Rare character

I want to let you know how much I enjoyed reading Noel Black's cover story last week on Bill Cummins. Bill really is the irascible, lovable, rare and talented character Noel paints so perceptively. Writer and subject harmonized in the article. A fair and open thing was done.

Giving the time and space of your paper to appreciating the real people resources and identity of our community is always the greatest refreshment -- like investing in the soul of things without concern for cost or monetary return. I can almost remember when that was the fair and common way.

Such a gift! Thanks! Keep doing that.

-- Sean O'Meallie

Department of Visual and Performing Arts


Unanswered questions

As I am living in the Black Forest, I read Cara DeGette's column last week on "The road to Pottersville" with much interest.

Does this county (or any county) have the legal right to condemn any property for any purpose? Then whom does the condemned property belong to? Is it paid for at the going rate for property in this area, or is it a free gift? Why should the taxpayers of this county have to pay a high-class Denver law firm a hefty fee to straighten out the mess? Aren't there better priorities for the money spent to improve existing roads, schools, etc.?

All this mess sounds like some type of payoff somewhere! It shows that our county commissioners aren't always acting in the best interest of the county as a whole. It looks like a lot of inflated egos are involved. I can hardly wait to see what is coming next.

DeGette did a good job on the story, but a lot of questions remain unanswered.

-- Grady Coker

Colorado Springs

How can they do that?

Thank you for Stephen D. Harris' fine piece on protecting our park budget [Your Turn, Dec. 4-10]. However it was very disturbing to learn that the city is now going to use state lottery money for salaries rather than for acquiring new land. How can they do that?

The city is also using an increased percentage of TOPS tax money for salaries. As his price for not opposing the TOPS proposal at the polls, then mayoral candidate Lionel Rivera demanded an increase percentage in TOPS money for routine maintenance (not salaries) in city parks.

Both of these are examples of chicken officials subverting money from their agreed-upon purpose to routine items that should be provided for out of general revenue. That is not leadership; that is following the path of least resistance.

Many of us live here to enjoy and participate in our grand environment. We have officials who just don't get it. I for one am willing to pay what is required.

-- Dale L. Kemmerer, M.D.

Colorado Springs

Using the Bible

In the Dec. 4 issue of the Independent, Terje Langeland writes in his article, "FBI spying widespread [News, Dec. 4-10], "Springs police have not received training from Fisher, though they do use a manual titled Civil Disturbance and Criminal Tactics of Protest Extremists, Arms said." What I did say to him was that we had received this manual and our tactical unit had looked at it for information to see how it compared to our current tactics. We never did any training on it.

To show the difference a small word makes let me use an analogy. Let's say that someone sends the Independent a Bible and someone there opens it up to look at it to see what is in it and files it away for whatever reason.

Would it then be accurate to say now that the Independent uses the Bible? I would suggest that is not an accurate statement as is the statement that we use the above manual is not an accurate statement. But you can see how different deliberate pictures can be painted by word choice.

-- Lt. Skip Arms

Public Information Officer

Colorado Springs Police Department

America has given up

I feel for once like I am not the only crusading energizer bunny. After reading the article about Mike Callicrate [This cattleman's got a beef ... Nov. 20-26], I feel vindicated for my often-unfortunate penchant for locking horns with intimidating opponents for some vitally important reason or another. The plaintiffs have my moral support and my commitment to be a discriminating food consumer (in a quality-oriented way).

My support does not come from an intimate knowledge of agricultural production. It stems from the conviction that I know a good fight when I see one. Mr. Callicrate and his fellow plaintiffs have chosen a to take a stand against the debilitating control of the large meat packers for a basic reason. They are tired of getting shafted and they're taking their problems to the source to make it stop.

I wish that my fellow Americans were all like-minded, but that is just a wish. I have only lived a quarter of a century and I already feel a profound sense of loss of basic human integrity. The integrity I mean is reflected in Mr. Callicrate's observation that apathy is driving the market. I will go on to say that apathy is driving the American culture. We all have seen some really terrible things happen for a long time simply because most people just don't see the point in making a big deal out of anything.

I still feel that as a whole America has given up. We are a country of masses that are content to ignore the basic needs of a truly good life in favor of cheap materialism. We cope with the harmful effects of the daily injustices that we ignore by using passive-aggressive retaliation.

I hope that Mr. Callicrate finds the justice that he seeks.

-- Diane Williams

Colorado Springs

Have some backbone

It sure was amusing to read all the excuses people can waffle up for not buying organic food ["IQ," Nov. 20-26].

