PEACE RALLY IS TODAY AT WMC

THE BALTIMORE SUN

A "Rally for Peace and Justice," featuring a variety of local speakers from religious and secular backgrounds, will be conducted at 5:30 p.m. today at Western Maryland College.

The rally, free and open to the public, takes place outside of Baker Memorial Chapel and is setto last about one hour.

Also, Fran Donnelan, a representative of the American Friends Service Committee, will discuss the registration procedure for conscientious-objector status. This event, also free and open to the public, is scheduled at 7 p.m. in McDaniel Lounge.

These events are sponsored by the Coalition for Peace and Justice, a campus organization. Information: 857-2277.

BYRON GETTING MANY REQUESTS

WASHINGTON -- Since the Persian Gulf war began, Maryland's congressional delegation has been flooded with pleas for help from frustrated military families.

Unfortunately, about all they can do is lend a sympathetic ear.

Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, has received more than 700 calls from constituents. The bulk of the problems are related to emergency discharges and child care, say legislative aides.

Congressional aides said they are able to alleviate some bureaucratic hassles facing military families. Staffers depend on liaison offices for each branch of the service to answer constituent claims, which must be replied to within 24 hours. Legislators' offices also have been flooded with questions of policy, from women receiving combat pay to the number of blacks in the military.

Countians with more than one family member in the military have been seeking discharges. But the exemption only applies to a family that already has lost an immediate relative during wartime or who has been 100 percent disabled in combat.

PERSIAN GULF WAR IS IN STORES

The effects ofthe Persian Gulf war on the U.S. economy can be seen in what is selling and what's not selling in area stores.

A sampling by The Carroll County Sun found certain items moving a bit faster than normal andothers that have slowed down.

At the Ames Department Store in North Carroll Plaza, Manager George Bracken said models of airplanes andbattleships have been selling well. Perhaps surprisingly, the popular G.I. Joe hasn't been moving.

In Westminster, however, neither the K mart in Englar Shopping Center nor Woolworth in Westminster Shopping Center has seen any noticeable sales increase of war toys. But Mount Airy's Toy and Hobby World has been selling a lot of models.

"We've sold a whole bunch of models of tanks, guns and planes," said clerk Mike Toni. "Usually we don't sell very much, but people are coming and buying models of things they're using over there."

He addedthe store is set to receive a shipment of Scud missile models.

Gas masks are not available in Carroll, and the few stores that have any camouflage wear say it's not selling.

Also, video rentals are down in some area stores.

"They're not renting as much because they're staying home and watching TV, and when they do come in, they're looking for something light to watch, so our comedy section is going," said Carolyn Holland, owner of Taneytown Video and mother of a serviceman in the war.

At the Sound Odyssey in Carrolltowne Mall, Eldersburg, clerk Melissa Bachmann said many war movies as well as comediesare moving, but that business has been slower than usual since the war started.

Rentals are also down in Mount Airy.

"Rentals have decreased; they're way down," said Carolyn Flory, owner of the Video Den. "I haven't seen any trends. Mostly, they want new releases."

Erol's Video in Westminster agreed that new releases were the most popular rentals, but the store has not noticed any drop-off in businesssince mid-January, said Scott Hileman, part-time manager.

COUNTIANS SHOWING THE COLORS

They're all around Carroll County -- the red,white and blue flags, flying gracefully in the winter breeze, dangling from doorways, mailboxes and car antennas.

And the yellow ribbons. Some are attached to the staff of the flag. Others, big yellow bows, are tied around trees, more mailboxes, more car antennas, side-view mirrors and door handles.

The stores, in fact, can't keep enough flags or yellow ribbon, and many note that even the wholesalers have run out and are struggling to fill back orders.

"We've been running out of yellow ribbon. We can't keep it in stock," said Robert MacBride, manager of the Card-O-Rama in Cranberry Mall, Westminster. He added that the store probably has sold 100 rolls of the material.

A sampling by The Carroll County Sun of stores in all areas of the county found the same tale. Only a few scattered businesses said they had either ribbon or flags.

"We have yellow ribbons and bows on special order," said Kenneth Finn, assistant manager of the Westminster K mart. "We were sold within a week."

A large number of flags leftover from last year's holidays also sold out within a week of the war declaration, he said.

