Letters to the Editor September 25

Disappointed in City Council's vote on nudity

I am very disappointed with the outcome of the vote on the nudity ban by our City Council (see Sept. 23 article "Nudity ban won't expand to school zones"). I have two children that attend Walker school, and I feel that their right to safety overrides the right of an adult who needs to "feel free" and walk around Ashland naked. We teach our children to protect themselves and that their private areas are private, and yet they will get a very mixed message by allowing people to walk nude in the school zones.

What kind of person "needs" to walk around nude in front of school children, and what does it say about our City Council members for supporting this type of behavior? It is bad enough children could be traumatized by being exposed in other areas of Ashland; the very least you could have done was to protect them in a place they trust to be kept safe. I think it is up to parents and schools to teach children the beauty of the human body, not a man or woman displaying themselves on a whim, who may have other than innocent intentions.

Ralph Temple of the local American Civil Liberties Union was quoted as saying, "liberty means ... putting up with ... people who like to walk nude in Ashland." What about the rights of our children? Kids will be hurt more by this ban not being in place, whether it is one child or 100. Parents usually have the choice whether or not to expose their children to nudity. There are plenty of places in Ashland where people can walk nude. The school zones, where hundreds of children gather at one time, should not be one of them.

Heather Hall


New bus needs a change

I must give voice to my disappointment in Ashland's new bus service. As a rider from the south loop area, it's clear our needs were not carefully considered. Hearing of the addition of another bus and the doubled price, I thought that the increased service was going to be worth the money. Like many users, I imagined the plan would mean a return of the No. 5 "Ashland Loop." That bus had run from our downtown to Tolman Creek Road, but in the opposite direction from the No. 10 on the 2-mile loop portion at the south end. This allowed riders to choose the most efficient bus of the two for their destination.

We who live or work around the loop section of the Ashland bus route are aggravated by needlessly long commute times because the No. 15 travels the same direction as the No. 10. For example, consider a rider from Siskiyou Boulevard near Tolman Creek Road trying to go to Shop'n Kart. Instead of the previously available five-minute ride down to Highway 66 on the No. 5 (with a quick return on the No. 10), that person must travel away from his destination, through downtown (possibly needing a transfer to another bus) around and back out down Highway 66. The five-minute ride now takes at least half an hour. All round trips along the loop are similarly slowed. The new service is an improperly realized effort. Please, dump the No. 15 and reestablish the No. 5.

Ruth Coulthard


Efficient evacuations

After reading the article "Communication breakdown" in Tuesday's Ashland Daily Tidings regarding Monday's fire, I wanted to comment on how efficiently I thought everything was handled during our evacuation. Within minutes, someone from the CERT team was at my door telling me to evacuate, and a motorcycle police officer was riding up and down Apple Way. There appeared to be about 30 CERT volunteers up and down Bellview Avenue, and I was very impressed by how quickly they responded. The only problem I had was not being able to get back into my neighborhood to get a few necessary items. We all need to thank the firemen, policemen, CERT volunteers and anyone else who was involved.

Sharon Spalding


Missing New Dimensions

I am writing to the greater Ashland community to ask for your help in letting Eric Teel, program director at Jefferson Public Radio, know that we are disappointed that the New Dimensions program has been dropped from our local radio station. Eric stated that his reasons for cancellation were financial concerns, not very many listeners, and that the program was not that popular.

I called New Dimensions and found that the programming cost to KSOR was $10 a month and that New Dimensions has more than 5,000 names in our area on their mailing list. This reflects local listeners who contacted New Dimensions by phone or mail, and that would be a small part of those actually listening.

I appreciate the programming and all the good work that Jefferson Public Radio does. However, New Dimensions offers insightful interviews with authors and thinkers that truly inspire and inform life. Authors like David Whyte and Joseph Chilton Pearce, spiritual teachers like the Dalai Lama and Pema Chodron — wisdom and learning from the true thinkers of our time comes through New Dimensions time after time. This type of quality thoughtful information is not now available on our local station. I believe this is a big loss for our community. If you feel the same way, please let Eric know at 552-6301.

Linda Merryman


Meeting on health care

At town hall meetings over the last few months, health care has consistently been a huge concern among Oregonians. I spoke with folks who were a pink slip away from losing their health care coverage and worried their insurance companies would drop them if they got sick. Local business owners expressed concerns about the rising cost of providing health care to their employees. Local residents couldn't find an insurance company that would provide them coverage because they had a pre-existing condition.

And many people still have questions about health care reform. They want to know what will change, what will remain, and how much reform will cost individuals, businesses, and the country.

I am grateful that so many Oregonians shared their views with me during this critical moment in our nation's history. Many Oregonians did not have a chance to attend one of my recent town hall meetings, and that's why I wanted to reach out and ask you to join me for a telephone town hall meeting on the state of health care in Oregon.

Visit my Web site today at merkley.senate.gov and sign up to join me for a telephone town hall meeting on Sept. 30.

Jeff Merkley

U.S. Senator from Oregon

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