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Many in county want to uphold watershed...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Many in county want to uphold watershed pact

It is misleading to suggest that Carroll County wants to weaken the watershed agreement to allow more industrial rezoning of land currently zoned agricultural or conservation ("Talking to the top instead of off the top," Sept. 10).

Two of the three county commissioners want that. The people who depend on Liberty Lake for clean water emphatically do not want that. We want the agreement reaffirmed as it was written, to protect our water supply.

The imbalance between the county's industrial and residential property tax bases is the product of rampant residential growth that has been aided and abetted by those same two commissioners and their appointees.

The imbalance can be cured through four steps:

First, an immediate freeze on residential building and residential rezoning countywide is needed. A partial reduction of building permits in South Carroll is totally inadequate.

Second, the practice of the Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) allowing available industrial land to be carved up into retail parcels needs to be halted.

New conditional use permits converting industrial property to commercial uses need to be banned by ordinance or else made so difficult that no sensible businessman will seek them.

The BZA is appointed by the commissioners and the commissioners need to exercise leadership over the BZA.

Third, the county needs to pursue an aggressive marketing strategy to bring high-tech industry to the county.

Carroll County is blessed with a large and talented technical work force. The county's current economic development staff has failed utterly to market this labor force to high-tech industry.

Fourth, the commissioners have before them a comprehensive rezoning ordinance. This is the ideal time to reclassify underused commercial space on the Liberty Road corridor and any underdeveloped residential or commercial land as industrial.

Existing commercial buildings with actual tenants could be granted a conditional use, terminable if the business closes its doors. Such rezoning would not violate the watershed agreement.

Only by bold and decisive action such as that outlined above can the downward spiral of the county be halted.

Unfortunately two of the commissioners, beholden as they are to the residential developers and large landowners, are looking for solutions in all the wrong places.

John Culleton

Eldersburg

Many kids aren't ready for full-day kindergarten

While there are many children for whom all-day kindergarten would be advantageous, there are just as many other children who are not ready to attend a full-day program at age 5 ("Md. educators study funding for all-day kindergarten plans," Aug. 30).

I understand how critical it is for children to have a good foundation for reading, but some children are able to build this foundation at home, with the help of their parents, and are not ready to attend a full-day program at age 5 -- particularly if they have not attended day care.

It is a terrific idea to help those children who cannot, for whatever reason, develop their reading skills at home, with supplemental education programs at the preschool and kindergarten levels at taxpayers' expense.

However, it is not fair to those children who have not been in day care to be forced to attend a full-day program when their parents have not had an ample opportunity to help them build up the separation skills they will need to last through a full school day.

Alissa Schaub-Rimel

Eldersburg

Show your support for curing cancer in kids

September is childhood cancer month. Yes, children get cancer, too. In fact, despite remarkable research progress, cancer still kills more children than any other disease. More and better cures must be found.

My daughter Emily was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma on July 4, 1999. She was only 13 months old at the time. But her tumor was the size of a large man's fist and had metastasized.

For six months, Emily fought valiantly for her life. She lost her battle on December 21, 1999. While most families were anticipating the holiday to come, we were burying our precious angel.

Just as a red or pink ribbon worn on the lapel shows support for AIDS or breast cancer research, a gold ribbon shows that you want to see more cures found for infants, children, teen-agers and young adults with cancer.

I wish that everyone in the Carroll County area would call the National Childhood Cancer Foundation at 800-458-6223, ask for a free gold ribbon pin and wear it during September, because our children are our gold.

We must conquer kids' cancer.

Teresa R. McLallen

Mount Airy

Doors of State House should remain open

I do not advocate locked doors on Maryland's State House or the other extreme security measures that have been discussed among the Democratic leaders in Annapolis ("Fortress Maryland under construction," Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 10) .

This building belongs to the people and should remain open and accessible.

In the two years that I have taken my seat on the floor, I have never felt threatened by the citizens whom I am there to serve.

But perhaps Barry Rascovar should do more research regarding those lawmakers who favor making a fortress of the State House and those of us who do not.

Carmen Amedori

Westminster

The writer represents the 5th District in the Maryland House of Delegates.

All citizens must get emergency care

Year after year, the county commissioners look for ways to meet the rising costs of providing fire and EMS service to Carroll County.

The constant demand on people to donate money for civic organizations and the gradual waning of time available to hold successful fund-raisers has caused the fire and EMS departments to struggle to meet financial demands.

Two years ago, the commissioners explained to the Carroll County Volunteer Fireman's Association that the county would design and administer a program to bill citizens for EMS transportation.

Under their proposal, monies collected would have been distributed to the fire companies at the discretion of the commissioners; they would not necessarily have gone to support fire and EMS service.

The Carroll County Fireman's Association responded by proposing that the county's volunteer fire companies bill citizens for EMS transport and that all those revenues go to the fire companies to help maintain and improve the emergency services they provide to the community.

This proposal was enacted and thus was born EMS billing in Carroll County.

Most of the companies are now using a third-party billing company to do the billing, as medical billing and the complex coding that is mandated by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) can be quite difficult.

HCFA requires that all citizens given EMS transport service must receive at least one bill. The bill is sent to the insurance company and any residual uncollected money must then be requested from the citizen.

The Carroll County Volunteer Fireman's Association has met the commissioners' request to help meet the ever-increasing financial demands of providing fire and EMS care to citizens by billing for EMS transport.

However, the men and women of the Carroll County Volunteer Fire Service stand firm in their commitment that all county citizens must be given emergency care.

Susan Matt

Pleasant Valley

The writer is the chairman of the Carroll County EMS Transportation Billing Committee.

Backing Breslin is a positive choice

Life is about making choices. On Election Day, as citizens of beautiful Carroll County, we will have some basic choices about how we will proceed as a community that values the family-centered lifestyle we currently enjoy.

As we count our many blessings, certainly one of them must be Carroll County's school system. Though not without its problems and growing pains, overall, when compared with many in this nation, it is a good system, filled with caring teachers who regularly go the extra mile to ensure the academic enrichment of our children.

But, it is obvious there is more that can be and must be done now, if we are to continue to enjoy such schools in the 21st century.

This November, we have a clear-cut choice: An opportunity to elect a school board member who is family-oriented and socially active and has a strong background in education and proven leadership capabilities.

That person is Lisa Breslin.

An educator who teaches at Western Maryland College, she regularly devotes extra time to students' needs. She is also actively involved in Friendship Valley Elementary Parent Teacher Organization and other parent volunteer programs.

As a journalist, Ms. Breslin has focused her newspaper column on what is right with Carroll County; as a respected community leader, she has proven her ability to listen to the concerns of constituents.

Ms. Breslin is a person who lives her convictions and works hard to make the community a better place.

One of the greatest freedoms we have as U.S. citizens is the freedom of choice. Let us not only exercise that freedom on Nov. 7, but exercise it wisely and courageously.

Let us make the choice that, when all the campaign hype has cleared, will guarantee that we can be happy with the consequences of our actions.

I challenge you to vote for a candidate who will not only work hard, but will work in the spirit of justice and equality for all children's right to a quality education.

I challenge you to make a positive choice for a candidate in which I believe we can confidently place the future of our children's education: the right choice, the clear choice, Lisa Breslin.

Christina Collins-Smith

New Windsor

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