Maryland's farmers are working to control dangerous...


July 29, 1999

Maryland's farmers are working to control dangerous runoff

As a member of the Nutrient Management Advisory Committee (NMAC) and a beef farmer in Harford County, I was very dismayed by The Sun's editorial "Fair solutions to farm runoff" (July 19).

To say, as the editorial did, that "Maryland farmers are not working adequately to control leakage of manure, nitrogen, and phosphorus into bay tributaries" does Maryland's farmers a great disservice. The state's farmers have cooperated with state agencies and done more than their fair share to clean up the bay.

Before the the 1998 Water Quality Improvement Act was passed, Maryland had one of the nation's most successful, voluntary nutrient management programs.

Cooperating with state and federal agencies, state farmers have also instituted "best management practices," including waste management structures, diversion terraces and grass waterways.

The Sun's suggestion that we recommended eliminating enforcement penalties is also misleading. The NMAC proposes that, if a farm is complying with a certified plan that does not yield the desired results, the farm must update its practices to meet new specifications.

But, since that farmer was in compliance with a valid plan, no penalty should be enforced. Retroactive penalties based on new information are simply wrong.

The proposed regulations include strong punishment for willful violations.

The Sun also makes wrong assumptions about the regulations' nonagricultural land provisions. They do not require nutrient plans for yards and other small parcels, only that nutrient applications comply with the University of Maryland Extension Service's recommendations.

With commercial landscape services managing and applying nutrients to cumulative acreage greater than that of many farms, it is only fair that they be responsible for seeing that those nutrients are properly applied.

Ned Sayre, Churchville

Adults can still learn of their moral challenges

Alan Lupo's article "A course of values gives one many reasons to shudder" (July 21) reflects the often smug attitude of those who trivialize adult education in ethics. His presumption is that if adults follow the golden rule, they have nothing more to learn about right and wrong.

After 26 years of teaching college ethics courses, I have found this to be far from true. I revere the golden rule, but it's of little use if we don't consider it fully.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" seems to assume that we at all times know what's the best thing to have done to us, and that others would therefore want the same done to them.

A college course in ethics does not preach morality; rather, it teaches adults to think clearly about their own moral challenges.

To dismiss this as mere "academic commentary" reflects the intellectual arrogance that helped land us in the moral mess Mr. Lupo thinks we now face.

Fred Guy, Baltimore

The writer is director of the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics at the University of Baltimore.

Caroline Center, academy together help mothers, kids

The Sun's article about Camp Lemonade Stand was delightful ("Kids get taste of running business," July 21). However, a few corrections are in order.

Camp Lemonade Stand is the summer program of the Caroline academy, not the Caroline Center. The academy is a program of Episcopal Social Ministries (ESM). During the school year, it provides an after-school enrichment program.

The Caroline Academy was the brainchild of Sister Kathleen Feeley, retired president of Notre Dame College and Sally Robinson, retired executive director of ESM.

The Caroline Center is a project of the School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The center provides services for mothers and the academy provides services to children. The two form a marvelous cooperative effort.

The Rev. Elizabeth Gillett

Sister Patricia McLaughlin, Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, executive director of Episcopal Social Ministries and director of the Caroline Center.

Design Center gets the credit it deserves

I compliment The Sun for highlighting the decrepit state of many Baltimore playgrounds ("Playground dangers loom over children," July 13) and for covering a rare success story where a playground was returned to the neighborhood ("Safer play is aim of park," July 11).

I was particularly gratified to see the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) given the recognition it deserves.

My neighborhood has had the pleasure of working with the NDC on several projects. We are also looking forward to its assistance in restoring our Castle Street playground, which the city removed last year because of its hazardous condition.

NDC is a unique asset for Baltimore and deserves immense credit for its work. In Butcher's Hill. It provides resources that would otherwise be unavailable in a creative and modest manner.

Barry Glassman, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Butcher's Hill Association.

All things considered, Marylanders are generous

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