From: Bill Kerr



I believe that your Dec. 1 article (Howard County Sun, "God blessthe hounds," by Muphen Whitney), about the Howard-Iron Bridge Hunt, lacked one very important item.

In your article, you said, "Although scenting conditions could have been better, hounds found and ran four foxes to ground." (WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOX?)


You went on to say, "The final fox was waiting for us at his den and said, "Let's go for a little run." Hounds picked him up at his hole, and ran for about 40 minutes." (WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOX?)

Lastly, you commented, "It's so beautiful here and so perfect for Thanksgiving Day. The hounds are so happy and excited and I loved seeing the horses. (WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOX?)

I think that it's important for your readers andyour children and mine to know, "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE FOX?"

(Editor's note: Although it is not unusual for foxes in European hunts to be killed, in the United States the hunt could more accurately be called fox "chasing," says contributing writer Muphen Whitney. With rareexceptions, the foxes chased in American hunts escape unscathed to ahole in the ground -- either their own or one borrowed for the occasion -- or to a tree or other hiding spot. That was the outcome for the four foxes in the Dec. 1 story. Once every four or five years hounds might catch and kill an old or unhealthy fox.

"The point is to have a good run with the hounds and a good run with the horses," said Whitney. "There is no fox worth his salt that doesn't get away from hounds. I have seen an arrogant fox. I have never seen a terrified fox.")


From: Terri Ebaugh



In response to your recent caricature (Howard County Sun, Dialogue cartoon, by Rob Snyder, Nov. 24) of NOW members as buzzards who espouse diversity of opinion only when such opinion is sanctioned by NOW, I feel compelled to point out a factor which your cartoonist apparently overlooked.

Not all NOW members agree with every nuance of politicalopinion adopted by National NOW or by each of the 14 Maryland chapters. Nor are they required to!

We have Democratic and Republican members, wealthy and welfare members, young and old, female and male, from every conceivable profession and representing many ethnic and religious backgrounds. We value the opinions and beliefs of all our members. We also support the right of every American to believe what he or she wishes to believe.

Yet, when someone such as the Rev. Colletopines that the female half of the population should be denied equalaccess to employment (as indicated by the Southern Baptists' refusalto accept women as ministers), prohibited from exercising choices regarding private reproductive matters (such as birth control and/or abortion), or treated as inferior, unqualified or second-class in any manner due to gender, and believes that certain people are unhealthy and un-Christian due solely to their sexual orientations, that is where we NOW members draw the line on healthy and acceptable diversity ofopinion.

Women's constitutional rights (while they remain) are not to be subverted by the specious whims of zealots whose goal is to circumvent, rather than protect, equal rights.

(Terri Ebaugh is thevice president of the Howard County chapter of the National Organization for Women.)



From: Theresa Meisenbacher

Ellicott City

I am writing in response to the Howard County Sun Dialogue section from Nov. 27 regarding County Comments: "Should Howard County schools allow homosexual organizations to speak to students on topics such as AIDS or teen homosexuality?"

As a mother ofthree children in the Howard County school system, I would like to know how other parents are responding to this question. I, for one, amdirectly opposed to any homosexual organization teaching my childrenabout AIDS or homosexuality. Anyone who believes that these organizations do not promote homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle is being naive and had better take a closer look at what they advocate.

Do you think that a homosexual will adequately or objectively teach your children that abstinence is still an option (the only option thatis 100 percent "safe")? Can the same organizations who pass out condoms on street corners be trusted not to give our children the messagethat promiscuity is OK?


The topic of AIDS is an important one andneeds to be addressed. However, there are many qualified medical/health professionals who are better able to cover the facts more thoroughly, professionally and objectively.


From: Jack Gonzales


Recently, I almost found myself in every serious reader's nightmare: For the first time in 20 years of borrowing books at the Central Library, I was charged with the loss of a bookI was fairly sure I had returned.

That may sound trivial to lip readers, but to someone who checks out dozens of books each year, and for whom the endless bounty of our outstanding library system is crucial to the quality of my retired solitary life, it was a very big deal indeed. How does one disprove a computer?


And if forced to pay the replacement cost ($26.50) as the library's form letter naturally requested, how does that affect my future assurance when checking out not only local books but also many from throughout and outside the state, which the wonders of computer networks make possible?

Fortunately, yesterday I was able to locate my missing book shelved a few feet from where it should have been, amid a general disarray of misfiled books discernible in that area. Although the library staff had not been able to find the book during the five days since I had requesteda shelf search, I was assured by the circulation supervisor they would have eventually found it.

Given the misfiling and harried airs of the excellent but dwindling staff as I have observed them, I am not as confident of this as I once might have been.

And so I write not to complain but to suggest. We are now confronted by the conditionsmash-mouth ideologues have so loudly brayed for: less government onour backs (and at our service) and more penny wisdom.

I submit that no service slashing will be more concretely felt by a broader swath of citizenry than that dealt the library. Although librarians have no union or organized lobby like the police or teachers, they have a very loyal following with excellent memories and high percentage voting records.

I suggest (County Executive Charles I. Ecker should) sit down with library administrators to better hone necessary cuts so they are a bit less like meat ax blows, and this before there is a serious breakdown in library service.



From: JimKraft


We thought that the letter of Nov. 27 from council member Charles Feaga was rather self-serving (Howard County Sun, "Defending redistricting.") First of all, Feaga did not add anything new to the debate on the real issue, i.e., councilmanic redistricting. He simply reiterated, for the most part, his previously stated position.

He has, however, injected a new issue into what he had previously labeled a partisan debate. He has attempted to resurrect the "Columbia-county" division. This is disheartening.

Many of us, both Republican and Democrat, have worked for many years to bridge the divide that was nurtured and fed by small-minded and opportunistic politicians of the late '60s and early '70s. We thought that this battle had been fought and won. We believed that it was an issue put to rest and that we were now operating under the approach that we were one county. Obviously, for Feaga this is not so. This is sad.


On the main issue, redistricting, Feaga knows that there were numerous hearingsand the Democratic members of the council moved considerably from the Democratic plan that was submitted to them in an effort to create aplan that was fair for all Howard countians.

He also knows that the Democratic members of the council joined both him and Darrell Drown in rejecting the plan submitted to them by the Republican Central Committee as being too partisan and divisive for even consideration bythe council as a realistic method of redistricting the county. Furthermore, the council majority, including Feaga, adopted amendments, prior to the passage of the bill, which shifted certain areas in Highland and Ellicott City to accommodate him.

His letter is simple posturing and contrary to the facts. It adds nothing new to the debate. It seems to be nothing but an effort to re-open new wounds. It is a shame that Feaga has been brought to a level where if he cannot win, then he needs to seek to divide us.

(Jim Kraft is the chairman of the Democratic Forum.)