Problem solved

To the Editor:

When I read last week's letter from Kim Owens [Dec. 13-19] bemoaning the lack of "a vibrant musical community," "original music" and "live venues supporting original artists" in Colorado Springs, I could not help but think, "Gee, sounds like this town needs more house concerts."

-- Rob Gordon
Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The author oversees the Society for the Promotion of Live Music in Small Venues, which sponsors concerts in his Colorado Springs home.

Struggle for truth

To the Editor:

I personally want to thank you for a moving article ["She: Connie's struggle for dignity and family," Nov. 8]. I happened upon it while doing a search for [my] organization. Only through those who make a stand and through those media resources that portray the truth about the transgender parent's struggle will change come about.

Please keep up the great work.

-- Paula Funatake
Portland, Ore.

Editor's note: The author is the founder of TransParentcy, a reference and support group for transgender parents.

Team effort

To the Editor:

In regards to Rachel Hopper's recent letter regarding a take of four peregrine falcons in Colorado for falconry [Letters, Dec. 6]: the population of peregrines in Colorado has recovered much more quickly and completely than anyone thought they would when the original five-year monitoring period was first proposed for the "no take" of peregrines.

Ms. Hopper mentions "a tremendous amount of time and money ... went into this recovery" -- what wasn't mentioned was that much of it was by the falconry community or past falconers. The project head for the Rocky Mountain Region Peregrine recovery is a falconer and biology professor at CC; the World Bird of Prey Center in Boise, Idaho was founded by and is run by practicing falconers and was key to the Colorado peregrine recovery.

Many birds used in peregrine captive breeding for release efforts were originally willingly donated by falconers. Their releases were facilitated by falconers through donations of transmitters for tracking the young peregrine chicks.

The success of the peregrine recovery was a joint effort by falconers and non-falconers alike. Falconers' request for consideration of only four chicks represents a tiny fraction (likely less than 1 percent of the total annual production of wild peregrines in Colorado). Should peregrines ever be needed for release in the future, falconry birds can be a source for captive breeding and release again.

I also ask that readers contact the Colorado Wildlife Commission before their decision on Jan. 10 and let them know that you do want them to approve the take of the four peregrine nestlings for falconry, which will allow these birds to become part of the peregrine gene pool in captivity. Send comments to: Colorado Wildlife Commission, c/o Human Dimensions Unit, Colorado Division of Wildlife, 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216. You may e-mail comments directly to: wildlife.comm@state.co.us.

Thanks to everyone who appreciates, treasures and worries about the wild raptors we have in abundance in the great state of Colorado.

-- Dan Cecchini Jr.
Black Forest


To the Editor:

Thank you, Kathryn Eastburn, for your column in the Dec. 13 issue of the Independent. It had made me cry, but that's OK because your words have struck a familiar chord in my own heart and soul. These holidays do feel different, don't they? With so much dying and so much suffering, it is no wonder that the "spirit of the holidays" seems to be one of sadness and mourning this year. And there are no enemies, are there? Every side has death and dying. We are all human beings having a devastating experience. A few pages back in this same issue (p. 16), there is a quote: "The fact of the matter is, man is a warlike being." -- Retired Air Force Gen. Howell Estes. I sigh as I read that because I know in my heart and soul that his statement is a myth. We are not warlike beings. Since World War II, the majority of casualties have not been the soldiers in any conflict. They have been women, children and civilians. At what point do we, the women and civilians, rise up and declare, "Enough!"? I, for one, have had enough war, terrorism, hangings, burnings, and other acts of violence. I, for one, encourage the "warlike beings" of the world to talk, listen and compromise. I urge them to hold babies to know nurturing and compassion. I urge them, like you, to look into their family members' eyes this holiday season and "draw comfort." I know I will be with my husband and grown children this holiday season. I will hold my grandbabies and nurture them with love and peace. I only wish I could promise them a nurturing and safe world.

-- Sharon Hamand
Colorado Springs

Filling the kettles

To the Editor:

Why aren't Focus employees out there ringing bells?

Several weeks ago, local television stations broadcast appeals for bell-ringers for the Salvation Army, saying the Army would not be able to make its usual holiday collection this year since it didn't have enough volunteers to staff the kettles.

