Loud & Clear: Listeners speak about gangs, poetry, bears and ‘diffabilities’

Image: Loud and Clear typewriter

Colorado Matters regularly airs feedback from listeners and readers in Loud & Clear.

In our recent conversation about a rise in gang violence, Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner spoke to Pastor Derone Armstrong of Denver. The pastor's nephew was gunned down: "Someone just ran up and shot him in the heart and killed him. They are saying it's gang violence. I believe it is because in his past life he was involved in gangs, but he had changed his life and he was on a good road."

Twitter user @itssosoft tweeted us in appreciation that we are "paying attention to deeply marginalized people and giving them a forum to speak."

We also explored the fine line between discrimination and religious freedom in the context of two cake shops caught up in the gay marriage debate. Our discussion prompted this comment -- on our website -- from Amanda Shotts: "I've been in a lot of stores that have a sign posted, 'We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.' I believe small businesses should have rights. Simply because they are serving the public should not mean that they give up all of their rights and become slaves to the almighty consumer."

State bear biologist Jerry Apker spoke to us about the increasing number of bears being put to death. One way to reverse the trend, he said, is for communities to bear-proof -- from securing their trash cans to their BBQ grills: "If you don't want to see bears euthanized, or as many bears euthanized, those are the kinds of responsible actions that communities will have to take."

Listener Dave Wade, was in agreement on Facebook: "The cost of repairing property damaged by a hungry bear can easily exceed what it would have cost to buy a bear proof trash container or electrify a chicken coop."

Warner's interview with Denver poet Gail Waldstein, a former doctor who had the difficult job of diagnosing diseases in children and conducting child autopsies, brought this comment from Longmont listener Sirena Dudgeon: "I enjoyed this interview and feel deeply that it takes such a special and wonderful person to work in that career. I cried all the way to work."

And Julie Carr added this: “I’m just really grateful that poetry’s being talked about on the radio and treated as a real thing and not just kind of a fluffy thing -- as it’s often treated as. So thanks.”

In fact, a second poet joined us last week: Denver's Wayne Gilbert. He has Parkinson's and finds freedom in his art. Apparently, one of his former students was listening. Aidan Smith of Aurora, writes: "You made a lasting impression on me and I took much of your wisdom to heart. I’m glad to hear that you are spreading that wisdom beyond the classroom.”

And finally, a listener taught us a new word. It emanates from an interview we aired with the head of Blue Star Recyclers, a non-profit that employs people with autism who are skilled at taking apart electronics. On Twitter, Angela Ewari said it's an example of "diffabilities" rather than "disabilities." That's a fusion of the words "different" and "disability." She attributes the term to Tim Shriver, who leads The Special Olympics.

Radio is a two-way street and we love hearing from you. E-mail your comments to us at www.CPRNews.org, connect on Twitter at @ColoradoMatters or find us on Facebook at CPRNews.

Audio for this story will be available later this morning.