The proposal to create 34 miles of mountain bike trails on Roxy Ann Peak may be "awesome" to cyclists, but it is "awful" to hikers and environmentalists. The peak is now a multi-use recreational area that includes bike trails, and the addition of several more would be reasonable, but a 34-mile network would change its character completely and limit its use to a single recreational activity.

Roxy Ann is a unique feature of the Medford landscape, an urban mountain with two forest types, oak/madrone and conifer. Over 30 species of birds are resident, including several uncommon ones such as the pileated woodpecker. In summer both forests attract numerous long-distance migrants to nest, and in winter the conifers host birds of the higher mountains seldom seen in the valley, such as red-breasted nuthatch and mountain chickadee. It has been a birders' destination for decades and is featured in a bird guide to the Rogue Valley I co-wrote a decade ago.

To turn this mountain wilderness into a special place for cyclists would not be a gift to the birds that reside there, nor to the many hikers and bird watchers who now enjoy it. — Barbara W. Massey, Ashland

I wanted to chime in on the recent anti-pit bull attack dog controversy.

I've had close contact with three pit bull dogs and their owners in the past. The only danger I faced from any of these animals was being severely drooled upon or being knocked out of a standing position by enthusiastic joy and love.

You've undoubtedly heard the expression, "It's not the dog, it's the owner." One can easily abuse a black Lab or a Doberman into being a problem animal. I was a home delivery person for eight years and never had a problem with a pit bull. I was nipped by a black Lab, a dachshund and a mixed-breed ankle-biter whose owner swore "my baby's never bitten anyone before."

So, here's a suggestion. Pass a measure that severely fines the owner (not a light slap-in-wallet), jail the owner for a while, and take the animal away from the owner — and put the owner on probation while prohibiting him or her future possession of an animal. No need to destroy the dog unless it's impossible to correct its behavior.

The dog gets a loving future owner, while the past owner gets the justice well-deserved. — Wayne Packwood, Gold Hill

Take a little more precaution with your purses. I am surprised to go in stores and see so many women that leave their purses in shopping carts while they turn their back or walk away to get something.

Here's a tip: Click the child seat belt around the straps of your purse. That will at least give the thief a little more struggle to get it and they may think twice. Plus, close it so no one can reach in and grab your wallet. I have had that happen and it's not fun, so please just take a second or two to click your purse to the cart; better yet, keep it with you. — Sharon Hosick, Medford

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