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Letters to the editor

April 23, 2004

Humane society needs our support


To the editor:

Yes, the Humane Society should get the additional $783,000 it needs to service the county. Yes, they have been short-changed in the past. If the operation could be accomplished for less, the county commissioners would have made animal control, with all its issues, a county department long ago.

The cartoon in Sunday's Herald Mail "Hard Times Hit The Humane Society Country Club" is indicative of the mentality of "it's just an animal." Questions: Why is the animal in the shelter? How much of the "humane" should be eliminated? How many pets are euthanized and how much does that cost?

Remember, the Humane Society exists because of the irresponsible actions of humans.

Some Solutions:

Spay/neuter your pet

Obey the animal control laws

Humane education for our youth

Avoid buying pets from places that support puppy mills

Buy from a reputable breeder

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Adopt from one of the many organizations that give pets a second chance

Remember adoption is a lifelong commitment

Provide for pets in your estate plans. The Humane Society of the United States has a free sample document (humanelegacy@hsus.org).

In the meantime, the county must adequately fund the operation. This is not just about animals, but involves the health and safety of our community.

Marianne Schneider
Hagerstown




Help save patriotic music


To the editor:

For the past seven years, we, the members of the Harpers Ferry/Bolivar District Veterans Association and the National Park Service Harpers Ferry National Historical Park have cosponsored the "Music in the Mountains" military band concert series. These concerts are free to the public and have featured the U.S. Marine Band, the U.S. Army "Pershing's Own" Band, the U.S. Air Force "Singing Sergeants" Band, the U.S. Navy "Sea Chanters" Band, the U.S. Coast Guard Band and the U.S. Marine Corps "Free Country" Band.

These concerts have been scheduled throughout the summer months and have become enormously popular with the citizens of our area and the many tourists. As many as 5,000 people have attended a single concert. Held at the scenic Cavalier Heights Visitor Center to the park, the music that the bands have provided extol the patriotic sacrifices made by our forefathers here in our historic area and by all who have ever worn a uniform.

We are now faced with economic hardships that threaten the continuation of these military concerts. The Harpers Ferry/Bolivar District Veterans Association is funded solely by annual dues ($5 per member) and by donations. Due to its own limited resources, the park can only tentatively fund two concerts this year. The Army Band "Pershing's Own" is scheduled to perform on June 19. The U.S. Marine Corps "Free Country" Band is scheduled to perform on Sept. 4.

If you feel that these patriotic concerts should continue as before, please contact your elected representatives in your area and voice your opinion. The heartfelt patriotic music is a joyous form of praise to our country and our veterans, performed by the very services for which they so proudly served.

Dixie Wiltshire
Commander
Harpers Ferry/Bolivar District
Veterans Association




Join in state walkathons


To the editor:

Premature birth is the most common, serious and costly infant health problem facing our nation. In an average week in Maryland, 181 babies are born preterm. Between 1990 and 2000, the rate of premature births increased more than 13 percent in our state. In addition to being the leading cause of death in the first month of life, prematurity is a major cause of illness and disability in infants.

Average hospital charges for the most severe cases of prematurity are nearly 60 times higher than the charges for newborn stays without complications. The costs and consequences of premature birth are enormous. The emotional toll on families is impossible to calculate.

The March of Dimes, the organization that conquered polio, has taken up the fight against premature birth.

You can help by joining me and thousands of our friends and neighbors across Maryland as we "use our feet to give premature babies a hand" in WalkAmerica 2004.

Since it was first held 34 years ago, WalkAmerica has raised more than $1 billion nationwide to fund the innovative programs and cutting- edge research that have saved millions of babies from death and disability. Through WalkAmerica, we can help babies who are born too small and too soon and give them a brighter future.

As March of Dimes WalkAmerica state chairman, I seek to help urge all Marylanders to stand together for our babies and join one of the 16 walks scheduled around the state during April and May. For more information, call 1-800-525-WALK or register online at www.walkamerica.org.

Thank you for your continuing support. See you in Ocean City.

James N. Mathias Jr.
Mayor
Town of Ocean City, Md.
State Chairman
March of Dimes WalkAmerica

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