What Housing Authority seeks in a new...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

What Housing Authority seeks in a new director

This is in response to your editorial of Dec. 2, "What next for Annapolis Housing." You ask, "What set of problems does the board want the new director to tackle?"

I am pleased to report the board is diligently steering the agency forward. The following goals are available for the new executive director:

Provide open communication to board members, residents, staff and other agencies in order to solve problems.

Be accountable and efficient.

Resolve problems by priority of need.

Improve the physical renovation and maintenance of the buildings.

Activate educational programs in the housing complexes.

Encourage resident health by reducing drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

Move toward a normal, safe community through greater self-sufficiency of each family.

Be an environmentally friendly agency by planting trees and controlling graffiti.

Seek additional resources.

The entire community must work together in order to reach these goals, because we know the needs of the citizens we serve are real. Do you have suggestions? Your ideas will be given careful consideration.

Mary Lou Pontius

Annapolis

The writer is an Annapolis Housing Authority commissioner.

'The real enemies of the children'

What was the real GOP blunder on education? It was the failure to follow up Bob Dole's acceptance speech with detailed statements on real educational reform.

It took political courage to take on the Department of Education and the National Education Association.

These two entities are the real enemies of the children. More money and even more bloated bureaucracies will not improve basic skills such as math and reading. Technology will not provide the magic bullet that will solve our educational problems. A veneer of computer literacy is of minimal benefit to a person who cannot read the operating manuals.

If per-pupil expenditure and small class size could be equated with quality of education, the schools in Washington, D.C., would be among the finest in the nation. Why are impoverished schools in the West Indies producing better-performing students than American schools?

Why does a nation with great public universities have public primary and secondary schools with such dismal performance? How many professional educators and political leaders place their children in public schools? Why does the educational establishment fear any competition from even limited experiments with voucher systems that would offer parents real choice?

Until we have candidates who are willing to discuss questions such as those, educational quality will suffer for most of our citizens.

Arthur W. Downs

Severna Park

Shop American

Regarding Fred B. Shoker's commentary, ("The Made in America Mall," Opinion * Commentary, Dec. 10), it is about time someone came up with a great idea to promote American-made goods.

As for myself and my wife, we always buy American, if at all possible. It sometimes takes visiting many stores in our neighborhood malls to find American-made goods, but we persevere and are successful with patience.

Daniel W. Lewis

Severna Park

Messiah Sing-A-Long a resounding success

We wish to thank all who helped to make our 10th annual Messiah Sing-A-Long, on Dec. 1 a resounding success. This event at St. James Church in South County once again drew enthusiastic support from all participants. The soloists were outstanding, as was the chorus, who without any rehearsal fearlessly plunged into the great Handellian choruses. The final Hallelujah chorus was not only a triumphant celebration of a job well done, but a joyful proclamation of the season.

We offer special thanks to The Sun in Anne Arundel for helping us to publicize this event.

Michael S. Ryan

Lothian

The writer is music director at St. James Parish.

Betty Asplund's death is a great loss to everyone

Betty Asplund, our friend and colleague, passed away early in the morning on Dec. 6 at the age of 51.

I don't know if her name sounds familiar to you. But I do know that even if you never had an opportunity to meet Betty, she has touched your life or the lives of those you care about in ways you cannot yet imagine. Her death is a loss to her family first and foremost. Betty's death is also a great loss to our community.

There seem to be so few people who can truly put aside personal agendas for the good of others. Betty was that kind of person. As director of Hospice of the Chesapeake's Bereavement Center, she was compassionate, enthusiastic and enterprising. But, most importantly, she was genuine.

Betty became director of the Bereavement Center in 1990, drawn to her work through her own personal struggle with the death of her first husband. I can recall vividly how passionate Betty was about the need to help others cope with their losses. I can remember her tireless efforts whenever families would call in need of help. I can remember seeing Betty brought to tears when the stories she heard would resurrect her own losses. But, somehow, she always found the strength and courage to reach out and uplift those who needed her.

Under Betty's leadership, the Bereavement Center grew from serving a few handfuls of Anne Arundel residents each year to serving more than 3,000 individuals in 1995 alone. Her initiative resulted in support groups, programs and counseling services for people grieving deaths due to illness, homicide, suicide, miscarriage or any other type of sudden or natural death. Local schools regularly sought Betty's expertise when guidance counselors needed specific training to help bereaved students.

Even the county police department turned to Betty for help in developing internal programs for officers who must cope with murders, fatal car accidents and family death notifications. Other bereavement programs throughout the county and the nation have also turned to Betty for help in creating their own grief assistance programs. Even when Betty had to find funding on her own to continue her work, she never said, "I can't help you."

Betty always had a huge soft spot in her heart for children. Her desire to help bereaved children led her to develop support groups specially designed for grieving children so that their needs for healing would not be forgotten. And then there is the gift that was closest to her heart -- Camp Nabe, Hospice of the Chesapeake's weekend bereavement camp for children. Since the camp began in 1992, hundreds of children have been touched by Betty's shared vision. The camp has even become a model for bereavement camps throughout the country. In fact, Betty regularly earned awards on local and national levels for her work.

So when I say that Betty Asplund has touched your life, it is not an exaggeration. One day, you, or someone you know, will sadly need help coping with the death of a loved one. And, no matter where you turn for help, chances are Betty's influence will be there. Betty, we will all miss you very much.

Allison L. Alexander

Millersville

The death of Betty Asplund has created a gaping hole in our hearts. Most of those who were privileged to know Betty thought her to be indestructible.

Her death, in the prime of life, is made more difficult to fathom because we felt Betty's example of compassion and caring for all who are in need would somehow magically insulate such a good person from the world's hurts.

Betty's legacy is one which inspires us to continue to serve all who are aggrieved, especially those who seem ignored or forgotten. Her record of achievement in making good works happen for those who grieve the unborn, the slain, the innocent child and the aged is a blueprint for us to follow. Her teachings regarding honest expression of loss and despair are a constant reminder to us to keep the needs of those who experience loss uppermost in our minds.

Betty's legacy is also one of character. As a woman of profound faith and ethic, her family and her work received only the very best she had to offer. Betty was a true team player, willing to sacrifice on behalf of the patients and families we serve. Always willing to help others, we would never hear her say, "I don't have time" or "That's not my job." Betty's concern was for the benefit of our entire agency. Her legacy of excellence in all she did will continue to challenge Hospice to live up to the highest standards of service. The gift of having Betty touch so many lives is one which will live for years to come.

Our commitment to Betty, Walt and their children is to carry on Betty's important work. We will celebrate her life, and her example of love.

Erwin E. Abrams

Millersville

The above writers are with Hospice of the Chesapeake.

Pub Date: 12/22/96

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