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Leading the way

Dear Independent readers,

Let our good city lead the nation in turning around what has become a widespread mispronunciation of the word "especially." These days, everybody seems to say eKspecially, even some local newscasters. It sounds strange, and it's harder to say. Please look at the spelling and get rid of the "K" sound. All together now: eh-special-lee.

Jim Inman

Colorado Springs

The science of divorce

Cara DeGette's Public Eye column last week, titled "Welcome to Splitsville" and referencing the 70 percent divorce rate in El Paso County, actually provided an example of how science often collides with religious mythology, especially when it comes to faith-based public initiatives.

Pastor Steve Holt's idea is to address the exceedingly high divorce rate now prevalent in this "evangelical-based" community. But he, along with Mayor Lionel Rivera, is denying the facts behind divorce.

The fact is that born-again Christians have the highest divorce rates among all religious and non-religious groups in America. Thus, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that Colorado Springs, with a large resident evangelical population, possesses the highest divorce rate in the state.

The source for this lesser-publicized "revelation" comes from the Barna Research Group coincidentally, a research and survey company that works for the Christian right.

Barna research states: "While it may be alarming to discover that born-again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce ... the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families."

They further found that "the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages."

How is Holt's program going to address the apparent conflict between the primitive patriarchal attitude, especially in respect to marriage relationships, inherent to evangelical viewpoints and the perspectives of "real life"?

One thing I am sure of: The group with the lowest divorce rate is atheists and agnostics, a fact confirmed by Barna. In this research, it was demonstrated that atheists and agnostics are more dedicated to each other, with women and men equally responsible for the healthy marriage, leaving little or no room for "submissive" nonsense preached by evangelical churches.

Is that what Holt had in mind with his marriage counseling and covenant?

Robert Nemanich

Colorado Springs

Found in translation

As a retired member of the U.S. Army, I have had much practice deciphering bureaucratese. Allow me to decipher Colorado Springs Utilities employee comments as detailed in Cara DeGette's Jan. 19 column ("Dance of the Bureaucrats," Public Eye):

CSU spokeswoman Patrice Quintero says, "We don't want to put fear into the heart of the community."

(This really means: We don't want to tell the general public how poorly we are doing, because they may decide to replace us with someone who cares.)

"For their meeting [that] week, utility execs identified a couple hundred "stakeholders' ... The general public and the media who usually appreciate a heads-up were not notified."

(They only wanted people who were most likely to agree with the utility. God forbid they would have someone there who would disagree with them in the early stages of this program.)

Quintero says, "In the next month or so ... the utility will include information about the program to customers via its monthly newsletter."

(The utility will decide what they have to tell us, to ensure that they get what they want, yet still comply with the "public information" requirements of the law.)

CSU employee Lisa Mills writes, "Please understand there are more than sixty-seven techniques for engaging the public in participation. Public meetings are just one example. The process we follow for analyzing the most appropriate techniques is performed through two processes, Systematic Development of Informed Consent and Citizen Participation by Objectives."

(We reserve the right to determine who is told what, and when they are told.)

Mills also writes this: "I want to reiterate that we follow a thorough process when determining public participation techniques that invites the most effective and reliable public participation, not necessarily the most broad ..."

(Just to repeat, we only want a select number of participants in the early stages, and we must carefully select the most amenable individuals to help us achieve the goals.)

I hope this helps to clear up the mumbo jumbo.

Roy A. Kelly II

U.S. Army, retired

Fountain

One big mouse

Thank you for last week's article regarding El Paso County's Regional Habitat Conservation Plan for the Preble's meadow jumping mouse ("Mouse clap," News).

It is a shame that proposals to protect critical habitat for endangered species are always reduced to arguments such as, "Why should I lose property value for a little mouse?" We need to remember that this little mouse's demise is an indicator of the huge loss of riparian habitat that we have brought about through development along the Front Range.

The Preble's meadow jumping mouse is but one species among hundreds that depend on riparian habitats. It is a shame that such habitats are not more highly valued along the Front Range, considering that we live in an arid climate and that riparian areas are relatively rare themselves.

