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Fast-thinking student deserves to be praised for...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Fast-thinking student deserves to be praised for offering medicine

I would like to commend Christine Rhodes for having the presence of mind to know what to do when her classmate Brandy Dyer was struck with a severe asthma attack ("School punishes pupil in rescue," May 3.)

Quite often when adults speak of teens nowadays it is in a negative manner. But here is a young lady who saw that another person was in need of immediate help, determined that she had the means to assist this person and did so.

So how does her school board recognize this young lady?

It threatened to keep her from participating in extracurricular activities for the next three years and to mar her school record, showing that she distributed a prescription inhalant drug.

This is just what we need to teach our children today -- that no good deed ever goes unpunished. I hope that the school board will publicly recognize this young lady for her quick thinking.

Far too often we hear about the bad things students do at school. Christine Rhodes is a hero.

Tim Blair

Baltimore

I cannot believe this keeps happening. Our school administrators come up with such inflexible policies that produce harm to our good students. What ever happened to common sense?

I'm happy to say that at least a 12-year-old demonstrated that she had some.

I'm referring to the article by Brenda Buote about Christine Rhodes' saving her friend's life by sharing her asthma medication. Carroll County schools officials considered taking action to discipline her. I guess they would have rather she stood by and watched Brandy Dyer die. At least she would not have violated school policy. Christine should be receiving a medal, not punishment.

The Carroll County School Board and the superintendent of schools have a great opportunity here to make things right: to honor this super person and to put in place a common-sense approach to applying discipline.

A common-sense approach needs to be implemented by all school boards.

This inflexible disciplinary policy does not exist only in Carroll County schools.

Allan Kaufman

Owings Mills

Giving 9th Air Force its due on V-E Day anniversary eve

With the 53rd anniversary of V-E Day coming up tomorrow, it seems timely to mention some truly unsung heroes of the air war in Europe during World War II.

The men of the 9th Air Force had no books written or movies made about them as did the 8th Air Force.

Nor did they have movie stars such as Clark Gable or Jimmy Stewart assigned to portray them as did the 8th. Their mission was tactical rather than strategic and thus received no major publicity.

Yet, with 12 groups of Baltimore-built Martin B-26 Marauder bombers and 18 groups of fighter bombers, the 9th led the way in the destruction of the German war machine. The 9th bomber command's constant bombing of rail and highway bridges, rail yards and troop concentrations severed German troop movement and resupply.

Many German generals credited the 9th Air Force with their collapse in Normandy after D-Day and also their eventual abandonment of the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge) offensive. The destruction of the bridge and rail systems in Europe cost the 9th Air Force 4,700 air crewmen killed, wounded and missing and 2,944 planes shot down.

We surviving pilots of the B-26 salute the people of Baltimore who built this durable, record-setting combat airplane that so often brought us home when the odds were long.

Calvin L. Collier

Baltimore

The writer is a retired major in the U.S. Air Force.

Black business district would treat all to culture

Marilyn Hartz and her letter to the editor (April 29) must have arrived from another world. Has she not heard of Harlem, Beale Street, Spanish Harlem, Chinatown, Little Italy, or Greektown?

Ethnic enclaves that cater to the interests of a particular group are not what keep races apart.

What keeps races apart is the perception that the interests of one sect of citizens is being catered to while the interests of others go unfulfilled.

As an African-American, I enjoy visiting Fells Point, Little Italy, Harborplace, the Gallery and other mainstream attractions. However, we do not have any ownership or stake in those wonderful places.

The suggestion to create a district for black travelers and all others who come there is not to separate the races, as Ms. Hartz seems to believe, but to attract greater numbers of tourists to a site where they can shop, dine and socialize with African-American business owners, entertainers, artists and artisans.

It will create jobs and stimulate business opportunities for small African-American businesses that can profit from the synergy of being clustered in a central area.

Rebuilding and upgrading "Howard Street with fine stores [such as] Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, & Bloomingdale's" might be great, but hundreds of African-American businesses are shut out of Baltimore's tourist industry.

We plan to change that, and we hope people of all races will come, spend money and enjoy the rich heritage that will be presented in Baltimore's Heritage Square.

Louis C. Fields

Baltimore

The writer is executive director of Baltimore African American Tourism Council Inc.

Public school 'bureaucrats' better than private agendas

Douglas P. Munro, in his Opinion Commentary article ("Memo to Mayor Schmoke: School choice remains the best route for city system," April 29),seems to think that what he calls "school choice" is a panacea for education in Baltimore.

He laments Mr. Schmoke's failure to push and the state legislature's failure to enact a 1998 bill, sponsored by Del. James F. Ports Jr. of Baltimore County, that would have provided funds for scholarships at private schools.

In my view, considering his past statements, the mayor has already pushed harder than he should have on this issue. If some of Baltimore's public schools are, as Mr. Munro describes, "poorly performing," we don't have to be content with that. The state of Maryland has the resources to make them as good as we want them to be. We can also improve the neighborhoods around those schools.

All that is required is the will to do it.

Why, instead, should the state encourage children to try to get into schools that are not controlled by the public and whose main goal may be religious or some other kind of indoctrination?

Mr. Munro can try to demean public school administrators as "educational bureaucrats" if he wants, but I'd rather take my chances with them than with people who have their own private or religious agenda.

I applaud the Maryland General Assembly for junking the aforementioned bill. The nonpublic school people aren't in it to do us favors, and we don't owe them a thing.

Kenneth A. Stevens

Savage

Sedimentation study, story on Loch Raven welcomed

Sun reporter Liz Atwood deserves thanks for her April 30 article, "On a sedimental journey," about the sedimentation study being conducted on Loch Raven Reservoir by the U.S. Geological Survey. A similar study will also be done on the Prettyboy Reservoir.

It has been known that the original storage capacity of 23,700 billion gallons at Loch Raven Reservoir is no longer true.

A similar survey, done in 1961 by the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, in which I participated on behalf of the city's Watershed Division, revealed that the capacity storage of Loch Raven was only 20,877 billion gallons.

The surface area of the water was found to be 2,332 acres, or 59 acres less than the original area of 2,391. One may wonder what the new results will show.

To see what sedimentation can do to a reservoir, one can take a look at the upper reaches of Loch Raven at the so-called Paper Mill pool on the Gunpowder Falls and the Ashland pool on Western Run tributary of the reservoir.

In large portions of both these pools, silt deposits were found in 1961 to be 1.5 feet and more above the crest elevation, and trees and other vegetation grew there.

In the 1940s both pools were still a clear body of water, and the reservoir patrolman, as I recall, told me he could navigate his boat there.

Wolodymyr C. Sushko

Baltimore

Pub Date: 5/07/98

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