To the Editor:

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Nov 302005
 
Authors:

My name is Dennis Neidert and I along with my wife, have locally owned and operated Subway sandwiches in Fort Collins with pride since 1985.

Steve Gross's article on Nov. 17 was so bizarre, so incredibly false and outrageous, that it hardly deserves the time or the effort to dispute. But as a responsible business owner, I am compelled to defend my hard working, dedicated staff and the Subway Brand.

The entire article was a horrible, despicable attack on my company, and it was completely obvious even to the most causal reader that this guy has a really bizarre axe to grind. Never the less, I have an obligation to respond to a few of the accusations, because the students and citizens of Fort Collins need facts, not the ramblings of some disgruntled idiot.

Over the past two decades, the Subway sandwich shops in Ft. Collins, have consistently received some of the highest health department records in the food industry.

In addition, every month, each store is visited and evaluated by a qualified and trained representative from the regional offices of Subway. Ten years ago the North American Subway Franchisees developed a " Gold Standard" for all food products, which far exceeds industry standards.

In the Subway restaurants I own, my staff is well trained in all aspects of cleanliness and serve only the freshest of product. Stephen Gross failed to mention he was once under my employment, but was unable to maintain the standards we demand.

Is this guy really a finance major – a senior at that? What does he mean when he states our meal deals are $6 to $8? What about the $2.49 daily deal? Add chips and a drink for an additional $1.80 equals $4.29. Do the math, Stephen, or rethink your career goals. If my customers are paying $6 to $8 for a meal deal, maybe one of my former employees not only was ripping me off, but my customers too!

To publicly denounce and slander my hard working employees is completely unacceptable and uncalled for. To publish an article by a former disgruntled employee in your newspaper is in very bad taste.

Dennis & Gayle Neidert

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Response to Tyler Wittman’s column

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Nov 302005
 
Authors:

In Deuteronomy 22:11, we're told not to wear clothing containing wool and linen. In 1 Timothy 2:12, we're told women should not be permitted to teach or have authority over a man. These are only two among dozens of Biblical verses that are not applicable today and are not practiced by mainstream Christianity. Why shouldn't the Bible's stance on homosexuality be among them? Where in any of the four Gospels does Jesus himself mention homosexuality? Where in the Gospels does Jesus preach anything other than acceptance and love? Also, Mr. Wittman's claim that there are "legions of former homosexuals who have escaped the lifestyle with the help of therapy or spiritual guidance" isn't true. Ex-gay ministries and reparative therapy are proven ineffective and been denounced by the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the Interfaith Alliance Foundation and a dozen others, all clearly stating homosexuality cannot be "cured." In fact, Michael Bussey and Gary Cooper, co-founders of an ex-gay ministry called Exodus International, fell in love with each other and renounced their own organization. Homosexuality cannot be compared to a disease or mental defect, because it isn't one. The only defect is our society's need to exclude others, even through what we may consider to be "sincere, caring judgment." Judgment is judgment. You cast the first stone, Mr. Wittman. I guess I've just cast the second by judging you. It seems sad that in 2,000 years we still haven't learned our lesson.

Amanda Yanik

Junior

English major

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

In response to Tyler Wittman’s column

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Nov 302005
 
Authors:

I am writing this letter in response to Tyler Wittman's most recent religious rant. In his Nov. 29 column, Tyler attempted to put a kinder and gentler face on homophobia. It didn't work. I believe his faith-based discrimination is a symptom of a larger and more pressing issue. The issue I am talking about is religious extremism. People like Tyler feel they have a mandate from God to preach, judge and legislate their version of Christian values to the rest of us. It is my opinion that if you truly believe in democracy and freedom, you must accept that people with differing opinions and lifestyles are entitled to equal rights. Those in our society that believe freedom should be conditional based on religious beliefs, skin color or sexual orientation do not truly embrace the principles of Jeffersonian Democracy. They embrace a dangerous and self-serving version of democracy that conveniently empowers them at the expense of those they disagree with. It wasn't until Bush was re-elected on a pro-war and anti-gay platform that I began to see religious extremism as a potential threat to core principles of American society. I hope that all fiscal conservatives and liberals that agree with my assertion stand up, talk back and oppose the political agenda of the religious extremists that have hijacked the Republican Party. Because the future of the American dream is dependent upon the choices we make today.

