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Sober up, people

I just read your article "Smashed" in the March 17 edition. I am a certified addiction counselor, serving at a private, local outpatient counseling center, and as someone "in the trenches" in this field I say a heartfelt thank you for this much-needed, long-overdue article. Kathryn Eastburn did a phenomenal job of showing just how bad it is here in Colorado and especially in Colorado Springs.

The numbers tell the story; we have a serious problem and few resources are allocated until it's after the fact. As a result, people are dying. Real people are dying -- your friends and neighbors -- someone's son, daughter, mother or father.

Our agency is relatively small and we have had four client deaths in the last year. Each time, we talk to grieving family members. Thanks Ms. Eastburn, for giving a "voice" to these individuals, to "Alex" and to the thousands of others affected. I also commend the Independent for giving the necessary space to this important issue.

-- Lynda Mitton

Colorado Springs

Nature's corrections

Your March 17 news article "God's planet" raises a crucial question. While it is good to see that the National Association of Evangelicals and some other groups are joining scientists in concern about global warming, their actions about this issue are ill-defined.

For instance, they do not support the Climate Stewardship Act designed to cut the gasses that contribute to global warming. The Rev. Rich Cizik, NAE's vice-president, says, "It's not in our area of expertise." He says the same goes for proposed oil drilling in the Arctic.

Cizik criticizes environmentalists, declaring they are associated with "population control, a.k.a. abortion." This is clearly also not his area of expertise, since birth control, not abortion, is the way environmentalists hope to reduce overpopulation.

Scientist Harold Dorn said, "No species can multiply without limit. There are two biological checks on overpopulation: high mortality and low fertility. We are the only species that can choose low fertility."

The question I have for NAE is: "Do you support the accomplishment of low fertility by the use of contraceptives? If not, if you oppose contraception, how do you intend to accomplish the goals you listed -- reduce pollution, encourage sustainable use of natural resources, and have room left for wildlife habitats?"

It's possible that nature may be starting to solve the problem of overpopulation for us. Sperm count is decreasing, probably due to pollution, which leads to fewer births. Homosexual unions would appear to be on the rise, which negates procreation.

I suggest the NEA and Focus on the Family stop opposing homosexuality. Gays may be God's answer to our overpopulation crisis.

-- Janet Brazill

Colorado Springs

Bill of wrongs

Westboro Baptist Church is returning to the Springs this Thursday, March 24 with it's "God Hates Fags" campaign, which makes me wonder.

I wonder why the City Council refuses to pass a proclamation denouncing Westboro's hateful speech?

I wonder why antiwar protesters, with a message of peace, have their First Amendment rights reduced into "free speech zones" and Westboro has theirs expanded to include their hate speech, harassment and disorderly conduct?

I wonder why the TV news crews had their First Amendment rights completely abridged by the Colorado Springs Police Department during the last visit, when they were not allowed to interview the Phelps family?

I wonder why there are so many selective enforcements of the First Amendment in this town?

-- Mark Lewis

Colorado Springs

Wilting on the vine

I've always considered John Hazlehurst one of the more open-minded, caring and sometimes visionary members of our community. That magnifies my disappointment at the disservice he did to readers with last week's column.

Even though all evidence is to the contrary, let's accept -- for a minute -- his premise that rampant growth really brings prosperity to our community. Surely he joins the rest of us realists in recognizing that Colorado Springs cannot grow forever. The limited water resources in the West will one day put a stop to this. Even if we idle all agriculture and give up on protecting fishing, rafting and river ecosystems in this quest for financial riches, we will eventually have to stop growing.

Hazlehurst implied in his column that if we are not in prolific growth mode, we must be in retraction and economic decline. Does this mean his plan for our town is to reap all the financial rewards we can during boom times and then suffer a permanent bust once we hit the limit?

The real question is: Would he rather switch from this growth-based economic strategy now while we have clean air, civility and imperfect but flowing traffic? Or would he rather we go ahead and keep growing for now, with certainty achieving Southern California-style traffic gridlock and smog, killing our remaining agriculture and sucking our mountain streams dry, and then switch strategies?

We're going to have to switch. Why not do it before we've destroyed what we love about this place?

