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We haven't been as moved by KRDO Channel 13's coverage since their weeklong news package a couple years ago exploring the Seven Deadly Sins.

Last week the local ABC affiliate uncovered the secrets of the Shroud of Turin. And leave it to Colorado Springs to be home to the official Turin Shroud Center, where scientists are busy at work to discover whether the centuries-old linen cloth that bears the image of a crucified man was indeed the cloth that Jesus was buried in.

The center also features a Turin Shroud Exhibit, where the public is invited to explore the mystery of the shroud for themselves.

"We offer a unique opportunity to see a full-size color photograph of the shroud," according to the exhibit's telephone message. "We present, in a theater-like and personal atmosphere, the many interesting characteristics both of the image and the numerous wounds seen on the shroud."

Debate has raged for years over the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Some claim that the cloth is a medieval forgery and a hoax. Others believe that, if authentic, the shroud is a crucial archeological witness to the burial and resurrection of Christ. The shroud has been kept in St. John the Baptist Cathedral in Turin, Italy since the sixteenth century.

The nonprofit Turin Shroud Center of Colorado opened in 1990. Its director and founder, John P. Jackson, has examined the shroud firsthand, holds a Ph.D. in physics and has held faculty professor positions at both the U.S. Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The Web site (www.shroudofturin.com) lists several frequently asked questions about the shroud. Check it out if you want definitive answers to the following questions:

Has DNA testing ever been performed on the Shroud?

How long were men's hair during the time of Christ?

Could the Shroud of Turin actually be the tablecloth used at the Last Supper?

Are there actually coins on the eyes of the Shroud?

The Bible says Jesus was wrapped in cloths (plural). The Shroud is only one piece of cloth. Can you explain?

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Don't let the Colorado Springs City Council find out about this one! Reuters news service reported this week that the city council in Calgary, Alberta, Canada is set to vote on a measure that would force panhandlers to wear photo identification to help control people who hound passersby for spare change.

If the measure is adopted, panhandlers would have to agree to a code of good conduct before they are given ID badges that would allow them to hit people up for coins and cigarettes. It would also require them to undergo counseling and job-search workshops.

"It's intended to reduce any potential disruptive behavior or harassment or confrontations with the public," Calgary City Counselor Bob Hawkesworth told the news agency.

But Canadian panhandlers are skeptical. Even if some get ID cards, others will likely ignore the mandate. And will the government-sanctioned panhandlers snitch on their rogue brethren? No way. "That's just not done on the street," one panhandler was quoted saying.

So it appears panhandlers are the scourge of lawmakers across the continent. Last year our very own city council passed an ordinance outlawing panhandling on highway off-ramps. Police argued in one report that community leaders found panhandlers distasteful (particularly when trying to convince visitors that ours is a world-class city). They also claimed that the panhandlers posed a traffic hazard, though they didn't provide statistics backing up their claims.

Also last year, downtown Colorado Springs businesses launched an organized effort urging customers to keep their spare change -- and not give their cash to beggars.

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Imagine our surprise when, after last week's Citizens Project City Council candidates' forum, the Gazette reported that a man in attendance was handing out anti-Jewish and Holocaust denial literature. In the story, published last Saturday, reporter Ed Sealover noted that the same man had accosted people at past forums.

He didn't, however, point out that his own editor, Terri Fleming, angrily denied last year that the event had occurred.

Last October, at a forum debating the gun show loophole law, the same racist man accosted SAFE Colorado co-president Arnie Grossman because he is Jewish. Grossman subsequently alerted Gazette reporter Ovetta Sampson, who didn't witness the attack firsthand but was standing nearby. The Gazette subsequently declined to report the hate incident and was criticized in this column for its cover-up.

Amazingly Fleming responded with an angry denial. We are pleased with the daily newspaper's effort to correct the record.

-- degette@csindy.com

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