May 07, 2006

Dental clinic a valuable service

The Anne Arundel County Department of Health congratulates and commends all involved with the launch of a free dental clinic at the Stanton Community Center in Annapolis ("For the Needy, 2 Clinics for the Price of None," April 19).

Dental care is essential for good health, yet many low-income residents must defer seeing a dentist until an acute, often preventable, problem develops.

The Department of Health provides free and low-cost dental health services to income-eligible county children and adolescents at our Annapolis and Glen Burnie clinics. Unfortunately, until the Stanton clinic opened, many low-income adults had nowhere to turn for affordable dental or medical care. Now we are pleased to refer our clients' parents and grandparents and other adults to the Stanton center, whose patients have praised the high-quality care and respect they have received there.

The department's mission is to preserve, protect and promote the health of all county residents, and we could not achieve this mission without the help of community partners. The Anne Arundel Health System has made an important contribution by arranging for the equipment and staff support at the Stanton clinic in order that scores of generous county doctors and dentists, led by Dr. Michael Freedman and Dr. Neil Sullivan, can provide free care to our truly needy neighbors.

The Department of Health thanks all of the Stanton clinic's volunteers and the AAHS staff for putting community values to work and for all that they do to keep us healthy!

Frances B. Phillips

The writer is the health officer for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health

Sun misrepresented Jimeno's decision

I am writing to express my disappointment over your article of April 29 ["Jimeno plans to step down"] regarding the retirement of my father, Phil Jimeno, from the state Senate. In every article, the reporter and editor have a decision to make with regard to the tone, tenor, and slant to put on that article. It is unfortunate you could not simply report on the true reasons for his retirement, instead opting to sensationalize your story to attempt to create political drama where none exists.

My father's decision to retire from the Senate was made without regard to the potential outcome of the upcoming election. Since 1990, the Republicans have targeted the District 31 Senate seat as a potential Republican gain; my father has soundly defeated every opponent in each election. As my father's campaign manager, I can assure you with 100 percent certainty that there was no Republican who caused us any bit of concern that this would have been a close election, much less a losing outcome.

I read with great interest the quote from John Gibson, executive director of the state Republican Party, that his party would have fielded a candidate "with a strong opportunity to gain the seat." If that was truly the case, then why now, only after my father has announced he will not seek re-election, are the two Republican members of the House of Delegates from District 31 strongly considering entering the race? The answer is clear: No supposedly legitimate Republican candidate believed that my father could have been defeated.

It is truly a shame that when a person who has given so much of himself to the citizens of his district, and to the state of Maryland, decides to retire that you would not focus on his many accomplishments. I am sure that your April 29 article was merely a prelude to a more in-depth article focusing on the real reasons for my father's retirement and his many successes in his 28 years in the Maryland General Assembly.

It is my hope that when The Sun writes this next article, it will not feel as if it needs to sensationalize by attempting to look for a hidden political agenda that does not exist.

Greg Jimeno Glen Burnie

Dedication, care saved a life

The first and only significant snowstorm of 2006 is a day my family and I will never forget. On that morning, I awoke with severe chest pains and shortness of breath, symptoms I knew all too well. I was having another heart attack.

As we waited for the paramedics to arrive, none of us dared to speak the thought racing through our heads: "How would an ambulance be able to get down the snow-covered hill?"

We needn't have worried. Like a scene from a movie, three paramedics appeared, camel-walking through the storm. They hadn't been able to drive the ambulance down the hill.

The paramedics got me stabilized while an emergency plow truck cleared the road. The dedication of the EMTs was phenomenal.

I arrived at Anne Arundel Medical Center and was grateful that Dr. Kelly Sullivan, my cardiologist, was on duty. Because of my extensive internal bleeding, Dr. Sullivan sent me to Washington Hospital Center in the medical helicopter. After five pints of blood, countless tests and a 15-day stay, I was allowed to go home.

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