We recently had the pleasure of attending the Summer Festival in Bend, a huge arts fair that closed one of the downtown streets.

Oregon artisans selling their wares, an abundance of wonderful food, beer and wine vendors, music on two stages, all of the shops open and offering specials. The place was packed, the energy was great and people were having a fun time.

Why can't Medford have this type of event? Every Medford event just falls flat. Small turnouts, mediocre booths and food, many of the downtown shops and restaurants closed during the events, minimal music.

I just don't get it. With two parks, a downtown area that could easily host more events, restaurants and retailers and an abundance of creative musicians and artisans in our area, Medford should be hosting events throughout the summer and they should be well-attended. Instead, downtown is mostly a ghost town and most of the events are a bit of a joke.

Where's the pride in our city? Ashland and Jacksonville have it figured out. When will Medford get it?

Maybe Medfordites really do just prefer big box stores and fast food and we're living in the wrong city! — J. Ellicott, Jacksonville

Recently, Barack Obama acknowledged the success of the surge in Iraq: "As I have said many times, our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence."

The truth is, Obama opposed the surge and pronounced it a failure just months (8/22/07) after it began. Now that it's a success, he's trying to repaint himself as a surge supporter, even scrubbing all prior negative surge comments from his Web site!

Obama now plans to press Iraq to stand up so we can bring our combat troops home, leaving a residual force in Iraq longer term to "target any remnants of al-Qaida."

Talk about reinventing the wheel! This strategy has been hidden in plain sight by our national press for years "¦ it is President Bush's strategy.

Let's not elect someone who cannot mean what he says, and cannot say what he means. Please America, see the light! — Jo Smith, Jacksonville

Obama's one of the Senate's most militant abortion supporters, with a 100 percent pro-abortion rating.

Obama opposes notifying parents before a minor's obortion. Obama supports crossing state lines to avoid parental notification laws.

Obama wants to force taxpayers to pay for more obortions. He supports partial-birth obortion. Obama even voted against protecting babies born alive after botched obortions.

If you support infanticide, Barack Obortion is your guy. Mr. Obama is Mr. Obortion.

If you oppose killing unborn babies, vote McCain. He has a strong record of protecting the innocent — a 96 percent pro-life rating.

McCain supports parental notification laws. He opposes taxpayer-funded obortions.

McCain opposed partial-birth obortion. McCain voted to protect babies born alive after botched obortions.

The contrast is sharp. There's one candidate who will protect babies and there's one who will sharpen knives for the obortion industry.

I vote to protect the innocent, I vote McCain. — Kathy Watson, Medford

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