A postscript on charter
I would like to thank the thousands of voters in the Freedom District for their support of the charter initiative. You are to be congratulated for attempting to carry Carroll County into the 21st century.
It is regrettable that more residents from this troubled district didn't vote.
Had just 4,000 more of us gone to the polls, we would have prevailed and been able to shove charter down the throats of the rest of the county, just as they have shoved development on us.
The fact that all the precincts in the Freedom District went for charter should be a strong message to leaders. We won't be surprised if they don't get it, though.
Political strategists should be reminded that those people who moved into the Freedom District do not intend to leave their cultures, ideas or votes at the county line just to placate those who have lived here nine, 10 or 30 generations, or who have acres and acres of land. The best way to keep Carroll County is to stop selling land to developers and expecting others to pick up the price for the profits they are reaping.
There will be other elections, and I expect to see charter on the ballot again. In the meantime, you can expect to see Freedom District looking for candidates who will unite our area.
Also, thanks to all in the county for saying "no" to Sen. Larry Haines delegation's expensive five-commissioner system that has been promoted, especially by delegates Joseph M. Getty and Donald B. Elliott and Tom Bowen of the Republican Central Committee. As we enter the September and November elections, let's keep them in mind.
I want thank all of those Carroll County residents who voted in the charter election held May 2.
I believe that the people who participated should be recognized for their effort to state what they felt best for the future of the county. I feel privileged to live in a county where we can truly participate in a dialogue of ideas and can express them freely.
I want especially to thank those activists on both sides of the debate on our form of government for their dedication and energy.
To all of the people who worked so tirelessly for the Citizens Against Big Charter Government, my hat is off to you. I also want to thank those who voted against the proposed charter.
Now that the special election has been held and the majority has spoken, I hope that we can all move forward.
We need to focus on work before us -- preserving and nourishing the wonderful heritage that we have in Carroll County.
Deaf education article raises awareness
It was with great pride that I read the May 4 article, "College program leads way in deaf education," describing the American Sign Language specialist program, the newest addition to deaf education at Western Maryland College.
I have coordinated the program since 1994 and continue to be amazed that a program of this magnitude is situated in the lovely, small town of Westminster.
The program is rich in diversity, drawing high-caliber students from across the United States and Canada as well as other countries.
We have been pleased by the immediate response to this article. Within six hours, our office has been contacted by individuals interested in pursuing advanced degrees related to ASL and from groups interested in learning about deaf-related issues. There are a few details that we would like to clarify for those interested in the program:
WMC offers a master's in deaf education in three different areas -- elementary, secondary and ASL specialist.
The ASL specialist program will prepare graduates to serve two distinct populations, deaf students whose first language is ASL and deaf and hearing individuals who are learning ASL as a second language (e.g., future teachers and parents of deaf children). For this area of specialization, advanced proficiency in ASL is required for entrance into the program.
On completion of the ASL Specialist Program, graduates will have earned a master of science degree (deaf education: ASL specialist) and will be eligible for Council on Education of the Deaf and state certification. A separate ASL specialist certification is being proposed to the Maryland State Department of Education.
We look forward to welcoming ASL specialist students to our summer program. Dr. Rachel Stone has been instrumental in making this happen. For information, contact Dr. Stone at 410-857-2506.
The writer is associate professor and coordinator for deaf education at Western Maryland College.
Wolf responds to criticism
This letter will appear after the charter election. As I write this, I do not know nor can I predict the result. If charter wins, I will be running my legs off to obtain a seat on the Carroll County Council. If it loses, I can relax and enjoy life again.
Thanks to many editorials and news columns regarding my off-the-cuff remarks that were taken out of context in an effort to paint me as a Neanderthal buffoon, my speaking requests have quadrupled. So this is not a complaint.
The facts are as follows:
1) No complaint has surfaced from anyone happy with my Board of Zoning Appeals decisions.
2) People who did complain were written a letter and given the opportunity to air their complaints at a public hearing with the proviso that the testimony be under oath. Not a single person responded to this offer from the commissioners.
In closing, all I can say is thanks, you spelled my name correctly. For anyone stupid or concerned enough to put their neck in the political noose, this is most they can ever expect.
New licensing for young drivers
I am writing to tell The Sun's readers about a law establishing a graduated driver licensing system for Maryland.
This legislation, which I co-sponsored in the House of Delegates, will require new drivers to hold a learners permit for four months and provisional licenses for 18 months.
Previously, new drivers were required to have a learners permit for two weeks and a provisional license for one year.
The law also calls for tougher penalties for anyone convicted of a moving violation while holding a provisional license.
They would be required to attend a driver improvement course after their first offense. Their license may be suspended for 30 days after a second offense and may be suspended or revoked for 180 days after a third.
They would also have to wait longer before obtaining an unrestricted license.
I believe we need this law to help protect not only our children, but all innocent victims of youthful driving errors.
Over the past three years, drivers ages 16 and 17 were involved in automobile accidents which killed 125 and injured an additional 21,000 in Maryland.
Studies have shown that fewer accidents involving young people occur after graduated licensing systems like the one approved this year are put into place.
Any constituent who would like more information about this or any other law may contact my district office at 410-840-2108.
Ellen Willis Miller
The writer represents the 5th District in the House of Delegates.
Pub Date: 5/10/98