Regarding the "Since You Asked" question about the flag ceremony: I apologize for serving outside Phoenix ... oh, wait — I'm certified as a peace officer, authorized to perform duties anywhere in the state of Oregon.

I apologize for inappropriately performing a flag ceremony ... oh, wait — combined, the four officers performing the ceremony have over 35 years of military service. I can say with some certainty that the ceremony was performed appropriately.

I apologize for going to my fiancée's workplace, speaking with fellow veterans, learning how upset they were with the condition of the flag and taking it upon myself to rectify the situation.

I apologize for wasting city funds ... oh, wait — Chief Barthel and I paid for the flag with our own money.

I apologize for taking time on my day off to do something for people in a community, outside of Phoenix, that might create a positive opinion about the Phoenix Police Department and the city of Phoenix.

Finally, I apologize for not attempting to get approval prior to my actions. I guess I should have put the ceremony up for voter approval.

I do want to thank the questioner for being so concerned. — Derek Bowker, Phoenix

Enough wilderness, already! A percentage of our public lands is properly set aside for pure preservation. We have done that. But enough is enough.

Besides the numerous sound economic arguments against further expanding wilderness areas, particularly on the O&C lands, there are human and habitat issues militating against any more roadless wilderness areas.

Beneficial side effects of logging, be it clearcut or thinning, are the production of forage for our wildlife such as deer and elk and the production of roads. Roads are access. In the case of our generally steep terrain, access by foot is generally limited to the young and the hardy. Most of us, and particularly our senior citizens, need roads or at least jeep trails if they too are to enjoy these lovely areas.

Why are the neo-environmentalists so dead set on shutting down access to these lands to the general public? — Jack H. Swift, Grants Pass

In response to Jim Runels' letter regarding the panhandlers: He beat me to the punch. I thought they were the welcoming committee to our fine community.

If they plan to stand there, why not put a shovel and hoe in their hand and get those weeds cleaned up while they are asking for a handout?

Speaking of weeds, what has happened to all the berry vines on the pathway at Bear Creek? They are taking over. Don't we have a crew from the city or work crews from the jail available to clean up that mess? What is it going to take, another rape or murder before the city fathers get the message?

Speaking of Bear Creek, we are asked to pick up after our dogs, what about those that use the park and don't even have the common courtesy or possibly sense to put their trash in the containers, and as far as the parking lot by the skate park, how about the trash and broken glass always in the parking lot and on the grass? Don't those who use the park have any pride in the community, or do they just expect it to be done by others? — Libby Ellis, Medford

Regarding Kelton Shockey's essay on bees ("To save the bees," June 19), with the irrational attitude of the "scientific" investigator, I have little hope he will actually find the real reason for hive die-off.

Kelton posed a question which is quite reasonable: Is feeding the bees junk food good for them? Might it be a factor in the die-off?

Jerry Bromenshenk dismisses it in a most unscientific way. Only half of the affected beekeepers used corn syrup, so corn syrup can't be the problem.

What did the others use? Not honey. They used other forms of artificial food — sucrose or Drivert, a mixture of fructose and sucrose. Excuse me, but what is the nutritional difference between this and "corn syrup"?

I have heard from other sources that "organic" beekeepers are not having this problem. Is that true? If so, young Kelton may well have a valid point. Corn syrup (and other substitutes) may well have a part in the problem. — Karen Janssen, Grants Pass

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