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Republicans subverting MedicareIf you think we believe...


Republicans subverting Medicare

If you think we believe all these lies about Medicare going broke, you can think again. We realize now this was on the Republican agenda long before now.

All this talk about balancing the budget in 100 days was never intended to happen. It was just a lot of talk to throw seniors off the track and into a panic about losing their health care. When they get into managed care, that will open their eyes.

I am disappointed we supported the Republican Party. We know need to lower the growth of health care, and we expected to take a cut like everyone else, but we did not know that Medicare would be targeted as a means to balance the budget and the seniors would be pushed into managed care which the government has decided would be suitable for us.

There are other ways to fix Medicare, but it is not fast enough for the party to get its job done; improving the economy and balancing the budget before the cutoff date.

We seniors who read and listen know what is going on, and so do the Democrats.

This push for managed care is not really about health care but about money. This is big business money grabbers talking.

All the states know a big market when they see it, and we are it; the lucrative market of 37 million seniors.

No more Medicare price controls. Who will control seniors' health care? Why are HMOs and medical insurance companies some of the hottest stocks on Wall Street today?

As Rep. Richard Gephardt said, "I fear that if seniors do not speak out, Republicans will pass their Medicare reform plan next month."

'Alice L. Graham Kohlman


Dundalk story

Thank you for your fine portrayal of Cheryl Shiflet, the new teacher at Dundalk Elementary School.

The publicity given to Dundalk is not usually favorable and is mostly based on prejudices. This article touched on the warmth, the heart and the soul of this fine community.

Ms. Shiflet will surely touch the lives of many young children, and while her dedication to her home town may seem extraordinary in some places, in Dundalk a multitude of people are inspired with the same devotion. Hurray for you. You have reported what Dundalk is really about.

Debra Golden


Safety patrol

Low school attendance rates, drug use and crime are just some of the troubles surrounding today's youth. While many children have a hard time being held accountable for their own actions, more than 9,000 safety patrol members in Maryland arrive at school early and stay late to protect classmates.

While times have changed, the American Automobile Association's School Safety Patrol Program has thrived for 75 years.

Nationwide, more than 500,000 students serve as safety patrol volunteers, performing duties such as manning school cross walks, serving as bus safety monitors and raising and lowering school flags. More than 50,000 schools have patrols, representing nearly 76 percent of the communities in the U.S.

Students who serve as safety patrol members frequently continue their leadership qualities into their adult lives. In Baltimore City, Mayor Kurt Schmoke, School Superintendent Walter Amprey, Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier and Fire Chief Herman Williams all served as school safety patrol members.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening has proclaimed Sept. 24 as Safety Patrol Day in Maryland to kick off a week-long recognition celebration.

During this week, take some time to thank a patrol member. Because in a world where we have wondered what has become of our youth, school safety patrol members are clear examples of what is right.

Sharon Perry

Baltimore 6The writer is public affairs officer at AAA Maryland.

True gentleman

Several years ago, I wrote to chronicle the events of a less-than-enjoyable time my family experienced at Camden Yards. Not surprisingly, Cal Ripken Jr. showed concern about my children's first experience at a Major League game.

Mr. Ripken took the time to send each of them a souvenir, which they now treasure and show to all of their friends. As my family and I watched and read about his streak this season, it became apparent that Mr. Ripken is much more than a great ballplayer. The player we see on the field is but a snapshot of the man.

Every sportswriter and sportscaster has said that what baseball needed this year was Cal Ripken Jr. Only knowing what I have read and heard, his great accomplishments as a ballplayer are second to his accomplishments as a man.

Mr. Ripken represents the values which most of us hold dear and seek to achieve. He is a strong husband and father with many real friendships. He is a team player, modest, sincere and giving to his community. He helps others because he is able, not because he expects something in return.

Mr. Ripken's most recent accomplishments are a reflection of his ethics and his true person. I truly believe that the man we have watched and listened to these many months is the real Cal Ripken Jr. and not a media spin.

While it may be true that what baseball needed this year is Cal Ripken Jr., I believe that what we really need are more Cal Ripken Jr.'s in our everyday lives and our global humanity.

May Cal Ripken Jr. play ball and bring joy for many years to come. All that Mr. Ripken has received is what he earned.

tuart L. Stone


Marijuana use

The Drug Enforcement Agency claims marijuana has no accepted medical use. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws does not agree.

This group, located in Washington, informs us that data indicate cannabis is beneficial as an anti-emetic, appetite stimulant, anti-convulsant, muscle relaxant in spastic disorders and an effective deterrent in the spread of glaucoma.

Even though it is illegal, thousands of patients who suffer from AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis use marijuana. The government should begin to separate the medical from the recreational drug issue. Many of us believe Congress should pass legislation that would permit physicians to prescribe cannabis to their patients.

The Drug Enforcement Agency supports the status quo long after the quo has lost its status.

Joseph Lerner


Crab shortage

I can't believe that this and past governors of Maryland have taken this long to do something about the dwindling blue crab population in the Chesapeake Bay.

You can just drive across the Bay Bridge and see the mine fields of crab pots in the water. The crabs don't have a chance.

You can go to any soft crab dealer on the Eastern Shore and see that the peelers in the bins are not a legal size and most are immature females.

I remember when I was a kid during the 1960s, you could walk through the sea grass in the Bay and crabs were so plentiful that you could catch a dozen soft crabs without any effort.

The problem is that we don't just take what we need, but more than we need. We have made the oysters in the bay almost extinct. Are we going to wait until the blue crab is almost extinct to do something about it?

Let's leave something in the bay besides pollution for our children and grandchildren.

I believe we should not only shorten the season but also increase the fines to crabbers, professional or hand-liners, who catch and keep immature females and any crab under five inches.

I also believe that protecting our Chesapeake Bay and its resources should be a part of the education process in all Maryland schools.

Therese M. Nesbitt


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