Letters to the editor

Help for far away friends

My husband and I have a house in Jamaica. We love the community that we live in and work to make the people's lives there better in any way we can. Friends and relatives give us money each year to take down to help.

One of the things we did last year was buy a new water tank for our neighbor &

an ongoing project that we do is with our friend Courtney and his son Michael. Courtney got injured in a hurricane and is now paralyzed from the waist down. He was our contractor the first year we were building our house.

We got electricity to his house and pay the bill a year at a time. We also pay for a year's worth of phone cards, Michael's school books and shoes. This year we finished the second room of his house for a bedroom.

In March of 2008 we plan to build them a bathroom. We had them send us an estimate from a Jamaican contractor. It was for $6,500 in U.S. dollars. The house is made of cement blocks. Part of the cost is making him a pit-type septic tank. We have about $2,000 toward the estimate.

We are always seeking people that would like to help us in our projects that we do there. If you would like to donate, and would like to get a tax credit, let us know. I will give it personally to our pastor with your address. He will send you a tax credit shortly after he recieves the money. Our Church is "The Shepherd's Way" behind the Safeway in Ashland.

Skip and Janice Robinson

Amateur radio offers safety net

It was gratifying and reassuring to read the article in the Mail Tribune (Dec. 4) regarding the remarks of the state emergency officials and Gov. Kulongoski heralding the amateur radio operators as heroes for their role during the recent storm on the Oregon coast. Storm driven wind and water overwhelmed the basic communication systems and it was the "ham" radio operators who provided the essential communications between the hospitals, state police, ODOT, Office of Emergency Management and other emergency workers.

In each county throughout the state there are Amateur Radio Emergency Service organizations. Within Jackson County, ARES consists of some 25 licensed amateur radio operators, trained in emergency communication and prepared to respond during emergencies when all other means of communication have failed or are overloaded.

Approximately 18 amateur radio stations are positioned at key locations throughout the county, including all three hospitals, the three Emergency Operations Centers (including Ashland &

Council Chambers), many rural fire stations, AFR stations and the National Weather Service Office, to name a few.

In addition, ARES members can operate under field conditions using hand held and mobile radios. Moreover, ARES operators train CERT members in radio communication to meet their requirements. When activated by the County Emergency Manager, ARES operators would be deployed to these pre-positioned stations to provide back-up communications, as needed. County residents should rest assured that, when all else fails, amateur radio will provide essential communications.

Don Montgomery

Another bad sign in U.S. democracy

Who is above the law? Those in power? Those with large sums of money to influence legislation and executive action? Considering retroactive immunity for telecom companies that broke the law is another sign of our eroding democracy.

Jack Seybold

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