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Residents of tower show their gratitude for...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Residents of tower show their gratitude for aid and comfort

As residents of Charles Towers, we would like to express our thanks to the following people who went above and beyond what was expected of them to help us throughout Friday's ordeal.

The staff of the Tremont Plaza Hotel, who quickly made rooms available and provided blankets, food and hot drinks.

The Red Cross volunteers, who arrived on the scene almost immediately and were there throughout the night and into the next morning to provide comfort and food.

Residents of neighboring buildings, who stopped by to ask if anything was needed and lent clothes to those who were not dressed for the winter weather.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who arrived in the early hours of the morning to provide information and support.

And especially the firefighters, who fought the blaze; the emergency medical technicians, who attended to those who were injured; and the emergency services personnel, who made sure the building was safe after the fire.

Many others lent a hand during our time of need. A great deal of media coverage was focused on the spectacular images -- the flames pouring out of the windows and the burned out apartments. More attention should be given to the generous acts and the bravery of the people mentioned above.

Todd Goldwasser

Aliza Thompson

Baltimore

Money for military planes mean less for the elderly

Thanks for the The Sun's coverage of the problems older Americans are facing with the terrible cost of prescription drugs and the fact that these drugs are not covered by Medicare ("Seniors' lack of drug coverage targeted," Feb. 4).

Millions of seniors cannot afford and do not get drugs that they need. It makes no sense for seniors to go without new drugs that relieve the pain of arthritis or blood thinners that reduce the risk of stroke for $60 dollars a month.

The president and members of Congress say, as Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana did recently, that officials "would like to have a drug program if we can find a way to pay for it."

Why not take a cold, hard look at President Clinton's proposed $267 billion military budget, with its $53 billion dollars for new weapons systems.

Interestingly enough, the $1.8 billion allotted for six new F-22 fighter jets would cover exactly 10 million patient-months of a common heart medicine, which costs $180 per month. That's a year's supply of life saving medicine for 833,333 people for the cost of six airplanes.

Will we as a country cover the cost of medicine for our parents, or will we continue to pay it to the arms dealers?

Back in April 1953, President Eisenhower declared that "every gun that is made, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who are hungry and are not fed, from those who are cold and are not clothed."

It's also a theft from those who need medicines and can't afford them.

Michael Bardoff

Baltimore

The Block can be improved, even with nude dancing

Regarding your coverage of dancers on The Block going nude ("Block bares it all legally" Feb. 5), I don't think you delved into this change of venue like good newspaper reporters.

In my monthly or more frequent visits there for 37 years, the Block has been nude for all that time except the last six years. During these last six years, patronage has declined by at least half.

Most bars have been three-quarters empty during the week for the last several years. A woman trying to make a living must work 16 hours a day in the dark and dank, trying to feed her kids. It wasn't that way when bars were full, and ladies did their last numbers nude. They worked an eight-hour shift and made a living.

Drinks that in 1990 were $6 are now $20. And those are the cheap ones for a moment with a woman. A Coke is $5 now instead of $4.50 because the owner needs the 50 cents that went as a tip to the bartender. When there is no traffic, no one can make a living. This leads to drug use, which in Baltimore is prolific just about anyplace but on The Block. The Block has been cleaned up.

Just about every major city has nude female dancing, as we did from the end of WWII.

My vote goes to letting The Block stay as it became last week. The people in Annapolis aren't going to gain or lose a single vote by rubbing out four hundred or so jobs, that are mostly in the domain of young people and their young patrons. Instead, improve Baltimore by making available rapid-detox centers.

Cut the heart out of crime instead of worrying about G-strings.

Richard Frank

Baltimore

Malcolm X helped country more than other honorees

This letter is in response to the letter ("Shame on Postal Service for Malcolm X stamp," Feb. 6). Malcolm X was a dynamic leader, and he was fighting to right the injustices African Americans suffered in this country. He was assassinated before he realized his goals.

At the time of his death, Malcolm X was undergoing a great transformation. I suggest that everyone read "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" by Alex Haley to understand why he should be honored. He certainly did more for this country than Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck or Elvis Presley.

Julie A. Johnson

Havre de Grace

Make traffic adjustments for Penn Station revival

The articles "1911 bridge to get a makeover" and "Faster trains in Penn plans" (Feb. 3) make clear the great promise of improvements in and around Penn Station. Soon the station will again be a vital, welcoming entrance to Baltimore and a national model for intermodal transportation, but the construction will be long and difficult.

The articles also highlight the immediate threat posed by closure of the Charles Street bridge to the community north of the bridge for 26 months. Just north of Penn Station is a budding expansion of the city's cultural district that still needs nurturing, such as the recent opening of a police koban and arrival of light rail service.

But the Everyman Theater, expansion of the Charles Theater into a multicinema complex, the reopening of the Metro Cafe and ongoing operations of a longtime businesses such as Metro Cleaners and Club Charles could be ruined if all Charles Street traffic is diverted from their front doors for two years.

There is a simple answer: during construction, reroute traffic back to Charles Street on West Lanvale Street, as soon as it has crossed the Maryland Avenue bridge. Thus, traffic will continue past the new Charles Theater and other businesses in the area. While I am sure North Avenue looks like a better cross street on traffic engineers' maps, the impact on the businesses and community between the station and North Avenue would be disastrous.

Christopher W. Lynch

Baltimore

The writer is a member of the Penn Station Revitalization Committee.

Legislators should end bid for mayoral residency law

So our state lawmakers continue to push for changes in the mayoral residency requirement for Baltimore. Not only is this ridiculous, but it is offensive to Marylanders to have them waste time and money in this manner.

There are more important things to deal with. Despite much speculation, Kweisi Mfume has stated several times that he is not interested in running for mayor of Baltimore. That said, our elected officials should drop the subject and move on to more pressing matters.

I don't believe State Sen. George Della's comment that the bills are essentially to remove barriers that might prevent "a good candidate" from running. He must seriously believe Marylanders are idiots who can't recognize what is so obvious: The bills were clearly written with Mr. Mfume in mind, and no one else.

If any other nonresident had been considered as a mayoral candidate, would there have been this much hoopla? I can assure you that no special bills would have been introduced. I strongly suggest that our city and state officials spend their time, and our money, on much more important and shameful matters such as the city's horrendous homicide and crime rates and our poorly performing schools.

Claude Bouchard Jr

Elkridge

Pub Date: 2/13/99

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