From: James M. Holway

Ellicott City

Subject: Petition for commercial rezoning on Ridge Road.

1. Everyone in the Route 40 area is aware that there is an excess of storeand commercial merchandising space available between the Beltway andBethany Lane and that vacancies are increasing weekly. There is no immediate need or near-time need to rezone land to create new space simply because the price is right. Unused commercial land exists in Howard County.

2. There is "no change or mistake" involved. The council has been through comprehensive land use review numerous times. Water, sewer and road changes represent "no change or mistake"; these are on all the adopted county 5-, 10- and 20-year plans -- most recently adopted by the sitting council. The zoning board really has no grounds for a public hearing.

3. The traffic patterns at Ridge Road are unsatisfactory for a major increase in traffic service on Ridge Road. The entire intersection at Route 29 and Route 40 would need to be engineered at a substantial cost that should be paid for by any petitioner, to be duplicated by any additional future users.

4. The County Council should have some public responsibility to the existing merchants in this market area that are trying to survive the present recession.


From: Eva M. Moore

Mount Airy

An open letter to Deborah Kendig, chairwoman of the Howard County school board:

Much has been said about the junk-food vending machines at our county's School of Technology, but as a long-time resident, I feel compelled to add my voice of protest.

It is unconscionable in view of today's knowledge about healthy nutrition to tempt children with such unhealthy fare. It is a monumental task to wean people from bad nutritional habits.

Schools should never exacerbate this condition but rather be in the forefront with teaching and directing students toward their best interests.

There is another item which bothers me about these vending machines -- the money angle.

The take is terrific; capitalism is alive and well at the school.

Who decides what the money is to be used for? Are all funds spent properly within Board of Education guidelines?

It is not enough to state funds are used for "professional development" or "teachers' workshops." Those catch phrases are meaningless.

Something needs to be changed. I don't like what is going on.


From: Jan Saltzman

Cal Saltzman

Ellicott City

We must comment on theproposed school athletic budget cuts by Superintendent Hickey. We are being told that the girls athletic events may be moved to afternoonmatches.

As working parents, it is difficult enough to see our daughter's games that begin at 5:30 or 6 p.m. Now, after years of providing transportation to daily practices; providing financial support to purchase uniforms, shoes and required gear; providing parental participation and commitment at meetings, banquets and games; and providing school funds through ticket purchases for many various games, we must miss the events because they will take place in the middle of thework day.

This seems extremely unfair, especially when parental participation is so strongly encouraged and we have always willingly done more than is required to support our daughter and her school.

We also consider this proposed move as discrimination against the girls athletic programs. The girls programs have never received the support and attendance evident at boys games, and now the proposal is to cut that even further.

It just doesn't seem fair!

There must bea better way -- for example, raising the cost of tickets to the games by a dollar or two. If there is no alternative to moving to an earlier starting time, then the girls and boys starting times should be alternated from game to game to avoid discrimination.

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