Weather damage can be mitigatedThank you for your...


September 22, 1996

Weather damage can be mitigated

Thank you for your editorial, ''Again the weather's wrath,'' Sept. 10. The insight into the uncertainty of weather and the fact that disaster can strike even when ''it's not supposed to'' is correct, and highlights a need for Maryland, its communities and citizens to be as prepared as possible.

We must all make it our personal responsibility to be prepared by purchasing appropriate insurance for our property and to heed the advice and recommendations of officials during emergency situations.

Disasters are expensive. Preliminary damage estimates from Hurricane Fran in North Carolina are in the billions of dollars.

That cost will be shared by many organizations including insurance companies and the federal government. Damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992 was also in the billions of dollars, and four years later many areas are still in the recovery process.

A question we may never be able to answer is how much of the loss associated with these natural disasters was preventable through mitigation?

The director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, James Lee Witt, has made mitigation a cornerstone of his leadership for the emergency management community.

Mitigation is explained simply as taking steps to prevent or minimize damage when severe weather (such as hurricanes, blizzards and floods) is unpreventable. We cannot control the weather, but we can control our environment to minimize the impact Mother Nature has on it.

For example: Utility lines can be buried so they don't fall under the weight of snow and ice or topple during high winds. We can resist building on shorelines vulnerable to severe weather. We can strengthen and enforce building codes to make structures better able to withstand high winds and the heavy loads of snow.

We can place furnaces and other vital systems in our homes on the second floors in areas where flooding is a common occurrence.

We may not be able to prevent severe weather from occurring, but we can and should take the responsibility to prevent as much damage as possible.

Anyone with questions about mitigating damage is encouraged to contact the Maryland Emergency Management Agency at (410) 486-4422.

David McMillion


The writer is director of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Park proposed for Hutzler area

Your recent article concerning the future plans for the Hutzler area in Towson I find disturbing. I would hope that others do, too, even if they don't live in the immediate vicinity.

It seems a shame to use the last bit of space in the heart of Towson for more stores and other commercial enterprises. Wouldn't it be delightful to have a small park with real trees and flowers to soften the proliferation of commercialism and add some much needed graciousness to Towson?

E. Kaufman

White Hall

A time when bagels were really bagels

The young couple as reported in The Sun Sept. 11 (''Blazing a trail for the bagel business'') deserve much credit for their entrepreneurship.

They are good role models for the younger generation that is in the market for employment. There is work out there if you want to make the effort.

However, I take exception to the lesser headline, ''Bagels were originally a fad food, but now they've become a staple.'' A little bit of history helps to clarify this.

In the exodus during the very early part of this century, thousands of Jews (and including many other nationalities) emigrated to America especially from Slavic countries such as Russia, Poland, etc. They brought their cultures with them, including their unique cuisines.

Bagels were invented by the Jews in the European area. The word bagel is Yiddish for beigen, meaning ''to twist."

My grandfather and father-to-be arrived in Baltimore at the time of the big fire, 1904. Shortly after that, the Steiner Bakery was opened on Lombard and Eden Street near the east side gateway to the Lombard Street Marketplace.

Bagels were very popular and very few of the thousands of Jewish homes were without bagels. Sunday brunch was especially the big day with bagels and lox (smoked salmon).

Bagels were, indeed, a staple food for Jewish people in those days, and still are. They were cheap (about 25 to 30 cents a dozen), healthful and delicious.

It wasn't until 15 or 20 years ago that bagels became a fad, when for the first time ethnic groups other than Jewish began to indulge themselves -- as if bagels were a new discovery.

What was ''new'' was the new technology, mass production, added ingredients that altered taste and texture.

The original bagel was never soft. It had a deliciously crunchy hard crust and a delightful chewy inner texture -- a culinary jewel.

It is not so today. And so the fiddler on the roof plays a mournful encore for the return of the mouth-watering and tantalizing smells and tastes of the breads and bagels of another era.

Albert Steiner

Owings Mills

Glendening seeks balance

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