Jeff Golden thinks (Jan. 9, 2010, opinion), it seems, that a creative storyline that originates in an obscure Italian town in 2003, via an article in the New York Times, would get Ashlanders all fired up and ready to "piedibus" their kids to school. Fact is, "walking school buses" are old news in many communities nationwide since the '90s. Try a Google search and you'll be flooded with hits from everywhere imaginable, including a lot of "walking school buses" in Oregon communities, but not in Ashland.

Re: Golden's thoughts on school busing

Jeff Golden thinks (Jan. 9, 2010, opinion), it seems, that a creative storyline that originates in an obscure Italian town in 2003, via an article in the New York Times, would get Ashlanders all fired up and ready to "piedibus" their kids to school. Fact is, "walking school buses" are old news in many communities nationwide since the '90s. Try a Google search and you'll be flooded with hits from everywhere imaginable, including a lot of "walking school buses" in Oregon communities, but not in Ashland.

To be fair, Ashland has its share of walking and biking to school activities and instruction, primarily via BTA's BSE courses (Bicycle Transportation Alliance Bike Safety Education) as well as some activities sponsored by RVTD. There are a few dedicated parents who walk or bike to school with their children regularly. So called "Walking Buses" have been suggested at PTA assemblies and met with zero interest. Most children are willing, but not most parents. There's nothing "hip" or glamorous about it, apparently. It's boring.

Give it up Jeff. This is Ashland.

Egon Dubois

Ashland

Mayor would be wise to pursue pipeline

For years the City of Ashland has refused to advance the plan to connect to the Talent Ashland Phoenix (TAP) Intertie Pipeline. Such a connection would supply sufficient water to reduce annual shortages in the city and provide greater protection from the hazard of wild fires.

I admire Mayor John Stromberg for his strong qualifications, leadership and inclusiveness. However, I question his reluctance to advance the plans to connect to the intertie with Talent at a time when fire is a rapidly increasing threat.

William W. Patton

Ashland

Painting in paper featured in video

The lovely butterfly painting on your front page, Saturday, Jan. 9, is featured in a brief video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHNfVjATkR8 under the name of "Chrysalis for Humanity."

Joan Franklin

Talent

Health reform needs best of both bills

As we move into the home stretch of health care reform, we need to call or write Sens. Wyden and Merkley and let them know that the final bill needs the following to work: be affordable for people who have insurance on the job, be affordable for those who currently lack coverage, be fairly financed and hold insurance companies accountable.

The House bill is better than the Senate bill in achieving nearly all of these. It not only makes health care affordable for low-income families, but it also raises revenue by taxing those who can afford it. In addition, it has consumer protections, including the "public option," to stop private insurance companies from turning health care reform into a corporate windfall.

Unfortunately, the House bill is not as affordable for middle-income people as the Senate bill, which is better in this regard.

That's why Congress needs to combine the best of both bills into one historic bill that guarantees the kind of great health care we've needed for a long time.

Allen Hallmark

Sams Valley