Letters to the Editor 3/16

March 19, 2001

Letters to the Editor 3/16

Williamson, Tenn.: room to improve

To the editor:

It is critically important that the Washington County Board of Education sent "someone with vision" to Williamson County, Tennessee.

With just 30 schools serving 19,812 students and a budget of only $109 million it is obvious that parents and students in Williamson County, Tenn., don't value education.

Someone with vision I am sure will inform then that they will need to build 14 more schools - and increase their operating budget by $18.4 million to meet the level of funding mediocrity Washington County, Maryland has achieved.

Williamson County must realize that the benchmark for "per pupil staffing cost" is $6,988 in schools of 158 students or less. We'll send Bob Maginnis to explain to them that while student achievement may not improve - that level of per pupil staffing expenditure is required for economic development purposes.


Harold L. Phillips

Clear Spring

Wash. program one women should watch

To the editor:

For the women of Hagerstown, and for millions of women across the country getting fast, affordable and easy access to emergency contraceptives can feel like running on obstacle course. And the inconvenience is reflected in an unintended pregnancy rate in Maryland of nearly 50 percent.

The clock is ticking after unprotected sex. A woman from Hagerstown has just 72 hours to obtain FDA-approved morning after medications such as Preven and Plan B to effectively prevent an unplanned pregnancy. If she's lucky, she can get them at her local Planned Parenthood. Or maybe her doctor - if she has a doctor - can see her urgently and write her a prescription, which she can then take to her drugstore.

But what if there's no Planned Parenthood in her neighborhood? What if, for one reason or another, she can't see a doctor. What them? The clock is still ticking. In fact, it's running out and she may have no other option than to have an abortion.

Is there another option? In Washington State there is. Thanks to an innovative low-cost project that allows pharmacists to prescribe emergency contraceptives over-the-counter to the women who need them.

Under Washington law, a pharmacist can write prescriptions for certain medications. Such arrangements exist in other states but Washington is the first to use it for emergency contraceptives.

Since its inception in 1998, the program has been a huge success.

Thousands more Washington women have called the national emergency contraceptive hotline - 1-888-NOT-2-LATE - for information on where to get the morning after pill in their area. In the first four months of this project, the hotline received over ten times the normal volume of calls from Washington.

To date, Washington pharmacists have filled 30,000 emergency contraceptives prescriptions - weekly demand in one drugstore chain increasing by 600 percent. As a result, as many as 2,250 unintended pregnancies adsn 1,125 abortions have been prevented.

The bottom line is "The Washington project has delivered much improved knowledge of, speedier access to, emergency contraceptives for the women who need them. It has cut their health care expenses. And it has cost practically nothing to implement.

If a similar project was introduced in Maryland now, the immediate positive impact on Hagerstown women's lives could be just as dramatic.

Peter Kostmayer, President

Zero Population Growth

Help for seniors

To the editor:

There is a program that exists in Washington County called "assisted living."

Probably there are many people who have never heard of this program. For those of us who have it is a life saver, as it was for me.

The people who staff this program are dedicated and caring. They have unbelievable patience even though there are times when the residents become cranky and out of sorts.

All of the residents' needs are taken care of. Everything is spotlessly clean. The food is excellent and varied. My son looked long and hard to find the right place for me as I was no longer able to take of myself.

It took a while to call this my "home" but I bless the day I was able to live here. "Eden Pines, a haven a home."

Peggy Reynolds


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