Vote yes on bonds for new fire station

On May 17, the registered voters of Ashland will decide if they agree with the City Council's 2011 bond proposal to replace Ashland Fire Station No. 2.

The current facility was built in 1965 using unreinforced concrete block. It has clearly outlived its usefulness and is much too small. Most importantly, it is no longer a healthy work space for our firefighters or a secure facility for emergency equipment.

The proposed solution is a new 10,478-square-foot facility with an estimated cost of less than $3 million. This represents a 26 percent reduction in size and a decrease of $2.4 million in estimated cost from the 2006 proposal.

For more information, see www.ashland.or.us and click on the Fire Department link.

Please vote yes on Measure 15-109.

Don Mackin

Public Safety Bond CommitteeAshland

Where's reward for conserving?

We conserve water with our low-flow toilets and shower heads. We put in water-efficient landscaping. We turn off our lights and install CFLs. If we can afford it we install solar hot water and photo voltaic systems. We do our best to take care of the planet.

Our reward? The city raises our utility rates because all our conserving is bringing in less money to the city.

I see a disconnect here. We waste and are scolded. We conserve and are charged more. Where is our reward for being good citizens?

Edith Montgomery

Ashland

Thanks for support of graduation event

Once again the community of Ashland pulls through and shows its incredible support for our children. As the Planning Committee for the AHS Senior All Night Graduation Celebration began meeting last fall, we were concerned about how we would do with our fundraising efforts in this challenging economy. This celebration is not school-supported but depends on the support of our community.

We initiated a new fundraiser, a $2,500 Cash Raffle, with the generous assistance of the Ashland Rotary Club, and Louie's on the Plaza served as our "Raffle Headquarters." It was well supported by a wide cross-section of people including parents, friends, relatives and businesses. We are continuing to receive cash donations, gift certificates and merchandise from generous businesses.

Thank you to all of you who are supporting this chaperoned drug- and alcohol-free celebration which ensures that our graduating seniors will have a memorable and safe graduation night. History shows that over 90 percent of the seniors attend this event and it would not be possible without the support of our wonderful community.

Liz Murphy, event co-chair and fundraising chair

Ashland

Mental hospitals not always best

Today, I'd like to comment further about what's it like to be a person with a mental illness in our society, especially since my last letter included my recommendation about expanding and reforming the state hospital system, and I don't want anyone to have the impression that I consider that to be the best solution for most people with mental illnesses.

Most people, if provided with minimal services, can live safely and even productively in the community, theoretically. In practice, there are so many blocks to people receiving services, flaws in the direction of such services and abysmal prejudices in society at large that the existence many mentally ill individuals eke out here in the world's largest economy can hardly be called a life.

An example of such a blockage of service is the general refusal to treat or work with patients who use "street drugs," even though many if not most of America's mentally ill do, usually in response to deeply troubling symptoms and not the other way around. It's a case of simply ignoring the reality on the ground in favor of a theoretical world spun in a world of white picket fences we can't afford.

Another major problem is the perception that the mentally ill are, as a group, violent. The research actually seems to show that mental illness statistically decreases a person's level of violence, which is a remarkable stat considering that brain diseases are closely tied to poverty.

As a society, we need to be more accepting of those who are a little bit different, and sew a social safety net that would be acceptable in the poorest west European country.

Sean Lawlor Nelson

Ashland

Vote online for Sanctuary One

Please help! We need your vote in a contest where the Sanctuary can win a huge donation — an entire orchard of many kinds of fruit trees that will help provide rescued farm animals with nutritious food for generations to come.

Please vote for Sanctuary One and then, if you want to help out even more, encourage your friends, family and co-workers to cast a vote for the Sanctuary, too.

To vote: Please surf to www.communitiestakeroot.com/Plant/Index. Then click on "List by State." In the Oregon section, click Sanctuary One. Then follow the instructions to "Plant My Vote." You can vote once per day, so for extra good-karma points, please bookmark the contest page and vote for the Sanctuary once per day.

Thank you for considering it. Vote early, vote often!

Robert Casserly

Executive director, Sanctuary One at Double Oak Farm