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Texas, Land of Plenty 

Letters published May 9, 2002

Plenty of beer-swigging millionaires:

Just for the record, your analogies are lacking ["Artless Heathens," April 4]. First of all, you have obviously never been to my native state of Texas, where we have more millionaires per capita, plenty of arts and culture, and plenty of women wearing Chanel suits while swigging beer and listening to Willie Nelson. San Jose is actually more of a run-down one-horse town, with a lot of technology money supporting our former ballet company. Good story, though.

Kim Roulias

Thanks for the positive ink:

I want to express my appreciation to Laura Putre on behalf of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) for your charming feature on Mrs. Delphine Bittner ["Grandma Gets the Bad Guys," March 28]. Your article broke through the usual stereotypes associated with residents of public housing. Considered in conjunction with the article you wrote about Mrs. Louise Harris last year ["Not-So-Bleak House," November 15, 2001], Scene's readership is gaining an opportunity to glimpse the diverse backgrounds and lives of those who have chosen to make CMHA their home.

Terri Hamilton Brown
Executive Director, CMHA

Not all pros are swimming in six figures:

I'm principal oboe of the Canton Symphony Orchestra and enjoyed your article ["The Making of a Pro Violinist," April 11]. I, too, went to CIM and know many of the people interviewed (good musicians, all). I did take exception to a few things that were stated or implied, though.

First was the comment about tenure in orchestras allowing us to stop practicing. I found that comment very offensive. It speaks against every reason we go into music in the first place. There are processes for removing tenured musicians from orchestras. My former teacher, John Mack (retired principal oboe, Cleveland Orchestra), worked every day, sunrise to sunset, to present the best music he was capable of. He would have done it for one-hundredth of his orchestra salary.

Second, my salary in the Canton Symphony (one-third of the poverty level) has no bearing on how I prepare or play. I give everything I have, all of the time. In reference to the six-figure incomes you mentioned: Yes, they exist, for well-deserving musicians. One should compare these to salaries of businessmen, athletes, and others at the top of their fields. Then the salaries start looking pretty small. For every six-figure musician salary, there are hundreds of full-time orchestral musicians working very hard and earning $18,000 to $20,000 a year. Finally, most musicians I met at school did not come from wealthy backgrounds and are saddled with debt.

Overall, I greatly appreciate the exposure of our field. I also encourage your readers to check out their local symphony orchestras. My wish is that they start to experience at least a small fraction of the joy that music has brought to my life.

Terry Orcutt

Rethinking the roots of battered-child syndrome:

I just finished reading "Blood & Justice" [April 18] and found it reasonably interesting. However, Andrew Putz's research is very flawed. Putz states that battered-child syndrome was first used in the Scruggs case. In fact, battered-child syndrome was first used in a Steubenville courtroom in 1995 in State v. Nemeth. Although the trial judge denied its admission, it was preserved for appeal. In 1998, the Ohio Supreme Court agreed with the defense and ruled that battered-child syndrome can now be used in a courtroom.

In the spring of 2001, battered-child syndrome was used in Summit County Juvenile Court in Akron in the case of State v. Stitt. This was widely reported in The Plain Dealer, Beacon Journal, and several Cleveland television stations.

Kerry O'Brien

Editor's note: As the story noted, battered-child syndrome was first used "in an Ohio courtroom" in the Scruggs case. The Stitt case, in which Kerry O'Brien served as Aaron Stitt's attorney, was resolved before going to trial.

Lockkeepers, take me away:

My love of the Lockkeepers Inn has been rekindled after reading Elaine Cicora's take on their superior service and quality food ["Keys to Fine Dining," April 4]. I've enjoyed so many wonderful dinners there, and although I have not yet stepped foot in the new location, I look forward to doing so in the near future. Thank you for bringing this fine restaurant to the attention of your readers.

Dott Schneider

Money can't buy mental health:

Your report on the mental health board was of great interest ["Psyched Out," April 4]. While I am not knowledgeable about the specific events Tom Francis describes, I am familiar with the rules that apply to clinical services and recordkeeping, and the problems encountered with clients who do not participate in treatment -- so I know it is hard to follow the rules. But we need to get on with collecting outcomes. Some people will do well. We need more than money and statistics to demonstrate what can be done by good programs. We need outcome data and programs that can intervene with the high-risk cases. The drug board has done a much better job with an epidemic.

Kathleen H. Stoll
Shaker Heights


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