Letters to the Editor

February 14, 1997

Living is giving; giving is living

To the editor:

The holidays are when we take measure of our family ties, creating an odd mixture of tension, relived disappointment and/or relief and thanks for having a happy family.

Somewhere many have learned to believe that, if we are ever to be happy it would be at Christmas amid decorations, family, food, and gifts. And if not. . .

If you miss a daughter, son, husband, wife, sibling, parent or grandparent who has just died, the holidays are a minefield of the deepest, most delicate memories and emotions. Peace of mind, not happiness, is the most sought gift.


Help these friends, being forced to grow from loss, by welcoming their reminiscences of the one who died. Accept and honor them in their fragility. Learn by being open to a personal encounter with their pain.

The Grief Support Network Inc., in helping, as volunteers, several hundred people in three counties this past year, especially honors those who help others the way some people breathe; Eloise Mann of Boonsboro; Shirley Miller of Martinsburg, W.Va.; Sue Hutton of Hedgesville, W.Va. Don Hoke of Inwood, W.Va.; Mary Reid of Maugansville; Gloria Hite and her daughter, Nancy, of Martinsburg; Judy Holt of Harpers Ferry, W.Va.; Karen Lichtliter of Hagerstown; Paula Frazier of Martinsburg; former West Virginia attorney general Charles G. Brown of Washington, D.C.; Jenny Knight of Hagerstown and Mary Ann Dole of Hedgesville, (a "friend" of the Network who with our support has personally delivered over 300 Boo-Bear teddy bears to people grieving a recent death loss). Support from our church friends is much appreciated, especially Trinity United Methodist Church in Martinsburg, Charles Town Presbyterian Church and Washington Square United Methodist Church in Hagerstown.

What we learn from our work is that by living in the present moment to the fullest, we are most alive and regret-free. Living, in short, is giving and giving is living. And a life given away freely over time cannot be snatched from us in the end.

Jim Surkamp


Grief Support Network, IncShepherdstown, W.Va.

Before Feb. 18, tell the EPA to relax rules

To the editor:

To: W.M McCabe,

U. S. Environmental Protection Agfency:

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input to your agency in advance of the implementation of additional air quality standards for ozone and fine particulate matter. As you know, the achievement of federally mandated air quality standards has become a serious burden to our constituency in Washington County.

It is our strong conviction that the Environmental Protection Agency should focus its efforts in four areas:

1) Consider exempting Washington County/Hagerstown Metropolitan Statistical Area from the Northeast Ozone Transport Region and mandatory compliance with the federal Clean Air Act of 1990 for the following reasons:

2) Air quality in western Maryland has not contributed to unhealthy air recorded in other areas of the state. From 1976 through 1985, two monitoring sites in the Hagerstown MSA consistently showed only background levels of ozone, not exceeding acceptable standards. Subsequently, these two sites were removed. The neighboring western Maryland counties of Allegany and Garrett, are already excluded from the NOTR.

3) The classification of Hagerstown MSA as a `metropolitan' area is arbitrary and faulty. Your agency has defined a metropolitan area as one with a population exceeding 100,000 people. While Washington County's population of 125,000 (1990 census) does exceed EPA guidelines, its population is spread over more than 462 square miles. The city of Hagerstown's population is 35,000. Its actual metropolitan area has a population of 70,000, according to 1990 census figures.

4) Removal of Washington County from the NOTR will not substantially affect the readings in the remaining geographical areas.

  • Enforce federal Clean Air Act regulations equally from state to state. The EPA inconsistently enforces or relaxes its clean air requirements. A considerable number of citizens are aware that neighboring states of Pennsylvania and Virginia have chosen to either ignore or comply with regulations in superficial ways with little or no consequences. These states have certainly not suffered the severe fines and loss of highway revenue dollars that were used as a catalyst for passage of Maryland's Vehicle Emission Inspection Program.
  • At the very least, do not increase the attainment standards until the existing standards can be accommodated by our citizens and business community.

D. Bruce Poole

Delegate, District 2B

Donald F. Munson

Senator, District 2

(Editor's note: Citizens have until Tuesday, Feb. 18 to comment on these matters by calling EPA toll-free at 1-888-835-5372, or e-mailing the agency at

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