Expand scholarships for auto technology

Expand scholarships for auto technology

I am a senior at Ashland High School and I am currently applying for college scholarships. From what I have noticed, there are hardly any scholarships available for the automotive trade. I have been working on cars since I could hold a wrench and I have loved every moment. It has changed from a fun hobby to a passionate dream that I wish to transform into a career.

As I began my career exploration, I discovered very few scholarships for training in mechanics. When I was filling out the Oregon Student Assistance Commission application, I noticed that the category for the vocational trades only held five scholarships and none of them were for Jackson County.

There are local training programs that offer courses in automotive technology through the community college system. These would be more accessible to students if more scholarships were available. We need a new and young generation to take up the mantle and start thinking about cars and how we can integrate them into our low-impact future.

Last year I gathered more than 1,000 signatures to prevent the closing of our auto shop at the high school. This year we do have one class filled with 32 students. I cannot tell you how much that program has helped me to get to where I am now. Without high school programs like auto shop and scholarships to support future education, kids will never be able to realize their potential. We all need a mechanic. With graduation fast approaching, students of the auto program need support.

Aaron Pickering

Ashland

Ruling will corrupt democratic system

I am very troubled by the recent campaign finance ruling. I view it as a major victory for big oil companies, Wall Street banks and health insurance companies.

It has been argued that the government has no place regulating political speech, and I agree. On the other hand, this ruling is corrupting democracy. If big corporations are allowed to donate an unlimited amount of money to the candidate of their choice, they will choose someone that will help big businesses get bigger. It is a government of the people by the corporations for the corporations.

We will have to ask ourselves, if someone is elected with help from the donations of big corporations, will they have the best interests of the people or the corporations at heart? It seems as if our government is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

This partnership between elected government officials and big corporations is not new. The Bush administration had strong ties to oil companies. I only hope that this ruling will not lead to corruption within our democratic system.

Kavi Taraka

Talent

Speeding ticket felt like police profiling

Do police officers in Ashland really have nothing better to do than stalk around the high school and wait for class to get out? Do they sit there with their radar gun, watching all the "experienced" drivers cruise by at 5 or 10 mph over the speed limit, then leap out at the opportunity to pull over some teen who's doing the exact same thing?

I understand that teenagers tend to be newer drivers and have less experience and that, statistically, this puts us in a more high-risk group of drivers. However, I can't help but feel more than a little profiled when I get written up for the speeding ticket while the 40-something woman in the van in front of me cruises happily away. Or how about the grandpa who was driving more on the left side of the road than the right?

Minor traffic violations permeate the roads around us, but even the most diligent officer of the law won't catch them all. When I turn up a street just as three cars in front of me have and when I follow them up the road at the same cruising speed and when I stop at the red light just like the rest of them do, I don't expect the flashing red and blues to be directed at me. Was it because my phone rang and as I moved to silence it; the move may have looked like I was texting? Was it because we were all speeding and I was unlucky enough to be last in line? Or was it because, quite simply, I am a teenager. The cop had to have seen me pull out of the high school's student parking lot and he confirmed my age as soon as he asked for my driver's license.

Like I said, I understand the statistics, but when do statistics become profiling and when do cops take this liberty too far? Looks like my next two weeks of work are headed straight to the municipal court — so much for saving up for college.

Kate Jensen

Ashland

FDA should not target vitamins

There are many ways to have an immediate positive impact on the health of American people. Taking vitamins off the market is not one of them. 1. Do not buy and consume anything that has corn syrup added to it. 2. Buy organic food. Genetically altered food has not been proven safe to be consumed.

The FDA is in bed with big industry and does not really care about the people, otherwise the American people would not be the sickest people of all the industrialized countries, even though the health costs in America are the highest per capita costs in the industrialized world. Vitamins should not be outlawed. Cancergenic additives, such as food colors, and genetically altered food, such as most of the non-organic corn products, should be taken off the market.

Reni Stark

Ashland