Act of kindness at Camden YardsEvery summer, I and a...

LETTERS

July 25, 1996

Act of kindness at Camden Yards

Every summer, I and a friend take our 12-year-old sons to Baltimore for a baseball weekend. We love coming to Camden Yards and watching the Orioles. This year we picked the Fourth of July weekend and the series with the Red Sox.

We had tickets for Thursday's game but none for the other games. Last year we backed into some pretty good seats from a somewhat aggressive ''street'' salesman, but this year opted to take a less aggressive approach. Not understanding the ticket buying etiquette in Baltimore, we made a small ''Need 4'' sign and set up near the parking lot entrance side of the stadium. We allotted 30 minutes before we planned to move to the ''no scalp'' zone and try our luck there.

Just before giving up our efforts, a gentleman approached us and indicated he had three tickets available. We told him thanks, but we really needed four, and to offer them to another couple that had just come upon us. He was genuinely concerned that we were not going to be able to find four tickets together and chose not to sell the three tickets to the other couple, but rather sold us all four including his own ticket. Not only did he not try to gouge us, he was willing to sacrifice his own ticket so that we would have four seats together.

We really enjoyed the game and the great seats. There are still great people out there! So if this letter makes the paper and if you, Rick Bells, see this, please know that two dads and two sons had a great time because of your special kindness. Thanks again.

Tony Withers

Raleigh, N.C.

Advising Dole shows chutzpah

For The Sun to give the Republicans -- and especially Bob Dole -- advice is chutzpah at its worst.

We know who The Sun's candidate is. Any advice you give to his opponents is, therefore, suspect.

Your July 7 editorial was particularly galling as you joined the Democrats and paranoid non-smokers in trying to make a political issue of Mr. Dole's really innocuous statement that "smoking is not always addictive." I find it surprising that anyone would argue the point since it is next to impossible to prove that anything is always true.

Your statistics on smoking were completely irrelevant as far as Mr. Dole's statement is concerned and only served to muddy the waters.

James R. Kniss

Aberdeen

Radio debate on Confederacy

In case there was any doubt on the part of your readers, I accepted Gregory Kane's challenge to debate him on local talk radio on the subject of Confederate heritage (column, June 22). We exchanged our respective views on WCBM's Les Kinsolving Show on June 25.

We had a cordial yet spirited debate, and I believe each of us came away from the experience with a better understanding of each other's position, and at least a tacit agreement to show mutual respect for each other's heritage in the future.

G. Elliott Cummings

Baltimore

The writer is commander, Maryland Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Charles Robinson reformed libraries

Almost single-handedly in the last 20 years, Charles Robinson has made the public library relevant and many librarians have never forgiven him.

David R. Allen (letter, July 6) is too young to remember libraries of the '40's and '50's. They were mostly old brick buildings staffed by librarians who were forced to worry about filing catalog cards, shelving books, overdues and lack of funds. They loved reading and helping the public, but had to be guardians of the books as well.

If you could find a current book on the shelf that you wanted to read that the library had purchased, you were lucky. The information desk may have had 10 questions an hour and felt over-worked.

Robinson decided to make libraries into people places, staffed by librarians who could devote themselves to the public and stocked with books patrons wanted to read or might need.

Down came old displays and up went bookstore-like shelves. Duplicate copies of best-sellers were purchased as well as books of lasting substance. Business sections were improved and depth added to all nonfiction areas.

Before long, librarians at the information desk were inundated with questions. There were often long lines of patrons to check out books. Whole families, many for the first time, left with armloads. Children's programs flourished, budgets were increased due to public demand and circulation boomed. Libraries became places of activity and the staff overburdened keeping pace.

Librarians in the state looked on in amazement at Baltimore County's circulation. Soon Robinson preached the gospel at library conventions throughout the country, where traditionalists wrung their hands and progressives asked, ''How do we begin`?

In his scatter-shot criticism, Mr. Allen blames the ''lame duck'' Baltimore County Library Board of Trustees for ''rubber stamping'' Robinson's decisions and suggests that the selection of board members be examined.

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