Letters to the Editor

Ashland food bank happy for donations

This Saturday will be the nationwide postal carriers' food drive. The Ashland Emergency Food Bank, a stand-alone operation that is 100 percent volunteer and not connected to ACCESS, looks forward to this annual event that has been in place for 18 years.

As the need grows to critical to meet the demand in Ashland and Talent for the one-time-a-month, five-day supply of food that we provide, we ask that you offer your postal carrier a bag of non-perishable canned food this Saturday, sharing some of your food shelves with ours. Thank you for your generous support.

Susan Harris


Ashland Emergency Food Bank

Ski area expansion and the undead

Shelley Elkovich (April 23) and Chuck Keil (April 29) crossed swords in their recent letters here.

Elkovich says that ski area expansion proponents are like zombies who have "the mindless determination of the undead," complimenting their meditative persistence. She also tactfully mentions that a disability impairs their ambulation (they "lurch grimly").

While she extends kindness and understanding to the undead, Chuck Keil insults zombies by implying that they aren't "real people." It's no wonder they try to blend in, instead of coming out of the coffin.

We must have equal opportunity for all, whether their skin is white, black, or gray and sloughing off. Some bigots go so far as to assert that zombies shouldn't be allowed access to health care because of their pre-existing condition.

Keil demands a retraction and an apology. With the recent revelation that prejudice restricts minorities' access to housing in our fair burg, let us not allow Mr. Keil's attack on zombies to go unchallenged. It is he who should apologize — to the zombies. The next full moon would not be too soon.

Ron Elterman


Time for Ashland to remove all pesticides

Many cities here in the Pacific Northwest have gone pesticide-free in their parks, with excellent results. This is great news, as there is a clear, successful model for us to follow. Surprisingly, even though this is a progressive town, the parks department here is reluctant to give up their pesticides.

I believe that it is time to stop spraying pesticides in our parks.

At a minimum, the parks (and this includes school grounds and even the hospital) should have 50-foot buffer zones for playgrounds, streams and community gardens. Notice should be made before, during and after spraying for 48 hours.

Our children run and play on the grass in our parks. Babies crawl and stuff the grass in their mouths with their chubby fists. All of us honor the magnificent parks we have in Ashland. We are blessed. Our parks should not be dangerous places!

As well, I am concerned with pesticides in our water. We know the dangers of pesticides, we have successful models to follow — it's time to make that change. I imagine a certain Ashland type of pride that would come with signs in all our parks that say, "pesticide free."

Ara Johnson


Learn about water and then decide

Yes, it is true, 52 percent of folks responding to the Ashland Daily Tidings poll regarding pesticides in the parks (and properties overseen by parks and recreation) prefer no use of pesticides. People are particularly concerned about pesticides around water. No wonder, our bodies are around 60 percent water and unconsciously know how vital to life it is. Logically, water should be very important to us as it is our life "blood."

But look at all the ways that water is in the news lately: tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, oil spills, LNG pipelines and facilities, pesticide reduction and elimination of pesticides in parks, in particular around water.

When we consider water in any measure we must avoid what Wendell Berry calls being environmental parasites — where we are driven by fashion rather than by wisdom. We must think about water as a sacred trust. Most of life depends on water. We can't sully it too lightly. At least this is how I think about it now.

I was not always this way, however. I was hired by Sierra Club to do a video about Mount Ashland. And I'm thinking of rocks and dirt, slippery dirt, rather than wide, green meadows, with wetlands and wildflowers and little pipelines carved in the mountain by the water following the same path again and again, year after year. All kinds of animals use the middle fork of the mountain as a land bridge from one ecosystem to another.

I am still in awe of its delicate beauty. This experience caused me to want to ask intelligent people what they knew about their water table. So, naturally, I asked my dad. And he said "from the tap." And I replied, "What i mean is where does it come from to get to the tap?" He said, "I don't know and I don't care." And he was a well-paid, highly respected New York City businessman.

So, I figure that I came by my ignorance honestly, which is a good and a bad thing. It's good because now that I am educated I must act differently. And I'm sorry that I did not get started sooner.

I would like to urge you to think about any water issue of concern to you and investigate it further. Then do what comes natural.

Suzia Aufderheide


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