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Home / Articles / Views / Letters /  Letters | Homeless kids in Boulder
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Wednesday, November 21,2012

Letters | Homeless kids in Boulder

Corrections:

• A Nov. 8 story, “Backdoor Buff bucks,” stated that the $1 million the University of Colorado Boulder gives to the Athletic Merit UCB Scholarship represents about 25 percent of the athletics department’s total scholarship budget. It represents 25 percent of the football scholarships budget.

• An avalanche photo used with the story “Basic Training” in Winter Scene 2012 should have been credited to Richard Armstrong.

Homeless kids in Boulder

November is Colorado Homeless and Runaway Youth Awareness Month. At least 1,500 youth and young adults ages 12 to 25 are homeless in Colorado. Here in Boulder, there are as many as 200 youth without a safe place for the night, and statistics show that within 48 hours of running away, 30 percent of homeless youth are recruited for sex and other forms of human trafficking. With children making up 27 percent of the U.S. homeless population (and the fastest-growing segment), the time is now to start factoring teens into our local conversation of homelessness. Living amidst our privileged and beautiful community is a hidden population of unaccompanied youth who are alone, afraid, without family and safe shelter.

The root causes of teen homelessness are many: poverty, abuse and neglect, GLBTQ rejection, mental illness and behavioral unrest. Since 2010, Attention Homes has been tackling Boulder’s runaway and homeless youth problem and is the only youth shelter in Boulder County. Providing a continuum of care that includes street outreach, a day drop-in center and overnight emergency shelter, Attention Homes seeks to provide safe housing and access to education, employment and long-term permanent housing. We have made over 4,000 contacts with youth on the street and expect to serve over 500 teens in day and overnight shelter by the end of 2012. For 47 years, Attention Homes has been working with at-risk youth. All this month, Attention Homes has a campaign of events, Sleep Out-Dine Out-Shout Out, to educate our community about the harsh realities facing homeless youth and what you can do locally to help. Learn more about this important issue and get involved at www.AttentionHomes.org.

Jim Rianoshek, executive director, Attention Homes/Boulder

Dust in the wind

Is it possible that the big oil and gas industry could wash up the dead at the historic Old Town Erie Cemetery with their so-called safe hydraulic fracking procedures? You be the judge:

Erie’s historic cemetery has a panoramic view of Old Town Erie with the great Rockies as a beautiful backdrop. The rustic old boot hill (currently known as Mount Pleasant Cemetery) is located on nine acres of hilltop land. In 1882, because of the 100-year flood, coffins and skeletons were washing up from Erie’s first graveyard, which was then relocated to its present location. There are 274 unknown souls buried in the Erie Cemetery with no grave markers because they died from a flu epidemic called the “Black Death” in the 1800s, and relatives not wishing to be exposed to the disease any longer than necessary hurriedly disposed of their dead in this mass grave site. Will the ground shaking from the fracking disturb boot hill and these forgotten souls?

I hear a voice in the wind. As the dust blows through boot hill, the voice is crying: “Aren’t 400 oil and gas wells in Erie enough?” Another voice crying from the grave, “What’s happened to all the wildlife that roamed our open space?” My heart cries silently as I watch a road and miles of pipeline pass close to the historical Erie Cemetery. They call it progress. I call it greed.

In reviewing the controversial claims about hydraulic fracking, let me quote from different oil and gas researchers:

“Each fracking job uses 48 to 70 million gallons of water.”

What!? When we already have a shortage of water for agricultural use and the farmers can’t buy water for crops because we’re in a record drought?

“The chemical compounds of each fracking scene where risk is involved of contamination to the environment include unstable vapors in the air, leaking storage pits, and hazardous carcinogenic chemical compounds that migrate into our fresh water aquifers.”

Big oil says, “If you don’t like it, move!”

In conjunction with the dead souls in Erie’s historic cemetery, are our health, our lives, our properties and our livelihoods worth risking? According to documented sources, benzene leak sites flow directly into our water resources daily, along with numerous other unknown chemicals.

Why don’t we citizens have the right to ban fracking before it ends up like the black death of the 1800s? It is sad, but according to our Erie mayor and Board of Trustees, we have no say because fracking is state and federally regulated. These are our homes, our land, our water, our air, but we have no say.

What has happened to America’s independence and our rights as citizens?

All we are is dust in the wind.

David L. Johnson

Meat bad

With his recent re-election, President Obama has won the power to pardon more turkeys on Thanksgiving. But so does every one of us, by choosing a nonviolent Thanksgiving observance that gives thanks for our good fortune, health and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of vegetables, fruits and grains.

And here are more terrific reasons:

• You will stay alert through the entire football game.

• You are what you eat. Who wants to be a “butterball”?

• Your vegetarian kid won’t have to boycott the family dinner.

• You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.

• Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.

• You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.

• You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

• It’s a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones.

Our own dinner this Thanksgiving will feature a “Tofurky,” lentil roast, mashed potatoes, corn stuffing, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. An Internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” got us more recipes and other useful information than we could possibly use.

Rudolph Helman/Boulder

Frankenstorm Sandy is one more dramatic demonstration that climate change and its extreme weather patterns are now part of our future. Although we’re unlikely to reverse climate change, we can still mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, our energy use and our meat consumption.

Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat consumption accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.

Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport and slaughter animals and to refrigerate their carcasses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

We have the power to reduce the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based “meats,” soy and nut-based dairy products, and an ample selection of traditional vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. Product lists, easy recipes and transition tips are available at www.livevegan.org.

Stanley Silver/Boulder

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