Net Gains

Letters to the Editor

Hat's off: Steve Jackson's "Caught in the Net," in the August 30 issue, was a great story -- extremely comprehensive, an interesting read, and well-written. I've known Cassandra since she was about six years old, and my husband and I are close friends of her parents. Through them, we've been kept pretty much up to date on Mike and Cassandra's work over the years. But now we know even more, thanks to your good reporting. And we're as relieved as her parents are that Cassandra has "hung up her baseball hat." We're also extremely proud to know these two people who are so devoted to the well-being of children.

Your tribute does them great justice. Thank you.

Sandy Geist
via the Internet

Quit kidding around: Well, "Caught in the Net" definitely shows technique, but what the cops seem to be missing is that at least 60 percent of the people misrepresent themselves already. I remember a few friends of mine, both twenty-something males, looking to meet late-teen bisexuals, so that was what they pretended to be.

I think that police departments around the country would have higher success in catching people like this if they did a few small things: 1) forget bothering the homeless for loitering and sleeping under bridges, since they would tell cops what they see if they weren't harassed; 2) forget bothering kids who are just hanging out, not being destructive or violent, and leave them alone for the same reason; 3) sponsor a public teaching session for parents to be morally responsible for themselves and their kids (I know that one may be impossible, but I can dream).

Jason Brenton
via the Internet

Our daily dread: Really moving story by Steve Jackson. If the dailies ran stories like this (word for word), people might want to read them.

Amy Alkon
via the Internet

Sting and sting again: Great story by Steve Jackson. We never see anything like that in the Post/News, do we?

We had an Air Force captain here who was trolling for thirteen-year-olds while his pregnant wife and kids were at home. A sting got him. Kudos to the cops for us, please.

As for Patricia Calhoun's "Thinking Outside of the Box," in the same issue: This column was supposed to be funny? Or good?

Nick Werle
Colorado Springs

Cub Reporters

The truth laid bear: I read the August 23 "Bear Facts" with interest. It's true that black bears live in the mountains and along the Front Range and can enter suburban and urban areas, especially at this time of year, as they are looking for food as much as twenty hours a day. Those readers who have teenagers can certainly sympathize: Black bears can eat 20,000 calories a day as they pack on fat for winter. This is the equivalent of 150 cups of wild nuts, or forty Big Macs (McDonald's Big Mac: 560 calories, 31 grams of fat). Hungry bears are best described as 200 pounds of nose with a stomach attached.

A few notes to be sure folks know what to do if they encounter a bear in downtown Denver. If a black bear enters a styling salon for a quick trim, the stylist would be wise to avoid using any scented shampoos or conditioners. Fruity mixtures such as honey-almond, guava and raspberry scents can drive a bear wild with hunger. (A hairstylist with nipped fingers may be eligible for workers' compensation if the injury was incurred while working, but it's much better to be safe than sorry.) The majority of bear/human encounters involve bears following the scent of food.

Wildlife experts discourage habituation of black bears by encouraging any reliance on human foods, including trash, barbecue grills and pet foods. It is clearly illegal to feed big game in Colorado; offering a drink is a murkier legal issue. Black bears who seek alcoholic beverages at any LoDo establishment should certainly be expected to show proper identification. Although laws governing wildlife and humans are different, very few black bears live to be 21 years of age in the wild, so it's doubtful that a bear visiting the Wynkoop Brewing Co. can legally have a brew, no matter who's buying. By the age of only three years, many bears can reach weights of 200 pounds, so size is no accurate measurement to use when your liquor license is involved.

As far as releasing the bear to the custody of Jake Jabs, we feel compelled to remind readers that possession of any wildlife in Colorado requires special training and permits. "Found" wildlife should be left alone whenever possible, and sick, injured or orphaned wildlife should be turned over to trained wildlife rehabilitators who specialize in caring for a particular species so they can be returned to the wild.

Thank you for your interest in Colorado's wildlife.

Cameron Lewis
Colorado Division of Wildlife

This just in: I don't know about the coverage on the other TV stations, but it seemed that the news portion of Thursday afternoon's Channel 9 news was almost completely devoted to the runaway bear cub in a Lakewood and Westminster neighborhood. The weather segment was actually broken into to show helicopter coverage of the bear -- which turned out to maybe be just a dog. But most amazingly, the amount of time spent on sports was reduced so even more bear news could be reported!!

What's the big deal with all these bears, since there seem to be a couple of them in the metro area almost every day? I guess this burg ain't just a cowtown; it's now a bear town...

Leroy Quet

You know how to whistle, don't you? In light of the recent bear activity throughout Colorado, I wish to share what I consider to be a most effective bear deterrent: a high-pitched, shrill metal whistle worn around one's neck at all times when in bear country. I do not exit my front door, much less venture deeper into the high country, without my whistle.

Both my father and I have had numerous encounters with bears over the past fifteen years; each time the whistle -- blown in a quick succession of short bursts -- sent the bear(s) running (including a sow with cubs).

Both for those whose homes are visited by bears and those of us who go deeper into the wilderness hiking and backpacking, I believe the whistle to be a highly effective defense against bears. It is lightweight and effective. It may save your life.

