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Letters to the editor

February 13, 2004

Why smoking is bad



To the editor:

In the Jan. 21 paper, there was a letter from Amanda Wegh who is upset because of the proposed smoking ban. Her concern was that she would get to spend less time with smoking friends and relatives when eating out, if they have to go outside to smoke.

At this time, Maryland bans smoking in restaurants, but not in bars. Perhaps she lives in another state where smoking is still allowed. She felt we should have smoking and nonsmoking sections. That just does not protect the right of people to breathe clean air.

There are more than 4,000 chemicals in second-hand smoke. About 40 of them are carcinogens (cancer causing chemicals). Smoke does not stay in just one area. It quickly moves throughout the restaurant.

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Secondhand smoke kills more than 50,000 Americans each year. So, Amanda, if folks smoke inside, it is harmful to everyone there. When smokers go outside, the people inside are not being subjected to breathing the harmful chemicals.

Employees who work in restaurants and bars that allow smoking are now experiencing health problems caused by the smoke. Now that you know this, would you still want to allow smokers to pollute your air?

A decade ago, about 25 percent of Marylanders were smokers. That figure has now dropped to 18 percent, which means that 82 percent of Marylanders do not smoke. It is a difficult addiction to break, but our state offers free cessation classes. I'm encouraged by the state's attitude and actions on banning smoking.

N. Stewart

Hagerstown




God and marriage



To the editor:

Throughout scripture, it says a man should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh, therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.

Throughout scripture, marriage is always presented as a marriage between a man and a woman, and God has designed it like that. It is the only relationship that can produce life, develop young lives and develop healthy adults.

But there is a relationship that God tells us that is condemned and sinful and that is homosexuality. So from a biblical perspective and since our nation's values are based from scripture, from the evidence presented, why would God approve in any way, shape or form anything that is contrary to his word?

How do we know God loves us? Because the Bible tells us so. But how come we believe this portion of scripture, but we don't believe the portions that speak about behavior, sexual relationships, marriage, parenting, life after death, sin, etc. While the homosexuals were in the closet, God still saw their sin, and wants to forgive and heal their sin. I believe there are many, many homosexuals that are grieving because of their sin.

When they are alone thinking back on there lives, meditating on the things of God, I believe they truly know that something is not right in their lives. The problem lies with the liberal pastors, and a culture that feeds their lifestyle.

I was very disturbed with the article that Charley Reese wrote Nov. 25, "What harm would it do if we allowed homosexuals to marry?" Like Ruth Graham once said: "If God does not judge America, he will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah."

Rob Smith

Hagerstown




'Restart' needs more scrutiny



To the editor:

By now you must be tired of hearing all the criticism of a project in the Maryland prison system called "Project Restart." However the importance of the impact on citizens, employees, and yes, even inmates has still not been fully revealed.

Example: Why is the job numbers involved only been revealed for the Hagerstown complex? The public needs to demand a clear institution-by-institution comparison of all institutions in the Maryland prison system. Is Hagerstown being treated fairly or being stiffed again by the all powerful metro liberal politicians?

I am a 31-year veteran of the D.O.C.; currently a correctional dietary supervisor at MCI-H. Having seen the horror of the riot in 1991 at MCI-H, I can say that some of the problems that existed before the riot still exist, namely over crowding and staffing shortages. I sympathize with the theory of programs for the inmates. However, these programs should have been available in the inner cities, the housing projects and more of the disadvantaged areas of the state.

By the time they reach prison, very few, less than 5 percent, even have a chance of changing. The few that do change, I say God be with you.

Yes, the prisons need programs but not any way near what "Project Restart" wants to do. The money could be better spent on staffing, training and keeping all equipment up to date.

But there is another problem. Even more dangerous than "Project Restart." It is the "pet project or must-do project" of demolishing the super-max prison complex by the Public Safety Secretary Mary Ann Saar. To my knowledge, the D.O.C. is still overcrowded to a great extent. Why, if the super-max is not needed now, can't the security be reduced? Make some cosmetic changes in the building, possibly increasing capacity and make it a less-secure institution. After all, the building is only 18 years old. So the complex is nearly new as prison ages go. If the Maryland taxpayers do nothing else, the demolition of this complex must be stopped for good. Write the governor and your representatives. Demand the demolition be stopped; a lot of taxpayer money could be saved. The building could always be reconverted if necessary in the future.

For the record, the content of this letter is strictly my personal opinion based on my personal observations and background.

James E. Izer

Hagerstown

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