If you hurry, the Piece Goods Shop in Crossroads Square shopping center in Westminster might still have some yellow ribbon from a recent order the store received last week.

George Bracken, manager of the Ames Department Store in North Carroll Plaza, said, "We've just got flags in (Friday)."

But those who already had flags are finding it difficult, if not impossible, to restock.

"We don't have any, and we can't get any," said Mary Jane Ecker, owner of the New Windsor Hardware store. "We have them on back order, but it's hard to tell when we'll get them."

In Hampstead, the Ace Hardware store "can't get enough flags -- the warehouse doesn't have any," said manager Chris Hughes, adding he probably has 10 requests aday for them.

In South Carroll, it's the same. The Carrolltowne Mall K mart is out of yellow ribbon and bows, except for a few left inthe gift wrap area. Flags sold out the same day they were brought in-- the day after the war started, said Edie Parker, assistant manager. And Ames in Twin Arch Shopping Center in Mount Airy also is waiting for a shipment of flags and yellow ribbon.

BYRON'S SON FLIES TANKERS IN GULF

The 35-year-old son of Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, is one of only five members of the armed forces involved in Operation Desert Storm who has a parent in Congress.

Kimball Byron, a captain in the Air Force Reserve, has been flying KC-10 tankers, which refuel bombers and fighters, in the Persian Gulf since the day after Christmas.

The congresswoman talked to her son about a week ago.

"He just said he was pleased with my vote (supporting the authorization of military force to drive Iraq from Kuwait)," the Armed Services Committee member said. "He was more concerned about how his kids were doing and how his stock investments were doing."

Kimball Byron, who is married and has two children, was a pilot for USAir in Greensboro, N.C., when he was called to active duty in December.

He left active duty in 1989, after being stationed at Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif., and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C.

The congresswoman said her son flew KC-10s in the late 1980s in Saudi Arabia during the escort mission for Kuwaiti tankers. She has two other children.

As chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel and Compensation, Representative Byron has been a strong backer of the use of military force to drive the troops of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. She joined 249 House members Jan. 12 in granting that authority to President Bush.

While addressing her colleagues on that date, Representative Byron did not mention her son but noted that the troops were looking to Congress for support.

"Our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers serving in the gulf are looking to the Congress for support and assurance," she said, "assurance that Americans will support their efforts and assurance that, if they enter combat, they will be given all means at their disposal to accomplish the commander in chief's military and political objectives as quickly as possible, and with as few casualties as possible."

Representative Byron said she was moved by her visit with U.S. troops in Germany that were headed for the gulf: "They still haunt me."

SUPPORT GROUP STARTED

ELDERSBURG -- A support group for families of those affected by the Persian Gulf war has been started at the Elders Baptist Church,1216 Liberty Road, just west of Route 32.

The Rev. David McPeake,pastor and retired military chaplain, said he felt starting such a group would be something he could do for the community.

The group is meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the church. Anyone with a loved one or friend serving in the Middle East is welcome.

Information: 795-9481 or 795-4609.

SEND US ALL OF YOUR GULF NEWS

The Carroll County Sun is looking for interesting stories about how the Persian GulfWar is affecting countians -- those in the Middle East and those at home.

Are you starting a support group or organizing some other effort on behalf of military personnel or their dependents or others affected by the war?

What have you heard from Carroll countians now or recently in the war zone?

Have you noticed changes in your lives as the war continues?

Do you have photographs you can share?

Whatever it is, if you think you have an interesting story to tell about yourself or someone you know, we'd like to hear from you.

Information about Carroll County news concerning the war appears regularly in this column.

Please send your information to War in the Gulf,The Carroll County Sun, 15 East Main St., Sherwood Square, Westminster, Md. 21157-5052.

You also may FAX your information to us at 876-0233.

All items must be received by 5 p.m. Tuesday for possible publication the following Sunday; for Wednesday's paper, items must bereceived by 5 p.m. Friday for possible publication.

We will try to print clear newsworthy black and white photographs as space permits.

If you are looking to have us cover an event, please notify us as far in advance as possible, but at least one week before the event.

Information: 857-0550, 876-8771 or toll-free (800) 829-8000, Ext.6595.

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