Send the Marines to West PointThe Board...


Send the Marines to West Point

The Board of Visitors of the U.S. Naval Academy recently released the report of a special review board that concluded the academy is "basically sound."

Retired Marine Brig. Gen. Thomas V. Draude wanted the Marine Corps to have "the opportunity to shape the day-to-day operation" of the academy. He wanted more Marine officers assigned to key senior military positions at the academy, including the possibility of serving as its superintendent.

I must take exception to such a proposal. Since its inception in 1945, the Naval Academy has had as its primary function the training of naval officers who, when integrated into the fleet, set the standards of professionalism and tradition.

Allowing midshipmen to become Marine officers is secondary and is accommodating to the only service that does not have its own academy.

Perhaps a better source of officers for the Marine Corps would be the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where the corps could have a rightful say on the "day-to-day operations."

Paul Z. Cummins II


Cheating remark offends teacher

"How is it that only 10 students of 43,135 failed to complete the necessary 75 hours [of community service]," Mike Bowler asks in his June 18 column and answers "common sense tells us" that teachers and other eductors must have cheated to achieve such a high pass rate.

Bowler does not assume that educators, parents, community groups and students took the state requirement seriously. He questions the ethics of teachers.

As a teacher who has had to deal with the service learning requirement and has seen other teachers, guidance counselors and administrators work hour after hour to keep track of the hours, I take offense at Bowler's comments.

We take our work seriously. When the state establishes a new graduation requirement, we will work hard to ensure our students can meet the new standard.



Family treatment for mental health

I am writing in response to Gregory Kane's June 7 column, "Betty Shabazz tragedy is about mental illness."

Clearly, there is a history of mental illness in the Shabazz family which can be traced to the maternal grandmother. The question that Mr. Kane poses is: Are we failing our children when it comes to treating mental illness?

Prior to modern medications and creative therapeutic intervention, it was standard practice to hospitalize, institutionalize and even perform electro-shock therapy on people suffering from mental illness. Usually they were deemed "mad" or "insane" for life. Moreover, the stigma surrounding mental illness did not give way to compassion and understanding, but rather placed a division between individuals.

Treatment for the mentally ill has come a long way and the present treatment setting for children and adults is in the community. In the 1980s, a great effort was made to deinstitutionalize people who were amenable to treatment.

The mental health system is now able to appropriately assess children for educational, behavioral, physical and emotional difficulties. The clarification that now exists allows accuracy in 11 diagnosis, behavioral, physical and emotional difficulties.

We cannot overlook the socio-economic and family factors that also impact the mental health of an individual. That is why we at Woodbourne believe in treating children as well as their families.

The question at hand perhaps should be, are parents willing to accept treatment for a family member with mental illness or will they live in shame and denial.

Charles L. Maker


The writer is board chairman of Woodbourne.

Museum closing produces sadness

I was sad to read of the closing of the City Life Museum. Over the last two years I have gotten to know the personnel at the museum and have worked closely with them in the development of an exhibit of my grandfather's photographs.

This exhibit, "Poetry on Glass -- The Early Photographs of Jim Lewis," was displayed at the Peale Museum. The design of the showing, the choice of photographs, the selling of the project were all done by Dean Krimmel and his assistant Mary Markey. They did an outstanding job.

The exhibit was a resounding success; hundreds of people attended the opening.

Recently I went down to the Peale to collect some of the items in the show. Krimmel and I talked about the closing. After a while we heard a knock on the door. It was two visitors from Holland. Krimmel informed them that the museum was closed, but since their disappointment was great he let them in.

They enjoyed the photographs very much and were astonished and dismayed to learn that the closing was permanent.

Jack Hennessy


Hard Rock guitar spoils skyline

Whose chords are we strumming? Are we just like a "cover" band that plays the songs, but can't come up with a tune of our own? How much did Baltimore give up to have a blue neon guitar on the skyline? Having a chain restaurant is one thing, adulterating the skyline is another.

What do the citizens of Baltimore get out of this several-stories-tall guitar but an eyesore? The closest approximation would be the Domino Sugar sign, which represents a longtime commitment to Baltimore and is the optical equivalent of music to our ears.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke should demand that instead of big guitars and Hollywood starlets, our town should glamorize and promote local buiness interests.

How many tourists are going to come to Baltimore, look at that monstrous ugly guitar and ask, "Is this the same old tune?" Baltimore is in danger of becoming a broken record.

Lois Webster


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