I attended the memorial for Ethan Townsend last Sunday at Ashland Middle School.

I am a family friend and learned of Ethan's death the day before. Fate had me driving through Ashland that day.

I was profoundly changed and moved to meet him even in death. I was equally moved by you, the community that rallied for the occasion. Ashland teachers, civil servants, board members, friends, his wonderful parents and family, you gave rise to a man like few others. To raise a gifted human being, allow him to flourish and feed the world in such a glad and humble way takes intelligence and heart.

Ashland, I can only say that having seen you in action at Ethan's memorial, I honor the work you are doing to love your children. Thank you. — Cynthia Winton-Henry, Alameda, Calif.

Bill Purcell of Medford recently wrote a letter in which he said that in a fit of rage he confiscated a Hispanic man's Oregon Trail card and proceeded to turn it in to the police.

I want to know why Mr. Purcell was not charged with a crime? He stole property that belonged to the other man's family (whether he spoke English or not) and he had no business doing that.

I don't think Bill ought to be driving, considering his anger management problems. So, in his world, I can just take his car away and as long as I turn it in to the police and follow up with a call to the DMV, I should not face any charges either. — Vanessa Houk, Ashland

I saw in the sky not one but two columns of smoke rising from the hillsides Monday and it scared me. Thinking of family and friends that might be in harm's way, I watched with great worry as these fires seemed unstoppable.

However, as I watched, like most of us did, a calm came to me because I knew that our local firefighters were on the job. These people, men and women who put their lives on the line to protect and serve us, are heroes and I want to say thank you!

In the face of heat, flame and danger they put themselves between us and the fire. We in Southern Oregon are fortunate to have so many brave people to do this work! My hat goes off to all the firefighters we so proudly call our own! — Don Loyd, Medford

Today I rescued a kitten, a little black thing, scared and alone. Thrown away behind Applebee's "¦ luckily I spotted him before going in for lunch.

Turns out he had been there for days. No one had bothered to call Animal Control for help.

This is a reminder to all businesses: You are responsible for the abandoned beings at your Dumpster. This is also a cry for mercy to those who so wantonly discard the babies their pets produce: Call SNYP or Jackson County Animal Control before you abandoned the unwanted pet; there are responsible alternatives out there to help.

Today, I will clean up your mess, whoever you are. Because my heart hurts for this scared little kitten. But I cry for all those I don't see, can't rescue. Please: Be responsible! Spay or neuter your pet. And, I beg you: Don't throw away the unwanted, like so much garbage. They are scared and alone and have feelings just like us. Do the right thing and take them to Jackson County Animal Control. At least the poor things will be put, sadly enough, to death humanely. Also, please donate today to our Humane Society. They need our help. — J. Lallo, Medford

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