During this past hot spell in the Rogue Valley, I had to ride several RVTD buses with air conditioning units that were not in working order, such as 3702. I feel it is a shame to those on the road when other buses with working air conditioning are sitting, not used, in the bus yard.

This hot weather affects the elderly, disabled, and I've even observed the drivers sweating, which in my opinion affects their safe driving practices.

I would like to encourage RVTD to put comfortable buses in service so we can ride and enjoy the beauties of the valley. — Arlene Warrender, Medford

Most Oregonians are well aware that Oregon's economy waned with the logging restrictions placed on federal timber holdings within the state. Though somewhat intangible, another cause of Oregon's poor economy has been due to the 30-plus years of restrictive regulations on property by the appointed LCDC.

The root cause of both of those economic problems originated with radical environmental groups who have seemingly gained an infinite influence within the Democratic party.

Our major problem has been, and continues to be, that those groups too often force their flawed ideology upon the rest of us. — Leonard Vedder, Bandon

Oh come on Mr. Denman. What is so unspeakable about two people getting together, enjoying each other's company, falling in love and wanting to make it legal just like everyone else?

How does that partnership really affect you? Think about it, Mr. Denman.

What's really unspeakable are the out-of-wedlock births, one mother who is so morally corrupt she hasn't the foggiest idea just who the father is. One mother, different fathers, now that's an unspeakable tragedy! Two people of the same sex, working, paying taxes, and falling in love, that's hardly an unspeakable tragedy. In the grand scheme of things just how does that type of relationship really hurt you? Fifty percent divorce rate, now that's a real tragedy!

Drug-addicted pregnant mothers, now that's a real tragedy. I think or know there are so many other lifestyles that are true unspeakable tragedies. — Linda Schluter Tedder, Cave Junction

I'm an eastern Oregon native who recently journeyed to Wallowa County, my birthplace, for a writing conference, for a visit with my grandson, and for a high school class reunion in sagebrush country along the Columbia River.

I was amazed to see that every little hamlet had its library — open, with generous hours. There I stopped to check my e-mail, to read the local newspaper, and to chat with the natives about the places I was visiting. Wherever I went, libraries were bustling with folks of all ages. It was the same in Prineville, Redmond, Madras, Pendleton, Hermiston, Wallowa, Enterprise, Joseph. The folks along the way had heard about our libraries closing and they all expressed disbelief that such a basic service would go unfunded. Well-known Oregon writers Kim Stafford, Ursula K. Le Guin and Barry Lopez expressed their shock and dismay.

A concerned friend from Enterprise, population 1,895, loaded me up with several hundred children's books she'd saved since hearing of our plight. I brought them home to offer local readers. I am sad to report that Jackson County has earned a smudge on everyone's map.

May we save ourselves, and soon. — Ann Magill, Ashland

The fight between RVMC, Providence and the imaging group is just one more symptom of our poor system of health-care administration. Your editorial of July 25 is right in admonishing them all.

But I have to disagree with your statement: "Delivering health care is not just another business." In the USA it is very much big business, not to mention the insurance companies.

We have public health care, for-profit and not-for-profit (though I think the not-for-profit category a bit misleading). For-profit and not-for-profit institutions both spend a good deal in advertising/marketing. They are very much concerned with the bottom line, hence their intense competition to get our business.

Who wins in this current fight? I think the attorneys will do OK. We the health care clients — we just keep paying more.

It's way past time we stop duplication of services. It is just one of the factors that drives up the cost. — Myrdith King, Medford

The most encouraging story that's appeared in the newspaper in a long time arrived on July 23 in the form of an article about a mechanical grape harvester.

It does the work of 40 illegal immigrants in less time, and it works at night which provides for a better harvest.

There is an array of innovations out there for a variety of agricultural products, and if we can just keep Congress from passing an amnesty bill for a reasonable period of time, other farm operators will be forced to buy these machines. Once they have the harvesters, of course, they will not want to go back to the hassle of dealing with an illegal work force, and the country will be well on its way to solving the illegal immigration problem.

The major obstacle for seeing this scenario come to fruition is the possibility of an amnesty bill being signed into law by a president who does not have the country's best interest at heart and is eager to sign one. The key to the whole thing is to simply convince Congress to do nothing. That's not an easy task, but if we all hang together, we can do it. — Robert Bennett, Grants Pass

I read this article with increasing disbelief and anger. I graduated this June from the Master of Arts in Teaching program at Southern Oregon University, and the jobs I am applying for as a licensed teacher have a starting salary range of around $30,000. It says a lot (none of it good!) about this country when students who are at least a year away from graduating are paid six times that much for what amounts to an extended job interview. — Patrick Douglas, Medford

The following is part of an e-mail I recently sent to Sen. Gordon Smith:

I am appalled at your stance on Operation Iraqi Freedom. You joined the rest of the Senate in confirming Gen. Petraeus and Adm. Fallon knowing full well their strategy for Iraq. Now you have stabbed them and our troops in the back by not letting them do the mission you signed off on when you voted to confirm them. I know you have never served in the military, so please consider this analogy.

You are a law enforcement officer in the war on drugs — let's use meth as an example. You are dedicated to your mission of eliminating the drugs and their dealers. But your senior elected officials declare the war on drugs lost and are trying to legalize the use of meth. How would you feel? Saying you support law enforcement but not their mission is an oxymoron — you can't have it both ways. It is the same with OIF and the troops.

Please read Thomas Sowell and Charles Krauthammer (www.townhall.com) for reasoned and reasonable approaches to the Iraq dilemma. — John F. Howard, retired U.S. Navy commander, Medford

When the Say Hey Kid walked in from center field and threw out the first pitch at the All-Star game, I had a tear in my eye. He was one of the brightest stars of my youthful field of dreams, back when integrity still meant something. His natural grace should humble every multi-millionaire in baseball today.

With Charley Hustle locked out of the Hall of Fame for gambling when everyone knows his prodigious accomplishments on the field came by virtue of his own grit and nothing more, why are MLB owners so soft on steroids?

Because home runs sell tickets?

Any athlete — in any sport at any level — caught using illegal performance enhancing drugs should be banned for life on the spot. One strike and you're out. End of story.

Maybe a gifted hitter like Bonds could have broken the most hallowed of records without the stain of an asterisk, but we'll never know. Maybe ARod will. Until then, Hammerin' Hank is still the king in my book. — S. Davis, Talent

The reasons for health reform are too many to make short comment about. Health care is only one of many ailments of our society. HMOs are simply thieves, as are private contractors in Iraq, "Christian" social program facilitators and proponents for less regulation in the economy, among others. Ours is a very sick society. Time is running out. Elections have been stolen, and will continue to be. Ignorance is bliss. Wake up, America. — Dean Crandell, Central Point

I am disgusted with the dehumanizing ways that women are depicted in media. I understand that sex sells, but we are selling sex to children and teenagers.

These are the people of the future. Girls in particular are depicted as objects and I would like to see a vast improvement and turn back to wholesome family values and thought-provoking storylines. By teaching values, not eroticism and sexuality, the next generation will be better prepared to face the "real world" instead of the fantasy world they see on television. — A. Grether, Central Point

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