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Local arts, police and crime, homelessness, and more 

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Editor, 235 S. Nevada Ave., CS, CO 80903 • email: letters@csindy.com

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Lowball art appraisal

While I appreciate John Hazlehurst's writing most of the time, his recent "Merger Prolongs FAC's life" piece completely neglects the fact that this city has historically done a terrible job of funding the arts. In fact, the fall of the Broadmoor Art Academy was simultaneous with the rise of the Air Force Academy and the military complex in this city as a direct result of where the city allocated its funds and convictions.

If a municipality is unwilling to help fund its culture, then it is to the benefit of the city that an institution like CC would step in to ensure its existence. The major differences between Colorado Springs and the art capitals we aspire toward lie in city funding and serious arts education. Were there substantial ways in which the city used tax dollars and public forums to express worth in cultural enhancement, then perhaps we would be competitive with these other art economies. Without it, his call to the younger generation to pick up the torch will undoubtedly have to be made long-distance.

— Trevor Thomas

Colorado Springs

Thin blue line

The Independent's report by Pam Zubeck on crime and police protection ("Are we less safe?") sounds an alarm that should worry and outrage every single Colorado Springs resident. The article clearly shows that crime is markedly growing in our city and the number of police is grossly inadequate. The size of our police force is more than 30 percent below the national average, based on our population. Furthermore, way too small a percentage of these officers are assigned to patrol. Priority 1 calls have an average of 13 minutes police response time. Often they arrive over an hour later. Three to four minutes would be more expected. Too late means heartbreak!

This "thin blue line" is all that stands between us, crime, disorder and possible personal disaster. For example, several years ago, a security company reported a home break-in to the Colorado Springs police. They did not respond. It was too low a priority. The homeowner, Army Staff Sergeant David Dunlap, went home and was shot dead. His pregnant wife, Whitney Butler, came home about an hour later and was murdered too. This was fully reported in the [media]. I was surprised that people of our community did not raise their collective voices in outrage.

Government's most important job is protecting people. We should demand it and, if necessary, pay increased taxes to fund it.

— H. Harvey Album

Colorado Springs

Poison in the parks

Halfway through my daily walk in Shook's Run with my dog — AFTER walking, and rolling in my dog's case, all around the grassy field — I noticed a tiny wire pole with a drooping, listless, yellow vinyl flag at the end of the field. Upon further inspection I saw that it was a notification that the entire area had been doused with a herbicide, Roundup in this instance. Looking around I noticed many other people, with their dogs and children, walking, sitting, lying in the grass enjoying a sunny summer day. The flag pictures adults and children walking a dog with a line through them denoting it's not safe for humans or their pets.

Glossing over the fact that we don't need poison sprayed all over our city parks, why aren't we notified properly? Tiny flags, that look extremely similar to flags the city uses for notifying where buried utilities are located, are not even remotely sufficient. If there isn't some way to post a schedule of areas to be poisoned, the City needs to cordon it off and place large notifications so we don't stroll around the tainted ground. The most logical thing to do would be to not poison our parks with dangerous herbicides. I think we can enjoy our city parks just as much with dandelions instead of freakishly perfect grass fields.

— Michael Asmar

Colorado Springs

See for yourself

There has been a lot of discussion and many suggestions about how to best help people who are homeless in Colorado Springs. Fortunately our city has caring, compassionate and dedicated people and organizations addressing this issue. Continuum of Care, People's Access to Homes, The Coalition for Compassion and Action, CHAP, Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission and the many service providers are working together to provide both short- and long-term solution to helping homeless people.

If you, as a community member or organization, would like to learn more about the progress being made and how you personally can help people who are homeless then please consider coming on an Urban Experience. This is a six-hour immersion walking tour, sponsored by PPJPC, through downtown Colorado Springs, where you will meet people who are homeless, eat at the Marion House soup kitchen, visit service providers and hear about the progress being made.

The PPJPC fall Urban Experience occurs the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $30 per person. To sign up or for more information please send an email to director@ppjpc.org

— Scott Olson

Executive Director

Pikes Peak Justice and

Peace Commission

Art and the media

I would like to add my voice to those of Mr. Jon Khoury of the Cottonwood Center for the Arts and Mr. Al B Johnson of Colorado Springs that appeared in your last issue regarding the need for both expanded coverage and in-depth knowledgable critiquing of local art shows and the artists they feature.

With more people who are employed in Denver moving to the area by the day, publications like the Independent, the Gazette and local TV stations need to up their game to provide worthy coverage. Let's face it, all major cities thrive on the vitality and imagination of their artists. It is one of the key factors that draws tourists and serious collectors to visit their areas. In those cities, residents expect high quality coverage of the arts to keep them informed and educated on an ongoing basis.

In order to meet this need in our area, I encourage you and all other media outlets to provide greater arts coverage by reporters and critics who have a passion for pursuing and critiquing the work of local artists. As Colorado Springs grows and evolves, let's make a commitment to enhancing the lives of our citizens and increase our national profile as a modern City of the Arts!

— Robyn Peterson

Manitou Springs

Deer, deer

I read in the Gazette that since 9/11 in the U.S., Islamic Terrorists have succeeded in killing an average of seven people per year, but an average of 150 people per year are senselessly slaughtered in automobile collisions with marauding deer. Why can't The Second Amendment People protect us from these deer? I thought the whole point of owning all these high-powered weapons was to hunt? Why won't they do their patriotic duty, and go out and hunt them deer?

— Gina Douglas

Colorado Springs

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