Nipper belongs back on the roofThe March...


Nipper belongs back on the roof

The March 31 letter stating that City Life Museums is a vital part of the community is correct. The drawing accompanying it illustrates one of the museum's problems: Nipper should be on a roof where he belongs instead of behind a fence where he cannot be appreciated.

While the planners of the city's bicentennial are pushing reunions, why not reunite Nipper with a roof? The City Life Museums' flat roof is a perfect candidate.

Nipper would attract attention. City and county kids alike would make their parents drive downtown to see "the dog on the roof." Once there, many would go inside the museum, which would mean more income. He would be across from Port Discovery, near the harbor attractions. And Nipper would bring a smile to the harried former kids who drive by on their way to and from work.

The pleasant childhood memory of Baltimore's own faithful pooch welcoming you to the city made you know you were home.

C. L. Norris


Enoch Pratt's enduring present

Jane Shipley's excellent March 27 op-ed column, "How we know Pratt left us a public, not a private library," is a timely service to the library.

There should be no question of Enoch Pratt's intention. During a drive with his Unitarian minister, Charles Weld, he asked, "What in your opinion, is the greatest present need of the city of Baltimore?"

Dr. Weld replied that he would need some time to consider such an important question. Without hesitation, Enoch Pratt asserted: "Dr. Weld, I'll tell you. A free circulating library, open to all citizens regardless of property or color."

He then offered the city $1,250,000, a munificent sum 100 years ago, for a library, provided the city council would allocate $50,000 a year in perpetuity for its upkeep.

The first library board had nine members. Five were Unitarians from Enoch Pratt's church, and he was president. Enoch Pratt was determined to see that the library was public and open to all "regardless of property or color."

Robert L. Zoerheide


The writer is the minister emeritus of Baltimore's First Unitarian Church.

Air bags saved this woman's life

I certainly understand letter writer Paul Wragg's concern (April 1) for his 5-foot, 2-inch wife, given all the negative press regarding air bags and small adults.

As a 5-foot, 3-inch, 115-pound woman, I shared this concern until a truck made a left turn right in front of my '94 Celica. I was wearing my seatbelt and both air bags deployed. My car has almost $8,000 in damage. The front end and hood accordioned. The windshield shattered and the side panels were pushed out like wings.

The police officer at the scene and I both believe that the air bag and my seatbelt protected me from very serious injury.

Now I would never consider switching off my air bag. It protected me and I will always want it there to supplement my seat belt. I hope that more small women who have had positive experiences with air bags will speak out.

Sally Landis


What makes a good teacher?

The Sun editorialized on March 26 that there is a "lack of good city teachers."

What makes a good city teacher? According to the editorial, it is apparently nothing more than any teacher with more than five but less than 20 years experience in the classroom. Otherwise, you're an "unseasoned rookie" or a "jaded veteran" and therefore simply cannot be a good city teacher.

What about passion, commitment, knowledge, understanding, creativity, honesty, wisdom and empathy? Aren't these the qualities that we should look for in the people we place our children in the hands of for six hours a day? Isn't it possible that a "rookie" or "veteran" might be just the person to help my daughter open her eyes and wonder?

The Sun recommends teacher evaluations based on student performance. Not one Maryland school district uses student performance to judge their teachers, for good reason. It simply does not effectively evaluate a teacher's strengths and weaknesses. There is so much more involved, so much more at stake.

Peter French


Fingers of fear, tongue in cheek

The Sun has a great lineup of columnists at this time, and one of my favorites is Peter Jay. His tongue-in-cheek column concerning the Fingers of Fear "art" exhibit (March 13) was, in my opinion, exceptional. Hoping Mr. Jay will be writing for The Sun for many years to come.

John J. Kelly


Peter Jay's views on racing attacked

I read with some astonishment the March 27 opinion column by Peter Jay.

Mr. Jay appears to believe -- when one penetrates his sarcasm and attempts at humor -- that any state assistance to racing purses -- and that is the extent of the proposed aid -- is a fraud on the state's taxpayers and a swipe at any other troubled businesses.

He ignores, or perhaps never understood, that racing really is different because it depends on wagering for its life support, and is thus heavily regulated by the state, and is in competition with its regulator, the state, which runs a lottery and permits other forms of gambling to exist in the state.

The facts are these: The state cannot and will not deregulate racing, because racing is in the gambling business, and the state cannot dismantle a lottery that generates almost $400 million annually in tax revenues.

Senators Walter Baker, Tom Bromwell and Barbara Hoffman, along with other legislators, have recognized both the unique posture of the racing industry and its present competitive difficulties.

They have devised short-term aid packages that are crafted to provide support to purses and the breeders' funds (not the track operators) while a state study commission can evaluate the racing industry's competitive circumstances and suggest long-term solutions to its problems.

Instead of cavalierly dismissing their initiatives, Jay should educate himself about the sport in which he dabbles.

Tim Capps


The writer is executive vice president of the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.

Pub Date: 4/06/97

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