Thanks to library volunteers




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The Ashland library staff knows what a wonderful job our volunteers do and we want everyone else to know that also. We have 55 active volunteers, and in February had over 400 hours of volunteer service.




We can't list everyone in this short space, so here's a sampling.




Thanks to the Rosies who clean children's books, to Shirley and Harry delivering materials to the homebound (and for 30 years), Josh and Blair for teaching free weekly computer classes, Gracie, Amanda, Barbara, Sydney and Ray for doing so much for the circulation department, to Joanna for leading a monthly book discussion, the many Joans who help repair books, welcome people, assist in children's and deliver books to the homebound, to Judith, Betsy, Dan, Susan and all the wonderful Welcome Desk volunteers.&






Thanks to the Friends of the Library board members who sponsor programs, hold book sales raise money, plant flowers, and keep us going. The list goes on and we are so grateful.




This wonderful group of volunteers add so much to our library and to our community. Thank you.




Amy Blossom




Ashland Public Library staff




No holiday this summer




I am appalled at the simplistic pandering of Senator McCain's proposed "gas tax holiday," which would save each of us a whopping $28 this summer. The likely outcome of this federal gasoline tax cut would be increased gas consumption, followed by inevitable price increases in the supply-demand economics of oil. The net result would be little or no savings to individual motorists.




But let's be optimistic and assume that a gas tax cut would not cause increased gas prices. Since we'd all be driving the same amount of miles with gas suddenly so affordable, the wear and tear on highways would be the same. This leads us to one of two outcomes: our bloated federal budget deficit jumps up another $10 billion by using the general fund instead of gas tax revenues for highway repair and construction, or we forgo highway repair and construction for the summer and lose an estimated 300,000 construction jobs and further deterioration of highways.




No thank you, Senator McCain. I'll save my $28 by simply driving 150 miles less this summer, with the added benefit of 140 less pounds of carbon dioxide emitted.




Dave Brennan









Park land swap for city confusing for public




Thank you for reporting on the Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission's April 28 hearing about the City's proposal to swap land from Westwood Park to a developer for one-half of the developer's 10-acre cow pasture on Clay Street (Mail Tribune, 4/29/2008).




After the close of community input, Parks and Recreation Department director Don Robertson observed in response to a question from Commissioner Eggers that many of the community speakers seemed to think the proposal was to swap park land for affordable housing land, while in fact the swap was strictly park land for park land. His statement is technically correct, but risks misleading the community by implying that the proposed park land swap and the city's proposed affordable housing land purchase are independent of each other. They are not at all independent!




The park land swap is being proposed primarily to enable the city to acquire half of the developer's 10-acre Clay Street parcel to use for affordable housing. The city can only afford to purchase 5 acres and the developer will sell only the entire parcel &

not just the 5 acres the city can afford.&




The park land swap is thus intended to enable the city to acquire the entire parcel so that it can have the 5 acres for affordable housing. The swap is not being proposed because it would result in the most desirable parks to serve the Ashland community.




If it were the most desirable for the community, a park land swap would likely have been proposed years ago, all by itself.




The bottom line is that the desired affordable housing land purchase is driving the proposed park land swap. It's a package deal.




This is what the community speakers had in mind when several of them urged that matters related to parks and open space be kept completely separate from those related to affordable housing.




The community does not want the subjects commingled since, as is the case here, the result is being presented with an unacceptable and unnecessary choice that essentially says "if you want affordable housing, you'll have to sacrifice existing park land."




Keith Baldwin