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Horses at Bear Creek, change at the senior center, hungry kids, and more 

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Hands off Bear Creek

What is it about Bear Creek Park that keeps attracting commercial enterprises with big bucks and big plans to turn all or parts of the much-used, much-loved multi-use public park into venues for recreational activities primarily serving special interests?

A few years ago a well-known golfer wanted to turn the park into a golf course, but was forced to withdraw the proposal when park lovers turned out en masse to say, in no uncertain terms, "Not in My Park!" Now it's The Broadmoor hotel that wants to provide its guests with a "wilderness" experience riding horses in the park and beyond ("Rein check," News, March 11).

This all seems to have come about in an agreement between the hotel and county that would permit the county to in effect sell use of Bear Creek Park for $1,500 a month for a period of 20 years. This proposal seems problematic on many levels, beginning with the propriety of locating horses and stables in a quiet residential neighborhood alongside a busy thoroughfare. Issues like odors, flies, rodents, dust attendant to stables, as well as exhaust fumes from buses and service trucks entering and leaving the site are not incidental. Although the property is currently zoned residential, the hotel is seeking a zone change.

Then there are the risks inherent in bringing horses and riders (some likely inexperienced) onto trails heavily used by others, from kids on bikes to strolling senior citizens.

Finally there is the question of whether the county should even be entering into long-term deals that in effect sell all or parts of the park to special interests for commercial purposes. This would seem to violate the spirit, if not the precise language, of the recently enacted conservation easement that prevents sale of the park and preserves it as a public multi-use park forever.

— Roberta McIntyre

Colorado Springs

What's the rush?

Two weeks ago, the mayor's office held a public meeting to discuss a proposal to pass operations of the Colorado Springs Senior Center to the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region. Hundreds attended the meeting and raised serious questions and concerns. Although the city has promised to hold a second public meeting to address the issues, we have yet to hear any follow-up.

When will the next meeting be held? Will it be to provide answers and promote additional dialogue, or will it be just to announce a done deal? And why does outgoing Mayor Steve Bach see this as a priority for his final weeks in office?

I am a 50-year resident of Colorado Springs, and my friends and I frequently participate in classes and activities at the senior center. Sometimes seniors just go there to meet and have coffee. Either way, the center is extremely important to thousands of seniors on limited incomes. It provides a place for us to continue remaining vital and productive as people and citizens.

If the YMCA is going to take over operation of the center and the hundreds of thousands of tax dollars involved, we need more assurance than an offhand comment during a meeting that the organization is going to maintain programs and not charge a membership fee. Rather, the city needs to prepare a strong contract that includes detailed commitments from the YMCA. And, most important, it should let the public see and comment on the contract before it is executed.

The only fair way to do that at this point is to wait until after the election and allow the new city administration to examine this issue and move forward if necessary. The rush to finish the deal before Mayor Bach leaves office just doesn't pass the smell test.

— Audrey Lanosga

Colorado Springs

Gardner's signature

Well, well, well ... Cory (the hand puppet) Gardner has joined in with the mental midgets in the Senate and signed on to that letter to the Ayatollahs in Iran. What a surprise... not!

The most troubling part of the story is that these 47 traitors were supported and elected by people around us. Very troubling, indeed.

— Gene Gustafson

Colorado Springs

A rally for choice

We're appealing to progressive people in our community to participate in a Support Planned Parenthood (PPH) and Choice rally at our only PPH clinic in Colorado Springs. The event will be Friday, March 27, from noon to 3 p.m. near the professional building sign at 3470 Centennial Blvd.

Our very small group, Planned Parenthood Supporters in Colorado Springs, needs your voices and presence to help us counter increasingly strident and intrusive demonstrations against PPH by 40 Days for Life, AbortionNO.com, and the abolitionist movement. These anti-choice, anti-birth-control organizations intend to close down the city's PPH clinic and take away women's access to health care, birth control, and choice in our city.

On March 14 we found ourselves alone — carrying signs to support PPH, effective birth control, responsible sex education, and pro-choice in Colorado Springs. While there, we heard some vicious name-calling and contended with multiple attempts to interfere with our demonstration from the "religious" groups on the other corner.

They didn't just "pray quietly to end abortion," as 40 Days' website claims to be their mission. They stopped people driving from the PPH parking lot and tried to push misinformation pamphlets on them. They chalked huge crosses and hurtful slogans on the sidewalks. Their large signs and shouts proclaimed young women visiting PPH are "murdering their babies" and "sinning against God" with their decisions.

Help us stand strong against these extremists on March 27. As Gandhi said, happiness occurs when what you think, say, and do are in harmony. So make yourself happy by joining us. Print your own signs or carry ours. Even a half hour of carrying a sign to support PPH and women's rights will show that intelligent, reasonable people in Colorado Springs don't agree with these groups and their methods.

— Perry and Irene Luckett

Colorado Springs

Just askin'

How does this country reconcile having the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and at the same time, calling itself "the land of the free and the home of the brave"?

— R. Van Horn

Pueblo

Just askin' II

I heard on the radio that the United Nations had declared March 20 as "Happiness Day."

That's real nice of them, to tell us when to be happy. Will the U.N. also tell us when we should cry?

— Brien Whisman

Colorado Springs

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