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Instead, I wonder if Richmond could become home to a nonprofit group whose sole intent is to collect donations small and large, from anyone who wishes to give, and spend that money in $1,000 increments, honoring or helping individuals just as Mr. Cannon did during his lifetime. It would be named appropriately reflecting its mission, not Mr. Cannon's name, yet he could certainly be honored as the original inspiration for such a group.

In addition, no person connected with the group will profit financially from the association. There may be a need for a humbly paid administrator, perhaps paid through grants, but every dollar donated should be returned to the community. No person who requests money shall receive it. We already have Mr. Cannon's example as to how and to whom we should donate.

While this isn't my area of expertise, nor do I have any more time available than anyone else, it is a worthy pursuit to consider, and I would be willing to help. If Mr. Cannon's family were to agree, then hopefully someone in Richmond could spearhead such an endeavor. Wouldn't that be much more in keeping with, and properly honor, the last requests of Mr. Thomas Cannon?

Adele Castillo



Tread Carefully With Toddler Swim Programs

Your cover story on the Morgan Swim School ("Hope Floats," July 13) did your readers a great disservice. While it is interesting to learn that Mrs. Morgan home-schools her 13 children and that the boys' bedroom is messy, your reporter might have bothered to find out why some of us call Mrs. Morgan "the swim Nazi" (and not just out of her earshot, either).

Three years ago, I took a Mom 'n' Me swim class at the Morgan school with my 2-year-old son. My son did fine on most of the exercises, but at our final lesson, he still wasn't rolling onto his back the way he was supposed to. For whatever reason, he twisted in my hands each time I tried to roll him into the position your cover photo shows. Finally, Mrs. Morgan took over. After all, she had guaranteed that our kids would be doing the roll by the end of the course. She had told us that knowing how to roll onto their backs could save our children from drowning.

In Mrs. Morgan's unfamiliar hands, my son struggled even harder. She dunked him. He started to cry. "If you cry," she told him, "I will dunk you." My son started to scream. Mrs. Morgan dunked him again. He came up screaming even louder, plainly terrified. She dunked him again. I could hear him screaming under the water. He came up gasping, screamed again, got dunked again. And so on. You get the picture. After about five dunks, Mrs. Morgan gave up and handed him to me in disgust. My son was coughing and sobbing.

"We'll work on it in the next session," Mrs. Morgan said. Needless to say, there was no next session.

My biggest regret is that I was shocked into inaction by Mrs. Morgan's behavior. My son remained terrified of the water for several weeks. The following year, I enrolled him in lessons at the YMCA. Thank God for the Y. My son, now 5, swims confidently and joyfully, floats on his back, and fondly remembers each of his YMCA teachers, none of whom ever saw any need to terrify him.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has a policy statement on swimming programs for infants and toddlers. It notes that they "have not been shown to decrease the risk of drowning. ... [Infant-toddler] Programs that claim to make children safe in water or safe from drowning are misrepresenting what is possible and are giving parents a false sense of security about their child's safety in the water." The AAP also notes, "For any water safety or swimming class, children learn better if they are developmentally ready, properly motivated, positively reinforced, and if the experience is enjoyable."

Corinne Schmidt



Kaine's Mayorship Different, But Not "Mediocre"

If Jerry Kilgore calls Tim Kaine "a mediocre mayor" ("The Race Is On," Cover Story, Aug. 3), he is barking up the wrong tree.

When Kaine was mayor, the job was an honorary position, not an elective one, and the Council over which he presided could perhaps be called "mediocre," since a number of rather weird people served on it at the pleasure of their constituents. Perhaps Governing magazine had them in mind when it gave Richmond's "city management team" a C-minus.

We who live in Richmond — and Kilgore never did — recall Tim as a gracious, conscientious voice of reason trying to lead a rambunctious Council.

Juanita B. White



Band Deserves Press

It was so nice to see ink for Hotel X ("World View," Arts & Culture, Aug. 10). I can't recall seeing coverage of this very talented, diverse, progressive band. It's overdue and appreciated. Their Web site was absent from the article, so allow me to fill folks in ... www.hotelxmusic.com.

Dawn Waters



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