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Letters to the editor

August 26, 1997

Look, Ma, I've got no bike helmet

To the editor:

I am writing in regard to the photograph shown on the front page of Section B in the Wednesday, Aug. 20, 1997 edition of The Morning Herald. Entitled "Look, ma, no feet," it depicts Aubrey Connolley doing a stunt on her bicycle. Unfortunately, this might have been titled, "Look, Ma, no helmet."

As the Region II (Frederick and Washington counties) EMS associate medical director for pediatrics, vice president of pediatrics at Washington County Hospital, a pediatrician in private group practice and as a mother of two, I was frankly quite disturbed to see the helmetless rider featured so wantonly.

Wearing a bike helmet reduces the incidence of brain injury by 90 percent. Furthermore, it is currently mandated by law in the state of Maryland that bicycle riders under the age of 16 wear helmets.

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A review of the pediatric trauma cases in Washington County Hospital over the past year reveals several bike accidents involving unhelmeted riders, and in every case significant morbidity and mortality occurred.

I hope you will join with me and my colleagues in getting the word out about this life saving practice. Readers may be interested in contacting the Washington County Hospital Association's Safe Kids program and/or Beth Kirkpatrick at 301-790-8950 to inquire about low/no cost bike helmets.

Julia D. Oakley, M.D., FAAP

Hagerstown

Some questions for those talking with city police

To the editor:

I am writing in support of the Hagerstown City Police.

To Bruce Zimmerman and Susan Saum-Wicklein, who feel a police officer's job is no different than any other city worker's, answer a few questions:

- How many other city worker's must work every weekend until they've been with the city 10 years or more?

- How many other city workers change shifts every month rearranging their lives, their schedules, their sleep and their families' schedules?

- How many other city workers work evenings and weekends without any shift differential?

- How many other city workers approach an unknown danger every time they stop a car or knock on a door?

Not only do the city police do all of this but they work in a city that is rated second-highest drug population per capita on the East Coast. They have the drug dealers from the worst project in New York coming to Hagerstown.

My husband is a city police officer. Every month we rearrange day care schedules, eating habits and sleeping habits. He misses most of our children's sporting events and weekend picnics. Yes it was my choice to marry a police officer and to live with this. But don't say their job is not different from any other city worker when it clearly is very different.

Why not come up with a performance-based raise and let the officers determine their own raise by their performance? That would increase productivity and benefit everyone.

And I don't know about you but if I call police when going assaulted by a 25 or 30 year old I don't want a 55- or 60-year-old to respond. The only thing we'll see then is more violence guns being used because they won't be able to physically respond.

Why not do what's best for everyone?

Chrisee Long

Hagerstown

Advantage shop did one fine job

To the editor:

Since having come in contact with various auto repair shops in many cities, I finally found "Advantage Autobody, Inc." in Hagerstown, under the supervision of Kelly Wolford.

They do excellent work, and give especially good service. The employees go the extra mile to please their customers. They perform many other services, unlike the usual auto repair shops.

Robert Shestack

Hagerstown

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