This holiday, buckle up childrenMy memory is...


This holiday, buckle up children

My memory is haunted by the helplessness of innocent injured/dead children who were unbuckled victims in automobile accidents. What had seemed like a harmless lapse to the parents not making sure the kides were buckled up had become the most devastating mistake of their lives.

Every day children are needlessly injured and killed on our state's roadways because adults failed to make sure their children were buckled up. Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death to children in America.

That is why the Carroll County Sheriff's Office is joining thousands of law enforcement agencies across the nation in the next "Operation ABC Mobilization: America Buckles Up Children."

During the Thanksgiving holiday week, Nov. 22-28, deputies will be looking for and ticketing irresponsible drivers; adults who, despite the widespread attention to child passenger safety, fail to take responsibility for protecting children by not making sure they ride buckled up.

Since we've waged these nationwide crackdowns over the last two years, child fatalities have dropped by 12.3 percent and restraint use among toddlers has climbed from 60 to 87 percent. In Carroll County and Maryland, child fatalities have decreased over the same period.

To advance our progress, it's time that the community joins law enforcement in declaring zero tolerance for unbuckled children. It will take the collective attention of everyone to educate irresponsible drivers who don't make sure their children are protected by proper restraints in vehicles. No one should ignore children at risk. People concerned about children must make sure relatives, friends and neighbors understand that letting children ride unbuckled, no matter how short the ride, is always life-threatening and never worth the risk.

The law enforcement community will no longer tolerate children being injured and killed because adults fail to use the proper child restraint devices. The Carroll County Sheriff's Office has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy for this offense during the ABC Program and throughout the year.

Kenneth L. Tregoning, Westminster

The writer is Carroll County sheriff.

Rural and urban are interlinked

Thanksgiving is a special time to reflect on the bounty that we enjoy, and this year is no exception. As Americans, we enjoy an abundant and safe food supply made available to us by farmers, processors, brokers, transporters, wholesalers and retailers. Although the overall economy has been strong, the agricultural economy has been depressed and many producers are facing serious financial hardships.

National Farm-City Week, Nov. 19 to Nov. 25, is designated to emphasize the successful partnerships between rural and urban resident that make our food and fiber system the envy of the world. The ongoing theme for the week is "Partners in Progress."

We are partners -- farmers, factory workers, truck trivers, marketers, cashiers, supermarket managers and consumers. The farm-city connection accounts for more than 22 million jobs in the food and fiber industry. In order to continue to have a viable food system, we need all our partners to be strong.

Farm numbers continue to decline in the United States and yet we still have an abundance of high quality, affordable food and fiber to offer our citizens and sells broad. The efficiency of American farmers is also a tribute to the bonds made with their rural communities and city cousins.

Farmers rely on purchased inputs, such as fertilizers and crop protectants to raise grain, while processing companies generate additional economic activity by hauling and shipping processed farm commodities. While production agriculture accounts for just less than 2 percent of the United States population, one American farmer produces enough food to feed 129 people each year.

City cousins need to realize that agriculture is a part of their life each and every day, starting with their morning paper to the evening bowl of ice cream. The abundance that starts on the land and is cared for by our farmers is an important aspect in the success of not only our economy, but also our culture.

Working together since 1955, the National Farm-City Council has been telling the story of interdependence from the farm to the city. Help us celebrate National Farm-City Week by remembering we are all "Partners in Progress."

As we enjoy our Thanksgiving feasts this year, we need to be especially mindful that the families producing the food may be struggling. Although it may not provide relief to those families, may we at least express our sincere gratitude for the job they do year after year. And that goes for all the other "partners" throughout the food and fiber chain. National Farm-City Week provides all Americans with the perfect opportunity to say "thank you."

Jean Knoll, Mount Airy

Montessori school wants to be good neighbor

Recently some issues have been raised concerning the proposed Montessori School on Hughes Shop Road. A number of articles and letters have been published in newspapers. Because some of these materials contain misinformation or errors, leading to controversy, a review of the facts is in order. As president of the board of directors of the school, I can vouch for the following:

The Montessori School of Westminster is a small school that serves the local area. Children may begin at age 3 and continue through the 8th grade. The curriculum teaches students to respect others, their property and the environment. Dozens of alumni are successful and productive citizens in the local community.

The school is the only non-church related private school in Carroll County . We serve children of all faiths, races, and economic circumstances. The school is non-profit, tuition is kept as low as possible, and financial assistance is available for families who need it.

The school enjoyed a 25 year -amicable relationship with its landlord, St. Ben's Lutheran Church on Krider's Cemetery Road. That space is needed for the new Southern school which will be starting in September 2000. We are sorry to lose our longtime home, but we wish the Lutheran school every success.

Realizing that the day would come when St. Ben's could no longer accommodate the school, the board of directors has searched for an alternative site for many years. The safety regulations governing buildings for small children make most existing sites unsuitable. Most building sites within municipal boundaries are too expensive or not large enough to accommodate the needs of the school. Finally, the board decided to purchase a 27-acre site a short distance from our current location at St. Ben's and build a school. Funding has been arranged through a local bank. No taxpayer money is involved. The proposed school must comply with all state and local land use regulations and building codes.

Along the way, it was learned that some area residents from Hughes Shop Road had concerns about the new school. The board of directors hosted an opening meeting at St. Ben's for those residents and answered questions with the best available information. The school building is modest in scope and will not contain a gymnasium, cafeteria or lighted exterior program areas. Exterior lighting necessary for security is being designed to impact the neighbors as little as possible. Water use-based, objective data from another Montessori location is expected to be well within governmental specifications. Septic facilities will be state-of-the-art. A long standing problem with drainage onto Hughes Shop Road will be corrected as part of the project.

The school currently has a student population of 125. Growth in the student body has been gradual, and is expected to remain that way. Because many families have more than one been gradual, and is expected to remain the way. Because many families have more than one student in the school, and because there are extensive car pool arrangements, the number of trips per day on Hughes Shop Road is expected to be far fewer than the 600 to 800 extra trips some local residents are projecting. Almost all of the trips will be at off peak traffic times.

The Montessori School has been an asset to Westminster and a good neighbor for 25 years. We know we will prove to be a good neighbors in the future. Give us a chan ce.

Matthew Zimmerman, Westminster

The writer is president of the board of directors of the Montessori School.

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