Letters to the editor

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Duty to inform

House Bill 1252, sponsored by Rep. Betty Boyd, encourages hospitals to counsel sexual assault survivors about their risk of pregnancy and provide them with timely and accurate information about emergency contraception. Currently, not all hospitals in Colorado inform rape survivors about emergency contraception.

Emergency contraception is a highly effective form of birth control that reduces the risk of pregnancy when taken within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse. Emergency contraception is not a method of abortion and should not be confused with Mifepristone (RU486), a medicine used for medical abortion.

In the United States, 25,000 women will become pregnant as a result of sexual assault every year. About 22,000 of these pregnancies could be averted if all women who were assaulted were given and used emergency contraception. One in four Colorado women has experienced a completed or attempted sexual assault. Because emergency rooms are often the first point of medical contact for sexual assault survivors, it is imperative that hospitals provide a full range of services to those who seek care.

This bill is about access to information. To deny sexual assault survivors timely and vital information that could prevent a tragic and serious consequence of rape -- the trauma of an unwanted pregnancy -- is unconscionable.

For more information about emergency contraception, HB 1252, or to join the Planned Parenthood Action Network, please visit us on the Web at www.pprm.org.

Kate Clement

Planned Parenthood public affairs coordinator

1104 B 11th Street

Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

(970) 879-2212

Give some credit

In response to a letter published last Wednesday by a fifth-generation resident (April 16, 2003, Kristi Kuntz Wille), I feel compelled to address both issues raised by the author.

First, I want to address the statement that the rest of us "have no idea what they are talking about." Because one's ancestors moved into the Yampa Valley a long time ago does not particularly qualify one as having the correct opinion and the rest of us as ignorant. Even though some of us may be newcomers, having moved here only five, 10 or maybe 30 years ago, we are much more intelligent and insightful than you give us credit for.

We do have an understanding of international, regional and local economics. We also understand the social, environmental and economic effects of issues such as tourism, ranching, subdivisions and yes, gravel pit location.

Before moving to this wonderful valley, I lived in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in an area that had a very large asbestos mine and a large open pit gold mine, which was approved by the local county commission and opened while I was a resident.

The similarities between these and a gravel pit in the Yampa Valley are twofold. First, they are holes in the ground that create traffic, noise, air pollution and inconvenience for most of the residents and an economic benefit for a large corporation headquartered far away.

Second, we were presented at conception with grandiose plans for reclamation. Ironically these plans included artist's renderings depicting parklike settings. The two in the Sierras are now defunct, closed by a combination of environmental and economic issues. Contrary to the beautiful sketches and artists' renderings presented during the approval stages, both are now large, rubble-strewn scars in the earth.

Don't let the tranquil photograph in the Today of a goose floating on calm water fool you.

Michael Turner

Steamboat Springs

Student forum

I am a retired teacher from the Steamboat Springs High School and I read the Teen Style edition of the Pilot & Today published Sunday.

I appreciate the articles, and I have a lot of empathy for the students. Times haven't changed. Subjects that concern students today are the same as when I started teaching.

However, I had a calling in my profession because I understood the student who hated the social life of school, found school boring, didn't fit in because they were newcomers and many more reasons. I had the reputation of being able to work with these students who were labeled potential dropouts, at-risk kids, misfits and any other title given to the student who saw no relevance in high school.

I worked with them on how to make new friends in a new school, when to drop out, how to drop out and what was available for them if they did drop out. When I got my master's degree, there were five men in my class who were Korean War veterans who were working on Ph.D.s and they did not have high school diplomas. They were very proud of that statement.

Many of the students I counseled when they made the decision to drop out now have college degrees, something many high school graduates do not have. There has to be an understanding of the student's position when you counsel them in the dropping out procedure.

"What went wrong for one student" is really the story for many students. Mr. Breland is one of the few who spoke out.

I am glad the students have this open forum. They need this.

Rosemary Farrell

Steamboat Springs

Yes on gravel pit

A Catch-22 is a situation presenting two equally udesirable alternatives.

I believe that definition is basically what living in Steamboat is about. Growing and developing in moderation has always been the goal. Sometimes certain developments are harder to swallow than others.

As a third generation native of Steamboat I feel the Lafarge pit is necessary. If we don't have a new gravel pit on the south side of town, the traffic through downtown would be unbearable as well as inefficient.

I have heard people talk and have read letters of people concerned about the environmental impacts of a new pit. What about 60 to 80 dump trucks a day driving from Milner to the south valley three to four times each? What impact will that have?

I believe that it is our responsibility to develop smart. Change and development are inevitable.

When my grandmother was born here in 1920 the population of Steamboat was 1,249.

How many of us would still be here if it was not for the development of Steamboat? I have read letters talking about how people choose to live here because of how beautiful it is and for the small town atmosphere. Steamboat will always be beautiful and will always have the small town atmosphere. As long as we are responsible enough to make sure that development and the economy of Steamboat are kept alive.

When the ski area opened 40 years ago, smart development was the goal. You cannot move here and want to stop the growth.

We have lived and flourished here for more than 80 years, and learning to accept and deal with change is what those years have taught us. Change here is inevitable. If we don't do it moderately, something bigger will come.

My family and Steamboat as a community have always welcomed people and moderate growth. We must be responsible and diligent with our community and economy. Yes for the pit.

Crystal Fisher

Steamboat Springs

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