Program SuccessEditor: Your Jan. 5 article about the Pratt...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 17, 1992

Program Success

Editor: Your Jan. 5 article about the Pratt Library failed to mention that the literacy class Margaret Brown attended at the Broadway branch was operated by the city's Office of Employment Development as part of Project Independence.

Project Independence is a state program that helps AFDC recipients gain the skills needed to achieve self-sufficiency through employment. It serves approximately 1,700 city residents a year in literacy programs. Most of them take part in employment training programs once they have gained the basic literacy and computational skills needed to be successful. Many also study for and attain their general equivalency diploma.

Margaret Brown and many others like her benefit from the cooperative efforts that make Project Independence a success.

David Berney.

Baltimore.

The writer manages literacy services in the city Office of Employment Development.

Helmet Law

Editor: In his letter in The Sun (Jan. 6) Larry Harrison advocates letting the requirement to wear a motorcycle helmet remain optional.

He would rather refuse all tax-supported services to motorcyclists injured while not wearing a helmet. I agree with Mr. Harrison's call for personal responsibility, but his idea is not practical.

Maryland police, ambulance and shock-trauma hospital services are all tax supported, but it would be hard to leave a biker bleeding and unconscious in the street because he didn't have a helmet on.

Moreover, the force of impact is such that rescue workers can't always tell if the helmet was on the rider's head or strapped to the back of the motorcycle.

Maryland Medical Assistance currently pays for long and expensive stays at brain-injury rehabilitation hospitals.

Perhaps that could be denied, but what about vocational rehabilitation services and the Social Security disability payments that are likely to support the brain-damaged person the rest of his life?

These are federal funds from Marylanders' federal income and Social Security taxes, and our legislators have little control over how this money is spent.

There are many other state and federal services for disabled persons -- public assistance, mental health centers, nursing homes, adult day care, etc.

Our social system would have to change tremendously to deny these services to people because they didn't behave sensibly before the accident.

Simpler just to pass the helmet law and keep all that disability from happening in the first place.

Phebe Whitehead.

Baltimore.

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Head Injury Foundation.

q Not n

Editor: Referring to your Jan. 2 editorial, ''America 1992,'' be informed that it was Iraq which invaded Kuwait. Not Iran.

Albert Belitz.

Baltimore.

Senior Subsidy

Editor: As Baltimore County searches for ways to pay for its education programs, perhaps it is time to look carefully at the perks given to senior citizens in the form of hefty discounts on classes given by the Baltimore County public schools and community colleges.

We regular folks can pay up to three times what a senior pays, and must compete equally with them for space in most of these classes.

Also of concern is whether the course fees fully cover costs when many seniors enroll at the lower fee.

Seniors are special people, but so are our children and their teachers who would like to be paid their full salaries.

Ann McNeil.

Phoenix.

Protest from Victims' Family

Editor: We, the surviving members of the Pieczonki family tragedy, are lodging a strong protest against two articles dated Oct. 20 and Dec. 12, 1991, and entitled respectively, ''Henry Howard: a life reclaimed?'' and ''Man who killed his family will rejoin society.''

The information obtained by your reporter was based on interpretations of life experiences by one whose memory and judgment has been out of touch with reality since childhood.

Statements made by those providing treatment to Henry are also based primarily on his unrealistic interpretations of life experiences.

At no time did the psychiatric institute responsible for his care or your reporter contact the family spokesperson, identified early in the patient's confinement, for clarification of any issues.

Our memories of family members murdered by Henry are much different from those portrayed in the articles.

Yes, they were troubled, but they also were gentle and harmless.

Our 90-year-old wheelchair-bound grandmother tried hard to protect and care for her children. Even as her health and financial situation deteriorated, she refused to live with a married daughter because she felt they could not survive without her help.

Other family members visited at least weekly to bring groceries and generally help around the house. We had the family evaluated by a Baltimore City social worker and were assured that, although their standard of living was not at a level acceptable to us, they were coping and it was their choice.

Since birth, because his mother was unable to care for him, Henry was primarily in foster homes with occasional visits to the family home.

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