From the week of September 24, 2009

"Going Viral," Alan Prendergast, September 17

Get the Point?

Kristen Parker should be tried for the intentional spread of the virus. Even if there were a slim possibility of infection, common sense as a health-care worker should have kept her from redistributing the needles she had already used, and potentially shared with friends! These people are lucky that they haven't additionally contracted HIV, and Parker should be punished accordingly. In addition, this story sheds a very bright light on several aspects of hospital care, and will hopefully allow for better protective measures for future patients throughout the country.

Luke Williams

London, England

"Cash Crop," Joel Warner, September 10

To Pee or not to pee

I am reminded once again of the severe stigma of ignorance still surrounding "medicinal" marijuana. When will the community, lawmakers and, most important, the media finally give this issue the "serious" attention it deserves?

It's like Obama is laughing at the idea. We know he supports it. Why do we continue to act like it's some kind of funny joke? When will the public acknowledge that cannabis use should not be limited to people "on their deathbed" with "serious ailments"? Why must we be portrayed as scam artists and junkies when we prefer casual, soothing marijuana use, which stimulates a healthy appetite, as opposed to over-the-counter painkillers, muscle relaxers and fever reducers, which often cause nausea, loss of appetite and liver damage with prolonged use?

I play drums in a Denver band, REDO. I get muscle pain on occasion. I work forty hours a week at a call center, sitting on the phone. I get headaches. I get stiff muscles. I'm not trying to "get high." I'm trying to relax without feeling sick to my stomach. Does that qualify me for "medicinal" marijuana? Am I worthy of quality plants bred for specific needs, or should I just buy from a Denver street corner?

It's only a small fine if I get caught. Not like I would be committing a federal crime. Oh, wait, I forgot...

I'm on probation for DUI...and for some reason I'm required to pee in a cup once a month. Guess I do need that prescription.

Joel Patterson


Kudos to Joel Warner for capturing and imparting a wide range of emotion — fear, joy, humor, trepidation, longing and love.

Michelle from Los Angeles

Posted at

Editor's note: For more comments on Joel Warner's story, as well as reviews of marijuana dispensaries, go to

"Boulevard of Dreams," Westword staff, September 3

Out of Lefty Field

I read Jonathan Shikes's piece on Lefty Martin Appliances. I am Lefty's granddaughter, and last Wednesday would have been his 89th birthday. Thank you for the remembrances — wow!

I can answer the questions about Grandpa. He went by W.F. "Lefty" Martin. The W.F. stood for Waldo Ferrel; he never liked that name. He got into baseball early in life, and Lefty stuck. He loved the Cubs, and his ashes are now buried beside my cousin, across the street from the spring training park for the Cubs down in Arizona. They share a headstone, but his side faces the park.

Lefty was a larger-than-life type of man with a heart of gold and a booming voice that barreled through the store. I hated the basement and always thought it was haunted. By what, I don't know — but as a kid, it sure scared me. That store holds a lot of memories for me, from having one of the first radar ranges to the first Beta tape player. We always knew what was new and what was the best. So many customers became like family to us.

Thank you for taking the time to write about my grandpa. You brought him back to me, even if for just a few minutes.

Shana Wilkins

Wailuku, Hawaii

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