I wonder how we expect to compete on a global (and ever-increasingly technological) stage when our Medford high schools are unable to offer students, especially those whose desire to learn can not be measured on any mandated standardized test, more than one option when it comes to enrolling in core Advanced Placement science courses such as chemistry and physics.

I try to understand the struggle school administrators must go through to balance the demands of our Legislature (often un- or under-funded), the reality of our economy and a parade of students and their frustrated parents during registration. However, these students (the ones schools are so quick to publicize when they receive admission or scholarship to a top-tier college) are now at a disadvantage as they try to keep pace with their peers who will be graduating with a transcript full of college-level courses.

I regret that we are spending our time before the start of the school year exploring disruptive options — online classes, private schools, district transfer, moving — none which will improve the financial picture of the school district or our families. — Greg Finnegan, Medford

Four years ago my wife, Marilyn and I were featured in a story by Bill Kettler in this newspaper. At that time, I had been living with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, for 12 years.

Typical life expectancy for ALS patients is two to five years. For some reason, I am one of the lucky 10 percent of people surviving beyond 10 years.

ALS causes paralysis, robbing the body of the strength to walk, swallow, speak, use hands and arms, cough and breathe. Over these 19 years, Marilyn has been at my side doing everything she can to meet my needs. Our gratitude for The ALS Association is deeply heartfelt.

Please join us on Sept. 11 at Bear Creek Park for the Walk To Defeat ALS. The ALS Association depends on donations to fund free services they provide to many people in Southern Oregon who live with ALS.

The Walk starts at 11 a.m. You can register at www.WalktoDefeatALS.org or simply show up and walk. For information about local services, call Gail Gallaher, regional services coordinator for The ALS Association, at 541-292-8775. Your support will really make a difference! — Ed Davis, Medford

Nearly every American has met someone obsessed with homosexuals, firearms, fetuses or all of the above. I think I speak for many Americans in saying that their vocalized obsession gets annoying real fast.

One such person loudly complained to me recently that the term "gun crimes" is "deeply offensive to all persons who own guns." Oh Lord ... I guess we now have one more touchy, sensitive topic we have to tiptoe around, just so we can be politically correct. Where does it stop?

Nearly everyone who finished the third grade understands the simple fact that America does indeed have gun crimes, drug crimes, sex crimes and property crimes. It ain't rocket science. Or even high school science.

Recently, four Oregonians including myself surveyed 830 Oregon and California police officers over a seven-month period. Ninety-seven percent of officers surveyed agreed it was "extremely common, week after week," for thieves to grab three or four firearms in a single burglary. Less than 2 percent could recall a single incident of a gun-owning citizen thwarting a burglary with his firearm. Less than 2 percent!

Truth speaketh loudly and forcefully. We would be wise to take heed. — James Snyder, Medford

It is good that people praise the fire department, the first responders and the police for being there when needed. One thing that I must say is that we should also praise the 9-1-1 dispatchers who sent the calls out to whom they need when there is an emergency.

They are the middlemen (male and female) who connect each other where they are needed. Without their help, one would be up the creek. Thank you, guys. — Kim Walker, Medford

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