I had to respond to your story "Spreading Her Wings." It was very well-written, but hard to read due to my tears! This story should be published nationwide: Our country desperately needs to revamp the so-called "social/human services" that left two young kids in the care of questionable "family friends" to be abused, yet takes kids from non-abusive moms (Melanie Asmar's August 5 "Welfare Check"). Surely the Denver Department of Human Services should be held legally accountable for the birth of Kristen's four children of rape. Please, please help this young woman get some legal help to file suit against a very broken, corrupt and political welfare system. (Jaycee Dugard received a "settlement" from a system that left her with a rapist; so should Kristen.) Maybe her story will give this issue a face and the attention it needs.
Tell Kristen that our family aches for her and her children, prays for them and believes their lives are going to get better. We hope that Kristen, her boyfriend and new baby (from love, not rape) can form a new, loving family group; she deserves a chance at happiness. We hope that Kristen's other children can overcome being children of rape and form a family of their own and find happiness. May God bless them and keep them and make His Face Shine Upon Them. Amen.
Patricia Calhoun, we also pray for you for having the courage and the skill to write such a story! God bless you! Westword is an amazing publication.
Luke Large and Family
Patricia, I just read your piece on this entire event. I am writing to say that I think you did an amazing job of taking me along the story line (as complicated as it was), so that I felt I was there the entire time. Which is an awful place to be in this circumstance — but it's an amazing piece of writing. Based on my experience with this story, I am going to go back now and read your others.
Keep up the good work. This is what real reporting is about, and I appreciate you keeping the truth out there.
Do you think that letters from random people to Denver County about the foster-care bills would be of any help for Kristen at all? What a travesty. At the very least, please tell Kristen that there's someone in Boulder who is thinking of her, wishing her the best and proud of her for surviving and coming out as a caring person, despite all odds.
Patricia Calhoun responds: Turn to page 10 for an update on Kristen Stillman's story. To read many, many more comments about the article, go to westword.com, where you'll also find developments in the campaigns to help Kristen.
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When I first glanced at this article, I thought, "Oh, jeez, not another bunch of wackos shoving religious dogma down people's throats." But I liked what I read. Jeff Puckett and Jude del Hierro sound like terrific, open-minded guys, and Prayer One is a good start toward promoting respect and dialogue among the city's clergy and other leaders.
Now let's see them take it one step further: Expand the invitations to include not just Christians, Jews and Muslims, but also Buddhists, Taoists, Native American medicine men, shamans, Wiccans, pagans, Unitarians, agnostics, atheists, anarchists (have I forgotten anyone?). Only then can they really foster tolerance and harmony among our diverse populace. Everyone must be included. Oh, and let's not forget the hate-mongering, divisive, right-wing radio talk-show hosts — let them fly with the others, too. Maybe then we will begin to see a reduction in violence, poverty, homelessness.
This can be a path to peace. Today, Denver; tomorrow, the world!
Sheila Pelczarski Denver