Letters to the Editor December 16

The crosswalk works

I had to reply to Peter Silverman's Dec. 11 letter to the Tidings stating crosswalks are a bad idea.

Mr. Silverman is obviously not a pedestrian trying to cross Siskiyou Boulevard. I use that crosswalk three to four days a week four times a day going to and from my job working for a local dentist. The city putting in the crosswalk was the best thing that happened for me, and I'm most grateful.

As pedestrians, we must take the responsibility of making sure the car's driver sees us before stepping out. I have never found a problem with cars not stopping once they see me.

Carol A. Walker


Scrooge stole lights

Sometime over the weekend of Dec. 12 and 13, Christmas lights that were decorating our backyard fence were stolen. These were not just any lights. My husband had taken 10 strands of gold or amber-colored lights and arranged them on a large piece of plywood into the shape of a yellow ribbon in remembrance of our troops serving overseas. In past years, he had displayed the ribbon on our rooftop. In more recent years, it had adorned our back deck. This year, he outlined the plywood with red, white and blue lights and attached it to the outside of our backyard fence. The fence runs adjacent to a walking path in our neighborhood, which in turn runs parallel to Crowson Road.

You can imagine our dismay when we discovered the theft on Monday. The thieves took all of the strands of gold lights, leaving an empty plywood board studded with staples and surrounded by its frame of patriotic lights. The Ashland police officer who took the report of the theft said, "You've got to be kidding me — they took what?" These were my thoughts exactly — who would take lights from a display honoring our troops? My husband is hopeful that someone who desperately needed them more than we do and who desired some Christmas cheer took the lights. If that is the case, then keep them as our gift. If, however, the perpetrator took the lights for other more malicious reasons, well then we say, "Merry Christmas, Mr. Scrooge." If it was their intent to make it so that we could no longer display a gold ribbon in the troops' honor, then they will be disappointed. My husband buys lights in bulk and has plans to make a new ribbon this week. This one will be placed in a spot that vandals cannot reach easily.

Donna and Allen Walters


Non-religious days

Thank you for publishing Patrick Condon's Associated Press story "Atheists at Christmas" in the Dec. 12 Daily Tidings. It is true non-religious people who live in less sophisticated, enlightened and inclusive communities than Ashland have difficulty during the holiday season feeling ridiculed, pitied or simply ignored, although this situation is slowly changing across the country.

As we all know, Ashland is special. At this time of year, unlike other communities, we don't have stores and other businesses blaring Christmas music over loudspeakers. There are few, if any, public displays of nativity scenes except on religious or private property. Religious symbols are few and far between the appropriate civic festive lights and wreaths, and the non-religious are not belittled, scorned and made objects of opprobrium. Thank goodness!

With more and more people describing themselves as "nones" (people who admit to no religious affiliation) and those of us who have "come out of the closet" as proud atheists, there is more camaraderie and group support during the Christmas and Hanukkah season, especially where winter solstice, HumanLight and other non-religious celebrations take place.

For example, here in Ashland The Jefferson Center will be hosting a WinterLight celebration for its members and their guests on Sunday, Dec. 20. We will eat and drink together, celebrating the winter solstice as the sunlight increases each day until the summer equinox. Those who would like to know more about The Jefferson Center community and its promoting of critical thinking and a secular, humanistic world should visit the center's Web site at www.thejeffcenter.org.

Bob Semes

executive director, The Jefferson Center

Mucking things up

Regarding the Dec. 9 article "Experiment to test killing barred owl to save spotted owl," I could not bring myself to read beyond the first paragraph of the story, although I am sure it is well written. The subject to me seems crazy. What happened to evolution and nature's natural selection? Why do we humans think we are so superior to other creatures on this Earth? We could really be mucking things up due to our lack of knowledge.

Katee Rasmussen

Klamath Falls

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