Heat is killing the Plaza's maple trees

Heat is killing the Plaza's maple trees

The last beautiful Sunset Maple tree on the Plaza has died. This is a sad development in our town where plants and trees serve us as air purifiers in our community. I sincerely hope an arborist will be asked to examine the tree to determine the reasons for its demise.

To honor the Sunset Maple I suggest the Tree City flag be flown at half-staff for at least 30 days. Yes, a tree so central to the center of the downtown deserves a kind of memorial. Our community comprises not just human beings, but also trees, plants and wildlife.

I am also asking that the arborist record temperature readings of the Plaza surface. Recent triple digit temperatures (120-plus degrees Fahrenheit on the Plaza) absorbed by the gray pavers may be radiating to other tree roots.

Landscapers who refurbished the plaza must not have been aware of the heat impact research of the EPA's Heat Reduction Initiative. This is an important initiative! The Beautification Committee needs to study this in order to make a decision about the Plaza. Given the loss of the Sunset Maple, this needs to be made a priority.

I trust that the committee will see its way to changing a large portion of the dark gray pavers to a lighter reflective color paver. The "aesthetic" look Covey/Pardee and the Plaza artist decided upon in September of 2012 is more than likely not benefiting surrounding trees, people or vegetation in summer heat.

The next Beautification meeting is 7:30 a.m. Thursday, July 31, at the Ashland Library. Please consider studying the EPA's Heat Reduction Initiative (www.epa.gov/heatislands/about/index.htm).

Cici Brown


Hamas values death, not life

Hamas has been launching rockets into southern Israel since 2005, when Israel evacuated and removed every last Jew from Gaza. The next day the rockets began and have not stopped.

This escalated when three Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered, and rockets began reaching every city in Israel sending Israelis to bomb shelters. Hamas' intention is to destroy and murder innocent civilians, clearly stated in their charter. More Israelis have not died only because Israel cherishes life and invests in the protection of its people.

On the contrary, Hamas values death; instead of building schools, hospitals and infrastructure for their people they spent the millions, donated from the U.S. and Europe, and built extensive networks of concrete tunnels whose purpose is to smuggle in weapons and kill or kidnap Israelis. Hamas terrorists hide behind human shields. They launch rockets from schools, homes and hospitals. This has been filmed and documented for the world to see.

Israel has every right to protect her people.

When the Jews emerged from the death camps of Europe, they didn't take up weapons, seek revenge or try to reclaim their homes and businesses that were stolen from them. They put their energy into creating a new life, educating their children and making the world a better place.

Amidst the current violence, Israel continues to treat injured Palestinian civilians in Israeli hospitals, supplies electricity and sends truckloads of food and supplies daily into Gaza.

Ayala Zonnenschein, executive director, Havurah Shir Hadash


Kudos to Congress for workforce act

The Rogue Workforce Partnership (RWP) congratulates the U.S. Congress for passing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). This new federal legislation will help the RWP to address the skills gap, improve the workforce, develop skills, fill the talent pipeline and build the region's economy.

We thank our members of Congress — Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and Rep. Greg Walden — for their strong support of this important workforce development legislation.

The RWP is a business-led public/private partnership, working across complex institutional boundaries to align resources, catalyze system change and create innovative workforce solutions. Our mission is to grow the skills and talents of workers, so local businesses and residents can prosper in the global economy.

Passage of the WIOA will:

Help close the skills gap across Oregon and the nation.Help businesses connect workers with opportunities to build in-demand skills.Support access to real-world education and workforce development opportunities.Empower local workforce investment boards like the Rogue Workforce Partnership.Create a streamlined workforce development system.Improve outreach to disconnected youth.

We support the WIOA, and believe it will lead to improved business and worker success, and greater alignment with economic development and regional solutions.

Jessica Gomez, chairwoman, Rogue Workforce Partnership; CEO and founder, Rogue Valley Microdevices

Can we turn the tide on imports?

As I was hanging clothes on the line, enjoying our beautiful sunshine, I glanced at the labels in the garments I had purchased from Goodwill. Everything — and I mean every piece — was made in another country: India, Haiti, Bangladesh, Malawi, Sri Lanka. Even my granny panties (new from Bi-Mart) were made in Honduras.

Surely I am not the only person who can see the consequences of that: lack of jobs, country getting poorer and poorer except for the top echelon. Can this tide be turned?

Jill Iles