No exclusive rights

After reading last week's news article "Hunger pangs" regarding the plight of our local food banks, I was already tempted to write a word of appreciation for such organizations that serve as a safety net for all of us who run into hard times.

Then the hand of providence led me to the letter to the editor titled "Frightening and disgusting" by Robert and Laurie Adams.

In the letter, reference was made to the "loitering" of the homeless in Acacia Park and the menace they pose. They asked the age-old question, "Isn't there some city ordinance or regulation that disallows loitering in a city park?" Well, if the answer isn't already "no," it should be!

Since when has it become so unacceptable for the public to exhibit idleness in a public park?

Normally when I go to the local park, for inexplicable reasons I find myself often drifting into a blissful state of loitering. I often sense other strange people loitering, some with their dogs. A moose was once caught loitering in Monument Valley Park. And there have been several sightings of loitering squirrels, up from last year!

Being a native of the West Side for 49 of my 50 years, I have witnessed firsthand the changes to our town. I remember walking with my mother through downtown as a child. Visiting Levine's toy store, Chinook and Clausen's Used Books. We'd get a hoagie at the soda counter in Woolworth's, and then head on over to Kress' five-and-dime and end the day at Hibbard's department store.

But over the years and through the changes to our downtown, there have remained certain aspects unchanged for the most part and one of them is Acacia Park where, on any given day you will find students mingling with workers and sharing idle moments with the homeless and bored.

Finally, with regard to Mr. and Mrs. Adams, should the city offer them and other esteemed citizens exclusive rights to our parks?

No! Rather it may be in the best interest of those of you with similar misconceptions to simply volunteer some moments of your time at a local soup kitchen and rub shoulders with those truly struggling to survive.

-- J.L. Davis

Colorado Springs

Elitist Democrats

Dear Robert and Laurie Adams,

Reading your letter in last week's Independent really hit home for me. I recently bought a beachfront home in Malibu and I'll be darned if the sand around my house isn't always moist. Then there's the constant surfing going on in the water some 300 or so yards from my front door. I mean, can't these people find some other ocean in which to practice their "sport"? And the seagulls. Must I, a taxpayer, be subjected to their frightening and disgusting presence every time I venture from my house?

Seriously, I'll bet you guys are a couple of those "elitist Democrats" my friends at Clear Channel have been telling me about. A Republican would have bought his/her house in Briargate or Stetson Hills or any of the many other Colorado Springs neighborhoods where right-thinking people dwell.

What I think might really do you guys some good is a change of scenery; may I suggest Monument Valley Park, right by Interstate 25 and Bijou? You'll love its ambiance.

-- Jerome Davis

Colorado Springs

Setting bear traps

Thanks to Robert and Laurie Adams for sharing their concern of the local infestation of the homeless that apparently affects us all. While everyone I know generally feels safe and comforted by the presence of the local homeless demographic, I see your point about paying taxes.

Now that it has been brought to my attention, I propose a solution with which you could be of utmost help in this since you seem to have stumbled upon a prominent homeless person's Day-Timer: Set bear traps at the presupposed territories ready and waiting with a much-needed hot meal, and, snap, you've at least temporarily solved the problem.

Your other option would be to give a damn and volunteer at the soup kitchen where you could give friendly advice and counseling or just resort to poisoning next weeks bone stew. Hopefully, these well-thought-out tactics won't take up any more time or energy than the careful tracking and documentation of their overwhelming occupation that you have already carefully invested in.

Now, I must share my concern. Dog excrement in the park. I mean, it is just so frightening and disgusting. Nobody bought a downtown loft to see that shit.

Another thing, I'd rather not see teenagers in parks at all. They just seem to loiter (a dozen or so in each group). It's as if they think they pay taxes when it's really their controlled and intimidated parents. The whole situation is quite disheartening.

Perhaps it would be best if the entire of downtown were a gated community that only you had the code to. A code to your own "magical happy land."

-- Lindsay Hand

Colorado Springs

Everything's a drug

In response to the article in last week's issue of the Independent titled "Your brain on Frappuccino," I would like to say first off that I think that the entire article is nonsense.

Roger Downey starts off by asking the question of whether caffeine is a drug. The obvious answer is yes, but then again what isn't a drug? In this day and age almost anything that we as humans consume could be considered to be a drug, so why are we so concerned with caffeine? Downey gives off the impression that Howard Schultz should be shunned for creating Starbucks and distributing caffeine to the citizens of the world. This is ridiculous. Mr. Schultz merely came up with a genius idea that the people of the world love.

The fact of the matter is that we as people always have and will always consume caffeine on a daily basis. If caffeine is such a big issue and such a drug that is a harmful to your body then perhaps everything that has caffeine in it should have a warning such as the ones on cigarettes to inform the people that they are harmful. People need to realize that caffeine is here to stay whether it is a drug or not, so deal with it!

