It deeply saddens me to see so many events taking place locally, involving the use of animals for human entertainment. Little children on the backs of lambs, young animals running in fear and being "roped," slamming hard into the ground.

Not only do these events impose much stress on the animals, who don't understand what is going on, but they also inflict much pain. Many animals suffer broken ribs, limbs, bruising and not to mention the sheer fear of being manhandled and a crowd of insensitive animals screaming in delight. Most of the animals end up going to slaughter afterwards, which I find deeply disturbing that we would treat other living beings, who are being killed to sustain our lives, in such a disrespectful manner.

The way the human race treats those who are weaker and more vulnerable than we are tells a lot about our characters and values. Call it "sport"; call it "part of our history"; it's unnecessary suffering of other living beings for the amusement of mankind. This type of merciless behavior is despicable and shameful. — Michelle Szpak, Medford

There are just three weeks left of the library's summer reading program for babies, children and teens, but there is still time to participate at any of the Jackson County Library branches. The program rewards kids, ages 0 to 18, for reading (or being read to) with a certificate of completion and prizes donated by several local businesses. Kids can read their own choices and attend a variety of entertaining, special programs sponsored by the Friends of the Library groups.

Independent studies have shown that kids who read or listen to books during the summer enter school in the fall with a higher retention of reading skills and confidence in their abilities than those who don't. The success of public library reading programs is also evidenced by the number of youngsters who enjoy participating year after year.

These are kids who will enjoy success and will give back to their communities in productive ways as adults. The program is free, and is just one of the ways the library supports the health and wealth of Jackson County. — Patt Colwell, Medford Library Children's Department

I am writing to commend the Medford Police Department, especially Officer Stephen Meador, for the prompt and successful action taken in retrieving a very expensive bike that was stolen from my front deck. The thief was promptly arrested and it is quite possible that other thefts may be traced to this man.

Bicycle theft may not be a major crime, but for my son the bike represented his main mode of transportation. Because he is on a very limited income, he would be unable to replace the bike.

Our family is so grateful to Officer Meador and the other officers involved in this fine police work! — Maria Vaughan, Medford

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