Hettleman right about Baltimore's potential

As one who has labored for many years among Baltimore's educational systems, I was pleased to read Kalman Hettleman's article in this morning's Sun ("Alonso's focus on principals carries benefits and risks," Dec. 23). I concur with his opinion of Baltimore schools CEO Andres Alonso's efforts and, particularly, with his comment about the necessity for worthwhile professional development efforts.

For many years, and in schools both public and private, I have witnessed the groans on the part of faculty when professional development days or sessions are scheduled. On the other hand, I would like to cite the fine work being done at Northwestern High School in this regard. For example, I witnessed a session involving teachers from several different disciplines working together to analyze a series of test questions that had been posed to students. The aim was to clarify, eliminate confusion and ensure that the questions asked what they were intended to. Other sessions have been equally worthwhile.

There are many positive things to be said about Northwestern, not a magnet school, not a charter school, merely one to serve a not-very-advanced student population. The halls are clean; there is an ongoing communication system so that students who are congregating where they should not are located, students seem involved, and those doing bridge projects (because they have been unable to pass the High School Assessment tests) are respected and encouraged.

I applaud the principal and the staff of Northwestern High School and hope that their efforts are being duplicated in many of the other high schools.

Stephanie Miller, Baltimore

Rape survivor deserves reward

I live in the Canton neighborhood in Baltimore, just a few blocks away from where the 26-year-old woman was brutally attacked and raped and nearly killed ("Va. crimes lead back to Baltimore," Dec. 23). I heard this horrifying story and could hardly imagine such evil taking place on that lovely snowy Saturday.

I was very relieved to hear the rape suspect was arrested, but I could not help but be angered that he ever was allowed to come to Baltimore in the first place. I am not going to go into detail about what should have happened; the good news is he was caught and hopefully will never see the light of day.

I want to fervently request that the people of Kilmarnock, Va., give the $10,000 reward to the rape "survivor" in Baltimore since she did in fact find the suspect for them. She paid a terrible price, and the very least that can be done for her is to give her this monetary reward. I will continue to pray for her emotional and physical health and for justice for her.

Betsy Schindler, Baltimore

Obama gets something right

Finally, the Obama administration has accomplished something that the public demanded: limit the time a plane can be on the tarmac before returning to the gate ("Stuck on the tarmac," Dec. 24).

Let's recap what the public wanted vs. what the Obama administration wanted over the past year. Public wanted: No bailouts for the banks, no bailouts for Wall Street, no bailouts for the car industry, no bailouts for the insurance industry, no cash for clunkers, get out of Afghanistan, no to cap-and-trade, no to increasing the national debt, and the big one, no to messing with our great health care system. Obama wanted: Yes to all of the above. With the tarmac decision, just maybe there is hope in 2010 that the president will begin listening to his bosses. But, alas, probably not.

As for the new three-hour limit on the tarmac, I have been stuck on the tarmac several times in the heat of the summer for only one hour. Between the foul smelling jet fuel, impatient children's voices, adults acting like children, and listening to cell phone talkers complaining about their situation, I cannot imagine what it would be like to be stuck for three hours. Ron Wirsing, Havre de Grace

Slots at the mall will help the horse racing industry

I am an Anne Arundel County resident and also a horseman. This state has needed slots for a long time to revive the horse racing industry. There are so many other states right at our backdoor that have made huge improvements to their racing programs due to slots revenues.

I am very pleased to see that we have a local company, the Cordish Cos., interested in saving our industry, because the current race track owners could care less.

The slots at the mall will create jobs, produce much needed revenues for the state and avoid a tax increase no one can afford.

We must keep in mind that are so many people who work at the race tracks, and they can not afford to lose thier jobs. I can tell you from my own experience as a owner and trainer that racing is a way of life and a passion for many.

Cynthia Boys

Horse racing is ruined

Congratulations to all our local politicians who have done to horse racing in Maryland what Bob Irsay did to the Baltimore Colts.

The correct solution was too easy. The slots belong at the racetracks (Laurel Park, etc.) where they were intended. Tear down Pimlico (a welcome relief), build a new facility downtown with the Preakness. Install night racing and the slots. What a bonanza!

Publish the political opponents' names that they too can live in infamy along with Mr. Irsay.

Stephen Buckner

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