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Poetry, First Amendment not for sale

To the Editor:

According to the June 1 Gazette article, "Kempf family must end tours," Fourth District Judge Ed Colt has found Lottie Kempf in contempt of court for violating his temporary injunction against "paid tours and other commercial activity" at the Starr Kempf sculpture garden and gallery. In part, the article reads, "Colt said the city may impose fines or jail time against Kempf for allegedly allowing a poetry reading and community college tour to be held on the property."

As organizer and host of a poetry reading series in Colorado Springs, I can assure Judge Colt that a poetry reading is as far from a commercial activity as can be imagined. As a former impoverished college student, I am assuming that the community college students who toured the property did not pay and could not afford admission and were certainly in no position to buy one of Starr Kempf's sculptures.

Regarding City Attorney Tom Marrese's comment, "It might be a gray area ... but she's [Lottie Kempf] pushing the envelope," I would remind him that the First Amendment is not a gray area. The U.S. Constitution guarantees people the right to speak and to assemble peaceably, no matter how pricey the neighborhood in which they do so.

Unfortunately, the Kempf's neighbors live in an area graced with a wealth of natural and man-made attractions to which tourists and city residents will continue to flock. Unless Judge Colt can also issue injunctions against Seven Falls, Cheyenne Canyon, The Broadmoor, the Starsmore Discovery Center, and the city zoo, these neighbors will continue to suffer "attention, traffic and noise."

-- Aaron Anstett
Colorado Springs

Wisdom of the ages

To the Editor:

As a person in her 70s, I have recently become part of a housing complex which provides comfort and care for senior citizens. I find that it is a rather special retirement community where there's nothing institutional or demanding about policies governing life here. Care to meet the residents' needs is the staff's first priority, and I sense an instinctive understanding of the limitations senior citizens often have to deal with.

Among other things, hearing can deteriorate, as can one's ambulatory capabilities. However, life is to be lived, as fully and kindly as possible, and it becomes possible here.

Aging mankind is a unique segment of humanity in which bits and pieces of life's puzzle gradually fall into place. Foolish and unwise decisions are seen for what they are -- merely unfortunate pauses along the pathway -- and hopefully one learns from such glitches.

There is also an interesting meeting of minds among seniors. Simplicity takes over -- there's no need for tedious analysis. It becomes fun to reminisce, to recall happy times and sad, and interestingly, there is enormous healing in this sharing of old griefs and joys.

Therefore, I literally "doff my cap" to the competent and caring staff and to the fellow seniors I live with. They have given me new zest for life. As the old saying goes, "Don't be a stranger," and no one is a stranger here.

I shall endeavor never to lose sight of the transitory nature of life, nor of the goodness and glory in each new day.

-- Mrs. Patricia M. Self
Colorado Springs

Editor's Note:
The home to which Ms. Self refers is Mira Mesa at 370 N. Limit Street.

Deceptive tactics cloud abortion issue

To the Editor:

Last month the Colorado General Assembly concluded the 2000 legislative session. Planned Parenthood would like to thank those legislators who wisely rejected several anti-choice bills.

Senate Bill 102 was one such measure. Misleadingly called the Woman's Right to Know Bill, SB 102 would have required doctors to provide state-written and state-produced videotapes to women seeking abortions. This information was designed to scare and shame women out of their decision to have an abortion. A similar measure is being proposed for the November ballot.

Additionally this measure has a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions. A forced waiting period is demeaning and unnecessary. From the moment a pregnancy test is positive, a woman begins to think about how she will handle an unintended pregnancy. In the time between the discovery of an unplanned pregnancy and the appointment for an abortion, most women have had anywhere from one week to one month to consider their options and determine what is best for them.

Planned Parenthood Services Corporation, the leading abortion provider in the state, knows women need honest, factual information to make responsible choices. Our staff is highly trained, professional, and committed to providing women with information and services, so that our clients can decide what is best. All options are discussed when a woman is facing an unintended pregnancy, including adoption and parenting. Moral or religious conflicts, if any, are discusssed, as well as referrals for counseling or decision help if needed. All women obtaining abortions at Planned Parenthood do so with voluntary and informed consent.

The decision to have an abortion must be left up to women and their families, free from government intrusion. It is essential for Coloradoans to continue to have the foresight to see through these deceptive and dangersous attacks, and continue to trust women and their doctors to make these deeply personal decisions.

-- JoAnn Nilssen Loesel, Manager
Cindy Shealy, Public Affairs
Planned Parenthood

More about fluoride

To the Editor:

This is in reference to the cover article about fluoride ("Wound up about fluoride," May 11).

I wish to quote from a book called Empty Harvest by Dr. Bernard Jensen and Mark Anderson: "The endocrine and immune systems are the most vitamin- and mineral-dependent systems. ... There are several substances to be alert to that are potentially dangerous and poisonous to the glands. Sodium fluoride is one of them. In its natural state, fluorine is an essential trace mineral present in bones and teeth, where it helps calcium make these tissues hard. That is 'calcium fluoride' and is most often found naturally occurring in well water. What is added to municipal drinking waters is 'sodium fluoride,' which is quite different from the natural calcium fluoride. ... You can fill a library with the literature from around the world about the negative effects of sodium fluoride. It has been cited as one of the most potentially toxic factors to the thyroid and endocrine system. ... Sodium fluoride is a vitamin inhibitor. It is an enzyme inhibitor. ... It can destroy the catalysts that make vitamins work."

Explanations and sources for the above statements follow in the book.

-- Steve O'Brien
Colorado Springs

Prretty talk

To the Editor:

Excellent, excellent interview by Suzanne Becker with David Sedaris ("French Fried," May 25). Thank you for the humorous interval in my otherwise "busy" life.

-- Myron Stein
Colorado Springs

It's school, not juvenile hall

To the Editor:

Brava! Thank you for the informative article on Harrison School District 2 ("Out of School," May 25). I am a student at Sierra High School, so I know firsthand how these practices can affect the students and teachers. I have noticed the use of activities funds being squandered almost exclusively on male athletics, while female athletics, arts programs, and other extracurricular activities are almost ignored. Anytime I or my peers would question this practice we were given a bureaucratic runaround through a forest of red tape.

I can further understand why Brookhart moved his family and removed his children from District 2 schools. The fact of the matter is we (students of District 2) are offered an inferior education. Since I have been in this school district, my grades have been slowly slipping. I attribute this not to poor teachers but a poor curriculum. For example, in math classes they have taught us not practical applications of what we are learning but how it will appear on the benchmark exam (a requirement for passing the course).

Aside from shoddy curriculum stand senseless "security measures," such as ID tags (that cost students $10, if I recall, should they lose them), random searches with a drug dog, and other such bumbling procedures. Might I suggest that the district install metal detectors, hire a cop to frisk all entering the schools and perhaps tattoo bar codes on students' foreheads so they can be identified more easily. Perhaps it's just me, but I do not think I should feel as though I'm in juvenile hall every time I go to school.

It is understandable that one would have complaints about a school. Nevertheless, I do believe the school (and the district) should address the concerns of students, faculty and the public.

-- Katherine Atkins
Colorado Springs

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