Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
T-shirts, toilet seats, ticket fees, traffic lights. All of those items, as well as medical helicopters, were on the minds of you readers at summer’s end. Which means it’s time for the September reader mailbag.
Regarding the helicopters, and the huge fees that Carilion Clinic’s air ambulance contractor was charging until I wrote about that, Bill Docekal of Lexington weighed in.
“Keep up the good fight!” he wrote. “It’s about time the ‘upper crust’ of Med Trans and Carilion stop bankrupting fellow citizens with their unabashed greed. I’m sure they own those plush mansions along Smith Mountain lake, while the average worker is looking to put food on their tables and god-forbid if they ever needed an ambulance flight.”
But Gerry Lake of Blacksburg said I had ignored an important human element to the helicopter story: the crews who ride on those copters.
“These women and men put their lives at risk every time they fly and often land in dangerous conditions at the scene of the incident. … The human crews aboard the aircraft perform excellent work in difficult conditions, and their goal is to save lives, not to save a few dollars so the survivor can buy a used car with the $18,000 she didn’t have to spend.”
Leslie Hill of Salem wrote in to praise that city for fixing a frustrating traffic light.
“I wanted to send a huge debt of gratitude to the City of Salem for recalibrating the stoplight at Market and Main. If on Market, crossing Main, what used to be a full 5-minute wait with little to no cross traffic is but a blip now that the light changes when you pull up to it.”
Another Salem issue that brought some reader mail was the Sept. 17 column about free T-shirts for Salem high students with Del. Greg Habeeb’s ad on them — he’s the brother of Principal Scott Habeeb. A church also advertised on the shirt. Both paid for the ads.
Richard Dierckins of Salem called it “one more reminder of just how political Salem School District has become, whether it involves hiring, promotions or other favors. … We believe that public education should remain politically and religiously neutral. Thank you for bringing this to the public’s attention.”
That issue drew hundreds of comments on my blog, and Salem High teacher Mark Ingerson wrote me his personal thoughts about some of those.
“Some angry types have commented on your blog. However, Scott [Habeeb] is a highly competent principal. His number one focus is on us teaching, loving, and positively influencing the students we teach. The t-shirt is a part of that.”
Former Texas Tavern owner Jim Bullington of Roanoke apparently got some ideas from the Sept. 24 column I wrote about convenience and other fees the Roanoke Civic Center adds when you buy tickets online or by phone. The Church Avenue diner is now owned by his son Matt.
The elder Bullington wrote: “ I am thinking of suggesting to Matt that we add the following fees at the T.T.
Those would push the price of a $1.70 bowl of chile to almost $29 — which the Bullingtons will tell you with a straight face is totally worth it.
Last but not least I heard from Katherine Taylor of Bedford. She can empathize with Pearisburg’s Vickie LaFon. On Sept. 29, I recounted the indignity she suffered of being pitched off a toilet by a loose seat, and the trouble she’s had buying a replacement.
Something similar happened to Taylor in a restroom at a major retailer within the past year.
“I sat down. The toilet seat went one way and I went the other,” Taylor told me. All the other toilet seats in that women’s restroom were loose, too. Taylor reported it to management. It took the store three months to fix them, she added.
“They said it had to go through headquarters,” Taylor told me.
Aren’t bureaucracies grand?
Thanks for all the letters, emails and phone calls, readers. Please keep them coming.
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