* In two letters to the editor about the Westminster Aero...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 02, 1993

* In two letters to the editor about the Westminster Aero Modelers that were published on Jan. 2 and Feb. 7, Gordon Schoen's name was mentioned. The writers were referring to remarks made by Gordon W. Schoen.

Home Talent

At a time when the Baltimore Opera Company is struggling to make ends meet and to establish good will, a policy of hiring local artists should be implemented when there is no compromise in quality.

For the last four years in the lobby of the Lyric Theatre during the opera performances, the Opera Guild has been selling an impressive recording of Verdi's "Macbeth" in which the music director of the Baltimore Opera, William Yannuzzi, a Baltimorean, conducts the excellent Polish National Radio Orchestra.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

The Lady Macbeth is Joan Sfekas-Karvelas, also a Baltimorean, who sings at the Athens Opera. The recording is thrilling and of high caliber. Why, then, has the Baltimore Opera not used these two artists these four years?

Verdi's "Macbeth" is coming next season but without these two artists. A Baltimorean, James Morris, will be Macbeth. I think he'd be proud to take part in a production in which all three principals are Baltimoreans. It is an inexcusable waste of money and talent, this case, to hire another conductor or dramatic soprano.

Georgia Lambrinos

Towson

How Slots Benefit Shore Charities

There have been several articles in the print media concerning slot machine gambling on the Eastern Shore.

And although there has not been any explicit condemnation of those activities in the articles, the tone and color of the stories seems to imply that there must surely be skulduggery afoot. Perhaps, as Paul Harvey likes to say, I can give you the "rest of the story."

First, one needs to recognize that the intent of the legislation that allowed slot machine use among the fraternal organizations of most of the counties of the Eastern Shore was for the betterment and welfare of its citizens.

The stereotype of dark shadowy figures associated with "gambling" is not congruous with thoughts of bettering the lives of our local citizens. So therefore, let's follow the process and see how it works.

First of all, contrary to the myths perpetuated by thoughts of "The Godfather," there is control.

Each slot machine has a tamper-proof coin counter. Secondly there is accountability. The coins removed from the machines are accounted for by men just like you and me who match the number of coins to the number on the machine.

They in turn report to a treasurer or secretary who checks their work. Then the money is divided equally (by law) between the club and local charitable organizations.

To see how this works, let's follow $100 through the machine. Of $100 played, $88 on average is returned to the players. (The fact that it's not always the same player who made the deposit that receives the winnings provides the allure of gambling.)

Of the $12 remaining, the operating organization is allowed to keep $6 to help pay for the lights, heat, roof repairs and so on, ad infinitum, that is necessary to keep the club in operation.

Now we come to "the betterment and welfare" of the local citizenry: The remaining $6 is distributed to the community, in a process that is both dictated by, and monitored by, the law.

In most cases, the sheriff's department is the monitoring organization. Donations can only be made to organizations and groups that are approved by the monitoring organizations. To insure this, semi-annual reports are required to be submitted. No reports, no machines.

Now let's take a real life example and see how it impacts on your life. Crisfield Elks Lodge 1044 is allowed by law to have five slot machines. During fiscal 1992, $558,787.25 was deposited in those machines.

Before continuing the story of the dollars it is vitally important to .. realize who put that money in those machines. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, just like every other private, fraternal organization, is governed by a very strict set of rules as to who may become a member.

Only members in good standing and their registered guests may enter the building. We are not a bar or any form of a public accommodation. We are a private, fraternal organization.

Who are the members? They are the fabric of society. They are doctors, lawyers, clerks, accountants, servicemen (and women), mechanics and so on. Ask the person standing next to you. Is he (or she) a member? Chances are the answer is yes.

Now back to the story of the dollars. Of the $558,787.25 played, $492,142.75 was returned to the players. Of the remaining $66,644.50, $33,336.75 was given to a wide variety of local charities. In case you are trying to make these numbers balance, don't. These are real figures, taken from a real report. (In real life the pennies may not always balance.)

The following is a list of where the Charity dollar has been spent by the Crisfield Elks Lodge No. 1044 from June 1992 to Nov. 1992:

$100.00 American Lung Association

162.90 Special Olympics

200.00 Mt. Pleasant Church

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