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Letters to the Editor

June 15, 1998

A repeat of history?

To the editor:

Will we ever learn from history?

In the late 1970s The Washington Post ran a series of articles on the land bust in Texas. As I surveyed the Washington suburbs, I saw the major shopping centers with empty stores and poor traffic, especially on weekdays.

The same held true for strip centers. Despite this, every road seemed to have yet another strip center being built. These were some of the same conditions that were listed as early signs of the Texas depression. At that time I wondered why our government continued to approve the zoning changes and why banks continued to lend the grand sums for more retail space while surrounding malls went begging for merchants to rent the empty stores. Sure enough, it was not long before Maryland, along with most of the country, was in a depression.

This was the same era in which Washington County was building a major industrial sewage treatment plant.

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Now, we are having reports of stock market instability. Some news analysts are saying that the Asian market problems are going to affect our economy in the form of a downturn. If this pessimistic view is correct, retail sales will be affected.

A discount mall is about to open in our county. There is talk of a large retail center to the west of town. Against citizen protest, our present County Commissioners have just approved a large shopping center near our present Valley Mall. Am I mistaken, or is this the same set of circumstances that prevailed in the late 70s? I sincerely hope not and do hope that our Commissioners have more foresight.

Florence Riedesel

Hagerstown

The fun of reading

To the editor:

Reading is number one! Why is reading such a priority? If you can't read, you can't fill out applications, make checks, or write. I like reading and so should everyone else.

I like reading because if I get a good book I sometimes start to lose track of time and get caught up in the novel. For example, in the story called "The Hobbit," Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, falls down a cavern and finds Golem, a horribly twisted creature. Can you just imagine? Bilbo looking at Golem, Ah!

My class reads a lot (mostly directions), and if I couldn't read, most of the activities, language arts, especially, would be very difficult because I couldn't read any directions. Bringing a special reading teacher to school would be nice because we could create a group of talented readers and create a Reading Challenge Program similar to Project Challenge.

Reading is important because I know that 17 percent of the Washington County adult population can't read. How would the adults get on with life?

We use reading in daily life, especially work. For example, my dad works at Fort Detirck, and he uses the mass spectrometer. I bet he had to read a lot, and in the end he had to fill our a job application.

Reading strategies are very important. They can help you too. I think the most important reading strategies are to sound our words and go back and reread because they can help you make sense out of something crazy.

My favorite strategy is to get a visual picture because I get to think what the story would look like. Let's hear it for reading! Hurrah!

Kenton

Fifth Grade

Pleasant Valley Elementary

Character counts

To the editor:

The society in which we live is determined by the daily decisions we make when doing the right thing is neither easy nor expedient.

Our choices are based upon a core set of moral principles we call character.

Whether we are driving through an intersection, trying to succeed in a relationship, raising children, or serving as president of the United States, character is the issue!

Larry Kump

Falling Waters W. Va.

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