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Precious mettle
Thanks so much for the great article on the School in the Woods ("Making tracks," cover story, Nov. 29). My wife and I have watched our 10-year-old son turn into a man, right before our eyes. His sense of courage in the wilderness, his sense of responsibility, his work ethic, his academic development I could go on and on. This school is amazing.

I grew up in Colorado for the first 10 years of my life. My dad left when I was young, and my grandfather more or less raised me. Grandpa was one of the last of the real, genuine mountain men, and a good deal of my youth was spent in the high country with him.

Then my family moved to East Los Angeles (of all places, for a red-headed kid), but I learned to love it. I had great friends there, but the majority of them are dead (or incarcerated). Out of 14 guys in my neighborhood, only five are alive and two of those aren't doing well.

I have no doubt in my mind that the years I spent in the wilderness are a big reason why I am still here (and thriving).

There is something about nature that instills your soul with a quality that can be found nowhere else. There is a strength of character, a toughness, a gentleness and a respect for self and the world that is so precious. I'm so thankful that my son is getting a chance to know it. I am really proud of my son, and much of that credit goes to School in the Woods.
Lance Green
Black Forest

Marching contradiction?
So let me get this straight: To support the troops and make sure they aren't neglected or abused when they come home, we need to stop displaying "Support the troops" magnets?

And I'm especially amused by the St. Paddy's Day protesters, who took time off from their busy schedule of complaining about their free speech being trampled, to complain that we need to force our police not to exercise free speech.
Greg Hartman
Colorado Springs

Magnetic reaction
Mayor Lionel Rivera said he supports the "Support our troops" magnets on our city's police cruisers ("A magnetic issue," News, Nov. 29).

It is an understandable, yet superficial, show of support. I also remember not long ago when the mayor put the stops on one citizen's attempt to give substantial help to our troops and his request for the city to bless his effort.

Then, Mayor Rivera said he found no concrete evidence that war would cause trauma in individual soldiers. He thought Operation Just One, started by an Iraq vet who pledged to help fellow soldiers, was anti-war and anti-Army.

Maybe the mayor does support the troops after all; I'm sure he has a yellow magnet attached to his car that says so. You can't piss anyone off with a little magnet on your car. But you can't help them get over the symptoms of PTSD they got while fighting in Iraq, either.
Bud Gordon
Colorado Springs

Too much morality
Addy M. Hansen ("Time to sober up," Letters, Nov. 29) comes off, in my opinion, as a moral absolutist.

I agree that addiction must be treated, and law enforcement is ill-equipped to do so. Last time I checked, there was no such thing as absolute morals. What may be moral to some is not to others; case in point being certain tribes of South Africa that teach children about sex, and sexuality, from the time they can walk.

I do not have the right, nor does anyone else, to say what is or is not moral, and one of the major problems with our society is the belief of a few that their morals are the standard instead of the deviation. In a republic, these people would not be able to pass their laws and prohibit someone from drinking, taking a narcotic or whatever.

Prohibition didn't work in the 1920s and it is failing today. Restore the republic and the "drug war" goes away. License the dealers and tax their sales and, well, you begin to get the picture.
Dwayne Schultz
Colorado Springs

Poor Man's Lobby
Thanks to Michelle Holton ("Fractured system," Letters, Nov. 29). I'm so glad to hear another voice of reason, perhaps even one from the "other side of the fence."

I have long believed that, even before my experimentation period, the anti-drug laws stood against the purpose to which they were written: to protect the people.

I would like to call to mind that Prohibition created organized crime; to reiterate that pedophiles may walk free while people whose only crime was possession remain incarcerated; and to remind that violence, etc., exists with or without the presence of drugs, as illustrated by the current Peterson case on TV news sources.

I have two problems: No one sees the success stories that exist with the presence of drugs, and that tobacco/alcohol lobbyists fight the lost profits from legalization.

So where is the Poor Man's Lobby, truly non-segregated and suitably funded, charged with handling all such issues, including the one addressed in Hansen's letter? When can "we the people" organize, at that level, progressively? Where is the voice protecting the 65-year-old Coca-Cola man's pension or rather, how can we make it sound?

