County Moving on Ballfield

Your Jan. 16 article "Calvert Commissioners Set to Scrap Land Swap" is incorrect and incomplete.

The headline is incorrect because the "land swap" deal has been off the table for a long time now and the mayor withdrew it. You wrote: "The proposal, which has been on the table since last summer, would have given the town control of the county's three-acre Kellam ballfield in return for a parcel of the same size nearby."

The land swap proposal had been on the table since last summer, but it has been off the table for a while now. Your statement and headline seem to imply that it was still under consideration, when in fact, the land swap was withdrawn by the mayor a couple of months ago.

The article also left out some important information like the fact that the Calvert County commissioners, in December, made a proposal to the mayor and Town Council which they declined to accept.

The town officials declined to become an equal partner with the county in making the improvements at Kellam Field, and tried to force us into finishing the Northeast Community Center under the threat of not allowing us to use their back three acres for improvements unless we finished the community center. This is all documented in correspondence between the town and the Calvert County government.

Some people have even voiced concern that the town might try to block us, through their zoning office, from installing lights on the county field property. I hope not, but the mayor did allude to that possibility when he met with us a while back in open session.

County officials are committed to moving forward with the ballfield's improvements.

JOHN DOUGLAS PARRAN

Calvert County Commissioner

Prince Frederick

Police as Role Models

Can you tell me if a given--any given--speed limit is there just for the general public or does it [serve] some practical purpose for the Charles County sheriff's patrol cars on routine patrol (nonemergency) to be above that limit.

Also, I'd like to know, in a shopping center parking lot, right at the building, many signs are posted--NO PARKING, FIRE LANE. A police officer in a marked sheriff's car in a nonemergency situation--is it the officer's privilege to park legally in said places, but not me?

An old saying goes like this: One picture is worth a thousand words. That picture would be of the police officer giving a GOOD EXAMPLE by not doing a no-no.

BERNIE PIPICH

Cobb Island

Charles 1999 Crime Report

I want to take a minute at the start of a new era and underline some of the successes Charles County enjoyed in the fight against crime in 1999, and reiterate that as Charles County's primary law enforcement agency, we look forward to working with county residents to build on those successes in the new year.

First off, Charles County enjoyed a significant drop in nearly every category of crime, as measured by the Uniform Crime Report. Though final figures are not available as I write this, we know that last year the county experienced the fewest homicides since 1986, underscoring our commitment to stop violent crime. . . .

The drop in auto thefts is another remarkable accomplishment. Thanks to aggressive investigation and prosecution of those responsible for multiple car thefts, and participation in theft prevention programs like Watch Your Car, preliminary figures show that auto thefts dropped nearly 16 percent last year. In 1995, there were 474 auto thefts in Charles County; final figures for last year are being tallied but we expect there to have been fewer than 300 auto thefts. . . .

Just before Christmas, after a months-long, multiagency investigation spearheaded by our narcotics detectives, we concluded the most extensive drug bust in the history of Charles County. We are committed to keeping drugs our of our neighborhoods, period.

Efforts in other public safety matters are also paying dividends. Through state and federal grants, the agency obtained a new car seat installation safety trailer. Eight officers are now fully certified to ensure that the car seats that provide for the safety of our youngest residents are properly installed. We've expanded our DARE program, one of a number of ways we work with youths and schools in Charles County to educate them about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, gangs and crime. Our alcohol enforcement officers continue to take strong steps to stop underage drinking. Our Volunteers in Community Service program provides alternative sentencing options to thousands of people, including suspended high school students. And our domestic violence unit continued to establish an impressive record of providing counseling and protection to victims of domestic abuse and assault.

In 1999 we continued to extend and strengthen our ties to neighborhoods and communities throughout Charles County. Hundreds of people took part in our crime watch and citizen on patrol programs, and thousands of people in nearly 90 neighborhoods took part in National Night Out in August. . . . Three individuals--Nevins Frankel, Kevin Limrick and Ray Van Vuren--were honored for their individual efforts to stop crime in their communities. Together, we even worked to find a little boy missing in the woods of Charlotte Hall.

Finally, we received support from across the political arena, from all levels of government. . . .

Overall, there was much to celebrate, but there is no time to rest. As a new era opens, we must continue to look for opportunities to work together in our common fight against crime. That's why I hope you will join me at our Crime Watch kickoff Friday, Jan. 28, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Jaycee Hall in Waldorf. . . .

FREDERICK E. DAVIS

Charles County Sheriff

La Plata

Attend School Hearing

Education in Calvert County is approaching a crossroads at which we will need to make decisions that will affect the quality of our children's futures.

