House version of safe-water bill is betterTo...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

House version of safe-water bill is better

To its great credit, the U. S. House of Representatives recently adopted a set of bipartisan strengthening protections to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The House's version of amendments to this important set of health safeguards embraces the "Three Rs" of safe drinking water: right to know what contaminants are in our tap water, rural water protections for small systems, and reduction of radioactive radon in the nation's water supply.

Unfortunately, the Senate version -- weaker in all three respects -- is being married in a shotgun wedding to the stronger House protections.

If a final drinking-water bill emerges from this process that doesn't include the "Three Rs," it ought to be vetoed by President Clinton.

Sabrina Sideris

Baltimore

Olympic experience better than reported

Kudos to the citizens of Atlanta. They showed me a side of a big city not often seen today. My Olympic Games experience was positive and enjoyable, and made so by many volunteers. A suit of clothing was their only pay for 14 days of work.

The park-and-ride workers gave us free maps, water and instructions on how to return to the correct lot. The bus drivers knew the city and on two occasions avoided accidents with reckless drivers. The security people were courteous, friendly and quick.

Volunteers with megaphones shouted directions all day to crowds seeking their way to venues. Police limited the number of spectators allowed onto a MARTA platform and then guarded the train doors to assure people would get off and on safely.

The Olympic Committee also saw fit to enhance our experience by training their ball chasers at field hockey and team handball. The floor sweepers at volleyball worked three and six abreast in unison whenever a time out was called. The venues were fitted with giant TV screens so those of us in the "nosebleed" section could see all the action.

Restroom facilities were plentiful in the stadiums and on the streets. And finally, the prices were no higher than we pay at Camden Yards to see the Orioles perform. Thanks, Atlanta. You've gotten a bum rap from the press.

Joan Weyers

Lutherville

Stadium should be in Schaefer's honor

I am of the mind that the Ravens' new stadium complex should be named for (former Gov.) Don Schaefer. It was he who kept on truckin' past self-interested roadblocks and political detourists. Better the stadium should memorialize the driver with Baltimore vision and persistence, rather than the hitchhikers along the way.

Tom Composto

Baltimore

Need buffer zones to protect shore

What a shame that developer Kenny Baker is building homes for himself and his daughter in an area of natural beauty, but does not find it naturally beautiful ("Worcester may ease shoreline buffer rule," July 28).

An even greater shame it will be if the county commissioners cave in to special interests and waive the requirement to preserve the natural vegetation buffer zone, in effect weakening the infrastructure of the entire ecosystem and spoiling what many of us actually find beautiful as it is.

Mr. Baker could surely have found property with lawns already in place, as permitted by current regulations, that would please his aesthetic sense and allay his fears of his granddaughter's exposure to wildlife.

Leslie Starr

Baltimore

Church attracting new priests

That the Roman Catholic church faces a significant challenge to bolster the number of priests to minister to the rapidly growing number of Catholic faithful is not news. What is news, and was sadly underreported by Ginger Thompson ("Shortage of priests challenges faithful," July 28), are the efforts being made to meet this challenge.

Despite being granted extraordinary and unprecedented access to archdiocesan personnel immediately involved in vocations, including myself, Ms. Thompson's story omitted dozens of salient facts and comments from The Sun's own backyard.

Ms. Thompson makes early and significant reference to the fact that the Archdiocese of Baltimore ordained four men into the priesthood this year (an event she attended but did not report on), and that one priest will be ordained next year.

In 1998, seven men are scheduled for ordination into the priesthood. In 1999, nine are in line for ordination.

Also escaping mention was that, between the two oldest seminaries in the United States -- Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg and St. Mary's Seminary and University in Roland ** Park -- about 220 young men are studying for the priesthood, preparing to serve in parishes across the nation.

Across the United States, hundreds more are studying for the priesthood.

Ms. Thompson received a very high level of access to our people, records and institutions as she put together this story.

She attended a private retreat for our seminarians that had never been covered by any secular news media. She talked with at least a half-dozen seminarians who each had compelling stories to tell about their decision to enter the priesthood. The majority of information she collected from these opportunities did not see print.

Sun readers should know that the Archdiocese of Baltimore is absolutely committed to the path for meeting the challenge of vocations that Cardinal William H. Keeler stated in the article.

When and where our priests and other religious and lay leaders are attentive to individuals who show potential for the priesthood, vocations grow -- and in this archdiocese the numbers show that is the reality.

We have also, to use an Olympic analogy, "raised the bar" with respect to the standards that candidates for the priesthood must meet before being accepted for seminary study.

There are academic standards, a battery of psychological tests and interviews, background checks and other measures taken to ensure to the best degree possible that our men have, to use a term, the right stuff.

In recent years, men have been ordained with prior successful careers in law, health care and business. Others were officers in the military. Still others were men who heard the call earlier in life.

As was mentioned often to Ms. Thompson, there has been a priest shortage since Christ's resurrection. There have never been enough priests to minister to a flock that continually grows.

We recognize the challenge of needing more priests, and we in the Archdiocese of Baltimore are aggressively meeting that challenge by measures that stay true to church teachings.

In the meantime, we are actively encouraging more involvement in parish life by lay people and men and women religious.

Rev. James Barker Baltimore

The writer is director of vocations for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

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Pub Date: 8/04/96

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