Don't feed the bears

Re: Last week's cover compilation, 101 Summer Things:

How long have Jan King-Garverik and Noel Black, staff writer, lived in this region where the balance between coexisting with wildlife and causing the animals harm is delicate? (Cover story, May 27, "Summer Things: 101 ways to while away your summer daze")

As they write, "... bears commonly roam neighborhoods in the foothills of Pikes Peak looking for tasty leftovers found in the garbage cans of businesses and residents. Viewing is best done from inside your home or motel room." (47. Stare at bears.)

Oh, did I miss the writers' attempt at satire? Are they really promoting this behavior at the expense of the bear who would be killed by the Division of Wildlife for a second offense of eating a human's garbage? Please do not continue publishing practices that are harmful to the animals and potentially unsafe to humans. Leaving garbage in non-bear-proof cans is now a ticketable offense in our state.

-- Ann Pattinari

Palmer Lake

Various perspectives

I just wanted to write a quick note to let you know how impressed I was with the article written by Wayne Young (Cover story, May 20 issue, "Come so far, so far to go").

Not only did it provide me with a deep knowledge and understanding of the history behind the Brown vs. Board of Education case, but also it was done in a manner that provided various perspectives allowing the reader to form his own opinion on the issue and the historical impact.

Well done.

-- Michael Grace

Chicago, Ill.

All hail City Aud

It is imperative that we maintain our historic City Auditorium. There is no alternative facility or combination of facilities that can replace it. It is not just because of the historic art on the walls or the irreplaceable theater organ that we need this place.

It was used last year by 81 different organizations, including 44 schools and nonprofit groups. Many adult and youth sports events were held including adult volleyball, high school wrestling tournaments, boxing and youth physical education classes. It was in use for 86 percent of the days. Ninety-four days were primarily youth events with about 22,700 youth visits.

The historic Lon Chaney Theater has long been used by the Star Bar Players, a historic group in their own right. Several other youth and adult groups used it for many presentations. There is not a comparable small theater facility in town.

High schools used it for graduation, and Colorado College and UCCS used it for dances and concerts. Numerous musical events were held by many artists. Other events included many trade shows, antique shows, VFW programs for homeless veterans, the Democratic Party political meetings, the police CrimeStopper programs and sports award ceremonies. The library district, the Springs Rescue Mission, the YMCA and the Junior League were all there. You could dance to Frank Fanelli's big band or join 20 days of Irish dance instruction.

The 1925 theater organ is originally from the old Chief Theater and is extremely unique. It is maintained by the Theatre Organ Society, who held 14 noon concerts for over 4,000 senior citizens and others.

The auditorium is mostly self-supporting, only needing an annual subsidy of about $10,000. But there are many ways finances could be improved if the city would allow the staff and others in the community to work together for a solution. It does need repairs and improvements. Grants could solve much of that problem.

It would be a very sad mistake for the city to relinquish this wonderful building to developers.

-- Robert L. Russel

Colorado Springs

No excuse, ever

Last Saturday, one mile north of Palmer Lake on Highway 105, a friend of mine was purposely hit by a vehicle while riding his bike. He was riding in a responsible manner and according to the police it was a case of "road rage." My friend has not yet gotten out of hospital. He was banged up pretty good by a guy who decided that cyclists shouldn't have a place on the road.

Lots of us ride bikes, some for transportation, some for recreation or both. The roads are there for cyclists as well as cars. They are narrow and not shouldered the way they ought to be to make it safe for everyone, but maybe our state government can do something about that. Try letting them know it is needed, so more incidents like this one do not occur.

Cyclists are at the mercy of the vehicle traffic and sometimes it's not a very benevolent relationship, but there is no excuse ever for a driver to think they can "teach a cyclist a lesson" by brushing, honking at, intimidating or even striking a rider!!!

There is increased cycling traffic on roads this time of year, and drivers need to be aware of it; cyclists need to be considerate so as not to get on the wrong side of vehicular assault. It's just smart to ride and drive with consideration for others.

Please treat one another with respect or even kindness. I recently heard a guy say, "I used to live here 20 years ago and it hasn't changed all that much except there are 400,000 more cars on the roads." That pretty much sums it up.

Finally, to this individual who hit my friend: Just what kind of lesson do you teach someone when you purposely hit them with a car?! You would probably go out of your way to miss a dog, cat, squirrel, deer, etc., but you purposely hit a man on a bike?!

-- Tim Watkins


Experience counts

An open letter to Rep. Michael Merrifield:

Thank you for publicly recognizing students from Palmer High School who will be representing Colorado in the International Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Ore., and the National History Day Competition in Washington, D.C.

Both the students and I appreciate your acknowledgement of their hard work and exceptional achievement on the floor of the House.

