With 450,000 people visiting Crater Lake National Park annually, one would think the Forest Service would seriously consider recreational and scenic interests when logging along the park boundary. Instead, the Forest Service decided to log within six miles of the West Rim Drive, build roads along streams and remove ancient forests, leaving behind swaths of gaping canopy holes for all to see.

Whether you're visiting by car, camper, or bike along the Rim Drive, by horseback at lower elevations, or hiking the rim on the Pacific Crest Trail, the impacts from the Forest Service's proposed Bybee timber sale will be noticeable. If you're climbing a viewpoint for photography opportunities, you'll be seeing the Bybee timber sale instead of breathtaking views stretching to the horizon. In high or low resolution, Bybee will be a blight on the landscape.

The Forest Service should be focused on thinning projects to increase fire resiliency along the park boundaries instead of logging some of the oldest and most fire-resilient trees in the area. Considering Crater Lake's outstanding recreational and ecological value, it's a shame the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest can't be a better neighbor. — Jordan Beckett, Ashland

I was shocked when I read about the possibility of the GED program being dropped at the Armadillo Technical Institute. This is a program intended to assist students who have academic and social challenges, but have the ability to be successful by earning GED certificates.

Is it right for our state educational administration to consider GED students "dropouts" and penalize the school district for helping these students become successful? The GED program offers an alternative for students who cannot handle the traditional classroom and therefore may end up dropping out of school anyway.

With a GED, students can go on to college or find meaningful employment. Without a GED, students who cannot cope with conventional classrooms may become a part of society who depend on "the system" for support. Let's not allow our state educational hierarchy to dictate to our schools a system that alienates our most needy students. Let's insure that our schools will continue to have the ability to offer students every opportunity to be successful adults.

To our local school districts: Don't forsake these students who need our support. Continue your GED programs, not only for their benefit but also for the positive effect it will have on our entire community. — Kathie Davidson, Eagle Point

Can someone explain to me why Social Security is being referred to as an "entitlement"? I thought that one had to qualify with 40 quarters of work. Am I wrong that no one is merely entitled to Social Security? Are we being confused by politicians and journalists? — George Fribance, Medford

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