Smithsonian and U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. These studies have been sold to the public as a rationale that undermines TNR efforts.

As Best Friends states, "These arguments typically have far less to do with rigorous science than agenda-driven PR." There is further misinformation about rabies that Best Friends documents.

While TNR may not be the perfect solution, it's the best option we've got. There are successful programs in Europe, throughout the U.S., and right here in our valley.

The spay/neuter part is essential to stop the growth in numbers. There are people who will feed those colonies and have built housing.

There are interesting examples involving wineries and using ferals for rodent control, rather than pesticides. There are many dedicated folks who are trying to be part of a solution.

Putting cats down is not the answer. Humans stepping up might be. — Jane Babbitt, Ashland

Just what School District 549C needs! A dysfunctional School Board that does not support the teachers, picking the next superintendent.

We can all expect to revisit the strike issue again in three years. Teachers, parents, students, and voters deserve better. Remember all this when it is time to vote for School Board members. — Penny Fitzsimmons, Medford