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Woebegone is me

Why was Prairie Home Companion at the World Arena?

A whole section of Prairie Home Companion fans, who traveled from as far away as the Netherlands and all over Colorado, were very disappointed last Saturday afternoon. We couldn't believe our top-dollar tickets (parking fee not included) were not facing the stage as the World Arena's seating chart illustrated on their website.

We were not alone. Everyone who sat down in these expensive seats commented on their confusion and frustration that our seats were not center-stage, but arranged at a 90-degree angle from the stage. Everyone suffered from cricked necks after bending and stretching, trying to catch a glimpse of the performance. Unbelievably, the lesser-priced bleacher tickets were superior as a result of being stage-center and stadium-staggered.

Who was so greedy that they would book a folkie program like Prairie Home Companion at such a cold, uninviting venue? Who was so greedy that they arranged the seating in such a configuration? Who is at fault? As a result, the World Arena lost many future customers.

— Cynthia Mavros

Palmer Lake

No Child, no way

I would like to respectfully disagree with Jose Tamez's response to Proposition 103 ("Questionable motives," Letters, Oct. 27). Tamez's claim that funding has not led to "results" in the form of higher aptitudes seems reasonable ... if we live in the world without the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

Perhaps the most ironically named act in U.S. history, NCLB is an across-the-board failure in idea and practice. As a tutor at Pikes Peak Community College and a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, I have experienced first-hand the net result of relying on test scores over qualitative content as the determining factor in measuring student aptitude, and in turn, school funding. I know many people who share my perspective: from concerned parents to dedicated college and university educators as well as primary-level teachers.

NCLB forces teachers to "teach to the test," severely limiting their abilities to creatively engineer class content. This cookie-cutter approach rejects the obvious reality that every class is different and every student is different, a reality which requires teachers to be able to operate fluidly. The paint-by-numbers method can only foster intellectual homogeneity, apathy and social disconnect, since it negates the necessary connection between individual passions and the outside world of ideas.

By favoring a competitive business philosophy in our school-funding decisions, we make the assumption that schools are like businesses. They emphatically are not! Make no mistake — the orchestrators of our current corporatocracy are counting on NCLB to produce a conveniently pliable, dumbed-down citizenry. Tamez asks us not to be fooled by either party, but the sad fact is we already were.

Maybe it's time we push ourselves and our politicians to change the dialogue defining success for our nation's students, starting with the repeal of NCLB.

— Roxanne Yelvington

Colorado Springs

Lots of problems

Tourists and residents of Colorado Springs, rejoice! We now have prettier parking spaces! Wow. What a great use of city funds! Maybe when we get a $20 parking ticket, the gussied-up space we're parked in will make me want to come back and spend money downtown.

Instead of using all that money to beautify parking spaces, I think the city should have either:

a) saved the money, taken out parking meters, and let people park for free for two hours;

b) taken the money and turned the city-owned vacant lots at the intersection of Westview Place and Boulder Crescent Street into a downtown dog park. You know, give something to downtown residents, and maybe all those metered spots on Westview would actually get used instead of sitting empty most of the time.

— Jason Martin

Colorado Springs

Well done, COS

I am extremely proud of the way Colorado Springs has reacted to the Occupy movement. I have to admit that sometimes you all surprise me with your leadership. In this case, your low-key reaction to a free speech movement surpasses that of supposedly more "sophisticated" cities such as New York and Seattle. I find myself considering you in a different light and am very happy to be able to do so. Thank you again.

— Philip Lightstone

Manitou Springs

Ultimate concoction

If you wanted to create a meteorological storm of epic proportions, you would fill one large air mass with very cold, dry air and expose it to another air mass over Wall Street filled with extreme heat and pressure.

Huh ... why did I say Wall Street? Anywho, this is the recipe for a perfect storm.

— Steve Suhre

Colorado Springs

Behind the news

Fear of travel in Mexico has caused such a flow of e-mails from friends and family in the U.S. and Canada that expatriates living in San Carlos, Sonora, typically either ignore them or respond with something of a form letter.

As a former Colorado Springs resident, my standard response is, "Quit watching television."

The drug cartel gunmen, by and large, are killing each other and politicians who couldn't be bought, or wouldn't stay bought. And innocent bystanders.

The drug wars are taking place in very specific areas, at predictable times of day. Just as in the U.S.A., there are places one does not travel through at certain times.

Mexico is still Mexico. The food is good and strangers smile and speak when you pass on the street. Neighborhood parties still last until dawn, and nobody complains about the noise.

The drug war is not Mexico's responsibility alone. The U.S. is the major consumer of illegal drugs.

Los Zetas, the most vicious of drug cartels, were an elite unit of the Mexican army, deserted in a body and sold out the Gulf Cartel, and went into business for themselves. The original Zetas were trained at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Under a program designated Fast and Furious, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms knowingly allowed more than 2,500 assault weapons to be delivered to drug cartels as part of a failed "sting" snafu. A border patrolman and an ICE agent have been killed by the smuggled weapons.

As to death toll by firearms, 17 U.S. states have a higher per capita killing rate than Mexico. Mexico City has a homicide rate of 2.2 per 100,000 population. In Washington, D.C., the rate is 10 times higher, 22 per 100,000 population.

