Don't blame Hampstead for crowded school A recent Sun...


June 25, 2000

Don't blame Hampstead for crowded school

A recent Sun editorial criticized the Town of Hampstead for overcrowding at Spring Garden Elementary School and criticized for Mayor Christopher Nevin's decision not to approve the addition of classroom space to that school ("New plan for Spring Garden," June 9).

The original expansion plans for Spring Garden were approved by the Hampstead planning and zoning commission more than a year ago.

Mr. Nevin refused to approve the plans, based in large measure upon evidence that was not available to the planning and zoning commission. He took that action with the support of the majority of the town council and of the school's PTA.

One of their concerns is the county school board's failure to reduce the student population at Spring Garden Elementary.

The school board was also unwilling to make a commitment to remove portable classrooms or expand the school's core facilities, such as its cafeteria, gym or resource areas.

The county board of education determines student populations -- not the town of Hampstead.

In Westminster, there are about 600 empty seats in elementary classrooms.

Meanwhile, overcrowding is allowed to continue at Spring Garden unabated, and the children there have to eat lunch in quick shifts starting in midmorning.

The Sun also took a swipe at town officials for approving rapid subdivision expansion.

But the current town administration has slowed residential growth dramatically.

The town has approved occupancy for fewer than 100 new homes since 1997.

Furthermore, many of the children served by Spring Garden also live outside (in some cases, well outside) the town limits.

Presently, approximately 750 students attend Spring Garden, a school built for a capacity of 600.

The children are better served when the number of students does not exceed the school's capacity.

Haven Shoemaker Jr.


Better denigrated than crowded

Thank you and keep up the good work: The more The Sun and the governor portray Carroll County as an undesirable place to live, the less people are likely to want to move here.

I would rather be denigrated than crowded.

Carol Sanders


Firing range provides police top-notch training

On June 1, I joined representatives of the Maryland State Police and the Police and Correctional Training Commissions in observing operational trials of the pistol range at the Firearms Training Facility in Sykesville.

The facility is safe and represents the state-of-the-art in firing range design.

It will be one of the finest for training police officers to decide whether or not to shoot, as well as in traditional shooting skills.

The facility is designed to fully contain all gunfire in a manner that protects the environment from lead and excessive noise.

I applaud the Police and Correctional Training Commissions and Maryland's Department of General Services for delivering a world-class facility for the important task of training Maryland's public safety officers.

While I understand that further efforts will be necessary to complete the facility's rifle range so that it complies with the state's high containment standards, I have full confidence that it will also be world-class when it's finished.

It will bring the best in education and training to law enforcement across the state.

Wallace Mitchell


The writer is president of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association.

Splitting Microsoft won't help anyone

I would like to thank my government for trying to break up Microsoft Corp. ("Judge orders Microsoft split," June 8).

I just cannot wait for the better quality of product, service and lower costs that will come with this change.

After all, we know just how great the breakup of Ma Bell was for us -- and all the benefits we derived from the government's destruction of that monster.

Tom Birchett


Nurses need incentives to provide bedside care

Is there really a shortage of nurses or are there too many nurses with experience choosing not to work on patient floors in the hospital ("Nurse shortage puts strain on hospitals," June 19).

I have provided patient care for more than 18 of the 20 years I have worked as a nurse, and loved doing it. But, as the saying goes, things aren't like they used to be.

Patient care was once determined by patient needs.

Today it is often driven by managed care and the potential for lawsuits.

Frequently, someone who has never met the patients decides what specialists they are allowed to see, what tests they are authorized to have and where they can have them and how many days they can be in the hospital.

And bedside nursing, even for the experienced nurse, is not rewarded with the same respect, work schedule or money that administrative nurses receive.

Unfortunately, in this day of managed care, those of us with nursing experience, who know what it is like to provide patient-oriented and safe care, are leaving the bedside.

I, like many others who refuse to compromise our standards, will be employed in other venues.

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