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Letters for July 28-August 3, 2005

Aaron's for Real

And he walks on water...: Homeless Voice is very proud of "Saint Aaron" (Eric Alan Barton, July 21). I believe that if every person in the world adopted one problem, adopted one person, or adopted one cause, the world would be a better place.

I hereby ask that all readers of New Times do exactly that: Start your own agency, even if it remains small for years. Like the Nike slogan: "Just Do It." We all can change the world and make it a better place. Look at the impact Aaron, who is just a little over age 20, is making in this world.

We feel like the story has been one of the best about people helping people. Barton's work is a masterpiece. It made you feel as if you were there sitting in Haiti with Aaron.

Sean Cononie

Publisher, The Homeless Voice


Things Mama never knew: I am the mother of Aaron Jackson. As a parent, one would think I would know everything there was to know about my own child after 23 years, yet Barton was able to reach even deeper into what is already a beautiful story and so eloquently convey the true meaning behind Aaron's efforts in Haiti and the spirit that drives him.

Barton is a fabulous writer, and I hope he and the New Times reap great rewards from his writings.

Wendy Prentice


FIU Follies

Hall be damned: I would like to take a moment to respond to Kevin Hall's response (July 7) to Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver's response (June 23) to Edmund Newton's "Adios, Ink-Stained Vets" (June 2).

Hall says Kopenhaver is out to ruin the journalism school at Florida International University. Big deal. Last thing we need in this country is a few more journalists with integrity, passion, and professionalism -- the kind of journalists Hall, former dean J. Arthur Heise, and the rest of their ilk spent years churning out -- running around writing stories that actually matter. I'm proud to call Hall my mentor and friend. But I think Kopenhaver is right about "revitalizing" the FIU J school by censoring students, dumbing down the curriculum, and running off the professors who care about quality journalism.

Maybe if she had been running things while I was a student at FIU, I wouldn't have had to waste all that time actually learning stuff. If it weren't for Hall and his insistence on providing me with an education, I could be making the big bucks instead of being a real, working journalist with integrity and passion.

Damn you, Kevin Hall. Damn you to hell.

Brett O'Bourke


Saint Kevin? I'm a senior at FIU's School of Journalism, and I've witnessed the changes described in "Adios, Ink-Stained Vets." I was lucky to have Kevin Hall and Mike McQueen as not only professors but also mentors during my first years at FIU. Hall is an extraordinary professor who genuinely cares about students. He and McQueen inspired us to write. I remember leaving class feeling like I had just walked out of church on a Sunday morning. We will never be able to replace him.

Sue Arrowsmith


Speed Kills

Stratton speaks the truth: Jeff Stratton's July 7 "Crotch Rocketeers" article was awesome. It is very emotional, and I am an old Harley rider who wishes the bike manufacturers would look at the statistics of these incidents and help with the control.

Odie Uhl

Director, Texoma Chapter 1871

Harley Owners Group

Van Alstyne, Texas

Stratton stinks: Sir, your "Crotch Rocketeers" article is odorific tripe. Have you done a journalism course? It is possible to write a compelling article devoid of clichés and Fox TV news sensational hype. Next time, do some research. Check some relevant sources. Most motorcycle accidents don't occur at triple-digit speeds; most involve cars turning into the path of a motorcycle, and most involve older riders who ride "Harley"-type cruisers.

Sport bikes are not for everyone. They can be dangerous, and most riders could use more training. But most of us are not toll-booth strafers, intent on terrifying old ladies on I-95. If you checked biker websites, you would know that many of us avoid major highways, the domain of dazed, cell-phone-yakking SUV hooligans.

Courtney Munroe

Coral Springs

Between the Brushstrokes

A secret protest: I have entered every ArtServe show ("Rockets Red Spiel," Michael Mills, July 7) since becoming a member two years ago. Because ArtServe is a nonprofit organization, it is specific as to the content of the shows it sponsors. I have to admit that, when first receiving the entry form and reading the "positive only" content, I wasn't going to participate. I decided that I would enter a piece that would meet their criteria without giving up my voice. My collage, Pieces of America, may seem ambiguous, but there's a covert statement being made.

As far as the curator, I feel she hung a powerful show and also covertly made a statement. The choice of subject matter and/or theme any show ArtServe sponsors is not the curator's but the administration's. ArtServe isn't a private gallery but an organization, and the duties of the curator must follow the criteria that administration designates.

Sharon Basile

Dania Beach

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