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Columbus CenterWe were pleased to see your...


Columbus Center

We were pleased to see your Feb. 24 editorial, "Down on the Fish Farm," giving out kudos for those involved in securing a recent $3 million Department of Commerce grant for a Maryland company.

While we join you in saluting most participants, we were surprised to see the "biotechnology department of the University of Maryland College Park" credited as the local scientific participant.

One day prior, The Sun's Frank Roylance correctly credited the Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB) of the university's independent Biotechnology Institute . . .

Approximately 20 percent of the grant will fund ongoing COMB research at the new Columbus Center on Piers 5 and 6.

Last June 22, while the proposals for this Israeli-American initiative were in preparation, your paper reported that a tour of Columbus Center under construction prompted the chairman of Israeli's Biotechnology Commission to say, "After seeing what I saw this morning, I have no concerns. I have no fear that the project will not go through." Therefore, all the public and private supporters of Columbus Center deserve praise for supporting an investment in unique marine research that is now starting to pay off significantly in economic development . . .

Stan Heuisler


The writer is the president and chief executive officer of the Columbus Center.

Hollywood Dreams

Sen. Phil Gramm's suggestion that President Clinton drop the surgeon general-nominee, Dr. Henry W. Foster, "for a Dr. Welby, M.D." exposes a slightly flawed view of reality that is reminiscent of former Vice President Dan Quayle's attack on television character Murphy Brown.

It seems that House Speaker Newt Gingrich also suffers under a similar illusion.

To support his notion that welfare children be placed in orphanages he offered the movie "Boys Town" as proof. Even the baseball strike might be solved if, according to Mr. Gingrich, only the players and owners would sit down to watch "Field of Dreams."

Is this the legacy left by Ronald Reagan who, after all, really was a Hollywood movie star?

Geoffrey Mudge


TV Freebies

Several recent letters have dealt with the central role public television plays in the TV viewing diet of many families.

Jeffrey Hayes (Feb. 11) correctly concludes that "public television provides a crucially important final refuge for the education and the welfare of all our children."

And Phyllis Zemlack (Jan. 31) is right when she writes that "television has more of a responsibility to us and our children to show quality programs." But they shouldn't write commercial TV off -- or let it off the hook -- so quickly.

In 1990, Congress passed the Children's Television Act, which requires commercial TV stations to broadcast educational programs for children as a condition of license renewal.

Maryland has the only statewide campaign in the nation committed to ensuring that local commercial TV stations air high-quality programs for kids.

Report cards grading stations broadcasting in Maryland (including Washington, D.C., stations) on how they are doing show there's been slight improvement over the past two years, but there's still a long way to go.

Television can enrich children's minds. Public television has shown that programs can teach and entertain at the same time.

And let's not forget that it isn't only public TV that is getting what some are calling a "free ride" (through federal support). Commercial TV stations are using the airwaves for free to earn substantial profits. In exchange they are supposed to serve the public interest.

We need to make it clear to commercial stations that we expect them to serve our children as well.

LaTanya Bailey Jones


The writer is director, Maryland Campaign for Kids' TV.

Not the Subway

You refer to the "Subway massacre" in a headline (Feb. 18). I was once a regular rider of the "subway."

For the sake of correctness, the crime in question took place on the Long Island Railroad. The Long Island Railroad has no connection whatsoever with the New York subway system.

Hyman Blumenstock


Museum Loans

On a recent visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art, I was struck by the exquisite quality of the selection of prints from the Lucas collection on exhibit. I agree that every effort should be made to keep the collection in Baltimore.

Clearly the BMA considers the collection to be of great value and central to its mission as a museum. It argues that it has built its collection around the Lucas collection.

The Maryland Institute is holding a non-working asset which could be converted into an endowment which would generate income to fund educational program.

For the BMA to argue that it is entitled to the collection because it has incurred the cost of maintaining it, is rather like suggesting that anyone who maintains a loaned car is entitled to keep it.

It is always the responsibility of the borrower to maintain the thing borrowed.

After having the free use of the collection for over 60 years, it time for the BMA to say "thank you" to the institute and organize a fund-raising campaign to purchase the works.

After all, their loss would create a major hole in the BMA collection. A freebie is great while it lasts, but let's get real. A loan by any other name would have the same terms: The owner can call the loan.

On the same visit, I wandered through the new wing of the museum. I saw that a number of works on display were on "extended loan" by the owners.

What terms apply to these "loans" that are any different than for the Lucas collection?

Gwen Davidson


What Planned Parenthood Does

Anthony J. Sacco's Feb. 24 letter, ("Stop Federal Funding for Planned Parenthood") is full of inaccurate and misleading statements.

As a taxpaying citizen and a medical student, I could not disagree more strongly.

I would like to know where Mr. Sacco got his "evidence" and which source provides "common knowledge that PPFA has been the primary source . . . of the . . . idea that it's OK for children to be sexually active . . ." This is not common knowledge that comes from anything based in fact. Rather, it is common prejudice, based on slanted information and bias.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America provides health care to women who seek it. No one is going to track someone's daughter down and force upon her birth control information or services.

Thanks to Planned Parenthood, millions of women, including teen-agers, receive health care that they would otherwise not have available.

Many women can go to clinics in hospitals, like the excellent ones at the University of Maryland. Without insurance, these clinics are usually unaffordable.

Planned Parenthood offers health care on a sliding scale, making it affordable to the many women who are not blessed with insurance.

Planned Parenthood also provides valuable information about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, as well as crucial information about general aspects of health maintenance and prenatal care.

Planned Parenthood services are crucial to the women of this country. To cast it as a private organization with an agenda of indoctrination and moral corruption is patently ridiculous.

Planned Parenthood has its name for a good reason. It provides women and their partners the resources so that they may plan their parenthood, so they avoid pregnancies they do not want and plan the ones they do.

Planned Parenthood promotes responsible sexual activity on the part of both women and men. As Planned Parenthood clinics frequently give away condoms to clients, this is hardly a money-making enterprise.

They do not conspire to keep "parents in the dark," nor do they exert power over their clients to "influence the decision children make."

If a "child" is there for help without a parent, it is usually because the child cannot enlist parental support. In these cases, Planned Parenthood offers a safe haven, with valuable information and good, safe health care, along with assured patient confidentiality.

The statement that "Planned Parenthood's position [on birth control] . . . is contrary to and destructive of the values of most American families . . ." is certainly not true for my family, nor for the vast majority of people I know.

Information and education are hardly destructive, and certainly not immoral.

What is immoral is leaving young people and adults in the dark and without resources, virtually guaranteeing unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Plenty of information shows that if teen-agers receive information about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, not only are they more likely to use birth control and condoms, they are also more likely to delay initiating sexual activity.

Planned Parenthood is a valuable health care organization, without whom millions of women would be utterly without family planning resources.

Jeanette T. M. Nazarian


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