Yes, our world seems insane at every turn we make. I disagree with Audrey Green that the Mail Tribune's priorities are skewed because you do not plaster a headline of more horrible news on the front page daily.

There are already too many unpleasant changes that have happened and continue to happen to our valley as it has grown so huge in population. Don't change your "hometown" paper feel that does report the "small" things too, please. — Debbie Moshier, Medford

The Jan. 23 letter "Collect back taxes" contained errors that I need to bring to your attention.

The writer's misunderstanding stems from a "Since You Asked" column published Jan. 7, saying that as of early January there was $36 million in "delinquent taxes."

The fact is, there was $36 million in unpaid taxes for all years, but a lesser amount — about $11 million, or 5.1 percent — is actually delinquent. This is because property owners may pay one-third of their taxes by the first due date, Nov. 15. Many property owners pay in thirds, or pay two-thirds, and make their subsequent payments by Feb. 15 and May 15. At any point, only part of the unpaid balance is actually delinquent.

The situation is the same as when someone receives a credit card bill and pays the required minimum. The remaining balance isn't delinquent, it is the unpaid amount.

Delinquent taxes accrue 16 percent interest, but foreclosure may not occur until unpaid taxes go back four years. Nearly all delinquent taxes are collected by then, along with interest. Very few properties are foreclosed upon.

Jackson County's portion of the current delinquent balance is $1.6 million. — Gary Cadle, Jackson County finance director/tax collector

As the sheriff of Jackson County, I am writing to call your readers' attention to a critical public safety issue, the urgent need for wireless service in rural areas of Oregon.

Public safety officials rely on cell phones to assist in search and rescue operations, domestic violence situations, undercover activities and communications in areas where police radio is unavailable. In many cases, reliable wireless service can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission has indicated its intent to cap the Universal Service Fund in the immediate future. The USF provides critical support for telecommunications companies to build new cell towers in rural areas where costs are particularly high.

Recently, concerned school officials in Sams Valley requested reliable wireless service for their community. Thanks to federal funding, U.S. Cellular constructed a tower next to the elementary school. This tower provides cellular service for the community and is an important, dependable emergency response tool for teachers, parents and residents.

Ensuring the safety of my county's residents is my top priority. To this end, I urge you to please visit www.connectingruralamerica.org to make your voice heard and help us preserve federal funding for wireless development. — Michael Winters, Jackson County sheriff

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