The Baltimore Sun

Another way to help children of soldiers

I thank The Sun for the article "Making life easier for military children" (March 3).

Clearly, state and local school authorities need to help military children advance smoothly through their kindergarten-to-grade-12 education as they move from state to state.

But we shouldn't stop there.

Maryland is pondering an additional step to help military families by providing access to public prekindergarten classes.

Public prekindergarten currently serves low-income 4-year-olds in Maryland. But the General Assembly is considering bills backed by Del. Thomas Hucker and Sen. Roy P. Dyson to extend access to it to children of active-duty military.

As the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq continue, the stress on military families increases.

Young children face not only repeated relocations but also extended separation from their parents and a sadly justified fear of parental injury or death.

It's important to look out for the interests of children in the K-12 system.

But let's also address the needs of military families with young children.

It's the least we can do for those in service to our country.

Clinton Macsherry


The writer is director of public policy for the Maryland Committee for Children Inc.

CT scans for cancer critically important

Thank you for the article by Stephanie Desmon on the pros and cons of lung cancer screening ("Lung test's value debated," Feb. 27). It is so important to get this information out to people at high risk.

Because the disease's symptoms usually do not become evident until it is too late, only 16 percent of lung cancer patients are diagnosed early and - not surprisingly - only 15 percent will survive five years. Most patients die within months of diagnosis.

Lung cancer kills more people each year than all other major cancers combined.

Everyone agrees that CT scanners can detect lung cancer at its earliest stage. At the moment, no other test can do so.

That is why it is so critically important to continue to perfect this technology and to fund researchers who are developing increasingly accurate methods for analyzing CT scans.

But, sadly, some of the doctors quoted in the article would rather just wait and see. This is not acceptable.

People at high risk for lung cancer should talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of CT scans and only go to an experienced screening site with a diagnostic protocol based on best practices in the field.

Laurie Fenton Ambrose


The writer is president and CEO of the Lung Cancer Alliance.

Wrong to bend truth to snare suspects

Maybe it's just my foggy, 60-year-old perspective on things, but something doesn't quite sit right with me in reading about Anne Arundel County Sheriff Ron Bateman, "who nabbed suspects using phony promises," being lauded for doing this in a special ceremony by elected delegates ("The stinger feels the sting," March 1).

In his campaign to cut down on the number of unserved warrants, the sheriff's tactics included using "phony tax refunds and Valentine's Day gift deliveries" to lure suspects.

The legislators were so impressed that they apparently saw fit to steal a page from the sheriff's book of tricks and lured him to a reception of their own to honor him for his "gimmicky stunts."

Time was when there seemed to be a consensus about what constituted honor and honesty and about the end not being justified by just any means.

But "the times they are a-changin'."

Jim Russell

Ellicott City

Tax hikes also boost burden on families

I had to chuckle when I read Gov. Martin O'Malley's quote about the state's lawsuit against Constellation Energy Group: "In this time of economic uncertainty for so many of our families, it is unfortunate that Constellation would seek to further boost its profits on the backs of the working people of our state" ("Md. aims lawsuit at utility," March 1).

Much the same could be said about the recent tax hikes he piled on those working families. But somehow that fact seems to be lost on Mr. O'Malley.

H. Mandelberg


Work-to-rule action sends a strong signal

Implementing work-to-rule and refusing to conduct after-school activities that are not part of our contract will remind parents, school board members and the Baltimore County executive that teachers do not routinely just work a seven-hour day ("Work-to-rule wrong protest for teachers," letters, Feb. 28).

The fact that county educators are not receiving a fair, across-the-board raise tells us that we are not appreciated.

Gas prices have skyrocketed, utility costs have soared and grocery prices rise daily.

Our mortgages don't get paid and our families don't get fed on dedication.

I have been a Baltimore County educator for 34 years.

Without a raise and with increased health care plan costs, I will be making less next year than I make this year.

That is unacceptable.

MaryLee A. Stritch


The writer is a library media specialist at Westowne Elementary School.

State tells some they can't marry

In his editorial notebook "Got religion?" (March 1), Michael Cross-Barnet states, "In America, each person decides where and how to live. No one tells us whom we can marry."

Would that saying it made it so.

But just ask any gay man or lesbian in Maryland whether that is true.

Nancy West


Israel scorned truce offered by Hamas

In December, Israel rejected a truce offer from Hamas that would have prevented the rocket attacks from Gaza noted in the letter "Right to retaliate for rocket attacks" (March 4).

But it's as if Israel couldn't resist an opportunity to demonstrate once again its superior ordnance, regardless of the deadly consequences to civilians.

And the letter's analogy between Mexico and Hamas is specious because Gaza is not a sovereign nation.

John Bailey


Sen. Obama inspires the youth of today

I agree with C. Fraser Smith that the political atmosphere today resembles the situation in the 1960s ("From the ashes of history, a new leadership class arises," Opinion

Commentary, March 2)

People want new leadership in government. And young people are passionate and willing to work for change.

As a young person, I appreciate the importance of bringing my generation into government.

And just as President John F. Kennedy inspired youths in 1960, Sen. Barack Obama inspires me today.

Nathan Weissler

Chevy Chase

The writer is an eighth-grader at the Katherine Thomas School in Rockville.

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