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Eric Schaefer gave his life for the...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Eric Schaefer gave his life for the community

As a resident of the community of Woodberry, I feel compelled to show my appreciation for the outstanding performance displayed by the firefighters who valiantly battled the inferno that consumed the Clipper Industrial Park.

The back of my house directly faces the old foundry, and I watched the blaze grow in intensity, taking with it more of the building. Burning embers rained down all over the neighborhood, which had only seen rain that night for the first time in quite a while.

As several of my neighbors were evacuated from their homes, I became concerned that the blaze might not be contained.

I had never been that close to such a violent fire, and now it has struck me: The firefighters we take for granted selflessly attack these forces, up close, every day.

They literally put their lives on the line for people like you and me. Eric Schaefer was one who was willing to do just that.

"He loved being a firefighter. He just loved everything about the job," his father is quoted as saying. We are all fortunate that devoted people like Eric Schaefer stand between our community and danger.

I'm sure I speak for all of the people of Woodberry in saying that we greatly appreciate the ultimate sacrifice made by firefighter Eric Schaefer in the line of duty. Our hearts go out to all of the members of his family.

I did not know him personally, but his courage and dedication to his life's work showed in his courageous action. Eric Schaefer will always be remembered as a true hero.

Perry R. Atkinson

Woodberry

City progressing in cleaning air

The Sun's Sept. 7 article, "Amid record heat, summer smog worst in 4 years," suggests air quality data in an ad by the Baltimore Alliance for Clean Air Progress and the Baltimore Metropolitan Council are inaccurate. In fact, the data in the ad came directly from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and are correct.

Specifically, The Sun questions the claim that Baltimore had 41 days of "bad air pollution" in 1984, compared with 14 days in 1994. The article contends that Baltimore "actually tallied 41 smoggy days in 1983, not 1984. . .and last year's "bad ozone" streak stopped at 10, rather than 14 [days], according to state figures."

Unfortunately, this misstates the claim made in the ad, which referred to "bad air pollution," not "smoggy days" or "bad ozone."

The data in the ad reflect the number of days on which the EPA's daily air quality index was in the "unhealthy" range. The confusion arises when The Sun article mistakenly assumes that all those days were unhealthy due to ozone or "smog." In fact, the air quality index covers multiple pollutants.

In the 1980s, Baltimore was also experiencing significant numbers of unhealthful days due to carbon monoxide. Thus, the total of 41 days for 1984 reflects unhealthful air due to both ozone and carbon monoxide. The 14 days for 1994 include one carbon monoxide exceedance day as well.

Our decision to use the EPA figures was made with the aim of presenting data that tell the broader air quality story. Baltimore's progress in cleaning up the air has not been limited to ozone -- a point that is too often forgotten.

Ultimately, the point that should be remembered is that regardless of the numbers one chooses to illustrate the story -- be it air quality index data, ozone exceedances or some other measure -- the basic subtext is the same: the Baltimore area has made tremendous progress in cleaning up its air.

Ben Mason

Paul Farragut

Baltimore

The writers represent, respectively, the Baltimore City Chamber Commerce and Baltimore Metropolitan Council.

A-bomb revisionists, deserve dunce caps

Kindly allow me, a subscriber and a person who at times has roundly criticized your paper, to eat a large slice of humble pie. I refer to your objective and very courageous publication of the Sept. 13 letter by Sadae Yamamoto Walters.

The writer very accurately and rightly put historical revisionists like the good Prof. Wayne C. McWilliams and his ilk in their proper place -- which is in the corner with a large, long, conical hat on.

Maybe, just maybe, the Walters letter, combined with the recent Enola Gay flap that destroyed any credibility the revisionists may have had regarding the use of the atomic bomb, will result in helping the put the entire "politically correct" movement where it properly belongs -- in the garbage dump.

May the profoundly moving letter by Sadae Walters be used by editors nationwide to counter any further distortions of the truth by the "politically correct gang."

Once again, my congratulations to The Sun, and my admiration and appreciation to Sadae Walters. Well done.

Robert F. Kennedy

Catonsville

World's greatest; unknown country

Harold Piper's Perspective article Sept. 10 about Indonesia made me say, "It's about time!" And thank you for it; it was splendid.

But how can the fifth (fourth, I suppose, now that the U.S.S.R. has broken up) most populous country in the world stay out of the public's eye so much?

Indonesia's breath is virtually the same as that of the continental United States. It has far more Muslims than any other country, a religion too many associate with Arabs only, which Indonesians are not.

Persons may know such words as the Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes -- islands of the former Dutch East Indies -- but think of Indonesia possibly as some word like Polynesia or Micronesia or even Oceania.

Indonesia is comprised largely of the former Dutch East Indies, and in its years of independence has not been our kind of country.

The article explains this. But that is no reason why we should go months without ever hearing anything about this country.

George M. Watson

Baltimore

Slap on the wrist, for grand theft

I just read with shock that a baggage handler at BWI received three months of home detention and 200 hours of community service for the theft of $40,000 in cash at the airport. Shades of Singapore.

Imagine having to spend time at your own house when not at work or shopping for necessities. That means no taking in a ball game, or a night at the neighborhood bar.

And 200 whole hours of community service! Apparently this criminal's community service is worth $200 per hour.

"People faced with a similar temptation in the future should not give in because they know from Mr. Moott's example the consequences," said presiding U.S. District Judge Frederic N. Smalkin.

Thank the judge for sending a very clear message.

Greg Greisman

Elkridge

One columnist worth keeping

By all means, hold on to Kevin Cowherd. He is a bright spot in my reading fare. I missed him when he was off for a while.

Sister Felicitas Wells

Baltimore

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