Letters to the Editor: What about hazardous waste?

Posted 2/25/21

Council members: How do we dispose of hazardous waste?

First, let me thank you for the single stream recycling now available in the county. It has been a long time coming, and makes it so much …

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Letters to the Editor: What about hazardous waste?

Posted

Council members: How do we dispose of hazardous waste?

First, let me thank you for the single stream recycling now available in the county. It has been a long time coming, and makes it so much more convenient to do the right thing.
On another matter, why have we not joined the Mid-Shore Recycling Program, which includes Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, and Caroline Counties?
Last year, I spoke to the director of the Solid Waste Department and asked when disposal of household hazardous waste materials was scheduled for the landfill. He informed me that there had not been one for a while.
When was the last collection of these materials? If you aren’t providing proper means of disposal, these material are co-mingled with trash and brought to the landfill, or dumped into ditches to find their way to the Bay.
As we want to attract new residents, a lack of services such as this is a negative for them and current taxpayers.
I realize we are a poor county, but we need not be dumb as well. With Earth Day right around the corner, what steps are you taking to keep these materials out of county ditches to ensure they are handled properly ? Is the county planning a day this year to collect household hazardous waste?
Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter, and your continued efforts to protect Dorchester County’s lands and waters.
James H. Slacum

Hurlock, Maryland

Thoughts for community building
I was at a grocery store checkout a couple of weeks ago when the gentleman in front of me leaned toward the cashier as he was having trouble hearing her. Sher very respectfully asked him to please cover his nose with his mask. I was stunned to hear him respond that indeed, he did mind because “I don’t care about you.”
Upon reflection, I realize he is correct. If by this point in time if one is not wearing a mask properly, then one is openly displaying a complete and utter lack of regard and empathy for every other living being on the planet and he probably does not care about anyone.
By now, we all know that it is a lie that COVID-19 is a political hoax. One must know that while some folks have milder cases; too many people are dying, suffering, have long-term medical problems and the impact is still unknown if one has a child while suffering as a long hauler. As already known, we will not all get the same health care treatments.
So how do the vaccines work? The vaccines provide protection in the event of exposure to COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), once injected into our bodies, the vaccines “teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.” The vaccines currently available require two doses for optimal effectiveness.
What does this mean for all of us, not just some of us? We will all need to continue to be careful, especially as the rollout of the vaccines will take some time and further community effort.
Very proudly display that you are a good citizen, a caring member of the community by wearing well-fitting double masks and care for them as instructed by CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html If you are stuck as an obstinate and defiant person; maybe you can use this pandemic as a springboard to test out being a caring member of the community. Even if you do not care internally as the man at the checkout, maybe you will feel good about fooling others that you are a kind and caring person. The mask will not allow anyone to tell the difference.
Gail Quenneville, LCSW

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Help for HBCUs
U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) along with Senators Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Christopher Coons (D-DE) sent a letter urging Senate leadership to allocate additional emergency relief for both public and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the COVID-19 relief proposal. Additionally, the lawmakers pushed the Senate leaders to ensure that HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) have equitable access to additional federal relief funds. Maryland is home to four HBCUs; Morgan State University, Bowie State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Coppin State University. The full letter is below.
Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Minority Leader McConnell,
As you work to craft another recovery package to help Americans cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, we urge you to provide as much funding as possible for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and to ensure these institutions’ equitable access to urgent and necessary relief funds. We further request that HBCUs receive at least the same proportion of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund as they have received in last year’s COVID relief packages.
The Nation’s 101 accredited HBCUs are vital to the success of low-income, first-generation college students of color and contribute markedly to our Nation’s economy. Since the founding of the nation’s first HBCU in 1837, these institutions have survived racial and systemic discrimination not only within higher education, but also in other venues such as the labor market, financial market and the socio-political systems of the respective states in which they are located. Due to these factors, HBCUs have historically experienced challenges in gaining access to the resources necessary to consistently provide quality academic programing to their students, maintain adequate infrastructure, hire and retain leading experts in various fields of study, and honor necessary financial obligations. Despite these challenges, HBCUs have been remarkably successful at educating our Nation’s political and economic leaders, including members of both chambers of Congress and the current Vice President of the United States.
In the December 2020 Fiscal Year 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which included emergency, short-term COVID relief, HBCUs, Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) received $1.7 billion of the $22.7 billion Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. This funding was critical, as HBCUs, TCUs, and some MSIs educate a disproportionately high percentage of the nation’s underserved students. For example, Black students at HBCUs have been overwhelmingly highly impacted by coronavirus via health and economic circumstances such as higher unemployment. Students, faculty, and staff of color and Indian Country have also experienced acute suffering from higher rates of infection and mortality from COVID-19, which is why it is so important that all TCUs (as defined in Section 316(b)(3) of the Higher Education Act (20 USC 1059c)). As such, there is a critical need for additional emergency financial support to help these institutions through this historic economic and public health crisis.
President Biden’s America’s Rescue Plan proposes at least $35 billion for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to ensure colleges have critical resources to implement public health protocols, execute distance learning plans, and provide emergency financial aid grants to students. It is critical that Congress, at minimum, enact President Biden’s proposal and ensure that HBCUs, MSIs, and TCUs have equitable access to this fund.
Specifically, we ask that the HBCU community, as well as TCUs and MSIs, receive as much of this fund as possible, and no less than the same portion of funding they received in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. We also request that the emergency funds not prematurely sunset while underresourced institutions are experiencing the consequences of the pandemic. We further request that Congress maintain a strong maintenance of effort provision to prevent states from cutting back their investments in higher education.

Finally, we ask for continued flexibility for HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs to use their Higher Education Act Title III and VII grant dollars in ways which are most helpful to each respective institution as they attempt to adjust to the circumstances brought about by this crisis, and that HBCUs continue to be eligible for any additional allocated to the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education for institutions facing significant unmet needs due to COVID-19.
Thank you for your consideration of our request, and we look forward to working with you to support these important programs in this time of crisis.
Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Raphael Warnock (D-GA)
Jon Ossoff (D-GA)
Christopher Coons (D-DE)