I bet most of them could afford the latest computers, CDs and gasaholic vehicles. What's really amusing is to see how many cases of organic food get chucked every night in a city the size of Colorado Springs by "overstocked" health-food emporia.

Have a little backbone, folks, put out the extra effort to check out your more organic options in housing, clothing, transport, music, education, health, and all the rest.

It may go against the grain of corporate-conditioned convenience, but doing so you may find a bit of self-respect, at the very least, for paying your dues to the world's future.

-- Slim Wolfe

Villa Grove, Colo.

Close the schools

I'm a concerned grandmother.

Please use your influence to get the El Paso County Health Department to close our public schools until they get a handle on this rampant flu invasion. It has become pandemic, with many dying in Europe, too.

Before our hospitals and doctors are overwhelmed, our schools need to be closed before we lose more children to this dreadful disease. Our children need to live to get their education.


-- Rosemary Evans

Colorado Springs

Library misguided

Mr. Aponte and the library board wanted to name a branch after Laura Bush [Public Eye, Nov. 6-12].

WHY? I suggest that they name a branch after Clarence and Peggy Shivers who have done much for our libraries for many years.

-- Angelo Christopher

Colorado Springs

A positive message

Thank you for publishing the article by Doris Bittar "Betty Crocker, not Bin Laden" [Notes from Home, Nov. 27-Dec. 3].

Like her, I am an Arab-American woman frustrated by the misconceptions concerning Arab women. Many of my female cousins and friends living in the Middle East are doctors, dentists, bankers, lawyers, managers, teachers, journalists and businesswomen. Some even live in Saudi Arabia and are free to work within their professions.

Although in public most Middle Eastern societies are male dominated, in the home, like here, it is the women who rule the household and have a strong influence on their husbands. I recently traveled to the Middle East after a five-year absence and was pleased to see the positive changes in women's lives.

In these difficult times, the least Arab-Americans can do is try to educate people and put an end to the common misconceptions. Our role is to bring understanding between both cultures.

--Ruba Sadi

Colorado Springs

Eye to the future

The president's Thanksgiving visit to the troops in Iraq was a great bit of electioneering, designed to "play in the sticks" and bring out the flag wavers.

While a nice gesture, a far more substantive undertaking would be to meet with the fledgling Iraqi Council or visit with some ordinary citizens or children in a hospital. This would earn President Bush credibility at home and abroad. Instead, his trip underscores the administrations' lack of understanding the reality of the situation in Iraq.

This war was never for the benefit of the Iraqi people. Every action the administration has taken since its motives have been called into question and since its support has been dwindling is pointed toward November 2004.

-- Dan Wiencek

Colorado Springs

Real World 101

It's unusual for me to take on the task of trying to be published; but I feel so strongly about some of the issues and the positions taken on those issues by many of our local politicians.

Affirmative action touches the deepest chambers of my heart and soul; therefore, I was unable to restrain myself from attempting to express my opinions to a wider audience.

Since coming on the political scene, state Sen. Ed Jones has strongly spoken out against several issues that recommend any form of relief for African-American minorities. Affirmative action is just one of the social issues he has strongly opposed; he has been able to do so without a strong outpouring of disbelief from African-Americans and other minorities. I find this lack of outpouring unacceptable.

It is time for Sen. Jones to be given an "Introduction to the Real World." If only the problems of this nation were as uncomplicated as stated by Sen. Jones in the July 24 Denver Post, wherein he asserted, "It's time to judge on merit," there would be no need for my great concerns.

For your information, I am a 68-year-old African American male. I was born and raised in segregated Georgia during the most difficult times of my life. I retired from the U.S. Army after 22 years of service; I served in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts/wars.

I have been a resident of Colorado Springs for over 40 years and for years have dedicated my life to improving the well-being of all citizens in this state and in this great nation.

-- Franklin D. Clay

Colorado Springs

Time for a soak

Did Jesus seek savoring a soak in a hot mineral spring when he toiled too much among lilies of the field? I do. I need and I want a soak at Mt. Princeton hot springs.

A preacher-neighbor is soon heading to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., via the South Dakota Black Hills. I suggested a soak at Evans Plunkie in South Dakota for him and his wife.

Humans need ideals, not idols. We need to be careful we don't make hot springs of the Mayo Clinic into idols, same for Jesus. Or the Twin Towers, Golden Arches, Elvis, Sinatra, Mao, Mr. Rushmore, Crazy Horse.

I believe in savoring life, not "being saved." As a Saturday Review cartoon once said: "You can quote me, but don't go around making a religion out of it."

-- Howard Johnson

Colorado Springs

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