Loud & Clear: From Racial Relations To The Aurora Theater Verdict, Listeners Respond

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Several listeners responded this week to our forum on race and policing recorded at a barbershop in northeast Denver. It's how we marked the year that's passed since Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Mo.

Jeff Neuman-Lee, of Denver, said we should've gone deeper into the issue of reparations. He wrote, "Simply mentioning slavery without showing how, systematically, blacks were kept from creating capital through the 60's and then less overtly since, makes light of the racial theft we have had."

Doug Clark, of Fort Collins, added there needs to be a "red line" to reduce the number of black people being shot by police. He writes, "Is a felony in process, or is there reasonable evidence that a felony has been committed? If the answer is no, then the use of deadly force is absolutely prohibited."

Last week, in our coverage of the Aurora theater shooting trial, we spoke to both 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler and Colorado's chief public defender, Doug Wilson.

Brauchler talked about the shooter's mental state leading up to the massacre, which drew this from Adam Cortright: "Brauchler doesn't seem to get that he isn't a psychiatrist... and that experts said the crime wouldn't have been committed by Holmes had it not been for his mental illness. So, please, spare me your ignorance about mental health and what the mentally ill are and are not capable of doing."

Listeners also reacted to the story of blind hiker Trevor Thomas and his guide dog Tennile. The pair recently completed the nearly 500-mile Colorado Trail. Diane Gansauer, of Evergreen, wrote this on our website: "I heard this story and pulled over to listen. I was just a day or two behind this amazing duo on the Colorado Trail, so I was acutely aware of where they had been and interested in what they had accomplished. Bravo to Trevor and Tenille!! Thank you, CPR, for sharing their inspiring story."

To our interview about the first Tiny House Jamboree, which took place in Colorado Springs. We met tiny home builder Bryon Fears, who was a keynote speaker at the event. Joy Kay of Denver said, "I am so fascinated by this idea. I think I will transition to tiny. For me it's about letting go of my things."

Kerry Ransom, also from Denver said, "Yes, for me it will be a HUGE downsizing, but I am ready to make this happen!"

However, Cheryl Coates of "Tiny Diamond Homes" says the major roadblock to greater adoption of tiny homes may not be their small size, but the lack of standards in this new industry: "There are no minimums to ensure potential buyers are getting a safe, quality home. I continue to see tiny houses built on the cheapest trailer possible with axles that are underrated for the load weight of the house."

And a correction of the grammatical variety from a story last week about a Denver composer. "I must correct your [on-air] use of the word lay," wrote a Longmont man who calls himself "Conan the Grammarian."

"You wanted to use lie," he added. "My policy is to correct grammar of people who still have the SATs/ACTs in their future -- because it's just obnoxious. But since some of your listeners might have those tests in their future, I'll make an exception for you."

Last month, Colorado Matters spoke with the University of Denver's new animal law professor, Justin Marceau. He mentioned so-called "ag-gag" cases, including a bill that failed last year in Colorado that, he said, would have made it harder for undercover activists and journalists to expose abuse at animal farms. One such law, he added, already exists in Idaho. Earlier this month, that law was overturned. A federal judge found that, "Protecting the private interests of a powerful industry, which produces the public’s food supply, against public scrutiny is not a legitimate government interest.”

In a note to us, Marceau called the case a quote "victory for free speech and a slap in the face to industry’s efforts to avoid transparency."

Our second update has to do with the Denver restaurant Pizza Fusion that's staffed by people who are recently homeless. This week the restaurant announced it's closing. The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless opened the pizza joint four years ago. In that time, the Coalition says the restaurant has served more than 90-thousand pies, and provided training for 108 people.

In an e-mail, the Coalition says, "The Pizza Fusion business was not sufficient enough to support the needs of our job training program," The restaurant -- at the corner of Colfax and Pearl will shutter August 28.