Columbus CenterWe were pleased to see your Feb. 24...


March 13, 1995

Columbus Center

We were pleased to see your Feb. 24 editorial, "Down on the Fish Farm," giving out kudos for those involved in securing a recent $3 million Department of Commerce grant for a Maryland company.

While we join you in saluting most participants, we were surprised to see the "biotechnology department of the University of Maryland College Park" credited as the local scientific participant.

One day prior, The Sun's Frank Roylance correctly credited the Center of Marine Biotechnology (COMB) of the university's independent Biotechnology Institute . . .

Approximately 20 percent of the grant will fund ongoing COMB research at the new Columbus Center on Piers 5 and 6.

Last June 22, while the proposals for this Israeli-American initiative were in preparation, your paper reported that a tour of Columbus Center under construction prompted the chairman of Israeli's Biotechnology Commission to say, "After seeing what I saw this morning, I have no concerns. I have no fear that the project will not go through." Therefore, all the public and private supporters of Columbus Center deserve praise for supporting an investment in unique marine research that is now starting to pay off significantly in economic development . . .

Stan Heuisler


The writer is the president and chief executive officer of the Columbus Center.

Hollywood Dreams

Sen. Phil Gramm's suggestion that President Clinton drop the surgeon general-nominee, Dr. Henry W. Foster, "for a Dr. Welby, M.D." exposes a slightly flawed view of reality that is reminiscent of former Vice President Dan Quayle's attack on television character Murphy Brown.

It seems that House Speaker Newt Gingrich also suffers under a similar illusion.

To support his notion that welfare children be placed in orphanages he offered the movie "Boys Town" as proof. Even the baseball strike might be solved if, according to Mr. Gingrich, only the players and owners would sit down to watch "Field of Dreams."

Is this the legacy left by Ronald Reagan who, after all, really was a Hollywood movie star?

Geoffrey Mudge


TV Freebies

Several recent letters have dealt with the central role public television plays in the TV viewing diet of many families.

Jeffrey Hayes (Feb. 11) correctly concludes that "public television provides a crucially important final refuge for the education and the welfare of all our children."

And Phyllis Zemlack (Jan. 31) is right when she writes that "television has more of a responsibility to us and our children to show quality programs." But they shouldn't write commercial TV off -- or let it off the hook -- so quickly.

In 1990, Congress passed the Children's Television Act, which requires commercial TV stations to broadcast educational programs for children as a condition of license renewal.

Maryland has the only statewide campaign in the nation committed to ensuring that local commercial TV stations air high-quality programs for kids.

Report cards grading stations broadcasting in Maryland (including Washington, D.C., stations) on how they are doing show there's been slight improvement over the past two years, but there's still a long way to go.

Television can enrich children's minds. Public television has shown that programs can teach and entertain at the same time.

And let's not forget that it isn't only public TV that is getting what some are calling a "free ride" (through federal support). Commercial TV stations are using the airwaves for free to earn substantial profits. In exchange they are supposed to serve the public interest.

We need to make it clear to commercial stations that we expect them to serve our children as well.

LaTanya Bailey Jones


The writer is director, Maryland Campaign for Kids' TV.

Not the Subway

You refer to the "Subway massacre" in a headline (Feb. 18). I was once a regular rider of the "subway."

For the sake of correctness, the crime in question took place on the Long Island Railroad. The Long Island Railroad has no connection whatsoever with the New York subway system.

Hyman Blumenstock


Museum Loans

On a recent visit to the Baltimore Museum of Art, I was struck by the exquisite quality of the selection of prints from the Lucas collection on exhibit. I agree that every effort should be made to keep the collection in Baltimore.

Clearly the BMA considers the collection to be of great value and central to its mission as a museum. It argues that it has built its collection around the Lucas collection.

The Maryland Institute is holding a non-working asset which could be converted into an endowment which would generate income to fund educational program.

For the BMA to argue that it is entitled to the collection because it has incurred the cost of maintaining it, is rather like suggesting that anyone who maintains a loaned car is entitled to keep it.

It is always the responsibility of the borrower to maintain the thing borrowed.

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