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I have lived in an African country and was allotted water just twice a week. During World War II, my family of four was given one bucket of water a day. I know the value of water.

Signs are all over Ashland, warning us not to waste water. Notices have been sent outlining the penalties for using more than our "allotment" — starting with paying four times the water rate and increasing from there.

The city of Ashland needs to look at its practices regarding public maintenance of water systems and apply penalties for misuse if necessary. At the field on Iowa (between Wightman and Walker), there are broken and misaligned spigots. This results in the sidewalk and adjacent street receiving most of the water. Additionally, with the trees not being watered, there is also increased risk of dead branches falling.

I believe the people are willing to participate in community efforts to conserve water. However, it would be encouraging to know the city is also willing to adhere to the standards being put before the citizens, and put forth a concerted effort to check public areas for potential waste and misuse. — Ellinor Gottesmann, Ashland

I am writing to support Pat Butler of Medford and Mary Ann Johnson of Central Point, who pointed out how having multiple valedictorians has virtually defeated the purpose of that honor.

Last fall I emailed the principals of Ashland and North Medford high schools, asking each to explain why, in classes that are only about double the size of my 1956 graduating class, there are now eight to 12 valedictorians. My contention is that either grade inflation combined with lower testing standards is the reason, or, the PC policy of there being many winners and no losers is in play. I asked how, if students in the 1950s were so dumb, is it possible that these individuals became today's statesmen and leaders.

Neither would admit to any form of grade inflation by any means, so it's obvious that this is a case where they're "peeing on my leg and telling me it's raining." I contend that it's highly unlikely children have gotten significantly brighter, especially with the many added electronic and chemical distractions, so the only viable explanation is grade inflation by one means or another. Sadly, when they hit the job market they'll finally understand that not everyone wins. — Dr. Gaither B. Everett, Medford

Many thanks to the following downtown restaurants that participated in our "Taste of Alba" wine walkabout on Saturday, June 7: Elements, Paisans Pizzeria, Jefferson Spirits, Larks, Habañeros, Porters, Downtown Market, Havana Republic, Sunrise Café, Capers and Spoons.

Wine from Alba, Italy (Medford's sister city) was paired with delicious hors d'oeuvres. The Medford/Alba Sister City Association appreciates your support and the support of those who joined us for our second wine walkabout. — Mary Jo Follett, Medford