Stress driving safety to our young people I just read...

LETTERS

April 14, 2002

Stress driving safety to our young people

I just read the article in the Howard County Section, "River Hill senior mourned after death in auto accident" (April 11) and although it is appropriate to mourn and pay tribute to a friend or classmate who has died, I still feel like there are some questions that need to be answered. Why during school hours are students allowed to leave the school property? And is there that much time between classes?

And it's nice to see that the school principal is going to talk to students about vehicle safety, but it is becoming all too often that we read or hear about the wonderful potential of young lives that are lost because of excessive speed or other avoidable causes.

The article barely mentions the innocent victim in this tragedy that is still at Maryland Shock Trauma. Maybe The Sun should do a follow-up article on her and maybe the principal should focus his discussions with students on her. How has her life been impacted because of this accident? This innocent victim could have been anyone else in the community. What are we as a community going to do to slow people down?

Doug Angradi

Ellicott City

Trying to find balance on preservation issue

As Charlie Brown would say, "Oh good grief!" The letter ("Article is criticized as a misrepresentation," April 7), by Lee Walker Oxenham about the Patapsco Heritage Tourism area, explains why I canceled my membership in the Sierra Club a few years ago. Its distorted characterization of the Greenway as a "well-disguised effort to increase tourism" is a tired and all too predictable rant to impose the Club's agenda at the expense of ordinary families like mine.

Much of the charm of living here is the walkways, pathways and nature trails that attract area residents, particularly families with kids. I have not noticed any tour buses parked along these trails.

I have no relationship or connection with the developers mentioned, only a desire to insert some balance into this rhetoric and ask why preservation cannot co-exist with people. Preservation efforts are designed to protect our cultural and historic heritage for the understanding and enjoyment of future generations. The restoration of the beautiful old stone buildings in Oella is a wonderful example of saving a crumbling mill town from further decay and disappearance. Why shouldn't developers with such a commitment to history be rewarded for their painstaking efforts to preserve the original buildings? They could just choose to tear them down, and then the Sierra Club would really have something to complain about.

We set a ridiculous example for our kids when we take a black-and-white approach to issues and dismiss the opposing viewpoint out of hand. If the Sierra Club really wants to increase membership, maybe try the middle ground.

Marjorie Valin

Columbia

Reporters' opinions distort news articles

I take issue when newspapers use their news articles to express personal opinions. I have no problem with opinion, provided it is labeled as such or printed in the Opinion Commentary.

For example, Laura Vozzella characterizes the Columbia Council as "quirky, confusing, and undemocratic" ("Council hopefuls want big changes," April 10).

Is that a fact? By whom? That is left unsaid. If Vozzella feels that way let her expound in an Opinion Commentary piece and clarify her opinion for us. But that's all it is: her opinion.

As Vozzella notes, Columbia is not a municipality at all, and therefore has no municipal government. The council presides over a Homeowner's Association. Indeed, "for that reason," to quote Vozzella, "the system has its defenders."

Obviously, these do not include Vozzella.

She is, of course, entitled to that opinion. However, in the future The Sun would do well to label its writer's opinions as such, instead of passing them off as "fact."

Michael Simon

Columbia

Proposed school sign is an extravagance

I just received a copy of the recent Atholton Elementary School PTA newsletter and I was saddened by the fact that the Executive Committee of the Atholton PTA is going to construct a sign in front of the school even though no one who lives in the Donleigh neighborhood wants it. It is such a shame that there are such selfish and inconsiderate people in this world who only care about what they want.

It is totally disgusting that they would spend all that money ($4,232.45 of PTA funds and the same amount of school money or, in other words, taxpayers' money) for something that is not important and has nothing to do with increasing the education of the children who attend there.

This sign makes no sense as it is a safety hazard being at the top of a hill. Also the only people who will see the sign are people who drop their children off in the front of the school where they are not even supposed to be. This is not a through street so I cannot imagine anyone getting in their car to ride by to see what the sign says. How sad to be so extravagant with so many people's money. It would sure be interesting to know what the vote would have been had it been taken with the full PTA membership present.

I have lived right below the school since 1966 and I regret that I feel that I will in no way be able to support anything about the school anymore and I am sure that the majority of the residents of Donleigh feel the same.

I sure hope the members of the executive board are getting a lot of pleasure out of showing complete disregard and total inconsideration of the neighbors of the school.

Barbara N. Schmehl

Columbia

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