Soggy, but SatisfyingOn behalf of the Bel...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Soggy, but Satisfying

On behalf of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc., I wish to thank the greater Bel Air community for its enthusiastic support of this year's parade -- especially considering the

somewhat spirit-dampening weather at times.

It has been said that true character is only tested through adversity. To see the float riders improvising as rain carried off parts of their floats, to watch the bands playing from soggy music with water dripping from their hats, to walk the parade route and see the enthusiastic faces of the spectators in numbers undiminished from last year truly made me feel proud )) of my town, my community and my county. . . .Space doesn't permit me to list all those who helped behind the scenes, but certainly we all owe a huge thank-you to Chief Leo Matrangola and the Bel Air Police Department, which kept everything in order.

Also, parade marshals John Gessner, Christopher Gessner, Keith Harris, Alice Crue, Charlie Crue, Linda Edwards, Becky Heizer, Janet Leedy, Harvey Thomas, John Mosier, Dennis Meadowcroft, Lori Thompson, Carl Van Evera and John Cubbage willingly got soaked keeping all the parade divisions in order and on track. From the Independence Day Committee, Mary Dean and Paul Balsamo also worked hard.

Thanks also go to the the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, Inc., and especially to Chief Dick Woodward and Lt. Tom Shreck for help in staging the parade and organizing all the Harford County fire companies. Our judges (who choose to remain anonymous) did their usual fine work. And a firm salute goes to Col. Ron Eaton and the 29th Aviation Brigade, Maryland Army National Guard, for the flyover that the rain couldn't stop.

Finally, I'd like to personally thank Don Stewart, 1995 president of the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, for his continued support, help and good advice this year, and Don Ouimet, who again expertly handled our communications.

Michael Blum

Bel Air

The writer is 1995 parade coordinator for the Bel Air Independence Day Committee, Inc.

I would like to thank the members and friends of the Bel Air Jaycees, the Mann House, the Bel Air Rotary and the Parkville Jaycees who worked at this year's Fourth of July pancake breakfast in Bel Air. A special thanks to Robert Presbury and Theresa Sumwalt of Bel Air Middle School and Carl Strozyk of the Bel Air Jaycees for their exceptional contribution. This year's pancake breakfast served more than 1,400 people and raised funds to support Bel Air's Fourth of July activities.

John Strawbridge

Forest Hill

The writer chaired the pancake breakfast for the Bel Air Jaycees.

T-Ball Update

I am writing to give you an update on the hazardous traffic situation at a Parks and Recreation site, which I described in an April 8 letter.

I was pleased by the rapid responses to my letter. I received several telephone calls the next week from people in the Parks and Recreation Department, and from one person in the sheriff's office. They were quite concerned and in some cases had gone to look at the area themselves. The Belcamp volunteers in charge of the T-ball program and the watch officers in the sheriff's office were alerted to the situation.

I was told, however, that my suggestion to organize parents as traffic "flaggers" could not be implemented, because Harford County doesn't use citizens to control traffic. The second day of T-ball was April 23. I picked up my daughter and grandchildren to go to T-ball practice Saturday morning. I had called the sheriff's watch officer to inform him that this would be picture day and that there would be other teams coming in addition to the T-ball teams having their practice, resulting in even more people and traffic in the area. I was told that there would be parades and other activities throughout the county and they might not be able to cover Belcamp. (They didn't. I didn't notice a patrol unit all morning).

The T-ball coaches made announcements about the dangers. They had scrounged some bright-colored vests, and had some ideas about maybe having people act as crossing guards to watch for oncoming cars, and maybe having some signs made and placing traffic cones to get a driver's attention.

Traffic on Riverside Parkway flowed unimpeded at or slightly above the posted 40 mph limit all morning, except for the occasional careful driver who slowed to 25 or 30 mph to the

disgust of the drivers behind. . . .

I know that temporary speed-reduction signs won't be provided due to rules and approval delays. I know that traffic safety is neither planned nor provided for in Parks and Recreation programs. I know that the volunteer Belcamp T-ball coaches are concerned and want to do what they can. I know that they already have their hands full running a recreation program with ,, more than 80 kids and they have no guidelines or materials to operate a traffic-control program. I know that parents are responsible for being aware of hazardous traffic situations and teaching their children how to be careful. I also know that 3-year-olds sometimes forget what they've been taught, and they can move very quickly. And I'm sure that this isn't the only traffic problem at Parks and Recreation facilities in Harford County. . . .

But are you, the people in the Harford County government who are ultimately responsible for Parks and Recreation facilities and the traffic situations they create, really doing everything you can to ensure that hazards are found and fixed? Please think about initiating and following up on some countywide action. You should include traffic safety as an integral part of your programs. You should assign responsibility for traffic safety oversight and guidance to specific individuals, and give them whatever

authority is needed to fix problems quickly, before our luck does run out somewhere in the county and a grandfather has to write a letter asking why.

Harry Childers

Edgewood

Don't Trash Harford

I am a student at Bel Air High School concerned about the overpopulation of our community. Harford used to be a small, quiet, peaceful county until not too long ago. Trees are being torn down to put up buildings and houses. Many people from Baltimore County are moving to Harford County, causing it to be hazardous. The "festival" down on Route 24 used to be all trees and farmland until about three years ago when people and construction workers plowed it out and put up buildings and shopping in its place. To solve this problem of overpopulation, they should put a cap on how many houses and buildings can be built in our community.

Christina Caralle

Bel Air

I am writing about my concerns for the environment. One thing that I do not like is that Earth Day is only celebrated once a year. Everybody once a year comes together and cleans up, but the next day it is messed up again. I think that everybody should care about the Earth every day of the year. There are some groups that do take care of the environment year-round. But everybody should help clean up the environment; just recycling or picking up trash can help.

Chris Ricci

Abingdon

The amount of trash on the ground in Harford County really upsets me. Many people don't throw their trash away properly. I think people need to be aware of how this is polluting and hurting our environment. If people would just throw away their trash properly, it would take care of much of the pollution. It would make Harford County a much cleaner place.

Lauren Kidd

Bel Air

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