Volume XI, Issue 49 ~ December 4-10, 2003

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Letters to the Editor

We welcome your letters and opinions. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, P.O. Box 358, Deale, MD 20751 • E-mail them to us at editor@bayweekly.com.

Bad Air Is Helping Kill Our Bay

Dear Bay Weekly:
I read the editorial “Bay Decline Part II: Connecting Dots” [Vol. XI, No 47, Nov. 20] and appreciate the effort. While you are connecting these dots, be sure and mention one that often gets ignored, air desposition. Up to 30 percent of the nutrients that get into the Bay come from the air. Tax incentives to buy big (bigger, biggest) SUVs and the gutting of the Clean Air Act are just two examples of our shortsightedness.

— Bob Boxwell, Solomons: Chair, Lower Potomac Tributary Team

Bats Can Transmit Rabies

Dear Bay Weekly:
The article “When Bats Come Out to Play” [Vol. XI, No 44, Oct. 30] was informative and should help dispel many myths about bats. While the article correctly points out the beneficial contributions that bats make to our world, the statement “bats pose no treat to humans” is inaccurate when one considers the relationship of bats to human rabies.

Rabies is a viral disease transmitted by the bite, scratch or saliva of a rabid animal. The disease attacks the nervous system of humans and is fatal once symptoms develop. Post-exposure treatment is effective in preventing rabies in humans if administered promptly.

Although relatively few bats are rabid, bats have been increasingly implicated as the source of human rabies infection. Most of the human cases of rabies in the U.S. during the last 15 years have been associated with bat strains of the virus.

In situations where potential exposure to bats has occurred, it is essential to consider the possibility of rabies infection. The only way to know whether a bat is rabid is to submit the bat to a laboratory for diagnosis. People who find a bat inside their home should not allow the bat to escape unless there is absolutely no chance that a person or pet may have been exposed to the bat. There is a chance sleeping people could have unknowingly been exposed. The bat should be safely captured and submitted to the county department of animal control for rabies testing. If the bat is not available, the circumstances surrounding the potential exposure must be evaluated and a decision made about the need for post-exposure treatment. The family physician and county department of health are key resources in making this determination.

People need to be aware of the slight risk of acquiring rabies from bats and the appropriate steps that can be taken to avoid this fatal disease. Anyone having questions about rabies should call the Anne Arundel County Department of Health at 410/222-7256.

— Frances Phillips, Anne Arundel County Health Officer

Small Church Gives Big Thanks

Dear Bay Weekly:
On Nov. 15, Randle Cliff Community Church had our annual Thanksgiving Food Pantry. We were able to serve 40 families this year, almost twice last year’s number. This is quite an accomplishment for us as we are a very small church with about 20 members.

Our church food pantry is open the third Saturday of every month. We operate on donations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture distributed through the Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action, the Boy Scouts and Safeway in Dunkirk as well as occasional donations from citizens and our parishioners.

I would like to thank the following people for making our pantry such a success:

  • My family for their untiring devotion to this ministry.

  • The Boy Scouts of Troop 262 and 463 for collecting and delivering food to our pantry from their annual Scouting for Food project.

  • Our neighbors who put the food in bags so that we would be able to redistribute it where it’s needed most in our community.

  • Dick Christopher, store manager, and Darryl, meat manager, at the Food Rite in Deale, who allowed us to purchase the 40 turkeys for 49 cents per pound, which was 30 cents per pound cheaper than anyone else would sell them to us. What a blessing that was!

  • Safeway in Dunkirk, which generously donates bread and bakery items every month.

  • Our pastor for releasing funds to buy the turkeys.

  • Our parishioners and my family who donated money and time to pick up food, sort food, put away food and purchase items to complete our Thanksgiving meal bags.

God bless all of your for your support.

Christmas is right around the corner, if you would like to help with our Christmas pantry.

— Karen Paquette, Chesapeake Beach: Food Pantry Volunteer Coordinator (410/257-0342)

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Last updated December 4, 2003 @ 1:35am.