Evicting 'Old World' hurts Randallstown
Why does the Liberty Road corridor need another drugstore at the site of the Old World Bakery, a delightful small store which stocks delicious and unusual foodstuffs ("Old world must move to make way for new," April 5)?
I find it astonishing and upsetting that yet another drugstore will be constructed on Liberty Road.
Anne Stein, Randallstown
The Liberty Road Business Association should not lament, but look at the positive side of the forced relocation of the Old World Deli and Bakery.
Its replacement by a Walgreens drugstore will create a two-mile strip of Liberty Road blessed with 10 drugstores (five "big box," four supermarket, one K-Mart), or more than one per quarter-mile.
There's even hope, based on the "black hole gravitation theory," that abandoned supermarket sites on this same strip will be converted into two additional super-drugstores.
Then Rockdale/Randallstown will surely become recognized as the drugstore mecca of the United States, attracting social scientists, marketing analysts and swarms of tourists to marvel at this phenomenon and attempt to explain it.
Nelson L. Hyman, Randallstown
The Sun's editorial "Can this deli be saved?" (April 7) noted that "Old World's great success attracted thousands of customers a week to this section of Randallstown."
If these same people opt not to buy their sundries from Walgreens, who will have the last laugh?
Al Buckner, Randallstown
I read The Sun's article about the dilemma facing the Old World Dell and felt frustrated.
The article told of a family that wants to stay in Randallstown, but Walgreens is buying the land they are leasing. It then notes that "business leaders have struggled to keep Liberty Road stabilized as stores have abandoned the area."
The hypocrisy regarding Randallstown infuriates me.
My husband has had a business there for 30 years. It supports our family and two others.
He invested money to move from one Randallstown location to another. However, our business is now being threatened.
We aren't contending with Walgreens; we are dealing with a group of people who have decided that our business, plus dozens of others, no longer fit their image of how Liberty Road should look.
Don't protest one small business leaving the area when dozens of others who don't want to leave may be destroyed.
Allison Heyman, Owings Mills
Lacrosse's contributions deserved recognition
Matthe Buck undeservedly and negatively characterized the spirit of lacrosse competition between two private schoools, Gilman School and Boys' Latin ("On the track and lacrosse field, a rminder of Baltimore's future," Opinion * Commentary, April 5).. Mr. Buck wrote that lacrosse fans "jeered the referees mercilessly, booed the faintest whiff of unfair conduct and chatted between play mostly about what esteemed powerhouse lacrosse colleges their sons would be attending this fall."
In contrast, he described the fans and parents at the Mt. St. Joseph Invitational track meet as courteous and sportsmanlike and the meet as "a wonderfully familiar and pleasant scene."
But Mr. Buck neglected to acknowledge the obvious differences between the two events.
Track and field is basically a sport of individual achievement. Traditionally its fans are not demonstrative but passive.
Lacrosse, on the other hand, is a team sport. It is an aggressive, physical game that readily lends itself to passionate and vocal responses from its followers.
Both lacrosse and track and field are wonderful athletic endeavors. I would suggest Mr. Buck do a better job understanding the nuances of each sport.
Lou Fritz, Baltimore
I appreciated Matthew Buck's "City Diary" article, but it was unfortunate that he reinforced stereotypes about lacrosse and failed to mention what the sport has done to help middle and high school student-athletes in Baltimore's public schools.
More than a decade ago, US Lacrosse initiated the Baltimore City Middle School Lacrosse League (BCMSLL) as a pilot program. The program now enables students in more than a dozen city middle schools to play lacrosse.
This program's success has allowed US Lacrosse to help develop similar programs in other cities throughout the country.
It's also a shame the article didn't mention the contributions schools such as Boys Latin have made to the BCMSLL program.
Boys Latin's players and coaches have conducted clinics for the BCMSLL's since it began.
Our organization has also developed a partnership with the city's Department of Recreation and Parks to establish a lacrosse curriculum in Druid Hill Park and at the "Du" Burns Arena.
This program will provide equipment, curricula and instruction for recreation center directors and the young people they serve. Last year, Fred Whitridge, a Baltimorean who chairs the US Lacrosse National At-Risk Initiative, also worked with lacrosse equipment manufacturers to coordinate donation of new equipment to every high school in the city
It's a shame Mr. Buck missed these facts; they would have made wonderful illustrations of his point.
