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You just wonder

We've followed with interest the recent story on recycling ["The bottom of the heap," April 18]. We moved here from Germany a year ago and were used to recycling paper, plastic and tin. We had a black barrel for trash; a yellow bag for plastic, washed out milk and juice cartons, and tin cans; and a blue barrel for paper (any type).

We tried to recycle here and were told only newspaper and certain cardboard would be accepted, as well as certain weight plastic. Initially our trash day and recycle day were the same (Monday), but then the company decided to change trash to Friday and keep recycling every other Monday.

We've had cardboard left in the recycle bin (which we put in the trash Friday) and our house had been missed on several scheduled recycle days. When the quarterly cost of recycling increased, we finally had enough and now only pay for trash pickup.

And you wonder why recycling isn't working here ...

-- JT & Renee Barall-Inman

Colorado Springs

Required reading

To the Editor:

"County's incompetence could bring drought" (Outsider, April 18-24), John Hazlehurst's recent heads-up, ought to be required reading for every city councilor and county commissioner.

In fact, if they look, they will find a cautionary tale in none other than Frederick, Maryland, which had to halt all development some two years ago because it was outstripping available water resources. Even so, in the midst of a drought, they are struggling.

Frederick, like many other places, endured the "growth plague" of the '90s, as more and more people from Baltimore and neighboring Columbia opted to move to the country. For a while this went fine, until development began to outpace the water supply. Fortunately, Frederick's city councilors realized they'd have to act -- and did.

This, of course, is where the proverbial bear sits with the buckwheat. Touting development and the moola it brings in -- with new people, businesses, etc. -- is all well and good. Up to a point. That is the point at which it strains water resources and delivery of such. From then on, adding development -- especially water-intensive businesses -- threatens the well-being of the whole community.

Having moved from a democratic bastion ("The People's Republic of Maryland") to a place where rank individualism holds sway, I am waiting to see whether this water issue will finally instill some sense. That is, that at some stage, it makes sense to act in common cause to protect the welfare of all -- and not to permit profit to dictate decisions at every turn.

Is such a thought conceivable in a bastion of conservatism like the Springs? We shall have to wait and see. The City Council had enough sensible folks with their negative fluoride decision, so maybe they will here, too.

-- Phil Stahl

Colorado Springs

Changed his tune

To the Editor:

I was surprised to read in The Gazette (April 19) that our El Paso County commissioners voted on Thursday (April 18) to back House Joint Resolution 81. People, including children, can pray anywhere and anytime they want.

At a Freethinkers of Colorado Springs candidate forum, with standing room only, then-candidate Tom Huffman, now commission chairman, indicated he had a strong knowledge and understanding and supported separation of religion and government. Apparently now he doesn't. To his credit, Mr. Huffman has been the only Republican candidate to attend one of the Freethinkers' forums since we formed 10 years ago. He also stated he reads our column in the Independent each week.

There are many of us who do not have or ever had religion in our lives. We prefer to deal with reality, science and our own minds, instead of mythology and superstition. There are approximately 50 million, if not more, people in the U.S.A. that claim no religious preference, and we are growing. This is more than many religions combined.

Lately, especially in this administration, it seems one is no longer an acceptable member of our society if one is not religious. Our country, in addition to being tolerant of various faiths, should also be accepting of those who follow a more secular or atheistic life.

-- Jacqueline Marquis

Colorado Springs

A follower of Jesus

To the Editor:

I'd like you to know that I enjoy being able to freely, and I mean "freely," enjoy the Independent. What a great example of free speech you are! Plus, as I expressed before, it's free!

To get to my point, I know that I don't agree with everything in the Independent, meaning opinions, political points, etc. But, it's my choice to pick it up and read it! Difference of opinion is what makes this world an interesting place!

My response is to the "Freethinkers" column. I'm amused at their intellectual thoughts and beliefs. At the same time, I respect that they take the time to put their thoughts into writing and challenge the average mind.

I guess what interests me the most and draws me to read their article each week, is their interpretation of religion, mostly Christianity. I am a Christian, probably not your average one, though. I have no interest in religion or imposing my beliefs on anyone. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, but I am far from a religious zealot, marching with giant posters of fetuses, or picketing the latest Harry Potter book! I am not trying to cut down fellow brothers and sisters who are led to carry out these actions; it's not for me to judge. It's just not what I choose to do.

I want the Freethinkers group to know that not all Christians are political right-wingers interested in conforming our government! I have no desire to change it to a religious dictatorship. At the same time I find it interesting how they choose to attack Christianity. I want them to know that there are Christians out there who follow the Bible with their heart, not their head, and want to love and not hate.

I am not writing this to convert anyone; I just want to express my feelings on the constant cut-downs of Christianity by the Freethinkers. At the same time it confirms yet another of Christ's prophesies. That His name would be hated through the end of time!

On a final note, if anyone even cares, I challenge the Freethinkers to read the words of My Lord with an open mind and heart, ready for conviction. Not from His followers, but from His Spirit! Read the Beatitudes; are you ready for a challenge such as these? Luke 6:20-45.

I would be amazed if this is ever printed, let alone the challenge taken, but just know that not all Christians are here to be religious, but to love.

-- Shawn Wheatley

Colorado Springs

Editor's note: The weekly Freethinkers column is a paid advertisement, and is not generated by the editorial department of the newspaper.

The best we can do

To the Editor:

In speaking with parents all over Colorado, one theme is repeated over and over again: Do not drain much-needed money from our public schools and divert it to well-funded private schools. My goal is to provide the best education to all students, regardless of family income and ability to pay.

Our best hope to achieve this goal is continuing to improve our public schools to make sure that every child has the opportunity to live the American dream.

Instead of giving up on our public education system by sending kids to private schools, let's reallocate money within the system and dedicate ourselves to finding solutions that will be available to every child. Parents know what is best for their children.

My Senate Bill 212 gives parents real choices and real funding when it comes to helping their children achieve their fullest potential.

Drawing on already existing teacher incentive funds, SB 212 will allow parents of children with a demonstrated need to obtain additional services such as summer school, tutoring, school supplies, computer software or access to approved learning center facilities for their child.

There is no greater local control than a parent deciding with their child the best course of action and path to success in the classroom.

I am a proud product of Colorado public schools. I attended public school in Fort Morgan through high school, graduated from Colorado State University and am proud of the education my three children have received in our public schools. I will not abandon our public schools in favor of programs that favor the privileged few and wealthy private schools. With my Senate Bill 212, parents can work with public schools and improve the quality of education for their children.

-- State Sen. Stan Matsunaka


Sharon's actions despicable

To the Editor:

I am amazed that our leaders cannot see that there will be no peace in the Mid East with Ariel Sharon in power and us backing him. The only difference between him and bin Laden is that he was elected and has an army. He has done everything in his power to incite unrest in the area partly based on his bigoted hatred of Arafat and the Palestinians.

Over 18 months his army has killed hundreds of innocent children and women besides destroying orchards, farms, houses and business in their stupid attempt to combat a group that can only rely on bombing to get revenge.

One only needs to see the few reports coming out of the area to see tanks running over everything in their way. At least with the bombers they feel some justification since all Israelis that are able-bodied are now, were or will be in the service due to their conscription.

Sharon's actions are a remake of the old Hagana and Stern gang that raped and murdered their way to independence. There will never be peace with him being supported by the United States and we will never have a friend in the region.

-- J. F. Corcoran

Colorado Springs

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