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Avoiding TragedyMy heart aches at the tragedy...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Avoiding Tragedy

My heart aches at the tragedy of John Richard Gregory and his adoptive parents.

John's parents are suing the state because they were not told that his biological mother had used drugs during pregnancy. After years of serious behavior problems, for which his parents were unprepared, John is now institutionalized.

Ironically, the day after John's story appeared, The Sun reported that cocaine-exposed babies don't suffer permanent damage. With early, comprehensive intervention, these babies can be saved.

So, too, with John. If his parents had been told the truth and if John had received the early intervention services he needed, he might now be in high school, facing a bright future rather than being locked away, out-of-state.

Tragedies like John's can be avoided.

The adoption law must be changed to require that a family genetic/health history be obtained, including information about maternal drug or alcohol abuse during pregnancy.

Child welfare workers must be trained to obtain and record these histories.

The law must require full disclosure of the family health/genetic history to adoptive parents. Adoptive parents, in turn, should be referred to a genetic counselor when they have questions about the implications for the child of the family health/genetic history, including maternal drug and alcohol abuse.

Last, but not least, early comprehensive services must be provided to the child and the new family.

Julia B. Rauch

Baltimore

The writer, an associate professor at the University of Maryland at Baltimore, coordinates the Ad Hoc Interprofessional Committee on Genetics and Adoption.

Pro-Sculpture

As a resident of Federal Hill and a member of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, I am surprised to read of the re-opening of the building-permit case against Lane Berk's rooftop sculpture.

Having lived in the neighborhood for seven years and often walking up and down its streets, I do not believe that this sculpture can be seen from the street.

In fact, I am not aware that this is a neighborhood issue as, to the best of my knowledge, it has never been discussed at any association meeting nor have I ever heard it raised as a topic of discussion in conversations in the park, on the street, at social gatherings, etc. In short, had The Sun not provided extensive coverage, I would not be aware that there is an alleged violation and major neighborhood problem.

In my opinion, the "issue" is one of freedom of personal expression with no violation of neighborhood integrity. I believe that Mrs. Berk should be commended for her effort to bring art to downtown Baltimore and to celebrate Baltimore's renaissance by reproducing one of its earliest symbols.

It would seen that this case has been thoroughly studied and sufficient time given by city government evaluating it. I urge the zoning board to dismiss this negative new appeal with dispatch.

Jess Gersky

Baltimore

Short Sighted

Shame on George Bush and Dan Quayle for their persistence in the old way of thinking that believes that environmental interests and those of business and industry must be in opposition.

The Bush/Quayle persistence in destroying the environment and sabotaging the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro is both foolish and short sighted. In fact, more and more people are recognizing that successful industrial growth will only happen when the growth adopts sound ecological and environmental principles.

I recently attended a conference at which the cief executive officers of Browning-Ferris Industries, Baxter-Traenol and the 3M Company spoke. For them, applying eco-consciousness in their companies led to financial savings through recycling and cutting waste, inspired employees to develop new products, and helped maintain the competitive edge with customers who are seeking save products.

Additionally, they recognized the most important fact of all, namely that a polluted plant with damaged and destroyed life support systems is bad for everyone, and that we live in an an inter-connected and inter-dependent world.

Dan K. Morhaim

Owings Mills

Shame on Perot

I was glad to see that pseudo-candidate Ross Perot finally took a stand. He came out against presidential motorcades, against playing "Hail To The Chief," against public officials flying on government planes, and for "the people of America working together."

I only wonder whether he thinks those pronouncements will silence his critics who claim he is unable or unwilling to come up with a specific agenda to deal with the problems facing this country.

Shame on him. The utter shallowness of his populist posturing raises the Bush/Dukakis debate over the flag to the level of the Federalist Papers.

At the rate he's going, I doubt Mr. Perot will come up with something as substantive as Willie Horton, let alone a coherent policy on how to improve the economy.

I can't believe the people of America are taking him seriously. Are we that politically bankrupt?

Sean Murphy

Baltimore

Career Time

Many of our young people today appear impatient and not satisfied to work toward long-term career goals. Maybe they are being taught to expect quick returns by educators such as researcher Karen Arnold (story, "Researchers Say Valedictorians Often Fall Short Later," May 26).

The article states results of her study in which high school valedictorians graduating in 1981 have "recorded only average achievements." Furthermore, she states, "By all indications, most of our former valedictorians are not headed for eminent career achievements."

I should like to know what measures Ms. Arnold used for "eminent achievement." I claim that it is much too early to measure achievement in the work place for a 1981 high school graduate.

Assuming four or five years in college following high school graduation, that leaves only six years in a chosen career field. In many careers, it is assumed that during these years the fledgling is pursuing a graduate degree in evening college. That does not leave a lot of time for "eminent career achievements."

For a high school student, four years is a large time measure. However, for a career that will last 25 to 35 years, trying to judge career achievements during the first five years is similar to trying to determine senior valedictorians during their freshman year.

I find the whole tone of Ms. Arnold's study to be one of impatience.

Elmer Mooring

Ellicott City

TV News

Shame on network television for not covering the president's press conference (June 4) because they felt it wasn't going to produce anything newsworthy. Have TV reporters forgot who asks the questions at a press conference? It's like the orchestra not showing up for a symphony because players thought the music would be bad.

No thank you, television news, I'll just keep reading my newspapers.

E. Dee Merriken

Federalsburg

Touring Spain

While I deplore the ordeal of Gayle Matysek (Letters to the Editor, June 9) and feel sorry about her misfortunes, it is obvious that a whole country cannot be condemned by the action of a few petty thieves.

Ms. Matysek's letter paints Spain as a nation of thieves where lawlessness is rampant and where only the U.S. consulate can be considered a safe heaven. The facts are that a tourist (and anyone else for that matter) is more prone to be robbed, burglarized, attacked, maimed and killed by gunfire in the U.S. than in practically any other country in the world -- certainly more than in Spain and most of the other European countries.

Let's be reasonable and keep an open mind rather than blame a whole society. The EXPO '92 World's Fair in Seville and the Olympic Games in Barcelona are worth visiting this year. I encourage all to go and enjoy the beauty of Spain in this 500th anniversary of the discovery of America.

Javier G. Bustamante

Baltimore

The writer is editor and publisher of Coloquio, a Spanish-language magazine published in Baltimore.

Your recently published a letter from yet another American who unjustifiably gives Europe a bad name.

As an American citizen who has lived in Europe for several years, it annoys me that the public is given the impression that Spain is perhaps a dangerous country to visit.

Look around Baltimore City and you see the same crimes taking place here that people may experience in Spain. Many a morning since I've moved to Baltimore, I have seen the cars of neighbors broken into, car windows smashed, broken bottles on the street, bottles thrown into the windows of apartment and private dwellings -- not to mention the crime and violence on the streets.

At night, I have awakened to the sound of gunfire and helicopters brightly lit and circling the neighborhoods looking for those involved in drugs and violence.

However, I would never consider telling anyone not to come to Baltimore. You see, in this world there exists good and evil everywhere. That's human nature. That's life.

Europe, thank God, has strict gun control laws. As a student in Europe, I never had to worry about having someone blow my brains out. Granted, pickpockets and robberies abound, but such misfortunes are prevalent throughout the world.

Courtney Nzeribe

Baltimore

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