Our elected leaders are being asked to make these decisions on our behalf and it is extremely important that they hear from you. As parents and citizens, it is our responsibility to become better informed on the issues facing education today. To this end I would like to encourage everyone to attend the public hearing to be held on Thursday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Calvert High School auditorium. The superintendent's budget will be presented at this time.

The public will be invited to ask questions and make comments. Your participation in this process is vital to our children's success.

TRACIE L. JONES

Calvert County Council of PTAs

Chesapeake Beach

Karol for School Board

I am writing to support the candidacy of Eugene M. Karol for the Calvert County school board. In my opinion, he is clearly the candidate of choice for the First District.

If you are pleased with the high quality of the public schools in Calvert County, Dr. Karol deserves much of the credit. During his 13 years as superintendent, he was the architect of the school system in place today. He provided the vision and guidance, and surrounded himself with a high-quality staff to make the educational initiatives work for the children of Calvert County.

This began with a commitment to high standards of classroom instruction. Gene hired experienced teachers with a demonstrated track record of success with students. He was able to do this because he had the financial support of the school boards and county commissioners of that era. They recognized the value of bringing Calvert County schools to the forefront of public education in Maryland.

Under Gene's guidance, Calvert was one of the first school jurisdictions in the state to embrace emerging computer technology, and became a model for computer-assisted instruction. He did it correctly, beginning with the elementary grades, so that by the time those kids reached high school, programs such as advanced-placement courses were in place to challenge them and better prepare them for the rigors of college study.

Gene Karol's background and expertise in education span over four decades. He has been a classroom teacher, school-based administrator, has led two school systems in Maryland as superintendent, has held positions at the state level in the Maryland state Department of Education and, since his retirement from public education, has held positions in higher education. He is currently dean of one of the divisions of Strayer University.

I have known Eugene Karol for almost 20 years, since he came to Calvert County. I had the privilege to work with him on a close daily basis for seven of those years. I know him to be a man of integrity, a man of his word, and I am convinced of his commitment to quality education for our children. I know both of my own children derived benefit from his initiatives in public education for Calvert County.

As I look at the announced candidates for the First District school board seat, I know of no one else who has the background, expertise and commitment that Gene Karol embodies to help our school system surmount the challenges of the new millennium. Please join me with your vote.

WARREN E. PRINCE

Port Republic

Antiabortion March Notice

The annual Right To Life march will be in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Please consider attending the march or praying that abortion will be eliminated from our nation.

. . . The very, very sad part about abortion is that there are other choices.

If a woman doesn't want to have a baby, she can avoid having sex. If she wants to have sex and not have a baby, there are many forms of birth control other than abortion that can prevent a pregnancy. If a woman still becomes pregnant and doesn't want a baby, she can put the newborn baby up for adoption. There are many loving couples anxious to adopt children. Some will even adopt children from foreign countries if none are available in the United States.

I want to stress again the good news for anyone who has had a part in abortions or has been deceived into thinking abortions are not evil. God is loving, merciful and forgiving. If you are sorry for your part in abortions, He will forgive you. . . .

Those who refuse to repent of that sin will one day stand before God and receive a righteous judgment for their part in the murder of innocent unborn babies. Please pray that everyone makes the right decision about abortion before it is too late.

ROBERT BOUDREAUX

Waldorf

Keep Gun Owners Lawful

Many years ago there was a movie titled "They Made Me a Criminal" starring John Garfield. Please don't you make me a criminal. Gun control legislation being proposed by Governor Glendening and others in the executive branch, if enacted, will do just that.

The governor's ability to represent special interest groups instead of the majority of Marylanders has only been equaled one other time in the history of Maryland. That time was in the early part of 1861 when Governor Hicks, against the wishes of the people of Maryland, clandestinely seized all weapons belonging to the Maryland Militia and turned them over to the federal troops at Fort McHenry.

This act effectively disarmed all of the law-abiding citizens of the state and allowed the state to be occupied by foreign troops. Citizens of Baltimore were shot down in the streets for exercising their right of free speech. Habeas corpus was suspended and citizens and legislators with opinions different from Governor Hicks were arrested.

The time has come for law-abiding citizens to draw a line in the sand and say, "Never again." And, "Enough is enough."

Please be assured that I and millions of others will protect our Second Amendment rights. Thus said, I urge [state legislators] to represent your constituents and not make gun owners a criminal class. Remember this is a lame duck administration. [Legislators] make the laws and decide how to spend the money.

JOE FRANCIS HILL

Huntingtown

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