Dumb decisionWho's dumb decision was it to insist that...

the Forum

March 08, 1994

Dumb decision

Who's dumb decision was it to insist that Baltimore City schools open on time during the height of a snowstorm and with predictions of more snow, sleet and rain?

At a time when safety in the streets and safety in the schools have been prominent issues, to put students, teachers and staff at the mercy of such treacherous conditions is preposterous.

North Avenue's decision may well have been driven by macho posturing to sway an illusion of commitment to Baltimore City youngsters.

More likely, the decision reflected a timidity before the prospect of requesting a modified school calendar from the powers that be.

All of the counties around Baltimore have extended the school year to accommodate snow days when schools were closed.

Some, like Howard County, have added days to the school calendar regardless of future closing due to inclement weather.

The Baltimore City schools are embroiled in educational quagmire. There is the privatization of some schools, possible state takeover of others and a multicultural and efficacy effort that is more amorphous than remedial. And now slush-school day.

Arthur Harris


Old Glory restored

I'm writing this letter to express my sincere thanks to Lt. Gist and his crew from the Baltimore County fire department's Truck Company 5 in Halethorpe.

On Feb. 28, while returning home from work, I noticed that the large American flag at the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Wilkens Avenue just east of the county-city line had become tangled atop its 40-foot flag pole. The flag was torn and hanging upside down.

I again noticed the flag the next day, still tangled and upside down. I was deeply pained and frustrated to see our country's proud flag in such distress.

I stopped at the restaurant and spoke with the manager, who stated she had received several complaints. However, she could not get the flag untangled from the pole.

I suggested the fire department. The manager stated she called 911 and was advised that the request was not an emergency call; the fire department would not respond.

At this time I decided to drive to the Arbutus volunteer fire department. I spoke with one of the engine company's members, who put me in contact with Lt. Gist of Truck Company 5.

I explained the situation involving the flag to Lt. Gist, who stated he would seek permission from his superiors to assist. Within a half-hour, the ladder truck was on site, removed the tangled flag and replaced it with a new one.

This action made me very proud of Lt. Gist and his crew, who took time to correct a small non-emergency that for several days saddened not only myself but hundreds of other citizens who saw the flag upside down.

Again, I would like to say thanks to Truck Company 5 for taking time to help Old Glory fly proudly as she deserves.

Charles J. Bury Jr.


Why no arrest

In reading about City Comptroller Jackie McLean's indictment, I noted that she will be served a criminal summons but not arrested.

This shows preferential treatment. I have been a member of the Baltimore County Police Department for 19 years and have arrested suspects for thefts of as little as $2.

Why does Ms. McLean's alleged felony theft of $25,189 not result in an arrest?

A public official deserves arrest and all the procedures that follow arrest -- such as booking, fingerprinting, photographing and a bail hearing -- just as any other citizen accused of committing a felony.

Ronald Kuhns


Support WIC

Babies are going to bed hungry in Maryland tonight and most every night. The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children simply doesn't have sufficient funds to feed all of the children in our state. I can't tell a baby or child they have to wait for food. Could you? They're not interested in space programs or super highways or Congress' spending reductions.

Forty thousand babies in America die before they're one year old. Low birth weight causes infant mortality, but WIC can alleviate this disgrace. Only 60 percent of eligible women, infants and children are served by WIC, which ultimately saves taxpayers money.

WIC decreases medical problems; thus it decreases medical costs. Full funding of this essential program should be guaranteed.

I urge Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes and Rep. Helen Bentley to support any and all WIC resolutions that support pregnant mothers, unborn infants and hungry children.

Please, let us not continue to neglect our most precious resource, our children.

Lorraine Whitely


Patterson High School must change

In his letter of Feb. 16, Jonathan L. Jacobson said that Patterson High School was unfairly "targeted for state takeover."

I would like to respond to this claim by describing how eligibility for state intervention is determined. Further, I want to make it clear that reconstitution does not connote state takeover.

A state regulation requires the State Department of Education to look at school performance data and ask two questions:

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