Thank you for the wonderful pictures of the elk in the Monday, March 19 Mail Tribune, especially the one with the bald eagle and the Canada goose. To think that the bald eagle is off the endangered species list, there's hope for everything.

With so much doom and gloom in the news, these elk pictures were so uplifting. They made for a happy day.

Thanks Jamie Lusch. Great job. Keep it up! — Jackie Trofholz, Phoenix

The March 18 opinion section examined the various candidates running for election in the May primary. The final paragraph (regarding the seven candidates running for commissioner) states, —… we suspect the comfortable salary for a county commissioner — reaching $100,000 in the first term — has something to do with the number of candidates." I couldn't agree more!

I am one of those candidates, and I am running because of my view that this salary, among other financial decisions and actions, has demonstrated a county board of commissioners and administration that are out of touch with the citizens they serve.

I have committed to the voters to accept no more than the 2008 pre-inflated salary for my four years — a savings of over $100,000 to the county.

Thank you Mail Tribune for pointing out the obvious, that the commissioner's wage was a driving force for the barrage of candidates to file. — Colleen Roberts, Prospect

It seems our government can't figure out how to lower gas prices, so I will help them out. All they have to do is remove the mandate to mix ethanol with gasoline at the pump.

Refineries are having to pay millions of dollars for cellulosic ethanol waivers because there is no cellulosic ethanol production, but mandated anyway. Ethanol has only 61 percent of the energy of gasoline, so it gets poor mileage. Removing the mandate would result in cheaper gasoline, which would give better mileage and cost less per mile of travel. — W. Curtis Tecmire, Medford

Regarding Pat Butler's letter on March 18, I watched Ms. Fluke's speech to Congress. She spoke about a friend who used contraceptives for a medical problem. When she could no longer afford them, she was in pain, and eventually had surgery to remove her ovary.

The speech was not about anybody's sex life. Rush Limbaugh chose to make up a better story, and I'm surprised that hasn't been clarified in the media.

Do we really want politicians deciding who can get medications? Isn't that between the patient and the doctor? This is getting crazy!

This was not about taxpayers' money. The woman paid premiums for her medical care, but was refused coverage for this necessary medication. — Ruth Woolley, Eagle Point

Dace Cochran's response to Robert of Ashland regarding bicyclists not in the bike lane at intersections only stated part of ORS 814. The section 814.430 also states: "A person is not in violation of the offense under this section if the person is not operating a bicycle as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway under any of the following circumstances: C. When reasonably necessary to avoid hazardous conditions."

Sight triangles demonstrating motorists' vision at intersections show that cyclists in the bike lane aren't visible. The most common car/bicycle collisions are auto drivers turning left and/or right into the path of cyclists, with motorists often stating "I didn't see them"as the cause.

Remaining in the bike lane while crossing an intersection, cyclists encourage these types of crashes by effectively "hiding." Moving into the travel lane is the safe and prudent maneuver for a bicycle driver approaching an intersection.

Robert stated that he blew his horn, demonstrating he saw the bicyclist, slowed and waited for the bike driver to move over. Except for the horn, I would feel much safer if all car drivers did the same. — William Heimann, nationally certified cycling instructor, Ashland

On Thursday, March 15, Megan Tiller performed an awesome community service for her senior project at South Medford High School. She planned, advertised and even shot a radio commercial for a Drive-By Diaper Drive for the Rogue Valley Pregnancy Resource Center!

She was hoping for 100 packages, but received 163 packages plus wipes!

It was so rewarding watching Megan go outside her comfort level, outside of herself and reach out to our community to provide these needed items for others! These diapers will be earned by our clients as they attend classes! Thank you, Megan and everyone who participated! — Cyndi Bright, Medford

Kudos to South Medford students, band and fans. Along with the state championship, South Medford took home the sportsmanship trophy — all thanks to awesome and dedicated students, band members, and fans who made the trek to the Rose Garden.

Medford was represented in better numbers and classier fans than any of the other seven schools represented at the state tourney, who were all from Portland.

Great job, guys. You did us proud, and did it with class! — Julie Towry, Medford

At present American consumers are meekly acquiescing to blackmail at the gasoline pump, thereby providing record-breaking profits for polluters like Exxon and BP. Household budgets become meaningless when every sacrifice is nullified by ever-rising gasoline prices.

Though higher mileage vehicles are entering the marketplace, we are well beyond the point where increased efficiency alone can provide an answer. At present our nation consumes approximately 20 million barrels of oil annually — four times the amount of the world's second-place consumer, Japan.

A possible solution, one that functioned well during World War II and one that no politician of any stripe has had the courage to suggest, is rationing. While adoption of a rationing system based on basic need might not be popular, the ensuing reduction in usage and demand could possibly result, as it invariably does with other products, in a lowering of the price.

With nothing to lose it's at least worth a try. — Robert Warren, Medford

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