I'm a foster-care provider for three children, who have been in the system for the past 16 months. I have a problem with the prosecuting of the parents of a neglected child ("A Pattern of Failure," Mobtown Beat, March 10). If the state locks up the parents, that just keeps the child in the system. The parents of the children that I care for have six children in total and have not shown any true effort in getting their children back. My wife and I receive $2,000 a month for the care of the children, which after two years will amount to $24,000. We as taxpayers should not have to pay for the care of other parents' children. I feel that the parents of neglected children in the foster-care system should be held responsible for paying back the state of Maryland. A small payroll deduction each month would replace those tax dollars spent by the state, and I feel this should be added to that bill. Maryland is in a deficit, and it's issues like this that would help out the state.
Shawn A. Merrick
What a pleasure to read about one of the great restaurants of Baltimore's bygone era ("Eat the Decade," Feature, March 3). In my opinion, Louie's Bookstore Café epitomized what Baltimore is: charming, eccentric, and eclectic. Although I never had a problem with the service of the waitstaff, I know some that did. I always found Louie's just the spot for browsing the books or hanging out for happy hour/dinner, and it was a great spot for a first date. It was always a place that I recommended to friends, family, and out-of-towners. When it closed in 1999 (It feels a lot longer) I felt a little piece of Baltimore close with it. And although Ixia was a nice addition to the Charles Street dining corridor, it just wasn't the same. Now, if you can just do a piece on my other favorite Baltimore restaurants, GAMPY's (Great American Melting Pot) and Mencken's Cultured Pearl.