WIC feeds poor women and childrenYour editorial, "The new...

the Forum

December 14, 1990

WIC feeds poor women and children

Your editorial, "The new homeless" (Nov. 30), made mention of the fact that the state does not contribute any funds to the WIC program.

Since then, I have learned that funding for the WIC program is the Maryland Food Committee's top legislative priority for 1991-1992. If the state could find funds to cover the administrative costs of enrolling more participants who are eligible, federal funds would pay for the food. Hungry Maryland women and children were unable to use $40,000 in federal WIC money in 1989 because of the lack of state commitment.

Nineteen other states and the District of Columbia do provide funding to supplement the federal program. And New York legislators actually found a way to increase the level of state funding, even in the face of a budget deficit.

The legislators in New York are not fiscally irresponsible. They know that every prenatal dollar spent by WIC saves three dollars in health care costs during the first year of life. That's an immediate financial payoff that must be called to the attention of those officials who are at work on the budget now.

There is one other payoff that cannot be measured by dollars. If more money can be found for WIC, perhaps Maryland can relinquish its spot as the state with the 10th worst infant mortality rate in the nation.

Malissa Ruffner


Do it now!

At a time when the economy is in a downturn and nearly everyone's income is being affected through higher taxes, how can Gov. Schaefer justify a salary increase for himself of 41 percent to $120,000 a year, along with salary increases of 38 percent to 56 percent for the lieutenant governor, comptroller, treasurer and secretary of state?

This salary increase makes Governor Schaefer one of the highest-paid governors in the country.

I don't believe that the governor's salary commission, which recommended the increases at a time when the economy was in an upturn, would make the same recommendations today. Comptroller Goldstein and Lt. Gov. Steinberg agree that a smaller pay raise at this time "would indicate a sensitivity to the current circumstances."

Do it now, Governor Schaefer! Reduce your pay increase below 4 percent.

Frank J. Weber


Artists of tomorrow

Noticeably absent from the Nov. 30 "Opportunity Unlimited" art program, an exhibit of the work of the youth incarcerated at the Charles H. Hickey Jr. School, were reporters from Maryland's major news media. For those denied a chance to see or read about this event, I offer the following report.

Upon walking through the portals of Unit 17, where the tutoring program is located, guests were greeted warmly by Patricia Hanges, a retired Baltimore police major who is currently an advocate for the Hickey School's students. Sr. Patricia Mary Bianco, director of the program, led the guests upstairs where, at the entrance to the exhibit, was a mural on which was painted a huge representation of Diana Ross' face, murals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson, watercolor cartoons, pencil sketches of well-known personalities, denim jeans and jackets painted with designs and embossed with glitter, verses handwritten in calligraphy, accentuated throughout with plants. In the "cubbies" along the far wall, some of the artists were working on current projects. They talked with guests who stopped to chat with them. It was obvious that the students had put a lot of hard work, care and love into their art.

However, it was the mural adjacent to the exit that best communicated the message of what had been experienced that day at the Hickey School: a portrait of a familiar-looking face, upturned and smiling, almost laughing, labeled simply: "Jesus Smiling."

Gail M. Fennessey


AH Hopkins' stance

Your story Dec. 6 ("Senator backs HIV test for surgeons") contains a serious distortion of information given to your reporter by Hopkins.

Let me try again to set the record straight: At no time did Hopkins propose legislation that would require surgeons an other physicians infected with AIDS virus to tell hospital officials.

Your reporter's repetition of that language already has led to charges that Hopkins is rushing ahead in a "crisis" mode with legislative proposals for reporting or screening of patients and surgeons.

Hopkins has not proposed legislation of any kind to anyone. What Hopkins' officials did tell your reporter was that they woul consider supporting some legislation or regulation requiring self-reporting, but that there are a variety of options, none of them yet discussed formally at Hopkins and certainly none decided upon at this time.

Given that Hopkins has been in the forefront of AIDS research and patient care for much of the past decade and is exquisitely sensitive to the complex issues involved in reporting, screening and the biology of the AIDS virus, doesn't it seem absurd to suggest that it is suddenly rushing to propose legislation?

Joann Rodgers

The writer is director of media relations of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

Rebutting Linowes

Robert Linowes is wrong. The average person does not want any new taxes. If The Evening Sun's Nov. 30 survey wer conducted over the entire state, the results would probably be the same. No new taxes.

As Maryland is now one of the most heavily taxed states in the U.S., an $800 million tax increase is outrageous.

But spendthrift Gov. William Donald Schaefer is spending many millions on buildings, golf courses, rapid rail (which has some merit) and, worst of all, a totally unnecessary stadium for a rich team owner. At the same time he complains he does not have enough money for schools, the homeless and the poor. Something is very wrong here.

Thomas A. Clift


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