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What can happen
This is an invitation to District Attorney John Newsome to attend the funeral this Saturday (June 14) of Christine McCord, killed last Friday night by a driver who "may have been impaired."

Christine was a wife, mother and grandmother who will be sadly missed by many. She never saw this potentially impaired driver coming. She was a caring individual who worked in my husband's office. How can Mr. Newsome defend drinking any amount and then getting behind the wheel of a car, when the results can be so devastating and permanent?

What Mr. Newsome did was wrong and he must be held accountable by the voters in El Paso and Teller counties. He is not the victim here.

Should we excuse his behavior without consequence?

Christine Duffey
Colorado Springs

Historic drinkers
Ralph Routon's article "Drink, drank ... drunk?" (cover story, May 22) was priceless reporting! As a registered Independent, I had to admire Mr. Newsome's tolerance. This has dj vu of Robert Russel Esq., but Mr. Russel served for many years as a relatively independent DA. Heaven forbid that Mr. Newsome would be able to lead his own life, like Russel or JFK, for example.

Another thought: Did you know the quantity of spirits, wine, cider, etc., the founding fathers put down at the Bill of Rights convention? Was it the water or freedom from puritanical rule? How far we've evolved.

That postponed trolley is looking like a better idea every day.

Fred Newall
Colorado Springs

Next question
Now that Ralph Routon ("Between the Lines," June 5) has miraculously solved all of the state, county and city economic woes by eliminating TABOR, I have a burning question for Ralph. When our taxes rise dramatically to cover the zealous spending habits of our elected officials, where will all of these so-called riches come from?

With energy prices driving the cost of everything out the roof, massive utility increases on the way while at the same time our wages are not going up, it's taking multiple jobs to break even at best.

Look at the state legislators last session. All but two bills were labeled as a state emergency, which renders them untouchable to petition for voter approval. Locally, fees and certificates of participation are a popular tool elected officials love to use to raise money without our approval, and all of this going on with TABOR in place. So it shouldn't be hard to imagine what it would be like without TABOR.

Ralph, we the people are not an endless source of money, ready to be tapped at government's beck and call. We realize the economy is tough for all, but our elected officials must come to terms with the fact that, like us, they will have to tighten up their belts and live within their means.

Fred Sexton
Colorado Springs

Compliments
I wish to submit a big, loud, public thank you to Deb Acord for her excellent reporting in the Indy, most recently "Mill treatment" (cover story, June 5). Her research is thorough and writing skills admirable. She received, also, some brilliant help from photographer friends. Thanks very much. Keep up the good work!

Meredith Dalebout
Colorado Springs

Buyer beware
I wept when I read Deb Acord's story on puppy mills. She's a gifted writer, and responsible breeders and pet owners owe her a favor for looking into this tragedy.

There's a special place in hell for owners of puppy mills and the retailers who keep this miserable industry alive.

The solution to the problem is enforcement and education. I wouldn't buy from anyone but a breeder who belonged to an association dedicated to protecting and improving the breed I was interested in. The information is out there, but buyers have to look for it. Just because a dog is registered, or has papers, doesn't mean it didn't come from a puppy mill.

Jere Joiner
Divide

Shut down Gitmo
The useless Guantanamo military commissions are delaying what should be happening right now. It's time to shut Guantanamo down and move to a court of law that operates in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

What happened to constitutional guarantees for people who might be innocent? People who have been in this prison for years are convicted by being tortured to tell lies in order to stop the pain. Some have died there. Many are mentally ill from years of solitary confinement and deny legal help for fear of being further tortured.

Indefinite detention without charge, torture without accountability and secret harsh imprisonment with no justice is not the America I want to believe in. What a shameful thing it is to acknowledge detainees who are not charged or convicted should be sent to countries where they will not be abused or tortured.

We have lost all moral ground and common sense. How does Guantanamo encourage democracy in places like Iraq?

Sharlene White
Santa Fe, N.M.

Dealing with oil
The prices of oil and subsequently, gasoline and diesel are being driven up not by supply and demand, but by speculators. To put a plug in their happy little fountain of ever-rising prices, you must put doubt into their minds about the future. As long as they believe oil is king and nothing can replace it, they will fulfill their prophecy of $200 a barrel.

