College fund-raising problems are solved at Salisbury...

Letters to the Editor

August 30, 1998

College fund-raising problems are solved at Salisbury State

The Sun published a critical editorial about college fundraising ("Holding state college fund-raisers to account," Aug. 24).

I am not qualified to comment on Bowie State University. I am, however, a member of the Salisbury State Foundation; my personal gift was substantial enough that the school's research center was named in my honor. If my contributions had to go to the giant University of Maryland Foundation, I can assure you that not one cent would have been forthcoming.

The SSU Foundation is a private group run by local business people. The UM regents have little or no control over it.

When the mistakes of Robert Gearheart were discovered, the foundation and President William C. Merwin took immediate, decisive and appropriate action. An outside audit was completed and submitted. Mr. Gearheart made restitution for every questionable expenditure, all credit cards were canceled and rental cars were returned.

President Merwin had the right to fire Mr. Gearheart, but the state employee with 18 years seniority had employment rights that would have been the subject of a court fight that would cripple future fund-raising. A logical compromise was reached where Mr. Gearheart would resign and be retained at the minimum salary to qualify for retirement in two years.

Salisbury State is a state operation that merits the rating of excellent. Let's praise it and not criticize.

Edward H. Nabb


Ecker gets endorsement from one of his old friends

Kudos to The Sun for your endorsement of Charles I. Ecker for governor of Maryland in the upcoming Republican primary election. What a superb document of facts ("Ecker for governor in Republican primary," Aug. 23).

Chuck Ecker and I go back a long way. We were close friends in high school (Westminster Class of 1945) and then enlistees together in the U.S. Navy. We also participated in each others' wedding.

You summed it up very well -- "Dependable, honest, fair, intelligent, responsible" -- plus a fiscal conservative who cares about people.

This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Maryland to send to Annapolis this most able of public servants to govern our state for the next four years.

Carroll D. Myers

Punta Gorda, Fla.

Story on park illustrated rise of South Baltimore

Joe Matthews' article (" 'Backwater' park becomes a Baltimore gem," Aug. 17) is a wonderful depiction of southwest Baltimore's many positive aspects, including the Mount Clare House Museum, the home of Charles Carroll the Barrister.

For 81 years, Mount Clare and its contents have been supported and maintained by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Maryland. The last remaining plantation house in Baltimore City, Mount Clare Mansion offers visitors far and near a rare glimpse into the life of one of Baltimore's early entrepreneurs and industrialists.

We, too, share hopes that Mount Clare will become a major tourist destination. In 1988, the National Park Service prepared a master plan for the society that provided a framework for this effort.

Our organization is an active and eager participant in the current master planning process. We believe that the priorities being established jointly by the community and area attractions will secure the park's future and, combined with other economic development activities, turn southwest Baltimore into a regional employment and tourism anchor.

We invite all of Baltimore to tour our historic home and to take advantage of the grounds and all of the recreational opportunities they have to offer.

Jane H. Grantham


The writer is president of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Maryland.

Not enough room in harbor for another old warship

I would like to commend the group that is trying to save the carrier Forrestal. This is a historic ship that should be preserved for posterity, but Baltimore is not the place for it ("Forrestal's last battle may be for final berth," Aug. 18).

To be quite frank, it is a question of historic ship economics. Baltimore has the Constellation, Torsk, Taney Chesapeake, John Brown, the tug Baltimore and a host of smaller historic vessels as well as the reproduction of the Pride of Baltimore. All of these vessels must be preserved, and all are vying for the same tourist and donation dollar.

Because of its size of 1,039 feet in length and a draft of 36 feet, the Forrestal would never be brought into the Inner Harbor, where a historic ship must be to draw tourists. The costs of moving and maintaining a carrier are staggering, and the thought of it rusting and flaking away, forgotten at some pier, is mindful of other historic ships that have been procured by groups with the best of intentions and high hopes only to have reality dash them in the face.

Let the Navy donate the vessel to a city that can show it with pride and maintain it as she deserves.

Henry A. Lingenfelder


The writer is a retired director of the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

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