Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

August 26, 2007

Turf Valley official challenges letter

A letter to the editor directed at development of Turf Valley misstated facts about the project and inaccurately characterized our willingness to work with the government and community to ensure the property's safety standards. As a 30-year- old family business, we take the health and safety concerns of our developments, residents and employees very seriously.

In a meeting with county officials earlier this summer, we proactively released a prospective buyer's soil test results, even though sharing those tests was not required and development is still in the planning phases.

The prospective buyer's tests had normal results in over 60 locations taken within the 40-acre area the buyer is purchasing. One area - a soil sample taken under the paved lot at a currently remote maintenance shed - showed elevated levels of arsenic and lead. The data collected shows that this elevated sample is probably limited to a small area and is consistent with the area's age and use.

We recognize the importance of further testing and have vowed that it will be done. We have pledged both privately and publicly that any problems identified would be eradicated prior to development.

We have worked with the county toward producing a mutually acceptable plan for testing of our property prior to development of the property. We have encouraged, not opposed, appropriate environmental testing and have made ourselves readily available to the county, residents and citizens groups to discuss the development.

My father purchased Turf Valley in 1978 and it has continued to positively contribute to Howard County since then. Rest assured, our family is intent on responsibly developing and maintaining this land to continue our long tradition of enhancing the community for Howard County residents, as well as for our children and grandchildren.

Lou Mangione

Mangione Family Enterprises

Sheriff's office serves many court orders

The Aug. 22 article "Domestic Violence Arrests Increase" certainly details the continuing violence within Howard County. Our sheriff's office has been diligent in serving both protective and peace orders received from the courts. In fact, deputies serve twice the amount of orders that police officers serve, and the statistics published do not reflect the work done by our deputy sheriffs.

Within the next month, our deputy sheriffs will be working three shifts during the week to provide 24-hour coverage to insure that all court orders will be served in a timely manner. This increased shift will be done on a trial basis, and if successful, I will ask the County Council for additional funding in FY09's budget to make permanent 24/7 service for the protection of all Howard County citizens.

James F. Fitzgerald

Howard County sheriff

Birthday celebration brings good memories

Summer may be drawing to a close, but memories of Columbia's 40th birthday linger. Personally and professionally, it was a wonderful experience and a great opportunity to become acquainted with the many talented and giving individuals, organizations and community leaders that have shaped Columbia into the place we enjoy today.

General Growth Properties recently conducted a survey of organizers and volunteers involved with "Celebrate Columbia," the 40-day marathon of events and activities designed to showcase the city, its people and the experience of living here. Responses were forthright and positive. The tally revealed that there were many great accomplishments as a result of the birthday celebration: communitywide participation; increased appreciation for our history; the generation of positive community spirit; and, most importantly, the mobilization of an entire community - businesses, residents, nonprofit entities, organizations large and small - in celebration of the 40th birthday of Columbia.

The foundation of "Celebrate Columbia" was to honor the past, celebrate the present and lay the groundwork for the future. And it was clear through both the survey responses as well as the many comments we received from community businesses and organizations, that this mission was fully realized.

Honoring the past rekindled an appreciation for the vision of Columbia's founder Jim Rouse and his exemplary leadership. Relying on the Columbia Archives and personal memories, we shared again the values that have shaped Columbia. And we reveled in Gail Holliday's posters, the Magical History Tour, and the reunion of the Young Columbians cast and performance.

Celebrating the present took varied forms - from showcasing our young people, artists, business and civic leaders to community gatherings that brought us together in the heart of Town Center and concluded with a finale at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The Columbia Festival of the Arts had record-breaking attendance, and families flocked to the City Fair and the July Fourth fireworks at the lakefront.

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