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Your Letters

We are a group of five students from Basalt High School, in Colorado. This is a project for our Fundamentals of American Democracy class where we have to find a problem in our community we would like to change. We think teen pregnancy is a big problem in our generation, and we have to stop it before it’s too late.

It could easily stopped, by following a few simple steps. For example, we suggested a policy to our high school. The policy we would like to offer is a sex education class for every local high school. The level of branch this problem is involved with would be the Congress.

I think this policy would be a big help because young adults need to be educated in how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, and any other important information they need to know about the body and how to take care of it.

Having this class would be very smart, because in the Basalt schools you only have a small “sex ed class” in middle school where nothing really sexually is happening in kids’ lives.

Another goal of the class is letting teens know that if something does happen they are not alone and there is always help for them. This class is going to educate them on where they can get help, and in a way get them more mature about the decisions they make and get a better understanding of it. Our goal is not to affect the decisions they make on sex, only give them important information they need to know, so that they can make educated decisions about sex in the future. If you want to learn more about this topic, this website would be very useful:

In conclusion, a sex ed class would be a smart policy to add to every high school to inform students on prevention and prevent them from any bad outcomes of sex. If you have any questions, opinions, or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us at


Terry M., Jennifer L., Sebastian L.,

Ismael M., Humberto A.


The issue of homosexuals serving in the armed forces has a practical solution that involves the minimum amount of discrimination required to avoid a probable loss of combat effectiveness.

It starts with the recognition that the armed forces need people with a wide variety of qualifications for a wide variety of jobs. A very special type of job requiring a special set of qualifications is to serve in a combat unit. One of those qualifications is the ability to regard other members of a combat unit as essentially equal comrades. This precludes developing passionate sexual relationships with some in a unit that will invariably create resentment among others.

There are many jobs in the armed forces, however, that do not involve combat and are similar to civilian jobs. I doubt that people’s ability to perform these jobs is affected by their sexual orientation. So, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy should stay basically in effect, but if service personnel reveal homosexual preferences, they should simply be assigned to noncombat positions. In other words, homosexuality should be nonjudgmentally treated as a condition such as, say, nearsightedness, that disqualifies people for combat duty, but not for service in the many other positions that need to be filled.

I served as a platoon leader in an armored cavalry unit before homosexuality was an issue, and so did not have to deal with it directly. But I can assure the majority of fair-minded Americans who have no clue as to the personnel challenges that exist in a combat unit, that adding another source of dissension threatens to reduce the combat effectiveness of the armed forces in two critical ways.

First, it will discourage voluntary enlistment by adventurous young heterosexual men who provide the overwhelming bulk of combat capability. And secondly, it will add one more obstacle to the extremely difficult task that unit leaders face in achieving maximum teamwork under the most stressful conditions imaginable.

Carl Ted Stude


The people working on the Hidden Gems Campaign include a fifth-generation Coloradan whose family has been ranching for decades, two journalists, two cartographers and several professionals with advanced degrees. Some of us have other jobs in addition to the work we put in for Hidden Gems. One of us is a lawyer. Another sells outdoor equipment. We are in our 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. Some of us have families, while others have yet to. Most of us have lived in Colorado for much if not all of our lives.

We have been reaching out to various stakeholders and user groups in the White River and Gunnison national forests for years. These are our neighbors. We take their input and concerns seriously, and have made significant adjustments to our proposal to meet their needs and concerns. That process is under way now with ranchers, mountain bikers, firefighters, government representatives and motorized recreation groups represented by the White River Forest Alliance.

Steve Smith

The Wilderness Society/

Hidden Gems Wilderness Campaign

Glenwood Springs

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