Light rail horns roiling WoodberryI read with...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Light rail horns roiling Woodberry

I read with interest Frank D. Roylance's article about the baseball fans who ride the Camden commuter line to Orioles games. A July 7 ballgame went beyond midnight and 85 passengers were stranded on a siding until 4 a.m.

Dianna Rosborough, a Mass Transit Administration spokeswoman said, "We've had games that went beyond midnight before and we always provide service for our passengers."

That's true, and that's where my neighbors in Woodberry and I enter the picture. We are at our wits' end.

The light rail cars going through our neighborhood are blasting their horns from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., subjecting us to hundreds of blasts daily from a tractor trailer-type horn. On game nights it's not unusual to hear this noise pollution until 2 a.m.

We were told that the light rail would be noiseless. We are physically and emotionally exhausted, we can't sleep, we can't work, our elderly people are sick over this and our children are frightened.

The MTA needs to address our problem in Woodberry by installing a stoplight. There is a limit to what we can take, and we have reached it.

Dorothy Hawes

Baltimore

Volunteer benefits

Administrators of volunteer-based programs constantly adjust and refine recruitment strategies to meet the demands of a changing volunteer demographic, created by a troubled economy and demands that often necessitate two-income families.

The good news is that volunteering positively impacts on individuals in ways that may not have been considered, including learning new marketable skills, filling in blanks on resumes and creating ways to re-enter the work force. Volunteering is not just licking envelopes anymore!

A volunteer job well done demonstrates capabilities and competency -- qualities employers look for in prospective employees. Employers look closely at not only job skills but also at volunteer experiences. Volunteering, especially while unemployed, benefits the volunteer and the community.

Non-profit volunteer-based organizations are constantly struggling for their piece of the pie -- the diminishing numbers of volunteers.

Ellen Hawks' long-running column has served to encourage and support volunteerism by validating volunteers and promoting the benefits of volunteering. I have her to thank as I began as a volunteer with Parents Anonymous six years ago, in response to one of her recruitment notices.

Ellen Hawks has been among volunteerism's staunchest supporters. The volunteer community will miss her terribly. On behalf of the Maryland Volunteer Network, I am respectfully requesting that The Sun not retire the volunteer column, as it serves a much needed and appreciated role in the community.

Mindy Amor

Baltimore

The writer is the president of the Maryland Volunteer Network.

City leaders must strive to maintain proper priorities

Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD) and Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke have worked together over the years to accomplish some worthwhile and extraordinary things that have far-reaching benefits for the citizens of Baltimore.

Among these accomplishments are the Commonwealth Agreement and the Nehemiah Housing Project.

The BUILD organization brought together Gov. William Donald Schaefer, Mayor Schmoke, Christians of all races and Jews to work on a common agenda. Together they did the right thing. The results were very positive.

Now education, housing, employment and style of governance are at critical crossroads. Baltimore must strive to keep its priorities in place.

It should not permit negativism to dominate, thereby diverting and destroying the momentum these efforts engendered.

Public education, with or without Tesseract, and public safety will not improve without the help of the public. Certainly BUILD, as a major player, was deeply disappointed when the mayor failed to consult the group on his new education initiative.

Questions arise. Is this privatization of public education for profit? How much profit? There are legitimate areas of concern here because free public education has become a major cornerstone of American democracy. It is a bold concept. Education is for all children, not just for the elite.

I have not heard that excessive profits will go to the Tesseract organization. Money remains a major concern of Baltimore teachers. They are not paid enough. All the surrounding counties pay their teachers more. Teacher dedication and perseverance are needed. These must not be seen as foolish ideas of yesteryear.

Most people agree that our education system is failing. But I am convinced that if administrators, teachers, parents and communities form a team for educational excellence, improvement in education will be guaranteed.

But we seem more willing to retreat into our separate camps of animosity, pointing fingers of blame at the other constituency.

It is obvious that what we are doing is not working. More and more parents from all walks of life are taking their children out of the public school system.

If nothing dramatic is done, then the steady demise of the system will continue. The Mayor, BUILD and other concerned citizens should continue to work together for the well-being of the children. Progressive communities need this cooperation.

Finally, BUILD should not forget the need for continued advocacy for equity in educational funding. We have a duty to remind state legislators of their responsibility in this area. The political climate must shift toward "children first," to enable significant advances toward per-pupil equity in funding in all of Maryland's public schools.

BUILD need not change its positive agenda. When the final chapter is written, those who are governed by timeless principles, those who have the true interest of our children at heart, those who dedicate their lives to the betterment of the society and not themselves, will be greatly rewarded. Stay the course.

Rev. Sidney Daniels

Baltimore

The writer is the pastor of Emmanuel Christian Community Church.

'Big Bang' is fact

In his letter responding to the article, "Whither the universe" (July 13), Samuel Poist incorrectly said that the "late 20th-century creation myth" (i.e., the "Big Bang") was "completely speculative."

In fact, there are three pieces of evidence to support the proposition that there was a Big Bang some 15 billion years ago: The expansion of the universe as revealed by the Doppler shift of light emitted by galaxies in the cosmic large scale (the discovery of which led to the Big Bang theory), the ratio of hydrogen to helium in the universe (which is approximately what is predicted by Big Bang theory), and the universal microwave background radiation (which is also predicted by the Big Bang theory). Mr. Poist then, as an "unshakable creationist," put forth three questions and demanded "non-mythical answers," but then himself answered them with a mythical answer (his "Great Arranger.") But to answer his questions:

1. The Earth, Sun and Moon were not fragments of the Big Bang. They did not form until several billion years after the Big Bang, and they were the result of ongoing stellar life cycles (as was described in the aforementioned article). Furthermore, the Earth, Moon and Sun have been in existence, not merely for Mr. Poist's thousands of years, but for about 4.5 billion years.

As to why they have kept their relationships, why not? These bodies conform to the laws of motion and gravity. To balance his question, Mr. Poist would have to argue that without his "Great Arranger," an object would move unpredictably every which way and would not be predictably affected when acted on by an external force.

2. and 3. Our galaxy has about 200 billion stars, of which our sun is but one, and, as the aforementioned article stated, there are hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. By sheer odds, there must be hundreds of billions of planets capable of supporting life in the universe. And on most of those on which intelligent life arises, there are bound to be a few myopic individuals who argue that their planet is the only one capable of supporting life.

Now I have a question for Mr. Poist: If creation occurred only a few thousand years ago, why can we see events taking place in other galaxies that are millions (even billions) of light years away?

The light from those events has traveled for millions (even billions) of years and is only now reaching us.

David Persuitte

Arnold

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