If you get all your news from TV, you might have missed that.

— Jerry Mosier

San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico

My city budget

They asked for city budget ideas. Here they are:

1. Absolutely no taxpayer money should be given to the U.S. Olympic Committee without voter approval.

2. Sunday and evening public transportation should be reinstated.

3. Although I disagree with the tactics of some, I feel that police officers should be entitled to a decent pension because they have a dangerous job, and you won't get just anyone to do that. Firefighters should also be entitled to a decent pension, since they also have dangerous work.

4. More roads should be repaired; Union Boulevard proceeding south of Pikes Peak Avenue is an example.

5. Please drive along Interstate 25 north and south from one end of city limits to the other and you will see where lights have been turned off.

Money needs to be spent on vital services such as public safety, streetlights, road repair and, yes, public transportation.

— Ed Billings

Colorado Springs

Drilling = jobs

El Paso County commissioners deserve plaudits and public support for their sensible decision to permit Ultra Resources (a subsidiary of Ultra Petroleum) approval for exploratory drilling in a remote area of the county. This comes at the same time the Environmental Protection Agency has announced it will closely monitor any possible adverse effects from fracking to the underground water table. This would be in addition to strict regulations and oversight of oil and gas activities by the state of Colorado.

Colorado Springs should emulate El Paso County's action. The need for viable entities to create employment opportunities has never been greater. Forget about fretting over the uncertain effect of paring down or losing an office of El Paso Corp. We should instead welcome Kinder Morgan, which is paying $21 billion to take over El Paso Corp. We should let them know we are creating a friendly climate for exploration of oil and gas.

Here is a potential for creation of jobs through a genuine economic engine. In any new or unfamiliar event of this kind, a minor number of vocal NIMBYs make a lot of noise. The city could assuage their fears and concerns by establishing a buffer zone adjacent to the east side of the residential community already there. If property rights mean to us what we say they do, then Ultra deserves the same consideration for drilling on this land that it has received from the county. The fault line that runs from east of Denver down through southeast El Paso County may well contain the rich shale that could be the key to Colorado's future.

One other thing: We should stop the futile lamentation about the dearth of venture capital. We need to have a large number of fertile minds working at producing ideas that attract investors.

— John A. Daly

Colorado Springs

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Reaching out

Recently 25 seniors completed a course on Bridges to Islam at Pillar Institute. Over a period of four evenings, we talked with leaders of the Muslim community, attended sundown and evening prayers at the mosque, enjoyed a Middle East meal and read several books about the great variety of Islamic culture. We had a heck of a good time.

I highly recommend a similar experience to all interested in better understanding the many varied cultures of Islam. If we are to have peace in our community and in the larger world, too, it must begin with me.

To this end I recommend that service clubs, religious organizations and businesses build their own bridges to our Muslim neighbors. One way is with the help of Pillar Institute or Steve Saint at Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, or by contacting the Islamic community directly.

Go to isocs.org and click on Directions Visitors. Muslims are our neighbors. Make a new friend.

— Dr. Dale L. Kemmerer

Colorado Springs

The udder side

In response to "Food Day's purpose" (Letters, Oct. 20), I am compelled to tell another side of the story.

Every day is food day to the U.S. dairy farmers who produce nutritious milk year-round. As long-standing stewards of the land, farmers are committed to several of the principles Food Day supports. This includes promoting safe, healthy foods to help reduce diet-related diseases; adopting sustainable farming practices; and expanding the overall accessibility to nutritious food.

Colorado dairy farm families produce milk and dairy products that help feed the world. In fact, with 98 percent of U.S. dairy farms family-owned, farm families take pride in offering foods that make their communities economically, environmentally and socially better — now and for future generations.

Few foods deliver dairy's powerhouse of nutrients in such affordable, appealing and readily available ways. At just about 25 cents per serving, dairy makes nutrient-rich foods widely accessible.

Through its analysis of scientific data, the government determined that calcium, vitamin D and potassium are among four nutrients that on average, are consumed in low enough amounts by the American population to be considered a public health concern. This is just one of many reasons the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three daily servings of low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products for all Americans ages 9 and older, 2.5 daily cups for children ages 4-8 and 2 cups for children ages 2-3.

Milk, cheese and yogurt provide a unique nutrient package. Moderate evidence also indicates that intake of milk and milk products is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and with lower blood pressure in adults.

So toast the families who every morning rise before the sun, care for their cows and help feed the world.

— Judy Barbe

Western Dairy Association, Thornton

Other holes

Ranger Rich's article about toilets ("Toilets around the world," Ranger Rich, Oct. 27) neglects to mention the toilets in Hong Kong. The ones with a hole in the floor are referred to as "level toilets." These reek to high heaven, I suppose due to the inability of the users to hit the hole.

— Don Smith

Brisbane, Australia

Not to worry

Noduku? Noduku!

First step in wasteful spending cuts?

Digital censorship?

The end of logic in Colorado Springs?

Say it ain't so.

— Ken Kennard

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: Sudoku has not vanished forever from the Independent. It runs in our Classified section on a space-available basis, and we simply ran out of room in recent weeks. We hope to return it to its rightful place in our next issue.


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