Forum forged innovative ideas to revive manufacturing
The bad news is that the Baltimore region lags behind 17 similar metro areas. ("Manufacturing jobs below many cities, but holding steady," Nov. 12).
The good news is that a panel of key leaders of industry, government, education and labor came together at the Regional Manufacturing Institute's Points of View forum Nov. 11 to discuss the future of manufacturing in this region.
They agreed that through collaboration, increased promotion of the new technological face of manufacturing, and a renewed spirit for change, the region's manufacturing base can be expanded.
Specific initiatives to address our workforce shortage were discussed. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich and others stressed the need to promote the new manufacturing environment and build positive relationships to attract qualified workers.
The jobs are there; attracting qualified workers is the challenge.
State Superintendent of Schools Nancy Grasmick made a bold new proposal to extend the leaning process to the workplace. This would give students structured learning experiences in high-tech manufacturing that schools can't create because of the high cost of equipment and rapid technological change. Companies that agree to on-site learning would be compensated for their time, knowledge, equipment and other resources.
Manufacturers at the forum were encouraged by this kind of support education officials.
The next step is the state legislature to support this innovative approach.
The writer is executive director of the Regional Manufacturing Institute.
The port of Baltimore is vital to the whole state
The Sun's editorial "A bright future for Baltimore's port" Nov. 14) points to the port's bright future as an East Coast maritime center.
The future success of this powerful economic engine is not only a Baltimore concern, but one of vital importance to our state's economy.
It is truly the "Port of Maryland."
William A. Bronrott
The writer represents District 16 in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Bartenfelder took a stand for county's bus drivers, kids
The Sun's article on the Baltimore County Council's consideration of a bill to allow certain retired individuals to continue to work as school bus drivers was accurate, but omitted a significant piece: nowhere did it mention the work of Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder ("Baltimore County might OK pay," Nov. 1).
From the time we first contacted him, Mr. Bartenfelder understood that the issues involved extended beyond the nine individuals directly impacted.
In addition to recognizing what we believed was an injustice to people who have given the community years of service, Mr. Bartenfelder understood the broader implications for Baltimore County children.
At a time when the shortage of qualified bus drivers has reached a crisis level, Mr. Bartenfelder showed the common sense and the courage that we would like to see in all of our leaders.
John Gerben Jr.
Picture spoke of pride, family love and devotion
The picture of the father and son at the memorial service for Officer Barry Wood on the front page of the Maryland section Nov. 5 made me catch my breath.
It speaks of family love and devotion -- and of the pride we should all feel in those who are willing to give their lives for our protection.
The composition of the picture was also quite artistic. Please congratulate Lloyd Fox.
Frances H. Alden
It's not your father's Balto. Co. school system
It was unfortunate that Owings Mills High School principal Margaret Spicer chose to cancel the play "To Kill A Mockingbird." But, as a parent living in Baltimore County I can't say I'm surprised.
In the late 1980s, when Baltimore County adopted the disastrous policy of outcome-based education, it was the last nail in the coffin of what was once-proud school system.
My son is in the eighth grade in the Baltimore County public schools. He's had six different principals in eight years and has rarely had a teacher with more than a few years experience.
He has been forced to endure whole-language, multiculturalism and other social engineering disasters. Next year, he's headed for Owings Mills High School and its politically correct principal.
Parents, beware: This is not the same public school system we attended in the 1960s and 1970s.
Concealed gun law isn't an outrageous idea
A recent letter criticized Del. Jim Ports for proposing to allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, in the wake of state Attorney General J. Joseph Curran's call for a ban on handgun ownership ("Fury of gun debate signifies nothing," Nov. 4). But this proposal was introduced long before Mr. Curran's call, and it is co-sponsored by other delegates. Similar bills have passed in more than 30 states, and have led to a significant drop in violent crime.
The bill would require a person applying for a permit to carry a concealed weapon to have a clean criminal record and training in the safe use of the weapon.
What mugger, rapist or carjacker would prey on someone if he or she thinks that person could be carrying a firearm?
Joseph C. Weaver
Gun rights don't belong to militia members alone
The Supreme Court did not rule in 1939, as a recent letter claimed that the Second Amendment's guarantee of gun rights "applies only to those who need guns to serve in a state militia, such as the National Guard" ("Courts have long limited individuals' gun rights," Nov. 8).
The court's ruling in that case was a narrow one: that Jack Miller's possession of a sawed-off shotgun was not constitutionally protected, because that particular firearm (in the court's opinion) was unsuitable for use by a militia.
The court referred to a "militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense . . . bearing arms supplied by themselves."
The phrase "bearing arms supplied by themselves" clearly indicates that the court believed the Founding Fathers intended able-bodied men to own firearms, regardless of whether they were called to serve in a militia.
Positive thinking needed to inspire us to save the bay
I applaud Sarah Taylor Rogers, state secretary of natural resources, for instilling, a ray of hope into The Sun's gloomy article about efforts to reduce farm runoff into our streams and the bay ("Restoration plan for bay may fall short," Nov. 12).
A heading such as, "Analysis shows Chesapeake project failing," which may be all many people read, can only discourage efforts to save the bay.
But Ms. Rogers says, "I'm not going to be satisfied with 'we can't' because I think we can." That's the spirit.
Eleanor N. Lewis
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