The story about artist Daniel Dancer's large-scale composition in U.S. Cellular Park was entertaining and inspiring.

To teach through interaction the concepts of collaboration, cooperation, perspective and synergy, as well as raise awareness of environmental interdependency, is a lot to accomplish with one project. I am reminded of the great mandalas of Tibet, painted in sand and prized as much for the ephemeral nature of their existence as for their transcendental beauty.

Thank you, Mr. Dancer, for showing once again the power of art as a tool for education and enlightenment. — Michael Whipple, Medford

As the parent of a Notre Dame senior who attended the graduation on May 17, I feel compelled to briefly respond to Paul Greenberg's editorial.

Concerning his complaint about Barack Obama's lack of conviction on the issue of abortion, this was not a political platform. There were 2,000-plus graduates in attendance with three guests each. Most of us there were proud and excited parents and grandparents celebrating our student's accomplishments.

Nobody came to hear a 30-minute political speech. It was the kids' day, and they responded with class and respect to all the weeks of controversy.

Yes, abortion is an issue which will continue to be hotly debated, but not on May 17. And I, for one, appreciate the president having the wisdom and insight to realize who it was all about on that day. — Katie Leonis, Jacksonville

After listening to Cheney drool on about our safety (which he ignored pre- and post-9/11) I went to my Thesaurus, looked up "cowardice" and found, what ho! Cheney!

Well, to be honest, I found chicken ... and, uncourageousness ... and gritlessness and white liver. Also a quote from Ambrose Bierce; "one who in a perilous emergency thinks with his legs."

What better way to describe a "man" who, rather than throw his body to the front of the enlistment line during the " 'Nam" days, chose to run under the covers with his wife, Lynn. Ran, he did! And five times!

Recently, that same man had the gall, the rudeness, the smart-alecky arrogance to preach to me how concerned he is for the safety of America. Who the "Cheney word" does he think he's talking to? Need I remind him that it was on his and W's watch that America was attacked?

Give me a "Cheney word" break! — Marlyn Mason, Medford

The talk is all about "going green." I see so many young people using and tossing disposable diapers.

For one baby's disposable diapers, 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstock and 20 pounds of chlorine are used in one year. In the U.S. over 84 million pounds of raw fecal matter is dumped into our landfills in one year. There are 27.4 billion disposable diapers used in the U.S. in a single year.

Cotton diapers are made in the U.S. and produced with U.S. cotton. Cloth diapers can be used in private homes and in care facilities. They can even be hung on a clothesline to save energy used by a dryer.

How about getting back to basics? Use American products, wash with eco-friendly American-made detergents, save money and save our planet. — Susan George-Bouknight, Medford

I was very dismayed to learn that the Medford City Council members decided they would lift the ban on fireworks usage within the city limits.

This is being done because the ban couldn't be enforced. A few years ago we were told that in order for the ban to be enforced, the police had to see the infraction with their own eyes.

I can't recall the last time a patrol car drove down our street on a July Fourth evening. It appears that it is easier to lift the ban. This would be fine if all the children using fireworks were supervised, but they aren't.

The fire we had one July Fourth night several years ago that caused $10,000 worth of damage to our home was caused by unsupervised children launching bottle rockets. The argument that only legal fireworks are permitted doesn't cut it because it's not that hard to create the illegal stuff.

What's next? Shall we get rid of the 25 mph speed limit in residential areas because that's too hard to enforce? — Linda Casey, Medford

With drastic cuts to education programs and an increased need to prepare our kids for success, we appreciate the community support for Junior Achievement.

Sponsors Rogue Federal Credit Union, Oregon Credit Union Foundation and Associated General Contractors made it possible for our fifth-grade students to participate in Junior Achievement BizTown in Portland on April 29. The JA BizTown Center is similar to a "mall" environment with 19 businesses.

Following 25-plus hours of local in-class instruction, students at BizTown operated banks, managed restaurants, worked in retail, ran a community health center, worked for a newspaper, were TV reporters, voted for mayor, wrote checks, balanced their checkbooks after receiving their paychecks, and more. Facilitated by local ACCESS Junior Achievement staff, students "connected the dots" between what they learn in school and the real world.

We set the bar high and our kids delivered. Thanks for helping prepare our kids for future success! — Dan Preskenis, Megan Stewart and Fred Walter, Phoenix Elementary School; Sandi English and Connie Vandenbergh, Washington Elementary School, Medford

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