To stop them, the government needs a "Hydrogen Highway" for America. Select one interstate, I-70 or I-80 or even I-40. Then build, or incentivize private capital to build, hydrogen filling stations all along that interstate. Put out a very high incentive to buy hydrogen cars, like a $5,000 deduction. Publicize and promote the first hydrogen car to drive coast-to-coast. I promise you will see oil prices drop like a stone.

Why hydrogen and not biofuels, like ethanol or biodiesel? Hydrogen can give us clean-burning, cheaper fuels. Biofuels require fossil fuels to grow and refine. All we are doing is adding that cost of fossil fuels to the biofuel.

Hydrogen can be made from solar power or wind power, but we should take a page from Iceland and develop our geothermal resources. The clear reason: We cannot use solar power at night or rely on wind when it's calm. We must have base power, available 24/7. Only geothermal power can deliver that.

We have one of the world's finest potential geothermal capabilities: the vast geothermal reservoir in western Colorado, northern New Mexico, Wyoming and Idaho. In Colorado alone, this reservoir is estimated to be capable of 600 billion watts of power. It is unlikely to be tapped unless the government changes policies.

Italy has a geothermal power plant that has been operating for over 100 years.

Terrence W. Whelan
Colorado Springs

Listen to Udall
Rep. Mark Udall gave the keynote address June 7 at the Colorado Renewable Energy Conference in Pueblo. He is running to replace Sen. Wayne Allard.

Udall's actions in the House indicate a strong commitment to green issues. His keynote address was especially encouraging because his voting record gives credibility to his promises for future action. He spoke about a green bipartisan effort for legislative action. He said, "Red or blue doesn't matter; mix red and blue colors and you get green!" Later he reinforced the thought with "the new red, white and blue is green." He also expressed optimism about the future, observing that both candidates for president will be more supportive of green initiatives than President Bush.

Udall reported that the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus numbers 218 and will soon reach a critical mass for better energy legislation. He said, "We have to develop a diverse and balanced policy." He talked about incredible business opportunities that are derivative to pursuing a green path.

The world market for green products is projected to be in the trillions. His message to business owners is "there's green in green." Fred Krupp's book Earth: The Sequel details many examples of business opportunities being realized in response to the need for solutions.

He spoke of opportunities to capitalize on the fact our military is the largest user of energy in government. He talked of efforts by military leaders and government bureaucrats, which need to be encouraged by leadership and legislative action.

Udall remarked that the Chinese symbol for "crisis" includes elements of danger and opportunity. In this energy crisis, he wants us to recognize the danger and focus on the opportunity. As Patrick Tepesch has been saying, "Technology is there to solve our problems; it is just a matter of will." People like Mark Udall just might convince the public to find the will.

Lee Willoughby
Woodland Park

County victims
El Paso County has reduced by half its support of the Colorado State University Extension Office, which operates programs in 4-H, agriculture, natural resource management, family and consumer science, horticulture, nutrition and sustainable community development.

Without these programs, the county will be a different place to live. According to the 2006 annual report, one of four county residents benefited from services of the Extension Office.

Part of the justification for reducing the county contribution was the overall expense by the county. However, as reported in the 2006 annual report, volunteers in the office donated 72,325 hours of services. When the return on investment is calculated, that is a $4.16 return to the county for every dollar spent.

There is only so much youth can do. We can lobby for what we want. We can deal with what has been given to us. We can make the best out of a bad situation. We can make ourselves heard. However, we can't vote. We don't pay taxes. We can't change the situation.

It is now on the taxpayers to decide what they want. If you want these wonderful programs to continue, make your voice heard and make your vote count. Write letters to the county commissioners, and ask them to raise the Extension Office funding back to where it was. Demand support for the next generation: the children who will be running the county in 20 years.

Mandy Cramer
President
El Paso County 4-H Youth Council

Parental advice
Mamas! Dads! Stop asking your child for permission! It's a terrible habit. When telling a youngster it's time to do something, do not ask: OK?

What are you teaching them? You may think you're just being nice, but you're actually being dumb by increasing the chance that the relationship between you and your child will not turn out well.

We raised two daughters without a hint of trouble. Both put themselves through college with very little help from us. Both became loving, productive, responsible professionals who never asked for help and who make us proud. We never said: It's time to put the toys away, OK? They always knew that a decision had been made by the parent. When you ask if it's OK, you're showing yourself as weak. Kids need strength. They learn it from you.

Jim Inman
Colorado Springs

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