Glut of deer damages habitat for other animalsI wish to...

Letters

October 18, 1998

Glut of deer damages habitat for other animals

I wish to commend the Howard County Department of Recreation and Parks for its responsible proposal to reduce the size of the whitetailed deer herd in the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area.

The continued increase of deer has become a serious wildlife and habitat issue in the Eastern states, as well as a serious people issue.

In the absence of natural predators and other controls, the deer have outgrown the habitat and a balanced ecology. It is common to see forested areas where essentially all vegetation from the ground to as high as the deer can reach has been removed by deer.

The consequence of this is that all bird and other wildlife species dependent on ground level and lower tree- and shrub-level habitat are deprived of required places to nest, reproduce, feed and seek shelter. Those who respect our native wildlife should be concerned.

If such habitat destruction were the result of development or people clearing the forests, there would be an outcry. Because the instrument in this case is wildlife itself, there is hesitation.

Other components of the problem are the steady increase in Lyme disease, automobile accidents and the potential for children to get seriously hurt by approaching a wild animal under the assumption it is safe to do. The deer population needs to be reduced.

Dave Pardoe

Columbia

The writer is mid-Atlantic regional director for the National Audubon Society.

Vote Hartleb again for register of wills

Kay K. Hartleb is running for her fourth term as register of wills for Howard County. Most voters may have little understanding ++ about this office, but to those who come in contact with the probate process in Howard County, Ms. Hartleb's re-election is important.

She has done an outstanding job as register of wills, bringing a professionalism and caring to that office that is needed in government.

The register of wills has responsibility for overseeing the winding up of a person's affairs upon that person's death and to collect any taxes due.

This process is called probate. It involves tax laws, property laws, property assessments and a multitude of related rules and procedures. In some cases, very complex issues of law must be resolved. In other cases, persons with highly emotional concerns must be helped to understand the process.

Anyone who thinks that the register of wills is just another elective office that can be run like any other does not understand its complexity.

The register must combine a good understanding of probate rules and laws with the ability to deal with people during emotional times. Ms. Hartleb, and all the members of her staff, have that rare ability.

Ms. Hartleb deserves our continuing support on Nov. 3.

Michael W. Davis

Columbia

Incumbents kept promise on Route 99

In a time when some politicians behave wrongly, it irefreshing when other politicians do something right.

The one-mile stretch of Route 99 that the community of Mount Hebron has had to contend with has been the site of more than 85 accidents in a four-year period.

One of those recently involved a fatality. In the early '90s, I wrote to the State Highway Administration asking that bypass lanes be installed at four intersections to avoid rear-end collisions. I was told that my concerns might not be justified. Traffic engineers felt that this portion of Route 99 was not unsafe.

Last June, my worst fear was realized. On my way home from work, I came upon an accident involving my son.

He was rear-ended. His car was totaled. The other car was totaled, and my son was loaded into an ambulance. His injuries were neck- and back-related, which to this day still bother him.

Before the accident, Sen. Christopher J. McCabe and Delegates Robert L. Flanagan and Robert H. Kittleman attended community meetings and assured us they would help. They have, and I want to thank them. The SHA has improved two of the four intersections.

It is my fervent hope that the Route 99 intersections of Mount Hebron and McKenzie are scheduled to be improved.

Scott O. Miller

Ellicott City

Who will curb unsafe drivers?

I have witnessed numerous signs of drivers out of control, awell as lack of police monitoring and manpower. We need to change our leadership and our system of discipline.

In recent weeks, I have witnessed serious control and behavior problems in the area.

I was stopped at Bethany Lane and U.S. 40, waiting to turn left off U.S. 40. The light went yellow, and I watched a van from some distance back roaring along at about 60 mph. The light turned red and he continued to roll through the light. Fortunately, no one moved immediately when they had the green light; otherwise, someone would have been killed.

Every time I drive on U.S. 40 between Rogers Avenue and Rolling Road, I find vehicles passing at speeds up to 65 mph (in a 45 mph zone, with deer crossing warned). I nearly collided with an eight-point buck standing in the middle of my lane one evening. Because of the curving roadway, sight distance is limited.

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