As our slow economic recovery continues, I want to draw attention to one couple whose generosity has made — and continues to make — an incredible difference in Jackson County.

Ten years ago, Ashland residents Reed and Carolee Walker left a $29 million bequest to The Oregon Community Foundation. This created a permanent endowment, with earnings earmarked to provide grants to Jackson County nonprofits serving the poor and needy.

This year, the Reed and Carolee Walker Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation is celebrating 10 years of extraordinary support to county nonprofits. At Kids Unlimited, we have received more than $900,000 in grants to give vulnerable kids an opportunity to succeed. But we are only one of many. The Walker Fund has supported 66 Jackson County nonprofits with grants totaling nearly $18 million. The difference this one fund has made to the county is indescribable. And under OCF's good management, the bequest has grown from $29 million to $43 million, so the fund will keep on giving.

We are truly thankful for the support that Reed and Carolee Walker have provided for the thousands of Jackson County residents whose lives are made better through this couple's marvelous legacy! — Tom Cole, executive director, Kids Unlimited

I am writing to thank our county commissioners (Rachor, Skundrick, Breidenthal), and our state representation to the federal government (Wyden, Walden) for the wonderful job they are doing in keeping those pesky loggers out of our woods.

The loggers would cut down timber, clear slash and build roads that provide accessibility into remote areas, in addition to supporting their families and businesses, and paying taxes! If our illustriously wise leaders hadn't done that, we might actually have breathable air, tourism and a decent economy.

Oh, but what they did give us: code enforcement to fine anyone who cleared slash on their own property and criminalized and imprisoned anyone who dared have a pond on their own land that could be used against wildfires. It's so much better that our natural resources go up in smoke and into our lungs.

Keep up the good work. I think you're on a roll! — Shauna Engbrecht, Central Point

What a shame to see letters from people who think libraries are a waste of money because they don't use them — part of an alarming trend toward devaluing knowledge.

Libraries are one of the things that made America great, and if we want to stay that way, we can't afford not to have them. Much is now available on the Internet, but not everyone has a computer and of those who do, many seem unable or unwilling to discriminate between information, disinformation and propaganda.

Perhaps those who oppose free public access to information feel threatened by facts. They probably don't want to know the earth is more than 10,000 years old, that President Obama is neither a Muslim nor a foreigner, that it's no hoax, the polar icecaps really are melting, or that an under-regulated free market caused the Great Depression and the Bush recession.

If ignorance were bliss, Rush Limbaugh would be a happy man. Being better informed might make us less susceptible to manipulation by unscrupulous scam artists like those who conned us into Iraq and Vietnam. So support your local library: They're fun, they're informative, but be careful, they might make you think. — Michael Steely, Medford

Share This Story