James C. Carlson

Graduate student

Ecology

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Our View

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Nov 302005
 
Authors: Collegian Editorial Staff

40 million people and climbing. Five million in 2005 alone. The infection rate of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Today is World AIDS Day, a day of recognition and action to unite the world in our fight against this global epidemic. Gatherings will be occurring worldwide to remember those who have died, the millions now infected and the countless who stand at risk of infection.

AIDS is an enemy that knows no boundaries, discriminates against no one and unites us all. What began as a misunderstood disease more than 20 years ago has evolved into something that affects nearly all of us. Today the epidemic is on the rampage in Africa, infecting more than 25 million adults and children, according to the National AIDS Trust, with more than 2 million deaths from AIDS in 2005. America and Colorado have not escaped the disease's wrath.

According to statistics provided by the Colorado Aids Project, as of one year ago 14,666 people had been diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in Colorado. Almost 4,500 people have died as a result of AIDS with another 310 having succumbed to symptoms as a result of their HIV infection. It is estimated that nearly 10,000 people are currently living with HIV/AIDS in our state, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The same department estimates that the number may be as high as 15,000, as one in every four people infected are unaware that they carry the disease.

Minorities in Colorado are at particular risk of infection. Although Blacks make up only 4 percent of the state's population, they reported more than 19 percent of Colorado's new AIDS cases in the previous year, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Likewise, Hispanics reported nearly 23 percent of new AIDS cases while compromising only 17 percent of the population. Nationwide, minorities account for 71 percent of all new AIDS cases, according to The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Nationally there are an estimated 850,000 to 950,000 people living with HIV, according to the Center for Disease Control. The stereotypical transmission of the disease no longer applies to our country. In 1985 an estimated 3 percent of transmissions were attributed to heterosexual encounters, that number has risen to 31 percent as of last year (Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation).

The Collegian would like to encourage all of its readers to reflect today on this terrible disease and how it affects our lives. There will be a candlelight vigil tonight at the Lory Student Center for community members to mourn, celebrate and remember all those who have been affected by this disease. The Collegian will continue our coverage of World AIDS Day tomorrow with more in-depth coverage and analysis of AIDS and how it affects the world we all share together.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Get some ‘Holiday Jollies’

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Nov 302005
 
Authors: Johnathan Kastner

It's officially December, which means it's okay for me to start nagging you a lot about Christmas.

You might be so jolly and cheerful that you sneeze eggnog. But odds are you're slightly burned out by the Christmas carols that have been playing in grocery stores since early October.

Either that, or you're not exactly a Christmas person, in which case you're in the wrong country on the wrong month.

Point being, it's easier to survive the whole thing if you can really get into the spirit of the season. It's a lot easier to tolerate if you just succumb. One of us… one of us… with boughs of holly… fa la la la la…

Not that there's anything wrong with Christmas. I mean, sure, it's a little commercial, with the annual trampling-to-death of a shopper or two. And sure, it can be a little awkward to decide how much to spend on which person, and who's a good enough friend to get a present for in the first place. And sure, Christmas trees are horrendous fire hazards.

I'm not sure where I was going with that. However, if you pretend you read a different paragraph where nicer things were said, you'll soon realize what a wonderful holiday Christmas is and why you want to be a part of it.

Christmas is strongly wrapped around the hearts and minds of so many for one simple reason – it's tradition. This means it doesn't matter how silly something is to an outside observer.

Say, for example, you were to see some strange oddball fill his socks with easily melted chocolates and plastic toys, and then hang the sock over a fire. Madness, you'd say to yourself. But some of our traditions may be just as strange to them!

This is a good starting point for those of us lacking the holiday jollies. Pick a holiday tradition, such as covering something in glowing lights, or baking a fruitcake or caroling. In fact, for utmost cheer, I insist you do all three at once. Fruitcakes are just shy of radioactive anyway, and it'd be just that much more festive.

