Letters Your Opinions


April 09, 2006

Time for Howard to be smoke-free

Once again, the Howard County Council faces the issue of when to provide all workers with protection from secondhand smoke. The Smoke Free Howard County Tobacco Coalition expects action now.

For over four years, meetings have been held and testimonies delivered. The public has made its voice known. The facts are out there for all to see. Long gone are the days when people could deny the health effects of secondhand smoke. The myth that smoke-free bars will hurt business has been shattered as well, with countless communities around the country prospering with smoke-free workplaces.

This debate has gone on for years, and each council member, the county executive, Restaurant Association of Maryland and the Howard County Chamber of Commerce know that worker health protection will happen. We've all had time to prepare our businesses and ourselves for this. What are we waiting for? Howard County is ready to move forward. Let's get a smoke-free-air law passed soon and without any long, unnecessary phase-in.

Mark Breaux


The writer is president of Smoke Free Howard County Tobacco Coalition.

Support offered for Belmont plan

We are more than 60 citizens of Howard County, including individuals who represent the community on boards and commissions for Howard Community College. We are writing in strong support of HCC's master plan for the Belmont Conference Center.

HCC is a highly respected college with a solid record of integrity and excellence. Its mission is to serve the greater good of Howard County. HCC's vision for Belmont is to create a historic, cultural and educational center in which the entire community will take great pride.

For more than 40 years, Belmont has been a conference center hosting corporate CEOs, Nobel laureates and other elite groups. Recently, HCC has taken over management of Belmont and completed a comprehensive master plan that will enable this little-known treasure to be enjoyed by the entire Howard County community.

The master plan was developed with significant public input, including more than 30 meetings with community groups, local officials, historic groups, businesses, students and others. HCC has been very open about its thoughts on Belmont. HCC has listened, dropped some ideas, including "live and learn" senior housing, and added ideas suggested by the public.

The final plan presents a vision for making Belmont an exceptional resource that will benefit the larger community with services including:

Real-life learning for hospitality and culinary students. Through their educational experience at Belmont, students will learn high standards for restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses.

Continuing education. The entire community can attend classes in landscaping, music, dancing, wine appreciation, history, cooking and more. Business training is provided through the conference center.

Concerts, astronomy and other events. Belmont's spacious lawns and gardens are a beautiful setting for the community to gather and enjoy music, food, stargazing and other events, including access to hiking and biking trails.

HCC's plans also offer a promising future for Belmont's historic preservation. By running a successful conference center that includes educational programs, HCC offers an economic model for preserving Belmont and keeping it open to the public.

Belmont is part of Howard County's heritage, and we support HCC's plans to make Belmont more accessible to the community.

Jeffrey T. Agnor, Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC; Thomas H. Akins, Gallerie Elan; James H. Anderson, the Johns Hopkins University, department of radiology; Joan I. Athen; Rebecca Bafford, Columbia Art Center; Rocky Brown, ReMax 100; Roger N. Caplan, the Caplan Group; Ronald Carlson; Jerry Casway; Dearest Chandler, University of Phoenix; Mark R. Cissell, KAWG & F, P.A.; Laurie Collins, family and consumer sciences; Joanne T. Davis; Michael W. Davis, Davis, Agnor, Rapaport & Skalny LLC; Roberta E. Dillow; Karen Dixon, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield; Joanne Eyre, Eyre Bus Service; Jared Fast, Fast & Associates; Abby Glassberg; Elaine Heilman, Hospitality & Tourism Program, Howard County Public Schools;

Also, Ann Hines, Sodexho Health Care Services; Peter Horowitz; Patrick L. Huddie, Chesapeake Emerging Opportunities Management LLC; Mark P. Huston, BGE; Louis G. Hutt Jr., Bennett, Hutt, & Co. LLC; Jonathan Isaac; Robert I. Jeffrey, Smith Barney; Karen Justice, Maryland Tourism Education Foundation; Del Karfonta, Columbia Bank; Bob Kerr, Choice Hotels International; Bill King, the Crab Shanty Restaurant; Dean Kreh; Karen Wilhide Kreh; Richard M. Krieg, the Horizon Foundation of Howard County; James W. Lee, Lee Financial Associates LLC ; Mukesh Majmudar, Star Hotels.

Also, Richard G. McCauley; Terri Minford, Misty Meadow Stables; Jordan Naftal, Jordan's Steakhouse; P. Michael Nagle, Nagle & Zaller P.C.; Roger Pedersen, Marathon Title; Katherine K. Rensin; Marc Rubin, Berman Goldman & Ribakow LLP; Alexander Ruygrok, Cross Country Settlements; Steven W. Sachs, Hilb, Rogal, & Hobbs; Patrick Shurney; Maurice Simpkins; Eric Stein, DeCanter Fine Wines; Michel Tersiguel, Tersiguel's Restaurant; T. James Truby, Synthesis Inc.; Mary B. Tung, Conwell LLC; Peter P. Tung; Thomas C. Tuttle, Tuttle Group International; Phyllis Utterback, the Horizon Foundation of Howard County; Barbara Van Winkle, Nancy Adams Personnel of Columbia; Edward L. Waddell, Cardoni Waddell LLC; Mohammed Warshanna, Angel Dental Care; Marshall Weston, the Maryland Hospitality Education Foundation; Bev Wilhide; Lee Wilhide; Marty Williams, Hyatt Regency Baltimore.

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