Letters To The Editor


June 11, 2004

Cumberland residents fight influx of heroin

As coordinator of Concerned Residents in Maryland Avenue Area, a neighborhood association and crime watch that has worked in the Maryland Avenue area of Cumberland for seven years, I am well aware of the drug trends in this section of the community ("Heroin use on rise in W. Md.," June 1).

What I was not expecting was the way The Sun's article portrayed Allegany County, and the Maryland Avenue area in particular.

Everyone in this area knows Allegany County has been hit hard by economic decline, which has led to social decline, in the past few years. Yes, we've had our share of problems, and the heroin epidemic compounds them.

But to refer to Maryland Avenue, one of Cumberland's oldest and most historic sections of town, as "a street of weathered double-decker houses that police say is a trouble spot for heroin" is a slap in the face to all the neighbors who have been working hard to revitalize that area over the past seven years.

The Maryland Avenue area is a historic area on the upswing.

And I take exception to the young man's comment that "we all live in poverty."

Yes, he and his group of friends who use heroin and other drugs probably do live in poverty. If you drop out of school and refuse to work, taking an interest in recreational drugs, that is the end result, no matter where you live.

The rest of us in this area are a diverse group. Some are blue-collar workers, some are professionals, others are elderly and still others are unable to work because of disabilities. We represent a full range of incomes.

What we are seeing recently in our area of Allegany County is an influx of outsiders making their home here for one reason - to market drugs to the people of Allegany County.

We are not ignoring the problem, because that won't make it go away.

Melanie J. Michael


Wrong to use law to avenge a slight

I read with great sadness the article "Suit exposes cultural clash" (June 7). I'm sad that Jenny Evans felt that she was cheated out of the valedictorian award at Crisfield High School. I'm even sadder that she felt it necessary to further polarize the two communities and waste taxpayer dollars by bringing this frivolous lawsuit.

I am most saddened, however, that I saw her smiling face above the fold of the front page while the really sad legal story, "Financial difficulties force birth center to close doors" (June 7), was near the bottom of the page.

It seems several hundred women will now have to find new physicians to deliver their babies because of skyrocketing malpractice costs.

It's ironic that Jenny Evans has "her eye" on a law career. Someday, I hope she will realize that the law should be used to protect others from real harm, not simply to avenge a social slight.

Otherwise, her children may not have an opportunity to vie for valedictorian or any other awards that will likely be eliminated to avoid such senseless litigation - that is, if she can find a physician who will deliver them.

Dr. Frederick Kuhn


An ax to grind against Fox News

John S. Carroll's column attacking Fox News in general, and Bill O'Reilly in particular, could not be more off the mark ("Pseudo-journalists betray the public trust," Opinion Commentary, June 7).

Mr. O'Reilly does not portray himself as a journalist. Rather, he is a commentator, as he will tell you himself.

To attack him as a "pseudo-journalist" just shows Mr. Carroll has an ax to grind with Mr. O'Reilly and Fox News.

This is probably not only because Mr. O'Reilly has shown the liberal bias of the Los Angeles Times, but also because Fox News has more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined.

Charlie Shettle


Reagan's legacy of division, greed

President Ronald Reagan's legacy is a fissure in the social contract and a significant weakening of the concept of the common good.

This has resulted in the idea that greed is OK and that self-involvement is more important than ensuring that everyone has equal access to shelter, nourishment and excellence in education and medical care.

Barbara McCord


Leak investigation unlikely to find truth

The FBI is now investigating who leaked information to Ahmad Chalabi that he, in turn, leaked to Iran regarding the fact that the United States had broken its communications code ("FBI investigating source of leak on Iran to Chalabi," June 3).

I wonder how successful that investigation of a small group of U.S. officials will be, since we are still awaiting results from the investigation of a government official's having leaked information that former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV's wife was a CIA agent, thereby ruining her career ("Cheney questioned in leak probe," June 5).

I believe it is time for the independent counsel law to be reinstated. Perhaps then, and only then, would we get results.

Florence Smelkinson


Why is that sculpture on Charles Street?

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