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Volunteers build four 8x64-foot “parklet” structures in parking spaces on South Tejon Street in December to help restaurants expand their outdoor dining space to cope with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in downtown Colorado Springs.

Get rid of outdoor dining

I was surprised to see the outdoor dining area was still set up along Tejon. This was fine last year during the lockdown and the mandatory outdoor dining but I think we have moved on past that now.

This is taking up valuable parking along Tejon not to mention making it difficult for people getting to the businesses. Now that indoor dining is approved for 100%, I think it is time to dismantle the outdoor areas.

Get them off the street and open up more parking for the customers who want to be dining indoors instead of outdoors where it is 95 degrees.

David Tindal

Colorado Springs

Learn to appreciate nature

Why is there a plethora of people like Irene Shrock who don’t realize that the bunny rabbits are not encroaching on us, but just the opposite. As building continues to spiral out of control, everyone will likely see more bunnies, pronghorn, deer, etc. She did not mention if the rabbits are eating her plants (if they are) there are solutions to prevent that.

Ms. Shrock should get over it and learn to appreciate nature (and bunny rabbits).

Evelyn Walatkas

Colorado Springs

Another special interest group

Seth Boster’s Gazette article, “Grant program aims to address equity in Colorado’s outdoors,” makes me quite sad.

This is still another special interest group that will receive lottery-funding each year and create another independent board. Just like California and New Mexico — ugh!

The lottery disproportionately harms the poor. It’s been shown that they are most likely to buy, yet least likely to afford lottery tickets. Each time another “special group” forms using public monies, the more difficult it becomes for the remaining majority of citizens to reach their own goals or to launch a business.

Everyone is free to use the outdoors, if they choose. That is a given. Is it expensive to ski? Hell, yes it is. And it’s becoming more expensive all the time. Is it a hassle to get outfitted, obtain transport to the mountain lifts, to arrange food, get a lesson or insurance? Absolutely. It’s the same for everyone. Without the expense and hassles, I would still be skiing now. Independent, nongovernment sponsored ski clubs have been in existence for many years, and anyone who wishes may join.

The Outdoor Equity Grant Program is based on the idea that this will undo “systemic racism” and promote inclusivity and “equity.” We are intended to be a self-governed citizenry, without special interest groups set forth and funded by a patronizing beneficent government.

We must stop expecting that the government, aka taxpayers, will do all and be all for each citizen and each group. Black people and people of color are just as capable of using Colorado’s outdoors and achieving at the same level as whites.

Janice Taylor

Colorado Springs

Alternative to traditional education

As CEA of Colorado Early Colleges statewide in Colorado, I applaud Jay Ambrose’s recent assessment of the value of charter education. While some may view choice education as a political or ideological movement, from my vantage point, I view choice education as a necessary component to molding future generations of our nation’s workforce, leadership and informed and thoughtful citizenry.

Choice or charter education is a public education alternative to the traditional public school model. Colorado Early Colleges, for instance, offers students the opportunity to advance their higher educational goals and career aspirations by blending concurrent enrollment, which allows students to receive college credit while concurrently completing their high school diploma, with innovative STEM and workforce development programs. Statewide, fully 73% of our graduating class of 2021 received some sort of post-secondary credit, saving our families more than $4 million dollars in aggregate tuition costs.

We are educators. We recognize the inherent dignity and potential in our students, no matter where they live, their family background, upbringing or educational challenges. We commit to all students, regardless of background or skill level, the opportunity to pursue a growth mindset that will allow them to achieve mastery and to demonstrate they can succeed in school, in college, and in their chosen career. No exceptions. No excuses.

Sandi Brown

Colorado Springs

Courage hasn’t been redefi

ned

Any columnist quoting Aristotle and explaining how the Greeks understood “courage” has my attention. Ben Shapiro’s column “The meaning of ‘courage’ has shifted since WWII” (June 10) contrasts bravery defined by men storming the hellish beaches of Normandy with President Joe Biden’s tweet on the “bravery” of the transgender, in Shapiro’s words, as “young men identifying as women, and vice versa.”

This contrast is indeed stark. One is elevated and the other demeaned. Shapiro really needed to read further in Aristotle, who says courage is vital in multiple spheres of life. Reason is capable of assessing how much courage is required in each context. We should keep practicing the virtue in each area until it becomes part of our character.

Besides valor in wartime, courage is objectively needed by teens bullied on social media, by wounded warriors with loss of limb and TBIs facing the challenge of just getting out of bed each day. And yes, by gay, lesbian and transgender who disclose and risk rejection and rage from family and friends.

Shapiro is thought-provoking on many points. I agree with him about shallow authenticity and erosive subjectivity regarding objective truth in our age. But his false dichotomy of courage on the beaches of Normandy versus living one’s sexual identity, though distinct by orders of magnitude and purpose, are factually united in the current 14,000 transgender troops on active duty in today’s military. Courage hasn’t been redefined, just applied in additional areas.

Richard Curran Trussell

Penrose

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