Keeping Elkridge's Small-Town FlavorI have lived in...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

April 24, 1994

Keeping Elkridge's Small-Town Flavor

I have lived in Elkridge all my life and my family has lived there for more than 40 years. We have seen our community grow from the proverbial "one-light town" to a dynamic, diverse, growing community. . . . Many facilities, such as Elkridge Corners shopping center and various other amenities, have served to make the community strong economically by providing jobs to ** residents and by providing a strong tax base . . .

However, I think everyone would agree that the U.S. 1 corridor, the "backbone of Elkridge," shouldn't be overdeveloped. There have been several proposals to develop vacant properties along the corridor, ranging from a senior center to a flea market to additional fast-food restaurants. With so many varied proposals on the table, it is very important for the community to come together to move forward on facilities that will better the life of Elkridge's residents, while maintaining the "small-town flavor" of Elkridge.

Fortunately, civic leaders such as George Layman, Board of Appeals member and County Council candidate, are sensitive to Elkridge's needs. Mr. Layman has spoken publicly in opposition to possible plans to place a solid waste incinerator in Elkridge, a zoning question which Councilman Darrel Drown supported. Mr. Layman has also shown the willingness to work with the community to plan developments for the U.S. 1 corridor which will be beneficial to the community. . . . I'm sure that as the county councilman representing Elkridge, he would continue to

be a friend to the community. . . .

Bill Woodcock

Elkridge

Wilde Lake Reform

It was a pleasant surprise to see The Sun lamenting the demise of Wilde Lake High School (March 2). After calling for a stop in bashing the Columbia high school, The Sun offers its vast insight in capsulizing the achievements of Wilde Lake.

It seems that The Sun is more concerned about WLHS's record on the Scholastic Assessment Tests than it is on the achievements of its students. I would venture to say that, by far, there have been more outstanding minority students graduate from Wilde Lake High School than any other Howard County school.

As for "average and below-average students," I doubt that they have "coasted" any more aimlessly than they would have at other schools. I hardly consider drifting aimlessly as the fault of the school.

Such momentous approaches to education as an "A-through-E" grading system and a set-up which allows students to fail will hardly produce markedly different results. . . .

It would seem that The Sun has its own agenda for "educational reforms." It has rejected the current new ideas because they do not make everyone a genius, and undoubtedly will complain about a "lack of commitment" when reforms don't result in every student getting 1400 on the SAT.

R. D. Bush

Columbia

Block Raid

I am writing in response to the March 15 article titled, "The Block raid: Worth it?" by Scott Higham and Eric Siegel.

It outrages me to think that these three veteran police officers who were undercover paid prostitutes to have sex with them and paid them $500 with our tax money. . . . They are supposed to be sensible and responsible police officers. How can we be expected to respect them and even feel safe with them. . . .

Cathie Chang

Ellicott City

Big Tobacco's Teen Strategy

Front-page news (The Evening Sun, Feb. 24) reports a rise in teen-age smoking. The Surgeon General blasts "enormous pressures to smoke." She cites "the nearly $4 billion the tobacco industry spends to promote its wares" and says: "Early addiction is the chief mechanism for renewing the pool of smokers."

A report of the Office on Smoking and Health says: "Most adolescent smokers are addicted to nicotine . . . want to quit but are unable to. . . ."

The tobacco industry claims that it is trying to protect the young from smoking. Let's have a reality check. You be the judge.

Near our home there is a convenience store of one of the three major chains in our region. By company policy, for some time now, cigarettes are not just sold on request of the customer and taken down by the cashier from overhead racks.

Now, at our store there are also four floor-to-chest-high cigarette display racks by the checkout island and one such rack over by the baked goods. There are also smaller displays on the checkout counters. These feature mostly cut-rate off-brands and sales gimmicks offering "Joe Camel" t-shirts and a catalog of other premiums for "Camel Cash" coupons or "Lucky You" free cigarettes by mail. All you have to do is sign the order form giving your birth date.

How naive or insidious can an industry be?

Do you still believe its smoke-and-mirrors claim to be protecting the young from smoking?

Once, when the cashier had to be elsewhere in our convenience store, I saw an older child pocket two packs from the floor display and leave.

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