City Fair brought Baltimore together as nothing...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

City Fair brought Baltimore together as nothing else has done

My thanks to Jacques Kelly for his column "City fair showcased Baltimore's neighborhoods" (Sept. 18). It was a lovely start to a beautiful September Saturday -- that should have been a "City Fair" day.

I was part of the leadership of the fair during its last decade. One of the issues we grappled with during those years was "sameness," the challenge to make the event fresh every September.

But we ultimately concluded that the things that were the same annually were those that defined the event and made it important for the thousands of Baltimoreans who attended each year. We like our traditions here.

Artscape and the Fells Point Fun Festival are wonderful events. But Artscape is primarily about art; Fells Point is primarily about fun. The Baltimore City Fair was about the all of the pleasures and challenges of living in Baltimore.

The City Fair connected us in ways that professional sports franchises and cultural institutions cannot. I regret that no citywide event or activity has emerged to fill that role for today's city.

When I noted to a friend that I was pleased that the column remembered the City Fair so fondly, his response was, "no one else else remembers."

I hope he's wrong because if we lose memories of Baltimore's first renaissance, we run the risk of not learning from it.

Leslie Rehbein Marqua, Baltimore

Jones Falls celebration: truly a collaborative effort

Jamal Watson's article "Event held on highway quite a trip," (Sept. 20) captured the spirit of the Jones Falls Valley Celebration, which showcased Baltimore's environmental gifts and the volunteer efforts that have begun to turn a neglected stream into an amenity.

But such occasions don't just happen. The city cooperated with a partnership of five organizations that was forged by Sandra Sparks, the co-founder of the Jones Falls Watershed Association.

The groups involved included Parks and People, the Greater Homewood Community Corp., the Jones Falls Watershed Association and the Midtown Community Benefits District.

It took nine months of meetings to make the necessary arrangements for the Sept 18-19 celebration, which involved more than 300 volunteers.

The city's Departments of Public Works and Recreation and Parks, along with the police, worked with this massive volunteer effort to stage a special weekend celebrating a very special stream.

We would like to recognize and thank them all. Here's to many more cooperative efforts on behalf of our streams, our city and the region.

Dan Lane

Pat Lane, Baltimore

Pictures called attention to Jones Falls festival

What wonderful pictures of the Jones Falls watershed (Opinion Commentary, Sept. 16). How fortunate we are to have talented photographers open up new vistas of a long-hidden natural treasure in our city.

Many thanks for calling attention to the exhibit and the celebration.

Charlotte Ferencz, Catonsvile

After Floyd: angry to be in the dark . . .

We can split the atom, we can put a man on the moon, we can grow hair on a bald man and we can make an impotent man virile.

But we can't keep the damn lights lit.

Joseph L. Larson, Towson

. . . but we should be glad our situation isn't worse

As I read about people angry that their power is still out after last week's hurricane ("Utility customers fume days after Floyd," Sept. 21), I can't help but think about the people in North Carolina whose homes are covered by water and the hundreds killed in Taiwan's earthquake.

Perhaps we should be more thankful that we are alive and have a roof over our heads -- and are able to put up with the inconvenient results of Hurricane Floyd.

Vicki McCormick, Catonsville

Kudos to TV news for tracking the storm

I think special recognition should be given to the TV news reporters, cameraman and other members of the press who provided us with detailed coverage of hurricane Floyd, sometimes at the risk of their own lives.

Thanks to all the great newspeople for keeping us up to date.

Mary Cole, Cockeysville

Wasting druggists' time, hurting their patients

Ileane L. Platt's letter, "Maryland law guarantees extended drug coverage" (Sept. 16), is correct that Maryland law requires health insurance companies to pay for a 90-day supply of a prescription drug used for a chronic condition.

But nearly half of Maryland's insured patients are covered by plans governed by federal law and are therefore exempt from local law.

Unfortunately, pharmacists have no way of knowing prescription limitations until they receive a response from the prescription insurance plan. Estimates are that more than one-third of pharmacists' time is spent on help-line phones trying to obtain drug coverage for patients.

This time could be better spent counseling patients. Studies show that pharmacists' efforts to enhance compliance and education about the drug regime result in improved health care.

Howard R. Schiff, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Pharmacists Association.

Governor fulfills promise with new veterans agency

I want to thank Gov. Parris N. Glendening for fulfilling a promise he made to veterans during his re-election campaign by creating a new Cabinet-level Department of Veterans Affairs ("Bratten selected veterans secretary," Sept. 5).

This move combines the Veterans, War Memorial and Maryland Veterans Home commissions into one agency.

Veterans will be better served with a single agency handling their problems and concerns, especially those who are amputees or wheelchair-bound.

Selecting Thomas E. Bratten Jr., a retired army captain, to head the department was an excellent choice. Mr. Bratten served as chief administrator of the Veterans' Commission for the past six years, and did a commendable job.

Boris Robert Spiroff, Severna Park

There will never be another like Haussner's

I was deeply saddened to read of the closing of Haussner's Restaurant. It seems to me, looking back, that every major event in my family's history was celebrated there: my parents' 50th wedding anniversary, my daughter's wedding, my 21st birthday (when my father bought me a Wurzburger dark in the stag bar.)

I'll remember my grandmother in white gloves and hat ordering a shot of Canadian Club and a beer chaser; the wonderful rolls that came with dinner (we always took some home); the oysters on the halfshell; the lobster tails covered with imperial crab and the Tyrolean dumplings with gravy.

While I am not a great traveler, I have been to many restaurants in Europe and America.

There is not one to compare to Haussner's, and there never will be.

J. Hennessy, Fallston

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