Recent letters to the editor from Gazette readers:
Bike riders should coexist on trails
Regarding the article, "E-bikes gain popularity in Colorado Springs."
I have been riding bikes for over 55 years and own both a pedal and an e-bike. I built the e-bike because a knee injury and advancing age prevents me from cranking like I did in my youth. The electric bike allows me to continue to enjoy riding in the mountains.
I can say from experiencing both bike types that a pedal-assist e-bike causes no more trail damage or user conflict than any other biker, hiker or horseback rider. The only conflict an e-bike has caused is when a pedal purest starts ranting and lecturing me about riding on their trails. Indecently, many of the single-track trail were originally hiking trails.
Folks forget that mountain bikes are a marvel of technology. Bike frames, tires, breaks, seat post drops, drive-trains . all allow riders to do things that were impossible 20 years ago. What if some group decided back then that those advancements were not allowed on the trails?
The anti-e-bike mindset reminds me of when snowboards were not allowed at some ski areas. I heard the same type of arguments then.
Like it or not, e-bikes are coming. Someday, when the young legs of pedal purest give out (and the legs will give out) you will see those folks grinning while riding an e-bike. It would be much better for the sport if everyone were to embrace the new technology and work together to coexist and share the trails. We are all out there to enjoy our public lands.
Remember the Woody Guthrie song, "This Land is My Land, This Land Your Land?" Use another technology that didn't exist 20 years ago and Google it.
Instance of the VA responding
First, a hearty "Hats Off" to the Donald Wescott Fire Department for its volunteer help building a ramp for a Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot, Joe Kozloski. The Wescott team also deserve my "smart salute" for great service to their district over the years.
We who remain in their district are hopeful that they can continue to serve us as they have despite the very significant loss of revenue due to the recent changes in district boundaries.
Please let me also address concerns about VA bureaucracy. In recent weeks, a small group of neighbors and friends volunteered to help a Vietnam vet, we'll call him Bob, who, in a five-year period, spent over 44 months on four assignments serving in the Southeast Asia war theater.
A recent widower on dialysis, time zones away from family, he was running out of funds and faced homelessness in the months ahead. With help from El Paso County VA advisers, an engaged and concerned VA staff member, dedicated and committed neighbors, staff at Union Printers, and Sen. Michael Bennet's VA advocate, his dire financial situation was expeditiously addressed and his disability status is being re-evaluated.
Bureaucracies like the VA face the tough challenge of resolving the tensions among urgent needs, limited budgets and responsible allocation of our taxpayer dollars. I can say with confidence that in this case the VA system and Bob's immediate community has been amazingly responsive!
My thanks to so many who not only showed concern, but also stepped up with help. It is great to live in such a caring and engaged community!
Be thankful for your parents
My dad. When I was little, he played dolls with me and let me style his hair. When I was a bit older, he took me with him on the away-game trips, with the championship football teams he coached, and I felt so special and grown-up.
My mom loved talking about how much my dad and I looked alike, and that I was Daddy's little girl. When I've run races, he has been my cheerleader. When I've had success with my work, he has been a source of support, filled with pride. Recently, when my mom was dying from Alzheimer's disease, together, we were her caregivers. He watched, through tears, as I wrote and delivered my mom's eulogy.
I'm an only child, and my parents and I have always been closer than close. My mom was a glorious and beautiful blessing in my life ... my precious friend and the most amazing and special mother anyone could ever be blessed with.
Now that she is in heaven, I miss her beyond all words, but I am so thankful and grateful for all the special years and memories, and for her. And I'm so thankful and grateful to still have my dad here with me. He is a wonderful father, a dear friend, and he has been a special blessing all of my life.
If you have one, or both, of your parents with you today, give them a hug and cherish the moments you have with them, as they are blessed, beautiful, and all too brief. Be grateful.
There can be no good outcome
A short response to Dennis McAdams letter advising us to leave Muslims alone. He included extreme Islamic tribes in this plan and suggests this will solve all our terrorist problems.
Dennis, should you ever be unfortunate enough to receive news that you have a cancer growth in your body, you will be told that if you do nothing the growth will spread to other organs in your body until it eventually kills you. My advice, have it removed.
Use that as an example of what will happen if you leave the extreme Islamic radicals alone.
Their plan is to convert the world to the Islamic faith and they will kill as many people as is necessary to achieve that goal, one or more countries at a time.
There can be no good outcome to your plan. We must destroy them before they destroy us.