Recess is complement to instructional part of the school...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

May 02, 1998

Recess is complement to instructional part of the school 0) schedule

After reading the April 9 article "No time for recess in growing number of U.S. schools," we felt strongly that something must be said to protect this precious time from extinction. The benefits of social play heavily outweigh any dreams of academic improvement. In fact, the elimination of recess will most likely lead to a decline in academic success.

Recess provides children with a way to release the energy that is bottled up during a day of classes. The physical activity stimulates mental ability, allowing children to be alert and

receptive during their classes.

In addition, children develop important social skills during recess, such as self-control and the ability to interact and communicate with their peers. They become less egocentric and more socially aware.

Their gross motor skills are refined. Their engagement in role-playing fosters creativity and imagination.

What type of classroom activity could provide all these benefits? It would be well worth the effort to look for simple remedies to the "problems" found with recess to continue to enrich the lives of children with this much-needed and well-deserved activity. The elimination of recess can only hurt the social and academic development of children.

achel Charlton

Jeanne Everhart

Stevenson

The writers are education students at Villa Julie College.

Mayor's statements show race card in HUD probe

In his April 22 column, "Schmoke strikes back at planned HUD probe," columnist Gregory Kane quoted Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke at length and invited readers to draw our own conclusions about whether the race card was played.

Assuming Mr. Kane quoted Mr. Schmoke accurately, the mayor did play the race card.

Mr. Schmoke clearly insinuated that were he white, Baltimore would not have been among the three cities selected by U.S. Housing and Urban Development Inspector General Susan Gaffney to be studied to see how HUD money was being spent.

Why did Mr. Schmoke play the race card? The most obvious reason is that he doesn't want HUD looking at how Baltimore is spending HUD money.

Copying Mr. Kane's phraseology: You can draw your own conclusions as to whether the mayor thinks Baltimore is doing a good job in the way it is spending HUD money.

!William J. Scanlon Jr.

Ellicott City

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If there was nothing to hide in the way that federal HUD money has been used here, there would be no need to fear an investigation.

There most definitely appears to be something rotten between our mayor and his housing commissioner. Let the federal government have a go at finding out what's been going on. Then let's use that information -- positive or negative -- to make an informed, not race-based, decision at the polls.

Steven Sutor

Baltimore

Debris in Lake Ashburton threatens city water supply

There is an accumulation of urban debris in the city reservoir known as Lake Hilton (also known as Lake Ashburton), which is (( between North Hilton Street, Powhatan Avenue and Liberty Heights Avenue. In the water are metal signs and their posts; two or three rusting 55-gallon drums; eight to 10 dayglow orange warning cones, and an assortment of toys and car parts.

This much foreign matter would not be allowed in water the city maintains for public swimming.

So how can such a buildup be permitted in water that city and county residents will drink?

The concern here is that water is the "universal solvent." Anything submerged in it long enough will eventually begin to dissolve, break down or degrade. Even if this does not threaten public health, it has to have an impact on taste. The latter is an important factor in water quality and potability.

Isn't there some limit on the accumulation of metals, chemicals and detritus in our reservoirs before the foreign matter weakens the effectiveness of the city's filtration process?

Will the presence of this much debris be viewed as encouragement for people (particularly younger people) to toss even more things into the water? Are there other water storage facilities with a similar level of accumulated junk?

Arnold H. Sampson

Baltimore

Tattoo parlor exemptions undermines zoning bill

The Baltimore County Council has undermined the Baltimore County zoning process with a bill titled "Entertainment Business, Massage Establishments, and Tattoo or Body Piercing Establishments." Investigation into operators' backgrounds and specific zoning requirements must be completed before issuance of a license.

Councilman Joseph Bartenfelder placed an amendment before the council that reads, ''. . . this Act does not apply to a massage establishment or tattoo or body piercing establishment lawfully established in existence in a business or commercial zone for at least 12 months prior to the effective date of this Act except if a massage establishment or tattoo or body piercing establishment relocates."

The amendment grandfathered in current tattoo parlors and exempted them from regulations of the bill.

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