I read with interest your article on the two Portland soccer players now playing at the college level for the University of New Mexico (Rest eludes local soccer stars, Dec. 30).

As Josh Brown's former third-grade teacher at Bridlemile Elementary, I would like to comment on something that he said in the article: 'I'm weighing whether my scholarship at school is worth whatever someone will pay me for soccer.'

If I could have two short minutes with Josh, I would give him my 'pearls of wisdom' comments that he heard many times in third grade, I clearly recall. I wish I could tell him he needs to complete his education and consider it a valuable savings account. Professional soccer can come later. Hopefully he will enjoy an injury-free professional career, and then he can move on and use his education.

I have continued to follow Josh over the years. This is the same young man whose mother brought him back to Bridlemile after eighth-grade graduation to tell me he had been accepted at Jesuit. When he graduated from Jesuit, he sent me a card with an endearing note along with two graduation pictures.

I have a vested interest in this former ankle biter. I recall telling him at one time I would haunt him until he finished college. Well, I'm still around and I never go back on my word.

My hope for Josh is that he uses his many talents to make the best decisions for himself that he possibly can.

Merlie Thompson

Northwest Portland

In right hands, drug trials are a plus

I really appreciate your coverage of the murky issue of clinical trials (Hope in a lab coat, Dec. 30). I think it provided welcome insights and information for the public, and you explored issues that gave me new information.

I do want to take the opportunity to share my experience participating in a trial at Dr. Ward Smith's clinic.

When I was accepted into the trial at Summit Research Network-Oregon, I was given a great deal of information about my rights and options.

I also received the highest level of care and monitoring that I've ever received.

Even when I had to stop the trial because of side effects (and I've had lots of side effects from standard, approved medications), I was offered continuing care and assistance with medications.

The fact that they provide quality aftercare is amazing.

Yes, consumers should be skeptical and informed, but I'd recommend Dr. Smith's program to anyone seeking another option for help and treatment.

Christine Charneski

Northeast Portland

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