So tell Rover to stop yelping everytime you mention City Hall


November 16, 1994|By DAN RODRICKS

Census figures show that nearly 40 million Americans, or 15.3 percent of the population, were without health insurance sometime during 1993, and that's just one dynamic of the complex health care crisis on which Congress refused to act. But today This Just In wants you to know that not all politicians are so shortsighted. There's at least one right here in Baltimore who wants to do something about the health insurance crisis -- as it affects dogs and cats.

Monday night, Nick D'Adamo, city councilman from Baltimore's 1st District, introduced bill No. 1000 on "health and accident insurance for pets." I am not making this up! The bill notes a direct correlation between the health of pets and the health of their masters. OK, you say. Could be true. Fine. But so what?

"Medical costs for animals increased 183 percent from 1981 to 1986 in contrast to an approximate 59 percent increase for their masters," D'Adamo's resolution goes on. "There is a need to offset some of the expenses involved in the medical care of these valuable members of our households." The resolution asks the city's finance director -- as if Bill Brown isn't busy enough -- to "explore the animal health insurance policies now available" and the "appropriateness" of including insurance for dogs and cats -- and, we assume, ferrets -- in employee payroll deductions. Says Nick: "I feel some people treat their animals just as well if not better than their own kids, so I believe there ought to be some system for people to ease the pain of these high insurance costs." Where do we find such men?

Little left unsaid

Down at the Montgomery County election board over the weekend, reporters and politicos at the absentee ballot count conducted an informal poll. The question: At what point would state Sen. Howie Denis hit the 100-interview mark? Starting on Friday, Howie, running mate of Helen Delich Bentley in the Republican primary, spoke to the media on behalf of the Ellen Sauerbrey campaign at every opportunity. He never saw a mike he didn't like. He became a member of the Century Soundbite Club at 6:30 Sunday, during the evening news. Parris Glendening's Montgomery coordinator Barry Rubin won the pool. . . Helen and Howie might have lost the GOP primary in September, but they were not completely forgotten in the general election. Bentley-Denis received a write-in on an absentee ballot in Montgomery. But, alas, it was rejected because the voter did not punch out a perforated tab to show his choice. "It's been that kind of year for me," said Howie, who also served as campaign chairman for Bill Brock.

Deeds cloaked in secrecy

Saturday night at the Tall Cedars of Lebanon hall in Parkville, one celebrant observed that it was incredible so many wild people could assemble peacably under one roof. The event: Pepper's Cafe was sponsoring a reunion for the old gang from around Belair and Erdman. Into it crept a sizable number of excitable souls who grew up on nearby Elmley Playground, scene of much fun and folly from the late '50s through the '60s. Could have been the Improv, so many spontaneous jokes and zingers, so many guys laughing and holding their rib cages. Rick Christ recalled fondly the time he sneaked two jars of lightning bugs into the Vilma Theatre and turned them loose. "There were other, more serious stories, several true," says our pal Joey Amalfitano. "But the deeds shall be held secret due to there being no statute of limitations protection."

Sorry, Mr. Mayor

I meant no disrespect, but in Monday's column I failed to mention that Tommy Shanks is mayor of Melonville. His recent letter was not composed on official stationery, and I had forgotten about Mr. Shanks' position in that community. I regret the oversight.

Musical memories

Gene Belt, one of the great church musicians in town, walked into Brown Memorial United Presbyterian in Bolton Hill Sunday afternoon to a surprise service honoring him on his 40 years as music director. Several hundred fans and parishioners were there, and they presented Belt with a music fund of about $9,000. Old choir members and soloists performed. Michael McCabe, well-known religious composer, directed the choir in a special work just for the day. Belt also received a "book of memories" filled with anecdotes from his career. One, from a former pastor, told of the time relatives of a deceased parishioner asked Belt to play "Mack the Knife" during the funeral service. Belt resisted, then pacificed the mourners by weaving the tune into three standard hymns.

Quiet goes the Don

During his speech at Friday's dedication of the new Severn River bridge, Gov. William Donald Schaefer was going on and on -- as is his way -- when the Annapolis High School band walked by in single file. The students sported bright blue jackets and the audience started watching them instead of the gubernatorial lips. "And what is this parade?" the distracted governor said. "Not a single person is paying attention to me at all. I'm used to this. Nobody pays any attention to me." Then the governor, savoring every moment here in the last few months of his second term (and perhaps of his public life), noted the civic importance of events such as the bridge dedication. "You'll remember this," he said of the day. "You'll remember the governor talking and a bunch of people walking by."

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