Fires remind us how important services are

Fires remind us how important services are

It seems the fires in Oak Knoll are a sad reminder of the financial disinterest we have had in our social services system in the past few years.

When we were flush financially, we had services and systems in place to care for some of our less fortunate citizens. But when an economic downturn happens, many of these services get cut. Systems that have been invisible for years because they were working lose their funding.

It is as if we think the services are no longer needed. It is not until we see the mentally ill people who are homeless, the water that is contaminated, the buildings that don't meet construction codes, the broken laws that our police are unable to enforce, the seniors who are unable to stay in their own homes that we recognize why such systems were designed in the first place.

Now those systems have been decimated until even the dedicated, hardworking employees who are left are unable to maintain adequate services. None of us likes paying taxes, but sometimes we just have to. If we can't do it for the benefit of those less fortunate, maybe we can do it because we never know when, by helping someone else, we may have helped ourselves also.

Judy Blickenstaff

Ashland

Ashland is nota dog-friendly town

I had the pleasure of visiting Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival this past August. The town of Ashland is charming, and the plays I attended were wonderful. My experience was so positive that I planned to return each summer until I encountered a major problem.

I traveled with my golden retriever, Sadie, thinking that bringing a dog would not be a problem in a progressive city like Ashland. Unfortunately, when I went to walk Sadie, I found there wasn't one park where I could walk her on lead.

Apparently, there was one dog park, but I do not take her to off-lead parks. I couldn't even find a "doggie waste bag" station anywhere. Since I live in Bellingham, Wash., where dogs on leads are welcome in our parks, and "doggie waste bag" stations are available in parks and neighborhoods, I was surprised by Ashland's lack of dog-friendliness.

Many people travel with their dogs and want to visit cities that are accommodating to both humans and animals. I hesitate to return to Ashland, because that is not the case. I strongly recommend that the city of Ashland become more "dog-friendly."

Pamela Hirsch

Bellingham, Wash.

How can we helpthe baby deer?

There is a new generation of baby deer in my neighborhood. One was in my yard and I shooed it out of the gate that it had slipped under.

Its side was torn and bleeding, probably from a narrow escape from someone's fenced yard. I'm heartbroken and sickened that they forage in our unwelcoming yards and as a result are mutilated and broken. What can we do as a city and community to keep them safe and at the same time away from our enclosed backyards?

Melody Jones

Ashland