-- Dave Gardner

Founder, SaveTheSprings

Colorado Springs

Get what you ask for

In regards to John Hazlehurt's March 10 comments about the defeat of Chris Gates as Democrat Party chairman, please realize that the election of Pat Waak had less to do with so called "Naderite" politics than fairness. Chris Gates treated Mike Miles' Senate candidacy with disrespect and contempt. As party chair, he was required to maintain a certain level of fairness and he failed to do this.

Furthermore, the activists who opposed his re-election were the people who worked hardest to get Mr. Salazar elected to the Senate, (where he has already been less than faithful to his Democratic constituency).

Chris Gates did not elect the Salazars or the Democratic majority in the Legislature, the citizens did. And if the activists were really Naderites, they would be voting in the Green Party elections, not the Democratic ones.

Enough of the "good old boy" politics. The people are damned tired of it.

-- Gerry Lee

Manitou Springs

Join us in this century

Having just moved to Colorado Springs from a city that values the role of motherhood, I am shocked by the lack of respect shown in the recent letter written under the title "Pregnant by Choice" in the March 10 issue.

The city from which I moved had nothing to do with "Focus on the Family," and yet some of the businesspeople there also showed their respect for expectant mothers (and sometimes even the occasional "Mothers of Small Children" parking place could be found -- gasp!) by reserving one spot out of several hundred parking spaces in a large grocery store parking lot for these women.

It has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the expectant mother can afford the child, got pregnant by choice or needs the exercise. It is all about respecting the fact that she is carrying another living, growing being inside of her.

Writer, please join us in the 21st century and give up your prejudiced terms such as "P.G.," "breeding" and "rug-rat." Please keep your judgments and stereotypes that you have attributed to all pregnant women to yourself. And be thankful that your mother was able to work until she gave birth to you, and think how nice it would have been if someone had given her a break while she was carrying you.

-- Erica Palmer

Colorado Springs

Planet Mars

I was just curious: What planet is Winstorm Smith from? First of all, it's nice to assume that all pregnant women "are pregnant by choice." It doesn't always happen that way, not even to (gasp!) married women. Sometimes the unexpected happens, and we deal with it.

Second, what moral, social or economic soapbox is he standing on when he claims that most of the expectant mothers in this city "cannot afford another rug-rat?"

Before Smith decides that pregnant women need to "waddle" from the next parking space, maybe he should consider what it takes to grow a human being, even a self-centered, self-righteous and pitifully socially retarded one such as him, inside your own body. Does he know what it feels like to have a fetus trodding on his kidneys? Ever experienced Braxton-Hicks contractions?

Ever had his sciatic nerve just light up in the middle of the night like someone attached a lightning rod to it? Has he ever decided to have a second child, despite the fact that since bearing and birthing the first one he can't sneeze without slightly wetting himself? Ever had his feet and ankles swell to the size of water balloons?

Has Smith ever had his navel flatten out and disappear? Had varicose veins appear overnight? Developed heartburn so bad that drinking water could trigger it? Has he ever squeezed an entire human being through his cervix, an orifice whose opening is normally large enough for your average cotton swab? Ever been confined to his bed for weeks or months because just getting up to pour a bowl of Cheerios could trigger contractions that could terminate his pregnancy? Has he ever taken his head out of his butt long enough to draw a breath of fresh air?

I didn't think so.

-- M.B. Partlow

Colorado Springs

Chow down

I am writing in response to Mark Winne's March 3 article "Slow food for a dying planet." The article and review of both books were great. I am one of the co-founders of the Colorado Springs Slow Food Convivium and no mention was directly made about the chapter here or how to become involved.

As a follow-up, should people want more information about Slow Food and its upcoming events or should they have any other questions, they may contact me at 719/219-0773. Our next event will be on Sunday, April 17 at the Herb 'n' Farm Caf on the Colorado College campus. We will be viewing a feature-length film, The Future of Food, before having a sampling of the food the caf offers. The price is $15 for members and $20 for future members. Other upcoming events include a field trip to a ranch, a chef-guided trip through the farmers' market, and a heritage potluck.

Please be in touch should you have questions.

-- Melinda Murphy

Colorado Springs

Correction

In the March 17 cover story, "Smashed," we incorrectly identified Bob Holmes as the executive director of Pikes Peak United Way. Holmes is executive director of Homeward Pikes Peak. Jerry Smith is executive director of Pike Peak United Way. We regret the error.

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