District's no-animals policy overreaches

District's no-animals policy overreaches

Over the past 27 years, I have used the Lincoln School grounds almost on a daily basis to raise my four children and to exercise my dogs both while it was open and after it closed.

I agree with ML Moore (March 3) that dog owners that use Lincoln are very good about cleaning up after their dogs and that feces are not a problem on the Lincoln grounds (now deer droppings, that is another issue).

In addition, during all those years I have never heard anyone complain about dogs using the grounds for any reason. Imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago signs were posted by the school district stating "No animals." This decision was based on complaints from the other elementary schools that are still open. No one wants children coming in from recess with "dirty" shoes.

The Lincoln grounds long ago became a neighborhood park that developed into a center of many social and community activities including dog owners interacting with dogs and with each other.

Since the signs have been posted the usage of the grounds has dropped dramatically. For a town that prides itself in our community spirit that is a real shame.

The Ashland board should consider putting a "No animal" policy into place that varies by school situation. This would be comparable to the way in which the Ashland schools adjust the educational policies to match the needs of specific student groups.

We dog owners (backed up by my neighborhood survey) in the Lincoln school area respectfully ask to be given back our use of the Lincoln school grounds that we have so conscientiously used for so many years. (Also my Yorkshire terrier would be thrilled).

Mike Zodrow

Ashland

Society fails the mentally ill

Locally, many people with mental illnesses live in "foster homes," for which the state pays staggering top-dollar rates, but my experience with these homes is that though most providers provide passable room and board (often along with strict, detailed rules), they refuse to spend any time with their charges, hiding away in separate "private" space.

The same phenomenon holds true at the Crisis Resource Center, which is in nearby Grants Pass but to which we send many of our patients. The place has as much staff and funds as they could possibly use, but most staff make no attempt to do their jobs, and the patients only see them through thick glass, talking amongst themselves, and adding to the unused paperwork epics we patients accumulate over the years.

A refreshing exception to all this is RVMC's psychiatric unit, where compassionate professionals make good use of very limited resources. But that's just the thing: "Two North" loses millions of dollars yearly, and last I heard couldn't get assistance from much of anyone, including Ashland's hospital. And when they discover a patient needs more long-term stabilization, room at the state hospital is extremely hard to find unless the patient has committed a serious crime.

So that leads to my suggestion: enlarged state hospitals that treat patients with human respect and attempt deep therapy whenever possible. I'm a believer in therapies like arts and crafts, gardening, etc., and believe that interactive counseling, group and private, is golden.

Of course, some will say our impoverished economy can't afford this, or other luxuries like textbooks and fire-houses. But according to Cenk Uygur of MSNBC news, 75 percent of our largest, most profitable corporations have long been paying absolutely zero taxes. It's a crazy world out there.

Sean Lawlor Nelson

Ashland