Bad Dogs, Bad Dog OwnersIn response to the April 24 story...


May 08, 1994

Bad Dogs, Bad Dog Owners

In response to the April 24 story about an Ellicott City boy who was brutally attacked by a Rottweiler, I believe that all of these types of dogs (Rottweilers, pit bulls and the mixed breeds of these dogs) need to be put to sleep.

They have no purpose other than to harm. I have a 2-year-old son and we live next to neighbors with two pit bulls and I know that if they were ever to get loose and chase or even attack my son, I would have to kill them myself. . . .

I think that these dog owners need to be held accountable for their "pets' " actions. I think that there should be a hefty fine and possibly a minimum jail sentence to teach these dog owners that this behavior will not be tolerated. These children are innocent, defenseless human beings, and for those of you who still use the excuse that "Jimmy was throwing rocks at my dog," or likewise, that is still no excuse.

If you can't control your dog, you shouldn't have it. We need to begin holding the owners of these dogs responsible. . . .

Heather Stimmel


Delegate Thomas' Role

I would like to set the record straight concerning state funding of school construction. While other members of the Howard County delegations have suddenly criticized me for pursuing funds for my constituents, I did nothing differently this year than I have for the past several years. I merely made my requests known through the proper channels.

The appropriation of school construction funds is an elaborate -- process. During each session, a lump sum is allocated by the General Assembly. The General Assembly does not have a say in where the money is spent. The state Board of Education Inter-Agency Committee presents a prioritized list of school construction to the Board of Public Works. The board decides how the money will be spent. Each year, concerned legislators write to the board to request that funding for certain projects in their districts be included.

Howard County received a record $12 million, more than double last year's funding, out of a statewide total of $94 million. I believe that, in directly appealing to the Board of Public Works, I was partly responsible for the increased level of funding we received. Of the $7 million-plus in funds approved on April 20, $5 million will go to the construction of the new Eastern High School; $1.2 million will go toward a new Northeastern Middle School, and $480,000 will pay for badly needed air conditioning replacement at the Owen Brown Middle/Dasher Green Elementary schools. These three projects are extremely important to my constituents in District 13. The other members of the Howard County delegation could also have made requests for projects important to their districts. Obtaining these funds from the state for my district enables Howard County to use local funds for other priority school construction/renovation projects.

Howard County Executive Chuck Ecker has stated that he would like to reallocate some of these funds for road construction. Rather than squabbling with one another, the Howard County delegation should join together to encourage the county executive to spend this money on school construction projects.

I encourage all interested citizens to contact the county executive and their County Council representatives to express their concern and request that these funds be spent on school projects.

Virginia M. Thomas


The writer is a state delegate representing District 13.

The Cost of Child Care

Child care is becoming more of an issue these days. As a new parent six years ago, I was astonished to learn that child care would cost us $100 a week. That was quite a chunk of our net income. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, because I'm a full-time child care provider.

I've had the chance to experience the parent's expense toward child care and the salary/benefits issue of the provider. The distressing part of quality child care is that overall, it's a no-win situation: The parents pay an arm and a leg and the average provider in Maryland makes $10,753 a year (1989 statistics) with little or no benefits package. Statistics from 1991 revealed that center care-givers fared better, but not by much.

The result is high turnover rates, a lower standard of quality and a vicious cycle repeated again and again. The point is that we need to focus on a means to break this cycle which enables both parents to enter the work force and contribute to the national economy, yet does not compensate the provider equitably. What's the answer?

The answer is a national child care subsidy, based upon a worthy wage for the child care professional. . . .

Valerie McGuire

Ellicott City

Youth, Drugs and Guns

As a teen-ager, I am faced with many big decisions. As I walk through the halls of high school, I am overwhelmed by the scent of cigarette smoke. As I continue walking through the halls, I hear bits of conversations. One popular discussion among teens is drug-dealing.

. . . Schools are trying to send the right message to the older students. But the younger kids are the ones who are easily influenced. . . . I don't have a solution on how to stop the rise of drugs, but I do believe that we need to start with the young, fresh minds and tell them the straight facts. If they can make a strong and positive decision, then they will probably stick with it.

Sapna Nichani

Ellicott City

We are fifth graders at Northfield Elementary. We are very concerned about the amount of people being "hunted," shot in gang fights, stray bullets and kids thinking that real guns are fake. . . .

Many people keep guns in their house for protection, sport or just to show off. Just in 1993, 32,500 people were killed by guns. That's more than half of the people who died in the Civil War. . . .

Matt Gielen

William Meyerson

Ellicott City

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