Oh… you'd probably need unsanitary levels of radioactivity to make it sing. Scratch that one, then. Two out of three isn't bad.

Still, all the Christmas spirit in the world isn't going to help you if you don't know the true meaning of Christmas. "What is the true meaning," you might ask, "and how much can I expect to pay to learn more about it?" The best way to answer this question is to buy lots and lots of DVD Christmas classics.

There, you will learn that the true meaning of Christmas is quite flexible, depending on who is solving what personal problem. Scrooge learned it was about sharing his money. The Grinch learned never to pick on an entire town that can sing in perfect harmony.

Of course, for us students, the true meaning of Christmas is a free month off. That should be jolly enough to get you sanely through the season.

Johnathan Kastner is a senior English major. His column runs every Thursday. He once heard a tale claiming that Christmas was a religious holiday before WalMart acquired it in a hostile takeover.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

The Bonds of Slavery

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Nov 302005
 
Authors: Meg Burd

Ramesh was a 13-year-old boy from an impoverished family in India. In 1993, his parents offered his labor as collateral for a loan on a small home. Working nearly six and a half weeks from 7 a.m. until 9 at night, Ramesh was forced to roll cigarettes by hand, facing beatings if he did not make his quota of 1500 rolled cigarettes.

As examined by Human Rights Watch, Ramesh's story is one of debt bondage, a form of slavery that appears to be growing throughout the world today.

"Slavery has boomed in the past 50 years as the global population has exploded," notes Susan Llewelyn Leach in the Christian Science Monitor. Represented in many forms, the non-profit group, Anti-Slavery International, notes that bonded labor, a form of slavery, is "probably the least known form of slavery today, and yet it is the most widely used method of enslaving people."

Current estimates on bonded labor are difficult to come by, although the ones available are as high as 100 million individuals kept in some form of bonded labor (the majority of which are children).

In India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and the surrounding areas alone, estimates are made as high as 20 million individuals. Bonded labor is difficult to track, like most slavery, because many of those who exploit this labor are able to claim they came about it legally, and often indeed have law enforcement agencies on their side. Such corruption and oppressive legal and economic systems are violations of human rights, as can be seen when one examines just how bonded labor functions and the abuses that often accompany such bondage.

This form of slavery occurs for a variety of reasons, with the main ones being that individuals were "either born into bondage because they 'inherited' a debt from their parents, sold into bondage by family members, or put themselves into bondage by taking out loans under conditions that made them impossible to repay," notes Human Rights Watch in a report. Also, some areas have old traditions of serfdom that allow for families to be bonded to a particular land owner for generations, allowing the land owner to control their lives and labor.

iAbolish, an anti-slavery group, found that in places such as India, the loans that forced individuals into debt bondage were often small loans typically amounting to anything from $14 to $214, usually for emergencies such as food to stave off starvation, medical treatment, funeral expenses or rites such as marriage dowries. "With exorbitant interest rates of up to 60 percent, these loans are difficult, if not impossible, to repay. Individuals thus become trapped within a system of debt bondage that forces them to repay loans by working unconditionally for their entire lives- even passing on the same debt for generations," notes iAbolish.

While it may seem to us here in America an easy task to either repay such a loan or else leave the situation, individuals in debt bondage are often forcefully kept there by threats of physical violence, sexual violence, assaults on their family or other measures. In Pakistan, Human Rights Watch found agricultural bondage of families and children often occurred (with peasants being forced to work on harvests and farms without payment), landlords maintained private jails to punish slaves with impunity, forcibly transferred anyone who attempted to address the way landlords "cooked the books," and enacted a pattern of rape of the bonded women by police and the slave owners to ensure fear among the population. In other industries in Pakistan that rely on slave labor of this sort, such as brick-kilns, children are usually the ones subject to such slavery and are held in these bonds through beatings, sexual violence and removal from their families and homes, Human Rights Watch reported.

