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Protect CylburnCylburn Hills, the planned new addition...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Protect Cylburn

Cylburn Hills, the planned new addition to Coldspring, is a source of great concern to all those of us interested in the Cylburn Arboretum.

The present plan involves placing a number of single family houses within 10 feet of the property line of the arboretum. The Cylburn Arboretum Association believes a buffer zone of 75 feet is needed.

In addition, the developer of Cylburn Hills is proposing having gates along a fence (at the property line dividing the arboretum and Cylburn Hills) so that residents of this new community can easily enter the arboretum.

This would have a serious impact. Wildlife habitat and native wildflowers would both be destroyed. Little by little, the Cylburn Arboretum would be degraded.

At present, Bill 429, authorizing the building of Cylburn Hills, is before the Baltimore City Council. All citizens of Baltimore who know and appreciate this unique park, which is also noted as a historic landmark, -- the Cylburn Arboretum -- should let their representatives on the City Council know their feelings.

Audrey Sawyer

Baltimore

MA The writer is president of the Cylburn Arboretum Association.

City Schools

Through the years, letters to the editor castigating the Baltimore public schools have been a staple of The Sun. I am writing in support of the city's public schools, and their principals, teachers and students.

My research of 15 years on the characteristics of exceptional schools has been conducted internationally. One of the main, and most important, characteristics of exceptional schools is the principal's instructional leadership style; another is his or her expectations for teachers and students.

Through my work with Baltimore principals and teachers as director of the University of Maryland Baltimore County's Center for Educational Research, I've met many dedicated, hard-working, conscientious and committed principals and teachers.

One three-year project worked with middle school teachers on computer use in mathematics instruction. A two-year project ran computer clubs in Baltimore middle schools and brought school teams to UMBC for a computer and calculator tournament.

A third project introduced elementary school principals to the use of computers in the school office through week-long workshops at UMBC. Principals, students and teachers have committed long hours to each of these projects.

Two years ago we studied the implementation of the IBM Writing To Read program, which called for great changes by principals and teachers in kindergartens and first grades. Our evaluation found that, uniformly, principals and teachers used their best efforts to successfully introduce these new methods of instruction.

I direct a young scholars program, funded by the National Science Foundation, which brings 40 Baltimore students to live at UMBC for six weeks during the summer before their ninth-grade year.

They have biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and computer applications classes. As part of their program, teams of students prepare a research report. A sampling of their project titles are: The Preparation of Aspirin; The Bacteria Love Story; Scapholeberis Mucronata; and Freefall and the Ballistic Pendulum.

It is my opinion that the public schools in Baltimore do a good job of educating a significant portion of the students on a high level.

Gilbert R. Austin

Catonsville

Voice of America

I was disappointed that The Sun helps perpetuate several inaccuracies about U.S. international broadcasting in [Jeane Kirkpatrick's] March 9 column, " 'Free' Radio Still Serves a Purpose."

For the past 50 years, millions of people around the world have listened to the Voice of America for accurate and objective information, not just about the United States, but about their own countries. But listen they have, and they still do.

As for the record of VOA in delivering news in 49 languages, I offer the following: During a visit to VOA in 1991, then Czechoslovak President Vaclav Havel told us, "You have informed us truthfully . . . [Now] you will have to inform us about how to create a democracy . . ."

In Moscow after the failed coup, graffiti scrawled on a wall near the Russian White House said, "Thank you, Voice of America, for bringing us the straight scoop."

And, since the spring of 1989, the Chinese government has -- unsuccessfully -- attempted to jam our broadcasts. They certainly don't jam because of our reporting on America. They do it because they do not like what we say about their repressive practices. The world has changed, and U.S. international broadcasting is changing with it.

Joseph B. Bruns

Washington

The writer is acting director of the Voice of America.

AIDS and Values

In his succinct chronicle of the AIDS epidemic and its political implications, "Neighborhoods Where AIDS Grows" (March 13), George Will draws our attention to a far greater problem in American society -- a problem of which AIDS is, in fact, a symptom.

In our transient age when moral and cultural absolutes are most necessary (so that the individual can discriminate among the many systems of morality to which he is exposed in his transience), we find a decline of standards in the name of cultural relativism and "political correctness."

As a democracy, the politically correct tell us, we must respect the values of the population in which AIDS flourishes and provide these people with the means to prevent infection (clean needles, condoms) regardless of their behavior.

Mr. Will mentions the "concerted effort to 'democratize' the disease." In this effort, our public health officials tell us that everyone is vulnerable, that AIDS does not discriminate.

No, AIDS does not discriminate against any race, religion or gender. Mr. Will tells us, however, that the disease is "largely concentrated in perhaps 30 neighborhoods nationwide." Obviously, the disease does discriminate against certain behaviors.

Moral relativism, in its indiscriminate acceptance of all values and actions, absolves people of accountability for their behavior. Therefore, our society must provide condoms, clean needles, and explicit sex education "adapted to the language and mores of affected neighborhoods" just as it must provide Norplant for women who choose not to accept accountability for their behavior and its consequences.

The message that our politicians send is not that sex in the absence of emotional commitment and intimacy is wrong, or that promiscuity wrong; they tell us instead that these behaviors are appropriate as long as people take precautions to prevent consequences.

Therefore, the idea that "if it feels good, do it" flourishes, and the idea of anything sacred in a civilization is lost to a host of morally equal choices.

Critics of democracy (de Tocqueville, for example) have often warned that a society which deems everything sacred deems nothing sacred. Are the "sex clubs" that Mr. Will describes in his column as moral as intercourse in the context of emotion and spirit? Are the practices of individuals in these high-risk neighborhoods as moral as those found in communities that do not directly suffer from epidemics of AIDS?

There are values that affirm life, and there are those that debase it. The true disease of our society is that we will not decipher the two.

Lisa Sopher

Reisterstown

Young Mothers Need Information

I am in total agreement with Rev. Gregory B. Perkins (letter, Feb. 13) and his concern for the children ages 12 to 17 years.

However, I have a different perspective. I am a public health nutritionist and counsel those 12-to-17-year-old pregnant females who come for prenatal care well into their pregnancies.

They have not taken care of themselves, much less of a fetus struggling to survive in their uterus. This has to stop, and I agree with Reverend Perkins' message in the "old fashioned" theory of monogamy and monogamous marriages.

However, once again, these teen-agers have not gotten the support or message and are having babies. We, all of us, need to break that cycle. And as with all drastic changes, Norplant is the first step.

At least if they come for Norplant they will get some counseling on AIDS, syphilis and herpes; now they don't get any counseling on the former, and we end up with babies having babies.

Until we have a fully informed group of 12-to-17-year-old females who choose to have sex at an early age, we need drastic measures.

Olivia A. Cavaluzzi

Baltimore

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