What's actually wrong with trying to create a unified voice for Us, the untouchables, in the U.S.? Simply, I am calling for personal responsibility first, but also the resources to aid such things. Let's find a way to make my voice, and your voice, actually heard.
James Nall
Manitou Springs

Who gets the bed?
Want to know why jails are overcrowded? Not with the people that should be in jail. Colorado Springs has a bad jaywalking problem. It seems a lot of homeless people cross the streets. Get those people in jail, especially if an open container is involved.

Detectives are too busy arresting the "real" criminals, who are crossing the streets illegally with a bit too much to drink, to worry about responding in a timely fashion to a poor individual who got robbed a couple of weeks ago. I wonder what the response time would have been if a downtown store owner called regarding panhandling?

I am waiting to testify against an ex-spouse, a habitual drug dealer who has threatened to kill me and numerous other women. But on the two years he has been off parole, he has copped five more felonies and three more domestic-violence charges. Where is his bed in the Criminal Justice Center? Occupied by a jaywalking, homeless drunk?

I wish he had changed his career path from a dangerous drug dealer and woman-abuser to a jaywalker. Then maybe I could get a decent night's sleep.
Name withheld
Colorado Springs

Slanted survey
Colorado Springs Utilities has put a survey online (csu.org) to elicit feedback regarding alternative energy, but has not notified its customers of this survey.

Since I believe this is one of the most important issues of our time, how to deal with and plan our future energy consumption, I would think customers should be notified and have some say in this decision.

I would like to point out that I feel the survey is skewed in order to attain the result CSU wants which renders it useless. Here are some points:

The survey merely asks if we would pay $1 to $2 more a month for wind energy. It asks if we would pay $35 to $40 more a month to go completely renewable.

It conveniently omits how much more a month it will cost to stay with coal, which I believe involves building a new coal plant. It fails to mention that the increases in going completely renewable are based on these services coming on line in 2012-13 (four or five years from now).

It also fails to mention that in the past five years, our rates have increased way more than $35 to $40. (On two occasions, I spent over a half-hour holding for a CSU representative to get the correct percentage increase, but could not reach anyone.)

I believe people should have the correct facts when making a decision or taking a survey about the direction of our energy sources, but good luck with getting this information from Utilities. Nevertheless, I hope people will get involved now that they know about the survey, which will be online until Dec. 31.
Mary McKeon
Colorado Springs

Think axis, not access
I am disappointed with the shortsighted decision of City Council regarding Tejon Street ("Two-way Tejon a go," Noted, Nov. 29). Not because they are changing it to two-way traffic, but because it does not address the major issues of downtown Colorado Springs and shows no vision for the future.

As a downtown resident, my first choice is to support downtown merchants and businesses. I love being able to walk and ride a bicycle to do my errands. However, the opportunities for that have diminished drastically over recent years as old stand-bys have disappeared, and few new businesses have replaced them. Existing businesses struggle with rising rents as vacancies spread. Increasing traffic congestion makes downtown less and less pedestrian-friendly.

Attention, City Council! The idea that access is inadequate is ridiculous! There is plenty of vehicle access and plenty of parking available. What downtown needs is a reason for people to get out of their cars. It needs to be safe and attractive to pedestrians and bicycles. It needs to be a beautiful place that encourages people to wander, linger and explore new businesses.

If the city and the Downtown Partnership want to bring more people downtown, we need a bold vision. A recent Denver Post article about the expansion of Park Meadows Mall states that the public has a "voracious appetite for outdoor malls. ... The trend is to mimic old downtowns ... the ambience and nostalgia old towns have."

We have the old downtown; all we need is the vision and will to build on the old-town ambience, to create an appealing downtown area that offers variety and a unique safe, and pleasant pedestrian experience.

It's too bad the Downtown Partnership is afraid of creating a pedestrian mall on Tejon Street. We could reduce traffic lanes to one in each direction, reduce street parking, and encourage use of those new parking garages. That would provide space to plant trees, create bicycle lanes and expand pedestrian space; create gardens and sitting areas; build some patio dining areas that are spacious and appealing.

It is time the city of Colorado Springs adopted a bold vision for downtown. A beautiful, "pedestrian-friendly" urban mall would attract businesses and patrons alike.
Nancy Strong
Colorado Springs

  • School in the Woods, CSU survey, two-way Tejon.

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