It appears that the Senate is poised to confirm Mr. Mukasey as the latest attorney general for the Bush administration and the country.

He is just what we need — another AG who believes the president is above the law and doesn't think waterboarding is torture. If you value the soul of this nation, let your senators know this is not acceptable. — Carol Ampel, Medford

A big Halloween thank you to all the kids and their parents who have walked our haunted hallways over the past 10 years. Each year thousands of you stopped by our haunted house on Banner Court in Medford.

You may remember the nachos and lemonade that became such a yearly tradition. It was truly a community effort with you showing your support in countless ways.

Well, I hurt my back a few years ago, and so last year was our final haunt. I thought you should know not to stop by this year. We are in a new home now, and I don't think the new homeowners are quite ready for 2,000 people showing up expecting to be spooked.

There are many great haunts around town that will appreciate your support as much as we did.

Thanks again, and Happy Halloween. — The Schlosser family, Medford

Wow, are we ever grateful for having the Butler Fund in our community. I just wanted to publicly thank the members of the G.S. Butler Memorial Fund committee out of the Ashland Elks Club who have supported our students and families and donated so generously to our school projects throughout the years.

Once again the Butler Fund has helped Helman Elementary School by providing funding for a project that will allow us to purchase new and used picture books to give to families who may not have resources to provide enough literature in their homes. Picture books help children create stories in their minds and increase rich vocabularies.

With the help from this wonderful community resource, we are able to help children on the road to reading. Thank you to the G.S. Butler Memorial Fund for being there and supporting our community in a multitude of ways. — Jennifer Egan and the Helman School staff, Ashland

While the Oct. 22 article, "Much BLM timberland tied up in lawsuits" accurately compares the Forest Service's successful small-diameter logging program to the BLM's controversial and less successful old-growth logging agenda, many of the claims made by the BLM and industry representatives are not grounded in fact.

The BLM's current management focus is indeed on logging our remaining old-growth forests, and if the Bush administration has its way, the agency will triple such logging and prioritize clearcutting ancient forests over thinning fire-prone second growth. Under the pending Western Oregon Plan Revisions, the BLM will clearcut nine times more forest than it thins.

When the vast majority of the public wants public old-growth forests protected, one has to wonder about the cozy agency-industry relationship driving such drastic environmental rollbacks. The BLM cares more about big timber than rural economies or forest health.

While the Forest Service is by no means perfect, many of its regional decision makers have seen the writing on the wall. Old-growth forests are an important asset that the public will fight to protect, and small-diameter logging and thinning provide more stability for local economies than the short-term gain industry gets from clearcutting old growth. — Stephanie Tidwell, executive director, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Ashland

Can you believe that Greg Walden voted to sustain Bush's veto of SCHIP? Does he think his congressional seat is impervious? We can change this. — Mary Lasley, Ashland

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