A long legacy of integrated theaterYour Aug. 30 editorial...

LETTERS

September 05, 1996

A long legacy of integrated theater

Your Aug. 30 editorial describes Arena Players as ''the first integrated theater company in Baltimore.'' Not true.

For a few years in the mid-1940s The Baltimore Interacial Fellowship House hosted the integrated ''Greenwich Theater`, led by Lanny and Vee Chilton. In the early 1950s, I recall rehearsing ''Outward Bound'' at Fellowship House with Sam Wilson and Mary Carter before she became a Smith. We eventually put on the play on All Souls Episcopal Church. . . .

Arena Players nonetheless has become the first permanent, integrated theater primarily giving expression to the black experience, while providing theater experience to still discriminated against African Americans.

It would be sad if Marylanders, white and black, fail to meet Arena's relatively modest -- but desperate -- needs. I hope local folk will attend Arena's Sept. 7 fundraiser.

A. Robert Kaufman

Baltimore

Kemp didn't 'weasel' to avoid service

I read with interest the letter (Aug. 28, "Where was Kemp when duty called?") from my good friend John B. DeHoff concerning Jack Kemp's physical disqualification from military duty at the time of the 1961 Berlin crisis.

As a unit commander in Europe during World War II, commander of an Army Reserve unit recalled to active duty for the Korean War and commander of an Army Reserve unit during the Vietnam war, I have been thoroughly familiar with the matter of service obligation discussed by Dr. DeHoff. I have learned to accept the decisions of medical personnel in both directions; that is, to remain in service or not to enter service. I have had medical personnel refuse to allow a soldier to remain on duty although he and I both desired that he do so.

It is my understanding that Jack Kemp's case went to the surgeon general for final decision because of his status as a highly regarded football player. I can only trust the decision of such a medical professional.

As for qualification for a military transportation unit, that is a decision for the unit commander. During the Vietnam war, when there was tremendous pressure to enroll personnel in the Army Reserve, qualification took precedence over all other factors in my unit. I am sure any conscientious and ethical unit commander would do the same.

I believe that presenting oneself for service and being turned down on a physical basis is a far cry from ''weaseling'' out of the civilian draft by making false statements that are later renounced.

Perhaps Dr. DeHoff should criticize his medical colleagues instead of the person affected by their decisions.

Frank B. Hall

Baltimore

Dogs, too, deserve compassion

In your Aug. 29 editorial ("$43,000 pooch"), you indicated that Barney, the Baltimore County Fire Department search dog who has selflessly rescued 40 people, is a ''lower form of life.'' You further wondered why Barney grabs more of our hearts than many fellow humans.

You have obviously failed to recognize that people have a tendency to elevate heroes, be they human or animal.

Rather than make an unproductive and potentially damaging statement involving justified compassion for an animal hero in need, you would have been better served by stressing the need for tenderness and sensitivity for all of the Lord's creations. This simple adjustment would have been far more effective and much less offensive.

Yale Kellman

Owings Mills

Exurbia dream turns to traffic nightmare

It is dismaying that Maryland Transportation Secretary David Winstead equates economic growth with new highway construction, when Vancouver, British Columbia, has decided that highway construction for commuter traffic was antithetical to economic growth.

For the first time in 10 years I have been an auto commuter from exurbia this summer. I had forgotten how horrible it is. You have a choice of getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic at peak hours or going home late when work crews are out fixing the Interstates.

If Winstead and the Maryland Department of Transportation really think of commuters (and not land developers, contractors or the hamburger fraternity), why not extend the Baltimore light rail 10 miles southeast from its proposed BWI terminus to meet the Washington Metro at Greenbelt?

Paul R. Schlitz Jr.

Joppa

Adequate facilities has many benefits

I strongly urge the Baltimore County government to adopt an adequate public facilities law, including requirements that any proposed development projects for new housing have adequate, undeveloped, public space (forests, woods, etc.) within walking distance of the homes. Such provisions would confer several important benefits to the county's residents.

It would increase the resale value of our homes by providing them with shaded, natural air-conditioning and beautiful wildlife. It would decrease juvenile crime by providing easy access for youngsters to the relaxing and grounding effects of nature.

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