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click to enlarge Author of The Milagro Beanfield War, John Nichols.
  • Author of The Milagro Beanfield War, John Nichols.

Criticizing the current tide of flag-waving doesn't seem like a great way to sell books in this town, but John Nichols vowed to shun the easy, apolitical road to literary fame long ago. After youthful success with his first novel, The Sterile Cuckoo, he was radicalized by the heartrending poverty he witnessed on a 1964 trip to Guatemala. For the rest of the '60s, he wrestled to integrate social conscience into his writing, producing thousands of unpublishable pages but finally finding his voice in The Milagro Beanfield War.

Fans of the New Mexico Trilogy won't be surprised by Nichols' politics -- his work has ever championed the underdogs, be they dispossessed people or endangered butterflies. So it seems inevitable that Nichols has distilled his social environmentalism into a "liberation ecology," which views humans as a part of, rather than apart from, nature. All lives, human included, are part of the ecological system, and all are equally threatened by an economic system in which prosperity is built upon human exploitation and "terracide."

This Friday, in a presentation titled "Killing Osama for Peace: The Tragedy of American Patriotism," Nichols will address how liberation ecology fits into his critique of the war on terrorism. You're guaranteed some rambunctious verbiage and a reception with food and drinks will chase your shot of liberation ecology.

-- Brian Mandabach

capsule

John Nichols

First Congregational Church, 20 E. St. Vrain St.

Friday, March 8, 7 p.m.

Call 632-6189 for more.

___________________________________________

Area Events

Overview on Environmental Requirements for Construction Activities, a free class to help the construction and business communities comply with regulations. At the Colorado Springs Utilities Leon Young Center, 1521 S. Hancock Expressway. Topics include air permits, grading and erosion control plans, clean water requirements, wildlife protection, cultural resource management and more. To register, call 668-8698. Mon., March 11, 8 a.m.

Arthritis Foundation Spaghetti Dinner at Oddfellow's Hall, 575 S. Union Blvd. Featuring entertainment and prizes. $2.50-$5, 520-5711. Sat., March 16, 6-8 p.m.

Housing Advocacy Coalition Annual Membership Meeting featuring a silent auction, lunch, awards, yearly report and more at First Congregational Church, 20 E. St. Vrain. Call 634-0738 for lunch reservations. Sat., March 16, 11:30-3 p.m.

Bulletin Board

Victims of AVI Data Processing sought to join class action lawsuit. Call Robert Brady at 661/274-7765 or 661/878 1384, or e-mail

rmbrady@att.net.

Colorado Women's Agenda Statewide Resource Book now available. Features more than 400 programs that serve women and girls in Colorado. $10 plus shipping. Call 303/863-7336.

St. Patrick's Day Parade seeking floats, children's groups, marching bands, dancing troupes and other organizations that want to march. Call 635-8803 to find out more.

Clubs & Organizations

ABATE of Colorado, a nonprofit safety-oriented motorcycle rights organization holding District 2 meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Navajo Hogan, 2817 N. Nevada Ave. For more information call Rick, 684-8386 or visit

www.abateofcolo.org. Next meeting: March 13.

American Businesswomen's Association meeting at Guiseppe's Depot, 10 S. Sierra Madre. Featuring networking and speaker Wendy Burt. $17 includes dinner, 481-0588. Registration required. Tues., March 19, 6 p.m.

American Society for Training and Development meeting at Embassy Suites, 7290 Commerce Center Dr. Topic: Computer training sites. $17-$22 includes lunch. RSVP to Sherry Mills, 577-7783. Tues., March 12, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Liberals Singles Group having a potluck at the Susan B. Anthony Annex, corner of Dale and Cascade. Meet like-minded liberal singles. For details, call 684-0271. Sun., March 10, 6-9 p.m.

Pikes Peak Group of the Sierra Club meeting at First United Methodist Church, 420 N. Nevada Ave., Room 134. Featuring speaker Daphne Greenwood presenting "Smart Growth and Sustainability in the Pikes Peak Region. Free, 572-6972. Tues., March 12, 7 p.m.

Pikes Peak Neighbors (formerly Welcome Wagon of Colorado Springs) seeking new members interested in book clubs, tours and luncheons, bridge, arts and crafts, ladies' socials and more to greet area newcomers. Luncheon meetings held every second Wednesday of the month September through May. Dorothy Greenway, 630-5047. Next meeting: March 13.

Forums & Discussions

Killing Osama for Peace: The Tragedy of American Patriotism, by author John Nichols, on a blueprint for Liberation Ecology that insists sustainable apocalypse isn't the answer, at the First Congregational Church, 20 E. St. Vrain. Call 632-6189 for more. Fri., March 8, 7 p.m.

Earth's Place in the Universe, a presentation by Professor George Boiling at a meeting of Curiosity Unlimited in the UCCS Student Center room 116, 1420 Austin Bluffs Pkwy. Free parking in the visitor's lot. Fri., March 8, 10 a.m.

Becoming Social Architects, a five-hour seminar with Gus Jaccaci of the World Future Society, at the East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd. For people creating or sustaining strategic alliances among various business or community groups. $24 includes lunch, 636-2000. Sat., March 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Patriotism and the Press: Lessons from the Japanese Press in the Russo-Japanese War, a lecture by Professor James Huffman of Wittenberg University in Gates Common Room, Colorado College. Free, 389-6607. Mon., March 11, 7 p.m.

Manitou Springs Historic Speakers Series at Community Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave., Manitou. Free, 685-5089. All lectures begin Sundays at 3 p.m. On March 17: Historic photos of Manitou Springs.