James Dobson should be assigning his Focus on the Family employees to this duty, since his actions may have contributed to this lack of volunteers by forcing the Army to adopt an unpopular policy. The December issue of Church & State describes the frantic reaction of Focus to an earlier announcement by the Salvation Army that they planned to start offering domestic-partnership benefits to gay employees. They were doing this to avoid losing government funding in communities that have passed measures requiring such benefits. The Army, which is organized as a religious denomination, released a statement saying that it does not approve of gay unions but asserting that it sees a difference between its officers, who are members of the denomination's clergy, and its civilian employees, who may or may not be church members.

This is apparently something that Dobson cannot understand, because he issued a statement blasting this decision and rallied his troops to bombard the Army's headquarters with phone calls and letters. Tom Minnery, FOF's vice president for public policy, was especially shrill, calling the policy shift "an appeasement of sin" and said Army officials' defense of it was "monstrous," "egregious" and "disgusting."

This put the Salvation Army between the proverbial rock and a hard place, as other religious right groups began to add their disapproval. Finally they capitulated, rescinding that policy and limiting health care benefits to spouse and dependent children. This of course restricts their funding, since they agreed to reject any contracts that require domestic-partner benefits. Bravely, they say, "We prayerfully accept the challenge to seek funding and continue our ministry that will not compromise any of our principles."

So is Dobson offering any monetary assistance from FOF to make up for this deficit? Does he plan to fill the empty kettles? The least he could do is assign his employees to bell-ringing detail this holiday season!

-- Janet Brazill
Colorado Springs

An American travesty

To the Editor:

While the leaders of this proud country are going about the world solving others' and our problems, there is a huge internal problem that is a national disgrace. For several hundred years our government (that is us) has used and badly abused American Indians physically, mentally, emotionally, culturally and spiritually. Now we can add financially, because our government, mainly through the Interior Department, has misappropriated over $10 billion from their trust fund.

For the past 10 years our government has been stonewalling in dealing with them. Because our government intentions in this matter are not honorable, the American Indians have had to hire attorneys to litigate this through the courts, and it is still ongoing. As of today the courts have sided with them. Therefore, 300,000 American Indians have been deprived of their own moneys.

Because of this and other government actions, American Indians have the highest poverty and unemployment rates of any subculture.

So, $10 billion will go a long way in alleviating the serious situation. We now need our government to cooperate with the American Indians. To do otherwise will be un-American. So, it's up to Congress and the president to address this in an expedient matter. This is not a matter of money in and of itself. It's a matter of the government's attitudes about serving its people -- all its people!

-- Bob Bock
Colorado Springs

Poisoning the well

In Colorado Springs the water department
Feels it needs to our water augment
Adding fluorine just a bit per liter
Would make our children's smiles so much sweeter.

Fluorine is a halogen, known by every chemist able.
Found in column seven of the periodic table
Possessing unparalleled electronegativity
Fluorine is a poison with a destiny

Fluorine contributes to our teeth's resistance without dismay
To that scourge of dentists: tooth decay
For fluorine to perform this magic feat
A simple reaction must occur; we cannot cheat.

You see, our teeth are made of apatite, a mineral with hardness five,
Constructed from atoms of calcium, phosphorous and oxygen, that's no jive.
But tagging along to complete the charge, is a hydroxyl
But substituting fluorine for it, makes our teeth harder still.

For this chemical reaction to reach culmination
fluorine requires a topical application
In tiny amounts, over the teeth aflowing,
Of substantive results there is no showing.

And so to our water they wish to add,
A bit of fluorine, but this makes me sad.
When added to the water we drink
Fluorine does not bit of good, except to raise a stink.

You see, like its cousin chlorine, fluorine also bonds
With organic matter found a the bottom of water's ponds
Creating a known carcinogen with a simple name
An organic compound called trihalomethane

This compound too is monitored by the EPA
And adds its potent poison to the water pollution fray
But ingest these fluids, you should not
Lest you wish to have surgically removed the bowels you got.

-- Brian Penn
Colorado Springs

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