Steven B. Stenersen, Baltimore
The writer is executive director of US Lacrosse.
Supervising private education
As someone who spent 47 years in private education, as a teacher and then headmaster of private schools, I couldn't agree more with the four letters under the heading "Misdirected aid, offensive remarks hurt public schools," (March 31) that public funds should never be allocated to private schools.
Private schools depend on three major sources for income: tuition, annual giving and capital gift campaigns; these sources are unavailable to public schools.
Therefore, public schools need and deserve as much money as possible from their state and their respective county and city.
However, I strongly disagree with two statements in the letters.
First, while private schools are selective, they are not unaccountable.
They are held accountable through the supervision of the Association of Independent Maryland Schools (AIMS), whose high standards for membership and school accreditation were established years ago under the jurisdiction of the state board of education.
Before opening their doors, private schools must receive a charter from the state.
Second, private schools do not send their "castoffs" to public schools.
On the contrary, private schools spend endless hours counseling parents on alternative private schools that would be a better placement for their youngster.
A public school then becomes the parents' own choice.
A. H. Bishop III, Baltimore
The writer was headmaster of Boys' Latin from 1992-94 and the Odyssey School from 1994-96.
School monopoly serves kids badly
Buying textbooks for private school students is a bargain for Maryland's taxpayers ("State aid should go to private schools first," editorial, March 27).
We spend $6,000 to $7,000 per year on each student in public school and $0 for private school students, even though their parents are taxed at the same rate.
If providing textbooks encourages more parents to use private schools, the taxpayers will win.
Don't tell me that public school students don't have enough books.
That excuse merely confirms my perception that public schools waste the money they receive and that, in general, private schools do more with less.
Our system of paying for education is wacky. As Maryland taxpayers we spend more money subsidizing the education of New Jersey residents enrolled at the University of Maryland than on Maryland residents enrolled in a private Maryland high school.
Public schools are monopolistic, bureaucratic and unionized -- a discredited organizational model.
If one thing will improve under-performing public schools, it is the knowledge that the children they serve are there by choice.
Let's make those schools earn the right to seat your child in their classroom. If they are doing a poor job, take your tuition money to another school. I wish all parents had the freedom to do that.
Ideally, I wish education dollars could follow students to whatever accredited school they wish to attend. As a taxpayer, I would be happy to see every child receive $10,000 per year from the state for that purpose.
Competition works well at the college level. We have the best higher education system in the world precisely because it is not a government-run monopoly.
An open and competitive market would do wonders for K-12 students too.
Here's an idea: When U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno finishes tearing up Microsoft, let's put her to work on a real monopoly, the public school system.
Ruth Shaw, Woodbine
Opening doors for women
"As an independent woman, I hate group things," said one of the women Tamara Ikenberg quoted in her article on Feminist Expo 2000 ("Feminism behind closed doors," April 3).
Well, we love group things. And Feminist Expo 2000 was a group thing.
With more than 6,000 women from more than 65 countries, Expo was about crossing boundaries and taking collective action to create change. It was about solidarity.
Yet Ms. Ikenberg's article would have you believe not only that feminism's place is in the bathroom, but that feminism manifests itself solely in individual self-expression.
By defining feminists through our appearances and reducing the ideology to a mere extension of free will, Ms. Ikenberg negated the power of the strong community that was so obvious to anyone at Expo who left the bathroom.
Society categorizes feminists either as raving, hysterical man-haters (which provokes ridicule) or, as The Sun's article did, as non-threatening, self-absorbed group-haters whose main concern is makeup (which causes disem-powerment).
While a discussion of makeup may be interesting within feminist analysis, it misses the point.
"Feminism in action" is not just limited to bathroom behavior. Feminism in action is the delegation from Nepal whose members sold their handmade crafts at the Expo to pay their airfare.
It is the panel of middle school and high school students who lobby their senators, run workshops for their peers and have started their own feminist bumper-sticker companies.
It is the willingness of women of all ages to share and learn from each other to promote a common vision of freedom and equality.
We should not talk about feminism behind closed doors; we should draw inspiration from the global women's movement which opens them.
Elizabeth Nasby, Baltimore
The writers are students at Goucher College.
