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Job diversity wanted

Well said, John Hazlehurst! Your analysis of our local employment scene in last week's Indy was right on ("Play it again, Uncle Sam," CitySage).

Too long has this city depended on the employment of individuals in those professions associated with the "Sword" (military) the "Cross" (religious organizations) and the "Fork" (fast food eateries). We need a variety of employment opportunities to keep this community afloat during the hard times that are on the horizon.

Considering our dependence on the Sword, someone has said that Colorado Springs would be in a world of hurt if peace ever broke out.

We've tried high tech (Intel and Apple), but those companies packed up and left town for other places both in and out of state, even though they were given good incentives to both relocate and stay here. I wonder why? Could it be that the Colorado Springs community was perceived as unwelcoming to the diverse workforce they attracted and employed, or was it something else? Have we ever asked? We might be surprised by the answers.

Let's move this community forward. The future of the Pikes Peak region depends on it.

— Bob Armintor

Colorado Springs

More to consider

In "Problem of proportion" (News, Jan. 12), Christie Donner states that overrepresentation of minorities in our prison system is due to unintentional prejudice in our criminal justice system, Judge Regina Walter states that it is due to unconscious bias and institutional racism in our criminal justice system, and Rosemary Harris Lytle says that "there are pervasive race and class double-standards that are present in almost every criminal justice setting." Yet none of these ladies address the role of individual and collective accountability for behavior or other key factors:

1. The demise of the traditional family structure in our black communities. Roughly 70 percent of black children are born out of wedlock to single mothers. Most have no fathers or positive male role models in their lives.

2. Our failing public school system. The high school dropout rate across America is 23.3 percent and in large cities it is 50 percent. Without any kind of education, getting a decent job is virtually impossible.

3. Black-on-black violent crime: In 2007, 43 percent of all murder victims were black and 93 percent were killed by blacks. According to more recent studies, racial minorities are also disproportionately represented in arrest and victimization reports. So it would follow that racial minorities are also disproportionately represented in our prisons.

4. The failure of America's "War on Poverty." Despite spending over $16 trillion dollars since 1964, 27.4 percent of black Americans still live in poverty. These welfare programs have created a culture of dependency and entitlement rather than encouraging people to get jobs. Unfortunately, our welfare system has created conditions favorable to pregnancy, childbirth and illegitimacy. It is also interesting to know that although all of these welfare programs were designed to be temporary, they have created a permanent welfare underclass class in America. Another good example of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

— Scott D. Myers

Colorado Springs

The FONG was wrong

Each week I pick up the latest Indy and turn straight to the back page to read your column. Your wit and wisdom often go right to the heart of the issues faced by "our village," giving us something to laugh at where we might otherwise cry. I was confused, however, by the Jan. 5 cover article ("Long live the FONG.").

First, because it was the cover article (really, the cover article?) and second, because it only discussed Fat Old Naked Guys at the YMCA. (I mean, for fairness and reporting integrity, shouldn't you also cover Fat Old Naked Guys at Lifetime Fitness, Bally Total Fitness, and Villa Sport?) I'm a YMCA member, and have never seen a single naked man there. Probably because I'm female and I use the women's locker room. But nonetheless. It should be noted as well that there is a separate locker room for boys, and that males under 16 are not allowed in the men's locker room (lest any parents should cancel their Y memberships after reading your article).

It is also noteworthy that the YMCA has more effective policies and procedures in place to prevent harassment and abuse than most public schools. The only place one might encounter a naked man would be the adult men's locker room where the only people allowed are, well, adult men. And perhaps their spouses do allow nudity in the home, but, like my spouse, insist on keeping the thermostat at 58 degrees.

Perhaps, Rich, you should consider renewing that 10-year-lapsed membership. If the locker room makes you uncomfortable, just skip the pool and head to the gym to shoot hoops, run on the track or hit a Spinning class. Maybe Zumba is for you. You might even discover that men's locker room culture has changed in the last decade. Or perhaps you'll find yourself plugging your laptop in each week in that warm, comfy men's locker room and sitting down to write your deliciously funny column in your birthday suit.

— Suzanne Mariska

Colorado Springs

Allergic reaction

Re: "No allergies allowed" (News, Jan. 5): As director of the Independence Center, the federally funded, nonprofit center that serves and advocates for people with disabilities, I must speak out about the discrimination that is occurring at the Boys and Girls Club of Colorado Springs.

While I am sure that the administration is acting out of an abundance of caution for the safety of all involved, the accommodation of an EpiPen can easily be resolved. Surely, in the course of operating any of their programs they have at least one person trained/certified in CPR and child safety. That would be important for the health of all children attending. Schools do it, other Boys and Girls Clubs do it, what is the problem here?

