About time Tipton fliers paid their way
I was most interested in the editorial on Sept. 26 regarding the "eviction" of the Fort Meade Flying Club from Tipton Airfield.
Too bad that the members of this club will have to pay their own way like the rest of us. It doesn't matter that they contributed to the bowling alley and other activities at Fort Meade. I daresay that pilots elsewhere are just as generous in their personal contributions to society in general.
Indeed, the Fort Meade Flying Club members should be glad that they were able to use the fine facilities of the airfield with its paved runway, instrument approach, control tower and security over the past 40 years at the expense of taxpayers. The Army's decision is far from a "punishment." Rather, it's a correction long overdue.
Robert D. Thulman
Certain benefits are owed the military
Recently, I have been made aware of an initiative born in the Congress as part of the effort to balance the budget. This initiative would materially affect the retirement benefits of military members. I find this particularly distressing as one who holds the public trust, and one who has served in the military.
Military service is not like working for a civilian corporation. The sacrifices and obligations imposed on military members far exceed anything encountered in the civilian world. Long separations from families and the necessity to face life-threating situations are woven through the fabric of military life.
Part of the bargain when our veterans and active duty men and women took their oath of allegiance and donned the uniform of this country was the understanding that upon completion of a military career, they would receive certain retirement benefits. These people have fulfiled their obligation diligently and
faithfully, and kept their end of the bargain.
I would hope that the U.S. Congress will keep its end of the bargain.
John C. Astle
The writer is a state delegate representing Legislative District 30.
A grandfather's thanks for trauma team
I wish to publicly express my deep appreciation to the following people:
* All the vehicle owners in the state of Maryland who pay the $8 fee, as part of their vehicle registration, to support the MedEvac operation.
* The emergency medical technicians, paramedics, fire department personal and police officers of Anne Arundel County who responded to an accident scene on the night of Aug. 25.
* Pilot Norman Molter and paramedic Walter Kerr of helicopter Trooper One.
* The trauma team in the University of Maryland-Shock Trauma Center, Drs. Meyers and Harold and all the other numerous unknown doctors, nurses and support personnel.
Because of their compassion, unswerving devotion to duty and untiring efforts, my beautiful young granddaughter Sarah Riley is alive today. The best words that I know is to say to all the above known and unknown personnel a hearty and thankful "well done."
Edmund H. Stecher
SHA must fix deadly crossing
I write this on the one-month anniversary of the death of 33-year-old Carmela D. Malone, a mother of two children also injured in the same automobile accident. It is the second death to occur at the same dangerous intersection -- Busch Frontage and St. Margaret's roads -- within 2 1/2 years.
Several letters have been earlier written to the State Highway Administration by community associations and our state and county representatives. As of today, SHA has taken no action nor have they replied to those letters.
In the meantime, SHA has gone to the greater expense of installing high fences nearby along U.S. 50-301 to control pedestrians attempting to cross U.S. 50 from McDonald's, where another person has been killed in the past year.
We have sent a letter to Hal Kassoff, SHA administrator, requesting immediate inexpensive traffic controls. It includes the signatures of more than 1,000 petitioners. We feel the change request is reasonable and can understand that two additional permanent stop signs could replace SHA's hesitation to spend an estimated $70,000 for an eventual traffic light.
Life is much more valuable than speedy traffic flows.
Richard L. Peters
America shouldn't be about 'us against them'
We in America enjoy one of the highest living standards in the world. Just look around to measure how much return we each receive on our tax dollar. Won't most agree that we, our parents and our children, rich and poor, should learn to recognize that we are each of value for past, present and future contributions?
As Americans we have a rich history of joining together in cooperation to help one another. What kind of people have we become if we grudgingly complain of spending to help those in need? What has happened to the notion that we should maintain those unable to help themselves at some minimum level?
Should we be sniping in the "us against them" fashion? Some would have us believe that there is a "them" we need to fight. Reducing the federal budget still has its costs. Cleaner air and water benefit each and every one of us. Investment in education and health for Americans of all ages are worthwhile in and of
themselves. As states take on more of the current federal programs, we will still have to pay for them. Is the country in such terrible trouble to justify some of the current proposals for change? Is our country in such bad shape that we must dismantle the safety net protecting the neediest among us? What of our comforts would you agree to give up?
What do we expect our children to think of our morality, that we view children, the poor, elderly and disabled as less deserving of HTC a share in our nation's wealth? Protecting children is our investment in the future, caring for the elderly is our acknowledgment of the past and helping those in need is part of the cultural and religious traditions that we share.
The federal government is "us." We are only fighting and hurting ourselves at a great cost to our present and future.
Randa H. Deacon
County sacrifices landfill for a cash-flow fix
Anne Arundel County is selling capacity at the Millersville landfill at a fraction of the value to patch over a cash-flow program.
For years, the trash rate to individual homeowners has been subsidized by the tipping fees charged "commercial" haulers who collect from apartments, private communities and businesses. Now, commercial haulers find cheaper landfill space Virginia and Pennsylvania. At its present rate, the flow of commercial trash out of the county would extend the life of the landfill roughly from 2010 to 2015.
Putting off building a new landfill from 2010 to 2015 is worth at least $15 million invested at 8 percent. The county is selling that asset to make up a cash shortfall of $1.6 million. By the same action, the county mocks the recycling efforts of its own citizens.
Ironically, lower operating costs of the landfill have made the subsidy very small -- an additional $8 per year from households would make up for the shortfall. In a few short years, of course, we will have neither asset nor subsidy.
A private operator will negotiate for the right to fill up the landfill as quickly as possible at a "competitive" price. Later, a private company will negotiate for the right to develop a new facility -- at a cost to be determined.
The $15 million figure was the economic basis for the recommendation of May 1995 by the Citizens Advisory Council on Solid Waste Management. The CAC emphatically recommended conserving space through stronger recycling and waste reduction measures and by letting commercial trash go elsewhere. The proposal is also contrary to the county's own 1994 Solid Waste Management Plan, which states "it is critical that the ultimate life of the county landfill be optimized."
I represented the League of Women Voters of Anne Arundel County on the CAC as environmental chair and first vice $H president, and presented the findings of the CAC at a public meeting. I have 30 years of professional experience in solid waste and wastewater management, recycling, environmental quality and public participation. I am author of a book published by the World Health Organization on siting hazardous waste facilities. I now manage an industrial waste recycling company.
William M. Sloan