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From the week of May 11.

School Daze
I agreed strongly with many of the things said in Julie Jargon's "The First Step," in the May 4 issue. I am a student at P.S.1 and have been very close to Linda Reilly for many years. I came to the school when it was just getting somewhere; at that time, I saw an uphill path for P.S.1. However, I now see that it has taken another path. I think we are going to hell in Steve Myers's handbasket. The first thing I found disturbing in this article was that I discovered infuriating things about my school community that nobody has expressed to us as a whole. This makes it obvious that our school no longer thrives on the principle of an informed, involved community. The second was that Steve was even suggesting that staff members go to this "est" program in the first place. It is surely not his business to tell a stable, intelligent woman like Annie Huggins that she's a good person but she has problems and needs to go to a self-help cult. I'm wondering if the supposed issue isn't that she is not always in full agreement with him.

I have also known students who have come back from Steps Ahead in the mood of telling me how I need to turn my life around, students who need to look in the mirror. I think Steps Ahead tries to make students blind to their faults in some cases. I have seen them fall back into the same habits that they said held them back shortly after they returned from Steps Ahead. I have also seen this "enthusiasm" about themselves that Sol mentioned. It comes across in the form of conceit and sheer contempt for people who are not the same as them, for whatever reasons. I have seen these students sitting around making fun of people. I'm not seeing how this is supposed to better our community. At this point, I've given up on P.S.1. I can only take solace in the fact that I am graduating next year.

I noticed one error in the story: This is our fifth, not sixth year.
Name withheld on request

Wow! A program introduced to youth at the ripe old age of fifteen or so that encourages them to open up, let it out, leave it behind and go forward with their life. What an accomplishment!

My daughter is a P.S.1 Steps Ahead student. She is not your stereotypical "youth at risk," but a sensitive, well-adjusted young lady, as a lot of the program students are who decided to join the program for its leadership aspirations, its pride in community and its acknowledgement of individuality. The "I'm okay, you're okay" philosophy, if you will.

And what, may I ask, is wrong with that?

As we've witnessed with past tragic events, even if the teenager is not the stereotypical "youth at risk" as Jargon described, almost every teenager has issues, large or small, in varying degrees -- issues based in feelings of not belonging, not being important, not being understood and not being loved. If we can bridge the gap and head every child in the affirmative direction, as the Steps Ahead program does, where these youth, our children, embrace the value of individuality and the joy of community, then what a wonderful world this would be.
Jenni Scoggins
Denver


Sprawl for One, One for Sprawl
I really enjoyed Stuart Steers's "Where the Sidewalk Ends," in the April 27 issue, regarding urban sprawl and planning. However, if the intent of his article was to make me feel sympathetic toward the Parker family, then he's missed the mark. Just because the Parkers moved to the 'burbs thirty years ago doesn't mean that they are excused from responsibility. Steers's article could easily have been set thirty years ago, with the Parkers being the culprit rather than Mr. Kummer. I believe that it is important for us to remember that the purpose of planning is not merely to protect the "pre-boom sprawlers," like the Parkers, but to provide for controlled growth and protect open space.
Tony Curcio
via the Internet

Stuart Steers's "Where the Sidewalk Ends" was very well done. The line under the headline really told the story: "Even if one community turns them down, developers always know they can get what they want from another."

Then again, Aurora wouldn't turn down the opportunity to annex a Christmas-tree lot, let alone 1,031 acres. Gartrell Investments of Monterey, California, was not and is not interested in Douglas County's rules, regulations, laws or master plans. They made that clear in front of a judge in Douglas County Court. Citizens' rights, voters' rights? Huh? Screw 'em! We'll just go to Aurora, the city that's like Mikey: "He likes everything."

What Aurora likes, Aurora takes. Actually, "I want it all" was the quote from Mayor Paul Tauer that surfaced in sworn testimony recently in response to a question about where Aurora's land grab stops.

Greed fueled by big egos and methodical plotting is what this story is all about. With regard to the Gartrell land, I feel sorry for all those unsuspecting Aurorans who are purchasing homes in the adjacent "Peaceful Adult Community of Heritage at Eagle Bend." Their introduction to Aurora citizenship will come when their own city, teamed with a pack of hungry California land speculators, slams 15,000-25,000 extra cars down their throats every day and through their brand-new, "peaceful" community, along Gartrell Road.

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