Quality of Life Lost, 5 Minutes GainedI read the numerous...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

November 08, 1992

Quality of Life Lost, 5 Minutes Gained

I read the numerous letters in the Oct. 11 Sunday Sun grouped under the heading, "The Controversy Over Open Space." It appears that many of us are concerned and angry over the disappearing open spaces in Howard County.

I recently went with a friend to a shooting preserve off of Md. 32 near Clarksville. It's a place where hunting dogs are trained to point and flush birds. The 250 acres are a beautiful mixture of rolling fields, woodlands, ponds, streams, springs, areas of dense undergrowth and mowed grassy pathways. This preserve has created a perfect habitat for all species of animals, including beaver and deer. Also on this land is a house that was built circa 1750. As I am not a hunting enthusiast, I was elated that on this particular day, the quail won. But my spirits were quickly dampened when I was told that all of this land was to be virtually destroyed by the construction of Route 32.

I travel Route 32 frequently and realize that it is not a perfect, uninterrupted stretch of concrete, and there probably is some traffic congestion. But I am outraged that beautiful open land would be so carelessly sacrificed just so a person can get somewhere five minutes faster. . . . Howard County officials need to listen to the concerns of the residents. . . . I would strongly recommend that the Howard County government stop any further development on Route 32 now.

Bobbie Travis

Ellicott City

Open Space

I am furious over recent findings concerning community parkland. Why is Howard County condoning the taking of parkland? My home is adjacent to open space/parkland in my community.

How is it that parkland may be used for something other than it was intended? . . . It seems the county sees "$$$," but what I see is county values, and ultimately family values, going down the drain. For in the end, it is all the families along this corridor who will lose out. And indeed, all homeowners have a lot to lose if this determination is not changed.

I lose because I won't be able to trust my county government. . . . I do not want my property value to go down. And, when I think of several of my friends who actually paid extra for a lot backing up to open space parkland, I cringe at what their reaction will be. Make no mistake, taking open space parkland is not in the best interest of homeowners.

Vickie Lewis

Columbia

Abortion Rate

I am writing in response to your article on the rising number of abortions in Howard County. I believe that the sex education course in Howard County schools is entirely inadequate.

It is given only to students in their freshman year, as if that is the only year they have to make decisions concerning sex. The course is only a couple of weeks long and is taught by a gym teacher who is usually not comfortable with the topic. . . . The emphasis is on learning the reproductive system, something students already know. They already know how to perform the act; what they need to know is how to prevent possible outcomes.

In our affluent community, abortion has turned into an easy form of birth control for too many teens. Parents are reluctant to admit their children are having sex and don't want to talk about it. Birth control needs to be easily accessible to students. The best way to do that is to give it out in school. Students should be forced to learn about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases through all four years of high school, not just in the first year.

Kara Murphy

Ellicott City

Schools Need to Study Costs

The Howard County Chamber of Commerce represents over 900 businesses in our county, employing over 24,000 men and women, many of whom live in the county and have children attending the Howard County schools.

The chamber recognizes that high quality education is a key factor in the outstanding quality of life that exists in our community today. These past few weeks, we have noticed several articles in area newspapers outlining escalating costs in the Howard County school system capital budget forecasts.

The school system currently spends over 50 percent of the total county budget. Given the current economic conditions, state aid to counties for education has been and probably will continue to be decreased. According to the 1994 capital budget projections, the school system costs will continue to increase through the next decade regardless of economic conditions or the rate of growth in Howard County because student population is projected to increase annually through the year 2000.

The school system needs to assure itself and the citizens of Howard County that its policies are cost-effective, are consistent with the economic reality of the time, and provide an appropriate balance to the constant conflict between agreed-upon needs and available resources. . . .

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