Star in Space
I read with interest the Associated Press story (Aug. 5) covering the Atlantis hook-up with a satellite in orbit and was both elated and very disappointed.
One thing was sadly missing. The project manager of this remarkable accomplishment in space was Donald S. Crouch, born on Kent Island, and graduated from the Stevensville High School and Johns Hopkins University before his steady climb in space technology.
I am saddened The Sun has not given recognition to Mr. Crouch for the leading role he had in this outstanding breakthrough in space technology.
Your editorial, "Loans Aren't Gifts," Aug. 4, suggests that future [Baltimore City trustee] loans should be arranged so that the likelihood of repayment may be more assured. Although you did not state the amount of uncollectible or "doubtful" loans involved in this city project, the earlier news article set the amount at approximately $25 million.
It occurs to me that in the same spirit that stimulates attorneys and law firms to devote non-compensatory professional services to pro bono causes, it may be appropriate that another group -- the public accountants -- be likewise recruited for such pro bono work, in this case, however, with the objective of possible recovery of some of the principal and interest on these otherwise "bad debts."
An appropriate committee of the Maryland Association of Certified Accountants may well be solicited for assistance in setting up such a project.
This would be a worthy cause since any recoveries could be devoted to a revolving fund for new development-type loans to stimulate business and employment opportunities, hopefully with improved oversight by both the accounting group and also retired executives who could be recruited for this endeavor.
Such an experienced review group could screen applicants for new loans and set forth guidelines for improved loan security, reporting and periodic audit to better assure future repayment, with overall oversight by the Board of Estimates or a duly authorized executive committee.
Alternatively, and as is presently being done in the savings and loan area for recovery of defaulted loans among other things, it may be appropriate to consider a form of fee compensation based on the amount of recovery realized from this accumulation of "bad debts" or "non-performing" loans.
Samuel L. Silber
The writer is an attorney and certified public accountant.
Regarding your article "State eyes purchase of emissions-test stations" (July 28), I am a firm believer in emission control and in protecting our environment.
However, every motorist and taxpayer knows from past experience that it would be cheaper to support the private owner who secured this contract on the French Riviera than to add more jobs to the state bureaucracy.
It is ironic that after we proved to the Soviets it doesn't work, we are still increasing government employment even in this recession.
I've watched and read about the State Board of Education's new community service requirement for high school graduates with trepidation.
Then I read the editorial "Service is Also Education" in The Sun (Aug. 2) praising the board's vote in the face of opposition from local school boards, superintendents, teachers and parents -- the people who should be making such decisions.
If we still live here when my three small kids are in high school, and if I cannot find a way to avoid the requirement, my kids will not go to school here.
For a place that tries to pride itself on the quality of its public education, Maryland is already failing miserably.
What better way to enforce learning the fundamentals of reading, writing, math, history and literature, and the newer "fundamentals" of computer skills, than to force kids to spend time out of the classroom satisfying some bureaucrat's idea of political correctness?
For you and the Board of Education to make the judgment that "students also ought to graduate with a better understanding of what it means to be responsible for others" is the height of arrogance. It is certainly not what high school education is or should be all about.
Responsible for what others? I get the impression that you do not mean one's own family, but society at large and those in it who live irresponsibly. That sort of material is properly the subject of a debate in a class on persuasion or public speaking.
For the Board of Education to force this agenda on high school students, in the face of opposition from those of us who pay their salaries, is precisely the reason why education in this country has been going to hell for the last 30 years.
Stephen M. Kranz
I congratulate the Maryland State Board of Education and the administrative leadership of Nancy Grasmick for their action to require community service as a condition for graduation.