Whether or not you're affiliated with a political party and voting for a presidential candidate, your vote in the primary is important. Except for the county commissioner, all the other local races are nonpartisan, and any candidate for local office who wins 50 percent or more of the vote in the primary is elected to the office.

Also, three measures (51, 52, 53) are on the ballot to amend the state Constitution. They affect provisions related to crime and the rights of victims and criminal defendants. These measures are analyzed in the voters' guide, produced by the Oregon League of Women Voters and distributed to libraries, schools and senior centers. Copies can be downloaded from the League's Web site, www.lwvor.org.

The two local Leagues (LWVA, LWVRV) and the Medford and Ashland branches of the American Association of University Women are sponsoring forums to highlight the local candidates. The final one, on Friday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the Ashland City Council Chambers, is for Democratic and Republican candidates running for county commissioner. This last forum will be televised on RVTV. — Judith Benjamin and Vanya Sloan, co-presidents, League of Women Voters of Ashland

At the Pear Blossom Parade last Saturday, I stood next to a young mother and her three children (ages 7, 4 and 3).

I watched as this mom and her children enjoyed the parade. I listened as she never stopped giving gentle instructions. She asked them to stand every time the American flag went by. When people in the parade passed out candy to those lining the street, she asked the kids to say thank you. Once they held those treats in their hands, she asked them to turn around and share that candy with the children standing behind us, as they were not privy to the front row seats. Lastly, she had them pick up all of their candy wrappers and stick them in their backpacks to throw away at home.

Wow! I thought I was going to watch a parade. I was blessed to see our future generation being told to honor their country's flag, use good manners, care about others around them and help protect the environment.

Thank you to this mom and those like her. Your tireless efforts will bear fruit. Greatness is planted one small seed at a time. — Betty Hagedorn, Jacksonville

Why go through all the hoopla of selecting the queen and princesses for the Pear Blossom Festival and then ignore them as they would a dead skunk on the highway? The media appeared to do that with hardly a mention of the Royal Troupe. Certainly they deserve a lot more than a "pat on the back." — George Chang, Medford

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