Letters to the Editor 3/29

March 30, 2000

Volunteers the heart of Hospice

To the editor:

National Volunteer Week is April 9-15. I would like to take this time to say a very special thank you to the volunteers of Blue Ridge Hospice.

Hospice is considered to be the model for quality, compassionate care at the end of life. It involves a team-oriented approach of expert medical care, pain management, the aim of promoting comfort and dignity, and with emotional and spiritual support expressly tailored to the patient's wishes.

Hospice patient care volunteers make this special way of caring possible. They wear many hats: reading to the patient, writing letters, running errands, providing transportation, answering telephones, and simply holding a hand and listening. Blue Ridge Hospice auxiliary/community volunteers help out in many different ways, including bulk mailings, smocking nightgowns and fund-raising. Our board of directors devotes endless hours to meetings and events. Without their support in Winchester/Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren and Clarke Counties, our job would be so much more difficult.


Our volunteers are our most precious gift. They are truly the "heart of Hospice."

Bridget M. Blevins

Director of Volunteer Services

Support the tobacco settlement

To the editor:

Very soon, major decisions affecting the fate of thousands of Marylanders will be made in Annapolis. Over the next two weeks Gov. Parris Glendening's tobacco settlement spending plan will come up for review by the Maryland General Assembly. Governor Glendening's proposal to spend $80 million annually on two groundbreaking programs has afforded Maryland the opportunity to become a national leader in tobacco control as well as cancer prevention and treatment.

As a member of the Governor's Task Force to End Smoking in Maryland, I must implore the legislature to enact those recommendations that our task force put onto paper, as well as those of the governor's equally important and impressive Task Force to Conquer Cancer. To wait yet another year to decide how to spend the tobacco settlement dollars would not only confuse and further politicize the process, but would also cause Maryland to be less proactive in the areas of tobacco and cancer control.

Maryland should once again lead the nation and become a model for how to correctly spend this settlement money. We need to avoid putting forth-another well-meaning but toothless plan such as those around the nation falling apart due to politics as usual.

Enacting the governor's plan would enhance our capabilities to make right what the tobacco cartel has done wrong. I am proud of the work that the task forces have done and urge all citizens to stand behind our governor as he attempts to bring Maryland to the forefront of public health and tobacco control.

Margie Weaver

Chair, American Cancer Society

Public Policy Committee

Mount Airy, Md.

Automotive foxes

To the editor:

What is up with the State of Maryland anyhow? Why would they put the Maryland State Inspection for cars and trucks in the hands of garages that accrue their work by hunting for it? And we pay them to do this. Is it that we're so used to it after all these years that we are immune? I wonder how many thousand dollars worth of parts are replaced unnecessarily daily in this town. Maryland doesn't seem to mind running the exhaust emissions testing facility.

I think inspection garages fall right in there with putting the fox in charge of the hen house. I also think most of the time we should get a second opinion. Rules and specifications are supposed to be exactly the same from garage to garage but we sure know it's not over the years. No doubt if we took the same vehicle to a dozen garages there would be a dozen different opinions. And it's not a matter of how well you know the garage. It's definitely how badly the garage needs to meet its monthly overhead. I recently had an axle boot replaced with a new one ($83) and I asked for the old one only to discover it had a 1/4 inch slit (hardly seen) not all the way through the vinyl, yet the description of the inspected item read: No boot shall be busted, reveled, wholly or completely missing.

This was just one more item left to the discretion of the garage owner and his overhead. I think a real fair inspection would take place by a Maryland authorized inspection-only facility that does not do any car or truck repairs. You go and have it repaired elsewhere and return for reinspection of that item and your sticker. Then we'd have a chance at not having a repair bill on a vehicle that really would have passed.

It's very simple. If a watchdog group would be placed in effect as to take a pre-inspected car and spot-check inspection garages and they temporary lose use of their inspection license for falsely reported items, it would sure change things. It's obvious. No one polices these garages. And if you think that's a trip. Try having a conversation with a Maryland State inspection enforcement officers and listen to them wiggle their way out of your complaint on a garage. Their excuse? "Well it's up to each garage owner." What good is the Maryland Inspections specification book anyhow?

Gary Kauffman


The Herald-Mail Articles