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Public opinion ignored

I was happy to see last week's article on mountain lion management in Colorado. The effort you made to help educate the public on the dangers of living in mountain lion country is laudable.

I was, however, disappointed that some very important political and biological issues were ignored that should have been investigated further. I was also disappointed that the viewpoints of Sinapu were given a surface examination, but that folks like Wendy Keefover-Ring (the leader inside Sinapu that oversees mountain lion issues) was not given a chance to speak for herself.

Colorado public opinion has been largely ignored on this issue. Did you know that the Colorado Division of Wildlife issued their press release regarding mountain lion management public meetings less than a week before the actual dates of the meeting? This is designed to do one thing: make sure that very few people actually show up.

Did you know that various cattleman's associations have been one of the driving forces behind the current high hunting quotas on mountain lions? Did you know that the mountain lion hunting season takes place during the time of year when mothers have dependent young?

Sadly, when it comes to mountain lion populations in the state, the CDOW is passing off pure guesswork on population health and numbers as "We have a healthy lion population." What?

Mountain lions are a keystone species here in the southern Rocky Mountain ecosystem. "Keystone" is not just a buzzword; it is a reality that folks here in the West must understand if they want the ecosystem here to remain healthy. I applaud your paper for educating the public on this issue. I hope, however, that in the future you will give organizations like Sinapu a chance to personally give their side of the issue.

-- Ben Willman

Colorado Springs

Nearly speechless

Re: Your April 22 cover story about the Preble's mouse:

I'm nearly speechless. All I can say is, this is journalism at its best. Thank you so much for all of the research you did, and for telling the whole story.

Thanks from all of us at CNE.

-- Erin Robertson, staff biologist

Center for Native Ecosystems

Denver

Best in category

Thanks a ton for such a comprehensive article on the Preble's mouse. Quite simply this is the best article I've ever seen from any source on this subject.

-- Jeff Kessler

Biodiversity Conservation Alliance

Laramie, Wyo.

More squeaking

I wanted to drop you a line to say nice job on the Preble's story. It's by far the most comprehensive story I've seen yet on the issue. Good journalism!

-- Laura Holtman

Public Relations Manager

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Column was one-sided

It is unfortunate you did not do better research or validate the credibility of your sources for "The Global Underground," (last week's Public Eye column concerning GLOBE Charter School). As you know, every story and every complaint has two sides, and you did a community disservice by allowing the employee-teacher to present her side without requiring her to open her personnel record.

After you interviewed Marilyn Borom, a present board member, you chose to print one minor statement that did not address the crux of the matter. You never spoke with Michelle Leggitt-Fein, the school's director. But you allowed Ms. Wood to expound on her story without challenge.

I am a community member familiar with GLOBE Charter school, having served on the board of directors for two years. I know the academic history, the caring staff and the very dedicated administration.

As you know, personnel matters are not available for public scrutiny unless the employee chooses to waive confidentiality. Ms. Wood did not wish to have an open hearing and she has not consented to the opening of her personnel records. By refusing to do so, she has manipulated not only the students and parents, but your newspaper as well.

Students at GLOBE are in a safe school and are getting a good education. Unfortunately, the Independent has allowed a disgruntled employee to discredit an entire school while taking advantage of the fact that neither GLOBE's board nor the administration can speak about the very valid and legitimate reasons for their action.

-- Lynette Reagan

Colorado Springs

Real World 201

I have been reading the Independent for a long time and I was under the impression that I was reading well-researched, quality journalism. After reading last week's Public Eye, I am seriously questioning that belief.

It is true that Dina Wood has a lot of supporters, but they, like you, either don't know all of the facts, or do not understand personnel confidentiality issues within a school and are misled by dishonest people.

When Ms. Dina joined the board of directors many students felt that she had an inflated sense of power and she was neglecting her teaching. The truth is that the reasons for Ms. Dina's suspension are unknown because the administration is not vengeful, and did their job.

Welcome to Real World 201 -- People are dishonest!

-- Zachary Flickinger

Colorado Springs

GLOBE is great

I am writing in response to Cara DeGette's column, "The global underground." As a former 3rd/4th grade teacher at GLOBE charter school, I would like to passionately report that GLOBE is one the best places I have worked.

It saddens me that one version of recent events at GLOBE could do more harm than good to an already tenuous situation by adding fuel to a fire based more on emotion than facts. Had Ms. DeGette spoken to an administrator, she may have received a clearer picture of all that has transpired at GLOBE regarding a recent board of directors decision to place a teacher on administrative leave.

Through my own experience at GLOBE, I am confident that the administration is professional and ethical and would not willfully dismiss a teacher without just, documented and informed reasons.

-- Aubrey Fennewald

Colorado Springs

The only one left

Thank you for bringing the unfortunate situation at GLOBE to light. In the event you had the slightest doubt about your article, I can without hesitation tell you that what you reported about Dina Wood's treatment is true, and that every allegation on that flyer has substance.

