Mental health pilot project a good startA May 11 Evening...

the Forum

May 20, 1994

Mental health pilot project a good start

A May 11 Evening Sun story appears to be good news for 300 mentally ill persons who will be the ultimate beneficiaries of a multi-service pilot program to be administered by the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Funds for the project are to be channeled, according to the announcement, through two sources: the Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and the North Baltimore Mental Health Service.

Residing in the community, the 300 clients will be the recipients of a vast array of services, including psychiatric and psychological care, assistance in living arrangements and counseling by social workers.

Even so, consequential savings are anticipated when one compares the estimated cost of $29,000 a year per person living in the community with $100,000 expended for institutional care.

As laudable as the objectives of the project are, one or two nagging questions persist.

Will the two selected agencies in and of themselves be able to provide the necessary services, considering the numbers involved and geographic area to be covered?

More than likely, other agencies will have to be called upon; but to what extent, if any, have they been involved in the planning?

More vexing, perhaps, are the past experiences of the 200 clients already living in the community; and the hundreds and hundreds additionally who over the past decade or so have been discharged from the mental hospitals.

If millions of dollars have been saved thereby, where have these savings gone and why have not these individuals received similar consideration?

Had they done so, perhaps we would not learn of so many living in unsupervised, uncertified homes, or seeing them wandering the streets aimlessly or crowding emergency rooms. The pilot project is meritorious in its objectives, but considerably more needs to be done.

Abner Kaplan


Pine Ridge II

I thought that John Steadman's column on Pine Ridge II (April 29) was excellent. It stated the Wakefield Improvement Association voted against the plan 28-to-4.

The punch line was the last paragraph. The Wakefield Improvement Association will be holding a golf outing -- at Pine Ridge in July.

HTC Speaking for several thousand disappointed Pine Ridge golfers, I would say we needed their vote, not their outing.

Jerome L. Feeley Jr.


Wasted energy

Your May 10 article about the defeat of the gay partnership bill mentioned black ministers picketing City Hall in opposition.

Wouldn't their time and energy be better served in the matters of teen pregnancy, crime, drugs, etc.?

R. Gale


Thanos' end

It's ironic that John Thanos had a peaceful, pain-free death when decent citizens are often faced with painful lingering deaths. Dr. Jack Kevorkian is on the right track.

oseph Davidson


Isn't it chilling that on the very night of the execution of John Thanos, who murdered three people, two of them during a robbery, police report three more killings, two of which were also committed during a robbery?

Bruce W. Shaffer


Your editorial "The Costs of Execution" (May 15) apparently was written by someone who doesn't understand the victims' families' devastating feelings.

According to a recent poll conducted in Maryland, 80 percent of those contacted approved the death penalty in the John Thanos case.

Any killing by a criminal is barbaric and has a terrifying effect on society. To help the victims' families and society in general the death penalty is best.

In order to reduce the monetary costs to our government it would be better to limit the legal appeals for a death sentence. Keeping a killer in jail for 30 years costs the taxpayer approximately $600,000.

D. B. Chance


Chamberlin's mistake was being No. 2

Today is the 67th anniversary of a historic flight that caused air travel to take off and is a classic example of the importance of coming in first.

Everyone recognizes the name Charles A. Lindbergh, the "Lone Eagle," the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean -- from New York to Paris -- in 1927.

But whoever heard of Clarence D. Chamberlin? He accomplished that feat only two weeks after Lindbergh.

But since he was the second, Chamberlin was totally forgotten.

Lindbergh became world-famous.

The U.S. government sent a cruiser to France to bring him and his plane home -- not wanting to take a chance of losing him on a return flight.

He was showered with medals and honors all around the world. '' He was given a spectacular ticker tape parade in New York City that was not rivaled again until the astronauts landed on the moon decades ago.

Not having won fame, Clarence Chamberlin toured the U.S. in his old, rickety two-wing plane, selling rides for $2.

I pedaled my bike up to Curtis Wright Airport on Smith Avenue (no longer there) and flew over and around Baltimore City in the shaking plane with the man who soloed across the Atlantic.

Chamberlin's plane ultimately fell apart, and he died in obscurity 1976 at the age of 83.

He was unknown and unremembered, except by his $2 customers.

Philip A. Rapisarda


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