A drone encounter, Jon Khoury and Cottonwood, wind-farm debate, and more 


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How to fight a drone

On Thursday, Jan. 22, at 4:30 p.m., I was finishing a hike through Garden of the Gods, a day after the big snowfall.

The winter horizontal light from the south illuminated the scar and turned North Gateway Rock into a blaze of orange. There was a silver line showing the border of the southeast ridge of Pikes Peak, and plumes of snow wafted from it like quantum foam.

It was windless and quiet. The night cold was taking hold at dusk.

Above came a whirring sound. Looking up, I saw a stationary object hovering some 200 feet above.

It had four small propellers and a red and green light. A drone.

The drone buzzed around and then swooped down to within 12 feet of me, hovering. It had a camera attached. I briefly thought about winging a rock at it, much like Gene Barry in the original cinema version of War of the Worlds, but thought: Not only is that criminal, but what would it accomplish?

The drone and I went our separate ways. The pilot was never sighted.

I have a simple legal question: If a man is alone deep in the woods and a drone approaches and he moons the drone, is this public indecency?

— Chuck Koehler

Colorado Springs

No free launch

I want to commend Edie Adelstein on the excellent piece about Jon Khoury ("The tao of Jon," cover story, Jan. 14). Visionaries like Jon do much to add to the appeal of this city for young professionals like myself. I first met Jon at a Colorado Springs Young Professionals event he hosted for us at the Cottonwood Center for the Arts, and was struck by his passion, work ethic and his devotion to Colorado Springs.

We need to take a hard look as a culture at how we compensate leaders like him in the nonprofit sector. Someone of his abilities, talent and drive can command an order of magnitude more in the private sector, yet he continues to drive a renaissance in arts and culture in the city that would be virtually impossible to accomplish in a for-profit company.

I was influenced by a TED Talk by Dan Pallotta. He made the point that the average CEO of a hunger charity makes $80,000, while an MBA with similar experience can command $400,000.

"We have a visceral reaction to the idea of people making a lot of money helping others. Interestingly, we don't have a visceral reaction to the idea that people should make a lot of money not helping other people," says Pallotta.

Let's start to re-think what we think is fair for these leaders to make, so we can avoid a brain drain and keep these incredible people in our city. Let's stop looking at overhead ratio when we donate and start looking at results, growth and impact, just like when we look at investing in for-profit companies. Let me echo Pallotta when he said, "Our generation does not want its epithet to read, 'We kept charity overhead low.' We want it to read that we changed the world."

— Andi Devlin

Colorado Springs

A believer

Thanks for the wonderful article on Jon Khoury and other artists at the Cottonwood gallery.

Recently I wanted to sign up for a class by the talented Al B Johnson. I called Cottonwood after hours expecting to leave a message, and was surprised when Jon answered the phone. I explained that I was very excited about taking Al B's class but that I didn't drive at night and preferred to study during the day. I almost cried when Jon said, "Sign up for the class and I will see that you get there if I have to drive you myself!"

There's more to this wonderful story. I called Al B to talk about the class and asked if he would consider teaching a class during the day, and he said, "Sure." I am having a wonderful, fun experience taking the class on Sunday with four other students.

It's always a pleasure to attend events at Cottonwood because of leadership like Jon's and the warm welcome from the artists. I have no doubt that Jon will reach his goal to make Cottonwood "the most important arts organization in the state."

Keep up the good work.

— Terry Barber

Colorado Springs

Homelessness rebuttal

I must admit that I do not read your paper on a regular basis. However, within the homeless community, Charles H. Castle's letter "Helping the homeless," printed in the Jan. 21 issue, caused such a stir that I searched online for the article.

(My sources had referred to the letter as if it were either an opinion piece or an article that was grossly inaccurate.) Finding out that the piece was a letter to the editor had me crack a small grin. How things are lost in hearsay evidence.

In reading the letter, I was intrigued at Mr. Castle's challenge to his audience to come to a meeting for an open discussion on the homeless situation. A generous invitation that by its location (Panera Bread, University Village at 10 a.m.) is obviously not intended to include the homeless.

Further, the scare tactic of using "safety in the parks" insinuates that homeless people are dangerous; truly some homeless people are a threat, but one does not need to be homeless to be a criminal or a threat. Regardless, to incite fear to gain an audience for a Panera "Homeless Solutions" gathering is a bit over the top.

Lastly, I do not know where he gets his numbers: 2,500 to 4,000 as the homeless population in the Springs. Point in Time's survey of 2014, admittedly not comprehensive, estimates the population closer to 1,300.

— Michael Hazard

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: In his letter, Mr. Castle termed the numbers mentioned above as "estimates." The PIT survey is not meant to be comprehensive, as Mr. Hazard notes, and comprehensive numbers are elusive.

Where's the failure?

Following President Obama's State of the Union Address on Jan. 20, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn issued a statement to the effect that the president "decided to double down on failed liberal policies."

I've been wondering what "failed" policies Mr. Lamborn was referring to. Economically, things have improved dramatically since January 2009, when Mr. Obama took over after eight years of George W. Bush. In 2009, the DOW was around 8,000 — earlier today, the DOW closed at 17,554. Unemployment was 7.8 percent in January 2009 — it's dropped to 5.6 percent today. The deficit, which was $1.4 trillion back in 2009, has shrunk to $483 billion.

The United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. President Bush and his administration failed to protect us from that catastrophe and failed to track down and punish Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attack. Under President Obama's leadership, bin Laden was found and punished, and Mr. Obama has kept us safe from further terrorist attacks during the six years he's been in office.

Seems to me, Mr. Lamborn, that President Obama's "liberal" policies have been anything but a failure.

— Fred Kormos

Colorado Springs


In "Dr. Huxtable & Mr. Cosby" (cover story, Jan. 21), the Michael Jackson song title "Billie Jean" was misspelled. We regret the error.

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