Memorials, for a Price

The decision to name the Northern Virginia Community College's newest building after former state senator Charles L. Waddell ["NOVA to Break Ground on Arts Center," Loudoun Extra, Aug. 26] arouses a pet peeve of mine concerning memorializations. Mr. Waddell is purported to have struggled to get funding for the college. His personal funds were not involved in the building of the campus nor are any of his funds involved in the construction of the new addition. My guess would be that funding was part of the "back scratching" that goes on in every legislative body in this nation. Furthermore, Mr. Waddell is still alive, and I do not believe in memorializing the living.

This brings to mind another "naming" by county officials, and that was Franklin Park. Here again, the Franklin family did not establish the park with its own funds. In fact, the family made out quite well financially by getting $2 million for 200 acres at a time when prime developable property in the county was not marketable. The park should be renamed.

When public funds are involved, memorialization should be reserved for those who lost their lives in service to their country. Memorializing for any other reason, no matter how compelling, demeans the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.



Water Restrictions Necessary?

We need a better explanation why there are mandatory water restrictions in Loudoun County. It's not because we haven't had enough rain. According to The Washington Post, there have been over 27 inches of rain between January and the end of August of this year--slightly more than the normal rainfall expected at Dulles International Airport. A drought, defined as 15 percent or more below average rainfall, just doesn't fit the facts.

What's up with the doom and gloom on water availability?



A Disservice to the Mentally Ill

A lead article Aug. 29 described the cost-cutting measures being brought about by Loudoun Healthcare Inc. ["50 Laid Off as Hospital Cuts Costs"]. In an interview, the present interim chief executive, Joseph A. Ruffolo, described the measures as, "We are not closing any major services."

More than one high-quality national survey has shown that in the United States, between 10 and 25 percent of the population in any region suffer from psychiatric disorders. Practicing physicians have often estimated that 40 percent of their patients suffer from significant mental health disorders.

As a former professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan, I beg to differ with Mr. Ruffolo: Closing the outpatient counseling program at Loudoun Healthcare Inc. is closing a major service.

It is true that managed care discriminates against psychiatry and counseling reimbursements. This underscores the current effort in Congress to pass a law forbidding health insurance companies from the current discrimination against the mentally ill.