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Lesson learned

As someone who has recently graduated from high school, I would like to express my concern about the vote to eliminate Planned Parenthood from D-11 schools.

Planned Parenthood is an organization that cares deeply for the lives of students, and it would be a shame to bar them from the people they want to help.

I understand the religious concerns for abstinence-only education in schools, but I question on a First Amendment basis how something can be taken out of school on religious grounds. I would also argue that what many believe to be the right way is actually very rarely practical. Teaching children how to prevent pregnancy and STDs through an abstinence-only program is very much like teaching students algebra by showing them how to go to an accountant. They do not know how to deal with a problem, just how to avoid it.

We cannot teach young people about consequence without taking a serious look at what the causes of these consequences are.

-- Michael C. Meyer

Colorado Springs

Word to the wise

Please, our children need wisdom in the area of sexuality. Planned Parenthood offers information without judgment. Most of these children are, or soon will be, sexually active. Ignoring this fact, and putting our heads in the sand, will be a disaster for all of us.

Please support the majority of citizens and Planned Parenthood!

-- Betty Wolfe

Colorado Springs

Fundamental basics

What criteria should you use to make the decision on whether or not to eliminate Planned Parenthood training in the school classroom? My criteria would include the answers to the following questions:

1. What is the objective of the district on this issue? To eliminate costs? To keep attendance high? To reduce sexual activity?

2. What would the impact be to these children if you take away this information? How will it interfere with their primary education? Will there be a higher absentee rate? Will there be a higher pregnancy rate and/or STD rate? This all influences the ability for children to learn.

3. What influences these children to have sex? (This is obvious.)

4. If the objective is to limit sexual activity, do you really think kids are going to abstain from sex by eliminating "Planned Parenthood" information?

5. If the objective is to reduce costs, does the future impact meet the schools objectives of delivering education to girls who may not attend school because of pregnancy or health problems related to not having appropriate information.

My vote is to continue to provide education to these children who will make the appropriate choices for themselves. We all know that parents and religion are not the primary influencing factor on whether these young adults have sex or not -- it is environment and peer pressure. It is a school's primary objective to deliver education. This is basic fundamental education and these students need to have the information.

-- V. Sullivan

Colorado Springs

Complete disaster

I just got wind of your article (cover story, "Honor among thieves," Sept. 9-15 and Sept. 16-22). Amazing. I worked for Landmark Corporation here on Whidbey Island, Wash., I still am dealing with the downfall of Landmark. We never had any answers to what had happened. It was a complete disaster. I ran the office here and was here from the beginning to the (well, it's not done) end. I was hired for the contractor who finished Landmark's screw-up and the bonding company is now trying to recoup its cost from the government here at Whidbey. I enjoyed your article! It makes sense now.

-- Lisa Roberts

Via the Internet

Editor's note: The stories can be read online at http://www.csindy.com/ csindy/2004-09-09/cover.html and at http://www.csindy.com/csindy/2004-09-16/cover.html

Knew all along

My name is Scott Johnson; I was the project manager for Landmark on the Family Housing Contract at Sub-Base Bangor, Wash. After reading your piece on Bill Clary and Doug ( cover story "Honor among thieves," Sept. 9-15 and Sept. 16-22), I couldn't help but shout out loud " I knew it!" I could sit down and tell you about file destruction, document defacing, payment plans to vendors and subs, which was never meant to work.

I personally asked the contracting officer to serve Landmark with a Letter of Concern and was told that they could not and would not. I was ordered to reword the Statement of Compliance for subs so that Landmark wouldn't have to pay for that period ending, hence payment plan. I thought it very strange that Landmark (Bill Clary) insisted on the coordination of billings through out the country at various sites to coincide with each other. Has anyone ever questioned what happened to materials that were stored at a warehouse in Lakewood, Wash.?

Many good people and good companies were devastated in the aftermath of Landmark's wake. This has put a black eye on 8-As and the SBA. I want to thank you for this update -- not much word around the campfire on this.

-- Scott Johnson

Via the Internet

Wrecked society

Your article on post-traumatic stress syndrome among vets returning from Iraq (cover story, April 15-21) was important and revealing, but it left out an even bigger picture.

If a third of the 1 million troops coming home from the Iraq war face a lifelong risk of mental ailments and suicide, what about the 24 million people whose home is the war? They don't receive honorable discharges from living amid gunfire and explosions in a wrecked society.

There are no VA centers treating them. Not one American I've heard or read about has even mentioned PTSD when judging whether our invasion will ultimately be a good thing for the Iraqi people.

