- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Still late, Luther
The District of Columbia won't let Luther Miller rest in peace.
For several months now, as charted by this column, the D.C. Public Space Department has been sending certified letters to the late Luther Miller (he died in January 1976) at his old address on Garfield Street NW.
The letters warn the late Mr. Miller that unless he pays his overdue fines (he apparently placed his trash on the curb a day or two before the scheduled pickup) he faces imprisonment or an even worse fate.
Every time a certified letter arrives at Garfield Street, Jesse H. Merrell, a law-abiding gentlemen living at Mr. Miller's old address, writes to D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams to say that Mr. Miller died more than 25 years ago.
"If you must insist on continuing to write to Luther Miller," Mr. Merrell told the mayor in a recent letter, "you should direct all future correspondence to him at: Old Stone Cemetery, Lewisburg, WV 24901."
Well, we're here (unlike you-know-who) to report that the D.C. government has sent yet another past-due notice to Garfield Street, warning the late Mr. Miller that whatever time he has left has just about expired.
"Dear Mayor Williams," Mr. Merrell writes in a letter dated Dec. 14. "What part of 'dead' confuses you? I told you November 1 that Luther Miller was dead. Had been since January 31, 1976. Undeterred, you wrote him a second time.
"I wrote you again on November 27, telling you that he was still dead Despite that, you have now sent a third letter to Luther Miller.
"This time, I'm sending you a copy of his death certificate. Perhaps that will convince you, where my previous letters failed" or so Mr. Merrell hopes.
Poor Luther, we see by his death certificate, died of cancer.

Check your box cutters
The U.S. Capitol has reopened to tourists under security procedures implemented by Capitol Police that encourage senators to store constituents' knives, razors, box cutters and other personal items in their offices until tours are completed.
An "urgent" memo we obtained to all 100 U.S. senators reads:
"Visitors will not be permitted to bring the following items into the Capitol: aerosol and non-aerosol sprays; cans and bottles; oversized suitcases; duffel bags and oversized bags; knives of any length; razors and box cutters; mace and pepper spray .
"Offices are encouraged to allow constituents to store personal belongings in the office before coming to the Capitol for a tour."

Solstice celebration
Craig Shirley of Craig Shirley and Associates, one of Washington's leading public relations and government-affairs consulting firms, is angry at his daughter's third-grade public school teacher in Fairfax County.
It appears that because the teacher and a few of her students don't celebrate Christmas, the rest of the third-grade class shouldn't be able to, either.
In a note to Mr. Shirley, the third-grade teacher writes: "I just wanted to ask for your assistance again in planning a party for Dec. 21. However, I do not celebrate Christmas and a couple of students have expressed they do not either. Could you please plan a 'winter'-themed party? I would appreciate it!"
"What possible concern should it be to anybody whether the teacher celebrates Christmas?" reacts Mr. Shirley. "If kids celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Ramadan, then why can't we celebrate Christmas, which the last time I looked was a national holiday for all the children in this country?"

Letters from home
Since 1967, when Sgt. Billy Thompson wrote Abigail Van Buren and mentioned that a wonderful Christmas present to our armed forces would be 'just a letter from home,' American citizens have been sending holiday wishes to servicemen and women stationed overseas.
But concerns about mail delivery, notes Rep. Jo Ann Davis, Virginia Republican, have prompted the military to suspend this year's letter-writing campaign.
Instead, the Department of the Navy is providing a private and secure online resource that will allow Americans to send holiday greetings to a sailor, Marine, soldier, airman or Coast Guardsman.
Anybody who wishes to send such a greeting can visit Mrs. Davis' congressional Web site at www.house.gov.
Meanwhile, a Christmas tree decorated with thousands of cards and messages for veterans and active-duty military will be displayed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial beginning Friday.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund receives thousands of holiday cards each December to be placed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The most-visited memorial in Washington, it bears the names of the 58,226 Americans who were killed or remain missing in action in Vietnam.

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