Beyond state restrictions, pray for rainIn addition to the...

LETTERS

August 15, 1999

Beyond state restrictions, pray for rain

In addition to the water usage restrictions, has it ever occurred to the governor to ask the churches to pray for rain? The blessing of the crops and prayers for seasonable weather used to be a regular part of our state's communal life. On St. Clement's Island, the state has erected a plaque which identifies our religious heritage as "the chief glory of our state."

I know it would be a very humbling experience to seek the help of the faithful churches, but if presidents and kings can humble themselves, surely the governor of Maryland can. The Almighty may delight to respond to such a show of humility and dependence upon his providence.

The Rev. Martin Eppard, Columbia

The writer is rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd and Maryland representative to the National Clergy Council.

Patapsco Greenway insults unwarranted

Even if I disagree with some who believe the Patapsco Heritage Greenway will disrupt or destroy the natural environment, I can accept their concerns and understand them, to a degree.

Legitimate, cooperative and constructive dialogue is warranted. What I cannot accept are lies.

Some opponents have selectively extracted portions of Maryland heritage tourism legislation and distorted it to satisfy their own vicious agenda. Characterizing the greenway as a cash cow for a few cunning entrepreneurs ("Greenway isn't as noble as it sounds," letters, Aug. 8), is a lie, and the leaders of the opposition know it.

They would love to have credible evidence, but it doesn't exist, not because of any cover-up but because it never existed in the first place.

I have been actively associated with the greenway project for many years. No one, myself included, has ever participated for economic gain. It came as a shock when my integrity was first questioned. These continuing insults to a bunch of selfless, dedicated individuals can no longer be tolerated as just overreactions. The time has come, for me at least, to ask the opponents to stop this outright calumny and either cooperate in a civil discussion or -- I can think of no dignified term -- just shut up.

Paul S. Bridge, Ellicott City

Mounting cost of all these tests

Howard Libit, in his July 29 article on testing school children ("Basic skills to be tested"), seems to have forgotten one thing when he lists all the "new" tests coming down the line. He omits the cost, a minor point, but of some interest to taxpayers.

But with the mentality of state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, it looks like the sky's the limit. Get a load of her thinking: "We feel there is no one measure that should truly represent a child in his or her entirety."

This seems to imply that there is no limit to the amount of testing necessary for understanding our children. We even have tests that evaluate schools. Perhaps we should have a battery for administrators as well.

One astute observation comes from assistant state superintendent Mark Moody: "We don't want the tests to completely overlap, because then you would question why you would give both tests." Perhaps we'll eventually learn the cost of these escapades. Can't reporters simply add up these little million-dollar requests and put the spending in perspective, rather than ignoring the past and mentioning only new programs?

R. D. Bush, Columbia

'Rat race' and sign of the times

The Sun carried an article on Aug. 5 about the Jahva House in Ellicott City ("Coffee house accentuates the generation gap").

The owners, Kristen and Devon Potler, should be congratulated for establishing a for-profit teen center. The apparent success of the Jahva House once again demonstrates the superiority of private enterprise over the public sector to meet social needs.

The Potlers, however, as competent business owners, should encourage their clientele to display polite behavior to others in adjacent areas.

With respect to the customers who were interviewed, I was most taken with the comments of Eric Frank who "scorns money and cars and what he calls the whole rat race." He seems to have an expensive smoking habit that must cost about $5 per day. How does he buy cigarettes without money, not to mention housing, food and clothing? Someone who is involved in the "rat race" must be subsidizing him. Mr. Frank should take a hint from the Potlers and begin a for-profit Zen school, setting tuition just high enough to meet his subsistence needs.

On another subject, the Aug. 7 Washington Times carried an interesting article about Bill Hanrahan of Font Hill, whose yard sports a sign supporting Juanita Broaddrick's accusation that Bill Clinton is a rapist.

It's a story that should have been reported by your paper. After all, it's in your territory and seems to be a matter of intense interest in Font Hill. Either you were scooped by the Times or your political bias is a barrier to adequate news coverage.

Thomas W. Hatheway ,Columbia

Cut taxes, benefit `the children' now

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