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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 11, 2001, New Braunfels, Texas Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Friday, May ll, 2001Forum Contact Managing Editor Margaret Edmonson at 625-9144 ext. 220. Nkw Braunfels Herald-Zeitung New Braunfels Zeitung was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957 and printed in both German and English until 1958. Doug Toney, Editor and Publisher Margaret Edmonson, Managing Editor Jo Lee Ferguson, News Editor (830) 625-9144 Editorial-Letter carriers deliver with food drive Letter carriers will make an extra stop on their delivery routes Saturday — to local food banks. Saturday is the National Association of Letter Carrier’s 10th annual food drive, and residents are asked to leave non-perishable food items next to their mailboxes. These food donations will be picked up by the letter carriers, who will drop them off at the food bank. Previous letter carrier food drives in New Braunfels and Comal County have resulted in nearly 150,000 pounds of food. According to the local letter carrier chapter, this is a particularly critical time of year for food banks. Most people give food during the winter holidays, and many schoolchildren who rely on school lunches for sustenance soon will be out for summer vacation. Don’t have a mailbox? Leave your food donations near door slots, cluster boxes and post office boxes in the lobby. Saturday’s food drive reminds us that the season of need lasts all year, and our local letter carriers are doing their part to meet that need.Today in History- iiritofioarowea Wfarramairiiaa wsniieyiiatJinCi^ra! ■AIM*Letters Policy- The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung encourages letters on any public issue. The editor reserves the right to correct spelling, style, punctuation and known factual errors. Letters should be kept to 250 words. Also, an address and a telephone number, which are not for publication, must be included for confirmation purposes. Preference is given to writers who have not been published in the previous 30 days. Mail letters to: Letters to the Editor do the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung P.O. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131-1328 Fax: (830) 606-3413 e-mail: [email protected] Letters To Hie Editor By The Associated Press Tbday is Friday, May ll, the 131st day of 2001. There are 234 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On May ll, 1981, reggae artist Bob Marley, 36, died in a Miami hospital. On this date: In 1858, Minnesota became the 32nd state of the Union. In 1888, songwriter Irving Berlin was born Israel Baline in Temun, Russia. In 1910, Glacier National Park in Montana was established. In 1946, the first CARE packages arrived in Europe, at Le Havre, France. In 1949, Israel was admitted to the United Nations as the world body’s 59th member.NBHS appreciates doctors’ help Dear Editor: We would like to express our thanks to the local physicians who performed screenings at New Braunfels High School on May 2. Dr. Albrecht, Dr. Forney, Dr. Fitchey, Dr. Elliot-Mullens, Dr. Geldernick, Dr. Yu and Dr. Pak performed this service. They generously donated their services. The fee collected was donated to the athletic training department. We further would like to thank the physicians who responded but were unable to assist because of extenuating circumstances. We appreciate their commitment to participation of our community youth in wholesome activities. Thank you for your contribution. Dean E. Laird, MS, ATC, LAT Head Athletic Trainer Amy Coulomb, ATC, LAT Assistant Athletic TrainerTaxpayer Teachers of the Year recognized Dear Editor: I would like to recognize individually the following public high school teachers as Taxpayer Teachers of the Year for 2000-2001: • Ann Rider who has taught history, math, business, keyboard and Academic Decathlon through her many years of service at SVHS. • Cindy Norris, who is one of the greatest computer knowledgeable teaching experts I’ve known. She also teaches nightly computer community education classes at SVHS. Norris, drifting toward retirement, has taught many years at SVHS. • Janice Balmos, who has logged five years at SVHS as a business/computer teacher. Her kinder, gentler approach, but stern if necessary, teaching skills earn her great student respect. • Claudette Cozzi ,who in her four years at SVHS constantly has shown her brilliance as an art teacher through her student’s school hall art displays and their respect for then-art teacher. I’ve personally watched these teachers perform over the years. As a concerned taxpayer, I recognize these teachers for their exceptionally meritorious service at SVHS. Their professional approach and dedication enable them to implement positive steps that transform their students into high cabber adults. This has gained them great respect and admiration from their current students and former students who are now in society looking back. Teachers like these reflect well on their students, themselves, SVHS/CISD and America. They are tax dollars well spent. Thanks, teachers. Jerry E. Daugherty Spring BranchStore employees return lost purse Dear Editor: I’d just gotten home and put my items away with a grateful tear in my eye and a prayer of thanksgiving in my heart. This past Sunday, about 2 p.m., I was checking out of the New Braunfels’ Wal-Mart. When paying for my merchandise, I forgot my purse, leaving it in the cart or at the check-out counter. I got three miles from the store before I realized that I didn’t have my purse. I immediately turned around and went back. The young lady at the check-out counter said that she hadn’t seen my purse, but she told me to go to Customer Service to see if anyone had found it and turned it in. There, a nice lady made a phone call to another location in the store, but it seemed that no one had turned it in. As I was leaving that area of the store, I met one the employees who had items she was returning to customer service, and she had my purse on her arm. She was bringing it to turn it in. I thanked and thanked her, offering her a monetary reward, but she declined, saying company policy did not permit it. For those who have ever lost their purse, you know the feeling you have. There is not only the money lost but much, much more — driver’s license, credit cards, Social