Letters to the editor: Dec. 10

Why assault weapons?

Can someone, anyone, explain to me why assault weapons are readily available to the general public? I don't seem to get it. What is it again that these weapons are designed for?

John Kloetzel

Ashland

Part of the problem

With the Paris climate summit focusing the world’s attention on controlling carbon emissions, it is a particularly appropriate time to point out to Ashlanders a sobering and unfortunate fact. We contribute disproportionately to carbon emissions.

This is because we have chosen to cut and burn trees, and logging slash, as well as other biomass in piles over thousands of acres in the Ashland Watershed. It will take over 100 years to re-sequester the carbon emitted from burning of this biomass. There previously had been an assumption that forest manipulations like those in the Ashland Watershed would save carbon, but this is not the case. The trees that are cut and harvested or stacked and burned would mostly not burn in a wildfire, it increases long-term carbon loss to kill these trees and combust their biomass.

In addition, thinning does not decrease fire occurrence. Moreover, thinning may not decrease the odds of a large severe fire demonstrably because weather and climate largely drive the occurrence of these fires in our forests. Measures are needed to decrease carbon emissions from forestry practices and protect our community from burning like Weed (i.e., we need to treat the causes of home ignition).

Dennis Odion

Ashland

Forests need help

Over 65 million acres of national forest lands are in need of treatment due to poor forest health associated with insects, disease, a century of fire suppression and the resulting build-up of hazardous fuels. We witnessed the disastrous results of our current forest policies this summer when more than 9 million acres burned and federal wildfire suppression budgets were exhausted. Many of these acres burned right here in Southwest Oregon and in Northern California.

On July 9, 2015, the U.S. House approved H.R. 2647 to give federal agencies policy and legal tools to make federal forests less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire, insects and disease while putting more Americans back to work. It will expedite critical forest health projects, speed post-fire recovery efforts and fix wildfire funding so that it does not take funding away from thinning overstocked, fire-prone unburned forests.

I hope our senators will act on this legislation or pass meaningful legislation that successfully deals with these issues. Any effort to fix wildfire suppression funding must include reasonable forest management reforms that address bureaucratic "analysis paralysis" and obstructionist lawsuits. I urge our senators to support legislation to address the threats facing our forests and communities.

Ken Wienke

Jacksonville

You can help refugees

There is a tangible way for you to help Syrian refugee families! A non-profit named “Carry the Future” is collecting baby carriers to send to refugees arriving in Greece. There are approximately 9,000 refugees arriving daily; 30 percent are children. They've walked hundreds of miles, and their journey is not over yet.

Anyone who has carried children knows they soon get heavy, especially if they are tired, cold, hungry and scared. If parents can wear their kids in carriers, they can easily keep them safe, have their hands free, and preserve their strength for the next obstacle to get to asylum. Regardless of religion or politics, these kids don't deserve the situation they are in. Through showing love to these future generations, it may change the culture altogether.

If you have a used carrier, email chelseaswensen@gmail.com and I'll ship it for you. Financial support, carriers, encouraging notes, warm baby socks and protein bars can be sent directly to 121 W. Lexington Drive, Suite L 106D, Glendale, CA 91203. More information is available at carrythefuture.org, including amazon.com wishlists, links to donate online and information to send care packages with snacks, diapers and other necessities.

Please join us in helping these families and be the change!

Chelsea Swensen

Jacksonville

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