School group regrets condition of the Poly trackI would...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 31, 1999

School group regrets condition of the Poly track

I would like to respond to Dorothy Lee-Doyle's letter ("Better facilities needed for city kids, schools," May 17) concerning the condition Baltimore Polytechnic High School's track during the private school track and field championships we held in early May.

The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) requested use of the Poly track and stadium from the school's director of athletics, Mark Schlenoff.

Mr. Schlenoff made it very clear to the MIAA that our use of this facility was contingent on the MIAA following a number of procedures.

The bathrooms in the stadium were out of order because of a broken water pipe. The MIAA elected to pay an hourly rate to a custodian to keep the facilities open in the main building.

The facilities, however, had not yet been cleaned and should not have been used by the public.

Mr. Schlenoff also made it clear to MIAA officials that the stadium and track area would have to be cleaned. For the most part, this was accomplished with the help of the individual teams.

The majority of the trash pile stacked against the stadium seating was from an independent caterer operating a concession stand who failed to remove his trash.

After we were contacted by Mr. Schlenoff, this garbage was removed by officials and students of the Gilman School.

The stadium and track area were more than adequately clean and safe for spectators when the meet began.

Although the garbage was not produced by MIAA athletes or officials, the MIAA assumes all responsibility for the condition of the facility after its use.

We sincerely regret any inconvenience or embarrassment this may have caused Mr. Schlenoff or Poly.

Rick Diggs, Pasadena

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association.

Price controls on drugs could hurt cancer battle

For the second year in a row, cancer incidence and deaths have declined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Clearly, efforts on the part of so many in the cancer community -- from physicians to patient advocates to industry -- have begun to pay off.

Now, when we may finally be gaining on this disease, we need to do everything possible to encourage further research.

That's why I was alarmed to learn of a bill pending in Congress, "The Prescription Drug Fairness for Seniors Act of 1999," which seeks to impose price controls on prescription drugs. The bill is sponsored by Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.

While well intentioned -- its goal is to make medicines more affordable for senior citizens -- the bill would hurt seniors and cancer patients by discouraging the research that provides our best hope of ever winning the war on cancer.

The bill would impose price controls on more than 40 percent of the pharmaceutical market.

At a time when more than 350 new cancer medicines (for both prevention and treatment) in the research pipeline, drug price controls would discourage investment in private-sector pharmaceutical research, which costs hundreds of millions of dollars for every drug brought to market.

It's important to help seniors gain access to medicines. But let's do it in a way that doesn't hurt more than it helps.

Carolyn R. Aldige, Alexandria, Va.

The writer is president and founder of the Cancer Research Foundation of America.

Cabs and buses need working seat belts, too

Over the Memorial Day weekend, we are instructed to "buckle up" for safer driving. Here in Maryland, we'd do well to "tighten up" our existing seat belt law.

Most fliers believe the greatest peril in air travel is the drive to the airport. This is very true when the airport is Baltimore-Washington International.

Rarely do I find a cab with working seat belts for the drive to the airport. When I mention their absence to the driver (who himself is unbelted), the reply is generally fatalistic. Cabs and buses, they say, are exempt from seat belt laws.

We'd be safer if we could buckle up routinely in surface travel as well as in the air.

Sally Gray, Baltimore

War remembrance inspired tears, gratitude

It takes some doing to bring tears to these old, tired eyes, but Kathy Lally did just that with her marvelously written article "A bridge to remembrance of war" (Sun Journal, May 25).

Randall Miller, Bethany Beach, Del.

Remorse comes cheap; apology requires courage

I saw that New York police officer Justin Volpe's lawyer said that the officer, who admitted taking part in the beating of Abner Louima, is remorseful and therefore does not need to apologize ("N.Y. officer admits torturing prisoner," May 26).

Whenever someone gets caught doing something stupid or sinful they are usually remorseful, but that does not take the place of an apology.

It takes no courage to be sorry for one's wrongdoing, when caught. But it takes courage to apologize.

W. James Price, Baltimore

Teen-age prom drinkers deserve equal punishment

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