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Community college will better serve adult learnersWhile...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Community college will better serve adult learners

While the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) would have preferred a smoother "opening day" for the newly adopted Community Education program, we remain enthusiastic about this opportunity to extend our service and expertise ("Registration debacle prompts an apology," Oct. 5).

In fact, recent experience leaves us even more optimistic about the future of community education.

As The Sun's editorial noted, the "silver lining" to the start-up problems we've experienced is realizing what a tremendous market for lifelong learning exists in our backyard ("CCBC stumble," Oct. 6).

Despite the registration glitches, we're running about 10 percent more classes than were running this time last year.

Without a doubt, we underestimated the overwhelming response to our direct mail campaign which, to correct The Sun's article, was not distributed to "every county home" but was targeted to residents in a 3-mile radius of each of the 19 community education centers.

While we increased our telephone registration staff to seven (not two, as the article reported), this was not sufficient to handle the increased volume of calls, faxes and mail-in registrations.

Community education was tranferred to CCBC to better serve county residents -- and they can take heart that CCBC is doing everything possible to ensure quick and easy access for future students.

The new system places adult education in the hands of CCBC, whose primary mission is to serve adult learners, while enabling the public schools to focus on educating the county's K-12 population.

The fact that CCBC can receive state funding for students in this program is an added bonus, not as The Sun implied, the primary impetus for the transfer

But the potential funding will enable CCBC to enhance the variety of learning opportunities available to Baltimore County students of all ages.

Irving Pressley McPhail Baltimore

The writer is chancellor of the Community College of Baltimore.

Extending sewer lines just extends sprawl

The Sun's recent editorial on extending water and sewers to rural areas drew some misleading conclusions ("Chicken, egg, sewers, sprawl," Oct. 4).

In support of extending the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line (URDL), the editorial quotes Ellwood Sinsky saying, "the lack of water and sewer in Carroll County has done nothing to curtail sprawl."

We've seen this kind of reasoning before. The tobacco companies, for example, argued that some people get cancer even without smoking, so smoking must not cause cancer.

But, in fact, wherever water and sewer lines have been extended, intense development has followed.

There is no chicken and egg issue here. The addition of public water and sewer is a prescription for another growth area.

If Mr. Sinsky believes that proper zoning can limit growth in areas served by public water and sewer, he should look closely at White Marsh and Owings Mills.

The pressure to develop rural areas (Kingsville and Green Spring Valley included) is intense, and the URDL boundary is one of the few defenses left for those who favor rural conservation.

Carol T. Trela Baldwin

Would more roads bring more sprawl, pollution . . .

Gov. Parris N. Glendening should be commended for preventing full construction of the Intercounty Connector (ICC) in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

This road is not needed to bring the state together or link Baltimore and the Washington suburbs, as ICC proponent Baltimore County Executive C. A. Ruppersberger has asserted.

Four major roads, two of which are interstate highways, connect these two regions. We also have the MARC train.

Unfortunately Mr. Ruppersberger and such other elected officials as Comptroller William Donald Schaefer share The Sun's mistaken view that more roads are a good solution to transportation problems and help the economy ("Governor's fire sale," Sept. 28).

More mass transit makes more sense.

More roads are bad for the environment. They may cut through parks, as the ICC would, or hurt forests and wetlands, as would the extension of Route 43 in Baltimore County.

More roads also stimulate suburban sprawl. And, because they cause an increase in vehicle-miles traveled, they cause more air pollution.

Brian Parker Columbia

The writer is group conservation chairman for the Sierra Club's Maryland chapter.

. . . or cut travel time and reduce emissions?

The long-term solution to auto exhaust air pollution in the Baltimore area is an extensive rail transport system ("Polluted air hits asthmatics hard," Sept. 29).

Unfortunately, this would be so big and expensive a project that none of us will see it in our lifetime.

The short-term solution is more and faster highways.

This would reduce commuting time, which would reduce the time car engines are running and thereby reduce pollution from their exhaust.

David Heston Glen Arm

More people will bring more environmental woes

World population will surpass 6 billion people this week. This portends more lasting and devastating problems than the Y2K issue we face Jan. 1.

Y2K hasn't prompted me to stockpile canned beans, batteries or bottled water. The people problem, however, highlights my deepest concerns for our future.

I think of my 11-year-old grandson and the ecological crises he will witness.

According to United Nations projection, by the year 2050 global population will reach almost 10 billion. More people will mean more waste, more emissions and reduced social health.

Sally Gray Baltimore

Overexploited swordfish need chance to recover

I was disappointed The Sun featured grilled swordfish steak on the cover of its A La Carte section (Oct. 6).

Many fish stocks have been depleted by over-fishing, but the swordfish has been especially hard hit. Many restaurants have removed swordfish from their menu until the fish's stocks have a chance to recover.

Maybe next time The Sun could feature a different fish?

Jeff Kostos Columbia

Clinton's presidency is the real obscenity

In his recent letter, Howard A. Roland criticized Hillary Clinton's defense of funding the Brooklyn art exhibit. He argued that, "when we subsidize obscenity with tax dollars, we become a sick society" (Oct. 5).

Did Mr. Roland forget that the first lady's husband's salary is paid with tax dollars? Is there a bigger obscenity?

C. M. Corbett Pikesville

Articles shed light on people in crisis

Thanks to The Sun for two articles that demonstrated the media's ability to report the truth.

It was great to read "Nun decides to end her ministry to homosexuals" (Sept. 28), which shed light on Sister Jeannine Gramick's experience with the Vatican. How encouraging it was to read her reasoning and goals for remaining united with the Catholic Church.

The article in which Emmanuel Gerondis' mother to clarified the false rumors surrounding her son's shooting was also enlightening ("Mother struggles to cope with son's shooting," Sept. 28).

Reading her story not only brought a tear to my eye, but prompted a sincere prayer for her son.

Katherine Williams Baltimore

To our readers

The Sun welcomes letters from readers. They 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 letters@baltsun.com.

All letters are subject to editing.

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