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A chance 

I was so engulfed in "Learning to hit a lick" (March 4 and 11). I've been anxiously awaiting the continuation of the story and am just now finishing up with tear-filled eyes. You've done an awesome job. Your words were so alive, it's like we were there. My sympathies go out to the families, but especially to Falicia and her son. They never had a chance. This has made me realize that every now and then, we need to step outside of these boxes we call our lives. There is sooooo much going on we'd never even dream of.

-- Arnee Harrison, Augusta



Heartfelt
"Learning to hit a lick" (March 4 and 11) touched my heart so, and this story gave me a lesson in not only forgiveness but also responsibility. Falicia Blakely has accepted responsibility for her actions and did the one thing that a lot of people don't and that's to apologize from her heart.

-- Lelia Smith, Atlanta



Don't leave us hanging
I pick up Creative Loafing from time to time, but after "Learning to hit a lick" (March 4 and 11), it's a must I continue. My aunt told me about this story and loaned me a copy of the paper. I read it and could not wait to get to Part II. I picked up at least five copies and passed them around at work.

Do you think you will continue when Pumpkin goes to trial? You can't leave us hanging now -- we are in this story too deep!

-- LaTanya Jackson, Atlanta

Blame the city
That was a really great story on Falicia Blakely ("Learning to hit a lick," March 4 and 11). Your story was written from the heart. I hope you stay close to this story, until the end. Wish I could've run into Michael Berry before she did. But I lay the true blame on Atlanta for these kinds of stories. They know who the Michael Berrys are! I'm sure that sister tried to get help somewhere in the system before all this mess ever happened.

Thank you for a wonderful but sad story.

-- Charles Thompson, Atlanta



Right choices
When I started reading your article last week ("Learning to hit a lick," March 4 and 11), I found that I couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened next. As the week progressed, I couldn't wait for Part II. I was anxious to find out what had happened. I vaguely remember reading in the AJC about the murders and Falicia Blakely, but those articles never gave me any sense of knowledge regarding Blakely. Your articles, on the other hand, made me realize that Blakely is human and not a monster. She's still a very young woman who will never realize that not everyone in this world is bad, evil or just out to hurt you.

Thank you and Blakely for sharing her story. Maybe it will help other young women make the right choices in their lives.

-- Arnitta M. Lawson, College Park

Safe at home
Thank you for the article "Learning to hit a lick" (March 4 and 11). It tells the real story of what is going on in our society today. My 16-year-old walked away from home Feb. 22, 2004. For some reason, she feels I hate her and would be happier without her. She is the baby of three girls and I have struggled as a young mother to provide the best home I possibly could.

It is a possibility that some man would tell her something she wanted to hear, convince her he would take care of her and eventually begin to pimp her.

I hope my child is OK and something like this doesn't happen to her. Hopefully she will realize that life on the streets is not a good thing and come back home.

-- Renee Lenoir, Dunwoody



Make or break
This story was so hard to believe ("Learning to hit a lick," March 4 and 11). I try daily to inspire young innocent women and girls that they do not need a man to give them definition or purpose. I fought parents for not telling their little girls and boys "I love you," "God loves you" and that they are beautiful.

I have boys and I tell, teach and live in their sight, as a woman, who dares not be disrespected by anyone, who is intelligent, a woman who loves God, with all my heart, mind and soul. And with them seeing this, they know and will seek someone similar to their mom. I pray for Falicia; that she seek God's forgiveness first, then the families of those she hurt, and especially her son. For now, he will carry her scars for the rest of his life, but it can make or break him.

-- Darlene Milhouse, Decatur



Crying wolf
If, as Bob Barr suggests, most Georgians don't share the Libertarian policy of loosening anti-drug laws (News & Views, "Ready for Prime Time," March 4), it might be because of a certain lawmaker's use of that old "we're lynching real witches this time around" trick.

-- Arland Miller, Lawrenceville



Tell them about it
Thank you for "Blinded by the G's" (News & Views, March 4). Many of the pregnant women have no place to turn after July 1 when they are cut from Medicaid. Prior to the increase in Medicaid income eligibility, there were some safety nets in place. County boards of health provided prenatal clinics. That infrastructure has been dismantled as women chose private providers, and funding for boards of health has been cut drastically over the last several years.

Additionally, agreements made for "low-cost" delivery packages by the boards were no longer needed, so again, they no longer exist. And finally, in public hospitals, deliveries decreased by about 50 percent as women chose more convenient community hospitals.

As your article stated, many pregnant women will walk into a strange emergency room, putting themselves and their babies at risk and posing a challenge for staff. Surely the compassionate folk of Georgia do not want this to happen. Let's let our legislators know we care about Georgia babies. Encourage them to find the money for Medicaid.

-- Carolyn Wetzel, president

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia



DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
A Sound Menu blurb in last week's issue confused a local band named Candy from Strangers with a San Francisco-based group of the same name. The Atlanta band, which plays original pop-rock, performed March 13 at Smith's Olde Bar. The San Francisco band, which plays '80s pop, performs June 11 at 10 High in Atlanta.

Due to a production error, CL published an incorrect photo for "Scalawag of the Week" in last week's issue. The photo should have been of state Sen. Casey Cagle, R-Gainesville.

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