Letters to the editor

Dot gives gift to

I'm writing this open letter of gratitude to my beloved Ashland community from New York City, where I am celebrating the conclusion of my 80th year of life on this glorious planet (June 26). I have been celebrating all year and I still can't believe it. I am filled with wonder and gratitude for a strong, healthy, durable body and more friends and extended family than I can adequately maintain contact with.

AND, even without the perspective of being in New York, I am thankful to have been living in beautiful Ashland since 1981.

A big part of my celebrating &

and peacemaking &

all year has been in the realm of art, exploring and experimenting with old weathered (recycled!) canvas, bringing out shapes, forms, landscapes hidden in the material itself, using graphite, charcoal, ink and pastels. An exhibit of this work, which I call "Intriguing Ambiguities," is currently on display at Inward Bound Wellness, a yoga/pilates studio next to Safeway, at 611 Siskiyou Blvd. The hours are 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

In a way, this show is my gift to my community, my expression of gratitude for all the love and recognition I've received from so many of you over all these many years of our shared experiences in this nurturing green bowl. The show will be hanging till the last week of July, so I hope you will go by to spend some time communing with me through my work and leave your response to it in the comment book. I will be honored by your visit and greatly appreciative.

Cheers to all you wonderful folks in Ashland. I'll be home July 7, with boundless love and gratitude,

Dot Fisher-Smith

Response to land swap opinion

Sandra Coyner and Carol Voisin recently argued against the preservation of a "vacant lot" that more Ashlanders know as Westwood Park (Guest Opinions, 6/18). While I am sorry that they did not enjoy their visit, their subjective aesthetics are not a measure of this land's value. I am familiar through my own visits with the land in question, and it is indeed an extremely biologically valuable area of oak woodland, and most definitely not "vacant."

While I share their concern for social equality in parkland allocation, it is not appropriate to condemn natural lands simply because they are adjacent to neighborhoods that already have recreation opportunities. By their reasoning, we could sell off a variety of public lands to fund any number of public projects. Indeed, this pernicious view is advocated most loudly by some County and State officials who have little interest in affordable housing, environmental protection, or any other values that Coyner and Voisin hold.

The flaw in their reasoning, of course, is that Westwood's value is not merely (or even primarily) as a park for nearby residents. It is part of the oak woodland that belongs to other creatures as much as to any human interest. Indeed, the developers that are chewing away at similar forests in our foothills, often in the vicinity of Lithia Park, present the most severe ecological malaise in this supposedly "green" city. Nearby residents are as guilty as anyone in the demolition of this forest, judging by the apparent recent vintage of nearby houses, and there is hypocrisy in anyone who moves into a forest area and then opposes additional development.

However, our fellow creatures should not bear the punishment for this hypocrisy. This land is precious for its own sake, and nobody has the right to take it away based on an irrelevant metric of parkland distribution. For the plants and animals, it is neither a "lot" nor a "park." It is home.

Jim Steitz

Stop the gov't trampling on our rights

Since when has ignoring our country's Constitution been an allowable action? Since when has trampling on U.S. citizens' privacy and rights been an OK thing to do? The people of this great country never gave their permission for such actions to take place. How dare this government trample our rights?

Ms. Pamela Goodwin

Please return stolen sunglasses

To the fellow YMCA member who felt it necessary to steal my sunglasses from the main exercise area on Monday, June 30 between 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.:

First, thank you for leaving my keys and water bottle.

Second, you have ruined my perception that the YMCA is a "family friendly, community-oriented environment."

I'm sure you were desperate for a pair sunglasses in order to take mine. I hope it was worth it and that you are enjoying your new stolen sunglasses. If, however, you took them by mistake, feel free to return them to the front desk of the YMCA in an envelope with my name on it.

William Machado

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