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letters 6/19

June 16, 2000

Services help disease victims

To the editor:

Recent news reports about an affluent couple who abandoned their chronically disabled child at a hospital highlighted the endless steam of challenges faced by parents of children with disabilities. While there's no justification for leaving a child, the story underscores what families like mine know. Medical and support services offered by the Muscular Dystrophy Association are invaluable.

Families coping with progressive neuromuscular diseases benefit greatly from the wide variety of free services available through MDA nationwide. At MDA support groups, for example, families affected by muscle-wasting disorders can share concerns about day-to-day practical matters, and express and find empathy for the emotional, physical and financial strains they must face.

MDA support groups are facilitated by professionals. As a result, peer-to-peer dialogue is enhanced. In the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area MDA, support groups are active in Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia. Should you, or a loved one affected by a neuromuscular disease, want to participate in a free MDA support group, call Annie Kennedy at 1-703-385-7186 or 1-800-572-1717.


In addition to support groups, MDA expends more than $25 million annually to fund more than 400 research teams worldwide. The Association offers unparalleled medical services through 230 MDA clinics, many of which participate in clinic trials of experimental therapies for muscle-wasting diseases. In our area, families receive help from the MDA clinic at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington and the MDA clinic at Children's Hospital National Medical Center in Washington. MDA also funds summer camps, assists with the purchase of wheelchairs and other equipment, and provides a constant stream of up to date information.

None of MDA's wide range of services would be possible without generous public support. On behalf of the tens of thousands of Americans served by MDA, I thank caring Washington County citizens for their generous contributions to help families like mine.

Grace Cassidy

Fairfax, Va.

Consolidation is the answer

To the editor:

The school directors for the Chambersburg School District plan to increase real estate taxes again this year! This will bring the mileage rate to 130, up from 83 in the 90-91 school year. The Chambersburg School District has a stable to slightly declining school enrollment but we add more personnel each year. School directors' attitude seems to be pay or get rid of your home. A few mills here, a few more there. The good news: On April 18 the State House voted 143-53 to eliminate property taxes by June of 2002.

Article 3 of the Pennsylvania State Constitution states that it is the responsibility of the commonwealth and specifically of the general assembly to provide for the maintenance and support of a thorough and efficient system of public education to serve the needs of the commonwealth. It does not indicate it should be the burden of home owners. It also mentions only education not all the social programs and legal responsibilities the schools have come to provide. K through 12 education is a $400 billion enterprise twice the size of the communications market.

Pennsylvania has 501 school districts, each town or district doing their own thing to maintain their power and perks. Maryland, as a county system, would seem to be more efficient with fewer administrative buildings and administrative personnel. Thus freeing more money for direct instructional personnel; for more equitable funding and instruction. Chambersburg School district recently spent $3 million on an administration building which was originally suppose to cost $1.9 million then spent nearly $232,000 on office furniture.

Franklin County alone has five separate school districts. There are 67 counties and 501 school districts. We not only need consolidation of elementary schools, we need consolidation of districts. Consolidation increases efficiency and equity in class size and resources as well as reducing facility maintenance.

Mary E. Butts

Chambersburg, Pa.

Delay is risky

To the editor:

Please, will the "powers that be" decide on whether or not to build a new stadium.

Delay can be dangerous! The governor might just to decide to issue an edict for the location at the old Peoples Drug Store downtown under his Smart Growth Plan.

I consider that term to be an oxymoron.

D. Williams


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