Loch Raven is better than description
I want to address point by point the Sept. 5 article by Liz Atwood, "Where Everyone Still Says Hello," which painted Loch Raven Village in an unfavorable light.
1. Old houses lacking modern features: We live in an all-brick home with oak floors, not plywood; plaster walls, not drywall; insulated windows and doors; central heat and air conditioning; a dishwasher and even indoor plumbing. Please tell me, what modern features are we lacking?
2. Poverty at its edges: We have lived in the Village for 19 years and have been in the area 26 years. Just how far from the Village are these writers traveling to find the "poverty"? As in every community, some people make more money than others, but poverty?
3."Urban decay": Granted, there are a few less than desirable places within a five-mile radius. But they have been there for as long as we've known the area and they are not expanding.
4. Crime: Every neighborhood has its share of crime, but there is a difference between vandalism and murder. Loch Raven residents are not fleeing from "crime."
5. The decline in the housing market: The same thing happened in Rodgers Forge. The original owners of some homes have become elderly and are moving into retirement homes.
Loch Raven Village is an example of the real meaning of the word neighborhood.
Distasteful and offensive cartoon
The artist's depiction of Mayor Kurt Schmoke on The Sun's editorial page Sept. 14 was grotesque and offensive.
The loss of revenue on the local, federal and state levels; crime, and drugs are a concern for all the residents of the city. But this artist's depiction of the subject was particularly distasteful.
Stephanie P. Brown
Tight houses seal in harmful chemicals
I am writing in response to an article by Daniel Barkin headlined "No lose situation," telling homeowners how to make their houses more airtight to save energy.
You should be advised that there are certain medical conditions that can be aggravated by reduced ventilation, more so in homes that have carpeting, plastics, new fabrics and other gradually-released chemicals into the air.
These medical conditions include persons with chemical sensitivity, sick building syndrome, migraine, asthma, allergies and disturbances of porphyrin metabolism.
Recent studies show that the vast majority of people with chronic fatigue syndrome as well as people with fibramyalgia have sensitivity to chemicals. Thus, these groups are also at greater risk when houses are made tight because this reduces the amount of fresh air to dilute chemicals evaporating in the house.
Individuals with carpeted bedrooms or a lot of synthetic fabrics in the bedroom should sleep with the bedroom window open to improve ventilation.
An excessively tight home in the presence of synthetic articles and fabrics can cause deterioration of health and would not be a "no lose situation."
Grace Ziem, M.D.
BSO's Mahler was world class
There are just two words that need to be said about the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's recent performance of Mahler's Third Symphony: world class.
This performance alone was worth the price of a season subscription -- a peak emotional, spiritual and artistic experience.
Many thanks to David Zinman and his fine orchestra. They gave so much of themselves.
I hope that the contract talks can be settled quickly, and that this city will give its appreciation and recognition through financial and moral support of this important asset of our cultural life.
Sylvia J. Eastman
Story exaggerates illegal immigration
The news story headlined, "Aiming to stem rising number of illegal aliens" (Sept. 3) exaggerated the impact of illegal immigration in Maryland.
Reporter Marcia Myers relies on the Center for Immigration Studies estimate of 78,000 undocumented immigrants in Maryland, a figure more than twice as high as the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service estimate of under 30,000.
Ms. Myers then cites INS officials who claim that illegal workers send "about 90 percent of their earnings" to their families at home, thus contributing little in the purchase of goods and services here.
If the illegal worker were making $6 an hour, which is probably more than most do, he or she would then send home $216 per week, keeping only $24 to live on. I know immigrants are renowned frugality and many do remit money to kin, but how many could live on such a pittance?
Let's put the two figures in perspective. If only half of Maryland's imaginary 78,000 illegal aliens sent their 90 percent home, that would be more than $421 million a year, an unrealistic figure.
Closer to the truth is that Maryland has far fewer undocumented immigrants, who work for low wages, spend money here and send home what little they can.