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Letters to the editor

April 27, 2004

Hybrid vehicles can make a difference


To the editor:

I was pleased to learn from your article "Gas prices have drivers pumped for hybrids," in your Monday, March 29 edition, that more drivers in your area are turning to cleaner running and energy saving hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid vehicles are paving the way to the future, and will help transform the U.S. passenger vehicle market. Both the federal government and the State of Maryland recognize this, and thus are giving financial incentives that help consumers offset the slightly higher cost of these vehicles.

The federal government provides purchasers with a $2,000 tax credit and Maryland provides an excise tax exemption worth up to $1,500. The two incentives, packaged together, help offset the cost of the hybrid vehicles.

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After purchase, hybrid vehicle owners will also realize savings directly in their wallets since less gasoline will be bought.

The Maryland tax exemption is only in effect until June 30 of this year, so now is a good time to buy. For more information on the Maryland program, visit the Maryland Energy Administration Web site at: www.energy.state.md.us/programs/residential/cleanincentives.htm#Vehicles

Buying a hybrid is a small step toward reduced dependence on foreign oil and a healthier environment. And these financial incentives are a commitment to these things.

Michael Li
Metropolitan Baltimore
Clean Cities Coalition
Maryland Energy Administration
Annapolis, Md.




Lyme Disease tough to crack


To the editor:

Recently you reported on a highway accident in which a man with Lyme disease died. He had complained of chest pain prior to losing control of his vehicle on Interstate 81.

It is important that people know tick-borne diseases can have serious consequences even without traffic accidents. Medical literature shows Lyme Disease has been associated with stroke, heart attacks and sudden onset of deafness and blindness. Rashes and flu-like symptoms are the best known, but many other symptoms occur, too.

Maryland is in the top 10 in numbers of cases in the U.S. In the last 10 years, more than 5,000 cases have been reported in this state. A health department study showed that only one out of every 10 or 12 cases is reported, however, so the incidence is actually much greater. Such numbers are typical of a passive surveillance system and do not surprise the health authorities. But it leads the general public to think Lyme Disease is rare and therefore people do not engage in preventive measures. It is in our state and it is not rare.

Lyme awareness month is May. So, with warmer weather coming and more outdoor activities, it is important for people to remember to do tick checks, use insect repellents when necessary and protect their pets. Prevention is better than treatment. Unfortunately, tick-borne diseases are not always diagnosed in a timely way or treated adequately. They may even be misdiagnosed as MS, ALS, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's or chronic fatigue, depending on the symptoms of the individual patient.

The public library in Hagerstown has a couple of good books on Lyme Disease, among them one by Karen Forschner, "Everything You Need to Know about Lyme Disease and Other Tick-borne Disorders."

It might not be everything you need to know, but is an excellent starting point for people wanting to be better informed.

Lou Finn
Hagerstown




How about a tea party?


To the editor:

It has finally happened. The current phase of the Berkeley County, W.Va., sewer project is said to have been completed. Now is the time for our constitutional rights to be violated.

They stole our land through condemnation, and intimidation. Our reward is becoming a slave to the state through extortion for a system that no one voted for or very few wanted. The reason given was the wells are contaminated and the dictatorial governments of the states and municipalities know what's best for you and me.

Real choice, eh! It would be amusing to hear from these ultra-intelligent people why they had a sewer system installed before installing a water system when we were told the wells were contaminated? Sounds like money and not concern for health and welfare.

So what! The sewer fee is based on water consumption, but, if you are still drinking out of a contaminated well and not even hooked onto the sewer line you get the honor of paying $37.34 per month. Now that's real choice and constitutional rights. It can be assumed that this price is the minimum.

If your area has not been started for sewer and water, and you want to see what putting your property "back as it was" looks like, come on out to Cavalier Avenue.

As for your property, you'd best have them define what putting it back as found means; as it appears to me their definition is not the same as mine. These people have been gone since last August and only come back occasionally to repair their mistakes or check out the system.

News flash! Washington County plans to raise sewer rates every year through 2014. Sounds like coming attractions for Berkeley County. Anybody for a Boston Tea Party?

Phillip Snyder
Martinsburg, W.Va.

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