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Webletters Graphic.jpg

Letters, Nov. 9

Still relevant

Sadly, this original quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller from the 1940s in Germany, still rings hauntingly relevant today:

“First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me”.

Risa Buck

Ashland

A president’s coach

It takes skill to be a coach of university students, more skill to be a great coach, and still more to be the coach of a university president. I know because I was the beneficiary of a truly great coach — Monty Cartwright.

When I was named president of Southern Oregon University, there were skeptics — as there will always be on such occasions — but the one sector that caused me real heartburn was the community of student athletes, coaches, fans and sports contributors. I was rescued from anxiety by my “coach,” Monty Cartwright.

Sizing me up correctly but respectfully, he suggested there was much I needed to learn and so proposed that we host at the president’s house a breakfast at the beginning of each semester where the head coaches could come and brief me on their seasons ahead, the strengths of their teams, the odds of winning and the events at which the president and his family should be present.

In his lovely and gentle style, Monty opened that first breakfast by thanking Kit and me, on behalf of the coaching staff, for our hospitality and for this opportunity to provide this “teaching moment.”

“President Reno, we know you want to support our athletes and so we want to help you do so. With respect, sir, you are a ‘recovering sports illiterate’ and we’re here to help you.”

I shall be forever grateful for Monty’s candor, perspicacity and loyalty. From him and from his coaches, student athletes and fans, I learned so much. Our family became sports event groupies, and it was always reassuring — indeed critically necessary for me personally — when Monty would come up at some point in a game and so kindly acknowledge our presence.

The university has lost a fine coach, a congenial colleague and a role model. May we honor his memory by emulating his values.

Stephen Reno, president emeritus, SOU

Hampton, New Hampshire

Nothing shocking

There isn’t anything shocking at all about the influx of wildlife into our community.

Our policies, implemented by our administrators with an incredible lack of oversight, have produced these conditions.

Everyone wants to ignore or discount that the extreme thinning of our forests that surround our community has nothing to do with this influx. To say that wildfire and other environmental factors are driving animals into new territory is to ignore our own actions. Yes, we need to thin our forests, but we need to do it not only with fire prevention in mind, which to date is how it has been done.

What everyone fails to understand is that what we are calling “thinning” applies only to the forest. What we are doing with this “thinning” in regard to habitat is called “denuding.” Take a hike on any of our trails or roads above Ashland and look around, really look around. Where are there any lush, dense areas left for habitat? Where are the cougars, the bears, the turkeys and, yes, the deer supposed to bed down? Where is the sanctuary for them in “our” forests? There isn’t any because this hasn’t been a priority for anyone, especially those thinning and those overseeing the thinning.

There was an outline of the proper and legally agreed upon percentage of habitat that was supposed to be left alone in this thinning process before it all started. There is nothing like that in our “thinned” forests. This is nothing less than a crime to wildlife, and is tantamount to someone taking away your house and giving you an umbrella and saying, “Here you go, this is your new home.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we don’t need to thin the forest. What I am saying is that it needs to be done in a responsible way, one that involves natural mosaics of open, thinned areas in combination with dense, lush habitat areas, and these need to be intertwined so that animals can actually live in these spaces. If you walk through a natural, recently burned forest you will immediately notice this natural mosaic, and this is what we more closely need to mimic with our thinning to create a responsible balance of our “shared” forests health.

Tom Sager

Ashland

A profound column

The column written by Chris Honoré in Tuesday’s Daily Tidings is profound and timely.

“If we are silent, then who are we?” expresses the truth of the past as well as what can happen to our Democratic society in the future.

Unfortunately lies have become the norm of the present administration. We need more columnists and TV anchors to keep telling us the truth. Never again!

Mary Bertrand

Ashland

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