Security card, health cards, pictures and on and on. So again, thank you, Wal-Mart employees, for your integrity and honesty. Th show my appreciation, I am making a contribution to the American Cancer Society in your honor. For every one thing that goes wrong, there are 50 to IOO blessings. Count them. I’m still counting.Mozell Bragdon New BraunfelsPharma-porn dispensed more cheaply than medications AUSTIN — We’re all used to eco-porn by now; those beautiful t elevision ads featuring some natural jewel, during which an announcer tells us how much Exxon or some other gross polluter is doing to keep our precious earth green. We always get a lot of this greenwashing after oil-spills or whenever Congress contemplates regulating anything. The enviros keep track of the worst eco-porn offenders and, on April Fool’s Day this year, Earth Day Resources saluted oil company BP Amoco, for its nonsensical campaign ubout being “beyond petroleum”; Boise Cascade, for its claim that it supports “sustainable forests”; Coca-Cola, for breaking its 1990 promise that it would use 25 percent recycled materials in its plastic bottles; Royal Dutch Shell, whose “Profits and Principles” ads do not mention the company’s anti-environmen-tal positions on global warming and the destruction of rainforests; and a motley assortment of other corporate liars, eco-wannabes and a few suffering from deranged imaginations. Just as we are learning to cope with eco-porn (any ad involving both wildlife and an oil company is to be hooted and jeered immediately), suddenly they unleash a flood of pharma-porn on us. (I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know the new politically trendy way to refer to the big drug companies Molly Ivins is “pharmas.” I’ve been calling them big drug companies — but the advantage of being in Texas is no one ever expects you to be up on this stuff.) As a cancer survivor, I am particularly susceptible to the wonderful ad in which a woman recovering from breast cancer tries to express her gratitude to the drug companies that saved her life. I know she feels the same gratitude to the doctors, the nurses, the orderlies, the health-insurance company, her best friend, her mother-in-law and many more. I know the gratitude caused by surviving cancer. I just didn’t expect to see it exploited by Big Pharmas to counter all the rotten publicity they’ve been getting for their greedy, blood-sucking, murderous behavior all over the globe. John LeCarre, the British master of the spy novel, based his latest work on the pharmas’ role in Africa and recently wrote in The Nation: “Big Pharma in the United States has persuaded the State Department to threaten poor countries’ governments with trade sanctions in order to pre vent them from making their own cheap forms of the patented, life-saving drugs that could ease the agony of 35 million men, women and children in the Third World who are HIV positive. In pharma jargon, these patent-free, copycat drugs are called generic. Big Pharma likes to trash them, insisting they are unsafe and carelessly administered. Practice shows that they are neither. They simply save the same lives that Big Pharma could save, but at a fraction of the cost.” We all know the drug companies’ famous excuse that they have to make huge profits on a drug in order to finance research and development of more. There’s quite a bit of pharma-porn on this very subject. LeCarre responds, “Then kindly tell me, please, how come they spend twice as much on marketing as they do on research and development?” Because it pays, of course. Spending on drugs in this country is up by a whopping 19 percent, so far out of line with the rest of the cost increases in the economy as to be obscene. Furthermore, a new study by the National Institute for Health Care Management Foundation says the $20.8 billion in increased spending “was attributable, in large measure, to the rising volume of prescriptions for top-selling drugs.” In other words, people are asking for the heavily advertised patent drugs like Celebrex, Lipitor and Vioxx by name. Anyone want to make a small bet? Unless we continue to clean up campaign financing, the Pharmas will give so much to Congress for campaigns that the pharmas will no longer have to list the unpleasant side effects of the “wonder” drugs they advertise so heavily on television. Pharma-porn will achieve a whole new level without those hilarious warnings: “Can also cause bloody stool, stroke and unsightly hair loss.” Big Pharma’s record on AIDS in Africa is so appalling, it’s finally dropped its own lawsuit in April against South Africa to prevent the country from using generics to treat the disease. The lawsuit was a public relations disaster, necessitating more pharma-porn here lest anyone get the idea the pharmas are greedy beyond human comprehension and perfectly willing to let millions of Africans die. Here’s one of their many tricks. In 1984, Congress passed the Drug Price Competition Act, intended to promote competition between brand and generic companies and to promote the generics. In July 2000, The New York Times chronicled how well it was working: In 1998, Zenith Goldline Pharmaceuticals sued Abbott Labs over whether Zenith could sell a generic version of Hytrin, Abbott’s $500 million a year drug for high blood pressure. According to Zenith’s lawyer, “Abbott makes a million dollars a day for every day it keeps us off the market.” After opening arguments in the case, the lawyers all strolled off to lunch at the Hay-Adams in Washington and the case was there settled. The Times writes: “Abbott agreed to pay Zenith as much as $2 million a month not to produce its generic, up to a maximum of $42 million. The next day, Abbott agreed to pay another rival, Geneva Pharmaceuticals, even more: $4.5 million a month up to $101 million over the life of the contract.” A shrewd business decision. Also illegal. In addition, Abbott’s drug Hytrin was basically a knock-off of another drug, called a “me-too drug.” The pharmas claim they spend an average of $500 million for research on each new drug (you should see how they figure this), but the Times says the Boston Consulting group, which advises the industry, reports 42 of the IOO top-selling medicines are me-too drugs. Think how instructive it would be if NBC ever put a story like that on “The Fleecing of America.” (Molly Ivins is a syndicated columnist.) ;