Watch the Fireworks on the Fourth
Editor: July 4 will be particularly joyful this year as we celebrate our success in the gulf war and the renewed pride of all Americans. We are most proud of our most important resource -- our children. We need to protect our kids by celebrating the Fourth safely and appropriately. This includes the careful handling and viewing of fireworks.
Citing the dangers and injuries associated with fireworks, the American Academy of Pediatrics urges that public sales of all fireworks be prohibited.
The academy says that the loss of life, health and money are almost entirely preventable by removing all fireworks from the hands of everyone except professionals.
Parents and community leaders should also be educated about the dangers of Class C, the so-called ''safe and sane'' fireworks. This includes fountains and candles, which shoot sparks and flaming balls, bottle rockets, other rockets, sparklers and smoke devices. Parents should be encouraged to attend public fireworks displays rather than purchase fireworks for home use.
Sparklers, which are widely-held to be safe, cause 19 percent of fireworks-related injuries. Although most sparkler injuries are minor burns and corneal abrasions, sparklers can reach temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit at the tip and cause serious burns by igniting clothing.
The AAP estimates that 20 people died in 1989 as a direct resulof injuries caused by fireworks or fires they caused. Hands (32 percent), head (18 percent), legs (15 percent) and eyes (14 percent) were body parts most often involved. About one-third of eye injuries resulted in permanent blindness.
These facts are very disturbing. Let's protect our kids this summer and leave the fireworks to the professionals.
Daniel J. Levy, M.D.
The writer is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland.
Editor: Your June 14 editorial, ''Protecting Woodlawn-Liberty Road,'' was well done and timely.
The Woodlawn-Liberty Road plan is different from any othecommunity plan that has ever been designed in Baltimore County. Most previous plans have relied heavily on describing a land use component for a particular community. We decided that a more systematic approach was required to address the needs of established communities, identifying resources and human needs and then processes that could be established to apply the resources to the needs.
Another key determination made early in the process was that this plan would be largely drafted through community participation. Meetings of advisory committees and subcommittees were conducted from November of 1989 through this May.
I am very proud of this process and would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people involved in bringing the plan to this point.
I would like to call your attention to a statement that was made about an ''unwanted striptease club'' in the Liberty Road area. You claim that happened because ''strictest enforcement is not practiced.''
As is apparent by the results of the final court action, enforcement was practiced by the county Office of Law, Office of Zoning, the Police Department and the Fire Department. I would like to say that those agencies were vigilant in their enforcement of the law; however, as you well know, persons in this system are innocent until proven guilty.
While the legal system is cumbersome and people were hurt to some degree as a result of that, the good news is that the system does work. The rights of the plaintiff, the county and the citizens, were protected and the rights of the defendant, the person ultimately found guilty, were protected. He did have his day in court.
A vigilant community that works diligently with public officials can address neighborhood problems.
Melvin G. Mintz.
The writer represents the Second District in the Baltimore County Council.
Editor: We agree that the failure of Baltimore Republicans to attract major candidates for each of the three city-wide offices is a disappointment. It has been almost 30 years since a Republican filled any of these positions, and half a century since a Republican sat on the City Council.
During the past few years, however, while cutting the voter registration deficit from over 11 Democrats for each Republican to less than 9 to 1, we had managed to assemble a fine grass-roots farm system for candidates in Northeast Baltimore, which was successfully and deliberately demolished by worried City Council members in that area in the recent unpleasant redistricting brouhaha.
The Republican Party is currently at the forefront of a movement to place on referendum the question of single-member City Council districts, a highly labor-intensive petition drive you have repeatedly urged us to pursue.
For the two-party system to truly flourish, or even survive, in our city, we need everyone's help. Constant, fair and in-depth reporting of candidates and issues by local media is what creates voter interest and participation.