Blood collection centers rebuff motivated donorsIt was...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Blood collection centers rebuff motivated donors

It was with great concern that I read in Saturday morning's paper of the blood shortage and the desperate need for people (especially those with B-positive blood, like me) to donate.

Unfortunately, there's probably someone lying in the hospital needing my type blood while I sit here wondering why I've been unsuccessful in giving blood.

The blood donor center in Harford County was closed on Saturday. I called the Red Cross number and was given directions to the Mount Hope donor site. Unfortunately, the directions the Red Cross worker gave me were wrong. My wife and I arrived 15 minutes after it closed.

There were still people waiting to give blood. I pointed out that I have B-positive blood and that the reports emphasized how badly that type was needed. We were still turned away. There was a TV crew there and I felt like warning them not to fall for the blood shortage scare.

I tried again Monday to give blood. Alas, the center in Harford County does not have Monday hours. I'd heard that a hospital in Towson was accepting blood donors, so I drove to St. Joseph Medical Center. There was only one person waiting in the office, yet I was turned away because I didn't have an appointment.

I went to GBMC. The blood mobile crew was in the conference room. I was given a booklet to read, and then told it would be a two-hour wait.

If two sites can turn away a prospective donor, and my local site hasn't been open since the end of last week, and there's a two-hour wait at the one site I could find open, how desperate can the need for blood be?

I've gone out of my way to give blood, all to no avail. I was going to encourage friends and co-workers to give blood, but I certainly don't want to put them through all of this.

Rick Magee

Abington

Toughening Boy Scouts' moral leadership code

Thanks to the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, the Boy Scouts of America has managed to save its impressionable boys from interaction with so-called "dirty and immoral" Scout leaders whose personal, private sexual relationships may not be unwaveringly heterosexual.

Since the group is so concerned about keeping things "morally straight," maybe the Scouts should ask the Supreme Court to uphold its banning others from scouting leadership, namely the adulterers, drug abusers, tax cheats, spouse beaters or liars who may be among them.

Andrea Donatelli

Bel Air

Historic preservation is economic benefit

Mia D. McNeil's article "Towson bridal shop seeks annulment from county list" (June 26) addresses the ongoing push-pull of preservation and development. If the historic Schmuck House were demolished, would it be replaced with something better?

Does it make sense for the owners to spend big bucks on lawyers to fight adding this house to the historic landmarks list when they could apply for tax credits and government grants instead?

Towson needs a comprehensive plan to keep this historic house and improve the surrounding area.

Carol Allen

Towson

The writer is president of Historic Towson Inc.

Friends help friends to pick up litter

I agree with Thomas Nastoff's assertion ("Trash is heritage of poor upbringing," letter, June 30) that trash is a by-product of poor parental example. Conversely, responsible actions by a parent can grow on a child as he or she grows.

Memories of my father picking up trash on the church lawn, as we walked home on Sundays, stick with me today when I throw away litter.

Peer influence is just as important, albeit not exercised enough. Almost every workday I find co-workers leaving trash from lunch behind on tables in our break room. Most of the time I clean it up. I don't like the idea of the mess sitting there, and don't think it's housekeeping's job to take care of it.

Still, to me the butt of the litter problem is cigarette butts. Is there any counting the number of times each day someone tosses a butt out a car window? Recently, I even saw a person throw a cigarette in the gutter, when an ash tray was right next to her.

If people would only show some small courtesy, or friends would speak up to friends, we'd have a good start to keeping up with all the other litter.

James Egan

Baltimore

Lower blood-alcohol law wouldn't reduce accidents

According to research conducted by the General Accounting Office (GAO), lowering the drunk-driving arrest threshold will not reduce drunken driving accidents ("Curbing drunken drivers," editorial, June 26).

In its 1999 report to Congress, the GAO concluded that the Boston University research that claimed a national 0.08-percent blood-alcohol limit law would save 500 lives per year was "unfounded."

The GAO was not alone in its condemnation of the 0.08-percent arrest threshold. A study done by the California Department of Motor Vehicles concluded that California's 0.08-percent law had no measurable effect on the state's traffic safety record.(The California DMV found that the law's effect "was primarily limited to individuals who generally restrict their alcohol consumption before driving anyway.")

A University of North Carolina study determined that their 0.08-percent law had "no clear effect" on the state's percentage of drunken driving fatalities.

It should come as no surprise that legislatures in 31 states have rejected 0.08-percent laws hundreds of times in the past 20 years, while adopting other effective anti-drunken-driving measures.

In 1999 alone, 24 of the 25 states considering the 0.08-percent threshold rejected this misguided legislation. Congress should reject it as well.

Kristen Eastlick

Washington

The writer is director of legislative affairs of the American Beverage Institute.

Cell phones in autos can be intoxicating

Your June 26 editorial encouraging the U.S. House of Representatives to support a 0.08-percent blood-alcohol limit, as passed by the Senate, mentioned research cited by the American Beverage Institute.

The comparison suggested that the accident risk for an automobile driver speaking on a cell phone while driving was equivalent to the risk of operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol level of 0.10-percent (the current legal limit for being considered intoxicated).

This sounds like the perfect argument for banning the use of cell phones while driving.

Aaron Ira Schneiderman

Baltimore

Troopers get free ride in cars of taxpayers

Now that gasoline costs nearly $2 a gallon, it is time to rethink the policy of letting Maryland State Police troopers use state vehicles for private use.

I know that some will say that having a State Police vehicle parked in the neighborhood will deter crime.

I say bunk and double bunk. There are absolutely no statistics to back that position. Troopers do it because they want to do it. Why shouldn't troopers have to pay for their private family vehicles like everyone else?

If they want to call this a perk for the job, fine. Call it a perk and stop lying to the public.

State troopers are paid and that should be it, nothing more.

Marty A. Silvert

Baltimore

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