It would seem that the county commissioners and budget committee members are unaware of cultural tourism and how the entire county benefits from our historic legacy that attracts people to Jacksonville from all over the world.

To even consider taking over SOHS-maintained properties or incorporating SOHS's Research Library into the county library system is very short-sighted.

The November 2008 Historic District ballot measure needs everyone's support. — Robert and Joanne Wilcox, Central Point

It is obvious from statements quoted in the Mail Tribune article regarding SOHS funds on Dec. 20 that the commissioners, budget committee members and county administrator have little firsthand knowledge of the work being done to preserve the heritage of Jackson County. As president of Rogue Valley Genealogical Society, I urge each of them to visit the museum and Society sites of all 15 Jackson County Heritage Association members. Let us help you understand the importance of preserving our heritage for future generations. Once it is gone, it is lost forever! — Charleen Brown, president Rogue Valley Genealogical Society, Phoenix

In her letter, Erin Wolford-Keller claims that abstinence-only education is the cause of a recent jump of 3 percent in the teen birthrate. She simply states that one caused the other without providing any proof. I could just as readily claim that the war in Iraq caused the increased birthrate.

Furthermore, she neglects to mention that the birthrate also went up for women in their 20s, 30s and even 40s. Inquiring minds want to know how abstinence-only education has driven 30-year-olds to have more children.

Note that the feds spend six times as much on education which emphasizes birth control than on abstinence education.

In addition, Ms. Wolford-Keller calls for comprehensive sex education in our schools. "Comprehensive" means that it should cover everything, right? Good, because teens need to see accurate pictures of babies in the womb. Prenatal pictures help teens realize that sex may lead to the creation of an innocent human being whose life hangs in the balance.

Videos of pre-born infants as they move around in the womb should help act as a deterrent to premarital sex. Let's make "comprehensive" mean comprehensive by showing students the whole truth. — Kathy Watson, Medford

After several citizen meetings and petition drives, the city council, by one vote, defied public opinion and common logic when they voted last week to place the new fire hall out at the western edge of Jacksonville.

This is not what the citizens want. Why can't the council understand that?

Most of us want the fire hall either left where it is, or built on Fifth Street.

Not only is the Public Works yard a poor location, there will be many setback problems with Jackson Creek. The present Public Works building is a non-conforming building built (without permits) partially on state highway land and in the flood zone of Jackson Creek.

Once the basic usage of the yard is changed a whole new set of land use rules will come to the fore that the city will be forced to confront. — Larry Smith, Jacksonville

I wish to express gratitude to all those who via e-mails, telephone calls and personal greetings, have stood up this week to support the Southern Oregon Historical Society in light of the county's unwillingness to reimburse SOHS for the $250,000 per year we raise privately to manage, maintain and preserve county-owned buildings, and who support our long-range plan to create a Rogue Valley Heritage District in the November 2008 election.

If you wish to support operating revenues for SOHS, send a contribution to SOHS, P.O. Box 1570, Jacksonville, OR 97530. Our budget this year is just over $600,000; we raise every dollar of that ourselves, and need your support.

The heritage district is the key to the long-range funding dilemma for SOHS and the dozen-plus other historical societies in the county. Our goal is to become completely independent of county funding.

Just as the county's transition from its O&C funds addiction has been painful, so is ours, but we are making the tough decisions required of us. It is a cultural shift for our organization, and a multi-year project. We remain committed to continuing the important preservation and heritage work for generations of future Southern Oregonians. — John Enders, executive director, Southern Oregon Historical Society

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