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Letters to the editor: Dec. 12

Accept something new

I’m writing to thank you for your well-reasoned and helpful opinion on the sculpture proposed for the area near the library and the process in general (Dec. 3, "Art process worked"). As a former member of the Ashland Arts Commission I know from personal experience that the members are all of the highest integrity and have striven to guarantee that the entire process is as inclusive and considerate of all members of our community as possible. The fact that it took over a decade to get to this point where we have a fully funded piece of public art with a carefully chosen site speaks to the depth of the care and thought invested in this process.

I want to encourage those who question the appropriateness of the art being proposed to take the opportunity to set aside their immediate reactions and be open to the possibility that something unexpected may end up bringing a new and welcome dimension to our community. Good public art provides a number of benefits and one may be the opportunity to see the world a bit differently and perhaps even to learn something new about what is happening on the bigger stage in which the art is created.

Even something that you initially dislike may end up bringing a new understanding of subtle relationships which transcend the verbal and speak to parts of yourself you have little explored. The passion people feel is evidence there are significant issues in that piece worth exploring and I applaud all those involved who have brought this extraordinary opportunity to our community.

Let us not put all our eggs in one basket. I fervently hope that the sculpture will be the first of many pieces to grace our exceptional town and allow for a wide spectrum of style, ideas and sensibilities to help to expand our understanding and experiences. Let us make this an opportunity to accept something new and unique and to savor it. And let it inspire us to work to bring other pieces to the many other suitable locations that beckon.

Richard Benson


A special dinner

I had the privilege of watching my granddaughter as her parents went out for their first formal dinner since childbirth. The reason they could afford to eat out was one restaurateur’s generous offer of exchanging donations for “Toys for Tots” for a 10-cent steak or salmon dinner. This proprietor is Rob Harvey, owner of Beasy’s on the Creek and Harvey’s Place.

My grown “kids” got the best tasting food they’ve had in years because of this owner’s dedication to making other’s Christmas’s more joyful while giving the people of our town, rich or poor, an opportunity to eat a special dinner. They choose Harvey’s Place for the salmon and said it was delicious.

They’ll save their pennies for a second opportunity to go back and tell their friends about the wonderfully cooked salmon. They thank Rob and Annie for their dedication to the community in helping both the kids of our community as well as others who rarely get a chance to eat out.

Bravo, Ashland. These kind of “win-wins” make our community a better place.

Cathy Freeman


GMO alfalfa's threat

How fitting — following the good news about the settlement between two GMO alfalfa growers and Jackson County, comes an alfalfa-related study titled "Herbicide (Dicamba) Drift Adversely Affects Non-Target Pollinators and Plants," published by Pennsylvania State University and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture. From the study’s summary:

“Dicamba is a chlorinated benzoic acid herbicide associated with neurotoxicity and reproductive effects. The study used alfalfa crops to track the flowering and floral visitation by insects, specifically pollinators, after applications of sublethal doses of dicamba. The researchers concluded, “Our results suggest that widespread non-target damage from these herbicides may adversely affect pollinator communities.”

”Because of the challenge of glyphosate (Roundup)-resistant weeds, new types of transgenic crops that are resistant to synthetic-auxin herbicides including dicamba and 2,4-D will be widely planted in coming growing seasons, raising concerns about damage from these drift-prone herbicides."

As a pollinator advocate and volunteer member of Ashland’s Bee City USA subcommittee, I am really happy that all of us (humans and pollinators alike) do not have to worry about this new alfalfa in Jackson County.

Kristina Lefever