As the epidemic of slavery via debt bondage occurs throughout the world, it is time we take focus on this issue and work to ensure that no one is deprived of his or her rights to freedom of movement, freedom to manage their own labor and freedom from fear and violence such as meted out by the bondage slave owners. Debt bondage as an insidious form of slavery that is too often unnoticed and affects millions of women, men and children around the globe. It is time we take action and work toward not only speaking out against such bondage, but also enacting restrictions against products and companies that utilize debt slaves. Slavery is still present in the world, and it is time to both recognize it and take action.

Meg Burd is a graduate student studying anthropology. Her column runs every Thursday.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Third accuser claims sexual assault by chess teacher

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Nov 302005
 
Authors: James Baetke

A third young boy – whose father may be a professor at CSU – has come forward accusing a local chess instructor of molesting him, while friends of the chess master are alleging a police conspiracy.

The boy is the third accuser to allege that Robert Snyder, a best-selling author and owner of Chess For Juniors, sexually assaulted him during chess lessons.

Charles Sendrey, a self-proclaimed close friend to Snyder and retired tournament director for Chess For Juniors, said the latest accuser is the son of a CSU professor. Police would not discuss the identity of the third accuser and when contacted by the Collegian, the professor declined to comment and directed questions to police.

According to court records, the latest accuser came forward saying he was molested between July 2003 and May 2004.

"He came forward within the last couple of months," said Lt. Hal Dean with Fort Collins Police Services.

Sendrey said the boy came forward after his family read an article about Snyder's case in the Collegian.

When Snyder last appeared in court on Nov. 17, another count was added to his charges – he now faces a total of three counts of sexual assault of a child by a person in the position of trust and two counts of sexual assault on a child – pattern of abuse. Both counts are felonies.

Sendrey told the Collegian in a series of more than two-dozen e-mails that Snyder is totally innocent and victim to a police conspiracy.

He wrote in an e-mail sent Oct. 13: "I have access to all the facts on the Robert Snyder case. You will be amazed to learn that this is a 'set up' by the police to put Snyder out of business."

Sendrey continues to say that the Huntington Beach Police Department contacted Fort Collins police in 2000 when Snyder moved to Colorado from California to warn them Snyder was a sexual deviant.

In 1983, Snyder was acquitted for similar charges in Orange County, Calif., but, according to Sendrey, police called Fort Collins authorities because they wanted Snyder to suffer.

Huntington Beach police Lt. Craig Junginger denies Sendrey's allegations. He admits that a semi-retired detective on the force called Fort Collins authorities after recently reading about Snyder in a local newspaper to give them further information on Snyder.

The detective was not directly involved in Snyder's 1983 trial, but was part of a California-wide task force investigating sexual assaults, Junginger said.

John Sendrey, Charles Sendrey's son who spoke from his home in California, was part of Snyder's chess posse in 1985 when he was about 15. He credits Snyder with getting him the title of state chess champion and felt totally comfortable around the Olympian chess master.

"He made it a fun environment to hang out. I trusted him and did not suspect anything," John Sendrey said.

John Sendrey criticizes the media coverage that discusses the 1983 acquittal charges.

"Delving into the past, I do not think it anyway helps paint the picture," John Sendrey said.

Because Snyder was around children so much, John Sendrey admits his chess teacher displayed some odd quirks.

"He was a strange sort of person. He told corny jokes. I had, at times when he was not with kids, seen him a lot more normal," he said.

Charles Spine, one of the two original accusers in the 1983 case, says Snyder is a sexual predator who did molest him several times while attending chess lessons. Even though the 1983 jury did not find Snyder guilty, Spine says he was humiliated and affected for life.

"I was a victim. I was Snyder's prodigy. I had my picture in the paper as the next Bobby Fisher," Spine said from his home on the West Coast.

Charles Sendrey calls Spine an "inveterate liar" and believes Fort Collins police told Spine to talk to the Denver press.

Spine dismisses Snyder's 70-year-old friend calling him a "political whack-job" and "spin-meister."

"I had held out hope it was a passing perversion, a skeleton in the closet, something (Snyder) would definitely watch and not repeat," Spine said.

Spine is active in child advocacy charities and is currently married with three children.

