A glamorous impression of cigars?The Howard County Board...

Letters

March 29, 1998

A glamorous impression of cigars?

The Howard County Board of Health applauds your series, "The Cigar Caper" (Jan. 11-13), which showed the duplicity of the cigar industry in glamorizing cigar smoking while avoiding inclusion in most tobacco regulation.

However, the Board of Health has concerns that cigar smoking was unintentionally glamorized in these articles. Both the first and second articles included color photos of attractive movie stars, the president and a youngster smoking cigars.

A particular concern was the front-page photo illustrating a 16-year-old smoking a cigar. The picture makes cigar-smoking look quite enjoyable.

The caption states the youth "just wanted to figure out why people like this so much." Many young people would look at the pictures of the actors and actresses and a peer and interpret cigar-smoking in a positive way.

We appreciate your inclusion of the dangers and health effects of smoking cigars. However, that information appeared in the third article and almost entirely on a back page. In the future, we hope you will include the negative health (and social) effects early in the article or series and be very aware of the power of color photos of well-known attractive and powerful people as opposed to the lengthy written text.

Ann Mech

Columbia

The writer is chairwoman of the Howard County Board of Health.

Proposed church size is source of concern

I am disturbed that an article in The Sun misrepresented the people living around the First Baptist Church of Guilford as white racists, in particular the Oak Ridge community ("Neighbors fight church expansion," March 24).

Our community is only 60 percent white and everyone generally lives in harmony with each other. The opposition to the First Baptist Church of Guilford expansion is only about the size and scope of the project, and the lack of communication from the church to the surrounding community. There are no other church facilities of this size in any Howard County R-12 residential area.

We are not opposed to the church expanding and applaud the church on its growth. We are simply concerned about the size of the project.

Chuck Powers

Columbia

Wilde Lake principal deserves credit

This letter addresses one from Lynn and Chesley Yellott regarding dissension at Wilde Lake High School ("Dissent is discouraged at Wilde Lake High School," March 9).

Differences in opinion that result in the critical analysis and discussion of problems are not to be confused with argumentative and abrasive behavior. As a former principal, I know that good teachers are gems, jealously guarded and warmly embraced by administrators. Involuntary transfers would never be requested for such individuals.

Further, the grievance procedure established with the Howard County Teachers Association is the proper venue for this personnel matter.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People views this public display as irresponsible and unprofessional, indicative of persons who are unsuited for working with youth.

When staff incite parents and students, adopt an argumentative posture and/or refuse to work in a cooperative manner, they become counterproductive and a detriment to the total school program. That behavior is unprofessional and cannot be tolerated.

Principal Roger Plunkett has demonstrated outstanding leadership skills as an administrator. The NAACP uges the Board of Education to support Mr. Plunkett in his efforts to improve the educational program at Wilde Lake High School.

Natalie Woodson

Columbia

The writer chairs the education committee of the Howard County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Alleged embezzlement not the fault of CA

I have just read an article in The Sun by Dana Hedgpeth concerning the possible embezzlement of funds by a Columbia village manager and how that situation calls into question the Columbia form of government ("Columbia village system in question," March 15).

Any time you give a level of trust and autonomy to employees, a certain percentage may try to take advantage of the situation for personal gain. To assert that the way Columbia is governed is the cause of this alleged criminal act is irresponsible.

Ms. Hedgpeth's initial reporting of the CA purchasing issue implied a criminal conspiracy was taking place, which certainly was not the case. I do not believe that Ms. Hedgpeth's reporting of the Columbia scene is without bias.

Neal T. Primm

Columbia

Cuncil candidate was misidentified

In the March 17 edition of The Sun, an article by Dana Hedgpeth ("Cook to run against Gray") described Wanda Hurt, a Columbia Council member, as vying for the Democratic nomination for the Third District County Council seat. This would be ludicrous.

I am a Republican.

Wanda Hurt

Columbia

Bland drink hides a bitter pill

The Sun editorial ("Tea that's sweet and bland," March 13) discussing ISTEA, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, should jolt citizens and The Sun as well.

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