Violence isn't the answer on controlling deer
On Aug. 27, 1998, I wrote a letter to several people, including The Sun, Howard County Council member C. Vernon Gray and then-County Executive Charles Ecker, protesting the planning of a "controlled" deer hunt.
I cited all the reasons why the county felt it was so important to kill these animals, rather than try alternative measures to keep their numbers down and control the deer population.
I was so pleased when shortly after James Robey became county executive, he made a sound decision to suspend the deer hunt until alternative measures could be explored.
Well, here we go again. In July, I read that Mr. Robey suddenly changed his mind about this important issue.
Why hadn't he explored alternative measures, such as installing road reflectors in areas known as "hot spots," educating the public about how to dress when in the woods to guard against ticks, or investing in perfecting a single-dose contraception dart by working with the Humane Society of the United States?
What happened to the promise to explore alternatives?
As an animal lover, Howard County taxpayer and voter for nine years, I am very disappointed in the political process and in our politicians. There has been no effort on Mr. Robey's part that I can see to keep his promise to try and find alternatives before resorting to the barbaric action of shooting deer.
Examples of other measures, which would certainly take longer than five months to research and implement, might also include: holding public town meetings prior to changing one's public position; educating the public on ways we can live with the deer, such as driving more safely at night on narrow, two-lane roads in "hot spots"; learning the kinds of shrubbery to buy that deer won't eat; and warning people that homes near a wooded area can result in wildlife being nearby.
That is a phenomenon of nature and rural living that makes Howard County a place that my husband and I love.
Hunting is dangerous, costly and ineffective in significantly controlling deer populations. It sends the wrong message to children and adults. Violence is not the answer.
Assessing blame for runoff woes
I am appalled that your article ("Builder, neighbor debate drainage," Aug. 17) cast blame on John L. Baker for purportedly damaging the wetlands, streams and associated sensitive environmental features of the 10-acre site slated for development as Bonnie Branch Overlook.
First, Mr. Baker has worked strenuously to protect this site for years.
Second, it was he who first brought the damage caused by the existing development's inadequate stormwater management facilities to the attention of county officials.
Mr. Baker was chosen as a community spokesman because he is an upstanding and reputable individual who has demonstrated his commitment to the environment throughout a long career of volunteerism.
Ron Wildman argues that the central point at issue here is not an intermittent stream and its buffer, but a "drainageway" and an eroded gully. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already ruled in a formal jurisdictional determination (JD) that "waters of the U.S." begin uphill of Mr. Baker's property and continue downhill and across Mr. Baker's property, then downhill across the area Mr. Wildman wants to develop. The wetland delineation expert who made the JD, George Harrison, stated that these "waters of the U.S." have been present for a very long time, probably centuries and certainly prior to any construction at Bonnie View Court (the existing development in the area).
Inadequate storm water management (SWM) by the original developer of Bonnie View Court and lax county regulations at the time of that construction in the early 1960s were responsible for the damage that has been done to the natural ecology in and around this intermittent stream.
The county's failure to retrofit and adequately maintain storm-water management facilities also bear a large portion of the blame. To suggest that Mr. Baker should be blamed for damage caused by road runoff and rain waters collected from the surrounding community and funnelled onto and across his property by a county-approved SWM structure is absurd.
Lee Walker Oxenham
The writer is conservation chairman of the Howard County chapter of the Sierra Club.
No gas station needed in Glenwood
Driving along Route 97 through Howard County is more of a leisurely drive to and from work for a lot of people. However, living on Route 97 has taken its toll over the last two years.
We are surrounded by several farms, a historic church and a several long-term residents. Many of the farmers are still hard at work trying to make a living.
Transient traffic starts to flow south approximately 4: 30 each morning and return trips start at 3 p.m. So, we have business traffic, school traffic and shopping traffic within a high-speed zone.
We have a developer who plans to build a shopping center at the corner of Carrs Mill Road and Route 97. The developer has also filed for a special exception to build a gasoline station next to Howard County Recreation and Parks.
For the last five months, the Board of Appeals has been holding hearings on this case. At the first meeting, more than 300 people attended. Howard County was not prepared to handle such a large crowd, so the hearing was rescheduled.
During the week of Aug. 7 (the Howard County Fair), we asked if a hearing could be rescheduled for a later date?
This request was not given consideration. Many old residents as well as newcomers of Howard County had to make a decision to attend the hearings or head for the Howard County Fair. Needless to say, attendance was down for the people who are in opposition to the special exception.
The opposition's concerns include safety, our wells, pollution, traffic, storm-water management and lighting.
Why should Howard County grant a "special exception" for a gasoline station in a residential area that is totally well-dependent? Will local government approve extensive growth in western Howard? Will our roadway handle the additional traffic? And the big question: Do we need a gasoline station on Route 97 to accommodate the transient commuters from Carroll County through Howard and into Montgomery?
I hope that the Howard County Board of Appeals will take a look at the big picture.
Winning's everything in college sports
It's nice to see The Sun showing a little attention to graduation rates for college athletes (Editorial "Nothing but net," editorial, Sept. 6).
Now if it would turn resources to graduation rates as a whole perhaps the level of achievement would improve throughout Maryland's institutions of higher learning. Maybe some students will make it in four years rather than six.
The newspaper mentions Gary Williams, the antithesis of John Wooden. Former Coach Wooden prepared his players and let them play the game, instead of running up and down the court ranting and raving. Winning is everything to Mr. Williams.
As far as the gender issue, it would seem female athletes' better numbers indicate their sense of reality and, of course, the bucks have not reached the sums offered male players
If professional basketball for women endures, which I sincerely doubt, then female scores will not improve. If it remains as a fun sport for colleges, then girls will probably maintain a good graduation rate.
Regardless of the current numbers, it is imperative that all public colleges in Maryland improve their graduation rates.
In addition, these rates do not actually reflect what has been learned, so a little achievement test might also be in order.
R. D. Bush
Smart Growth: Is politics thicker than water?
Regarding the article "Water pipeline planned to increase Howard supply" Aug. 29: Ah, Smart Growth, the buzz phrase of the year.
So, Howard County will be getting water from Baltimore's supply.
This is Smart Growth? Add more drain and strain to the Loch Ravenwatershed, or tapthe Chesapeake Bay's main tributary, namely the Susquehanna River as a permanent spigot line to Howard County?
So, Howard County's growth apparently is pre-ordained and we had just best get out of the way, or better yet, pave the way. The next time we can't wash cars or water lawns, we'll just have the water trucked in . . . from Howard County.
Joseph R. Blair
It is easy to determine that Gov. Parris N. Glendening's "Smart Growth" policy is a Democratic idea. The Democratic Party's philosophy is to create government more remote from the people, and to subordinate individualism in every case to state programs and laws.
The Republican Party, on the other hand, espouses that the least government is the best government and that government is best closest to the people.
The "Smart Growth" policy creates more bureaucracyand puts a damper on what I believe Teddy Roosevelt called "rugged individualism." Less land-use restriction would allow people to develop their property in a worthwhile manner without additional unnecessary interference from the state.
This "Smart Growth" is definitely a Democratic idea. Maybe if we follow it closely, we can make the whole state after the image of Baltimore City.
Donald B. W. Messenger