Recess is complement to instructional part of the school 0) schedule
After reading the April 9 article "No time for recess in growing number of U.S. schools," we felt strongly that something must be said to protect this precious time from extinction. The benefits of social play heavily outweigh any dreams of academic improvement. In fact, the elimination of recess will most likely lead to a decline in academic success.
Recess provides children with a way to release the energy that is bottled up during a day of classes. The physical activity stimulates mental ability, allowing children to be alert and
receptive during their classes.
In addition, children develop important social skills during recess, such as self-control and the ability to interact and communicate with their peers. They become less egocentric and more socially aware.
Their gross motor skills are refined. Their engagement in role-playing fosters creativity and imagination.
What type of classroom activity could provide all these benefits? It would be well worth the effort to look for simple remedies to the "problems" found with recess to continue to enrich the lives of children with this much-needed and well-deserved activity. The elimination of recess can only hurt the social and academic development of children.
The writers are education students at Villa Julie College.
Mayor's statements show race card in HUD probe
In his April 22 column, "Schmoke strikes back at planned HUD probe," columnist Gregory Kane quoted Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke at length and invited readers to draw our own conclusions about whether the race card was played.
Assuming Mr. Kane quoted Mr. Schmoke accurately, the mayor did play the race card.
Mr. Schmoke clearly insinuated that were he white, Baltimore would not have been among the three cities selected by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Inspector General Susan Gaffney to be studied to see how HUD money was being spent.
Why did Mr. Schmoke play the race card? The most obvious reason is that he doesn't want HUD looking at how Baltimore is spending HUD money.
Copying Mr. Kane's phraseology: You can draw your own conclusions as to whether the mayor thinks Baltimore is doing a good job in the way it is spending HUD money.
!William J. Scanlon Jr.
If there was nothing to hide in the way that federal HUD money has been used here, there would be no need to fear an investigation.
There most definitely appears to be something rotten between our mayor and his housing commissioner. Let the federal government have a go at finding out what's been going on. Then let's use that information -- positive or negative -- to make an informed, not race-based, decision at the polls.
Debris in Lake Ashburton threatens city water supply
There is an accumulation of urban debris in the city reservoir known as Lake Hilton (also known as Lake Ashburton), which is (( between North Hilton Street, Powhatan Avenue and Liberty Heights Avenue. In the water are metal signs and their posts; two or three rusting 55-gallon drums; eight to 10 dayglow orange warning cones, and an assortment of toys and car parts.
This much foreign matter would not be allowed in water the city maintains for public swimming.
So how can such a buildup be permitted in water that city and county residents will drink?
The concern here is that water is the "universal solvent." Anything submerged in it long enough will eventually begin to dissolve, break down or degrade. Even if this does not threaten public health, it has to have an impact on taste. The latter is an important factor in water quality and potability.
Isn't there some limit on the accumulation of metals, chemicals and detritus in our reservoirs before the foreign matter weakens the effectiveness of the city's filtration process?
Will the presence of this much debris be viewed as encouragement for people (particularly younger people) to toss even more things into the water? Are there other water storage facilities with a similar level of accumulated junk?
Arnold H. Sampson
Tattoo parlor exemptions undermines zoning bill
The Baltimore County Council has undermined the Baltimore County zoning process with a bill titled "Entertainment Business, Massage Establishments, and Tattoo or Body Piercing Establishments." Investigation into operators' backgrounds and specific zoning requirements must be completed before issuance of a license.
Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder placed an amendment before the council that reads, ". . . this Act does not apply to a massage establishment or tattoo or body piercing establishment lawfully established in existence in a business or commercial zone for at least 12 months prior to the effective date of this Act except if a massage establishment or tattoo or body piercing establishment relocates."
The amendment grandfathered in current tattoo parlors and exempted them from regulations of the bill.
Only Councilman Vince Gardina voted against the amendment.
The current tattoo parlor operators came to Baltimore County from jurisdictions that regulate parlors. They did not want the burden of being regulated. Yet, Mr. Bartenfelder felt the need to legalize the parlors and not subject the operators to any scrutiny such as fingerprinting.
Why were these individuals grandfathered in to operate a business in Baltimore County?
Lorraine A. Gordon
Pfaff made bigoted remarks on Scientology in Russia
William Pfaff's sly, bigoted remarks regarding the Church of Scientology in Russia in his April 20 Opinion Commentary article "'European troika' presents a host of advantages" were very disappointing.
In case Mr. Pfaff has not noticed, the situation in Russia regarding religious freedom has concerned many respected and knowledgeable people representing a myriad of denominations from around the world. This concern resulted from the Russian parliament's 1997 passage of a law that essentially revoked the religious status of all churches and religious organizations other than the Russian Orthodox Church, the major impetus behind the legislation.
The problem of government-sanctioned religious intolerance in Russia and in many countries throughout the world is a serious one.
It is a situation that threatens to compromise the integrity of many nations as the "official churches" attempt to use the overwhelming power of their respective governments to kill off what they perceive as their spiritual competition.
And who is Mr. Pfaff to pass judgment on someone else's faith? The Church of Scientology has given me, and countless others, increased self-respect and trust.
It has enabled me to better communicate, become more productive and has helped me become a better parent and husband.
Many words for legalities, but few for executed man
Charles Levendosky used about 800 words on legalities and technicalities in his April 2 Opinion Commentary article and only 23 words on the nameless victim.
Is something wrong here?
Sting operations in schools provide safe places to learn
As the parent of a middle-school student and a 3-month-old whose futures will include admission into the Baltimore County school system, I feel compelled to respond to the April 28 letter from Harvey Woolf and his attitude toward the sting operation that caused the arrest of students at three high schools, as well as the arrest of his own student in a similar sting.
The cadet program helps to rid our schools of drug users, making the schools a safer place for students and providing them the opportunity to reach their educational goals without interference from non-achieving, drug-users.
After all, some drug lords and "real criminals" were teen-agers in school at one time or another, were they not?
Keep up the good work.
Pub Date: 5/02/98