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Roe v. Wade, rampage remedy, points to ponder and more 

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Support Roe v. Wade

We're announcing a rally to support the Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade decision, which in January 1973 established women's right to abortion until fetal viability. It will be on Saturday, Jan. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the northeast corner of Garden of the Gods Road and Centennial Boulevard.

Our purpose is to remind the public that women have a right to legal, safe abortion. The assault against funding and support for Planned Parenthood in 2015 is the most obvious example of attempts to take away this right. But this focus doesn't show how widespread anti-abortion efforts have become.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, nearly 400 anti-abortion bills were introduced nationally in 2015. State laws ranged from regulating medical abortions to restricting medical providers and banning abortion after 20 weeks (now established in 15 states). Required counseling, extended waiting periods and funding cuts added to these restrictions.

Two examples show how extreme state laws have become. One offers no exceptions for victims of rape or incest and a limited exception for women whose pregnancies endanger their lives or for fetal abnormalities. Another requires providers to tell patients that effects of the "abortion pill" (mifepristone) can be reversed, a claim refuted by many doctors. Abortion counselors also must say a fetus feels pain during the procedure, and that women have mental health problems after it.

Numerous studies have debunked these claims.

Worse still, state-level successes, the upcoming Supreme Court case on clinic standards in Texas and support from right-wing representatives and senators have emboldened and accelerated anti-abortion efforts planned for 2016. Many people in Colorado Springs understand the importance of protecting women's reproductive rights and how these rights are being taken away. We invite you to join us on Jan. 23!

— Perry and Irene Luckett

Colorado Springs

Remedy for rampages

We must put a stop to all these mass shooting rampages around America, and do it now. We need really effective action, at last.

We are told that guns and bullets don't kill people. People kill other people. It's mental illness that's to blame.

If this is true, then the answer is clear. Forget about guns. Stop the madness. We've got to get tough and take action.

Right now, and most important, we've got to quadruple the number of times we pray for an instant cure for all mental illness. Then triple the number of candles we light in remembrance. Then double the number of flowers we leave at the scenes of these mass murders.

That'll do it.

— Larimore Nicholl

Colorado Springs

Success story

Once again, our philanthropic community hit it out of the ballpark. Admittedly, some of us lucky enough to be part of the Give! class of 2015 were a bit nervous — 88 nonprofits! Would that dilute our success?

But in the end, a record number of you generously supported organizations committed to making our community a great place to live, work and play.

Without the Indy and great sponsors/partners like Pikes Peak Community Foundation, Heuberger Subaru, Veda Salons, Bristol Brewing Co. and all the other businesses, individuals, foundations and matching grantors who made Give! fun, popular and rewarding for all involved, many of us would be looking at a much less positive 2016.

Instead, you empower us to focus on our missions and get to work!

Again, thank you everyone who supported Give!

— Susan Davies

Executive Director

Trails and Open Space Coalition

Drake can wait

The Colorado Springs Utilities Board deadlocked 4-4 last month on whether to switch Drake 5 from coal to natural gas or to decommission the unit.

From my perspective as a member of the Customer Advisory Committee for the Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP), the decision should wait because it isn't necessary now and a better option exists.

Let me explain.

Drake 5 was built to operate on coal or natural gas. CSU material presented at board meetings states that "it could likely continue dual fuel operation through 2016 and 2017 with permit and compliance schedule" before it "requires additional $1 million for existing burner retrofit by the end of 2017" to continue as a natural gas facility.

Delaying the decision to decommission Drake 5 enables Utilities to continue evaluating Drake 5's long-term value and maintains the option to keep 46 MW of dispatchable capacity that "demand forecast shows is needed in 10-15 years."

EIRP data show this "results in $30 million savings for the 20-year net present value."

Continuing to operate Drake 5 for peak demand and possible backup capacity will not increase costs or rates. Decommissioning it now risks the need to spend more to replace capacity if needed in the future. Keeping Drake 5 operating in dual capacity through 2017 provides the opportunity to evaluate its performance and the demand for electricity.

The EIRP currently includes the addition of 80 MW of solar in 2018-2019. Decommissioning Drake 5 now and adding higher-cost, non-dispatchable solar in a couple of years that will definitely increase rates is short-sighted. A cost-benefit analysis of Drake 5 on natural gas vs solar should be completed first.

— Dick Standaert

Colorado Springs

January thoughts

Points to ponder for 2016:

1. No matter what you say or do, or don't say or don't do, you will offend someone.

2. Being politically correct is like trying to pick up a dog mess in the yard by the clean end.

3. If you want respect, give some.

4. What if there were no such thing as a rhetorical question?

5. Interrupting, shouting and being rude does not make you right. Or intelligent.

6. Socialism doesn't work. Never has. When was the last time a poor person offered you a job?

7. Low aim, not failure, is the crime.

8. If it can be misunderstood, it will be misunderstood.

9. I wish it were called the "jim," not the "john." It sounds better saying I went to the "jim" this morning.

10. If black lives matter, and they do, why do black women have the highest rate of abortion in the U.S.?

11. Being in this country illegally no more makes you an American than being a burglar in a house makes you a member of the family.

12. Growing old is not for wimps.

13. In every other country we call it corruption. Here we call it mismanagement.

14. There are only three days in the week: Monday, it's not Monday, and it's Friday.

15. Have you ever wondered why there is no roadkill within a half-mile of a fast-food restaurant?

Bonus. I would like to be the first to wish all of you a Merry Christmas for 2016.

— Roger Weed

Colorado Springs

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