Rail merger could lighten road cargoConcerns about the...

SATURDAY MAIL BOX

November 22, 1997

Rail merger could lighten road cargo

Concerns about the deterioration of highway bridges and infrastructure expressed in your Nov. 13 article, "One-third of nation's bridges deficient," underscore one of the primary reasons why Marylanders should support the CSX and Norfolk Southern proposal to acquire Conrail.

Trucking, not rail, currently dominates shipping in the crowded eastern United States.

If approved by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board, the Conrail acquisition will streamline eastern rail routes and allow the railroads to effectively compete for a part of the overall freight business now handled by trucks.

Shippers, who transport goods through Baltimore and other ports up and down the East Coast, will enjoy speedier rail service and are expected to divert tons of freight from the highways to the rails.

With 31 percent of Maryland's highway bridges found to be deficient, according to Federal Highway Administration data, increased rail usage will go a long way to lessen highway congestion and reduce further damage to our bridges.

Steve Thienel

Baltimore

The writer is a regional vice president of CSX Corp.

Keep pay phones easy to use

Bell Atlantic's decision to increase pay phones' cost by 10 cents isn't going to break the bank. It will be inconvenient, however, for those of us who use public phones mostly in an emergency (car breakdown, lost, etc.).

Every adult should have a phone calling card for this, and I do.

My problem is that my kids (really it's me as a concerned parent) depend on pay phones. My kids call from school, the mall, movies, community events, etc. to let me know what's going on.

I'll try to remember to stick some dimes along with the quarters I give them all the time. However, Bell Atlantic has done a disservice to parents and the community.

I know, it's only a dime. It's the kid who needs to call home who's short that dime who worries me.

Alex P. Gross

Owings Mills

Destroying woods does not improve them

My sympathy to the folks in Butler, whose neighbor sold his woods to a logging company.

Several years ago, the beautiful watershed woodland property at Loch Raven was invaded in much the same way by loggers hired to "thin the forest" in order to make the woods healthier. The result was disastrous.

The loggers buy only the most valuable trees, those with the tallest, straightest trunks, and leave behind everything else; large limbs, stumps and the smaller, less desirable trees which are destroyed in the process.

It was heart-breaking to walk through the once beautiful woods and see the destruction.

I suppose it is true that a property owner is free to do what he wishes with his woodland but, for heaven's sake, call it what it is, a means of making money, not a way to make the woods more healthy.

It's almost like having all one's teeth extracted in order to prevent cavities.

Pat Schwartz

Glen Arm

Masonic heritage involves building

On Oct. 20, The Sun published my letter congratulating Peter Angelos on his decision to purchase and preserve the 1869 Masonic Temple, including its priceless 1909 interiors, which are still 90 percent intact.

Now that Mr. Angelos will not be the conservator of that Baltimore landmark, let us hope that the Masonic leadership will not strip the building anew or sell it to someone who would. Since Masonry is based upon architecture, that would be contrary to every principle of the organization.

The Masons of 1869 and 1909 were master builders. The Masons of 1997 should not be destroyers.

John Maclay

Baltimore

Touring city isn't what it should be

Recently I joined a convention group that included people from all over the United States on an 11-day tour of Baltimore that was conducted by a company from Washington.

Baltimore is trying to promote itself as a convention city, therefore I was particularly interested in what tour guides show tourists and how service people treat out-of-town visitors in our beloved city.

I was somewhat disappointed in the tour because the uniqueness of Baltimore was not emphasized, nor what makes Baltimore and its history different from other cities.

The tour-guide booklet about where to eat and what to do in Baltimore was outdated. The elevators did not operate in one couple's hotel, so to catch the tour bus they had to walk down 19 flights of steps. One visiting tourist went to the Baltimore Museum of Art on a rainy Friday and had to wait 2 1/2 hours for a taxi to return to her hotel.

How are we going to attract new conventions if we don't shape up and have current guide books available, buildings mechanically equipped to handle heavy use, enough taxis to accommodate convention crowds in and about the city, plus hotel staff, waitresses, cab drivers, etc., who are trained to know it is what's up front that counts and that they are ambassadors for their city?

Gretchen L. Schlenger

Baltimore

Riley will keep two-term promise

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