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Home sweet home
I live in the Katharine Lee Bates Apartments in Colorado Springs ("The old and the restless," cover story, Jan. 23). I love my apartment home here. I often sit in my living room and look out my window as deer, foxes, skunks and the occasional herd of neighborhood teenagers saunter through the yard.
When I moved in three years ago, I was advised to avoid the cliques. I have followed this advice for the most part. I could probably only tell someone the names of seven or eight of my neighbors. There are some people here that I like and others ... not so much. Those I do not know I greet with a courteous smile and "Hello" when I see them in the halls, lobby and lunchroom.
I put up with some minor irritants from my neighbors, as I am sure that they put up with me. I have a neighbor that once long ago played in a rock and roll band who listens to his music, and I think he might be slightly hard of hearing judging from the volume. Once in a while, I hear the woman upstairs walk across her floor or run her garbage disposal. Things like these are merely the facts of life in apartment living.
I do not know what goes on behind the closed doors of the other apartments, nor do I care to know. I am grateful to have such a nice apartment, and I am so very much happier living here as opposed to when my home was beneath the 25th Street bridge. I just thought you might like to know that HUD housing is not all bad.
— A. Barker
Hot, dry and deadly
In response to "No rain, no snow, no relief" (City Sage, Jan. 23), it is important to understand one cause of these low levels of precipitation: global warming. Less precipitation results in hotter and drier conditions, causing severe droughts and wildfires. If we allow the climate to warm further, Coloradans can expect even less access to water and more fights over water rights.
One action to mitigate global warming, and reach adequate levels of precipitation, is to limit carbon pollution emissions from power plants. Carbon pollution from power plants remains the single largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S without any federal limits to date, and we have the opportunity to change this. President Obama's pledge for climate change action in his inaugural address was a clear sign that he understands the urgency of addressing this problem. Right now, President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency are developing the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new power plants, reducing pollution and improving our environment.
Over 50,000 Coloradans have already spoken out in support of the proposed standards, and many more opinion leaders are echoing the need for action. I urge the EPA to finish the job on these standards and also develop standards for existing power plants — our health and our environment are depending on it.
— Mikala Weingarten
Environment Colorado, Denver
The group that I'm not hearing from, as Congress falls in line to pretty much implement the NRA's plan to restrict guns from the mentally ill, are mental health care professionals. How many parents will seek out mental health care for their children for depression, ADD, ADHD, etc., let alone for more serious problems, once they realize that a mental health care professional might make a diagnosis that could place their children on a federal gun registry for life and affect their privacy rights? How many adults won't seek such help?
Until Obamacare changed the rules, just a young person going to a professional counselor was a red flag that raised their private insurance rates into adulthood. With that turn for the positive, we seem to have Congress considering taking another step backward.
As a growing number of soldiers need to seek help for PTSD, should we expect them to seek it in a nation that seems ready to take such action and where states have cut more than $1.8 billion from their mental health care budgets (tinyurl.com/Indy-mental-health) since the beginning of 2009?
— Jonathan H. Reilly
Are we there yet?
We are all guilty of failing to protect the youngsters in Newtown and others. Are we ready to agree on some common-sense steps to get a handle on these terrible crimes?
Could we agree that there is a point at which our country can be said to be flooded with guns? Are we there yet?
To combat this national disgrace of over 30,000 gun deaths in one year, we will have to ask for the help of most citizens and stand up to many bullies and some really fanatical people. Are we prepared for that?
There are a few conclusions to draw in the wake of these recent horrors, and one is that there is no way the smug, puny and cowardly psychopath-like guy with orange hair — I refuse to use his name — should be allowed anywhere near a gun.
Please don't say it's only about untreated mental illness. All humans are weak at times and all are stupid at times, and many are both and really crazy on top of that, and now many of them are heavily armed. There is no system to treat every sick individual in the country, and there are no easy or sure treatments for those ailments.
Also, please don't say it's about freedom, because that often means giving a coward the freedom to take the lives and freedoms of 20 or more Americans who surely deserved theirs.
We don't let just anyone fly airplanes, right? Why would we give just anyone the power of life and death over others without vetting their stability? Shouldn't there be a sanity test? Maybe we should take that test as a whole country. If we did, would there be a question as to how many terrible massacres would be too many? Are we there yet?
