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Knowing 'Mother Marjorie'

March 28, 1997

Letters to the editor

Knowing 'Mother Marjorie'

To the editor:

I loved Jessica LaPole's prize-winning Commission for Women essay about our local living legend, Mrs. Marjorie Grumbacher. A Herald-Mail article last year told me Mrs. Grumbacher owned and operated a dress store, but she modestly declines to reveal the story of her community activism. I was especially fascinated to learn the details of Mrs. Grumbacher's long history of innovative volunteerism, and am grateful to Ms. LaPole for sharing this with us.

The subject of LaPole's story is revered by hundreds of prisoners at MCIH and hundreds of successful ex-cons around the state, who became familiar with Mrs. Grumbacher as they progressed through Alternatives to Violence (in which she served as a facilitator) and Lifestyles (in which she served as an advisor to the self-help group). We do not begrudge India their Mother Theresa, since we have "Mother Marjorie" here!

One necessary update for the essay is Marjorie's current involvement with MCI-H. To say "taught," implying the past tense, is not quite fair. "Mindful Marjorie" is a major force in the Community Correctional Services Committee, which supports every treatment program in the prison, and she still charges into MCI-H on a regular basis with her husband, Delegate Grumbacher (retired).

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Finally, an award Mrs. Grumbacher earned last year, which was not mentioned, was recognition as one of the best Governor's Public Safety Volunteers in the state. When I authored the successful nomination, I described Marjorie as a loving, giving, caring and dedicated volunteer. Her laughter is infectious, her concern is genuine, her questions are sharp and her eyes sparkle with such joy of life that she gives us, the hopeless, hope! It is clear that many, many people have been blessed to know "Mindful Marjorie."

Douglas Scott Arey

MCIH #130196

Candidate favors cooperative approach

To the editor:

I have had the opportunity to sit in on other tax rebate meetings between Washington County Commissioners and the municipalities within the county. Those meetings did not prove to be as lively as the most recent one between the Hagerstown Mayor and Council and the county commissioners. This meeting did not start out lively, mind you, but when the discussion turns to water and sewer around here, "people listen."

Commissioner Bowers compared the county's water and sewer debt to the city's projected debt due to upgrade of facilities. I try to avoid comment on issues that I have not had time to adequately research. Commissioner Bowers might take a lesson here. If the budget figures I have seen are correct, the city has enough of a customer base to undertake its debt. I have not researched the county's figures but the recent publicity on proposed rate increases would seem to suggest a more modest customer base.

There were a few barbs tossed back and forth between Mayor Sager and Commissioner Wade concerning discussion of a water/sewer "authority." I was glad to see the council members extend a commitment to listen and further communication on the subject. Nothing will happen between these political bodies if the lines of communication close. There may be little or no progress with the channel open but a closed channel will guarantee no progress. The council appears to agree with the mayor that an "authority" is not in the best interest of Hagerstown. As a candidate for city council I would tend to share this view.

However, my answer for this and any other issue which would come before me as a council member would be to question "why" it is necessary and "how" it is beneficial to the community. It is impossible to undertake these questions without adequate communication. I sincerely hope that these lines of communication stay open.

Paul Toothman

Hagerstown

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