NASCAR means big money for BaltimoreI enjoyed Elise...


October 09, 1997

NASCAR means big money for Baltimore

I enjoyed Elise Armacost's opinion on NASCAR's traffic problem (Sept. 28). I'm one of those white-collar types who gravitated to NASCAR during the baseball strike.

If Ms. Armacost thought crawling along U.S. 13 is bad, I've been in a four-hour standstill at Michigan International Speedway on Father's Day and five-hour backups in the Poconos. But race tracks in Talladega (Alabama) and Indianapolis move 200,000 people like they were 200.

The point of this letter is not to agree about a traffic problem you would expect at any major event.

I'm glad Ms. Armacost noticed she was not properly dressed in race wear. How much money do you think is spent on hats, T-shirts, programs and other team merchandise at the track and surrounding communities by 100,000 people? I bet there wasn't a hotel available that weekend within 50 miles around Dover. Before big races every restaurant is packed. Everybody does a booming business. Cars need gas, gas stations sell snacks, etc.

What would the admissions tax be on an $80 race ticket multiplied by 100,000, or the sales tax on $12 million of merchandise and restaurant and beverage sales, or the gas and cigarette taxes collected on 40,000 cars and 50,000 smokers?

Are we getting the big picture yet? If the World Series comes to town for three days, should we stop it because of traffic and parking problems? Whatever NASCAR is, it's big money and gearing up for the 21st century. What's wrong with Baltimore doing the same?

Alex P. Gross

Owings Mills

Letter misnamed Carroll book's author

A letter to the editor concerning the Carroll family misspelled an author's name. Sister Virginia Geiger, Ph.D., of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland wrote the work about Daniel Carroll.

Annette Duffy Heaps

Ellicott City

Children deserve equal opportunity

Our Declaration of Independence speaks of ''life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'' Today, we strive for equal opportunity.

Only when a mother-to-be has medical supervision and keeps her body free from drugs, alcohol and nicotine -- and the child then is nurtured with love and sober good judgment -- can that child actually have an equal opportunity.

Marjorie L. Sutton

Severna Park

A wonderful article on an imperfect city

Kudos to Kate Shatzkin for putting into words what all of us who love Baltimore have seen and felt for a very long time in her article, ''A Beautifully Imperfect City'' (Oct. 3).

While I have been to many cities that may have been more cosmopolitan, alluring and generally more of a put-on, it is always Baltimore that has owned my heart. The images she described were classic contemporary Baltimore.

I have never been to Seattle; however, everyone I have spoken to who has says it is indeed a beautiful city, and I have no doubt that it is. But the beauty of cities, like people, is not just their cosmetic appearance. It is the sum total of its appearance, the people who make up that city, their customs, their nuances and yes, their imperfections.

Tyrone Hill


What a great op-ed article by Kate Shatzkin, ''A beautifully imperfect city.'' Her tilt for Baltimore over Seattle was positive and honest, critical and touching. I, too, love Baltimore, but I could not have said it so well.

This week, the Greater Baltimore Alliance launched a new effort to market the Baltimore metro area.

They would do well to include Ms. Shatzkin's article in their materials.

James D. Tschechtelin Baltimore

The writer is president of Baltimore City Community College.

Sun was late marking Rosa Ponselle's centennial

Finally, on Sept. 26, The Sun saw fit to recognize the centennial of Rosa Ponselle's birth, although it took the issuance of a U.S. postage stamp and two weekend memorial events to precipitate a short article.

Two days before Ponselle's birthday Jan. 22, I called The Sun to ask if an article was planned. When I learned that none was, I called the Baltimore Opera, suggesting that someone place a bouquet at Rosa's portrait at the Lyric, thus at least providing a photo opportunity. Nothing came of either call.

The only recognition of Ponselle's 100th birthday that I am aware of was an article in the January issue of Baltimore magazine, one that was unsatisfying to me. Author Kathleen Renda relied too heavily on the ramblings of Elayne Duke, custodian of the Ponselle estate, which includes the diva's $2.5 million bequest to endow opera in Baltimore.

My only connection to Rosa Ponselle is as an opera lover, who appreciates that the first American singer at the Met spent 40 years in Baltimore, giving unstintingly of her talents. Her voice can be heard on a number of CDs, and a fitting memorial is listening to that magnificent sound. Perhaps the Baltimore Opera, with its audience of Ponselle devotees, could make these CDs available for purchase during the coming season. The Sun could honor the great diva with an article by its fine critic, Stephen Wigler, a writer who could do justice to her legend.

Mary P. Johnson

Severna Park

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