As a result of your column, the administration of GLOBE Charter School has threatened to arrest Dina if she appears on the school premises without "preauthorized" permission. The school committed funds to pay an attorney to draft this letter, without the permission of the board.

So, what could they possibly do to top that? They cannot find a substitute teacher who is willing to fill in for Dina through the end of the school term. Jan Songer, the assistant director (qualifications in English unknown), is covering the class. Michelle Leggitt-Fein, the director, is on continued paid sick leave. The school secretary is the only one left to run the school. If she has to go to the district on official business, perhaps we can find a kindergartner to write our charter renewal for us. Nobody is left.

-- Mikki Gaddy

Colorado Springs

The author is a teacher at GLOBE charter school.

Dodging sheep

This is in response to Nancy Shaw's letter from last week's issue, titled "A few questions."

1. Just because we have Focus on the Family, The World Prayer Center and other religious institutions, we can't have liquor stores? We are not in Utah where alcohol can only be bought in restaurants. What planet did you come from?

2. As far as the meth labs: Yes, Colorado Springs does seem to have a few meth labs popping up on the radar. However, compared to say, Los Angeles or New York, we probably have less. What does Focus on the Family have to do with meth labs? I see no correlation in your thought process.

3. Colorado Spring's drivers are no worse than any other city of the same size. Yes, we do have a few bad apples. Your luck to being in the wrong place at the wrong time seems higher than most. Perhaps a course in defensive driving is in order.

4. Claiming to be a transplant and not indicating where you were transplanted from, I can only speculate you came from a smaller or more conservative city and to claim Colorado Springs as a bizarre city is absurd.

This city is one of the best I've lived in and I have lived many places over the last 30 years; Orlando, Tucson, Las Vegas, Biloxi, Albuquerque, and two countries: Germany and Turkey. If you want to complain about drivers, try driving in Turkey. They turn two lane highways into four lane highways while dodging sheep, goats, cows and other animals in the process.

-- Gail Vaught

Colorado Springs

The last minority

This is to the 14-year-old letter writer, Taylor Delph, who complained last week that the Atheist Alliance convention held here over Easter weekend offended delicate Christian sensibilities:

We freethinkers feel no need to apologize for meeting where and when we choose. Colorado Springs is not a religious state, so the comparison to a visit to a Muslim country is inappropriate.

Nontheists are, in a society that prides itself on freedom of speech, the last minority against whom discrimination is still considered acceptable by many. We are atheists by conscience, because we can find no evidence to support religious claims, and no truth or honesty in religious beliefs of any kind.

Yet the Christians are in our faces every hour of every day, with mentions of their God on our money, churches on every corner, expressions like "thank god" and "god bless" in almost every conversation; even a sneeze brings a Christian "bless you." A huge cross sits on top of the hill above my house, and I have to pass beneath it nearly every day, reminding me that the majority of the human race still clings to primitive, unreasoned superstition. That is their right in a free society. But those of us who try to live according to reason and science have the right to gather together and to express ourselves as well, and no one can deny us that right.

So complain if you want to; we will continue to stand up for ourselves in good conscience under all attacks.

-- Doris Drisgill

Colorado Springs

Horse patootie

Jacob Boenisch's letter of April 22, "Miracle of Freedom," asserts that "we're in Iraq to give birth to the miracle of freedom and democracy."

This is a load of horse patootie. For one thing, you do not pre-emptively invade a sovereign nation under false pretenses and lies to occupy them, and then force freedom down their throats at the point of guns or -- in the U.S. imperialist aggressors' case -- "Shock and Awe." There is no kind of authentic freedom that comes from such belligerence and contempt of the international community and rule of law.

The fact is that the U.S. aggressor occupiers in Iraq are little different from the Germans after invading Poland in 1939.

The U.S. capitalist aggressors invaded purely to destroy Iraq's existing infrastructure, so they could rebuild it using contracts handed out to the likes of Halliburton, GE and so on. There is no "desire for freedom" here, but desire for huge profits. It's a pity our soldiers have been sold this stupid bill of goods to risk life and limb over.

As for evacuating Vietnam, we did it because we essentially lost the war by losing the hearts and minds of the populace. Lost it by napalming their crops and villages, and killing many innocents (such as at My Lai in 1969), in other words repeating all the crap we're now doing in Iraq -- such as in Fallujah, where we slaughtered over 600 innocents (as confirmed by on-the-scene reporters).

We have no legitimate business in Iraq and are protecting no one's "freedom" -- except maybe Halliburton's to gain as many no-bid contracts as they can to gouge the American taxpayer.

It's time people awakened from their stupor and faced facts for once.

-- Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Camp Amache revisited

I recently read the 11-01-01 story on the Amache detention camp [which can be read online at http://www.csindy. com/csindy/2001-11-01/cover.html]. Jonathon Shikes did an excellent job on the subject. I was married to a Japanese-American, Sandra Miyano, who was born at this camp. She, unfortunately, has passed on, and I was doing some casual searches that would help me understand what her parents and grandparents endured. One of her grandparents died at the camp. Thanks for the article.

-- Ron Saunders

Via the Internet

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