The sound of fluffiness - Iain Thomas is in Japan

By Iain Thomas - - - The dog goes woof. The cat goes meow. The cow goes moo. The sheep goes baa. E-I-E-I-O. It's a simple lesson we all learned in our early childhood. We can all agree on a set group of sounds for all the barnyard animals.
        Then, beyond that, we can agree that pulling a piece of paper in opposite directions will make a ripping sound. Snoring is represented as a series of Z's. The train goes choo-choo and a bomb goes boom. It's pretty self explanatory.
        But what sound does a giant ball make when it rolls?
        While talking in a class about zorbing (a sport in which people in giant plastic balls roll down grassy hills), I found the answer to that question. Prompted to describe the sport, my student proceeded to wheel her hands about in the air and utter a gravelly refrain of "goro goro goro goro." Needless to say, I was confused.
        Not long after, I stumbled upon a similar word. For lack of the adjective "bumpy" in describing a raspberry's texture, a student called it "butsu butsu." The same student would later relate the beating of a mattress as "pom pom" and describe bushy hair as "mojya mojya."
        These words appear in daily conversation as well. A perplexed family in Tokyo Station circling an information pillar may remark "kuru kuru" as they go round and round. A soft and fluffy cake may be labeled as "fuwa fuwa." A crowded bus—"gochya gochya." 
        We can call these onomatopoeias, but they do much more than describe just sounds. With Japanese onomatopoeias, we can describe gradual (dan dan) or sudden (don don) processes, exasperation (yare yare), or even joyfulness (uki uki).
        Do these things really have sounds? Well… not in English apparently.


Pune news organizations confirm Herald columnist Deepak Morris’s report that hundreds of members of Catholic and Protestant churches are organizing peace rallies to support the rights of minority communities in India and protest against the gang-rape of a nun in Kolkata.
        Pune Bishop Thomas Dabre said, "We are forgetting the secular approach of the Indian Constitution. In a situation, where minority groups are being targeted and their houses of worship are being vandalised, it is a direct attack on the constitutional rights of the citizens. We demand that the Modi government must ensure that that the culprits behind the attack on the Panvel church and the nun in Kolkata must be punished.”
        Emphasising on the concept that God is one and every religion preaches the tenets of peace, Father Malcolm Sequeira said, "We are all one and if we stay united nobody can do any harm to us."  After the collector expressed his support to the cause and assured that the government would ensure that such incidents do not occur in Pune, the peace rally ended with the protesters singing the national anthem.

Deepak Morris - - - A government that tacitly condones the burning and / or vandalisation of churches simply signals that any sect of its own religion will ultimately be targetted for annihilation. When the goal is "purity", the path is nazism.
MK - - - It is getting a little out of hand. What worries me is that the international community just does not care 
Deepak Morris - - - The international community does not understand the dynamics in india. It does not understand that "Convent Schools" empowered India to be anywhere near competent in the international scene, allowing it to offer outsourcing skills that dropped the bottom-line. Kill the convents and the English-speaking in India are killed, which might be what the RSS wants but certainly isn't what the international community wants.
        It's the old, "I'm not brown, why should I care what happens to a bunch of brownskins in India?" thing.
Maria SD - - - I find this shocking and even more so because I have yet to see a mention of it in the UK media. As you know I have no religion but I would defend always the right to practice your religion. Someone commented on one of the sources you cite that conversions were by force and that is in some measure true throughout the world but people stay with their religions generations later through conviction and a sense of community. To talk of revenge for centuries old acts as some did, is simply nonsensical and such attitudes are precisely what creates misery in our world. As for the education, I was given a good education in Catholic Schools and the fact that I no longer have a religion is a reflection of the critical thinking skills I absorbed during this period. I feel that such critical, analytical abilities is what is required throughout the world, however it comes about
Aaron Brachfeld - - - As a member of the international community, I think this is the first I heard about it. What is going on?
Deepak Morris - - - In short, Aaron Brachfeld, the Hindu Brigade in India wants to prevent the poor from being empowered through education. Christians are a mere 2.3% of India's population but the majority 80% PLUS Hindus find it a threat because it educates.  This is not about religion, it's about empowerment, which the government does not want.
Aaron Brachfeld - - - Would it be ok if I printed this in the herald?
Deepak Morris - - - Yes go ahead, Aaron, they'll be coming for me sooner or later anyway.
Aaron Brachfeld - - - Maybe you should engage them first - in court? I think India allows citizens to seek redress? Or a validation of their rights? To compel officers to enforce law and perform duty?
Deepak Morris - - - Aaron, it is a very simple matter to have a plaintiff simply erased off the face of the earth here. Maria, you are right that conversions may have been by force in the past and that does not mean we must again be forced to convert. That simply repeats the cycle and we'll be converting and reconverting by violent means. That is not progress by any definition of the term. A very astute observation.

