I am encouraged by the interface I see between Southern Oregon University and the Rogue Valley community. As a graduate of another university in the '50s I was never aware of positive mutual support between the school and community.

On March 18, my husband and I attended a capstone presentation by master of business administration graduates at the new Higher Education Center in downtown Medford. The support between the students, the university and the client was evident in their interactions with one another and the research presented was so healthy for the whole community!

When I look at Southern Oregon's attractions, I see besides OSF and the glorious outdoors, an active positive advanced education system, including Rogue Community College, vitally alive pumping energy and enthusiasm into the Southern Oregon community. — Barbara and Hal Tracy, Medford

The skinheads have the right of free speech. They have the right to spew their hate to anyone that will listen, or to try to get published in fringe newspapers. The Mail Tribune has the right to print whatever they want, including articles introducing hate groups to potential recruits. That's how free speech works.

It appears that the Mail Tribune is trying to drive away the very last of its readers by printing garbage like this. The Tribune should never have allowed this article to give credibility to this group. This group should be ignored when they speak, and jailed when they act in illegal ways. The Mail Tribune made a very poor choice to print this article. No one has to read the Tribune. — Larry Laitner, Ashland

Sunday we approached the crosswalk on East Main and Garfield Park in Ashland. Two girls sitting on their bikes with their feet touching the ground were waiting to cross.

We stopped, yet the oncoming fire truck just blasted through the crosswalk, not even slowing down. We pointed to the young girls, so the fireman stopped his nice big truck on the train track to inform us that he had the right of way because people crossing have a stop sign and the girls were still on their bikes so they hadn't committed to crossing the street.

That isn't exactly what is taught in the local driver's education course. They are taught to stop when a crosswalk is occupied, but I guess kids waiting to cross aren't really wanting to cross because they are sitting on their bikes.

Mr. Fireman, it would have taken a mere second for you to stop and let those two young girls cross safely; but no, you must have had some very important business to attend to. Shame on you, and by the way, my new driver also says you aren't supposed to stop on train tracks! — J. Thomas, Ashland

Some Oregon citizens are very unhappy that we no longer have freedom of conscience in this country, which is becoming more socialist each day.

The freedom to practice our religion is rapidly evaporating. Our unborn citizens have no rights in this country unless they are "wanted" by someone willing and financially able to pay for the child's care.

When pro-abortion candidates win we all lose. May God have mercy on us. — Mary Lawrence, Medford

The fictional Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's sagest advice: Don't panic. Instead, EPA declared a harmless, 78 percent naturally produced, life-essential gas having wimpy greenhouse properties a threat to the public health.

Carbon dioxide's wimpy greenhouse properties were amply demonstrated in Southern Oregon orchards during late March-mid-April as clear nights were devoted to frost fighting techniques while cloudy nights, when a real greenhouse gas was in charge, were devoted to sound sleep. EPA's pronouncement effectively eliminated the best way to deal with the next "public health hazard." When methane (natural gas), 23 times more effective than carbon dioxide, is declared a health threat, a straightforward solution would capture the methane from point sources — cows, sheep, landfills — and use it to heat homes or generate electricity. A 23-1 trade-off seems excellent, but carbon dioxide, a product of methane combustion, has already been declared a threat to the public health.

The EPA declaration is just the excuse Congress needs to pass "anti-carbon" laws aimed at increasing the cost of energy and decreasing our mobility and freedom. The planet is cooling, but how long before the government and media recognize it? And MT's April 19 AP story did nothing to correct the typical misinformation. — Donald C. Young, Medford

In response to the letter calling liberals the poster children for hypocrisy, I must point out at least two cases of conservative hypocrisy.

1. When liberals were criticizing the decisions and policies of president Bush, the conservatives said that the office of the president should be respected and because of that the president should not be criticized. They called liberals un-American and unpatriotic for doing so. Have you listened to the conservative media lately?

2. When Hillary Clinton announced her candidacy for president, she was criticized for being too inexperienced, her lack of foreign service and the possibility that a woman could not handle the pressures of the office. Did you listen to the conservative media when Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president? Let us face it, hypocrisy runs deep in all political spectra. — Ron Steffani, Ashland

Taylor M. York, vice president of ASSOU wrote decrying the fact that certain Oregon high school graduates are required to pay out-of-state tuition to attend Oregon public colleges. I noted that Taylor skillfully avoided stating why these certain graduates are not eligible for in-state tuition like their fellow high school graduates. Truth be told, these certain graduates are illegal immigrants whom the courts have forced Oregon to educate through high school.

As a U.S. citizen and former California resident, I had to pay out-of-state tuition to send my daughter to Southern Oregon University. Yet Taylor thinks it is just fine for Oregon to educate illegal immigrants on the cheap while sticking it to U.S. citizens who send their U.S. citizen children to Oregon's colleges. How's that for fair?

Frankly, those illegal immigrant grads should be put on the first bus south along with their diplomas courtesy of the citizens of Oregon. — Bill Lucas, Eagle Point

I have strongly noticed that people who shake your hand do it for the wrong reasons.

Recently I reported a crime to a police officer; he shook my hand and I was shocked at how hard he squeezed it. My hand hurt badly for several days. I used ice packs for the swelling.

Ask yourself the reason for that. Did he think he had something to prove like a macho thing or payback because someone did it to him or a dominance thing about control? As soon as my hand swelling goes down I plan to talk with him about what he did. As far as I am concerned this is assault and people that do this should be charged with assault. This goes on thousands of times each day and I am positive that others have had this awful experience also.

As a result of these experiences I no longer shake hands with anyone. I will not be abused by fools of this sort. I admire the Japanese who simply bow to each other. — Paul Collins, Medford

In these difficult economic times, it is hard to believe that our county officials will take a pay hike of 4.46 percent and elected officials will also get step increases in salary for four years. Not to mention the generous pay raises for County Commissioners Walker and Smith last year — this fiscal irresponsibility is not fair to the citizens of Jackson County.

Our county needs funds for declining social services, limited library hours, roads and infrastructure. Recent cutbacks reflect real hardships to families, especially children and seniors.

Just because our county budget is in good shape this year does not mean it will remain that way. Declines in tax revenues will occur because of lower property values and closing of businesses in this recession. The county officials are short-sighted; they should be more frugal with taxpayers' money.

If the county officials think that the pay raises are necessary "because these people would make a hell of a lot more in the private sector," they are sadly mistaken. Isn't the unemployment rate in Oregon one of the highest in the country?

Think it over, county officials, and do what is wise rather than what is expedient. We expect that of our community leaders. — Judith Corbin, Medford

I think I mistakenly got the April 1 edition of the Mail tribune on the 22nd. The headline was hilarious: "County officials will take pay hike." Literally the day after the headline was, really, "County's jobless rate reaches 13.9 percent."

And then, get this, Dave Gilmour points out on why he, and the rest, obviously shouldn't take the heist (umm, hike) "with hard times, it's the right thing to do." As in, it's wrong to heist, sorry, again, to hike your pay in times likes these.

The Tribune explains: "...Gilmour stressed he is not making a political statement." No, just a decent one. As if "decency" or "fair play" has any place in our political system. Boy, that would be funny. Right?

Hmm ... then some cartoon character named Rudisile says, "....they would make a hell of a lot more in the private sector." Ha-ha-ha. C'mon, stop it. You (really) are killing me. You can't buy that kind of satire anymore. Laughter truly is the best medicine ... that is, if Asante's still around to provide it.

Well, I say let them go unto the private sector and rake in all that money. For they surely have done enough to — uh, for — all of us already. — Mark Darris, Central Point

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