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From the week of August 31

Qwest for Ire

Stall in the family:Thanks for keeping the name of Qwest in the spotlight with Patricia Calhoun's "Life's Bitter Here," in the August 24 issue. Needless to say, they are not making friends by undoing the good that US West has done for the community.

What Qwest is doing for the community, they are also doing for the employees. I have been a contractor with US West since the middle of 1999. Since the merger became final, we have been working day to day wondering when our jobs, our livelihoods, will diminish into the woodwork. The unknowing is unnerving. People are leaving in force, moving on, because of the stalled communications. No one knows what the new owners are going to do or when. We have homes, we have families. We are now 70,000-plus people in this situation, yet no one hears from us. Until now...

Please leave my name out of print, because I need my job as long as possible.

Name withheld on request

Big brother's watching: Life is bitter here. It is a sad note that Qwest decided to come in and upset the lives of so many. (Please do not use my name, because I work for Qwest and don't want to get the boot quite yet.) The cost of keeping the computer center and the "think tank" open will surely not make or break Qwest.What is the cost to the community and to the name of Qwest itself? What kind of a community neighbor will Qwest be now? Is it the high-rollers at the golf tourney who pay Nacchio's wages, or the common guy who would like a good neighbor in his neighborhood? Who cares if Qwest employees wear "foot stockings"? What matters is the sense of community that US West and Sol Trujillo conveyed. That is what the focus should be on.

Sadly, money talks. Let's hope at least that although Nacchio may control the pocketbook of Qwest, the Democrats will come into office again and the right wing won't control the entire United States. Obviously, Nacchio does not believe himself to be his brother's keeper.

Name withheld on requestGoing to Extremes

Rocky Mountain high:As a 1971 graduate of Aspen High School and a classmate of Raoul Wille's, I congratulate you for Alan Prendergast's objective view of life in Aspen in his "Can't Buy a Thrill," in the August 17 issue. Although I now live in Frisco, I remain in touch with locals who reflect the situation that he reported. Even in 1971, some of the same issues of lack of parental involvement, "boredom," too much wealth, and easy drugs and alcohol were starting to have an effect. The roots of the youthquake probably go back for years.

In fact, there are similarities in this situation to the roots of Columbine, as unsupervised youth act out their fantasies while the adults nearby claim to not have had a clue. Modern parenting seems to be no parenting at all. Likewise, today's "high" schools set standards and expectations that give seniors too much time on their hands and the illusion that their B average is a great accomplishment, when in reality, they have learned to waste time and are poorly prepared for their first job or their freshman year at an equally watered-down college. Too many parents are too spoiled to put in the time to know, guide and love their children while convincing themselves that a laissez-faire style will make the child strong and independent.

Will we learn from these incidents that we read about and take to heart a message that will help us avoid repeating it, or will we refuse to see ourselves in the headlines? It will be interesting to see how low we can go as a culture before we recoil from the results of our indifference. As yet, I see no end to it.

I was saddened by the loss of Raoul at such an early age. He was a remarkable person, with all the good and bad points that Prendergast captured in Westword. He died pursuing his dreams of adventure. What was it that tipped the scales for Cody?

Keep on reporting...

Garrett Sullivan
Frisco

Guardian angles:Compliments again to the highly gifted and hardworking Alan Prendergast for the story of adolescence gone awry in Aspen. A very important aspect, bravely reported, was the failure of the professional guardians involved to do their duty. If these professionals, a psychologist and two attorneys, had been government officials, they could have been held accountable for malfeasance of office. I wanted to mention that fact, because it's not something taught in schools or found on billboards.

Mardi Mulloy
Denver

Teen angles: I am a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley and watched with interest as the crime spree unfolded last year. Initially, the crimes were blamed on Hispanics or some other "outsiders." Eventually, the true story began to unfold, and it continues to unfold to this day.

Alan Prendergast's piece on the crime spree was the first in-depth analysis that I have seen. Curiously, none of the half-dozen local rags saw fit to do any sort of soul-searching over the issue, perhaps fearing where it would lead -- toward the conclusion that the kids are indeed a product of their environment. Aspen is surely a town without consequences, where embezzlement is rampant, where land rape leads to prestige, and where there is a culture celebrating the ripoff of others in the boardroom. With these sorts of heroes, plus the celebration of mobster and gangsta culture on the tube, it is no wonder that criminals are role models. Finally, as you observed, we have a high proportion of wealthy, transient kids who are raised first by nannies and later left to raise themselves, essentially abandoned by their self-absorbed, divorced parents. (Caveat to defensive single parents: I didn't say all, just too many.)

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