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Letters to the Editor, June 29

Don't 'fix' Highway 99

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" are words of ancient wisdom that seem to have escaped the notice of the bright lights at ODOT. ODOT's current plan to reduce Hwy 99 in Talent from four lanes down to two, insert a left turn lane, build sidewalks and stripe bike lanes seems to show only that ODOT must have a few million dollars burning a hole in their pocket.

For example, putting a left-turn lane between Creel Road and South Valley View is utter nonsense since there is virtually nothing on that whole highway to turn left onto. Pedestrians are never seen on that stretch of highway and bicycles have nearly exclusive use of the Bear Creek Greenway which runs parallel to Highway 99.

It would also seem useful also to point out that that highway is supported almost exclusively by automobiles paying gasoline taxes and bicycles pay nothing. In addition, reducing traffic lanes also has the unfortunate effect of screwing up the RVTD bus schedules. It's late but hopefully not too late to bring this dumb idea to a halt. Highway 99 ain't broke, so ODOT doesn't need to fix it.

Don Stone

Ashland

Time for a recall?

I have commuted daily on Rossanley Drive for more than 30 years. The highlight of the drive is to see the beauty of the fields as they are tilled, planted and eventually harvested.

Two of the three county commissioners, Rick Dyer and Bob Strosser, have decided that Exclusive Farm Use statutes do not apply to the best farmland in the valley. Those statutes are very clear that those lands may not be used for a solar panel monster of 90 acres. ORS 197.247 indicates that restricted exclusions may be allowed, “but not including commercial facilities for the purpose of generating electrical power for public use by sale.”

Additionally, the 45,000 panels are to be tended by one employee. As we drove into town this week, we noticed the dozens of farm workers who will be displaced by this disaster. No one seems to support this dictatorial move by Dyer and Strosser other than the owners of the company who will destroy the land.

Maybe it’s time to have another recall election in Jackson County.

Robert Simpson

Central Point

Hospital dumps smokers

I work in a business center next to one of two prominent hospitals in the area. Smoking is prohibited on that hospital’s property, so the smokers who work there come over to our center to smoke.

They walk across their parking lot, step over the curb, and light up. In packs of two and three, they circumnavigate our parking lot sucking on their Winstons and Salems.

This hospital knows it employs a small percentage of smokers. By not allowing them to smoke on their property, they hand the problem to us. Instead, they should take responsibility and designate a smokers’ corner somewhere on their ample lot.

Smoking is legal and not a firing offense. To reduce the number of smokers in your employ, incentivize healthy habits and subsidize tobacco withdrawal programs. But to banish smokers completely simply dumps the problem on others.

Leslie Morgan

Medford

Letters to the Editor, June 29