What an incredible Mother's Day weekend it was! The seventh-annual Singler Open basketball tournament is now in the books, and it was a fun-filled event for all.

With 142 boys and girls teams from all over Oregon and Northern California, ranging from sixth grade to high school, 1,500 players and friends and family members all following in support, this event is truly one of the largest and best events of its kind in our region.

The financial impact this event has on Kids Unlimited and our local economy is meaningful. For any of this to happen, there must be a solid foundation of committed volunteers, supportive sponsors and reliable partners and there were. To each and every one, thank you for your continued support.

The kids could not have had this wonderful experience without your efforts. We can't wait to make the eighth-annual Singler Open even better! — Kyle and EJ Singler and family

This is regarding the article, "Hospitals: Are they padding the bill?", which ran on May 9. I have worked in hospital finance for 30 years, and I am continually amazed at the abysmal lack of understanding that reporters, columnists and even government policymakers have on the subject even as they expound so eloquently upon it.

Once they get a little data, as they suppose, they come up with all kinds of melodramatic questions because they never get around to asking a finance person what the data means and why things are the way they are.

Another possible explanation is that they simply enjoy the melodrama and the political outrage they seek to inspire. Yes, hospital bills vary wildly from patient to patient and from hospital to hospital, but the reasons are not nearly so exciting as the reporters and bureaucrats would like them to be. And if the truth were allowed to escape, we would all be demanding answers from the federal government rather than from the hospitals. — Rick Fernandez, Medford

There is a disconnect between actual and perceived statistics dealing with wage inequality as expressed by Sen. Alan Bates in the Mail Tribune on April 28. Single women ages 22-30 who have no children and live in U.S. metropolitan areas earn 9 to 18 percent more than their male counterparts. In the U.S., 38 percent of married women earn more than their husbands.

Differences in total wages earned during a lifetime can be explained: Men mostly work without interruption until retirement; women interrupt their careers to raise children, and return to work when those children reach school age. Such a hiatus can amount to seven years out of the labor market and results in less work experience.

More women than men work part time; their labor force participation rate is 10 percent less than that of men. Women with college degrees often major in fields with lower-paying jobs. Regional differences in salaries paid and the proportion of women in the workforce affect the numbers.

Women overall pay into Social Security and pension funds for fewer years than men over their working life, and collect benefits for more years. There is not as much wage inequality as Senator Bates claims! — Mette McDermott, Medford

It appears to me that Sen. Alan Bates is celebrating declining unemployment in Jackson County (Mail Tribune, May 12).Unfortunately, unemployment is still worse in Oregon than it is nationally, and is worse in Jackson County than it is in Oregon. As evidenced by the labor force participation rate, much of the decline in unemployment masks people who have simply given up looking for jobs.

Over the past 40 years, per capita income in rural Oregon has dropped from 113 percent of the national average to 94 percent of the average for rural workers. Rural Oregonians now earn on average 25 percent less than their urban counterparts — a difference that Alan Bates was all excited about a couple weeks ago when he wrote about the supposed income difference between men and women. Apparently he does not care much about his own constituents. — Janice Heauser, Medford

I wanted to make sure that Dr. Laura Fredricks-Powell, DVM, from Best Friends Animal Hospital in Talent does not go unnoticed. I deeply appreciate her support during Emma's, aka Mama Pit's, labor and delivery of her 10 puppies on May 10.

Dr. Laura has helped this lovely shelter pet with true compassion and sincerity. She gave me the confidence I needed as Emma's pinch-hitting foster mom to follow through with supporting Emma through the birthing process. Thank you Dr. Laura for all you and Best Friends do for the animals at Jackson County Animal Shelter.

Please opt to adopt instead of buying a dog and save a life. Every dog purchased is another dog that is not adopted. Please spay or neuter your companion animals to reduce the euthanasia rate of unwanted and yet adoptable animals. — Lisa A. Frost, Ashland

Concerned about climate change, the 100-foot Rogue salmon swam to Salem on Wednesday, May 22.

Sponsored by the Southern Oregon Climate Action Network, February's "Rogue Thing" was driven by an energetic group of Rogue Valley climate activists who attracted a record number of residents to Medford to support the national day of climate action. A mosaic of more than 1,300 contributed artistic tiles, the salmon was ready for the Capitol lawn.

During the statewide follow-up, Oregon Climate Action Day, Oregonians joined the salmon at the Capitol to discuss climate change with representatives.

We must reduce carbon emissions. The carbon fee and dividend plan we took to Salem proposes fossil fuels be subjected to a fee as they enter our economy based on carbon content. This fee is returned to taxpayers as a dividend, encouraging fossil-fuel users to seek less polluting energy sources and making clean renewable fuels more competitive. The dividend offsets elevated prices as the carbon fee is passed on to consumers, and encourages us to buy products made with less fossil fuel. With a low-carbon lifestyle, we gain further by avoiding the carbon fee while still receiving the dividend.

Visit www.oregoncan.info — Alan Journet, Jacksonville, co-facilitator, Southern Oregon Climate Action Network

Kudos to Sal Esquivel and company for opposing drivers licenses for illegals.

Fact: An illegal foreigner is not an "immigrant." An immigrant is someone who respects the desired nation's sovereign rights, fills out the paperwork and waits in line.

Contrary to Paul Greenberg's support of calling an illegal an immigrant, an illegal foreigner is a criminal trespasser.

No one may illegally insert themselves into another country because it's on their wish list.

There are at least a billion starving foreigners existing in deplorable conditions within Africa, India, China and elsewhere who are desperate for a decent life. We cannot absorb them.

When illegals force entrance, they push the waiting legal applicants to the back of the line. It seems the illegals' version of justice is mob rule.

To reward any illegal foreigner is to slap the legal immigrant in the face. Our elected officials swear an oath of office to uphold our laws. Yet those who worship at the altar of re-election do not have the courage to do the right thing.

We must not grant privileges to illegal foreigners. We should protect and reward those legal immigrants respectfully waiting in line. — D. Pestlin, Talent

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