Is it wise to do things known to boost the suicide rate to a society where the preferred suicide method (and to many, the only religiously allowed method) is by car bomb? During Vietnam there was a poster, "War is unhealthy for children and other living things." Hey, it's true. Have the hawks forgotten that unhealthy Islamic societies breed America's worst threats?

-- Alan M. MacRobert

Bedford, Mass.

Editor's note: The article can be read online at http://www.csindy.com/ csindy/2004-04-15/cover.html

War and religion

The two hottest and most controversial subjects that dominate the news media almost every day are war and religion. This makes me wonder about the reason for these two enmities being so powerful in the world.

The first thing to come to my mind are the words of Dennis Law who is the writer and director for the Terracotta Warriors. He said this: "I love art because it's the universal language, and people can use art to relate to and understand each other, where politics and religion make people kill each other." What a very wise and truthful statement because over 4,000 years of history says that is so.

I do believe the cause for this comes from Lord Acton's words that all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Then the solution is to somehow, some way restrict the power of both by intervention of those solely dedicated to a nonviolent peace for all people.

-- Bob Bock

Colorado Springs

In the game

Hi. I am a 28-year-old security officer working here in Colorado Springs. I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with developers running our city. I'm not a politician, just your ordinary Joe, but I want to run for mayor in the next election.

I am finding it difficult to find any requirements, or information about getting on the ballot though. I am thinking about pulling a Ben Nighthorse Campbell and running as a Republican and then switching parties after the election. I strongly support the Natural Law Party. If anyone out there has the political skills to get me on the ballot and run my campaign, you have a job with my administration if I win.

I intend to run using only free press and volunteers. It is my intention to show that an office can be won by spreading a sound message and not spending a fortune.

-- Robert Weismantel

Colorado Springs

Lining up

Why do people keep asking me if I'm crazy? I assure you all, both body and spirit are well.

My friends think I'm crazy because I have decided to become a candidate for Colorado Springs City Council. I've decided to run because I'm through waiting for a candidate who will address my concerns and represent my beliefs.

I will advocate for small-business owners by offering a channel through which their concerns can be addressed.

I will push our locally owned utilities company to look toward the future by advocating for renewable energy.

I will voice the concerns of the youth of Colorado Springs by being able to talk to them like a brother, because I share those same concerns.

I will add a progressive voice to the council that represents Colorado Springs to the world.

I will represent the many nonprofit organizations that call Colorado Springs "home."

As a productive and contributing member of society, I will run as Colorado Springs first openly gay candidate, finally allowing citizens to put a face with the word "gay."

Now, I know many of you would like to see me in office, but I'm going to need your help to get me there. Go to www.bobrebello.us to find out how you can lend your much-needed assistance to my campaign. Even if you can't vote for me, I can still use your support!

I will not be able to do it without your voices and your dollars!

Visit my campaign Web site and spread the word: There's a new face with fresh ideas on candidate row!

-- Bob Rebello

Colorado Springs

More cannabis

Marijuana is the only plant with chemicals that mimic the 500-million-year-old endocannabinoid system found in all of us. All body systems (cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, excretory, immune, nervous, reproductive, musculoskeletal), of every human being, are regulated by marijuana-like compounds that we all produce. They are known as endocannabinoids.

Some of us may produce too much in a given system, and most of us appear to make too little. In general, cannabinoids protect us from age-related damage caused by biochemical imbalances often associated with free radicals. Since we are all aging, most of us can benefit from more cannabis activity. People living in modern societies with good public health need less of the inflammatory arm of their immune system and more of the anti-inflammatory arm to protect against cardiovascular, autoimmune and neurological diseases, as well as against cancer.

Evolution is not fast enough to make these changes. We can eat essential fatty acids that are used to make endocannabinoids, and we can further supplement with marijuana. The federal government either does not know the science or does not care.

In either case they have failed the American people, especially those whose suffering could be alleviated by medical marijuana. How can we send troops abroad to fight for democracy when the federal government denies the will of those whom have voted for medical marijuana here in our own country?

-- Dr. Robert Melamede

Chairman

Biology Department

CU-Springs

Feeling blue

On Inauguration Day show the world that you do not support the Bush administration by wearing a blue shirt. Whether you are a Democrat, Libertarian, Green, Progressive, independent or disenchanted Republican on Inauguration Day, we will all join together to show a unified front against the neoconservative agenda.

On Jan. 20, people throughout the world will form a sea of blue. In what could be the largest demonstration in history, we will let the Bush administration know that they do not have a "mandate" to do as they please.

You can join this movement and support voting rights by getting an "I'm Blue; I Didn't Vote For Bush" shirt at www.FreeBlue.us.

-- David DeGraw

Via the Internet

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