Letters

Neal Conan reads from listener letters.

NEAL CONAN, host:

On Mondays we read from your e-mail.

Our broadcast last Wednesday discussed some of the oral arguments presented before the United States Supreme Court about New Hampshire's parental notification law when performing abortions on girls younger than 18. Nora Speer(ph) in California wrote to say, `If girls are going to be required to notify their parents before getting an abortion, then they should also be required to notify the father of the baby-to-be and the father's parents. As the mother of a boy, I'd want to know what was going on and I'd want to offer whatever help I could, and that might mean helping my son to do whatever he could do to offer support and help. The pregnant girl shouldn't go it alone, but notifying only her parents might create problems rather than provide support.'

Thursday's discussion about integration and why so many of our neighborhood remain segregated brought many of your letters. Theadra Chapman expressed the feelings of many when she wrote, `I was raised in Utah, a very homogeneous area. I moved to Tucson, Arizona, four years ago and was at first stunned by the different cultures, races and lifestyles I found there. No one looked like me or sounded like me and I reveled in those differences. I learned new cooking and art and music and language. Last month I moved back to Utah and within days realized I missed the diversity of Tucson. The spice of being with other people and their cultures is gone. My husband and I decided we will move back when we can. We want to raise our children to enjoy and celebrate differences.'

And Reverend Fred Merrick took exception to guest Sheryll Cashin's characterization of San Francisco as a city of highly segregated neighborhoods with African-Americans largely relegated to Oakland and the East Bay. `False,' he wrote. `Census records show almost all districts of our city as mixed race, with a dominant ethnic group comprising 40 to 60 percent of the population of that district. Blacks still live in the city, mostly in the southern neighborhoods. I was pastor to a black congregation for 12 years and know of other mixed-race congregations. The racial composition of the city has changed over the last 70 years, but blacks have not been exiled to the East Bay as alleged.'

And finally today we want to welcome listeners of member station KAJX FM in Aspen, Colorado, to TALK OF THE NATION. Aspen is probably best known for its ski resorts and the many tourists and celebrities who walk there in the wintertime but, of course, Aspen is more than just skiing and celebrity watching. We've invited Lisa Weiss, director of marketing for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, to tell us a little bit more about what makes that city special.

And nice to have you on TALK OF THE NATION.

Ms. LISA WEISS (Aspen Chamber Resort Association): Thank you, Neal.

CONAN: As I understand it, Aspen was historically a silver mining town. When did the transition to ski resort take place?

Ms. WEISS: Absolutely. We've been around about 50 years and we have a quaint little mining town here in one of the most pristine mountain ranges in North America. We're really proud and we love it so much.

CONAN: But what does Aspen have to offer we non-skiers of the world?

Ms. WEISS: Non-skiers, there's plenty to enjoy when you're here in the winter and you don't want to strap on your skis. There's snowshoeing. There's actually cross-country trails all over the valley which allow you to not have that steeper terrain if you're not into that. We have world-class spas. We have world-class shopping and dining, and our cultural performances are really big-city caliber talent, and they have that small-mountain charm.

CONAN: Are there film festivals, that sort of thing?

Ms. WEISS: Absolutely. We have the music festival and school here in Aspen that offers year-round classical music and performances, and the Aspen Film Festival is actually presenting its film festival Academy screenings December 19th through January 1st, and it's 15 days of Academy-nominated films where members can screen in a live audience, so it's really a special time to be here.

CONAN: And I understand the skiing season got off to a good early start this week?

Ms. WEISS: It absolutely did. We've enjoyed 25 inches of fresh snow in the last 24 hours--I couldn't wait to say that--and it's truly a winter wonderland here in Aspen and we're enjoying some superb early season conditions.

CONAN: Well, those of us in the big city, Northeast, like to hear from people who enjoy any amount of snow. We don't like it very much. But, Lisa Weiss, thanks very much for being with us today.

Ms. WEISS: Thank you.

CONAN: Lisa Weiss is director of marketing for the Aspen Chamber Resort Association in Colorado.

If you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by e-mail. The address: totn@npr.org. Please tell us where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

And let me begin with a couple of omissions from today's program. If you'd like to read the full 9/11 report card or if you'd like to see Jonathan Rauch's piece which appeared in The Washington Post and the National Journal, you can go to our Web site at npr.org.

(Credits)

CONAN: And I'm Neal Conan, NPR News.

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