The Sun is seeking letters from elementary schoolchildren about their favorite books and reading experiences. Selected letters will be edited and published in the editorial pages.
Letters should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.
Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is letteraltsun.com.
School board made right decision to base the future on phonics
As a veteran Baltimore school teacher, I wish to express my support for the school board's decision to use an explicit phonics-based curriculum through the second grade.
As chief academic officer Searetha Smith said, "We really must put these foundation skills in place first."
My concern is whether the school board has the resolve to retain any second-grader who has not mastered the K-2 curriculum.
This concern was heightened by at least one board member who asked about extending the curriculum beyond second grade to teach older students who have not mastered phonics.
This indicates a willingness to continue promoting students despite poor academic performance.
There was a time when such promotions were at least debatable. But with the advent of Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, we no longer have that option.
A student who has not mastered the phonics-based curriculum will be unable to grasp the higher-order skills needed for success on MSPAP.
The school board has done well in developing a reading program that addresses the fundamental skills needed for reading proficiency and the rich literate skills needed for critical thinking.
But if it lacks the resolve to properly implement it, all bets are off.
Linda S. Bluth
Send peace-maker Mitchell to settle Middle East dispute
In view of the lack of success by the trio of President Clinton, Madeleine Albright and David Ross to conclude a reasonable peace agreement in the Middle East, how about sending former Sen. George Mitchell to the area to see whether the senator could play the role of mediator he so successfully played in Northern Ireland?
Sales of premium cigars continue to be smoking hot
With regard to Alec Klein's article ("Cigar boom starting to fade," May 10), I want to share with you the fact that sales of premium cigars continue to be strong. Though sales growth is not paralleling 1997 figures, sales of premium cigars have risen in unprecedented numbers and are holding steady at those substantially high levels.
Fader's is so bullish on the continued strength of the premium cigar industry that the company is adding a location and is expanding and renovating existing stores in Annapolis and Towson.
Our customers are well-informed adults, knowledgeable about the products and making intelligent choices.
L He (or she) is not just following the flow of another trend.
Cigar smoking is a lifestyle, not a habit.
Michael J. Goeller
The writer is president and chief executive officer of Fader's.
Sedan, not taxi, involved in Harford Road accident
In articles May 14 and May 15 concerning the Yellow Van Service vehicle involved in the accident on Harford Road, The Sun repeatedly referred to the vehicle as a taxicab and to the driver as a taxicab driver.
The vehicle involved is a sedan, not a licensed taxicab. If it was operating as a taxicab, it was doing so illegally.
To confuse the public by failing to differentiate the services gives the taxicab industry an undeserved blemish.
The writer is president of Reisterstown Cab Inc.
Honor America's veterans by keeping them out of war
On Memorial Day, we honor those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in the service of our nation. May they always be remembered.
It is also most fitting that we honor those brave men and women who love our country enough to protect it from our government's folly. I refer to the brave and patriotic people who marched in protest against our governments war on the people of Vietnam, those who marched against President Reagan's military action in Central America, President Bush's invasion of Panama -- which cost the lives of 2,000 innocents -- and his killing of over 150,000 innocent Iraqis in the Persian Gulf war.
Not all wars waged by our government have been for freedom and democracy. Since World War II, our government has sent brave men and women into Third World countries to kill and die for corporate profits, self-aggrandizement of our politicians and generals and to score political points.
Most recently, protesters around the nation stayed the hands of President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defense Secretary William Cohen and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, keeping them from bombing more innocents in Iraq. I helped serve my country by being among them.
The best way to honor our veterans is not to make more of them.
Gerald Ben Shargel
Fighting the good fight for Maryland's veterans
Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the Maryland General Assembly should be applauded for their efforts on behalf of Maryland veterans during the 1998 legislative session. Their bipartisan initiatives have received little attention from the news media.
Your article "Veterans center is honored by national group," (May 10), omitted the fact that legislation, introduced by Del. Clarence Davis and signed into law by the governor, authorizes matching grant funds for the Maryland Center for Veteran Education and Training. The money will be used to renovate, equip and furnish the Baltimore facility.
Extensively overlooked by the media is legislation by Sen. Clarence W. Blount and by Del. George W. Owings to ensure military honors at burial services for Maryland veterans. Mr. Glendening strongly supported this unanimous General Assembly action, requiring Maryland's adjutant general to furnish burial honor guards when they are not available from the U.S. Department of Defense.
The governor also approved funding for a feasibility study for a Maryland Veterans Home at Fort Howard Veterans Administration Hospital in Baltimore County. The initiative, which encouraged by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and supported by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, would make domiciliary living and comprehensive nursing care for veterans available in Central Maryland.
Maryland's veteran population has remained stable at more than 500,000 because of people leaving military service and living longer. Our elected officials have recognized these special citizens and their needs.
Richard E. Shatzer
The writer is deputy director of the Maryland Veterans Commission.
Conjunction rule is not set in stone for writers
I am writing in regard to the letter concerning The Sun's use of conjunctions such as "and" and "but" incorrectly at the beginning of sentences ("Stop using conjunctions at beginning of sentences," May 19). The writer claims that this is incorrect, according to what he has learned in English and journalism classes.
However, this grammatical rule was probably invented by some elementary school teacher to prevent young students learning to write from making incomplete sentences.
If the conjunction is used properly and effectively in the beginning of a complete sentence, it is correct.
Jessica S. Gresock
Reno deserves credit as out-of-control prosecutor
Considering that she has appointed seven independent counsels to investigate President Clinton and top officials of his administration for possible criminal misconduct, it appears that it is Attorney General Janet Reno, rather than Judge Kenneth Starr, who is the "out of control prosecutor."
For that, Ms. Reno should be commended.
At least one member of this administration has the integrity, independence and courage to just say no to the tactics of obstruction, delay, evasion and double-talk employed so skillfully the White House during the past five years to conceal its multiple scandals.
Barry C. Steel
Pub Date: 5/25/98