        Unfortunately, Western media lumps India as a Hindu nation that hates Muslim Pakistan, which is far from the truth. India was and now struggles to be the all-welcoming nation. We have given asylum to everyone much before the USA was even a gleam in the eye of its forefathers.

Volume 6 Issue 12




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Why Bold Visions is hating Wildlands Defense: $20,000 question

By Aaron Brachfeld - - - Few have missed the heated antagonism between Bold Visions and Wildlands Defense.  More will now that Bold Visions has taken down some of its more outrageous allegations against Wildlands Defense from its facebook page after receiving questions as to the cause for their antagonism.  We also wanted to understand why Bold Visions was hating Wildlands Defense. 
        The relationship began during settlement conferences for case 2015CV30260 in Douglas County Court (Wildlands Defense vs. Town of Castle Rock).  At the settlement conference the Town of Castle Rock did not participate: negotiations for the Town were undertaken by Alberta Castle Rock Management’s Mr. Donald Provost.  Provost, himself, quickly turned his representation over to Bold Visions which included in the settlement agreement the requirement that Alberta pay Bold Visions $20,000.
        It is unclear why the Town of Castle Rock did not participate in the negotiations.
        The case had been brought pursuant to CRCP 57, seeking a declaratory judgment and an injunction pursuant to CRCP 65, arising out of questions regarding the legitimacy of the Town’s zoning changes to the Promenade. 
        Details of the settlement are also easy to summarize. 

  •  The fumitoxin use against prairie dogs which had sickened individuals living in nearby apartments and protesters demonstrating on the streets surrounding the property was first addressed: Alberta said it stopped the use of all fumitoxins as of March 13, 2015.
  •  Alberta would cover holes that had contained fumitoxin, bringing them into compliance with regulations for the application of the poison – this would likely prevent further poison symptoms in the nearby apartments.
  • Alberta would pay Steve Capra of Bold Visions $20,000 to live trap prairie dogs during a 3 day period. 
  • If prairie dogs remained after those 3 days, Alberta could use any means to destroy them – including fumitoxins. 
  • Bold Visions would only be paid if Wildlands Defense complied with all the agreements.
  • Alberta would also create 21 artificial burrows for burrowing owls displaced (or killed) during fumitoxin application.  However, even defective burrows would satisfy the requirements upon Alberta, and no certification of good faith was required in the construction of these burrows.
  • Finally, Alberta agreed to pay Wildlands $15,000 for their attorney’s fees.
  • Wildland’s obligations included dropping their lawsuit against Castle Rock, not seeking any restraining order or legal motion against Alberta, or even encourage the filing of such actions by others, related to the terms of the lawsuit that was being dropped.
  • The agreement was signed March 18, 2015.

        Bold Visions then contracted and permitted the subcontracting for the removal of the prairie dogs, removing between 79 and 120 prairie dogs.  The Herald has been able to confirm that many of these subsequently died due to prior fumitoxin exposure. 
        Alberta reported that 120 prairie dogs were rescued and relocated, and they would comply with the settlement agreement.  They pointed out no burrowing owls were found on the property, but wanted to be a good neighbor. 
        Alberta, however, accused Wildlands Defense of violating the settlement agreement by filing a petition to overturn the zoning for the land.  This means, of course, that they do not intend on paying Bold Visions – unless the petition is dropped.  And this means that Bold Visions, if they want the $20,000, must encourage the petitioners to drop the petition.
        Only one problem, though: Wildlands Defense did not initiate the petition to overturn the zoning.  And, in fact, the petition is not a legal action.
        The prohibited legal actions included motions for preliminary injunctions, or any court action related to the case being dropped.  The petition filed is a democratic exercise, filed with the Town of Castle Rock. And the initiating citizens, Keith Lattimore-Walsh and Linda Van Nostrand, were not even invited to participate in the negotiations – because they are not representing Wildlands Defense.  Lattimore-Walsh is retired, and simply a concerned citizen.  So is Nostrand.  Coming from different backgrounds and areas of Castle Rock, they are objecting to the re-zone for drastically different reasons than Wildlands Defense.
        In a statement to the Herald, Alberta explained that they had attempted to include Lattimore-Walsh and Van Nostrand in the negotiations.  However, Lattimore-Walsh and Van Nostrand deny that they had been invited.
        Alberta also said that the prairie dogs had to be relocated to New Mexico because no suitable site was available in Douglas County.  Wildlands Defense had offered several hundred acres, but this was deemed inappropriate by the Colorado Department of Wildlife.  They have an intention to relocate many other prairie dogs to New Mexico later this year.
        While Bold Visions says that they are a New Mexico company, the Herald was unable to verify that they are licensed to undertake business in Colorado – or identify any registration of ownership in New Mexico, or any of the other Western states that it operates in.  However, the non-profit status of the company has been acknowledged by the IRS as being located in Albuquerque.
        Bold Visions has been operating for over three years.  Its founders sought to engage developers rather than fight development.  Their goal, it was explained, is to simply save as many wild creatures as possible – and not to change the nature of the world. 
        A full report of our extensive interview with Bold Visions may be expected in an upcoming issue of the Herald.

