I am proud to see an event planned to help people in need this holiday season combined with a rally against foreclosures.

Occupy Medford plans to be on the courthouse steps at 10 a.m. today, Nov. 28, to collect nonperishable foods for local families in need. They are meeting at the courthouse to draw attention to and to protest the many home foreclosures in our county.

One of the main messages of the occupiers has been that while the big banks got a bailout from our government, the people losing homes got sold out. Homes are still being foreclosed on at an alarming rate. Often these are families already reeling from the bad economy, possibly losing their jobs, and now are forced to find somewhere else to live.

We must pressure the banks to help people stay in their homes by renegotiating their loans so they can pay. It is better for all parties if homes are not foreclosed on and left empty.

I hope many people come out to support this protest and bring food items to donate. If you've been wondering what the occupations are about, this is one example. — Debra Herzog, Trail

I cannot believe the Medford School District is considering taking two days out of the school year for teacher training, especially with the budget problems the schools have been facing over the past years.

Cutting instructional days has been a huge issue, so now to even think about paying $75,000 and cancelling two days of instruction completely baffles me. Whoever is handling PR for the Medford School District is sleeping on the job.

I spent the better part of 30 years working for the public school system, and believe me, there is no two-day workshop that is going to make that big of an impact on the public schools to make it worthwhile to cancel school for two days and spend $75,000. If you agree and are a tax-paying Mefordite, call or email the administrative offices and voice your opposition. — William V. Furrow, Jacksonville

A suggestion for our "esteemed" leaders, and the decision to "brand" the control tower at Medford International: sell two sides only — maybe to Red Bull on one side, and Skoal on the second side. That would leave one side for a "Redneck" flag, and still have room on the fourth side for a sign saying "Welcome To Hicksville." At least the trip through the Taco Bell drive thru, courtesy of Bern Case, wouldn't qualify as corrupting a politician. — Bill Prince, Medford

The article in the Nov. 19 Mail Tribune regarding changes in the property tax deferral program for seniors raises some troubling questions. A 50-year-old state program designed to help seniors stay in their homes by deferring property taxes until they die and then collecting from their estate (plus interest) has now been changed for those seniors who have a reverse mortgage on their home. The article states that about 5,000 elderly have been affected, causing real hardship for many, and some may even lose their homes.

To suddenly pull the rug out from under these folks because of a declining real estate market seems to be a very callous act by state lawmakers trying to solve budget problems by putting the burden on the backs of seniors. If they feel the program is no longer viable, then make any changes as of now, but do not penalize people already on the program.

As these folks are all elderly, it would seem that the problem could be solved through natural attrition and would eventually sunset itself. Why are we using our most vulnerable citizens to fix our financial mess? — Tom Brussat, Jacksonville

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