Children's lettersThe Sun is seeking letters from...


May 25, 1998

Children's letters

The Sun is seeking letters from elementary schoolchildren about their favorite books and reading experiences. Selected letters will be edited and published in the editorial pages.

Letters should be no longer than 200 words and should include the name and address of the writer, along with day and evening telephone numbers.

Send letters to Letters to the Editor, The Sun, P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore 21278-0001. Our fax number for letters is 410-332-6977. The e-mail address is

School board made right decision to base the future on phonics

As a veteran Baltimore school teacher, I wish to express my support for the school board's decision to use an explicit phonics-based curriculum through the second grade.

As chief academic officer Searetha Smith said, "We really must put these foundation skills in place first."

My concern is whether the school board has the resolve to retain any second-grader who has not mastered the K-2 curriculum.

This concern was heightened by at least one board member who asked about extending the curriculum beyond second grade to teach older students who have not mastered phonics.

This indicates a willingness to continue promoting students despite poor academic performance.

There was a time when such promotions were at least debatable. But with the advent of Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, we no longer have that option.

A student who has not mastered the phonics-based curriculum will be unable to grasp the higher-order skills needed for success on MSPAP.

The school board has done well in developing a reading program that addresses the fundamental skills needed for reading proficiency and the rich literate skills needed for critical thinking.

But if it lacks the resolve to properly implement it, all bets are off.

Linda S. Bluth


Send peace-maker Mitchell to settle Middle East dispute

In view of the lack of success by the trio of President Clinton, Madeleine Albright and David Ross to conclude a reasonable peace agreement in the Middle East, how about sending former Sen. George Mitchell to the area to see whether the senator could play the role of mediator he so successfully played in Northern Ireland?

oseph Kryszpel


Sales of premium cigars continue to be smoking hot

With regard to Alec Klein's article ("Cigar boom starting to fade," May 10), I want to share with you the fact that sales of premium cigars continue to be strong. Though sales growth is not paralleling 1997 figures, sales of premium cigars have risen in unprecedented numbers and are holding steady at those substantially high levels.

Fader's is so bullish on the continued strength of the premium cigar industry that the company is adding a location and is expanding and renovating existing stores in Annapolis and Towson.

Our customers are well-informed adults, knowledgeable about the products and making intelligent choices.

L He (or she) is not just following the flow of another trend.

Cigar smoking is a lifestyle, not a habit.

Michael J. Goeller


The writer is president and chief executive officer of Fader's.

Sedan, not taxi, involved in Harford Road accident

In articles May 14 and May 15 concerning the Yellow Van Service vehicle involved in the accident on Harford Road, The Sun repeatedly referred to the vehicle as a taxicab and to the driver as a taxicab driver.

The vehicle involved is a sedan, not a licensed taxicab. If it was operating as a taxicab, it was doing so illegally.

To confuse the public by failing to differentiate the services gives the taxicab industry an undeserved blemish.

Clay Seeley

Owings Mills

The writer is president of Reisterstown Cab Inc.

Honor America's veterans by keeping them out of war

On Memorial Day, we honor those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in the service of our nation. May they always be remembered.

It is also most fitting that we honor those brave men and women who love our country enough to protect it from our government's folly. I refer to the brave and patriotic people who marched in protest against our governments war on the people of Vietnam, those who marched against President Reagan's military action in Central America, President Bush's invasion of Panama -- which cost the lives of 2,000 innocents -- and his killing of over 150,000 innocent Iraqis in the Persian Gulf war.

Not all wars waged by our government have been for freedom and democracy. Since World War II, our government has sent brave men and women into Third World countries to kill and die for corporate profits, self-aggrandizement of our politicians and generals and to score political points.

Most recently, protesters around the nation stayed the hands of President Clinton, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Defense Secretary William Cohen and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, keeping them from bombing more innocents in Iraq. I helped serve my country by being among them.

The best way to honor our veterans is not to make more of them.

Gerald Ben Shargel


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