He said: "I can tell you the actual incidents of abuse are still crystal clear in my mind."

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

World Cup Champions To Visit Beaver Creek

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Nov 302005
 
Authors: Drew Haugen

Beaver Creek Ski Resort will become a Mecca for ski racing fans this week when today through Sunday the resort hosts the 2005 Visa Birds of Prey Men's World Cup Race Week.

The 2005 Visa Birds of Prey features the world's elite ski racers, including Americans Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves. In 2004 the pair became the first teammates ever to finish 1 and 2 in any race, claiming gold and silver in the Super Giant Slalom at the Birds of Prey Race Week. Miller is also the defending World Cup Overall Champion.

Other notables among the field in Beaver Creek this week include members of the Austrian powerhouse the likes of Hermann Maier, Benjamin Raich and Michael Walchhofer. Walchhofer is the defending World Cup Downhill Champion, while Raich reigns as the World Cup Slalom and Giant Slalom Champion and Maier remains dangerous as a four-time World Cup Overall Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist.

"This year's Visa Birds of Prey Race Week will take on even more significance," said Vail Valley Foundation President Ceil Folz in a press release. "Beaver Creek will be the only pre-Olympic site that will feature all the top World Cup men's racers competing in all four disciplines. There will be no better preview of the 2006 Torino Olympic Games."

"Having Bode and Daron at the Visa Birds of Prey World Cup, coupled with an Olympic year will generate an incredible amount of excitement for both locals and guests," he stated.

The 2005 Visa Birds of Prey will feature all four disciplines of alpine ski racing: Slalom (SL), Giant Slalom (GS), Super Giant Slalom (Super G), and Downhill (DH). Slalom and Giant Slalom races have close gates and shorter lengths and are regarded as the more technical races of the four disciplines.

Super G and Downhill are speed events, with courses up to a mile and a half long. Gates are spaced further apart, and Super G and Downhill courses feature less turns, more straights and jumps where racers can take flight for 300 feet while 40 feet above the ground.

Slopes for the typical World Cup Downhill course usually begin with a gradient of 55 to 60 degrees, then smooth to 40 to 45 degrees by the bottom. Racers reach speeds of 30 to 50 mph for Slalom and GS races, while Super G and Downhill racers usually reach speeds of 90 to 95 mph.

"Spectators will see the speed and the air, and the feeling will be electric," said Birds of Prey World Cup Chief of Press John Dakin in a phone interview. "This course is one of the most exciting courses for Downhill and Super G in the world. It has everything: the speed, the jumps; this course is a wild ride for racers and fans."

Quoting Daron Rahlves, Dakin added "if you can't get amped to ski this, there's something wrong with you."

The 2005 Visa Birds of Prey, regarded as one of the top five ski racing venues in the world, marks the only U.S. stop of the Men's World Cup for the 2005-06 race season.

The 2005 Visa Birds of Prey kicks off today with the Super G at 11 a.m. Friday will feature the piece de resistance, the Downhill, at 11 a.m. Saturday will feature the two runs of the Giant Slalom at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., with Sunday reserved for the two runs of the Slalom at 9:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Volunteer opportunities are available through the Vail Valley Foundation at (970) 949-1999 or www.vvf.org.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Speaker Blasts American Media

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Nov 302005
 
Authors: Vimal Patel

The American Empire exists and journalists are woefully inadequate at covering it, said David Barsamian, a leftist talk-show host.

"We are the mighty Roman Empire," Barsamian said Wednesday night at the Lory Student Center, adding that the U.S. has more than 725 military bases and installations in other countries.

Barsamian is the founder and director of Alternative Radio, a Boulder-based radio network that reaches more than 125 stations and millions of listeners, according to its Web site.

The war in Iraq is just the latest and most catastrophic of several bungled U.S. interventions, Barsamian said.

"The invasion and occupation of Iraq is one of the most outrageous wars in American history," he said. "It cannot be justified."

President George W. Bush and top administration officials "should be sitting next to (Slobodan) Milosevic in the Hague," he told the crowd of more than 140 CSU students and community members, referring to the international court for war crimes trials.

