January 14, 2007

Appointments reflect politics

The article on improvements for the environment by way of appointments to the Anne Arundel County Board of Appeals (Jan. 7) is certainly misleading.

The fact that politics is alive and well can be seen in the appointment of James Rzepkowski from Glen Burnie. He represented North County in the House of Delegates, where there are many needs, dire needs. His only effort (Do not bring up the maglev - even my dog was against that) was a bill on behalf of a Bruce Bereano client regarding the outcome of a parkland donation for horses. This was 20 miles away in Arnold.

Anne Arundel County's Glen Burnie appointee, after being an Ehrlich appointee, will next try on behalf of his patron in Glen Burnie to bring up some pseudo-science to start issuing permits for keeping wild deer as pets, or maybe the reason will have something to do with having the Lord's Prayer said in schools.

Whatever, it will certainly be some reason that has nothing to do with reasonable and everything to do with partisan politics.

Gregory Mellon Arnold

Belle Grove plays a vital role

An open letter to Dr. Kevin M. Maxwell, Anne Arundel County Public Schools superintendent:

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for selecting Belle Grove Elementary as the site for your 100th school visit. Although we have left office, we will continue to have an interest in the issues facing our District, and would like to share some parting comments regarding Belle Grove Elementary.

Belle Grove holds a special place in our hearts and in this community. Belle Grove's small learning environment has helped many of the students become active and involved citizens in our county. As you may know, school board member Ned Carey is one of the products of Belle Grove Elementary, and he continues to serve the county and the state in exceptional ways. We also have family members who attended Belle Grove.

As you observed, Belle Grove is much more than an elementary school. For many of the students it is the stabilizing factor in their young lives. In the 54 years since Belle Grove has been in existence, generations of families have attended. Unfortunately, many of those now attending have been struggling financially. Belle Grove is applying for schoolwide Title I certification that would help supply needed assistance.

Principal Adrienne Taylor and the staff know the children's individual needs and try to meet as many of them as they physically can. Their goal is to get some parental involvement with the students' lives, for that is paramount in any successful educational environment.

Keeping the elementary school in the neighborhood is one step in that success. This year the school received a grant from [the Maryland State Department of Education] to supply breakfast in the classroom to each and every student in the school. Now all the students receive breakfast and lunch each day, and attendance and attention spans are way up.

Many people in this community fear the loss of this school as a neighborhood elementary school. Twenty-eight years ago there was also a threat of closing Belle Grove. Rumors have been passed around for years that the demise of this school was imminent.

We would like to strongly urge you not to consider that as an option. This school is an asset to the community and a strong base for many activities. It has been home to many families and continues to be a true neighborhood school.

As we celebrate your accomplishment of visiting all the schools in this county, we also celebrate the achievements of Belle Grove and anticipate many years of quality education there.

Congratulations for all you have accomplished in your short tenure in Anne Arundel County. We wish you continued good luck, and look forward to many great things to come under your leadership.

Philip C. Jimeno Brooklyn Park

Joan Cadden Brooklyn Park

The writers are a former state senator and former delegate, respectively, from District 31.

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