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Headed for Canada

In his column "Occupational hazard" (As the Village Turns, Aug. 5), Rich Tosches says that there are about 5,000 mountain lions in Colorado, most of whom experts say "don't want anything to do with humans."

If current population growth trends continue (3.5 million increase by 2025), those 5,000 misanthropic cats and other wildlife will have to get used to more and more human contact. And so will we.

As to scaring that cat by making yourself look bigger, maybe the developer's welcome wagon can issue a 10-foot-tall inflatable figure. Oh never mind, with several million more residents, today's quiet running trail will be so crowded that the cats will head for Canada. Problem solved.

-- Marty Lich

Gypsum, Colo.

Crocodile tears

Regarding John Hazlehurst's "Enough to make you weep" (Outsider, July 22):

Hazlehurst brings a tear concerning developers grinding up open space like a combine in a Kansas wheat field. For further evidence of destruction of Colorado Springs' natural beauty, look west to the open mining scars across the mountains. It's further proof that humanity has little regard for natural beauty and would rather make a buck at the expense of all of us. Those ugly marks will last for centuries.

But the bigger tear must be shed for our offspring who will be living in a Colorado with an added 4 million people within the next 50 years.

They'll suffer gridlock, polluted air, sprawl, water shortages and much worse as big-money people encourage runaway population growth. India, China and Bangladesh ignored their exploding populations 50 years ago and now, their citizens suffer relentless misery at subsistence-level living. We're headed in the same direction.

-- Frosty Wooldridge

Louisville, Colo.

Standing ovation

I was at the gym today, and while I was waiting for my father to come pick me up, I started skimming the Independent that was on a nearby stand. I flipped directly to the theater section, which is my favorite.

I read Andrea Lucard's review on Secret Garden (Theater, Aug. 5) and was truly overjoyed. As part of the cast (Fakir), my day was made by your article. So many reviewers have a tainted view of the Youth Repertory Theatre Program because, you know, we are just kids, right? Wrong. I have also read articles by journalists who have not attended the productions, but still feel the need to point out that because we are amateurs the show must be watered down and of poor quality.

Thank you for taking the time to see our marvelous production, and writing so positively about it. Readers need to know that shows done at the Fine Arts Center are very professional and worthwhile. So thank you, and continue to support live theater!

-- Alexander Creegan Betka

Colorado Springs

Dirty looks

I just wanted to say thank you to Martin Booe for the "Generation ME ME ME" article (Cover story, July 29). About time somebody pointed out what is so obvious to many of us.

My husband is an educator and has seen his share of parents that do not want to take responsibility for their kids or simply make up excuses -- "kids will be kids." Needless to say, more and more parents blame the school system, or something else, for their kids' behavior.

I have to admit, I am guilty for talking to kids that are acting up in public places or at a friend's home. Many times my husband reminds me that "one of these days!" I'm going to get in trouble. Usually a kind word from a stranger is enough to surprise the kid and divert the attention from whatever is causing the tantrum. But it is also very surprising when the parent gives me a dirty look.

We all hear the public outrage when a kid is hurt. Where was the schoolteacher, the caretaker, the neighbors -- didn't anybody see what was happening? I tell you where they were, quiet in a corner ignoring the situation because we won't intervene thinking of what Mom or Dad might do.

Mom and Dad lose patience with me -- we can talk as adults. Mom and Dad lose patience with the kid -- then what?

Sorry Mom and Dad! You can keep your dirty looks. I like kids, and because of this I will continue to talk to kids whenever needed.

-- Enid Ruiz

Via the Internet

The other side

Having just read Martin Booe's "Generation ME ME ME," let me present the other side of the coin.

My wife and I have two elementary school age children, both adopted with diagnosed ADHD. Several years ago, our family took the historic train ride from Skagway up the Yukon Pass taken by gold miners at the turn of the century. The children enjoyed the ride, but on the return trip, our daughter, who was about 2 1/2 years old, became tired, cranky and visibly unruly. Rather than let her disturb the other passengers by running around in the aisles, I tried to control her by holding her with me in my seat. She resisted and fought. While I was trying to gain the upper hand in this situation, and obviously under some stress, a German tourist chose that moment to make a thickly accented snide comment about me taking her on the train ride.

Believe me when I tell you that I generally agree with Booe and tell my children "no" quite often, usually punctuated with corporal discipline. But there are true child-haters out there, and Booe and his friend Maria making their nasty comments does not help the parent who is truly trying to control their child.

-- Bryce Mibeck

Victorville, Calif.

Common courtesy

I agree with the points of view expressed in "ME, ME, ME" (Cover story, July 29), but I've also come to some completely different conclusions.

Let's quit blaming boomers. Most parents of 2- and 3-year-olds today are not boomers -- they are in their 30s or even their 20s. These parents are not the children of the '50s and '60s. They may be children of the '70s but they grew up in the Reagan years -- the years celebrating unbridled selfish greed.