But one reason administration officials haven't been held accountable for the "unforgivable" and "unconscionable" invasion of Iraq is because American journalists are impotent at covering serious issues.

They've abandoned their jobs as watchdogs and have become "lapdogs with laptops," Barsamian said.

Former Secretary of State Colon Powell's presentation to the United Nations in the run-up to the Iraq War regarding Iraq's weapons capabilities was an example of textbook propaganda, he said.

"If (Nazi propagandist Joseph) Goebbels were around, he would have went green with envy," he said.

Barsamian said that when journalists were supposed to be digging and knocking down myths propagated by war backers, they were missing in action.

Journalists these days are more interested in the trivial, like missing teen Natalee Holloway, how long Ashton Kutchner and Demi Moore will be together and Martha Stewart's woes.

"More people in the country know about Martha Stewart than they do about events in Iraq," he said.

Geraldo Rivera was in Aruba grilling a police chief about the Holloway case, but unfortunately, that same journalistic fervor doesn't apply to issues of life and death like Iraq, Barsamian said.

Barsamian also challenged the widespread assertion in American politics that the media are liberal, instead saying that an objective analysis of American journalism would show a heavy conservative bias.

An old adage in journalism used to be "Afflict the comfortable and comfort the inflicted," but now it's more like "Comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted," Barsamian said.

Joe McInerney, a senior philosophy major at CSU, agreed about the media being conservative.

McInerney added that the media often ridiculously present two sides of a story and give them equal weight, and call that objectivity.

"If we were having a debate on whether the Earth is round, and you give the Flat Earth Society equal time, that's not a fair debate," he said, adding that journalists should dig for the truth rather than being parrots.

But many of Barsamian's claims were extremely controversial. For example, he said that he didn't support U.S. involvement in World War II, which occurred because "fascism became bigger than (America) could control."

When asked by a reporter whether there was any instance in which he would support U.S. intervention, Barsamian said "in very few instances, perhaps on humanitarian grounds.

When asked whether he has ever supported any U.S. intervention, he said "no."

Even though journalists have failed, Barsamian said, the public is catching on.

"The tectonic plates are shifting," he said. "Americans are sick and tired and have cut through the crap of corporate media."

Alternative media outlets like radio's Air America and magazines like The Progressive and The Nation are more popular than ever, he added.

"It was interesting (hearing Barsamian talk about) how the media affects people of color," said Carlos Orozco, a freshman business major at CSU.

"I feel he did a really great job illuminating that the U.S. has broken and decimated international law," said CSU alumni Eric Parthum. "He was very eloquent."

Barsamian won the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, and has co-wrote books with Tariq Ali and Noam Chomsky, both noted leftist intellectuals.

Alternative Radio, which can be heard in Fort Collins at 6 to 7 p.m. Saturdays on KRFC 88.9 FM, was founded in 1986 and serves as a forum for debate while providing a voice to groups that may otherwise be unheard, according to its Web site.

"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" Barsamian said.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Suicidal man holds wife captive

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Nov 302005
 
Authors: James Baetke

A man allegedly threatening to commit suicide and harm another barricaded himself and his wife in their home Wednesday, prompting police to keep neighbors in their home and calling on a SWAT team.

Brian Post, 28, surrendered without incident on 300 block of Locust Street at 1:12 p.m. Nearby residents said Post left his home calmly in handcuffs.

Ryan Hawkins, a senior civil engineering major, said a mobile command center was parked in front of his home at the intersection of Locust and Mathews streets.

"Eventually a cop using our restroom told us a man was barricading himself and threatening his wife," Hawkins said.

Elloy Lopez, another neighbor, was instructed by police to stay in his home and not to come out.

"All I heard was a loud boom and before you know it the SWAT team shoots a canister of tear gas into the house," Lopez said.

Jane Stewart lives across the street from where Post was barricading himself. She was arriving home from work when police told her she could not go in.

"They weren't going to let me in," Stewart said. "Police were everywhere and there was a lot of commotion."

 Posted by at 5:00 pm