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Letters to the editor 7/22

July 22, 2002

Blood supplies dangerously low



To the editor:

As the health officer of Berkeley County, W.Va., I am urging you to help in a critical health issue: Ensuring the future of the nation's blood supply. Somewhere in the United States, blood is needed every two seconds. Together, we must ensure that the next time someone in our community needs blood, it will be available.

Blood is a resource that is unfortunately taken for granted by many. Due to this apathy and a number of other factors, including increasingly stringent donor eligibility criteria, our country is at risk of a blood shortage. Demand is growing, and the current pool of donors is aging.

About 5 percent of the eligible American public donates to support 100 percent of the need. Nearly 60 percent of us could donate. It is imperative that we all step up to the plate. New blood donors are needed, and they are needed now; nothing short of human lives is at stake.

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The current blood supply has reached a dangerously low level. The summer months are particularly challenging, as this is the time when students, who make up 15 percent of the Red Cross donor pool during the regular year, are in recess and others are vacationing. Give the ongoing war on terrorism and the potential threats to our homeland security, it is increasingly important to ensure a safe and available blood supply for Americans.

Together, we play an important role in helping to alleviate the current pressures on the nation's blood supply. In building at seven to 10 day blood supply, which is enough blood to meet the needs of 50,000 critically ill patients, we can do our part in ensuring the sense of security we lost on Sept. 11. Call 1-800-GIVE LIFE (1-800-4483-5433) or log onto GiveLife.org to schedule an appointment in the coming weeks to give the gift of life. Then continue donating by marking a day in honor of someone special to give another gift of life. Remember, you can donate every 56 days, as long as you are at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in good health.

FA. Hamilton, M.D., health officer

Berkeley County Health Department

Martinsburg, W.Va.




Court's districts are more fair



To the editor:

Please let me respond to the court-ordered election districts and discussion of the Court of Appeals ruling highlighted in many recent Herald-Mail articles.

First, the original map was so ridiculous and some of the districts were so weirdly configured that the originators merited the rebuke they received.

Second, I'm certain that by speedily producing the new map (literally within days of taking the case) the court astonished all the naysayers who were moaning, wailing and gnashing their teeth in fear that the elections would be thrown into turmoil or delayed while the legal processes continued.

Third, all the experts who said pushing or nudging with a precinct here or there would mean having to alter every other precinct across the entire state must feel about quarter of an inch tall after a praiseworthy job was done within a few working days.

Fourth, since Baltimore City is steadily shrinking, it is only right and fair that Baltimore City officials accept reality and start the process of swallowing the changes which have both become necessary and will continue unless they make efforts to revive the city.

Fifth, it was only right and fair that Montgomery County and Prince George's County receive the added districts, since they are still growing and will clearly need even more districts added after the next census.

The only downside to the whole process is that, indeed, we need to strongly encourage regionalism over parochialism, and having district lines cross regions must have, at some point, encouraged better regional cooperation and understanding over selfishness.

I can only surmise that if we don't find a solution to this redistricting problem before 2010, we will once again, deja vu, enter the Twilight Zone.

Douglas Scott Arey

MCIH No. 130196 A-1-A-20

Hagerstown

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