— Max Clow
Put 'em to use
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
America is overlooking the obvious in trying to solve the assault weapons, gun control issue. We should just reinstitute a military draft and require anyone who purchases a military-style weapon to agree they will serve in "a well regulated Militia," if and when the circumstances require. Isn't that what the Founding Fathers envisioned?
Train the AK-47 gun owners; prepare them to fight, like reservists. Utilize their skills wherever in the world the United States must engage an enemy. And, if they object, prosecute them like any other citizen who violates the law.
Shouldn't that give second thought to the capricious purchasing of military weapons and keep us in harmony with the Constitution?
— Emil Kobylecki
Mad Max redux
Of course we all need assault rifles, because America is actually a Mad Max movie where we will need to kill each other over gasoline and canned dog food, and unless we are all armed to the teeth, marauding barbarian hordes will magically know this and break into our houses to steal our bedazzled sweater collections and first editions of Chicken Soup for the Christian Soul and those necklaces with a little figurine for each child in the family.
I mean, how naïve can you be?
— Amber Ridenour
On Monday, Jan. 28, my 5-month-old pug puppy was attacked by another dog in the park behind the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. In the 30 seconds before I could separate them, my puppy had suffered five broken ribs that damaged his lungs. The owner of the attacking dog claimed that her dog was trying to "play."
The result of this clearly predatory "game" was that my puppy died after spending three days in the hospital, leaving me with a broken heart and a hefty vet bill.
I implore all dog owners to obey leash laws, regardless of how well-trained you believe your dog to be. Any dog may react unpredictably to a new stimulus, with tragic results: It may run in front of a car, attack another dog or child, or become lost. To the owner of the dog that killed my puppy: I hope you take steps to address your dog's predatory behavior and keep it on leash at all times in public to avoid causing more heartbreak.
— Jessica Hunter-Larsen
No adoption option
I am very disappointed in the sponsors of Senate Bill 11 (civil unions). Last year they listened to adoption placement organizations that for moral and/or religious reasons would not place a child outside a marriage. The Senate sponsor, Pat Steadman, went out of his way last year to insure religious freedom for organizations that will not place a child outside a marriage.
This year however, Sen. Steadman claims that since organizations like Catholic Charities will not support the bill anyway, all religious freedom protection has been dropped. This violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
They claim that the religious exemption discriminates against couples who are not married. Yet, in the name of nondiscrimination, they will discriminate against adoption agencies that for moral or religious reasons will not place a child outside of marriage. What hypocrisy!
— Fr. Bill Carmody
Respect Life Director
Diocese of Colorado Springs
Food and fevers
The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies, and killing 29 children and thousands of seniors. Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals raised for food.
Indeed, 61 percent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent contagious and deadly viruses among these include Asian, dengue fever, Ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile, and yellow fever.
Today's factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation media for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host's immune system, then propagate by contact.
Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune system against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods don't carry flu viruses, or government warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.
— Carl Silverman
A city needs its visionaries. These are people who see what is and dream what could be. John Weiss, publisher of the Independent, is one of those visionaries.
Four years ago he started a campaign giving smaller, less mainstream nonprofits a chance to pitch their missions and attract new donors. The first-year goals were modest — many of us received a few extra thousand dollars, a handful of new volunteers, perhaps some badly needed office equipment — and we were all ecstatic.
But John was only getting started. Indy Give! just completed its fourth and most successful campaign to date, contributing $982,000 to 58 nonprofits. As one of the lucky groups to be included, we want to thank the community for shaking off donor fatigue caused by the Waldo Canyon Fire and supporting us. We want to thank the Indy for telling our stories and giving us the chance to share why our projects matter.
Most of all we want to thank John Weiss and his staff for allowing small nonprofits the chance to expand our circle of influence and dream bigger dreams. By adding to our value, you empower tens of thousands of people we try to serve.
Those of us who work in nonprofits really believe we have the greatest jobs on earth. We get to do something that needs to get done. "Giving" to the community is our joy. That so many of you would choose to give back so generously humbles all of us.
— Susan Davies
Executive director, Trails and Open Space Coalition
In "Centers of attention" (cover story, Jan. 30), we referenced a Colorado Springs Business Journal story that contained erroneous information. While the city may spend some money to improve lighting in downtown alleys, the Downtown Partnership is not providing $500,000 in funds for the Alley Arts District. We regret the error.