Ashland's homeless rules caused the fires

Ashland's homeless rules caused the fires

I'm staying in Rishikesh, India. Like Ashland, Rishikesh is a tourist town, surrounded by forest, with lots of yoga, spa, astrology and healing centers.

But Rishikesh is different from Ashland in one important way. The police allow residents to build makeshift plastic huts, or camp out in sleeping bags, even yards away from police stations. People tend their little fires along the roads. No one has forced them to hide in the forest, so there are apparently no camper fires. In the nine months I've stayed here, I've never heard of a forest fire.

As I walk past bodies strewn along the road in sleeping bags, I feel comforted that my fellow community members are getting the rest that they need, and that they'll be able to fully participate in community activities come morning.

Rishikesh doesn't seem to stigmatize residents who live in plastic huts or sleeping bags. Everyone is accepted equally as valuable members of the community. Ashland, wake up to your cultural bias that anyone who doesn't live in brick and mortar is a criminal. It's your prejudice that has caused the so-called "homeless" forest fires. Thank you, Eric, for being one of those rare councilors who speaks his heart even when it offends powerful entities like the Chamber of Commerce. When you leave the council, Ashland will lose a precious gift.

Ambuja Rosen

Ashlander traveling in India

Thanks to firefighters who served dinner

I am so delighted to be a senior citizen fortunate enough to live in a town protected by the loving group who are firemen.

They showed their beautiful, caring nature by giving us a delightful Thanksgiving dinner at the Senior Center on Monday, Nov. 22. It was prepared and served by the firefighters. Their culinary talent and kind generosity excited within me a depth of feeling I find myself unable to adequately express — a thank you will have to do!

Linnie Pucci

Ashland