Dental CostsI would like to comment on the letter by Ken...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 02, 1993

Dental Costs

I would like to comment on the letter by Ken Wood May 20, "Dental Dilemma." While it is true that saving a badly decayed and abscessed tooth can be a financial burden to a patient without dental insurance or third party coverage, Mr. Wood's real problem was ignored.

It takes many months, if not years, for a tooth to decay to the point it needs endodontic (root canal) therapy and restoration with a full crown.

If a person went to the dentist for regular preventive maintenance appointments and maintained a thorough program of preventive oral hygiene, i.e., brushing, flossing, low sucrose diet, this could have been avoided.

All individuals must take responsibility for their own health status and must not take the health care establishment to task when they have failed themselves in protecting their own health.

National health insurance is secondary to individual responsibility, and we must not lose sight of the fact that the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," is as true today as when a pundit penned it.

Warren A. Brill, D.M.D.

Baltimore

Affordable Theater

I would like to respond to Glenn McNatt's timely column (May 16) on the difficulties arts institutions in Baltimore and across the nation face in attracting younger, less affluent, more culturally diverse audiences.

While McNatt wrote about the $1.4 million Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund grant recently awarded to Center Stage to attract these important new theatergoers, he completely ignored the wide range of programs Center Stage has instituted over the years to draw such audiences through its doors.

In an innovation now being imitated by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, for several years Center Stage has offered "pay what you can" performances for every production, literally inviting audiences to set their own ticket prices.

In addition, Center Stage tickets still unsold on the morning of any weeknight performance go on sale for half price -- not just to students and seniors, but to everyone -- making the day-of-performance ticket price as low as $5.

Even a full-price, advance sale ticket for a weeknight performance costs as little as $10 -- a lot closer to the $7 cost of a movie ticket than McNatt seems to believe.

McNatt's assertion that a standard night of theater in Baltimore costs $40 misrepresents many years of effort on Center Stage's part to make live theater an extremely affordable entertainment option for all the people of Baltimore.

While we were thrilled and gratified to have received the Lila Wallace grant, we feel it was awarded to us not just as a crucial means for future endeavor, but also as a vote of confidence for past achievement.

James Magruder

Baltimore

The writer is resident dramaturg at Center Stage in Baltimore.

No Drift at NEA

Your editorial "Power Vacuum at the NEA" (The Sun, May 24) seems to have been written from a vacuum itself.

While the president has yet to appoint a new chairperson, the agency has been operating at full throttle since his inauguration -- perhaps more efficiently than at any time in recent memory.

Contrary to your assertion, the endowment's current leadership has been working side-by-side with the administration and arts service groups to not only meet the needs of the nation's cultural community but to chart a course for the future.

We continue to make grants, leverage private support, invigorate the economy and make the arts available to more Americans.

But The Sun missed all this, just as it missed covering the endowment's two congressional hearings and the two recent National Council on the Arts meetings, any one of which could have helped set the record straight.

How does one reconcile the poignant testimony at the last council meeting by a Yuma, Ariz., elementary school principal who described the benefits and impact the endowment has had on the lives of her school children with your editorial describing an agency adrift?

When a chairperson is confirmed, he or she will find an agency whose momentum has already been engaged and a staff eager to build on a new outlook for federal funding of the arts.

Ginny Terzano

Washington, D.C.

The writer is public affairs director of the National Endowment of the Arts.

U.S., Canada Should Seek New NAFTA Pact

The May 18 editorial, "A Mexican Lesson for Bentley" has left not only me but many of my constituents puzzled.

What is the lesson I am supposed to have learned from Mexico? That the exploitation of foreign workers -- men, women and children -- is all right as long as their efforts are producing profits for absentee U.S. corporations?

The editorial representation that the Mexican worker is better off for this exploitation is worthy of Simon Legree, the villain of the anti-slavery novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe . . .

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