We are thankful for the foresight and planning of those responsible for the best new improvements to our city: the addition to the bike path and the lovely new sports park.

We often ride the bike path and appreciate its completed route, especially those sections where it is not hard against the freeway. (And may we vote for a Barnett Road underpass?)

In addition, we are often out at the sports park with friends on softball teams and are gratified by the work being done to make that first-rate facility enjoyable to so many. Heavy use of the sports park and bike path seem key to preserving them from abuse or vandalism, so we hope lots of folks will get out and take advantage of these two new resources. Along with Medford's excellent police and fire departments, we feel they are additional jewels in Southern Oregon's crown.

Again, our thanks to all those who have worked — perhaps over many years — to make these a reality. — Dale and Nancy Meador, Medford

People who say it doesn't matter which party is in control of our government should read the front page story of the June 11 paper. When Bush took office, gasoline was selling for $1.67 for premium. Yesterday, I paid $4.19 per gallon.

His energy policy was written behind closed doors by Vice President Cheney with advisers from the oil companies. We still do not know what was said. Cheney claims "executive privilege."

When the Democrats tried to pass an excess profits tax on the oil companies, 42 Republican senators and one Democratic senator killed it. It would not lower the price of gasoline, they said.

They may be right, but it would pay for repairing our highways, which we are going to have to pay for. Now we have to pay for the gasoline and the repair.

Think of that when you mark your ballot on Nov. 4. — Jeff Cheek, Medford

With all the talk about energy. I have grown tired of hearing our leading candidate tell us we can have energy independence.

We use more oil now than we were when crude sold for $25 a barrel. Seventy percent of electricity is made from natural gas and coal. Just 8.4 percent comes from renewable sources and most from environmentally dubious hydroelectric; wind, solar, geothermal and biomass together supply 2.4 percent. Despite growth, their share of power will be small for decades.

America is the biggest user of oil, but prices are set by global demand and demand is driven by Asia. High prices mean a tight market prone to price swings that is painful for people. Each year 8 percent of our autos are purchased, so it would take 12 years to replace autos with greener ones assuming they are being mass-produced. Electric cars' batteries are fraught with obstacles, namely the laws of physics.

The Department of Energy expects by 2050 that conventional oil production will peak. Oil locked in sand, rock, natural gas and coal will supply the oil for the 21st century. Let us not forget about climate change. Some future to look forward to. — Art Gerds Jr., Yreka, Calif.

The defeat of the Senate Democrats' scheme to tax the oil companies should help put an end to the lie that the Democrats are "for the common people."

If enacted, that tax would have caused gas prices to be raised even further. Any idiot knows that raising a company's cost of doing business causes them to raise their prices, but the Democrats (and some Republicans) are so sold on the global warming hoax that they're willing to destroy our country to satisfy the environmental extremists.

Talk of cleaner cars and new technologies is great, but the citizens of this country need help now. The average working person who drives to work and back is not in a position to go out and buy a new more fuel-efficient car, so the elitists that suggest that need to get back to reality.

If the government were to allow U.S. oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico (like the Mexicans and Chinese are already doing) and in ANWR it would help lower the price of gas and lower our dependence on oil supplies from countries that hate us. — Frank J. Vetter, Eagle Point

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