I, like many others, am conflicted about my attitude toward the "homeless."

Since I live near one of the parks where they convene on a daily basis, I hear and see them at close hand. What I hear — screaming, loud disputes, obscenities — and see — their bikes, dogs, public urination, strewn garbage, sleeping on grass, drinking, smoking — lead me to believe that these are not just people who are "down on their luck" and "needing a helping hand." They appear to be enjoying a continuous frat party.

Thus, I question the value of enabling them with a constant flow of handouts. Could these charitable groups not ask for a small fee or work to earn what they receive? What is in place now doesn't seem to do more than exacerbate the problem and is not effective as real help. — Bonnie Weber, Medford

I live on Thorn Oak Drive, which is off of North Ross Lane. There are four access streets into this neighborhood off of North Ross Lane.

On Aug. 23, all four of these streets were blocked off for paving of North Ross Lane. We were virtually prisoners in our neighborhood.

When I came home at 12:40 p.m. I was told I could not get through. After convincing them I needed to get home to my children, they let me drive straight across on Maple Park Drive.

At 4:30 p.m., I tried to leave via Thorn Oak Drive. I was told I could not get out and that all four access streets were blocked. I was then told it could be an hour before I got out.

I called the county roads department. The first person I spoke to was unable to answer any questions. The second was not much more helpful.

It should be illegal to trap residents in their neighborhood like this. One gentleman was turned away and was in his work uniform. He couldn't even get to work. We had no notices about these delays until after the fact (article in the Mail Tribune the next day). Criminal! — Doreen Pettipas, Medford

In Bill Varble's fictional Rogue Viewpoint of Aug. 21, he seems to be upset with the Heritage Foundation's conclusion that the vast majority of those living below the poverty level in the United States are not really poor. Sorry Bill, the report is fully supported by documentary evidence.

However, he failed to lay a foundation for his conclusion: "... But at least there's one thing in which we're No. 1. We now lead the industrialized world in the percentage of people living in poverty."

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development cites the following as being industrialized countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

The average "poor" family in the United States has a larger living space than a middle class family in France. Also, not only do our poor have an adequate, reasonable and steady supply of food, they have other basic needs met, including medical care. Is this true of Mexico, etc.?

The Rogue Viewpoint does not belong on the front page. The entertainment section deals with fiction. — Bill Hartley, Medford

Anti-tax advocate Bill Sizemore complains about prison food after serving time for tax evasion. Maybe if he paid taxes we could afford better food for our inmates. — Larry Ware, Medford

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