Violence isn't the answer on controlling deerOn Aug. 27...


September 12, 1999

Violence isn't the answer on controlling deer

On Aug. 27, 1998, I wrote a letter to several people, including The Sun, Howard County Council member C. Vernon Gray and then-County Executive Charles Ecker, protesting the planning of a "controlled" deer hunt.

I cited all the reasons why the county felt it was so important to kill these animals, rather than try alternative measures to keep their numbers down and control the deer population.

I was so pleased when shortly after James Robey became county executive, he made a sound decision to suspend the deer hunt until alternative measures could be explored.

Well, here we go again. In July, I read that Mr. Robey suddenly changed his mind about this important issue.

Why hadn't he explored alternative measures, such as installing road reflectors in areas known as "hot spots," educating the public about how to dress when in the woods to guard against ticks, or investing in perfecting a single-dose contraception dart by working with the Humane Society of the United States?

What happened to the promise to explore alternatives?

As an animal lover, Howard County taxpayer and voter for nine years, I am very disappointed in the political process and in our politicians. There has been no effort on Mr. Robey's part that I can see to keep his promise to try and find alternatives before resorting to the barbaric action of shooting deer.

Examples of other measures, which would certainly take longer than five months to research and implement, might also include: holding public town meetings prior to changing one's public position; educating the public on ways we can live with the deer, such as driving more safely at night on narrow, two-lane roads in "hot spots"; learning the kinds of shrubbery to buy that deer won't eat; and warning people that homes near a wooded area can result in wildlife being nearby.

That is a phenomenon of nature and rural living that makes Howard County a place that my husband and I love.

Hunting is dangerous, costly and ineffective in significantly controlling deer populations. It sends the wrong message to children and adults. Violence is not the answer.

Debra Christner


Assessing blame for runoff woes

I am appalled that your article ("Builder, neighbor debate drainage," Aug. 17) cast blame on John L. Baker for purportedly damaging the wetlands, streams and associated sensitive environmental features of the 10-acre site slated for development as Bonnie Branch Overlook.

First, Mr. Baker has worked strenuously to protect this site for years.

Second, it was he who first brought the damage caused by the existing development's inadequate stormwater management facilities to the attention of county officials.

Mr. Baker was chosen as a community spokesman because he is an upstanding and reputable individual who has demonstrated his commitment to the environment throughout a long career of volunteerism.

Ron Wildman argues that the central point at issue here is not an intermittent stream and its buffer, but a "drainageway" and an eroded gully. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has already ruled in a formal jurisdictional determination (JD) that "waters of the U.S." begin uphill of Mr. Baker's property and continue downhill and across Mr. Baker's property, then downhill across the area Mr. Wildman wants to develop. The wetland delineation expert who made the JD, George Harrison, stated that these "waters of the U.S." have been present for a very long time, probably centuries and certainly prior to any construction at Bonnie View Court (the existing development in the area).

Inadequate storm water management (SWM) by the original developer of Bonnie View Court and lax county regulations at the time of that construction in the early 1960s were responsible for the damage that has been done to the natural ecology in and around this intermittent stream.

The county's failure to retrofit and adequately maintain storm-water management facilities also bear a large portion of the blame. To suggest that Mr. Baker should be blamed for damage caused by road runoff and rain waters collected from the surrounding community and funnelled onto and across his property by a county-approved SWM structure is absurd.

Lee Walker Oxenham

Ellicott City

The writer is conservation chairman of the Howard County chapter of the Sierra Club.

No gas station needed in Glenwood

Driving along Route 97 through Howard County is more of a leisurely drive to and from work for a lot of people. However, living on Route 97 has taken its toll over the last two years.

We are surrounded by several farms, a historic church and a several long-term residents. Many of the farmers are still hard at work trying to make a living.

Transient traffic starts to flow south approximately 4: 30 each morning and return trips start at 3 p.m. So, we have business traffic, school traffic and shopping traffic within a high-speed zone.

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