Taking a gamble to save farm from buildersIt was a delight...


November 09, 1997

Taking a gamble to save farm from builders

It was a delight to be in the room on Oct. 28 while our elected officials pronounced their united support for preserving the Smith Farm from housing development.

Even the governor was able to weigh in by proxy through hopeful expressions relayed by Howard County Councilman C. Vernon Gray, Sen. Martin G. Madden and delegates Shane Pendergrass and Frank S. Turner.

However, it seems that one thing was missing and that, unfortunately, was the only thing that really matters. Money.

Whoever shows up with enough gets to take home the prize. The state might have enough; I see in the paper there is a handsome surplus.

The county probably would have had enough if the AlliedSignal thing hadn't come along and the poor old Columbia Association is already up to its ears in debt and loath to foist any more on Columbia lienpayers, especially if the benefits would accrue disproportionately to non-lienpaying outsiders.

The only good news all night came when the Soccer Association of Columbia boldly anted up a million bucks to get the ball rolling.

Certainly, the deep-pocketed development community must be circling this issue like vultures, waiting for preservation forces to die off as the proper order of things is observed at its trademark glacial pace. It makes me wonder whom Alton Scavo is playing golf with these days.

Then too, the silence of the heirs is nearly deafening while our new best friends at the Internal Revenue Service are figuring out how hard to clobber them. (How did we ever get inheritance taxes up to 50 percent anyway?)

Well, here's my solution: We who care, pool our money, not much, a buck or two at a time, and buy all the "Big Game" tickets we can.

The jackpots are plenty big enough to buy the land and restore "Blandaire" to its former grace. Simple, inexpensive and it gets right to the heart of the matter as a contribution from the interested community.

Sure, it's a gamble, but so is driving on the Beltway; it's been done before for other things by large groups of like-minded individuals and has occasionally succeeded.

We'd all know soon enough if it panned out instead of waiting for the system to work whatever magic it is capable of over the next months and years while conversations go on behind doors closed to us.

John J. Snyder


Why does Green hate dance in Baltimore?

Judith Green has a singular, focused, unwavering mission to destroy dance in the Baltimore-Washington area. Her reviews are chilling blasts.

Compare two reviews of the Parson Dance Co.

One by Sarah Kaufman of the Washington Post is descriptive, centered on the dance performance and supportive. It is not a laudatory review, but there is an appreciation for the effort and possibility for growth.

Same performance, Judith Green.

The first two paragraphs destroy the dance, the next two are a vitriolic attack on the choreographer and the commissioning process. And everything is downhill from there.

Her summation, "But most of the piece is busy work; the set unhelpful; the costumes dull when they're not outright ugly And the music performed live by the Michael Ray Band is a tuneless rock drone."

Her review of the Eva Anderson Dancers in the Sept. 23 edition of The Sun was consistent with the Parsons review; short on analysis of dance themes and execution but long on peripheral issues that irritated her.

The knitted unitards in ICTUS "losing their shape, brassiere tops of the women's costumes looking sad," etc. I attended the Eva Anderson concert, found it wonderful, exciting and, along with the audience, had a moving, educational, entertaining dance experience. That's what dance is about.

The language in Judith Green's reviews is never tempered with compassion, caring or love for the art form. Where is the encouragement and nurturance for the performers?

She needs assistance to carefully examine the distorted perceptual filter through which she observes the world of dance.

June Caldwell


They do it for rats, why not for squirrels?

Apropos of the article in The Sun on Nov. 3 (" 'Ratman' is waging war on Anne Arundel rodents"), I don't understand why Howard County doesn't control the rodents (squirrels) which are overrunning the county, especially in Columbia.

There appears to be no natural enemy to reduce the burgeoning population. An occasional "road kill" is not enough. Squirrels are as destructive as rats, if not more so. They, too, endanger health.

I'm not suggesting they should be totally eliminated, just controlled. Surely something could be done to keep the population in check.

Robert Chesler


A few words of warning on looking for a nanny

I recently had an unpleasant experience with a nanny service that I felt should be shared with other mothers who may be subject to the same false sense of security that I had.

My husband and I decided to contract with a very well-known Columbia-based agency to locate a responsible nanny to care for our two small children, ages 1 and 3, while I was at work.

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