Sykesville's mayor should rethink growth
As a resident of Sykesville, I read an article in The Sun in Carroll County Nov. 22 about the vacant hospital at the Henryton Center and how it is attracting several buyers.
The statement by Mayor Jonathan Herman that "Henryton is spoken for," meaning it will be sold to developers, made me frustrated and angry.
How can the mayor of Sykesville make a statement like that, especially when it is not in his jurisdiction. Is he now representing Marriottsville, too? I would hope that, as the mayor, he would consider supporting something that could be in the best interests of the people who live in the surrounding areas.
It sounds like Mr. Herman thinks more with his pocket and not his head. The growth in Carroll County has rapidly expanded the last few years. I would think as a leader, he would support something more beneficial for the community.
Does the mayor think about the additional crime, pollution and destruction of the environment that growth can and will create? What about the need for more schools and expansion of roads that must be done before further residential development takes place? Where are the priorities?
People from all over come to Carroll County, admiring it for its beauty. Before you know it, it will disappear in the years to come. The people of Sykesville have much pride in who they are, but are they being heard? I think it is time Mr. Herman listened to the people and took a stand to support those who supported him.
Don't impart human qualities to animals
This letter is in response to the recent media attention on deer and hunting. How many of us understand, without bias, nature as it really is? Do you cringe a little when you're watching a "National Geographic" special when the predator kills his prey? If so, good.
But don't think for a minute that the victim was "thinking" anything or "experiencing" anything other than an instinct or body function change when chased and disposed of. There are no human qualities to wildlife. They don't worry about a job, argue about parking, or run for political office. They do continually search for food, periodically procreate and there is a dominance structure in most animal societies.
They are totally instinctive creatures who were put on this earth for us to utilize. They are renewable resources. When people start thinking animals take precedence over man, logic goes out the window.
Our forefathers, out of necessity and instinct, hunted. Today's responsible hunters still utilize the animal, though not (for the most part) for subsistence. We hunt for several reasons. Among them are the sense of nature, excitement, instinct, tradition and to conserve.
Responsible hunters are proficient with their weapons, are knowledgeable about quarry anatomy and are extremely caring about the game. Yes, there probably is not a responsible hunter out there who hasn't had a "bad hit." But, as with anything, mistakes are made. And yes, there are those in our ranks who are not responsible, who show no respect for wildlife. There are also people out there who rob, rape, torture and murder other humans as well, but we don't condemn all men for their acts.
The popularized model of the "dumb slob hunter" is not typical of the American hunter. A very high percentage are well-educated, responsible, middle-income, average Mr. (and Ms.) Smiths. Hunting is natural. It is an effective, efficient way to co-exist with our wildlife.
Yates warns of danger of changing government
To understand the controversy over county government today, look at South Carroll in the 1960s.
Two weeks ago, I attended a meeting of the Freedom Area Community Planning Council. Carroll County Commissioners W. Benjamin Brown and Donald I. Dell were also in attendance.
We were asked for our thoughts on charter government versus a five-member commission form of government, elected by district and as proposed by our delegation to the General Assembly.
I have been quoted in the press as stating that I feel that these movements are grossly unfair to the folks in South Carroll. To understand why I say this may be difficult to comprehend unless you understand the history of South Carroll. I moved my family here in 1963.
In the 1960s, the Wolf Farm, on what is now Ridge Road, had been developed into Carroll Highlands. Other new homes were being built in Freedom Forests, the Hemlocks, Long Meadows and Ridgely Park, where I bought my new home. All homes were then recently built with private wells and septic systems.
There were no sewage problems in the Eldersburg area. Sykesville, on the other hand, was knee-deep in sewage problems, with raw sewage running through the back of Main Street into the Patapsco River.
One of the main engineering firms doing work for the county was the same firm later to become infamous for making payoffs to a well-known state politician. A plan was hatched, which I assumed was backed by the large land speculators in Eldersburg, to form the Freedom District Sanitary Commission in order to get smaller lots passed.
The "come on" song was sung to the town of Sykesville, i.e., "Back this plan and you can get your sewer system at a fraction of the cost of doing it yourselves." What was not told to the town was the fact that it would lose its destiny of being able to control the system, as the area grew.
Residents of Eldersburg formed the Freedom District Citizens Committee, Inc., of which I was one of the leaders. We had two enemies: the town fathers of Sykesville, who wanted a discount sewer system, and the large land speculators in the Freedom District. FDCC raised legal funds by having air shows and carnivals at the Wolf Airport.
We supported Hoby Wolf in his bid to become a county commissioner in 1966. He lost the general election by less than 200 votes. We came close, but we just did not have the political clout in '66. The charges he made in the campaign hit home in the major newspaper investigations that backed what the Freedom District people were saying.
It was much too late for the people of Sykesville to realize that if they had controlled the water and sewage, they could have controlled the growth in the Freedom District, and would have prospered. Growth would have been logical and supported by adequate facilities as the town annexed the area around it.
The folks in the South Carroll area have fought long and hard to get a conservative voice on the Board of Commissioners. They now have the power to elect one commissioner out of the three and a deciding vote if they get one more commissioner to agree with what they want for Carroll County.
Any plan that seeks to put South Carroll back into the same situation it found itself in the 1960s, when it had no political clout, is not in the best interests of the people in that area.
I will welcome any information on what type of government is best for those folks, to keep the influence that was denied them for so long. They now have to live with all the congestion that the early residents could not stop. To not understand history is to repeat the mistakes of the past.
To new residents of South Carroll, Please talk with a resident who has lived there for more than 30 years, then make up your mind. If a charter commission breaks Carroll into seven districts, such as in Baltimore County, doesn't that mean they'll only have one vote in seven?
I suggest that we all look before we leap into some so-called panacea.
Richard T. Yates
The writer is a Carroll County commissioner.
Pub Date: 12/08/96