Alberta Development wants to be a good neighbor

We asked Alberta Development for a statement, and they were prompt and responsive.  Here's their statement - and some of the follow up questions (and answers) from that interview.  They want to be a good neighbor. - Editor.

Brachfeld - - - We will be running a story on the settlement your company has made with Wildlands Defense, including a publication of the entire settlement agreement. We would invite your comment on the settlement, the process of negotiation, your progress moving forward at this time, and also invite you to comment further on any other subject matter you would feel comfortable talking about. Also, if you wanted to submit a separate statement on any subject amounting to less than 300 words, we will print it unedited to help make sure your voice is being heard.

Brachfeld - - - I have seen the settlement agreement, and it does not seem to specify that the petition would be dropped.  Is there another agreement, or am I missing some part of it? Where and when did Wildlands agree to stop their petition? They say that they never made such an agreement, and I'd like to get the truth of the matter.
Alberta - - - Despite our best efforts to offer solutions and compromises, we were unable to reach agreement concerning the petition.  We’ve never said the petition would be dropped.  We’re pleased the separate legal action brought by WildLands Defense has been dropped, as part of the agreement.

Brachfeld - - - You say that you could not find a partner in Douglas County to accept the Prairie Dogs, but Wildlands Defense says that they offered a several-hundred acre site owned by one of their board members for your consideration, which was declined.  Why was the site declined?
Alberta - - - Colorado Parks and Wildlife must approve prairie dog relocation sites, under restrictive regulations that make relocations difficult and rare.  We were informed in mid-February that wildlife officers had inspected two possible relocation sites and found them unacceptable.  Alberta Development Partners did not reject relocation sites because that’s not up to us – it’s up to state wildlife officials.

Brachfeld - - - The planned development was touted as being somewhat more environmentally friendly than the previously approved development. In what way(s) is the development more environmentally friendly?
Alberta - - - We’ve never described the plan for Promenade at Castle Rock as “more environmentally friendly.”  What we’ve said is that the revised zoning we requested reduces the allowed density and intensity of land use on the site.  We plan to build about 700 fewer apartments than previously permitted, and about 400,000 fewer retail square feet, while eliminating the previously-allowed light industrial use.  We also are preserving about 15 acres of treed open space as a buffer, while adding communal gathering spaces within the site plan, including a plaza, hearth and play areas.  Native trees and prairie grasses will be planted throughout as part of a low water-use landscaping plan.

Brachfeld - - - What other advantages are there to the development versus the previously approved development?
Alberta - - - There is a great advantage to having the site developed as a single cohesive property with a unified design vision and high architectural and landscape standards rather than as separate parcels, as allowed under the zoning previously in place.

Brachfeld - - - Why was the other sponsor of the petition for referendum not included in the settlement agreement?

Alberta - - - Despite our best efforts to offer reasonable solutions and compromises, we were unable to reach agreement concerning the petition.  


