Drinks at the Rink

I read with much amusement the recent article regarding the controversy over the possible alcohol permit at Blades ice rink in Rockville. ["Alcohol Permit Request Divides Hockey Group," Extra, July 8]. What does it matter if the permit is approved? It is illegal to serve minors alcohol under any circumstance, and I am assuming that such diligence would prevail at the Village Grille as well, regardless if parents stay for practice on not.

I also take issue with Brenda Willett's statement that the leaders of the Montgomery Youth Hockey Association have "betrayed us." What a preposterous comment. MYHA may have one of the primary contracts with the rink, but the rink also serves as a base for many Maryland Scholastic Hockey League games, men's ice hockey leagues and, I believe, figure skating. Not to mention numerous summer camps and an annual Christmas hockey tournament. MYHA President Brian Melnick and General Manager Bob Weiss have done an outstanding job over the years supporting the organization and building it up to its current level, always keeping the kids as their primary concern.

To be honest, my initial concern when I first read about the alcohol permit was not about the kids. It was about parents whom, after eight years as an MYHA parent, I've observed to be loud, obnoxious and rude -- and that's when they're sober.

I am much more concerned about their behavior with a few drinks under their belt than I am about the kids, who shouldn't be served anyway.

I wish the Village Grille had been there the many nights I waited for my son before he was able to drive himself.

With or without alcohol, I wish it well. It is a much-needed addition to the rink, which I am so glad to see will remain one of the primary venues for ice hockey in this county.

Daryl L. Kaufman


Crosswalk Quandary

"The pedestrian was not in a marked crosswalk." This is the typical closing line in many articles after a driver hits a pedestrian. You also usually read that "the accident is under investigation" and "the driver was not charged." End of story.

Law enforcement finds an easy out for themselves once again.

While it is fairly easy to determine if the victim was outside painted lines when hit and imply that the victim was out of place, it is far less easy to determine whether the driver was obeying the rules of the road. Speeding? Distracted? Changing lanes? Running the light? Turning on red? Not in control of the vehicle? It's hard for the investigating officer to know when the only statement obtained is from the driver. The ambulance has removed the other side of the story from the scene.

Drivers are being led into a misunderstanding of the rules of the road. Maryland law states a crosswalk exists at an intersection. There is no requirement that it be marked. There is no suggestion, in law, that a pedestrian has rights only in a marked crosswalk. What constitutes a marked crosswalk anyway? Look at the few "marked" crosswalks on your travels. What is the standard? What if the paint has been worn away or covered with snow or the diamond sign knocked over. Does this then become a crosswalk where drivers are further excused from any responsibility?

An intersection is a logical place for people to cross a street, just as it is a place for cars to cross. Both parties have rights here. I don't know how many intersections there are in Montgomery County, but I would not want to be taxed to mark all of them any more than I would want them all to be signaled. What a waste of time and money.

There is a problem to be solved at intersections, but continually blaming the victim is not the solution.

John Carroll

Silver Spring