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Letters to the editor

January 24, 2004

To save cash, shop around for your fuel


To the editor:

What is it with the gas companies? We recently built a new home and checked out the best efficient windows, doors, water heater, etc. Isn't that what we are supposed to do? The government tells us to save on fuel and energy, right? They make the manufacturers comply to standards to make things efficient, sometimes at a great cost.

So my point is this. I signed up with a gas company which had the best price at the time. Then after being with them for a year in December they raised the price on me to more than $2 a gallon (I own my own tank). Well, after checking around I find I was grossly overcharged compared to other gas companies, with prices of $1.17 a gallon.

So I drop that company and go with the one that has the best price again. When I tell them what happened with the other company they just shake their heads and laugh. But guess what? December comes around with this company and they do the same thing to me - $2.15 a gallon.

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I think this can't be right, so I call around and again I find prices from $1.17 a gallon to $1.47 a gallon. I'm thinking someone hit the 2 in place of 1. Wrong. They tell me oh, you did not use enough gas and that put you in another bracket. I used around 900 gallons and that was not enough? How much are you to use?

My point is this. The gas companies made a 400 percent profit about four years ago and the government investigated them, but guess what, they couldn't find any price gouging.

Now having Congress appoint a committee to investigate a big business, do you really think they are going to find anything wrong?

So folks, I am now with my third gas company and if they overcharge me next December I will let you know. In the meantime if you feel like you are overcharged, go see them face to face and confront them.

Don Muffley
Hagerstown




A fine man


To the editor:

For a third of a century I've carried an overdue tribute in my heart for the Honorable David Talbert Mason, so his recent passing is truly mourned.

David Mason was chairman of the Parole Commission in 1970.

At the time I was a petty con, serving a two-bit sentence for a two-bit larceny at the Maryland Penitentiary when I met Chairman Mason and two other commissioners, who recommended I be refused parole.

Chairman Mason overruled them and helped me set a precedent. Three-plus decades before prisoner education became the latest vogue, I was the first prisoner paroled straight to college.

Within three weeks of seeing him he'd expedited my case and before I could blink I was in Dismas House and the Community College of Baltimore, where I became treasurer of the student government and associate editor of the CCB College Crier campus newspaper.

Although I'm in prison today, it's my own regret. No, I didn't let Chairman Mason down; I successfully completed that parole because he believed in me, and for that I'll always pay tribute to his memory.

Douglas Scott Arey
ECI No. 130196 6D-15B
Westover, Md.




Good home not always good


To the editor:

I am writing with regard to the "free to a good home" advertisements that appear in the classified section of The Herald-Mail.

As you may be aware, animals given away for free can, and unfortunately often do, meet gruesome fates. They can end up in the hands of animal abusers like the Wisconsin man who was convicted of torturing and killing animals he obtained through "free to a good home" ads.

He confessed to taking his kids with him when responding to the ads so that people would be comfortable turning animals over to him.

People known as "bunchers," who obtain animals illegally from random sources to sell to research facilities for profit, often acquire animals by answering "free to a good home" ads. Small animals advertised as "free to a good home" are sometimes acquired by individuals who intend to use them as bait in training other animals to fight.

Gerbils, hamsters and young kittens are often acquired to be used as snake food. I have more detailed materials about the tragedies that can befall animals given away "free to a good home."

Animal protection organizations all over the United States work diligently to educate people about the proper procedure for placing animals and frequently assist people in finding good homes for their animals.

I routinely contact individuals who place "free to a good home" advertisements to alert them to the potential perils for their animals and continuously receive appreciative calls from people who say they never knew that these dangers existed.

The Herald-Mail could do its readers and the animals a great service, while setting a very progressive example, by printing a brief warning at the top of the pets section about giving animals away for free.

Kathryn A. Souza
Senior at North High and Humane Society volunteer

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