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Class acts

John Hazlehurst hit the nail on the head with last week's cover story featuring four artists important to the Colorado Springs art scene.

Don Green was the first artist to take a risk by having his sculptures at the Colorado Springs Airport; he was closely followed by Sean O'Meallie who opened a space where 100,000 to 200,000 people are exposed to local artists' work.

I have never heard either of these two gentlemen downgrade fellow artists and for that matter anyone.

Colorado Springs is lucky to have these two class acts in your city.

-- Bill Geary

Vstervik, Sweden

Out of nowhere

Sometimes life is too sweet to be true. We happily sail through it, working hard, struggling, raising our children, caring for those we love, building our homes, making friends with the neighbors.

Then along comes ... If we had kept our eyes open ... I was not watching. How did he get there? Where did he come from? Has he left a trail?

I should have been more vigilant, as we all must, to preserve our freedom and access to truth and accuracy in education.

Before things deteriorate further, a correction must be made. District 11 board member Eric Christian was quoted last week in the other newspaper referring to Planned Parenthood being "unwelcome in our high schools due to the controversy they have generated."

Eric, somebody must correct you. It is you and your ilk who are unwelcome in our schools. The controversy you generate is calculated to disrupt education. Planned Parenthood provides accurate information, facts that our children need. It is you and your scions, Craig Cox and Willie Breazell, who upset any progress and constructive reform. You should be unwelcome in our schools because of the controversy and trouble you generate for our dedicated teachers and other school staff.

But, thank you, thank you, for the timely reminder that I must not be complacent and take my liberties, my work, the well being of my children, my home, my neighbors, my civil rights, for granted.

Thank you for demonstrating to me that I must not sit back and assume that every elected school board member is open to public scrutiny and truly supports public education and every child's right to it.

Darn it, I was enjoying my life the way it was. Guess I have to make time for more vigilance so as not to let a school board member, a public servant, make such stupid proclamations without correction.

-- Janice E. Black

Colorado Springs

Dogma central

I was disappointed by the decision to drop Planned Parenthood in District 11.

In the news story about the decision, board member Karen Teja was quoted saying "Safety is number one."

Whose safety, I wonder? Safety from dogma central for the manipulated and harried administrators and teachers? That must rank as more important than the health of the significant percentage of sexually active teens. I suppose they are magically imbued with this knowledge after graduation? So much for the welfare of young people coming first.

Or, for that matter, even treating them like people.

May I remind the board that their responsibility is to their charges, not to their own comfort. Can't stand the heat? Get out of the kitchen.

If I were paranoid, I'd say it was a ploy to punish those that won't toe the morality line. Withhold valuable information, then the consequences can be portrayed as God's punishment on the wicked. But I'm not, so I won't.

Meanwhile, we're trading the joy of sex for the joy of firearms.

As Assessor John Bass observed in a Feb 24 news story, the county is a theater of the absurd for its preoccupation with the appropriate way to accessorize your weapon (oh, dear, for the next commish meeting, my basic black shotgun, or the more stylish concealed silver 38?), in lieu of consideration of more pressing matters. I have to wonder if our constant morality plays aren't likewise meant as a distraction.

Methinks we're returning to the glory and splendor of the dark ages. Giveth me that old time religion!

-- Dan Marvin

Colorado Springs

Meant what she said

I want to congratulate Mr. Warren Morgan, who caught what he believed was an error in spelling or understanding of the word "chaff." As in the Biblical term, "Separate the chaff from the wheat."

In my original Feb. 24 letter to the editor, I used the word "shaft," meaning to treat unfairly or harshly, to point out what I perceive many Christian leaders in our society are doing -- preaching unfairness and harsh treatment to those who do not conform to their idea of "Christianity."

The very purpose of my letter was to point out that Jesus and His appointed Disciples would never treat others unfairly or harshly. Christian leaders who focus on a particular group of people and treat them unfairly or harshly, do not follow Jesus' teachings.

I stand by my quote: "Jesus will separate the shaft from the wheat."

-- Mrs. Richard Williams

Colorado Springs

Chafing over the shaft

Mrs. Richard Williams stated at the beginning of her letter that both she and her husband were "profoundly deaf." That detail, in itself, is enough reason for the hearing population to cut her some slack.

Chaff and shaft would look almost like homonyms if reading lips. Perhaps the American Sign Language also has a bit of confusion with the two words. Maybe Mrs. Williams was agitated when she wrote her letter and didn't proofread it. Regardless of her error, she still managed to compose a very articulate letter.

My experience as a member of the hearing population is that the tactics of evangelicals always chafe.

-- Joseph F. Pennock

Idalia, CO

And she's a girl

In Mr. Tosches' Feb. 24 column "Turmoil and chaos at CU -- at last," he needs to get a couple of facts straight.

Katie Hnida was allegedly assaulted in her apartment by a single individual. She was not allegedly raped by her "teammates" (plural). Nothing happened because Ms. Hnida refused to file any charges or name who was involved.

