A farmer who no longer trusts state...


A farmer who no longer trusts state or The Sun

It is apparent The Sun does not get it when it comes to land conservation practices on privately owned farm land.

Maryland farmers have been national leaders in voluntarily implementing environmentally friendly soil and water conservation practices over the past 20 years. The Sun now says they should voluntarily enter the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) administered by the state's Department on Natural Resources (Conservation awareness," editorial, Nov. 17).

It was The Sun, the state and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation who destroyed the good will between the agricultural community and the state. They unfairly villainized farmers as the cause of the pfiesteria problem.

Farmers in Maryland have always taken stewardship of their land seriously and deserved better treatment.

Farmers are now very wary of entering into voluntary programs with entities that they consider dishonorable. For farmers to participate in programs such as CREP, the state needs to understand that it is the cause of this distrust.

Other states have had more success marketing such programs because they have worked cooperatively with farmers. The state and the environmental community have a lot of fence-mending to do .

Steve Connelly, Rising Sun

Don't blame light rail for suburban crimes

I appreciated Marcia Myers drawing attention to the plight of people thrown off welfare who can't get to work due to gaps in our mass transit system ("Jobs out of reach for the carless," Nov. 16).

But I'd like to add another culprit in our transit dilemma: The exurban legislator, epitomized by Baltimore County Republican state delegate Wade Kach, who recently blamed an increase in crime in the Cockeysville/Hunt Valley area on the light rail line("Balto. County renews push to get state aid money for Route 43 extension," Nov. 5).

This is a tired, old argument -- and we are supposed to trust that whatever statistics Mr. Kach and his cronies come up with are compiled scrupulously.

But since Cockeysville/Hunt Valley is a big place, I have no confidence that crimes committed miles from the light rail stop and crimes committed using cars aren't being blamed on the light rail.

Waiting for a light rail train strikes me as a terrible getaway for furtive crooks .

Mr. Kach should be hard pressed to explain increases in suburban crime in recent years in places such as Glyndon and Hillendale, which aren't anywhere near Metro or light rail stops.

Mr. Kach's fulmination against light rail crime strikes me as the transit equivalent of a charge of "driving while black."

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

Will isn't sanctimonious, just all-knowing

Thank you for printing George Will's column, in which he reveals the sanctimony of Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John McCain and Bill Bradley ("Political pollution: sanctimony on the campaign trail," Opinion Commentary, Nov. 15).

Previously I had suspected that Mr. Will himself was sanctimonious. Now I understand that he is merely all-knowing.

Charlie Cooper, Baltimore

Ignore the jokes: Gore will be a fine president

I would like to thank Christopher Zysk of Towson for his letter about Al Gore ("Once out of Clinton's shadow, Al Gore's star will rise," Nov. 13).

I am a 85-years-young lady, but in my lifetime of vice presidents, I think Mr. Gore has been the best right hand a president could have.

His job wasn't just going to funerals. He had a hand in every issue. President Clinton put more faith in him than the president has in any other vice president in history.

Don't listen to the jokes or funny cartoons about Mr. Gore. He'll be one of the best presidents the country has ever seen.

G. Bauernfriend, Baltimore

Pets shouldn't be flung skyward, exposed to injury

What are we teaching our children?

A picture in The Sun Nov. 10 showed a young girl throwing a small Pekinese dog into a pile of leaves. Animals aren't meant to be tossed in the air like a ball, and possibly break a limb.

The picture should not have been used in a paper viewed by thousands of people. Children should be taught to love and care for their pets, not to abuse them.

Sharon Mann Imwold, Lutherville

Hospital cutbacks stretch nurses to the breaking point

I am a clinical nurse specialist, and I agree with a recent letter writer that the shortage of nurses is going to get worse ("Shortage of nurse threatens health care and state's economy," Nov. 12). The problem will not improve until the health care system is fixed.

HMO rules, Medicare cuts and the Hospital Cost Review Commission's decisions have combined to reduce hospital income drastically. And the staff time and hospital resources needed for the paperwork and phone calls the managed care system requires is just plain crazy.

This has created an impossible situation for hospitals, resulting in fairly regular staff cuts. Nurses are stretched to the breaking point and also must deal with the many valid complaints of patients and family members who are not getting the care they deserve.

Is it any wonder nurses are leaving the profession -- and not recommending it to others?

Elizabeth Carson, Columbia

Kids need better nutrition than 'pruneburgers' can offer

Once upon a time, the Reagan administration counted ketchup packets as "vegetable servings" in calculating school lunch nutritional values. Now we learn that some school cafeterias, including ones in Montgomery County, are putting "pruneburgers" on their menus under the delusion that such fare is good for children ("Stealth Health," Nov. 10).

As a registered dietitian raising my son on a vegan diet, I was dismayed to see such burgers pushed as a positive development.

While prunes have their place in a wholesome diet, each pruneburger packs almost 50 milligrams of artery-clogging cholesterol.

By weight, a pruneburger is 13.9 percent fat, as the article stated. But nutritionists dislike using that calculation because it is thrown off by water content. In reality, 59.5 percent of a pruneburger's calories come from fat.

By contrast, vegan soy burgers never contain cholesterol and are often low in fat. Fortunately, they are increasingly popular.

With kids more out of shape than ever, and many of them destined to get cancer or heart diseases, getting them started early on the best-possible food choices and habits is essential.

For our children's health, we really need to "prune out" meat, dairy and eggs from their meals.

Patricia R. Bertron, Rockville

A memorable tribute to Lillian Malas

What an unusual place to find superb reporting: the marvelous obituary Joan Jacobson wrote about Lillian Malas ("Lillian Malas, 95, immigrant from Greece, worked with family at Duffy's restaurant" Nov. 9).

It was a great piece that revealed what a memorable character this woman was. I especially liked the remark Mrs. Malas' daughter made about "refined sugar" -- bravo for printing a stand against added sugar.

Judith K. Y. Ogle, Bel Air

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