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Health data influenced by social factorsIn reply...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Health data influenced by social factors

In reply to Myriam Marquez's column "There are facts, then there's Limbaugh" (July 13), Ms. Marquez does the same disservice to facts she accuses Rush Limbaugh of -- that is, only marshaling the facts that support her side of the debate.

Ms. Marquez stated that Mr. Limbaugh said we should compare our health care status with other industrialized nations. She stated that the U.S. stands 16th in life expectancy and 21st in infant mortality.

But we are 21st in infant mortality primarily because so many children are having children and not getting proper prenatal care.

Life expectancy is 16th because of the high infant mortality rate and the high death rate among 15- to 25-year-olds in auto accidents, firearms-related homicides and drug abuse.

All of these problems are social in origin, and if they were eliminated the U.S. would be among the leaders in health statistics.

Ambler M. Blick

Reisterstown

Pass the word

This is in response to Abner Kaplan's July 12 letter.

It would seem the mailing of discharge notices to all teachers was an inexpensive way of alerting teachers that the priorities of public education are changing from creating teaching positions to student learning.

It should also eliminate the lame excuse of those who claim they never got the word.

Forrest P. Gesswein

Parkville

Hockey or 'Hazel'?

Hockey or "Hazel"? This was the recent question Baltimore County Comcast grappled over in its quest to add two new premium channels.

Station WDCA (Channel 20), home of the Washington Capitals away games, lost. Comcast claims WDCA duplicated many shows on other stations.

(Wasn't this their excuse in September 1993 for removing Channel 5, because it duplicated Channel 20?)

Hockey games are not duplicated. If you want to see the Washington Capitals you must purchase Home Team Sports.

This requires a $25 deposit for an addressable converter box, $14.65 for HTS, $2.52 for the rental on the converter box and $.46 on the remote per month.

Looking at the other stations available to delete, I can see why Comcast had a difficult choice.

Should they choose WDCA and hockey or WOR and "Hazel"? Could it be no one would pay $17.63 monthly to see "Hazel" and "The A-Team"?

Patricia Dvorak

Baltimore

Hats off to Terri

What a refreshing article about Terri Koontz ("Mother of HHTC embraces college as way off welfare," July 12).

Why can't we see more articles such as this on the front page, while the murders, robberies and shootings are buried elsewhere in the paper?

Give press to those who deserve it.

Just think of what the welfare rolls would be like if everyone on them had Terri's attitude. In this case "welfare" is not what she is receiving. She works darn hard for what she gets.

In fact, all of us could learn a lesson from her.

Towson State is making a fantastic investment. My hat goes off to Terri!

Norma O'Hara

Rodgers Forge

Light rail

I have found the light rail convenient, practical and pleasant. It is an easy way to go to the Inner Harbor or any office building or bank downtown. Get off at Pratt Street, just a three-block walk to the Harbor.

Often, friends and I go down for lunch. Sometimes we take the water taxi to Fells Point or Little Italy, or occasionally have dinner there.

It's the best way to go to an Orioles game, avoiding the hassle of driving and the expense of parking. It also stops right at the Meyerhoff, a nice way to attend Summerfest, which ends early enough.

Yes, there should be guards, should have been from the beginning. It may be costly, but it is money well spent.

My only criticism is that if ticket machines do not work, guards should have tickets so a passenger could purchase one on the car.

Reports of people coming out to Lutherville to rob stores and houses cause one to wonder how can a thief steal porch furniture and get back downtown on the light rail with that loot?

If more people tried it, I believe they would find it a worthwhile way to travel back and forth to the city.

Dorothea T. Apgar

Baltimore

Neighborly pride

On June 24 Jed Kirschbaum photographed Thelma Eatmon of North Wolfe Street scrubbing her front steps.

The short story went on to say Ms. Eatmon also does the steps for three aging neighbors.

From a depression-era Fells Pointer to Ms. Eatmon -- "Thank you for showing us the real Baltimore as I remember it."

To those who wonder why she does it, the reason is pride -- in self, surroundings and in helping others. Try it.

Keep lighting your candle, Ms. Eatmon.

We see it and applaud you for it.

Aurora F. Hagegeorge

Columbia

Catonsville parade and gay bashing

In June I graduated from Catonsville High School, where I spent my last year in public education experiencing Baltimore County's newest buzzword, inclusion.

This program places all students, including those who have severe disabilities, in one school. While the inclusion program initially met with much controversy and concern, it has proved to be a tremendously successful program for all students.

So why can't the Catonsville community echo this same inclusive nature in its parades?

Once again, the Catonsville Celebration Committee has stuck its head in the sand and ignored the real meaning of the Fourth of July and the ideals of democracy by denying the gay and lesbian veterans their right to march.

Doesn't Catonsville, as a part of the United States, which was built on the principle of equality, have the responsibility to prove to its youth that equality is still a central focus of life in the U.S.?

Or can Catonsville residents decide that some people are not equal, that their children should not see those who are unequal and that they can shun these non-equals from the parade while berating their sexual orientation?

Even if homosexuality is a lifestyle choice made by the individual, a preference rather than an orientation, shouldn't gay people be given the same opportunity to march as those who have chosen to be Catholic, play the steel drums or twirl a baton?

Some individuals have suggested the exclusion of gay groups is an attempt to remove politics from the parade.

These individuals feel the gay veterans' presence is too political for Catonsville residents to handle.

Yet right-to-life supporters have marched in past parades, even though abortion is a controversial political issue.

The Fourth of July was created to uphold the American values and traditions. It is important that the planners of celebrations look both to the minority and the majority to realize these values and traditions.

In celebrating our unity, as Americans and as Catonsville residents, we need to recognize our diversity and encourage our young people to be accepting of those who are different.

When the Baltimore County Public Schools first announced their plans for the inclusion program, many people were very concerned. They feared the program could adversely affect their children's social, emotional and mental education.

However, after only a year, many parents have seen the benefits of their children learning in this diverse and accepting environment.

Why can't we give the adults of Catonsville a chance to live in the same diverse and accepting environment the children of Catonsville learn in?

Tracey L. Gavin

Catonsville

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