I would like to congratulate Howard County Officer John McKissick for his quick thinking and prompt action in saving the life of toddler Gregory Williams Jr., who was choking on a piece of hot dog. I would like to thank The Sun for printing this story in a prominent place (Feb. 27), because it brings up two important points:
1. Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers should never eat hot dogs, peanuts or hard raw vegetables -- things that are difficult to chew fully and are the perfect size on which to choke. For this same reason, they should also never play with coins, buttons, paper clips, safety pins or other similar sized objects.
2. Officer McKissick saved Gregory's life with basic, simple, first aid and CPR techniques. If he had not intervened as he did, all the high technology, medicine and machinery in the hospital 15 minutes later would not likely have been able to save Gregory.
Experience in emergency rooms and intensive care units shows us again and again that it is the quality of the first response, often by non-medical personnel in the field, that will make the difference between life and death.
In cases of choking, drowning and heart attacks, the general public can save a life. This does not require years of intensive medical training. I urge everyone -- parents, children, teachers, day care providers, office workers, etc. -- to call their local Red Cross and sign up for a CPR course.
It is not difficult, it does not require technical skills, it is not terribly time-consuming, it is inexpensive and it could save a life.
Bonnie Orzech, M.D.
Revamping Troubled MVA
The only positive article, editorial or comment regarding the Motor Vehicle Administration was from a letter writer named Herb Butler.
He failed to mention his job is as the assistant director for field operations at the MVA. His comments might have been read with a different slant had he mentioned this cleverly omitted fact.
It is clear that the only permanent solution to providing true service and protection for the citizens of Maryland would be to privatize the agency and put its non-cash generating divisions in the hands of the existing Maryland Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Since that department may soon lose its insurance division (a good move) there may be plenty of experienced and qualified employees and enough already paid for space and resources to make this possible.
State legislative budget processes used to be full of invective. But before adjourning, some cuts and some tax increases resolved the yearly problem. The general public was silent.
Today is different. The mistrust is so great among the populace that leaders must give greater evidence of their intentions.
One does not need a poll to know that citizens will accept tax increases if necessary. What is not accepted is trust in the leadership. There is suspicion that the fat of the central bureaucracy is still there, particularly in the upper and middle management positions. If, indeed this bureaucracy has been made leaner, show it in detail.
Certainly, a function of a good state newspaper is to keep the populace informed not just in the generalities, but to provide the intricate evidence of this governmental process.
This will be the beginning of bringing back trust in leadership.
In his letter Feb. 28, Robert L. Hanley says, ''A national financial magazine recently named Maryland the third worst 'tax hell' in the U.S.''
The chart on which the article is based indicates that the reason is that Maryland has the most regressive income tax structure in the U.S.
According to the chart, no state has as high a top tax rate as Maryland's 7.5 percent (including piggyback surtax) for taxable income over $3,000.
Twenty-nine other states with income taxes do not apply their top tax rates until taxable income reaches $10,000 or (usually) higher.
James E. Werner
We were all a little taken aback when we learned of the latest TC test survey which showed U.S. students near the bottom in terms of achievement relative to many of our foreign neighbors. In these tough times, both financially and educationally, it is more important than ever for corporate America to step forward to create an educational partnership for the benefit of our future leaders.
We at Comcast Cablevision are attempting to do our small part, but more importantly we encourage and challenge our corporate colleagues to do the same. We thought about how we could help and felt that too often television is given the rap for diverting students from their studies. On the contrary, we know that TV when used correctly can be responsible for developing broad frames of reference in today's young people. So how could we encourage proper viewing habits, studying and an emphasis on educational achievement?