Gavel

Jurors are not pawns

I found your Jan. 10 editorial “Colorado needs its juries on the job” vexing. You admit that “...jurors are compelled to sit in close quarters for long periods….” Then continue with, “And yet, particularly in criminal justice, the accused have a right to a speedy trial while the public also has the right to see wrongdoers sent to prison if found guilty.”

As a citizen who is holding a jury summons requesting my availability at 8 a.m. at the courthouse in early February for jury duty, it is difficult not to take your editorial personally. I have changed my lifestyle like so many others, and I take every precaution necessary to avoid getting COVID for the sake of my family and their families. Am I now supposed to walk dutifully into a crowded venue because the accused have the right to a speedy trial? You suggest that “courts continue to fulfill their mission with backup plans, like expanding the number of alternate jurors in case too many test positive.” You are suggesting that even more of us prospective jurors be called to sit in close quarters for long periods; risk even more of us to exposure to this virus that can spread further to our families and communities.

I am happy with our legal system that requires jury duty from its citizens and pleased to participate. But during these unusual times, delays or alternative plans need to be implemented. The rights of the accused should not take precedence over the rights and health of the rest of us. Jurors are not just expendable pawns to keep the system running. We are real people, young and old, healthy and not, with grand babies and parents to protect, and all of us are at risk from this virus. We don’t want to become collateral damage for the sake of speedy trials.

I thank the state judicial districts for pausing jury trials. And, Gazette, may you be a little more creative and caring in your suggestions to keep the system running.

Connie Hill

Colorado Springs

Costs for road construction

Recently, Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper and Gov. Jared Polis held a news conference to announce the completion of improvements to the 18-mile Gap on I-25 between Monument and Castle Rock. At a cost of a mere $440 million and over a period of three years, two additional lanes were added to the existing 4-lane interstate. This works out to about $24 million per mile for these two additional lanes.

Am I the only one to which this seems greatly excessive? Was the contract for this work awarded on a competitive bid basis? Who provides oversight for these large road construction projects in Colorado? Maybe an investigative reporter for the Gazette or one of our local TV stations should look into this project and maybe such large costs for a single road construction project is a partial explanation as to why the roads in Colorado are in such bad repair.

James Bewley

Monument

Adding insult to injury

The Opinion section of Tuesday’s Gazette was very interesting. First, the suggestion to change the name of Pikes Peak was ridiculous. My husband and I just shook our heads in disbelief Sunday morning after reading the article.

However, my favorite comment this morning was from Paul Lachance. I could have written his letter. The shock of my Colorado Springs Utilities bill that arrived shortly after Christmas cannot be discounted. My bill was 32% higher than the November bill and 40% higher than my October bill.

Let’s add “insult to injury”. I went to the grocery store yesterday morning. Of course, the cost of food and other items at the grocery store are escalating, so that is sticker shock. I come home with my carefully chosen groceries to keep my food bill as low as possible to find a red door hanger from the Utilities indicating that on Thursday, I will have no electricity for approximately six hours. I still do not know if I will have heat. The heater is gas, but does it need electricity to run? I know I won’t have television, computer, lights and I’m cautioned to keep my refrigerator and freezer doors closed.

We keep hearing these utility increases will cease in just a few short months. I do not understand why trying to recoup large expenses from a year ago needs to be passed to the consumer for four or five months, and not spread out over the course of many months.

I think the city made a bad decision to impact the entire population they serve by significantly increasing our cost for gas, water and electricity in the manner they did.

Trish Beyer

Colorado Springs

Museum is a hidden, true gem

The Colorado Springs area has many wondrous sites to see and visit, and we are rightfully proud of them. Some were created by Mother Nature, and some were made by man. The new Olympic Museum is an example of the latter.

There is another great museum here but many are unaware of it and it can be difficult to find because there is little signage to direct one to its location, and in my opinion, something needs to be done about it.

There are many aircraft museums throughout our country, but there is only one solely dedicated to WWII aircraft. It is The National WWII Aircraft Museum, and it is right here in Colorado Springs and it is a true treasure.

It’s right off of Powers Boulevard but you will have a hard time locating it if you depend on signage to find it. I think that qualifies as a disgrace.

This museum is recognized by the U.S. Congress but apparently not worthy of the signs to direct folks there. I appeal to all elected politicians to jump on board this issue. Its a no-brainer.

Politicians who are veterans should lead the charge. Let’s get large signs on Powers at the very least, northbound and southbound.

This museum is a true gem, and we can all take pride in the fact that its right in our backyard

I appeal to every elected officeholder from Rep. Lamborn to our mayor and council members to address this matter and ensure that this treasure is no longer a hidden one.

Len Bentley

Colorado Springs

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