Children and schools come before libraries I agree with...


January 16, 2000

Children and schools come before libraries

I agree with Norris West's comments about the need for library space in Anne Arundel County, particularly a new Odenton Branch to support the expanding population ("County must ease library crunch," Jan. 2).

However, with the Tax Revenue Cap, County Executive Janet Owens and the County Council must set priorities.When resources are limited, priorities are about what is most important.

If you observed too few library tables at the Odenton Library, I invite you to visit North County High School.

Our High School is 25 percent over capacity; these students will be on split sessions for two or three years.

The Southern Middle School eighth-grade students must attend high school; these students are not getting an appropriate middle school experience.

The two elementary schools in the greatest need are in the First District, Harman Elementary and Ferndale Elementary.

I invite you to visit these two schools and see the deplorable condition. I am certain you will be especially appalled at the mold growing up the curtains and walls in the cafeteria at Ferndale Elementary and the desperate condition of the bathrooms at Harman Elementary School.

Both North County High School and Southern Middle School are in grave need of funds. There are less than $2 millionavailable in the 2001 Capital Budget for these two additions to the Capital Project list.

I do support public libraries, but if I must prioritize the needs of our county, children and education come before library space. $54,901,800 has been requested for the 2001 Capital Budget for schools alone, and this does not include Harman Elementary, whichis not scheduled to begin the renovation project until 2002.

I am sure we will confront the library crunch, as soon as we solve the school crises.

Pam Beidle, Linthicum

The writer is the Anne Arundel County councilwoman from District One.Councilmember, District One.

Kids are more important than cars

The Anne Arundel Section front page article ("Child abuse death rate up in state," Jan. 6) covered rising child abuse death rates in Maryland, lack of funding foreducation programs, restrictions on money for lobbyist connections and an epic battle at the Board of Public Works over a $122 million contract about our cars.

Basically, it was disheartening to realize that more intensity is directed to care for our cars than for our children.

Recent Sun stories bring more sadness when one reads that the State of Maryland funded programs that promoted actual physical abuse of children.

Where is the Maryland that makes us proud? Why do we spend more energy on the fate of cars, computers and material gain, while we let so many children languish.

As the new legislative session begins, let's find a way to join all Maryland agencies and institutions to find creative ways to steer more intensity, energy and money to improving the chance for our children tofind productive, meaningful lives.

Lucille Flanigan, Annapolis

Thanks to friends, strangers for support

I am writing to thank County Executive Janet Owens and the many people, both close friends and those we don't know, for all of their help, prayers, and expressions of sympathy this past week for my girls and me.

I would also like to commend The Sun for its coverage of Cliff Roop's passing and the subsequent funeral service.

Our family truly appreciated that while covering the story and noting Cliff's many accomplishments in his short tenure as a Councilman, you respected our privacy during a difficult time.

Again, we appreciate all of our friends' love and support.

Lynnell D. Leighty-Roop, Severna Park

The writer is the widow of Anne Arundel County Councilman Cliff R. Roop.

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