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Gazette Premium Content A more deadly drug; Monument mill levy issue.

Letters Published: August 24, 2013

A much more dangerous drug

Let me get this straight - Six game suspension for Von Miller for some pot showing up in a sample? - Good grief! Think of the havoc that could be wreaked if the NFL started testing all players for a much more dangerous drug and the No. 1 killer - alcohol. (World Health Organization)

Tom Stockman, Colorado Springs

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Colorado needs gun control

The recorded 911 call from heroine school clerk Antoinette Tuff proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it takes a nonviolent person with moxie to disarm a bad person with a gun. Nonviolent communication is the single most effective way to defuse potentially violent events.

Tuff deserves immediate consideration for the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her bravery in standing up to a crazed gunman armed with an automatic weapon and 500 rounds of ammunition.

How does a felon with a history of mental illness like Michael Brandon Hill get an AK-47 and 500 rounds of ammunition? Ask the NRA! The Colorado press needs to fully report on the pressure NRA lobbyists are using to overturn elections in Colorado and halt sensible gun control legislation.

We need the kind of gun control here that keeps humble, wise and brave school clerks like Tuff off the front lines of school security.

The NRA spends millions of dollars lobbying to foster a gun-obsessed culture while nonviolent communication is maligned. Thankfully, Georgia had Tuff acting as the embodiment of pacifism playing itself out in a direct confrontation with hostility and violence.

Even a cursory preliminary background check would have revealed details which would have shown that Hill was on (or off) mental health medications, and involved with the criminal justice system.

What rational Coloradan would oppose measures like those? Certainly, the authors of the Second Amendment would add codicils to the Constitution they wrote to protect Americans. It is time to demand that the NRA turn over their clandestine list of registered gun owners to screen their membership for criminal and mental health issues.

The Rev. David W. Knight, Denver

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Support for mill levy override

My wife and I retired in the Tri-Lakes area in 1995. We were delighted to move to a scenic area much in demand, made all the more so by an outstanding school district-D-38. We had no direct connection to D-38 other than paying school taxes like everyone else, but we took great pride in D-38 and its achievements; and we began to think of it as "ours."

Ten years later, a new school board changed our view by initiating a number of ill-conceived ballot issues, hiring a series of apparently unqualified superintendents, instituting personnel policies that seemed to make little sense, and spending money right and left as if there were no tomorrow. That led in time to the election of a new board . essentially the board in place today.

The new board's efforts began to show real promise in correcting past problems; but then the economy took a dive in 2008. The national economy cratered, real estate values and school tax receipts plummeted, and state K-12 funding was cut year after year.

In the end, the district had little choice but to impose cuts that eventually began to affect the classroom.

Academics in D-38 remain highly rated due to the heroics of its teachers, but this can't continue.

The mill levy override recently approved by the board for the November ballot is designed to provide minimum essential resources to stem what now appears as an inevitable erosion of educational quality.

No gold plating, no frills, no squandered spending - just quality teachers, in-classroom resources, and programs that produce results. And, we now have a board I trust, and a crackerjack superintendent who can pull it off.

For these reasons, I am committed to supporting this mill levy override and urge all district residents to join me in doing so.

Russ Broshous, Monument

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Time to reach into our pockets

Before voluntarily parting with funds for a mill levy override, voters have to see a real need. Let's consider:

The Lewis-Palmer School District has historically performed very well. Our students have consistently earned very high ratings under the CSAP and the TCAP testing programs.

The district has achieved the rating of Accredited with Distinction. This undoubtedly contributes to maintaining good high real estate values. Also, the district has tightened its belt, cutting $11 million out of its operating budget. The district has cut its teaching and administrative support workforce extensively. Can we now see harm done by those cuts?

Well, our TCAP scores are falling and we are trending toward losing our Accredited with Distinction status. The middle school kids have the highest student-teacher ratio. Their predecessors were educated in schools with smaller class sizes.

Until we get back on track with optimal staffing levels, specialists, and appropriate class sizes our performance may continue to decline.

I think we may be setting our kids up for the fight for their economic lives by lowering our education performance. It's time to reach into our pockets and pass the measure.

Chris Amenson, Colorado Springs

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