Hated the story
I am only a semi-regular reader of Isthmus, but I picked up a copy to read about Denise Jackson ("American Idol and Beyond," 7/25/08). I am a teacher at East High School and was curious to learn more about this ambitious young lady.
My curiosity quickly turned to discouragement and then disgust as I read about Charmaine Brown.
Here is an example of your top-notch cover story's flagrant sensationalism: "You might have thought her mother, Charmaine Brown, who gave birth to Denise while strung out on crack, and who has since assured a local newspaper that 'if I could take back the things that hurt [my daughters] during my drug addiction, I would in a heartbeat,' might have welcomed an opportunity to show Denise how much she loves her, but fat chance. She might have renounced the crack pipe, but she's replaced it with the bottle, and instead of being a source of comfort and support to her daughter is only a major source of aggravation to her daughter's best friend, Rafael, who had to drive Denise to and from prom in a car with a windshield Charmaine had cracked a few days before in a drunken rage."
Trashing this woman in the media is disgraceful and irresponsible. What other "Mommy Dearest" stories will we have to look forward to in upcoming weeks? Are we really back to blaming the mother?
Rather than writing an uplifting article about two young people who have been resilient against challenging forces facing them, you have blamed a woman of whom you know nothing.
A wonderful asset
Regarding your brief profile of Body Conscious owner Kathleen Conklin ("Don't I Know You?" 7/18/08): I believe the writer did a disservice to her and the community by passing up an opportunity to showcase what a truly wonderful asset Kathleen is to Madison.
My partner and I have taken private Pilates lessons from her for several years. We find Kathleen to have an amazing wealth of talent. She has an enormous heart that she shares with all her clients in the form of helping people use and nurture their bodies. She has done fundraising for many organizations, and is extremely generous with her time and expertise.
The article focused so much on her outer beauty and did not mention the vast inner beauty and heartfelt compassion she displays in all her interactions.
Mary Kay Neumann
I enjoyed "Don't I Know You?" I would like similar profiles of Madisonians as a regular feature in Isthmus, even if only focusingon one person an issue. It would be interesting to learn more about the people you may work with, commute with, or just live with in Madison. How many familiar faces do you pass by in a day without a second thought?
Dick Wagner's opinion piece lauding commuter rail fails to acknowledge the fact that UW students and faculty now ride Metro buses for free ("Let Us Have Commuter Rail," 7/4/08). Presumably they would not generate any revenue for light rail either.
Editor's note: UW-Madison pays for those "free" staff and student rides. Madison Metro expects to receive about $3.8 million this year for providing campus service.