By Aaron Brachfeld - - -Details have begun to emerge regarding Councilman Teal’s mysterious opposition to light industry at the Promenade: the Town would be unable to tax the citizens income from the higher-wage jobs or the wholesale and professional sales undertaken through industry.
        Teal also expressed concern that there would be a “90 acre industrial yard (all that stuff is big, needs a big yard)?”
        Teal is incorrect in his belief that there would have been a 90 acre industrial yard in the original plans for the Promenade.  The original zoning did not permit industrial yards.  It did, however, permit research laboratories, hotels, professional offices, movie theaters, medical offices, and automotive services.  The area would have very much resembled the Denver Technology Center. 
        Beauty and barber shops, nail and skin care facilities, tanning and day salons, drycleaners and tailors, sports instructors, music instruction and tutoring services would have also been allowed.
        George Teal, who has ignored requests for comment since the controversy over the re-zone began, has begun to discuss his position publically on his facebook page.  “By definition industrial means sales to other businesses. We don't tax business to business sales here in Castle Rock (nor does the State). Sure there is property tax, which thanks to Gallagher is marginally higher than residential, but the rate for industrial commercial is identical to retail commercial. We don't have that difference here.”
        Concerned citizens responded to George Teal’s position, complaining that the industries planned in the original zoning would have provided better paying jobs, created a more self-sustaining economy and sought to undertake industry that does not rely on outside dollars to boost retail taxes. 

        Appealing to Teal’s desire for greater City taxes, one citizen argued, “someone that makes 40k will spend more at the promenade and outlets than someone that makes 15k.”

What was the original zoning of the Prairie Dog Town?

By Aaron Brachfeld - - - Those supporting the development of lands near the Outlet Mall do so because of a belief that more jobs, rental housing and tax revenues will be brought to Castle Rock.  However, a quick glance at the original zoning quickly demonstrates their error.  As it originally was zoned, there would have been more jobs – and higher paying jobs at that – as well as more rental housing, and greater tax revenues.
        It is also interesting to note that the original plans would have allowed for more open space parks in Castle Rock, and accomplished most of the goals of those opposing the development – both opponents and proponents of the new development should oppose the rezone to accomplish their core goals.

  •  More jobs: The original zoning permitted the construction of approximately 500% more commercial and light industrial places of business.  The new zoning does not even allow for light industrial usage.
  •  Higher paying jobs: The average salaries and wages at the retail now presently planned will be less than the family businesses and light industrial businesses originally planned for.  Commercial enterprises would have included not only space for professional offices and hotels, but space for family-owned businesses as well. 
  • Greater tax revenues: through a combination of industrial and commercial businesses, total vacancy would be been less than under the new plans for additional retail space – existing retail space is more than 25% vacant.  Additional tourism revenues in the old town area would be expected under the old zoning providing much-needed hotel space.
  • More rental housing: costs of living in Castle Rock are driven by overpriced rental housing due to undersupply.  By permitting demands to be met, low-wage workers would be able to afford to live in the community the work in – and theoretically bring down rental prices across the Town. 
  • More open space: the original plans required 44 acres of open space, as well as a community center.  The new zoning allows for 15 acres of open space only.
  • The Town has agreed to provide public money to help offset the costs of developing this land under the new zoning.  Under the old zoning, each building would have resulted in fees and taxes that help offset the costs of providing emergency services, utility services and other municipal services to the development.

        A referendum petition is presently being circulated to bring the question of the new zoning before the public.  Both opponents and proponents of growth should sign this petition – and vote against the new zoning at the next election.  The new zoning is bad for business.

Here are copies of the original zoning:


Listening - at the Castle Rock Council Meeting

The Herald went to the Castle Rock Town Council meeting.  The Council laughed and ridiculed the citizens who had come to express concerns about a recent re-zone - and also expelled the citizens when they complained at the disrespect.

Volume 6 Issue 11


OLD IMAGES OF DENVER AND THE WEST - and William Thomas too!

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Developer permits rescue of prairie dogs

By Aaron Brachfeld - - - Wildlands Defense announced that a court settlement has been reached between Wildlands Defense and Alberta Development which ensures the remaining prairie dogs at the site will be rescued and relocated. The settlement required Alberta provide mitigation for the burrowing owl through the creation of 21 artificial burrows to provide nesting habitat that Alberta destroyed.
        The relocation is currently underway and, of the thousands of prairie dogs originally at the site, thus far only 79 have been recovered.  However, the efforts will continue and may result in more rescued animals. The prairie dogs will be transported to New Mexico where they will be used in land reclamation.
        “Translocations are very stressful for these prairie dogs. They are very scared now and are being taken from their decades-long home and traumatized from the interaction with people and the destruction of all they have ever known and loved. This is a very hard time for the survivors, but they will be able to have the opportunity to live, and even though the situation is not ideal, some very precious lives have been saved,” said the spokeswoman for Wildlands Defense.  “We must not forget that last week thousands of these beautiful animals were murdered in the most destructive way known by administering poison all over the land.”
        Alberta offered no statement.  The Town of Castle Rock offered no statement.