Healthy stream courses also benefit us with scenic values, recreation opportunities and the ability to cleanse and reduce the erosion potential of runoff waters. This is a role that is becoming ever more important as the Front Range grows and pavement replaces permeable soils. Some of the consequences: The natural recharge of groundwater is interrupted, damaging erosion of valuable farmland occurs, and damaged sewage pipes spill into Fountain Creek.

There are fine examples of development that has consciously protected riparian habitat without losing economic viability. One of the best is the successful expansion of Rocky Top Resources along Fountain Creek on East Las Vegas Street. Large, noisy equipment is an essential part of their business operation, but because they have protected the cottonwood trees along Fountain Creek, they have great blue herons nesting next to their mulching operations. And the owner is proud of their presence.

Wouldn't it be great if more landowners were proud of having wildlife thriving on their property?

I hope El Paso County will adopt protections for the Preble's meadow jumping mouse, but even more importantly, I hope it will adopt protections for all riparian habitats.

Nancy Strong

Colorado Springs

Pirates' pride

I read with interest John Hazlehurst's column in the Jan. 26 issue ("Standing tall," Outsider). Thank you for your excellent commentary on our city's architecture and your praise of David Owen Tryba for his efforts on the Fine Arts Center expansion.

One small correction though: Mr. Tryba is not a graduate of Palmer; he is a graduate of St. Mary's High School. Needless to say, we are very proud of this Pirate and his accomplishments.

Matthew P. Walter

Director of development

and alumni relations

St. Mary's High School

Colorado Springs

Blame the boss

I guess I'm one of those people that letter writer Peter Brebach describes as "sooo Colorado Springs" ("No contradiction," Feb. 2).

I have the "Respect Life" license plate, and my car sports a "My Son is a U.S. Marine" sticker and a "My Son is a Sailor" sticker. Sometime next year, I expect to add a "My Son is in the U.S. Air Force" sticker.

I respect all life, but I also support my sons and the rest of our troops. I DO NOT support the war in Iraq. And guess what? My sons don't believe in the war either, but they're doing the job their commander-in-chief has ordered them to do, whether they like it or not. They have no choice. Would you really want our military men and women to pick and choose which orders they will follow?

It's not the troops we should be blaming for this mess, it's their boss. Some of us tried to get them a new one during the last election, but unfortunately, we failed. Maybe we'll fare better next time around.

Deb James

Colorado Springs

In the attic

You may not see it, but asbestos is everywhere. It's in our attic insulation and our children's schools, and hundreds of our Colorado neighbors have already died from asbestos poisoning.

In Colorado alone, four communities have had over 85,000 tons of waste containing asbestos dumped on them.

With all of the attention these days on corrupt lobbyists in Washington, D.C., you'd think that politicians wouldn't choose this time to shovel a multibillion-dollar bailout to asbestos manufacturers. But that's exactly what they're now doing.

It's called the "Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution Act," but it's more like the "Asbestos Bailout Bill." This will hurt our neighbors, force victims into an ineffective new government-run fund, and take away the right to justice for future victims.

This bailout forces taxpayers to pick up the tab for negligent corporations looking for a free ride. It also re-victimizes our Colorado neighbors already suffering from the devastating financial and health consequences of asbestos poisoning.

Sen. Wayne Allard has already said that he will stand for bailing out the corporations. Hopefully Sen. Ken Salazar will stand up for average Coloradans and oppose this massive bailout.

Lionel Washington

Colorado Springs

Silly idea

I wonder where KRCC got the silly idea that if they just shift their programming far enough to the right, the right-wingers in this town will give them money? They are, after all, an NPR station, so the right is going to continue to demonize them, no matter what they do. The only thing their current strategy will achieve is to drive away those of us who actually do listen to them, and who help to pay their bills.

Thomas McCullock

Colorado Springs

Traumatized readers

We recently picked up the Jan. 19 issue of the Independent and the WHATZIT was on page 61, and the answer was right next to it on page 60! It was traumatic enough when you moved it from the back page.

We were constantly finding the answer before finding the puzzle.

Forget the political issues, forget the reviews, forget the cool covers, we need our WHATZIT returned to the back page where it belongs. PLEASE!! Hunting for the answer was always part of the fun of doing the puzzle.

Thanks for letting us vent.

Mark and Brenda Neighbors

Colorado Springs

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