Proper tree care could have limited the storm's damageI...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

October 12, 1999

Proper tree care could have limited the storm's damage

I read with interest The Sun's editorial, "BGE on the line in Floyd's aftermath" (Oct.6). The editorial noted that "conditions were ripe for so many trees to be uprooted. . ."

But the accuracy of this comment is suspect. We had a statewide drought, followed by a statewide hurricane. But the impact of the storm on trees, and the resulting power outage time, was much more severe in one part of the state, and on one utility system, than anywhere else.

This may be related to differences in vegetation management practices. Some practices enhance the structural integrity of trees and some diminish them.

To prepare for an era of competition, some utilities may not include current tree care standards in their specifications or require that contractors have particular credentials. This approach can produce troublesome results.

Trees cannot be storm-proofed -- and even healthy, intact trees may fail. However, proper tree care can remove defective parts and reduce risk, while too much thinning or severe cutting makes trees more likely to break or fall down.

Lowball line clearance contracts can make it difficult to manage trees properly. While this may be cost-effective when the sun shines, the results when a natural disaster strikes can be disastrous.

Michael F. Galvin, Annapolis

The writer is urban operations manager for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Forest Service.

Parents want schools that teach strong values

I was heartened to read about the Forbush School's "Peace Plan" ("Nonviolence integrated into school's daily lessons," Oct. 4). What I cannot comprehend is why this is hailed as a revolutionary concept.

At some point, we have to decide what qualities we want in our citizens -- such as honesty, respect for others and our environment and the ability to solve disputes nonviolently -- and incorporate these ideals into the public school curriculum.

These concepts should be taught from preschool, with the simplest illustrations, then gradually progress to more complex discussions in higher grades.

Parents want schools that reflect the importance of character and values as well as academics.

Instead of talking about vouchers -- which is admitting that no one knows how to fix our public schools -- why don't we simply figure out why people want to send their kids to private schools and emulate those traits in the public ones?

Jeanne March Davis, Baltimore

Obsessive parents aren't just poor sports

In response to The Sun's article about the "pressure-cooker atmosphere" of youth sports created by obsessed parents ("Leagues blow the whistle on competitive parents," Oct. 3), I think the problem lies not in poor sportsmanship, but in poor parenting.

Our children grew up in the 1980s and 1990s. We kept their extracurricular activities at a minimum until high school and had meals together at home, instead of racing between events eating fast food.

The focus remained on family and education. We spent precious time together doing simple things like puzzles, reading and board games and just playing outside. When the children reached high school, they chose their own activities and we supported them 100 percent.

I hope parents will let their kids enjoy youth. Imagine how kids would feel if they knew parents were proud of their efforts, regardless of the results.

Don't invest your ego in your child's performance. Invest in teaching your child values, character and integrity -- at home and at the game.

Susie Molfino, Ellicott City

`The way parents behave at games needs to change'

I'm an 8-year-old soccer player. Parents at youth sports games do not look to me like they are using their brains.

Parents shouldn't tell kids where to play. Kids are being told to help the offense when they're playing defense.

Parents are cheering and coaches are trying to give directions. That causes kids to get confused.

I think the way parents behave at games needs to change.

Patrick Dement, Pasadena

A parent feeling pressure to raise money for school

I read with interest The Sun's article on fund raising in the Howard County schools ("PTAs may contribute to school disparities," Sept. 20).

My daughter's school in Baltimore County is using pressure tactics to get kids to sell to support the school. Only children who sell at least 10 items during the fall fund-raiser may attend a dance with a disc jockey during school hours.

Because I refuse to spend at least $36.80 on candy, candles and wrapping paper, my daughter will sit in class while her friends attend a dance.

As I feel this pressure, I am angry that school time is being spent on fund raising.

Cecile Corddry

Baltimore

It was the U.S. flag that protected the slave ships

William Plummer's letter, "Which flag is linked more closely to slavery?" (Sept. 30), posed an excellent question regarding the number of slave ships that flew the American flag and the Confederate flag.

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