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Three rather disturbing statistics from recent news reports:

1. 80 percent of manufactured goods sold in America come from Asia.

2. Home ownership in America falls to 1995 levels.

3. 20 percent of American households have no one employed.

How in the hell did this happen? — Tom Brussat, Jacksonville

Hi, I am 12 years old, and I am going to tell you my thoughts about guns in the USA.

Guns have been a problem in America for a while and if nobody is going to do something, it will only grow worse. Guns have been the cause of too many deaths, from schools to a bank. Too many states are allowing openly carried or concealed guns. Other states license only concealed carry of firearms. Some other states don't recognize out-of-state permits to carry a firearm at all.

When I am at school I like to feel safe. Which means, to most kids, no weapons, threats or bullies. I feel that every kid should feel safe when at school and shouldn't have to worry about such awful thoughts like kids bringing guns.

It is time we do something about this. Either everybody has a gun to protect themselves, or nobody has a gun except for cops. I would like it if nobody has a gun so no one gets hurt and no one feels unsafe. Sometimes when I am alone I feel like a victim. — Jordan Anna Trunnell, Ashland

Your puff piece (April 25) has at least one inaccuracy — Chapman's ridiculous assertion that there are no sidewalks on North Main. Also, David Young's assertion that it's safer to travel on foot because of the "road diet."

Have you talked to the North Main residents that went to Salem to try to persuade ODOT to put in crosswalks? This is the most egregious omission of the "road diet" scheme imposed by the city.

ODOT refuses, and the city says it's up to ODOT. Furthermore, as a North Main resident and frequent driver there, I see no increase in bicycle use, but endless lines of traffic making it difficult and dangerous to make left hand turns onto North Main.

Your piece should have had a more balanced viewpoint. Multi-modal theory by biased interviewees. — G. Lockie, Ashland

How is that Oracle is not being held accountable for the epic failure of the website? Surely, their contract with the state included some provision for failure to achieve a workable system.

This has been a huge expense for the taxpayers (you and me) while meanwhile Oracle seems to be absconding with our money and leaving us with nothing. (Enjoying Lanai, Larry?) Something isn't right here. — Sue Powell, Ashland

When I purchase something, I "save" money by getting that exact same item/service for a lower price. To imply that the 549C school district saved money during the teachers strike is ridiculous and insulting.

To be a bit more accurate, you should divide the money spent on teacher classroom hours during the strike by the number of true student hours spent learning by the students who were in the classroom and compare to the same figure during a regular school week. Your article did not mention things that cannot be measured as easily — stress on families, school functions that had to be canceled or dropped, friendships that dissolved and most of all, the simple education that our children missed during that time.

A great "teaching moment" with no adequate teacher that is gone forever was priceless. — Linda D. Osborne, Medford

I laud Gordon DeVos' timely April 22 letter, "It's our fault." Remember Edmund Burke's 1817 quote: "All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good people to do nothing!."

So why the silent, apathetic, passive American Christian majority? Why don't churches today collectively take a stand? After all, the deviants have come out of the closet. Isn't it long overdue Christians do too?

With credible resources now long available online, there exists no excuse for the body of Christ — the evangelical churches collectively — to remain in willful ignorance and denial. Credible institutions that teach the proper role of government, the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, Federalist papers, etc., naturally include the John Birch Society in Appleton, Wisc., at www.jbs.org and www.thenewamerican.com, respectively.

Also, the Constitution Party of Oregon (www.constitutionpartyoregon.net) and JPFO Inc., "America's Aggressive Civil Rights Organization" (www.jpfo.org).

And, of course, Pastor Chuck Baldwin, coach Dave Daubenmire, Devvy Kidd, and much more at News With Views (www.newswithviews.com).

The Bible states: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee." Hosea 4:6 (KJV). This moral Biblical principle still applies today. — James A. Farmer, Ashland

Earlier this month, we learned of the authoritative third report from the International Panel on Climate Change, AR5, which stated that the worst of climate change can still be modified if we act quickly to reduce carbon emissions. But if we do it later, the cost will be huge, both in dollars and lives.

ExxonMobil is telling its investors that it will continue to drill for oil and gas. Yet the indisputable scientific evidence is that at least two-thirds of fossil fuels must not be burned, if runaway climate change is to be avoided. The only "disputers", interestingly enough, are the fossil fuel corporations and the speakers they hire.

Several decades ago, corporate money was committed to deceiving the public into thinking smoking was harmless. This same corporate money that is campaigning against our neighborhood farms with lies and deceptions is also trying to convince us that climate change is a myth.

We have the technology now to slow climate change, and we'll all benefit from the reduced pollution. Monsanto, Syngenta, Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers are just using us to line their pockets. What we need is the political will to tax carbon pollution and revise our energy production. — Ken Deveney, Ashland

Congratulations to Lynn Sjolund, founding director of the Rogue Valley Chorale, upon his being awarded the honorary title 'Conductor Emeritus' at Rogue Valley Chorale concerts last week-end for his lifetime contributions to the culture of our valley and for bringing the joy of music to generations of youth and adult singers and audiences of all ages.

Lynn and his wife, Doris, have worked tirelessly with adult and youth chorus singers for decades. They have touched countless lives with dedication and service.

Lynn is the ultimate master of his conducting craft. His magnificent wit and sense of humor and his encyclopedic knowledge of the world of music are gracefully bundled in the soul of a wonderful and caring human being.

Lynn passed the artistic director baton of the Rogue Valley Chorale Association to Laurie Hunter after he served in that capacity for 40 years. Lynn richly deserves this fitting tribute by the RVCA board for his wonderful leadership and musical contributions that will reside our hearts and minds for years and years to come.

Congratulations Lynn Sjolund, conductor emeritus! — Ken Engelund, past president, RVCA, Ashland

I do not know Kim Novak, but like thousands of others I have enjoyed seeing her movies. I was disgusted when Donald Trump made a crude remark about her having plastic surgery to look young.

MYOB, Mr. Trump! And I have a question for you: How much do you pay your barber to cut and comb you hair to make you look weird? — Jeff Cheek, Medford