As a teacher I am grateful for this public recognition of the students' personal motivation toward learning and creative thought. As an educator I am thrilled to have a state representative who also enjoyed 30 years of teaching experience in the public schools.

In an era of politically motivated quick fixes for an educational system suffering from misconstrued shortcomings, I appreciate a voice of experience able to moderate and ground educational decisions among politicians and special interests touting various silver bullets to repair a working public school system.

Do you have any interest in running for the District-11 School Board too?

-- Will Wieder

Palmer High School

Science teacher

Colorado Springs

Sadness, then anger

I find myself compelled to write in reference to Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan's opinion which appeared in The Everett, Wash., Herald on Saturday, May 15, page A3.

My emotions are sadness followed by anger that a supposed representative of God would impose his own prejudices in a public forum. There is too much emphasis placed on a collection of books called the Bible and religious dogmas. Can any human or group claim to know every condition upon which each individual choice is made?

This world conversion agenda based upon so-called theocratic values strays too close to the garbage we read about in the headlines every day happening in the Middle East. People are still trying to impose personal religious values on everyone else. Why do the religious think they are the only ones with a path to God?

Wouldn't this planet make tremendous strides if we teach what is the greater good, treat each other with respect given to personal boundaries? Think of the possibilities if the people who made themselves the religious spokesmen were to teach enlightenment and courage rather than condemning people.

Bishop Michael Sheridan stepped over the line. Why is so much energy being put into such religious and personal bias? Bishop Sheridan speaks of mortal sin. What is mortal sin? One wonders just what God thinks of our human race.

While it probably won't be in my lifetime, I am still hopeful we can live together, believe in a superior energy called God (no matter what name we attach), and strive to live together without harm.

-- Peggy Weddell

Everett, Wash.

Exercising wisdom

Though I may lack those qualities (charity, forbearance, humility) required of a good Christian, I would nevertheless suggest to the good bishop of Colorado Springs (lovely town) that he direct his attention to those colleagues, too numerous to mention, who "made a mockery of their faith" by the enormities they visited on their trusting, youthful charges over the years.

If the bishop should choose to exercise the wisdom he's been blessed with, he'll realize that, unlike in the Middle Ages, he serves at the sufferance of his flock.

Though I'm no biblical scholar, I don't recall Jesus ever indicating he needed a priesthood to buffer him from the entireties of the vulgar. But then, of course, Jesus never achieved the rank of bishop.

-- Pieter J.H. Roell

San Francisco, Calif.

Stunned and disgusted

Several weeks ago, Mara Liasson, an NPR journalist, spoke at Colorado College on the media and politics. Afterward, she fielded questions from the audience.

I asked if the current coverage of Bush's questionable National Guard duty was a sign of the media being more diligent in their following of other aspects of his activities. I gave as an example, the nonreporting of the chartered flights of the Saudi royal and the bin Laden families without questioning, despite the FBI's protests, two days after 9/11. All flights in the United States were grounded, with this exception, to allow their return to Saudi Arabia.

She took exception to my question, saying the New York Times did report, and Sen. Charles Schumer brought it up in the Senate, and no investigation was initiated. She presented this as a no big deal. I still feel stunned by her reaction.

Later over coffee, I confronted her with having much more concern with the media's attentiveness to this event than the politicians that this indeed had been covered. I found her answer most unsatisfying. President Clinton couldn't break wind without it being revealed by the media's witch hunt.

Craig Unger in his recent book House of Saud, House of Bush details the cozy relationship the Bush family has had historically with the Saudis. I find this pleasing, along with Michael Moore's recent film Fahrenheit 9/11, which also covers these same events. Now if we can hope that Miramax will find theaters to show the film.

So much for candor and freedom of the press!


-- Jim Sears

Colorado Springs

Honor our soldiers

I wrote a version of this letter to ABC's Nightline regarding a program they had on, called "Fallen Soldiers in Iraq." Apparently many of their affiliate stations did not allow the show to be broadcast in other areas of the country because it was in their opinion politically incorrect, was not honoring and was not in the country's best interest.

I am so proud of ABC's Nightline for airing the program about our fallen soldiers in Iraq. This is the reality of war and over 600 Americans have lost their lives. It is right to honor them by showing their faces and their names to the rest of the country.

To their families, their fellow soldiers and their country, they were more than a growing body count. When astronauts die we show their names and faces. When 9/11 happened we showed the names and faces of those who were killed. Do our fighting men and women not deserve the same respect?

These men and women may have joined the military for different reasons, but they all knew that someday they might have to risk their lives while serving their country. As Gen. Wesley Clark stated, "When you are in the military you are not part of a political party." You do what you are ordered to do, right or wrong, bottom line.

I applaud ABC for not censoring the war from the country.

-- Carolyn V. Fraser



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