Letters to the Editor

ACT has shown steady growth

For ACT to move forward, public perception of the theater should be based on quantifiable facts.

Given the 20 shows during my tenure, I have rarely been an actress: In "Pompadour," as part of the ensemble in "It's Only a Play," and incidental work in two of the eight readings.

While I agree with Bert Anderson that ACT would be stronger with a larger board, it is misleading to claim that the theater is weaker than ever.

Since 2010, ACT has seen a steady increase each year in the following areas: operational and reserve funds, patron email list (by more than double), audience attendance (by more than double), amount of newspaper publicity and, above all, artistic legitimacy as measured by positive critical reception, audience attendance and caliber of directors and performers attracted to work here.

The board is larger now than before I became A.D. The tenure of board members is a complex, case-by-case matter, but the people who left were largely unable to participate in fundraising, and most made that clear from the start.

In community theater, paying people proper wages or even high honoraria appropriate to their skills is indeed not practical. One is here for the love of the craft or not at all.

In a town as theater-rich as Ashland, volunteers abound — for play readings (such as Bert Anderson's). To become volunteer-only, new visionaries for the theater would need to procure for ACT volunteer lighting techs, costumers, stage managers, sound and set designers and a webmaster. If that were accomplished, I would happily join my fellow directors in volunteering to direct a play for free.

Jeannine Grizzard, producing artistic director


Climate opinion was convincing

High commendation to the Tidings for publishing Kathy Conway's intelligent, informed and convincing argument in regard to the looming threat of global climate catastrophe, caused mainly by the burning of fossil fuels over the past 250 years.

Her presentation concerning current plans in regard to developing — and then burning — the degraded and massively dirty fuels to be transported from Canada down through our American heartland by the Keystone XL pipeline clearly establishes the case that such plans threaten not only our climate but our nation and our very lives. Reason, logic and the relevant sciences confirm the reality of the threat we face.

But, of course, under our capitalist system of political economy, we are told that we have no choice but to permit corporations to profit by burning the trillions of tons of toxic fossil fuels still in the ground; and to sell gas guzzler cars; to reject anything like energy from wind, solar, and thermal sources; and, above all, to continue to indoctrinate "consumers" all over the world — but especially so in America — in the virtues of greed and gluttonous consumption as the goal of human existence. Unless we all accept the fact of "limits to growth" and adopt a vision of an ecologically sane political economy with fair shares for all, then over the existential cliff we all go.

Make way for the decay, decline and fall of "The First Mass Consumerist Society," doomed by "our empire of consumption." (Emily S. Rosenberg). What disastrous folly.

Gerald Cavanaugh


Find solutions to health care costs

Your editorial and reporting on the hospitals and medical costs in Jackson County are puff pieces that may satisfy the source of your advertising revenue, but they do nothing to help Jackson County residents connect the dots on what they can do about overpaying for health care in Jackson County.

You do nothing to explain why Asante has hundreds of millions in reserves while Ashland hospital is broke. You do nothing to shed light on why we pay twice as much as Europeans and Asians per capita for health care. It is time for your editor to stand up and be counted and help the citizens of Jackson County to reduce health costs in Jackson County by $1 billion.

Our citizens and our economy can no longer afford to overpay for these services. Now is the time to think globally and act locally on our health care costs here. I encourage you to read the Time Magazine article this week on how medical care costs are killing us. I encourage you to look at local solutions at www.electmarksoderstrom.com.

Mark Soderstrom


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