--Luke Wempe

Via the Internet

Prairie dog atrocities

After reading Rich Tosches column, "Running for cover" last week, I was relieved to see that someone spoke up about the atrocities taking place on the issue involving the black-tailed prairie dog population in Colorado.

Reading about the longtime practice of shooting prairie dogs in the head as they popped out of their burrows and then leaving the dead animals to rot infuriated me, however, humorous comments such as, "... and being shot by the tens of thousands for the enjoyment of people who didn't do real well on their SAT exams (about 90 percent incorrectly answered the very first question, 'SAT')," lightened up the matter. The people who participate in these practices deserve to be portrayed in the worst way possible.

My biggest concern after reading this column, nonetheless, is what the hell is going on with the Fish and Wildlife Service? In 2000, they designated this animal as threatened and then in 2004, three years after Colorado banned the alleged "sport hunting," they lifted the protection against these animals. Reading about the Fish and Wildlife's change of heart led me to the conclusion that over the three years of the prairie dogs thriving and prospering the result was an overpopulation of the species.

Since the Fish and Wildlife Service has to know what certain illiterate people with rifles are doing to these animals, it's easy to grasp what is really going on here.

After a couple of years of senseless murder of a harmless animal, the Fish and Wildlife Service will obtain more of the so-called "comprehensive survey information," find out that 20,000 prairie dogs are rotting in prairies of El Paso County and then designate the animal as threatened ... again.

Is this the way the Fish and Wildlife Service deals with the population control of black-tailed prairie dog? What has our Colorado become?

-- Mark Johnson

Colorado Springs

Watching your McWallet

I am writing in regards to last week's news story entitled, "From McDonald's to McHealthy." I checked not only the publication date but the calendar as well and April 1 has not come early. Just the word "McHealthy" blew my mind away as to why you would print such science fiction, and I'm sorry to say, I'm not lovin' it. C'mon people, McDonald's and healthy do not belong in the same sentence, ever.

I'm pretty much fed up with the increasing illusion that fast food can somehow be good for you; it's like an inside joke that really isn't that funny.

Mickey D's as well as the Coca-Cola Co. are obviously joining these healthy coalition clubs in one of those clever well-thought-out ploys to be closer to the enemy. Think about it: Past the smoke and mirrors, they are gazillion-dollar worldwide corporations; are they really looking out for your health or your McWallet?

The more they can con you into thinking they have anything remotely close to something health related, the more they can justify selling their crap between buns in your head.

They have these new adult happy meals that have a bottle of water, a secret decoder ring, and then one of there new McSalads, which consists of a mutant lettuce with chicken nuggets on top that come in three flavors: vanilla, pork and grape.

I don't know how, but these salads still have anywhere from 450 calories and 20 grams of fat and up, for the low, low price of $4.99. A bag of Dole's salad mix (including fat free dressing) has 58 calories and 0 grams of fat (per serving), costs around three bucks at the grocery store and has enough for multiple servings.

If this coalition wants to really fight obesity, start telling people to put down the Chicken Selects and run away to a soccer camp or a gym. Then they need to start chasing people's asses out from under the golden arches before they give themselves a McQuadruple Bypass.

-- Jason Spector

Black Forest

McLazy is the problem

I am pleased that there are coalitions out there that are attempting to protect people from their own bad nutritional decisions; however, I'm disappointed that people do not have enough responsibility to make these decisions for themselves.

Most Americans blindly accept the statement that if something says it's "healthy," then, if they eat it, they will lose weight. What most people do not realize is that the key to losing weight lies not in what they eat alone, but in their level of daily exercise. This is a fact that the article "From McDonald's to McHealthy" mentions only very briefly, and which I feel needs to be dragged into the spotlight.

The reason why approximately 15 percent of Coloradans are medically obese is because they are, for the most part, and for lack of a better word, lazy. And what is so ironic is that "McHealthy" McDonald's is actually abetting obesity.

What really gets me is when people wait in the drive-through line so they don't have to walk those 30 feet to the counter inside, eat their lunches while stopped in traffic on Academy Boulevard, and then search for 15 minutes for the absolute closest parking space when they arrive at their destinations -- all to avoid walking those few extra steps; all to avoid burning those few extra calories.

These are the same people who will complain to you later that afternoon that, no matter what they do, they just cannot shed those extra pounds.

The key decision people need to make concerning their health is not simply to order a "McHealthy" value meal, super-sized, with a diet Coke, but, more appropriately, to get off their butts and start moving their bodies like they were intended to be moved.

-- Rebecca J. Sherrow

Colorado Springs


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