This is a sincere thank you to all those who worked to get our phone service up and running after the accident at Highway 62 and Butte Falls Highway. The damage done to the equipment was quite severe and required a lot of time and effort on the part of many people.

Thanks to the Century Link crews for their tremendous effort, and to the other contractors and workers who cleaned up after the accident. Jackson County Search and Rescue notified those in the affected area of the outage and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department for the mobile communications set up at Reese Creek Church. There are probably many more who worked on this outage and my thanks to them, too. Our service was out longer than anticipated, but the damage to the equipment wqas severe. So thank you once again for your dedication. — Leslie Hogue, Eagle Point

With the start of a new year and a new Congress, we might reassess the ideals that undergird our two main political parties and consider which ideals translate to policies that benefit all Americans, not just a select few. Each listing below is neither exclusive nor exhaustive:

Democratic ideals: civil rights, education, health care, energy independence, environmental protection, fair labor laws, progressive taxation, retirement security, science and technology, national security.

Republican ideals: shrunken government, fiscal conservatism, regressive taxation, unregulated free market, corporate welfare, privatized Social Security and Medicare, anti-choice, national security.

To appease lobbyists or opponents, politicians sometimes abandon party principles.

The "fiscally conservative" Bush administration, for example, added $4.97 trillion to the national debt (politifact.com). The "labor-friendly" Clinton administration passed NAFTA, giving U.S. corporations access to cheap overseas labor while gutting American jobs. And "middle-class-champion" Obama succumbed to Republican pressure and broke his pledge to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

Democratic ideals, unless over-compromised, translate to policies that promote the greater good. Unfortunately Republicans, who will soon control the House, intend to undo the Democrats' last two years of legislative accomplishments, sparing, of course, any law that favors corporations. — Marie Arvette, Medford

Regarding Sharon Schieber's letter Dec. 24 about how bad Safeway is for making their employees work on Christmas, I would like to inform her that all employees are volunteers.

A letter is put out weeks before Christmas. Anyone wishing to work may do so. If not enough sign up, the store is not opened. They always get plenty of volunteers because they are paid very, very well. Sharon should make sure has all her facts before she writes her next one. — Lanny Ossman, Jacksonville

Paula Block's Jacksonville recall-bashing of Dec. 26 was the ultimate silliness.

Four hundred registered voters signed the recall thanks to a handful of volunteers. Not necessary or realistic to approach every voter.

Regarding Jacksonville's "older population," does that concern somehow make a unionized, high-salary, PERS-fattened fire department more affordable or any less delusional? Of course not. The people said "no" to the enlarged department, not "yes" to forcibly plundering us from a different angle. — Bill Meyer, Jacksonville

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