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Rest of the story
The listing of alleged accomplishments which Dennis Hisey, Sallie Clark and Amy Lathen presided over as county commissioners and apparently for which they take credit is interesting. The list, in some form or another, existed on five-year, 10-year and other long-range strategic plans the county had developed before the three took office.
What led to items from being on a wish list to being implemented was not their leadership. It was funding that finally became available, either through increased tax revenues, COPs and other forms of debt (Build America Bonds).
None of the three commissioners gave credit to the many women and men who put together the engineering reports, environmental studies, budget impact statements — all the documentation brought before them during BoCC meetings and work sessions. As is typical, it was all about them.
Hisey, Clark and Lathen, while running for election and reelections, referred to themselves at various times as evangelical Christians, fiscal conservatives, proponents of limited government, transparency advocates and so forth. Their actions included confusing and deceptive ballot language for an additional four-year term, increased debt, financing schemes from none other than the Obama administration itself, rude and caustic remarks to individuals who did not line up in their fan base and a general arrogance so typical of El Paso County Republican Party favorites.
Their hypocrisies, collectively and individually, are palpable.
— John M. Bass
El Paso CountyAssessor, 1999-2006
Congratulations to the Indy on its new column, "Queer and There." The first installment ("Sincerely, Me") was awesome. Kudos to Alissa Smith and contributors starting with Payton Kay Davis and Ethan Wade for this important feature. Keep up the good work!
— Marsha Smith
Mental health options
We at NAMI-Colorado Springs greatly appreciate the Independent's coverage of mental illness-related issues (Jan. 11). But for readers who might be starting to navigate some of these issues in their own families, we want to note that sources of help go beyond those mentioned in Laura Eurich's SemiNative column.
Mental illnesses are biological brain disorders, and they are treatable. But in the process of finding what works for a particular individual, nothing compares to getting to know others who have the same "lived experience." To that end, NAMI organizes weekly support groups for those living with mental illness — with or without diagnosis — as well as for family members. As Cassandra Jackson so eloquently mentioned in Street Smarts, it's powerful to find other people going through what you're going through.
The earlier you seek education and support, the better the outcome. Intervention during early psychosis — a temporary break in the brain's ability to discern reality, for which adolescents face greater risk — can help stave off more serious conditions later. That's one reason why we offer a free, six-week Basics class for parents and caregivers who see signs of mental illness in their school-age children.
You can take this class without committing your child to a diagnosis. Instead, you can gather information, learn about community resources, learn how to work with the school system, and meet other parents with similar struggles.
In sum: Individuals or families who can't immediately find a psychiatrist — or aren't ready to take that step — can start by finding a knowledgeable and supportive community at NAMI-Colorado Springs. Please visit namicoloradosprings.org or call us at 719-473-8477.
— Lori Jarvis-Steinwert
Perhaps it was because your Jan. 4 issue was focused on gay issues, I don't know. But I found it amusing, and somewhat pathetic given that this is Colorado and the bighorn sheep is our state animal, that your Slice of Life caption on page 3 would misidentify both the gender and the proper term for the group of bighorns.
Bighorns are mammals and, as such, typically gather in groups called herds. Birds are, well, birds, and they gather in groups commonly referred to as flocks. The two are not interchangeable.
To go further and presume the gender of all these animals as rams, or males, is a further insult. First, both males & females of this species have horns. What typically distinguishes older, mature males is that their horns are quite large. Along with that obvious difference, the males have testicles, a rather generous pair relative to their overall size.
There are likely only two mature rams in this group and possibly two more younger males along with several females. So, males have testicles & females have vaginas. Pretty simple, right?
— Mike Endres
Letter to Lamborn
Dear Congressman Lamborn, I greatly appreciate the opportunity to participate in the 115th Congressional Survey. I was encouraged to see infrastructure spending and health care among the issues, but the survey didn't reflect the priorities of all Americans, especially your constituents.
The following would be an alternative:
Respectful cooperation/balanced agenda (positive example for our children); having a serious budget (big deal the last eight years, now not even discussed);
Expanded health care coverage (let's not go backwards, be inclusive); infrastructure spending (Why was this opposed under Obama despite popular support when unemployment was so high);
Global warming (a real, costly threat); equal pay for women (why is this so difficult?); protecting federal lands (instill values of preservation, not exploitation);
Promote alternate energy (common sense); protect essential regulations (clean air, water, food and drug testing, appropriate consumer protections;) common-sense gun control (even gun owners support this);
Women's health (remember smaller government?); comprehensive immigration policy (stop overstating the threat; we created the problem looking the other way).
We can have a balanced agenda in Congress that represents the people's will. There is no mandate here. Colorado did not support Trump; Hillary won the popular vote. Let's make this an American agenda.
In full disclosure, I am an independent, and I did not vote for Trump because he lacks fundamental human decency and is not someone I want representing the U.S. to our children and the rest of the world.
— Harold E. Mason
Give! lives on
For 72 local nonprofits, 2017 is off to a great start. Our diverse missions focus on improving our community and are fueled by the dollars and new supporters each year from the Give! campaign. From all of us, thank you for your generous donations and thanks to the partners who provide matching grants and donor rewards.
Give! sets our community apart from other Front Range cities. Nonprofits could not do what we do without you.
— Susan Davies
Trails and Open Space Coalition