Wilson Bridge project scientists try to limit impact on...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 04, 2001

Wilson Bridge project scientists try to limit impact on the bay

Readers of The Sun's article "State surveys health of its coastal bays" (March 15) may be interested to learn that the Wilson Bridge project will help monitor area water quality and work to advance scientific knowledge about the underwater grasses that keep Maryland waters clean.

This exemplifies the project's mitigation program, which is going to considerable lengths to protect the environment.

The project will create new underwater grass beds in the lower Potomac River, where submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) has been absent for decades, to compensate for unavoidable bridge construction impacts.

Project scientists will grow and transplant certain varieties of SAV from laboratory greenhouses. And, because attempts to grow a needed SAV in the laboratory -- eelgrass -- have failed, project specialists will carefully transplant widely dispersed shoots of eelgrass from the southern coastal bays, which harbor Maryland's largest and healthiest SAV beds.

The project will also experiment with growing eelgrass in laboratory settings, which could eliminate the need to transplant it. In addition, we will monitor water quality in coastal bays, adding to the understanding of the area's environment.

Tom Heil

Washington

The writer is environmental manager of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project.

If the drug war continues, so will the city's shootings

Nearly each day in The Sun someone decries the senseless loss of life on Baltimore's streets. Nevertheless, many of these folks support the war on drugs.

In my opinion, that war is wrongheaded. It is an emotional response to a problem that requires a rational one.

Prohibition doesn't work. It didn't work for the problems associated with alcohol and it won't work for drugs today.

We desperately need a new approach to drugs. But if we insist on pursuing the war on drugs, we can only despair of the killings and tough it out.

Donald Gerhardt

Parkton

Drug price legislation puts unfair onus on pharmacies

Pharmacies are not to blame for high prescription drug prices. Yet the prescription-drug pricing bill in the House of Delegates would unfairly place price controls on the community pharmacy ("House passes drug relief," March 24).

We have maintained from the beginning of the debate that all parties -- patients, pharmacies, manufacturers and the state -- should be involved in lowering the cost of medications to the uninsured.

The House bill has overlooked the fact that not all prescription drugs are necessary to save or maintain quality of life.

Many dandruff shampoos, cold pills, gastrointestinal agents, tranquilizers and lifestyle drugs could be excluded from a payment system, saving state funds and removing the onus from pharmacies.

Howard Schiff

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Maryland Pharmacists Association.

Perhaps the members of House of Delegates would contribute 30 percent of their pay to fund drug-price relief?

Requiring drug manufacturers and pharmacies to pick up the tab for 30 percent discounts may result in no drugs available at all -- to anyone at any price.

Richard Allchin

Timonium

Law needn't uphold bigotry of religious conservatives

Sen. Nancy Jacobs' statement, "In this body's attempt to be tolerant, we've condoned acts of intolerance against people of faith" was disingenuous ("Senate OKs gay rights bill, 32-14," March 28).

What she's really saying is: It's perfectly OK for religious conservatives to create legislation that tramples the rights of others -- by writing laws outlawing homosexual sex, allowing discrimination, prohibiting same-sex marriages and prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children, just to name a few restrictions written into law here and in other states.

However, it's not OK to create legislation which runs counter to the religious conservative viewpoint.

God forbid religious conservatives might be forced to hide their bigotry -- just as gays and lesbians have been forced for years to hide from the legalized bigotry of the religious conservatives.

Ed Schneider

Baltimore

Parents must teach kids some real-world truths

While I agree with Linda Goldman's column "Cut out bullying, guns" (Opinion Commentary March 27), that society must keep guns away from children, her prescription for teaching today's children about bullying omits a few facts of life.

Good parents have always tried to teach children to tolerate differences and not bully and harass others.

Parents must stop turning to authorities to solve every problem their children encounter, get in touch with the real world and start teaching some home truths: The world doesn't revolve around you; life isn't fair; not everyone has to like you; and some people may be smarter, prettier or richer than you -- learn to live with it.

And, finally, bullies are jerks whose mission is to bring everyone else down to their level: Ignore them as much as possible and never aspire to join them.

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