Bear hunting isn't safe
Imagine that men armed with high-powered rifles ignored the "no hunting" signs posted and entered your property to shoot game in a state-sanctioned hunt. Now imagine the you and your neighbors, their children and your own, hike and play on the same property and live in houses scattered through the same forest.
Imagine also that your property is so remote that there is no way our wonderful EMS system could get you into a trauma center within the "golden hour" that enhances survival for severe trauma victims.
Does the picture sound like a scene from Alaska or Montana?
I live in Avilton, a small town in Garrett County. Every year during deer hunting season hunters go to great lengths to take down my "no hunting" signs, thinking they can then break Maryland hunting code with impunity. Even signs posted 12-feet off the ground disappear.
I'm reminded by several neighbors who work for the Department of Natural Resources that police cannot be everywhere to guard against scofflaw hunters.
This does nothing to enhance my confidence in my family's safety.
Now imagine that Maryland is considering opening up a bear hunting season in Allegany and Garrett Counties ("State considers proposal to allow black bear hunts," Jan. 20).
Bears cross my property regularly and my family and neighbors have learned to respectfully share the environment with them.
Nobody has been hurt by bears in Maryland. The same cannot be said of hunters, who accidentally or carelessly take several human lives in Maryland every year.
Bear hunting would be a special treat. It's not available everywhere and bears make great trophies.
I have already seen first-hand that deer hunters cannot be trusted to honor my concerns for my family's safety. What should I expect from bear hunters out to get that once-in-a-lifetime trophy?
A small group of vociferous hunters is eager to get Maryland to change its policy on bear hunting for their enjoyment and gain.
But government must also consider the safety of its citizens, and can be held accountable if it fails to uphold it.
Rick Bissell, Avilton
The game remains a joy
Bo Smolka, James Bready and Patrick McCaffrey seemingly have lost the sense of joy in baseball ("Opening Day ain't what it used to be," "Homers are the big hit" and "Today, the name of the game is basemall," Opinion Commentary, April 3).
Where is all of the cynicism coming from?
Folks around here, and in many other places, love the Orioles.
And a true fan loves the nature of the game: its tension and excitement and many possibilities -- the potential of something explosive happening, the agony of a missed opportunity and the drama of a close call.
Sometimes, just being at the game and absorbing the crowd's enthusiasm (Okay, sometimes its disappointment, too) is the pleasure of the game. The games are often sold out because they give the crowd its fair share of excitement and entertainment.
The team gives to the community in many other ways as well.
I don't know why we love sports and our sports heroes but I have my favorites and loyalties. As a long-time fan, I know that losses and losing streaks are inevitable, but nothing beats a great win.
I've never understood why some folks leave before the third out of the ninth-inning.
Yogi Berra said it best, "It ain't over till it's over." Unlike some other sports, baseball always has room for redemption and victory until the final out.
There is always hope and that is hard to find these days anywhere but in a ballpark.
Those writers need to go out to see a game, sit in the middle of the crowd, forget the economics of the game, and just enjoying the spectacle of it all.
Manny Flecker, Columbia
It is time to stop children's smoking
The state's legislation limiting minors' access to vending machines that sell tobacco passed by a resounding margin.
Articles have hailed the anti-tobacco advocates as the winner ("Cigarette vending bill is passed," April 9.) But the true winners here are Maryland's children.
Every day, our children are surrounded by subtle and not so subtle messages from the tobacco industry which encourage them to take up smoking.
And every day in Maryland, 60 children hear that message and pick up their first cigarette, opening the door to a lifetime of nicotine addiction, poor health and early death.
The average age Marylanders begin smoking is approximately 12 years old -- two years younger than the national average.
Until now, Maryland was one of only four states with no restrictions on tobacco sales from vending machines.
And vending machines are a primary source of tobacco products for younger smokers -- just ask the vending machine industry.
One of its own studies found that 22 percent of 13-year-old smokers use vending machines, compared with 2 percent of 17-year old smokers.
The tobacco issue is not about money; it's about health. It's not just about today; it's also about the future.
And the message has finally gotten through. As Del. George W. Owings III said, "The time for this bill has arrived."
It is time. Time to protect our children from picking up that first cigarette.
Time to protect them from easy access to a drug which is, according to some people, harder to quit than heroin.
Time to protect our future generations from the devastating effects of tobacco.
Dr. Steven A. Schonfeld, Baltimore
The writer is president of the American Lung Association of Maryland.