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We, the members of Veterans For Peace-Rogue Valley Chapter 156, congratulate the Obama administration for bringing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl home alive. It should always be a high priority to bring all our captured personnel home safely.

We applaud the Kansas City Star editorial republished by the Mail Tribune under the headline, "Wait for the facts, please: Too many have engaged in a shameful rush to judgment on Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl." Our members hope the investigation into that matter is conducted fairly and quickly and that Sgt. Bergdahl — should he be found guilty of some crime or infraction — be considered to have paid with his five years in captivity.

We are also pleased that the U.S. prison at Guantanamo is five more detainees nearer to being closed. That prison makes America less safe and never should have been opened in the first place. We encourage the administration to close Guantanamo soon and to negotiate toward ending the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan ASAP. It is not acceptable to leave 10,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of this year. Obama promised to get us out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and he should do so. — Allen Hallmark, Talent, outgoing president, Veterans For Peace-Rogue Valley Chapter 156

It's summer, and the kids are released from school for vacation. Many households have both parents working, and children home alone are most vulnerable to pedophiles.

Years ago, I took a seminar at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville Texas. Huntsville is also the headquarters of the Texas State Prison System.

The first half of the seminar dealt with emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children. The second half dealt with recognizing pedophiles.

Many people think pedophiles are the "dirty old men" types; in fact, they are many times the last people you would expect.

Depending on the sex, they can be handsome or beautiful as well as personable and charismatic.

In the teaching field pedophiles have earned accolades as "Favorite Teacher," even "Teacher of the Year."

Any person who comes to your house on a daily, weekly or monthly basis should be constantly scrutinized. The mail carrier, the gas/electric meter reader, the landscapers and pool maintenance personnel, contractors and repair persons are all occupations that pedophiles have gravitated to in hopes of trolling for children.

Children should be trained to report any conversations or contact they have with adults to their parents. — Mike E. Miles, Medford

"Learn from it?" I beg your pardon!

Your headline on top of page one June 11 reads "We try to learn from every school shooting." That first page reports on shootings in Troutdale, Medford and Ashland. What is there to learn from the 74th fatal school shooting in two years — which, you report, this was — that could not be learned from the third or 33rd? And " ...officials urge increased preventative measures ..." We now learn: kids in school have been safe for hundreds of years. But now, 1) We need our guns to defend ourselves and to hunt, 2) We are a violent society, 3) shooting at school has by now become an accepted form of protest, to be copied over and over. Let's study it! Of course, could more guns be a solution? Or, let's make schools into fortresses. Let's work on the effects, not the causes! (The government is showing us: don't worry about the $60 textbooks, but let's give kids more time to pay interest on their loans!) — Thomas Heumann, Ashland

I appreciate your recent trio of articles about drought conditions in the Rogue Basin. Not just because you covered stories about the importance of our water resource, but because of where you wound up at the end — out in our croplands.

Agriculture uses approximately 75 percent of the water consumed in the United States. That covers lots of things, including livestock production, washdown areas, etc. But by far, the largest agricultural use is crop irrigation. How much water is used depends on the type of crop, and the type of irrigation. By far, flood irrigation uses the most.

Encouraging the success of our local agricultural economy is important, and conserving our local water resource is a part of it. For example, there is quite a project under way in the Rogue Basin to significantly conserve irrigation water by piping leaky canals, and providing many farmers with pressurized water so they can use sprinklers and drip systems instead of flood irrigation. This type of conservation helps us all. Hope to hear more about that in the future.

I have been posting all your drought-related articles since February at the two Drought Awareness forums we recently held in the basin. — Robert Coffan, hydrologist, Katalyst Inc., Medford