After being initially asked questions by the press about Ms. Hnida's rape allegations, CU football coach Gary Barnett was subsequently asked to comment on Ms. Hnida's athletic ability. His insensitive response led to a three-month suspension for only telling the truth: Ms. Hnida is a terrible kicker.

-- Rick Kearney

Colorado Springs

The ultimate pastime

I'm just curious why our illustrious Governor Bill "McCarthy" Owens has not spoken out against CU's football coach. Why hasn't he called for him to be fired? He wanted ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill fired because he made "anti-American" comments in a paper he wrote nearly four years ago.

How awful that Mr. Churchill has a different opinion than the majority! But yet Barnett and his department allow using sex and alcohol to recruit new football talent. Oh, now I see! Football is the ultimate American pastime! So using sex and alcohol to bribe young football players into playing for CU is very patriotic!

We certainly wouldn't want to mess with CU's moneymaking machine! And we certainly don't want the American public to be deprived of an entertaining football game each Saturday afternoon! Owens is such a hypocrite.

-- Deb Asher

Colorado Springs

Go ride your bike

RE: Mark Ratikan letter, March 3

Holy moly! Who took a dump in Mr. Ratikan's cornflakes on the morning he wrote his anti-bike on the roadway tirade? To be fair, we bicyclists can be our own worst enemy when some of us do the things he points out.

By the same token, there are more than enough car and truck drivers that do not obey the rules of the road either and are just as hazardous. So why not rant and rave about those idiots? Does having a license, registration and insurance (hopefully) somehow legitimize the actions of these non-courteous motorists?

And for the record, bicyclists are held accountable for their actions. There are laws (CO HB 1246 (1988) and the recently passed CO HB 1218 (2005) are examples) that bicyclists must follow (how effectively they're enforced is another issue) and Colorado Springs has an ongoing plan (the Intermodal Transportation Plan) to provide for vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian travel needs, so bicyclists are certainly not going away.

On top of all of this, I'm sure most bicycle riders also pay for use of the roads through their taxes and fees they pay for their motorized vehicles.

No, Mr. Ratikan, if you have issues with bicyclists then ideally you'd work with us to improve existing bicycle trails and help develop new ones. If that's too much to ask, you can always work with law enforcement and local and state politicians to enforce existing laws and create more Draconian anti-bicycling ones if that is what you desire.

In any case, if you stop whining like a spoiled brat yourself, perhaps I'll get you a fresh bowl of cornflakes to ease your intestinal distress. Better yet, get on a bike and try relieving some of that stress with a good ride through the streets.

-- David R. Perl

Colorado Springs

Pregnant by choice

I was at K-Mart recently and parked next to a sign which I had to read twice -- next to the handicapped parking was above all things "parking for expecting moms."

These women are not ill or handicapped -- they are pregnant by choice!

With our abundance of expecting moms in this city -- most of which cannot afford another rug-rat -- now they are not "expected" to waddle to the next parking space.

Exercise for P.G. people is the best thing they can do for themselves and their baby. My Mom was an O/B nurse and worked almost until the day I was born!

Why do pregnant women have their own "parking" -- only in this "Focus on the Family" cult that is now Colo. Springs. where everyone must breed!

I think the people that are looked down upon in this town such as gays and non-breeders should have their own parking space -- because they have very few rights to begin with.

-- Winstorm Smith

Colorado Springs native

Shooting gallery

Hats off to our brave county assessor, John Bass, for taking a stand against lifting the gun ban in government buildings (Packing heat, News, Feb. 14.). The Board of County Commissioners appears stacked/biased with gun-rights proponents/friends -- not attending to what is best for the public welfare and safety.

As an observer of BOCC, I was keenly reminded of one of the first sessions after Commissioner Wayne Williams was elected two years ago. The gallery of the BOCC Hearing Room was packed with gun proponents then, too. Some, including me, were taken by surprise by the ready lifting of the ban against guns in county parks (including many playgrounds for children).

I recall Commissioner Williams' thanks to the gun advocates for helping his election and he acknowledged acting to keep his campaign promises to lift the ban on guns in county parks immediately.

Before we leave the doors open to welcome more gun-toting, let us pause to remember Columbine and other school casualties created by making firearms available, accessible to children -- and to the scared gun advocates.

Please note the statistics complied by the Children's Defense Fund, and founder, Marian Wright Edelman in "The Impossible Will Take A Little While" (p.38:)

"The U.S. is first among industrialized nations in defense of expenditures, military exports, gross domestic product, the number of millionaires and billionaires, and the cost of our health technology. But we're twelfth in living standards for the poorest fifth of our children; seventeenth in preventing low birth weight, and twenty-third in avoiding infant mortality. We're last in protecting our children against gun violence. Since 1979, firearms have killed 90,000 children in our homes, schools and neighborhoods, more than the toll of all our combat deaths in Vietnam.

Let us see and hear the advocates and friends of children when this issue is heard at BOCC meetings on March 14, County Hearing Room, 2 p.m.

-- Flora M. Holmes

Colorado Springs

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