LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Six percent of the property tax I paid last year went to fund MURA. I am sure that 6 percent of yours did too.

In the current economy, tough decisions will need to be made before providing funding to MURA.

MURA's total indebtedness is reported to be $15,073,500. The new budget request totals $13,728,100. A special tax levy of $2,383,200 is being requested.

The budget includes $4,790,200 for capital outlays. More money for The Commons, with no guarantee that Lithia will ever build here. More money for the Bella Vita property. More money for the taxpayers to pay.

There has been an uproar over the MURA board's decision to increase director Jackie Rogers' salary to $109,000. With benefits, this will total more than $160,000. A sizable sum to run a four-person office.

Sally Densmore, MURA budget committee chairwoman, and the budget committee should be commended for not approving the MURA budget without more disclosure and clarification.

Board Chairman Gregory Yechout was reported to have stated that the budget committee might have too broad an interpretation of its role. Mr. Yechout, the budget committee is trying to do their job. Don't get in their way. — Harold Lutes, Medford

What happened to more transparency and holding those accountable for wrongdoing? More integrity!

Please stand tall and do the right thing. Make available all the evidence needed to bring justice to the people whom you represent. Enough political maneuvering!

Mr. Obama, please start acting as the man we all thought we elected and stop caving in to the corporate right and status quo corporate left. Prosecute criminals, stop these needless wars that are bankrupting us, stop the transfer of wealth from the masses to the rich coffers of the elite bankers!

We are not that stupid and can see through all of these games that are played on behalf of the corporations and bankers and politicians who should be tried for treason. Your people are behind you 100 percent for the right decisions. You have all the power you require in your constituency that got you elected so please have faith! — John Hill, Phoenix

Congratulations to Illinois Valley High School in Cave Junction. In less than a week, they have risen from the bottom third to the top third in the semifinals of the Frosted Flakes contest. Thirty winners will get an athletic field makeover costing up to $15,000.

When Kris Henry wrote his sports column for the MT May 12, Illinois Valley had 1,012 votes. When I checked Saturday morning they have 5,663! It is obvious that a lot of people are working very hard to earn this prize. Let's help them! I hope every person who has voted will continue to do so every day through May 31. Even though I have no direct connection to Cave Junction, I have enjoyed following this contest and voting every day. It is very easy after the first time.

The Web site is www.frostedflakes.com. Click on the "rebuild playing fields" banner at the bottom. Be patient, some things are slow coming up. Then click on "search fields" on the right. Then put in OR and click search.

Go Cougars! — Maridale Moore, Ashland

Thanks to Paul Fattig for his April 29 interview of Benji Lewis and the Lombards for their letter of May 15.

Recruiters are taught to "talk up" military life to impressionable young men and women typically too young to legally buy a beer in Oregon. It's no surprise that so many become disillusioned and distraught shortly after enlistment.

The Benji Lewis speaking tour was in part about what we've made available at www.rv-vfp156.org, the Rogue Valley Veterans for Peace Web site. Our "Straight Talk on Military Recruitment" program is about aspects of military life that most youths have never thought to consider or might not know.

Examples: How many know that in January, the Army experienced more suicides than troops killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan combined? What prejudices would you encounter? How many remember President Obama's second press conference when he stated that one-third of America's homeless are veterans? Recalling our volunteer soldiers, even years after serving combat tours and being honorably discharged, is highly disruptive, but it happens.

We believe that honestly educating both youths and parents about the facts and sociology of a military enlistment is part of a solution to producing a more balanced enlistee. — Don Chapin, Talent

This area (parts of Applegate/Jacksonville/West Medford) has birthed many acres of new wine grape plantings. Some people have torn out older pear orchards to convert the land to wine/grape growing. It generally takes from three to five seasons for a grape crop to mature.

Therefore, those people (obviously well-moneyed) who began the conversion operation two to three years ago could not have foreseen this recession. I wish them good luck.

But those who are presently (includes most of last year) converting their land into grapes certainly have made a thoughtless decision.

How much wine from Southern Oregon will be in demand in the future? I fear the answer to that is unfortunately a bummer! It certainly would have been more appropriate in these critical times to renew the fruit orchards, which will be edible as opposed to drinkable! — Duane Sample, Jacksonville

I was recently shown an article about Lori Slate being prosecuted for interrupting a hunt recently by swinging a plastic bag out of surprise when she happened upon Mr. Welburn stalking some turkeys in her neighbor's orchard.

How is it possible that her rights are being ignored? If she chose to sing and dance in that orchard why wouldn't that be as much of a right as Mr. Welburn's to shoot off a gun that day? And how is it that it was OK for him to even think about shooting a gun off anywhere near where other unsuspecting people and animals might be?

Finally, in a time when services are being cut in this valley due to a shortage of money, this man is asking the courts to spend money on this case to make a point for his daughters about swinging a plastic bag! How about him taking the time to explain it to his daughters and leave the courts out of it! — J.A. Seely, Medford

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