The bigger concern for the Independence Center is that if our local Boys and Girls Club won't accept a child with an EpiPen, what does that mean for children with seizures, or who use a wheelchair or who are deaf, blind or autistic? An EpiPen is far easier and perhaps less costly to accommodate, but the Girls and Boys Club comes up short.

Individuals across their life span experience barriers, discrimination, and outright rejection because we do things differently. Having children with disabilities in an environment with other kids is a good learning experience for both the able-bodied and those with a disability. Excluding this child or any child with a disability communicates a rejection that has life-long repercussions.

In America, we have worked long and hard not to discriminate based on skin color or gender; the same holds true for people with disabilities. By not allowing children with disabilities in their programs, they are perpetuating the stereotypes and exclusion of individuals with disabilities.

The staff of the Independence Center stands ready to work with the club to accommodate children with disabilities.

— Patricia Yeager

CEO, The Independence Center

Colorado Springs


A vote against Sallie

Most voters think county commissioners ought to be limited to two terms in office, and I expect that will be clear when the issue of term limits comes before the voters this November. However, it won't happen in time to limit Sallie Clark's pursuing a third term, and one can only hope that the groundswell of discontent over the previous ballot's misleading language will linger and she will be denied the opportunity to add insult to injury.

One wonders whether her denial of the voters' sentiment and her justification for pursuing office again stems from the substantial financial rewards that accompany this office, or is it just arrogance? Let's not send Sallie Clark back for a third term. She doesn't own this office, the voters do.

— Jim Oberhofer

Colorado Springs

Drilling in the park

I read today that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission has taken another step toward allowing oil drilling at St. Vrain State Park. They say they have all the right safety measures in place and so feel it is a wise decision, but I don't like it.

From watching a documentary called GasLand, I learned how damaging oil drilling can be. Many, many people and animals got sick from drinking contaminated, even flammable, tap water!

I can see the need, but let's hope big business is not going to impede progress with new energy alternatives... it would be so stupid for the industry to not take serious action toward further use of alternatives at this point.

— Lily Kempf

Manitou Springs

Soul elevator

Tim Tebow, the deeply devout Denver Broncos quarterback, was recently voted America's most popular athlete in an ESPN sports poll, finishing ahead of superstar athletes who have had far more success in their sport. The reason for this is his unswerving faith in Jesus Christ, which has inspired him to lead his team to numerous miraculous comeback victories.

Aside from football, he has supported hospitals overseas, done authentically good work for people in poor countries, is radically pro-life and has preached chastity by example. He is a role model with a genuine sense of purpose and purity — and we can all use that kind of spiritual encouragement and elevation of the soul.

How many sports stars or celebrities out there today are preaching celibacy — to wait for marriage? When we open a newspaper, we read about Tiger Woods and his sex addiction. When we turn on the TV we see one seedy reality show after another, all appealing to nothing more than our basest animal instincts.

Tebow's is a powerful story for a society that is too busy to care about what really matters in life. As for the outcome on the field, it really doesn't matter. Tebow has already won.

— Paul Kokoski

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Fred Kormos said, "Initiative 46 has nothing to do with protecting unborn babies, and everything to do with suppressing women" ("Back again," Letters, Jan. 12).

However, if pro-abortion advocates coupled with population-control advocates are able to pass population-control laws in our country, "women's rights" will be trumped in favor of "protecting our limited resources." Local activists like Kormos, Janet Brazill, and other "pro-choice" advocates across the nation will do nothing when it comes to this kind of suppression.

After all, the population-control agenda takes priority here, including limiting how many children a couple can have. Jim and Michelle Duggar's carbon footprint will finally be put in its place. (Are some of you pro-choicers happy about their recent miscarriage? Shame on you if the answer is "Yes," but it shows who you really are.)

If the mother's life is truly in danger, then what you do is remove the baby from her body and let nature take its course, and not snuff that life out of the baby. Is Methotrexate the only medication used to help women with rheumatoid arthritis? If there are other options should we not offer them, since it's known that Methotrexate is used to induce abortion? If a woman can't survive a pregnancy shouldn't we offer ways to prevent pregnancy, including tying up her fallopian tubes to prevent her eggs from getting through and preventing fertilization? And I don't oppose contraception that prevents a pregnancy rather than ending one.

For the record, I speak for myself and not for the groups that are pushing the personhood amendments. Having said that, any chance I get to vote for personhood and criminalizing abortion, I will vote "Yes."

— Don McCullen

Colorado Springs

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