Burger backers, smart money, a marijuana mystery, and more 


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Burger backers

This is one time that we the people can make a difference ("Hamburger help, or ..." SimpliCity, Feb. 25). Colorado Springs School District 11 needs our help to continue its Good Food Project.

This ambitious project to provide D-11 students with healthier food options rather than processed foods needs the community's support. According to the article, the average revenue received for a school meal is $2.67, and the average cost is $2.71. Rick Hughes, the director of food and nutrition services, had to slash $50,000 from the budget and it meant discontinuing the use of Ranch Foods Direct as a supplier.

If you can donate $1, you've made up the shortfall for 25 meals. If you can donate $100, you've made up the shortfall for 2,500 meals. To be sure, D-11 must address the issue long-term, but we can make a difference now.

I don't have children in D-11, don't work for D-11 or any district contractor, don't even live in D-11 now, but I do care for the succeeding generations and this is one time I can personally make a difference.

Send any donation to Colorado Springs School District 11, Food and Nutrition Services, 5260 Geiger Blvd., Colorado Springs, CO 80915, Attention: Good Food Project – Bring Back Local Beef! You can learn more about the project at tinyurl.com/d11goodfood.

Kudos to Matthew Schniper for great reporting. Please follow this story as it is an omen for many school districts trying to move to healthy, scratch cooking for the students.

— Mary J. Talbott

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Last week, D-11 set up a webpage to track such donations, and to further explain the financial pinch in its food budget. Visit tinyurl.com/d11donations for more.

Who's the boss?

In November elections, we re-elected Rep. Sanford "Pete" Lee to represent us in House District 18 in Denver. In the face of vehement disagreement from Colorado Springs School District 11, Rep. Lee recently voted to kill HB15-1080, discussed in Matthew Schniper's Feb. 25 "Hamburger help, or ..." which would have limited the "Breakfast After the Bell" program.

The expansion is an unfunded $60,000 annual mandate. Now the district will have to reduce its food service budget by that amount. Rick Hughes, D-11's highly regarded director of food services, was forced to end the purchase of Ranch Foods Direct's healthy beef to save $50,000.

This is a revealing moment of truth. Who is the boss? When your elected official chooses to "toe the party line" and vote the way his party bosses command, rather than representing the needs of his constituents, you have to wonder.

More importantly, you have to remember! Watching how your representative votes, and valuing those facts over the campaign slogans and dirty 527 hit pieces in your voting decision, ensures you get represented, not the party bosses.

— Michael Schlierf

Colorado Springs

Smart money

HB 1194, being debated in the Colorado legislature, will save money, improve lives, and reduce the number of abortions in Colorado. You should let your representatives know that this is a smart use of resources.

LARC means long-acting reversible contraceptives, which includes IUDs and implantable hormone devices. LARC are the most effective means of long-acting contraception available, and safe for almost all women. They work for up to 10 years, and can be removed whenever a woman wants to start a family. Aside from abstinence, LARC are the most effective way of reducing teen pregnancies.

For the past five years, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has had a federal grant to fund access to LARC. During this period, the number of births to women 15 to 19 years of age in Colorado fell by 39 percent, and the abortion rate fell by 42 percent. Among women 20 to 24 years of age, births decreased by 22 percent and abortions by 18 percent. The LARC program, which contributed to these improvements, is one of the most successful programs of its kind in the nation.

HB 1194 would allocate $5 million to continue funding the LARC program. This will save us taxpayer dollars — CDPHE estimates the LARC program has saved Colorado Medicaid between $49 and $111 million each year.

The other major benefit will be better lives for women who can put off pregnancy and plan when to start a family. These women will be able to finish high school or college, and enjoy better careers. They will earn more and pay more taxes, and their children will be healthier for having been born to a family prepared to provide for them.

— Edward C. Maynard, M.D., Susan F. Townsend, M.D., Charles J. Lalonde, M.D., Janice C. Raley, M.D., Michelle A. Ridnour, M.D., and Cynthia M. Schweitzer, M.D.

'Doug must go!'

Irresponsible, dangerous, alarming and threatening ...

These, among others (treason, vindictive, mean-spirited, vicious, etc.), all describe the recent vote to shut down the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn — given that Lamborn's Fifth Congressional District arguably has the most facilities that require security, including the primary security facility, NORTHCOM, in the country.

I am sure Mr. Lamborn would say his vote was nothing but a political ploy/legislative maneuver. However, given the congressman's record, referring to the president as a "tar baby" — though he gave an insincere and oblique apology, etc. — I think it is his way of continuing to denigrate, defame and ridicule the president.

I call for a recall petition for Mr. Lamborn. I would think those involved in military and security in CD-5 would agree on this point? Doug must go!

— James M. Hesser

Colorado Springs

Horse sense

Here's a possibility of why the land grab in Browns Canyon was done so abruptly. As the Bureau of Land Management states:

"The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands."

Check to see how the BLM is going to manage Browns Canyon. If they will do any mineral exploration? I bet some wild horses will soon end up in there. Here's why: Have one of your writers do a FOIA request to see how much the feds are paying to keep wild horses and burros pastured — they are currently looking for proposals to house these animals, but the pasture lands they now have under contract are from 1,000 to 25,000 acres. Who but the rich and famous have enough land like this?

How much is the government paying to "house and feed" these animals?

This is a huge boondoggle and should be investigated. I wrote Lamborn's office but I don't expect to hear anything on this issue.

Does Browns Canyon have lots of wild horses on it yet? Does it have minerals that the government can take? Gold? Rare earth minerals? I wonder ... where there is smoke there is always fire.

— Helen Sabin

Colorado Springs

Marijuana mystery

The Colorado legislature is considering legislation intended to force medical marijuana patients from the lower-taxed MMJ to the higher-taxed recreational pot to increase overall pot tax revenue. Maybe it's just my MMJ-addled brain, but I don't understand how that is supposed to work.

Nearly everywhere you go in Colorado, there are MMJ dispensaries and nearly everywhere you go in Colorado, recreational pot stores have been banned. If there are no recreational pot stores from which the former MMJ users can buy pot, they are forced back into the black market or forced to grow their own and therefore pay no tax.

Maybe the real goal of the legislation is to force municipalities and counties to allow recreational pot stores if they want to continue to benefit from pot tax revenue.

— Bill Schaffner

Colorado Springs

Call to Cottonwood

Thanks for highlighting the showing of artwork at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts. What a beautiful exhibit. The big surprise was meeting the 19-year-old artist named Dean Violante from Pratt Institute in New York City. His work is inspiring! As your cover story stated, Jon Khoury leads the Cottonwood with breathtaking events.

The art show ends soon. Come to the Single Parents Day Open House on Sunday afternoon, March 15, and view the paintings in celebration.

— Janice S. Moglen

Manitou Springs

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