Reaping the benefits of leaving the grass wherever it may...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 04, 1998

Reaping the benefits of leaving the grass wherever it may 0) fall

I would like to thank the Baltimore County homeowners in the Towson and Timonium areas who responded in a big way to the Bureau of Solid Waste Management's "Why Bag Your Grass?" message. Grass collections are down significantly this year in the yard waste recycling routes where we sent information explaining the many benefits of not bagging your clippings.

Cutting the lawn high and letting short clippings lie is easier, better for the environment and promotes a healthier lawn.

We estimate that through July 21, this successful pilot public education program has caused about 620,000 fewer pounds of grass to be set out for collection. This means collection and processing costs were trimmed by an estimated $18,000. Next spring, we plan to encourage even more Baltimore County residents to just say no to the extra hassle of bagging their grass.

Bob Olsen

Towson

The writer is director of the Baltimore County Department of Public Works.

Phonics change is too late for whole language students

It was with mixed emotions that I read the article "Phonics gets credit for rise in test scores (Aug. 25) concerning reading scores improving after going back to teaching phonics.

Unfortunately, it was too late for my grandson, a student at Owings Mills Elementary School during the time that whole language was used to teach reading.

My son was one of many who fought hard against it, using every resource he could. He wrote letters and attended meetings and hearings. He sometimes argued outright with school system staff members and even State Schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick.

My grandson attended Sylvan Learning Center to try to catch up. He is now in middle school and still below level. I fear that the damage has been done and will continue to hinder his future.

I find it ironic that those who were the greatest supporters of whole language are now on the bandwagon for phonics and are taking credit for bringing it back into use.

Betty Reed

Owings Mills

Light rail's opponents not to blame for problems

In reference to Gilbert Sandler's letter "First game at stadium showed ills of light rail" (Aug. 22), I hasten to supply some context. Having been one of the group who fought the light rail, I can tell you that we lost resoundingly.

We are not the present cause of the ills of the light rail. We had no real influence on the project as it currently exists. With the exception of the elimination of two stops, one in Ruxton and one in Robert E. Lee Park, the light rail exists for better or for worse exactly as it was proposed by the Mass Transit Administration. All the errors you point out were among the reasons we contested light rail, not the result of our challenge.

The preponderence of single tracking, the lack of security, and the inadequate parking were faults obvious from the beginning. The systemic faults and the fact that the rail line went through Robert E. Lee Park made it impossible to secure federal funds.

We know this because several years before the Central Light Rail was proposed, the U.S. Department of Transportation refused funding for a similar plan along the same route. Underlying the rejection lay the assumption that fixed rail's inherent inflexibility makes it a cost efficient means of transport only if there exists an enormous population concentrated along the length of the line.

The U.S. Transportation Department suggested a dedicated bus line in its stead. The Mass Transit Administration stands alone its responsibility for the success or failure of the line as we know it.

Lois Macht

Baltimore

Anglers grateful to have Natural Resources leader

John Griffin, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, deserves the gratitude of all the citizens of Maryland.

Under his leadership in the last four years, he has brought together the recreational fishermen, commercial watermen, charter boat captains, the seafood industry and other groups to help his department protect and manage our greatest resource, the Chesapeake Bay and its great fishery.

He challenged us that the time has come for all of our groups to work together with the Department of Natural Resources to manage the fishery into the 21st century. Our input in the decision-making process was very important to him.

Under his leadership, guidance, fortitude and patience, all the user groups are working together for the first time in the history of the state of Maryland. All of us have come to realize that we need each other to protect the bay for future generations.

We also thank Gov. Parris N. Glendening for the wise decision he made in appointing Mr. Griffin.

Duke Nohe

Maryland Line

The writer is president of the Maryland Aquatic Resource Coalition.

It's Distressing that public isn't outraged over Clinton

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