Exhibit from City Life is only first...


Exhibit from City Life is only first in series for Historical 0) Society

We would like to thank John Dorsey for his review ("New life for City Life exhibit," May 7), which gives readers some idea of the scope of this installation and how it reflects local history. This is a difficult task, and we appreciate his willingness to undertake it.

Normally, the planning and researching of a history exhibit begins years before it is seen by the public. Because of the public's interest in the Baltimore City Life Museums, we were anxious to present a portion of the collection as soon as possible after we agreed to acquire it. This is our first exhibit to celebrate this rich and extensive chronicle of Baltimore life, and we are pleased that we were able to create this installation in only four months.

We are gratified that the exhibit turned out so well and is meaningful to so many. It is the first in an ongoing series of installations that will focus on Baltimore life through our now-combined collections. We are particularly grateful to have been able to retain the entire collection of Peale family paintings and related objects, and we have given them emphasis appropriate to their importance in celebrating the Baltimore City Life Collections.

Our $25 million capital fund campaign now in progress will help finance a facilities expansion that will afford the flexibility to exhibit and adequately store objects, prints, photographs, manuscripts and library resources. Currently, we have space to exhibit only about 5 percent of our collection.

We strongly encourage your readers to visit the Maryland Historical Society and experience all that it has to offer.

After all, as Baltimoreans and Marylanders, the collections truly belong to all of us.

Dennis Fiori

Stanard Klinefelter


The writers are director and president, respectively, of the Maryland Historical Society.

Right-to-life advocates could help abused children

Perhaps if all who support the right to life would offer their homes for foster care, the Department of Social Services would be able to move more quickly in removing abused children from abusive homes.

Olga C. Fosler


This year's Preakness race was a sickening experience

It wasn't until the day after the race that I saw Real Quiet win the 1998 Preakness Stakes.

I was horizontal on a couch with a fever of 101 degrees. On May 16, a spectacular spring day, I paid $60 to watch hundreds of race fans sweat through betting lines and try to place wagers. That was after my friends watched in disbelief as automated machines devoured their cash.

To be sure, by 4 p.m. I had had my share of beer and spring water, but as I closed my eyes, trying to maintain some balance, the nasty stench of body odor, incompetence and arrogance was too overwhelming, not only for me, but for an entire city that many years ago proudly hosted the second jewel of the Triple Crown.

N. E. VeRagain

Washington, D.C.

Don't shortchange quality in cutting health care costs

I am writing in response to the article "Medicare payments to nursing homes pared" (May 6). As a student and future occupational therapist, I am concerned about the future of health care. I understand the intentions behind the prospective payment system and the concept of cost-efficient care, but what about the concept of consumer-efficient care?

Shouldn't the quality of care to the consumer be our No. 1 priority? I don't see where the quality of care is guaranteed under this new system. With these cuts and future cuts in health care, I fear that by the time I graduate resources will not be available to provide an optimal level of care to patients.

I am all for cost containment, but not at the expense of quality care.

Sandra L. Tillmann


Nuclear bombs don't belong in India -- or any country

In response to your editorial ("India's nuclear escalation," May 12), it is indeed strange that the only nation to use nuclear weapons on humans has the temerity to be disappointed by the decision of India to conduct three nuclear tests, as White House spokesman Mike McCurry was quoted as saying.

Why should the United States be the only nation to have power on this planet, especially considering the way it has used that power? Most of the time, that power has not been used in the best interest of the human race.

Unless the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia, South -- Africa, Israel, China and others get rid of their nuclear arsenals, they should not expect anyone else to do so, either.

Let's do it the right way and get rid of them all. This is the only way the world can be saved from total annihilation and obliteration.

latunji Mwamba


Protect religious freedom but not the amendment

Susan Goering correctly points out the dangers of the deceptively named Religious Freedom Amendment pending before Congress and the troubling Baltimore City Council resolution that would support the measure ("Let's pray City Council leaves 'religious freedom amendment' on the shelf," May 11).

The federal legislation calls for a constitutional amendment that would eviscerate the protections of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that have permitted each of us -- Christians, Muslims and Jews -- to freely pray and conduct ourselves in accordance with the dictates of our respective faiths. Accordingly, an extraordinary broad coalition of faith groups oppose this measure.

As Ms. Goering notes, religious beliefs and practices enjoy considerable protection under current laws. Indeed, a child's right to pray while in school, to read the Bible and distribute materials is already guaranteed by the Establishment Clause and should be consistently and vigilantly enforced. Thus, the Religious Freedom Amendment's purported objective of protecting the right to pray is wholly unnecessary.

It is important to distinguish these existing protections from the blow to religious liberty the Supreme Court dealt when it struck down the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), as it applied to the states.

RFRA sought to redress a clear imbalance in the court's interpretation of the Free Exercise Clause, also of the First Amendment.

RFRA would protect religious observance from government interference absent a compelling government interest. By contrast, the similarly named Religious Freedom Amendment would have a coercive effect on students and a detrimental effect on religious liberty.

Our organizations have joined with others around Maryland to support passage of a state version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Such legislation was intended to codify the long-standing tradition of religious tolerance that Maryland was founded upon.

(The Rev. H. J. Siegfried Otto


Myra E. Cardin


Mr. Otto is president of the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council, and Ms. Cardin is president of the Baltimore Jewish Council.

Negative press overlooks how Clayworks shapes city

After reading the article reporting that a portion of the Baltimore Clayworks building was not wheelchair accessible, I was surprised to find limited mention of the solution to the antiquated building's problem ("Clayworks building found not up code," May 13).

Clayworks has limited funding that precludes major interior renovation, and has chosen an off-site location that is accessible to those who would like to participate in classes.

There also was no mention of Clayworks' phenomenal community outreach work to Baltimore schoolchildren, senior HTC citizens, troubled and institutionalized youth and adults and other special populations that are grossly under-served or at risk.

As a Clayworks potter and member, I am upset to see this negative press presented without noting the extraordinary community work that is such a major part of the identity and mission of Baltimore Clayworks.

Susan Patz


Pub Date: 5/26/98

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