By Hooker by Crook
My friend and I passed through Denver and happened to read part one of "Trial and Tribulations," Steve Jackson's article on Joanne Cordova. I just read part two, from the November 26 issue, on the Internet.

I am writing to offer high praise to Steve Jackson for his writing. The story was fascinating and was rendered at a depth that is rare in journalism these days. The story immersed the reader in a way of life that most of us have no exposure to. The story should be submitted for a journalistic award; the writing was direct and vivid, and an enormous amount of work went into that series.

Juliette Jordan
via the Internet

I know Joanne Cordova, and she is indeed a worthwhile person from a good family. I am just sorry that no one saw what was happening to her and that it all escalated to this point. It can happen to anyone, and sometimes we are not strong enough on our own to stop the ball. Let this be a reminder to all of us not to get so self-absorbed that we miss another's cry for help.

Keri Awada
via the Internet

Wow. Steve Jackson's piece is one of those rare stories that transcends mere local human interest. My most sincere compliments on a fine piece of writing. Please let Ms. Cordova know that our prayers are with her on her journey back.

Robert Poulk
via the Internet

I know the people who found Anita Paley and was really intrigued by the courtroom testimony. Too bad that Robert Riggan Jr. may not die for what he did to her. Thank you for the coverage of this story that never got much publicity except at the time of the trial--and then only if you knew to look for it.

M. Mintz
via the Internet

Although I no longer live in Denver, I often read Westword via the Internet. Steve Jackson's recent article on Joanne Cordova's experiences was well-written and should be a wake-up call to all crack users.

I now reside in a small Southern town where crack cocaine is as abundant as Christianity. Even here, where crack was once thought of as an urban problem, I personally witnessed an attempted rape of a young woman by a crack user. A call to 911 brought the police to the scene while he was still in the act. What was frightening about the crime was that the attempted rape was taking place in broad daylight, in the front yard of a neighbor's house, while four to five elderly church ladies were shouting for him to stop.

I'm proud that Ms. Cordova testified. Additionally, I'm proud that she is attempting to point her life back to the family fold.

By the way did the police ever locate the knife?
Name withheld on request

Editor's note: No, the police never found the knife used to cut Anita Paley--but during deliberations, jurors remembered that Joanne Cordova had seen a knife in Robert Riggan's van that could have made such a wound. For the complete text of Steve Jackson's story, visit

Age Before Duty
Thank you for Gayle Worland's good article about Ash Grove Senior Center ("Wreck Center," November 19). I wish it could have been printed a lot sooner so maybe the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation could have taken this job more seriously. Seniors, in my opinion, have been abused with all this gobbledygook they have been feeding us. Yes, we were told that Cook Center would open in September, etc. What bothered us is that Ash Grove could have stayed open during this period. I feel sorry for those who do not drive and couldn't attend centers in surrounding areas. They forget this is such good therapy--physically, socially and mentally--for senior citizens. Many activities that were held in the afternoons at Ash Grove are not held at other centers. This left out a lot of people.

Thanks again for your article. I wish it could reach the mayor's office.
Name withheld on request

She's Got a Beef
Juliet Wittman's article about mad cow disease and elk/deer ("Mad All Over," November 12) was very unsettling and informative. We are at a much higher risk of getting CJD than I had ever wanted to believe.

Why isn't this information in either of the other large newspapers in town?
Jeri Basko
via the Internet

I wanted to thank you for Juliet Wittman's "Mad All Over." The article gives some information on the horrific disease of CJD but cannot truly describe the full helplessness one feels when a loved one contracts it. This disease seems to fit into the same mold as other forbidden topics, such as Gulf War Syndrome, the study on syphilis on black men back in the Forties, and the effects on citizens from nuclear fallout in Utah.

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