Your article on Dirty Dancing was a wonderful piece! Unfortunately, it offered some real insight into the selfishness of too many teenagers.

So it is a "stifling environment" to be told not to grind dance? I've got some news for you kids: There will always be rules to follow, and you should probably start getting used to it now.

If you can't control yourself on the dance floor, then don't pay to go to the dance. Boycott away! The kids who want to have a good, clean, fun time will enjoy that dance without the grinding, I'm sure. You may as well go "someplace where there's no adult supervision" since you obviously don't want adult supervision at a high school dance. What's the point of any supervision if "we're teenagers, and we're going to do what we want to do"?

I am a little confused as to why you'd feel awkward that the chaperones are "just watching you," but you don't feel awkward grinding or having other couples grinding on the dance floor next to you. If you have any self-respect, now is a good time to start letting it show. — Sheila Whitesitt, Medford

The Jacksonville recall supporters keep claiming they speak for the town — yet they only got about 400 signatures on a recall petition for a town of more than 2,000.

And several people who signed were under the impression that they were simply signing a petition to drop the $11 surcharge — not that they were recalling the mayor and council members. Yes, they should have carefully read what they were signing, but I'd be surprised if the election brings in enough votes to dump the one remaining council member who can be affected.

Before the "recall patriots" get rid of the Fire Department, residents deserve to see a list of all the volunteers they've lined up, along with their qualifications. In a town where 65 percent of the populace is over the age of 65, I suspect they're in for a serious surprise. — Paula M. Block, Jacksonville

The watchdog of American Democracy, the press, is MIA (missing in action).

On Dec. 16, Veterans for Peace held a rally and a march to the White House to protest the policy and practice of the Obama administration's actions in Afghanistan. They were accompanied by other members of national groups and also by Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Chris Hedges; Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon papers; retired 27-year CIA analyst Ray McGovern; FBI whistle-blower Colleen Rowley and leaders and members of Veterans for Peace.

One-hundred-thirty-one people were arrested at the White House for holding a peaceful rally; as in "We the people," including the above-mentioned folks.

As far as anyone I know of can determine, this was a non-news event. No press coverage.

Is the watchdog of democracy asleep at the wheel? I think not. I think the press is doing the bidding of corporations who have bought up most of it. One more sad day in America for we the people! — J. D. Dixon, Grants Pass, member, Veterans for Peace

What skill will be excluded next from our educational standards? First calculators were allowed, and even encouraged, in math class. No need to learn the multiplication tables or any other math process. Just use your calculator.

Then came the exclusion of cursive writing. Just print as you did in second grade. I recently sent a birthday card on which I had written a message to my 14-year-old nephew. His mother had to read it to him.

Now forget about spelling rules and memorizing how words are spelled. Use your spell checker. (Memorization has become a dirty word, I guess.) Is it any wonder the United States is far down the list of nations in the successful education of its children? On the last list I read, the U.S. was 29th.

As a retired English teacher, I resent that children are not being taught basic skills. They are being cheated! However, they do know how to abbreviate in their text messages. — Marian Linde, Medford

Three cheers for Studio Roxander's production of "The Nutcracker." It was great! I so enjoyed it and was totally impressed — especially by how well the youngest members of the cast performed. It was much more fun than a glitzy professional performance!

I hope they will do it again next year. Thank you for keeping the tradition alive in the Rogue Valley. — Katy Mallams, Central Point

The Jackson County Democrats want to thank everyone who has donated items to the Holiday Maslow Project Food and Clothing Drive. Volunteers have taken several loads of items to them, along with a nice cash donation.

We will continue to accept nonperishable food items, clean, warm clothing, diapers and sleeping bags throughout the year. Items may be dropped off from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at JCD headquarters, 40 S. Central Ave., Medford, or dropped off at the Maslow Project at 209 W. Main St., Medford.

The Jackson County Democrats' Community Outreach Committee has "adopted" the Maslow Project, so if you have any good ideas as to how you or your group can help us help the youths of Jackson County, please give us a call at 541-858-1050.

If you need pickup for items to be donated, please contact me at 541-512-9189 or pettit@wizzards.net.

Happy holidays. — Carol Jo Pettit, Community Outreach chairwoman, Jackson County Democrats

With a teddy bear clutched tightly in one hand and a bag of toys in the other, the little boy, with a hint of Christmas cookie crumbs adorning his cheeks, was ready to meet Santa.

If it takes a village to raise a child, the "village" of Shady Cove did just that when it provided a Christmas party for more than 300 kids and their parents. From bake sales and pancake breakfasts to spaghetti dinners and yard sales, Fire District No. 4 firefighters, volunteers and the "village" swung into action. With proceeds from these events, this all-volunteer team baked endless cookies, decorated the school gym and bought toys from all over Shady Cove.

Yes, there is a Santa, and he was brought to the children of Shady Cove with a little help from its citizens. May villages all over bring their children hope, love and always a little bit of Santa. — Jim Ulrich, Shady Cove

Some of the world's greatest minds gave us founding documents that are possibly the best that mankind could ever compose. A monstrously heavy price was paid to secure our national sovereignty.

The Civil War with battles more bloody than some full-fledged wars nearly tore us in half. A scant 23 years after "The War to End All Wars" we entered World War II with the "Cold War" close on its heels. All those wars could have gone either way. Comparatively speaking, we have enjoyed a miniscule time of world supremacy — and it has never been more than tenuous.

America could have been a long-term, benevolent world leader. Sadly, the people have apparently decided that, contrary to their many protestations, might makes right. That translates to majority rules. Arrogantly, it is believed that we can determine, by popular opinion/vote, that which is right and wrong "… that God and his word are just unpleasant nuisances to be banished as undesirable interferences.

To observe and experience my country's suicidal demise is not too different, and it is just as painful as helplessly watching a loved one or friend destroy themselves or even die because of carelessness and foolish choices. — Bob Calhoun, Eagle Point

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