Let's quit blaming working mothers -- I know a lot of stay-at-home moms who are the worst offenders. They are often the ones who let their kids watch television when they're at home so they can get a little peace.

Wimpy parents? If that mother on the plane really wanted her child quiet, she would have found a way. You can't tell a 2-year-old "no" and expect results. You can leave stimulating toys in the suitcase and read a quiet story instead. There are lots of solutions -- I found them.

But then, I don't raise my voice in restaurants so the people at the next table can appreciate how cool I am.

My dad was born in 1917 -- when my parents' friends came over, I was expected to dress nicely, sit, listen, respond politely (and silently hope to be excused so I could go read a book).

And most of all, let's stop seeing children so negatively -- I'm much more annoyed in theaters by adults who decide they can't get through the feature without food or bathroom relief than a child. Adults are constantly coming, going, talking, shining the light from their cell phone in my eyes. Most adults today of any generation seem to think any admonition to courtesy is an unwarranted assault on their rights.

And as for "why the wind blows," I'll take that discussion over the kind of idea-free, consumption-obsessed, one-upmanship that passes for adult conversation any day.

-- Nethery Wylie

Colorado Springs

Not a four-letter word

"Hip! Hip! Hurrah!" for your July 29 article on the Me! Me! Me! Generation!

At 48 (proudly), I am at the tail end of the "Boomer/Flower Power" Generation, and, although raised during the Spock-mania time, my mother considered him a quack and did not follow his suggestions or advise -- something I will be eternally grateful for.

Although I did not totally agree with my parents' generation's belief in corporal punishment, when my daughter was 2 and chose to have a temper tantrum in the middle of a department store, a firm "No" and a gentle pat on the bottom (the first) not only ended the tantrum that day, but for good -- not so with my son, who turned around, fists clenched and red faced, and hit me (also at 2) ... his best treatment was a "time out." That just goes to show children are unique.

"No" is not a "four-letter word," and for the mother who said her 2-year-old could not understand her (and for all who agree with that opinion) I say: Shame on you for underestimating and discounting that child's intelligence! They may not understand the words you say, at that age, but they certainly do understand the tone of voice.

Without loving guidance and gentle discipline, how will a child grow to be a positive part of this world -- knowing right action from wrong action?

It is wrong to hit (anything or anyone); it is wrong to kick (ditto); it is wrong to bite. Why? Because it is wrong to cause harm, period.

P.S.: One word lacking in the article that I feel is key to the changes -- respect.

-- Sandra G. Ginther

Colorado Springs

Too much sense

Regarding CSAP Summer Madness:

While few will deny the usefulness of standardized testing, many realize that no single test, no matter how we tweak it, can tell us much about school effectiveness.

Teachers are the ones most likely to know whether or not students have improved over time. For one thing, they know their students. For another, they know how to use portfolios of student work, tests (both teacher-made and standardized) and other evaluative tools to make such determinations.

Politicians are not trained, nor are they in a position to make such decisions. That's one reason we try to hire the best teachers, isn't it? Yet we continue to devote millions of dollars to the CSAP, hoping for good results, instead of spending it on teacher preparation and real accountability.

And wouldn't it be nice if we could spend some of this money locally to eliminate unsafe or unsanitary conditions, lower class size, stock libraries with exciting books, and, in many other ways, improve educational environments and increase possibilities for our children?

But that would make too much sense, wouldn't it?

-- Patricia Richard-Amato

Woodland Park

Hooray for politicians

I just wanted to publicly extend a warm hand of gratitude to city council members Larry Small, Jerry Heimlicher, Darryl Glenn, Scott Hente, Margaret Radford and Tom Gallagher for sticking with (at all costs) developers.

Their mantra seems to be "Onward! To the future destruction of our city. Keep building!! We need the additional tax base!" Who gives a damn that our roads can't support the growth, the infrastructure is crumbling, there's not enough water, the pollution is growing worse, and crime is up.

Hooray guys! Glad our best interest is at heart. Now we are informed by Colorado Springs Utilities of its intent on substantially raising costs next year. Don't the people of Colorado Springs feel it's time to get rid of these anti-citizen elected officials in favor of more citizen-friendly ones?

-- Kathy Higgins

Colorado Springs

Where was Hightower?

Just where was the Jim Hightower, peace activist, war condemner, at the recent Hightower love fest at the 1st Congregational Church?

About the only reference to war he made, he compared needed American social programs to bringing democracy to Iraq. The "bringing democracy to Iraq" line comes right out of the propaganda of Bush. I expected more of Hightower. Seems we need to publicly educate both him and Bush. War mentality at home and abroad does not build democracy nor does it build peace.

I feel he focused too much of his energy on jobs and selling his book, nipping at Bush's heels, and not giving enough credit to liberal's contributions to peace, justice and democracy.

-- Howard Johnson

Lake George

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