Despair and beauty along North AvenueI was pleased to read...


February 02, 1997

Despair and beauty along North Avenue

I was pleased to read The Sun's Jan. 23 feature, "The beauty of North Avenue." The inspiring determination of photojournalist Linda Day Clark warmed my heart. It is important that people understand that North Avenue is more than a bastion of hopelessness and despair.

Writer Stephanie Shapiro thoughtfully captured the essence of Ms. Clark's vision. Together, the two painted a brilliant image of a place I call home. The feature shed light on the human side of a place many are afraid to even think of visiting.

I admire Ms. Clark's own refusal to live in fear of her community as well as her fortitude to see all of North Avenue for herself. Sure, there are illegal activities and unscrupulous characters lurking this thoroughfare. But there are also models of integrity, signs of progress and symbols of hope within the people.

Donald M. Glover


Chesapeake still best tourist draw

Gary Gately of The Sun and perhaps George Williams, the state tourism director, need to look at a map of Maryland and rethink some of the strategy to lure visitors and boost tourism as reported Jan. 19 ("Luring visitors and their dollars is big business in state").

Projects such as the Rocky Gap golf and conference center, the Cambridge resort, and the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association can be important elements in a tourism strategy, but to ignore the big chunk of blue color on the map -- the Chesapeake Bay -- is shortsighted.

Any state tourism strategy must include increased marketing of our greatest natural resource and tourist attraction, and should include strategies to improve access to its many fine harbors and shoreside tourist destinations. That strategy should make our bay more ''user friendly'' by eliminating counterproductive initiatives such as the slip tax empowerment legislation.

The rewards from an increase in tourism in the Chesapeake Bay area are obvious and two-fold: increased revenue for the state and a trickle-down boost to the economies of the bay communities and municipalities that are in a position to avail themselves of the widespread benefits of this ''clean industry.''

J. Michael Downes

Rock Hall

This judge has right philosophy

I was present in District Judge Theodore Oshrine's courtroom during the session described by Dan Rodricks in his Jan. 27 column, ''Endangering 10 children gets gunman 10 years in jail.''

Judging by the stiff sentence he rendered in that case and in the case of the thief who stole my car, Judge Oshrine is a man who believes in holding individuals responsible for their actions, rather than allowing them to blame their backgrounds for their crimes.

It is unfortunate that more Maryland judges, particularly in our appellate system, do not share Judge Oshrine's philosophy.

Alan V. Abrams


Ebonics not African, but American English

It was a delight to read Reuben Abati's balanced, precise and cogent article about the Queen's English (Opinion Commentary, Jan. 23).

As a Nigerian, he is able to discuss the ridiculous notion that ''Ebonics'' has an African origin. He is correct in assessing that it will disable its users by alienating them from the mainstream of English-speaking people.

Kathryn Coke Rienhoff



Let's be clear: The dialect formerly known as ''Black English,'' and now renamed ''Ebonics,'' is a genuine form of American English.

Reuben Abati's claim that ''it is not English'' reveals more ignorance than insight. Whether ''Ebonics'' has African roots is debatable, but that it is English is not debatable. It is the English of the African-American masses, as Cockney is the English of much of England's proletariat, and pidgin the English among some classes of Anglophone Africans.

Of course it isn't standard English. But what is "standard"? The aristocratic English ''handed down by her Majesty, the Queen of England'' to colonized Africans? Most Africans do not speak it, and neither do most Englishmen.

And what is standard in America? The bland, colorless English of our print and TV journalism? The abstruse jargon of academia? Or is it the intricate Orwellian double-talk of our political and commercial worlds?

Well, most Americans do not speak it. Here blacks are not alone. Millions of whites, Latinos, Southerners, Appalachian ''hillbillies'' and many Asians speak dialects as impenetrable to outsiders as is Ebonics to Mr. Abati.

Do none of these people speak English? Or is Mr. Abati's contemptuous dismissal applicable to African-Americans alone?

Robert E. Birt


Profitable agriculture can save land and bay

From my perspective, the issues concerning urban sprawl raised in Lee R. Epstein's Jan. 19 commentary, "Land and the bay," have an achievable solution: profitability in farming.

Simply put, that means a fair return on investment for the risks and challenges of producing raw agricultural products.

A farmer would not sell to developers if neighboring farm families could afford to purchase his property.

It all boils down to the fact that food, whether milk, eggs, wheat, etc., will have to cost more for you and the consumer.

Farm families have shown time and time again that increased profits generally go back to their life endeavor, farming, and not into their pockets. And that means less sprawl and a cleaner Chesapeake Bay.

Wayne L. Armacost


Pub Date: 2/02/97

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