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Proud of Pride Fest

To the Editor:

This year was my first experience attending the Pride Fest, something I've been wanting to do since the unfortunate debacle of Amendment Two. A moment of miscommunication turned into what seemed an eternity of terror when I lost track of my 9-year-old daughter, Paige, who marched in the parade.

In my imagination she had been abducted from the "pedophile supporters" by the fanatical religious right and turned over to Social Services.

In actuality it only took the Yellow Shirt Gang With Walkie Talkies about 20 minutes to have Paige rounded up out of the huge crowd and waiting at the bandstand. My sincerest gratitude goes to all these helpful people, along with the policewoman on the bike and "Connie" from All Souls UU Church who patiently walked around with her. Paige, of course, was having a good time.

Pride Fest is a well-organized, safe, festive and enjoyable event. Thanks for the Independent's sponsorship.

-- Pam Brown
Colorado Springs


There is an alternative

To the Editor:

I was simultaneously pleased and dismayed to read Cara DeGette's comments on state Rep. Lynne Hefley's reactionary position on the medical marijuana initiative that will be on this fall's ballot (Public Eye, August 17).

I was pleased because Mrs. Hefley's position is truly reactionary, a shameful disservice to the people of her district, and thoroughly deserving of the savaging to which Ms. DeGette subjected it. Hefley's total misrepresentation of the landmark Institute of Medicine report on the medicinal uses of cannabis sativa should not be allowed to pass unchallenged.

However, I was dismayed that Ms. DeGette's readers were not informed that voters in House District 20 will have the option of not returning Hefley to her seat in the legislature this fall. I know they will have another choice, because that other choice is -- me! But even after excoriating Hefley for her unscientific, narrow-minded opinions on the issue of medical marijuana, DeGette gave not even a hint that Hefley has an opponent in the general election.

Unlike Lynne Hefley and other social conservatives who want to write their personal prejudices into law, and like all other Libertarians, I don't regard letting sick and dying people alleviate their pain and nausea as some kind of "menace" to be fought. On the contrary, I welcome the passage of the state initiative on this subject, just as I would welcome anything else that would loosen the iron grip the disastrous drug war currently has on the people of Colorado. Contrary to Hefley's outrageous statements, it is she, along with other foot-dragging Republicans, who is callously using and abusing grievously ill people in order to promote her heartless political agenda. She is willing to condemn thousands of Colorado residents to slow and painful deaths, just to keep up the pretense that hemp/marijuana prohibition is based on science and reason, when, in fact, it is based on lies and class hatred.

Thanks again for raising the issue, and for showing some of what is wrong with the positions of candidates like Lynne Hefley. But couldn't we hear the rest of the story, too?

-- Ariane M. Hildenbrandt

Libertarian Candidate
State Representative, House District 20


Bambi would love it

To the Editor:

Sell the county parks ("County Considers Big Cuts," August 17)? Since when are they nonessential?

In a society where we are bombarded by corporate messages, publicly owned parks are one of the few places that aren't paid for by advertising. I can imagine a Colorado-Disney parks system. There would be trail markers topped by cute animals, reproductions of which would be for sale in the gift shop. There would be never-ending trail music coming from sweet mechanical birds perched on tree limbs. These adorable birds would also be for sale in the gift shop, along with a plastic nest and eggs. There would be labeled plaster casts (needless to say, also available for sale) of animal tracks on the concrete trails. Back at the Visitors' Center -- no longer a Nature Center -- where you pay big bucks for family admission, there would be a Deep Fry (Lard) Palace franchise. Oh, the attractions there would be! Maybe a carousel (ticket not included with admission) with bears, mountain lions, mule deer and coyotes, just to remind visitors of what used to live there.

As a Nature Center docent, I have had personal contact with some of the thousands of school and Scout groups, families, visitors from all 50 states and many foreign countries, who visit Bear Creek and Fountain Creek annually. There are no gift shops, no vending machines, no welcome sign with ticket booth courtesy of Colorado-Disney (or whoever ponies up the most money). Just nature. Peace. Quiet. There's also precious little litter. Visitors are respectful and appreciative.

Our quality of life is being degraded bit by bit as we hide grandeur with unattractive subdivisions (that might slide down the mountains -- but that's another story), swap our children for a few bucks gained from school vending machines and "lessons" (read brainwashing) provided by corporate sponsors. Privatize the parks? Say it isn't so!

-- Barbara Martin
Manitou Springs


Tesla resources

To the Editor:

What a great article about Tesla ("The Tesla Files," August 17). I agree that way too many people don't appreciate Tesla's legacy. For those interested in more information about Tesla, you might want to check out Tesla: The Modern Sorcerer by Daniel B. Stewart, here: http://www.authorsbookshop.com/tesla.html

I found this to be a very historically accurate and very entertaining book.

-- Derek Hoyle
Ft. Bragg, CA


and more Tesla resources

To the Editor:

I would like to point out that there has been something significant done to recognize Tesla's accomplishments here in the Springs. Specifically, the Smokebrush Foundation's Tesla Project that included the stage production, Tesla: Lost In Thought, the independent short film Tripping the Light Electric, a Web site that covers Tesla's Colorado Springs history ( www.TeslaTheMovie.org) and more.

This extensive project is both significant and permanent in the sense that the film will travel to film festivals and has the potential of enlightening a world outside of and including Colorado Springs. The film was written up in New York-based Filmmaker Magazine (www.filmmakermagazine.com/summer2000/columns/tesla.ht ml). The Denver Post was also inspired to write an article (July 9) about Tesla that coincided with our show.

We are also aware of a few others that have made or are in the process of making films about Tesla. One is supposed to air on PBS this December. Additionally, a technology festival just occurred in Telluride, August 12-14, which revolved around Tesla and his experiments in that area of the state. UFO Magazine just dedicated nearly a whole double issue to Tesla (July/August '00).

I raise my point not to draw accolades to our work, but to illustrate that collective efforts are currently being made to bring Nikola Tesla to the front of people's brains, the Independent included. We are fully supportive of efforts to bring back the museum. I just want to encourage the public to be informed and know what is really out there.

-- Holly Parker
The Smokebrush Foundation


Deep doggie doo-doo

To the Editor:

Today was like many mornings. I was weeding my garden when a woman and her dog walked by. The woman had a leash in hand but it wasn't attached to the dog's collar. I commented to her that the dog needed to be leashed whereupon she told me to mind my own business.

It is my business when the law is being broken in front of my house. However, these caring pet owners have called me "bitch" and other, unprintable, comments when I pointed out their omission.

The leash laws are intended to protect the animal, the owner and the people and other pets that come in contact with the animal. I have had to rescue my neighbor when an unleashed dog threatened her at the door of her house and the owner was nowhere to be found.

Despite arguments to the contrary, even the best-trained dog can be frightened or can chase after a cat, squirrel or another dog and get run over by a car if the dog is not leashed.

I'm curious whether the dog owners who don't feel the need to leash their pets enjoy walking in dog crap in their yard or having their children play in it. I would bet that they don't like it any more than I do. Their desire for freedom for their pets means I have less freedom in my yard. I wonder how they'd react if roles were reversed. Or, their children were bitten by an unleashed dog.

I've heard comments from dog owners about freedom to walk their pets. Unfortunately, I've heard few acknowledge that with freedom comes responsibility. These same people would blame a driver for hitting their pet even though they don't see fit to leash the animal. And, few, if any, seem to take the time to pick up after their pets after they "do their business."

What about my right to enjoy my yard, or my neighbors' to enjoy theirs?

-- Sally Grim-Concheff
Colorado Springs

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