Christine Smith

The Sounds of Silence

Clear the airwaves: I'm so thrilled that someone else is finally speaking out against Clear Channel. I've been complaining about them (and Jacor) for years, and everyone treats me like I'm crazy. I'm going to have Michael Roberts's "Taking on the Empire," in the August 23 issue, laminated so I can pass it around to all my friends. It's bad enough that they came in and ruined all of our good stations; thank you so much for validating all of my other theories. Now I can prove it to all my friends. (Let's just hope some of them have the integrity to join me in my boycott of Clear Channel.)

I'll now not only be wearing my famous 'Get Clear Channel out of Colorado' pin, but I'll be expressing my support for Nobody in Particular Presents as well. Good luck to them, and thank you.

Jessika E. Stone

Kettle call: I got a real kick out of you guys referring to as "muckrakers." Did you mean that in a bad way? Or was it a simple case of the pot calling the kettle black? Just curious.

Patrick Cullie
via the Internet

There Grows the Neighborhood

Big Mac attack: Kudos to Westword for reporting objectively on a difficult and complex issue with David Holthouse's "Property Values," in the August 16 issue.

Apparently unbeknownst to anyone on the board of Congress Park Neighbors, the Morgan Group chose to meet privately with a select group of neighbors approximately a month ago to pitch their project. These neighbors live within 200 feet of the proposed site and would therefore be potentially pivotal in the decision-making process, because they would be eligible to sign what is known as a legal protest petition (different from the current petition that is going around). A legal protest petition would require Denver City Council to vote unanimously in order for the Morgan Group development PUD to be approved. At the tête à tête, a Morgan official threatened the neighbors with the prospect of "something worse" being built on that site: a McDonald's.

Hopefully, the cooling real-estate and rental market will put an end to the Morgan Group's speculation on this site. Then again, they must have a lot riding on this if they threaten a McDonald's as the next worst alternative to their project. In contrast, one could easily propose a plethora of projects for the site that would be much better than the Morgan Group's building, which would fit much better into the neighborhood.

This is a block that has been traumatized for generations. When the hospital scraped a lot of perfectly good bungalows off the block in the late 1960s, there were apparently residents who wanted to stay; one 92-year-old gentleman was forced out and sent to live in a nursing home. The university was apparently in such a mad rush to pave the resulting lot that they paved over the sewer lines and basements that were left behind. We shouldn't allow the Morgan Group to compound the trauma that has already occurred. We should all participate in a rational planning process that looks at all of the alternatives before settling on something that is less than optimal. And yes, if a McDonald's is proposed for that site, I would be willing to fight that, too, just like the neighbors near Alameda and Lincoln fought their battle against that restaurant chain. Why do we have to live in fear? Why can't we say what we think would be best for the neighborhood?

Should the Morgan Group's proposal succeed with the blessing of the Denver Planning Department and the city council, it will be another traumatic event for the surrounding neighborhood. Repeated traumas are even more difficult to recover from than a single blow. Let's just hope that for Congress Park's sake, the neighborhood is as resilient as Holthouse's article makes it sound.

Jonathan Blaine

No walk in the Park: I commend David Holthouse for his efforts in writing a fairly well-balanced article about our proposed development in Congress Park. Please allow me to make two corrections. First, the article written by Derek Empey was not a memo to his co-workers; Derek wrote it in response to a request by the editors of Multi-Family Executive Magazine, an industry trade publication. Derek's piece was printed in the April 2001 edition.

Second, in reference to our Fleetwood apartment community in Houston, Mr. Holthouse states: "The residents succeeded in pressuring the development group to sell the land to the city for its original purchase price and simply walk away... The lot is now a playground with two tennis courts."

I am not sure where Mr. Holthouse garnered this misinformation. Our Fleetwood property was a four-acre site not too dissimilar in condition from the Colorado Boulevard property. It was weed-infested and contained only abandoned concrete slabs and asphalt paving. In 1993, after many meetings with the residents of the neighborhood and with the assistance of the planning commission and county commissioners, we developed a 104-unit luxury apartment community on the site. This property, after completion, was very successful and won admiration from the neighborhood as well as the politicians on how well it blended with the area. It also won a Golden Nugget award as one of the most aesthetically pleasing multi-family properties to be developed in the nation that year.

We are confident that the citizens who live in Congress Park will feel the same way about our proposed development near their neighborhood.

Ronnie Morgan, principal
The Morgan Group, Inc.

Bowl Games

Noodling around: I was extremely irritated by Kyle Wagner's July 26 "Super Bowl" review and her follow-up comments/defense in the August 16 Bite regarding Tokyo San. The initial review was full of questionable claims, egregious inaccuracies and glaring omissions. A thirty-minute wait for her food? I never have waited more than ten minutes in over 300 visits. But Kyle's most ridiculous claim was that "the order takers also cook the food...leaving the next folks in line out of luck for a while." How could she write such nonsense? It would have closed four years ago if her contention was valid.

As for Kyle's comments in The Bite: Of course Tokyo San fans like myself would be surprised that she and her kids "dropped by Tokyo San fairly often" before they moved. How could she fault us for being confused? If the service was horrible, the tofu was grilled, the udon noodles were "obviously cooked ahead and reheated" and "food was always overpriced and bland," among other complaints, why in the world did she continue to eat there (no matter how much her children love noodles)? Clearly, Kyle was entitled to her opinions on both Tokyo Joe's and Tokyo San. But next time, an accurate and complete review of both restaurants (with reasonable follow-up comments) would be appreciated.

Brian Nieder


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