Police help make annual run more fun; Manís actions helped kids avoid further injury; Parade could use some improvements; Thanks for a great Fourth of July; Is there another explanation for tickets?

Many thanks for a great Fourth of July

Independence Day is always special in Ashland, and 2010 was no exception.

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce, dozens of organizations and hundreds of citizen volunteers made this remarkable community celebration a success.

In addition to thanking all of the people who made the Fourth of July happen, this year I want to thank the entire community for an exceptional response to the new ban on fireworks. After the example of the Siskiyou Fire in September 2009, the Ashland City Council made a very difficult decision to ask residents to give up their personal fireworks because of the extreme fire danger we face in the summer.

Although many people were understandably disappointed by the loss of a tradition, our community took the issues of fire danger and watershed protection seriously, and we achieved a dramatic drop in the use of both legal and illegal fireworks.

As a result of the community's constructive response, Ashland Fire & Rescue responded to only one fireworks-caused fire. In past years, our firefighters responded to an average of seven fireworks-related fires on July 4. These fires posed a risk to residents, visitors and businesses, and also to the forests and our drinking water supply.

This positive response is an example of Ashland's citizens looking out for each other. Thank you to everyone who made this Independence Day a success.

Mayor John Stromberg

Ashland

Parade could use a few improvements

I visit Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival virtually every year, but had not been to the Fourth of July parade since the early '80s. I remember being charmed by the parade back then — the Tomato Marching Band, especially.

This year, while the overall experience was pleasant enough (and the five plays I saw were outstanding), the parade was disappointing due to the preponderance of commercial entries. One entry in particular, El Tapatio Restaurant, seemed excessively large. While I understand that the restaurant was eager to publicize its new location, I felt it overdid it ... can't wait to try it though.

I can only suggest parade entrants exercise restraint lest they be counterproductive. And to the parade organizers in general, encourage zany entries — they make the parade memorable.

Hank Helley

San Francisco

Police helped make annual run more fun

I would like to express our appreciation to Officer Steve MacLennan and the Ashland Police Department. Their involvement in the Fourth of July Run has contributed to reducing road safety issues while lending to this event an air of support for the participants.

John Cornet, race director

Ashland

Man's actions helped children avoid injury

I would like to thank a young man at the Fourth of July parade who was sitting next to the curb with several young kids in front of him, when a horse crowded another horse that began stepping into the kids sitting on the curb. My granddaughter got a scrape on her leg and her younger cousin was kicked in the head. Fortunately, it was a glancing blow and the horse wasn't wearing iron shoes. It all could have become much worse if this man hadn't pulled my grandson away from the horse's hooves. The boy went to the emergency room. He got a concussion and a black eye. He will be fine and has a story to tell.

Thanks again for the quick action of this person and perhaps you would leave a number with the Tidings so my family may thank you.

Walter Peterson

Ashland

Another explanation for speeding tickets?

Fifty-two drivers were materially guilty of exceeding the speed limit coming down the steep, 300-foot stretch of Hersey Street hill on June 30. While this circus technically does not fit the definition of police entrapment, it comes pretty close. Close enough to deserve a more thoughtful response to the charge of "unfair and infuriating" than the simplistic one-liner reportedly delivered by the chief of police.

Given the lack of accidents at the intersection of Hersey and Sunflower, might there be a question of equipment testing rather than public safety? Or, since it happened at the end of the month, could there be a quota involved, or just plain opportunistic revenue generation? If nearly every vehicle coming down the hill during a short period of time was cited for speeding, might there be some question about the interpretation and enforcement of the speed laws?

Perhaps the chief was misquoted in your July 6 article, or perhaps he did not have the opportunity to explain fully. Let's invite him to put things in perspective, lest this incident continue to reflect on the fine service record of the guys and gals who protect and serve.

Galen Schelb

Ashland