Harrison Community Education Foundation holding a community forum to discuss the possibility of a Local Education Foundation in School District #2. Community input is sought at the Harrison Education Service Center, 1060 Harrison Road. Call 579-2319 for details. Tues., March 19, 6:30 p.m.

Design in America: Breaking Old Habits, an architecture lecture series at the Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale. All lectures are free, 389-6607. On Tues., April 2: Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright, discussing her work in steel, glass, stone and concrete.

Political Programs

Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition Candidate Forums, for County Commissioner seats. At the VFW Post 4052, 430 E. Pikes Peak Ave., at 7 p.m. Free. On Thurs., March 14: Republican candidates for Commission District 1, Bill Guman and Wayne Williams. On Thurs, April 11: Republican candidates for Commission District 5, Jim Besburg and Mary Anne Tebedo.

El Paso County Democratic Party, an affiliate of the national Democratic Party, holding regular meetings as well as endorsing the Democratic Women's Club, Young Dems and many others. Call the party headquarters for more, 473-8713.

Natural Law Party of Colorado, meetings locally during campaigns and in Denver during the rest of the year. For details, call 888/456-1732 or visit www.natural-law-colorado.org.

El Paso County Republican Party, an affiliate of the national Republican Party, holding regular meetings as well as endorsing the several clubs and producing events. Call the party headquarters for more details, 578-0022.

Volunteer Opportunities

American Cancer Society, seeking volunteer cosmetologists to consult with female cancer patients 1 to 2 hours per month in its Look Good ... Feel Better program. Training provided. Call 636-5101 for more.

Alzheimer's Association seeking volunteers to be a part of HELPLINE, which provides information and encouragement to caregivers. Call 266-8773.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Pikes Peak seeking volunteers to mentor youth in our community. One to six hours a week. 633-2443.

Business of Art Center, a non-profit community art center in Manitou Springs, seeking art lovers to lend a hand with opening receptions, special events, greeting visitors, fundraising, improving the facility and anything else that interests you. To find out more, call 685-1861.

Care and Share Food Bank seeking volunteers to help with promotions, graphic design, development, clerical work, food pickup and delivery, photography, special events help, research, data entry and warehouse work. Call Jordan Isreal, 528-1247. Visit www.careandshare.org for more.

The Children's Literacy Center seeks volunteers ages 16 or older (13-15 with special recommendations) to provide one-on-one tutoring in reading to first, second and third graders. Two hours per week for 12 weeks will help a child become a successful reader. 30 sites and a variety of tutoring times available; training provided. For details, call 471-8672.

Colorado Division of Wildlife seeking volunteers for a wildlife transport team, to help injured wildlife. Volunteers must be able to be on call after training. Call Jean Sanchez at 227-5204 for details.

Colorado Springs Balloon Classic seeking an experienced volunteer coordinator for the Balloon Classic 5K race. Position involves recruiting and organizing up to 50 volunteers on race day, Sun., Sept. 1. Call Melissa Kenison, 573-5500 Ext. 12 or email

balloonclassic@balloonclassic.com.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office seeking volunteers in a variety of positions including; Posse Deputies, Volunteer/Events Assistant, Range Assistant, Clerical/Office Assistants, Wildland Fire Crew Members, Cadets (young people 14-21) and more. Contact Jaimie Hutchison, Volunteer Coordinator, at 520-7216 or e-mail JaimieHutchison@elpasoco.com to find out more. You can also visit the EPSO Web page: www.elpasoco.com/sheriff.

First Visitor seeking volunteers to visit expectant and new parents; help promote care-giving, good maternal and child health; and to link families with other community resources. Full training and support provided. Call Nancy Barrows, 444-4504.

Greyhounds as Pets seeks friendly, outgoing volunteers to hug, bathe, walk and love retired greyhounds that are up for adoption. Volunteers will also assist in basic kennel cleaning, gardening, painting, etc. Help especially needed Saturday mornings. Call Patty, 635-6440.

Meals-on-Wheels seeking volunteers to help deliver hot meals to area elderly people for two hours each week. Call Diane at Silver Key Senior Services, 632-1521.

Memorial Hospital seeking volunteers interested in learning more about health care and making a difference in the community to help in the business office, and interact with patients via reading out loud, visiting, and writing letters. Volunteers should commit for at least 6 months. Hours are very flexible. Call 365-5298.

Pikes Peak Family Connections seeking volunteers for the Nurturing Program, a series of parenting classes. A commitment of four hours per week for four months is requested. For more information, call Lindsay Peters, 444-4517.

Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care seeks volunteers to offer patient and family support, administrative support and to assist with community events. Volunteers with skills in touch therapies such as essential oils, massage, aroma therapy and energy work. Volunteer orientation held on Mon., March 11. Call 633-3400.

Pikes Peak Library District seeking volunteer Circulation Assistants for one day per week at the East Library and the Ruth Holley branch library. Must be able to read, write and sort alphabetically and numerically. Call 531-6333 Ext. 1256 or 1251.

Silver Key Senior Services seeking people to help drive local elderly persons to the grocery store, bank, doctor, etc. Invest just four hours a week or month and don't pay a penny for your gas! Call Diane, 632-1521.

Suicide Prevention Hotline, serving El Paso and Teller counties, seeking volunteers to staff a home-based telephone service whose goal is to help a person in crisis find a way to live. Call Tom at 573-7447.

Workout Ltd., a restorative justice program, seeks volunteers to facilitate conferences between victims and offenders. Training provided. Call Denise Mantano, 471-4200, or visit

www.workoutltd.org.

The Community Chest is a resource for speaking your mind, pulling your weight, casting your vote or joining the club. See page 41 for information on submitting notices to the Chest.

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