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ELECTION LETTERS

Since responsibility for the welfare of large animals became part of the duties of the Sheriff's Department, I have worried about what is being done to intercede when horses are reported as being abused or neglected.

I hear complaints almost weekly that citizen reports of large animal abuse get little or no response from the Sheriff's Department under its current leadership. If you love animals, your vote should be affected by this situation.

I advise voters to ask each candidate for sheriff to discuss his plans to intercede when animals are at risk of starvation or suffering from neglect or cruelty. I did ask, and Bob Sergi was the only candidate willing and able to answer my questions. He is concerned, as I hope you are, that the Sheriff's Department be effective in meeting the important animal stewardship responsibilities the people have decided are the purview of law enforcement. — Linda Davis, Ashland

I have saved lives since 1992 as a Master Food Preserver with University of California Davis Extension, then with Oregon State University Extension. I have steered countless class attendees, booth visitors and food-bank patrons away from unsafe practices that had the potential to make them seriously ill or even kill them.

I have gently helped them, often reluctantly, to relegate Grandma's recipes to the treasured family archives, or encouraged them to refrigerate or freeze them. With research-based information, I ensure their confidence in what they put on the shelf or in the gift basket. And that confidence goes way beyond canning — we teach lifesaving food safety practices including food sanitation, adequate cooking and safe storage.

I urge the voters of Jackson County to help me continue to save lives by voting yes on Measure 15-121, and thank you. — Jackie Greer, Medford

I had the pleasure of listening to all three candidates for sheriff speak in a forum recently. I am convinced that Corey Falls is the standout with the best qualifications for the job.

Corey recently earned his doctorate of business administration. He also has an executive certification through the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training which is the highest level an officer can obtain. Corey has additional advanced training related to drug activity, gangs, mental health, crimes against women and terrorist tactics. He is highly qualified to be your sheriff.

I have been acquainted with Corey in the Rotary Club of Ashland for the past two years. He has always impressed me with his kindness, modesty and positive attitude. — Kimberly H. Cooper, Ashland

I support Joel Ockunzzi for county commissioner. Both of us are members of the county Planning Commission; we have served together for seven years. It is always a pleasure to work with Joel, no matter how hard the issue, or whether we agree or disagree. The Board of Commissioners will need his leadership with the upcoming retirement of commissioners Rachor and Skundrick.

Joel Ockunzzi is hard-working, fair to everyone, practical and well-informed before making decisions. His record shows that the most important thing for him in deciding an issue is what will best serve the public. Such candidates are rare, so I hope Republicans will vote for him in this primary election, and everyone will support him this fall. — Richard B. Thierolf, Ashland

Please vote yes on Measure 15-121 in support of the Jackson County Extension Services.

The Extension Service office provides knowledgeable assistance and classes for gardeners, food preservers, farmers and ag endeavors of all kinds. The learning opportunities are many.

The boundless resources provide practical information and fun skills involving our lives outdoors. My own experience with the Land Stewardship program gave me a deeper appreciation for the woodland and riparian land that I live on, as well as a plan to improve it and protect it for the future.

And even though I do not have a child in 4-H, I cannot imagine our Southern Oregon county without that program for our youth! Please cast your vote in favor of Measure 15-121 with a yes. — Dede Voss, Shady Cove

I encourage Jackson County Republicans to support Colleen Roberts for commissioner.

Having known Colleen personally for many years, I can safely say she has the energy, experience and education to serve the public as commissioner while maintaining her principles as a conservative and her perspective that a public servant should "serve" the electorate.

Colleen is not the business-as-usual type. On the contrary, Colleen brings a blend of old-fashioned common sense along with an "outside-the-box" viewpoint — a touch contrarian — which our county needs as the fiscal reins require tightening.

Colleen understands the principles of our Constitution and our county's Home Rule Charter. She will work to keep decision-making local and keep governmental intrusion into our lives at a minimum for the economic and social benefit of us all.

She's a native Oregonian, she knows the issues — Jackson County will benefit from her approach. — Bryan Platt, Eagle Point

With all the rhetoric about helicopters, mutual aid and education, Sheriff Winters is on track. Our sheriff and deputies are well trained, and continually training.

Mike has been sheriff for 12 years and has implemented numerous safety programs for schools and trained teachers to use those programs to keep children safe. The helicopters have done more to save lives, as the girls rescued on April 11 behind SOU were saved. Helicopters are our weapon against drug cartels, finding and delivering deputies to destroy crops.

Of course we provide aid to other sheriffs, as they do for us. Oregon has the best sheriffs I know, and that includes Sheriff Winters. We don't need a "ready for retirement" candidate taking over the sheriff's office. We don't need a Washington-trained officer taking over that office. — Judy Van Blarcom, Talent

Regarding "Walden works tirelessly to improve the quality of life" (MT, May 6): Hmmm, other than Ms. Smullen's mention of veterans, let's see. Unemployment extensions, nay. Food stamp increases, nay (actually supported decreases). Health care, nay. Any environmental issue, nay. Student loan help, nay.

You get the picture. Just whose quality of life is getting his support? Not those in need in Jackson County, that's for sure! Certainly he does work "tirelessly," but for whom? — Rick Ukena, Ashland

The debate over genetically engineered organisms has been fueled by a great deal of pseudo-science. Some publications have tried to examine the issues even-handedly (Benbrook, "Environmental Sciences Europe" 2012; Gilbert "Nature" 2013; Gilliam, www.reuters.com 2014).

There has also been a good deal of misinformation, and a few facts may help. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in January 2014 that Monsanto can sue if more than "traces" of genetically modified material is found in crops transferred by pollen from a GMO crop (Nelson, www.guardianlv.com). Despite the trickle-down theory of economics, as mentioned in a May 4 guest opinion, wealth does not trickle far from the top — the gap between the extremely wealthy and the rest of us has grown since the 1980s. Also, Ballot Measure 15-119 does not require a blanket prohibition on ag research in Jackson County (www.co.jackson.or.us/files). — Neal Anderson, Jacksonville

Science is theory; theories often change over time. GMO crops are an experiment.

Many regions worldwide are banning GMOs because they feel the science is inconclusive and they want clean food. Just in case. One human generation (coincidentally, with an unexplained epidemic of autoimmune disorders) of eating biotech food is inadequate to decide to irrevocably alter staple food crops to something not found in nature.

Those who want uncontaminated, non-GMO food should not be dismissed as unreasonable. We need a region in the USA to grow uncontaminated, clean seed, just in case, or we'll have no backup if this grand experiment fails.

Syngenta, a Swiss biotech company, is using our valley to trial their seeds, with dozens of plots spreading pollen, contaminating our entire region. We can be their laboratory or be a safe haven, with multitudes of diverse, locally owned farms. Please vote yes to restrict GMO crops. — Mary Alionis, Whistling Duck Farm LLC, Provolt