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Editor's note: On Nov. 19, 2009, we removed a letter signed by Edward McSweegan from this file. (Dr. McSweegan had contacted us to say that he had never written the letter; someone else had written it in his name.)

Bush's legacy, revised

After the first four years of George W. Bush in the White House, the people of our country were still very much asleep at the wheel, voting him back again for a second term. But, thanks to his leadership during these last four years, he gave a wake-up call to everyone, including many who had voted for him a second time.

Consequently, we are now taking steps to regain our country with a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Thank you, George W. Bush, for helping us elect Barack Obama as our next president.

Elizabeth Brandes

Manitou Springs

Redefining safety

Tax revenues are dropping, and the only choice our appointed and elected officials see is to make additional cuts in city and county services (see "The time to act is now" in this issue).

They believe the primary role of government is to keep citizens safe and thus refuse to consider budget cuts to law enforcement and fire service or generating revenues through user fees.

Before they make further cuts, they should ask: "Safety for who and safety from what?" Why should police and fire budgets be sacred cows while other government functions are decimated?

How should we measure safety? By the sound of the police helicopter hovering over quiet neighborhoods, or by the sound of families cheering Little Leaguers as they play in well-maintained parks? By the number of police officers we see, shirts puffed up by bulletproof vests, or by the sight of senior citizens dancing, playing cards and getting health assessments in our senior center?

Surely our wise leaders can see a strong county health department keeps us safe by inspecting restaurants, combating mosquitoes and providing traveling nurses. Our children are safer and healthier when they have supervised activities at nature and community centers and have no time to think about joining a gang.

What about the physically or economically challenged person who depends on a well-run bus system to get to work, and perform medical, shopping and school activities? Shouldn't these folks have the safety that mobility provides?

If police and fire services are the only way we define safety, let's get rid of the images of Pikes Peak and the Garden of the Gods promoting our city, and replace them with tough-looking cops and firefighters.

This will really make people want to come here. They will feel safe, and to heck with our once-beautiful parks, museums and cultural institutions.

Carol Lopez

Colorado Springs

Another hero

Your article about Lyme disease ("The tick and the time bomb," cover story, Jan. 15), was most interesting, as I can identify very well with the numerous symptoms described by the patients. My heart goes out to them. I actually cried, reading the article, because my entire family has been struck with these same neurotoxins.

For years, we, too, had no idea what had crept into our lives with improper diagnosis, but we finally realized our living quarters were affected by mold (we lived on the East Coast at the time). After much searching, we found a physician who specialized in treating all types of biotoxins: mold, Lyme, pysteria and others. They all exhibit the same symptoms and can easily be detected by a 30-minute exam online.

His name is Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker (chronicneurotoxins.com). He's in Pocomoke City, Md., and a graduate of Duke. He has thousands of patients in his database, and he's written papers to back up his work. Insurance accepts most of his work. He's certainly helped us.

We just moved to Colorado, per his recommendation, to get away from the humidity. Mold can't actively grow in humidity levels lower than 50 percent, and we needed to remove ourselves from that exposure.

I'm just trying to let Lyme victims know there are other options out there, and much better answers. I'm sure we speak the same language.

J. Harrell

Colorado Springs

Defensive rights

The shooting of Sean Kennedy ("Tragic lesson for all of us," Ranger Rich, Jan. 8) was tragic for both families involved. The Kennedy family lost one of their members, and the homeowner's family has faced the backlash and criticism over how they should have acted. May God ease your pain and bless you all.

Does anyone wonder how the homeowner felt at that time? Home invasions and break-ins are on the rise in Colorado Springs. Citizens should try to place themselves there. Imagine waking up to your window being broken in the middle of the night, and someone trying to get in.

As the only soul in my home, I'm not going to wait for a stranger to enter my home, to see what kind of danger I'm in, before I defend myself.

Daniel Orozco

Colorado Springs

Lyme aid

J. Adrian Stanley's article was well-written, a pleasure to read and very accurate. The detailed research and hard work put into it will certainly help patients and doctors who need to look closely at Lyme disease in Colorado, especially when people have persistent symptoms and no answers from their medical professionals.

Once the public reads your article, it will save lives. I thank you for educating them with the facts. You certainly interviewed some of our top professionals in the field. They are well-known and respected by many patients and doctors. The wonderful documentary, Under Our Skin, also has helped save lives and is a remarkable piece of work.

My best wishes for some true relief from the pain and stress to Bill Rathbun and the other patients. My heart breaks to know this insane situation continues to destroy people's lives because a handful of doctors are focused on patents and profits rather than patients. Your assessment of the situation hit the nail on the head.

Lucy Barnes, director

Lyme Disease Education and Support Groups of America

Centreville, Md.

Another victim

As a former teacher in California before becoming bedridden and unable to do routine household chores since October 2001, I just wanted to say that I have read many articles since coming down sick with Lyme. This is the best article I have read to date. Thank you very much. Well done.

Katherine A. Morrison

Payson, Ariz.

'A ship in harbor'

Kudos to J. Adrian Stanley for the article on chronic Lyme disease. Here we have yet another example in medicine where egos, ideology and money trump true scientific inquiry and patients' best interests.

What is really galling about this situation is that the statements made by the "Ivy League experts" in the 2006 Infectious Diseases Society of America recommendations regarding the lack of aggressiveness of the infection, and how "easy" is it to treat, fly in direct opposition to statements made by these very same authors in their own published papers 10-15 years ago.

There is some hope in the fact that Columbia University has established a center for the study of chronic Lyme disease. Unfortunately, the 20 years or so it usually takes the medical establishment to realize the error of its ways will be too late for many of those suffering today.

One of the key issues is likely the differing status of each individual's immune system, determined by every person's unique genetics and how the expression of those genes is affected by nutritional status and environmental toxin exposure. This is the same issue behind other problems such as autism.

Despite tremendous advances over the past 60 years in this area of "biochemical individuality," the trend in conventional medicine has been in the exact opposite direction, toward "one size fits all."

Patients can no longer abdicate responsibility for their health to their doctor, and certainly not to their insurance company. To do so is to risk disaster.

"A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not what ships are for." John Shedd

Dr. Joel B. Klein

Colorado Springs

Check it out

Thank you for the articles on chronic Lyme disease and Under Our Skin. I have three types of Lyme and several of its co-infections and saw this film a few months ago.

I have since donated a copy of the film to the Penrose Public Library. I do not know whether they have put it in circulation, but your readers should know it is out there.

Mary Payne

Colorado Springs

Misguided D-11

School District 11's Utilization Study community meetings have been certainly a sincere attempt to involve the community in the hard decisions currently facing the D-11 administration.

However, the process itself is flawed and, I fear, of little value.

The problem lies in the incorrect data that constitutes the foundation of the Utilization Study's report and, consequently, the report's recommendations.

As an example, the report recommends closing Buena Vista Elementary School. It arrives at that recommendation by weighing factors such as school capacity, school attendance, cost per student and ability to expand, most of which are significantly and tragically incorrect.

Yet the correction of this data, however significant, cannot change the recommendations of a report written months ago the same report we must consult when voting on the fate of our schools during the community meetings!

If you are defending a D-11 school from the threat of closure, I advise you all to carefully examine the data of the Utilization Study report.

Like Buena Vista Elementary, incorrect data may be unfairly affecting your school's ranking, the correction of which should theoretically challenge the report's conclusions.

Langdon Foss

Colorado Springs

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