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Letters to the Editor

September 17, 1998

Williamsport school needs help

To the editor:

On Saturday, Sept. 5, it came to my attention that the board of education recently made a decision to delay renovations to Williamsport Elementary until the year 2002-03.

This came as quite a surprise, since we understood that next year the education specifications would begin.

The concern is that our school has gone through such a growth spurt in the recent years. This school year we have had to add an additional first grade class, second grade class and fifth grade class. This has created a loss of our computer lab, resource room and instructional assistance room.

In addition, the growing numbers have qualified us for an assistant principal. However, this created a loss of the supply closet to house this supportive role. We have no gymnasium and no air conditioning (we know these are considered luxuries). There are some windows that do not open, blinds that do not work, ceilings in disrepair and there is little supply space for staff.

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Williamsport Elementary is not the only school needing renovations or improvements. We do not want to interfere with another school from receiving its needed improvements. However, we are greatly concerned over how we can continue to provide a quality environment for education to take place.

Deanna Bailey

PTA President

Williamsport Elementary

How the vote happened

To the editor:

The news story about the Good Humor/Breyer's strike vote is not misleading.

At the Aug. 16 meeting there was a motion to have a secret ballot vote. There was also a motion to have a vote by a show of hands. We had a vote on how we would vote on the contract and the majority voted to do so by a show of hands.

There were about 325 people at this meeting and the outcome of the vote on the contract was 12 for, and 280 against the contract proposal. Only 33 people failed to vote either for or against the contract proposal. We did not bully or intimidate anyone.

There are 179 workers in the classification of handpacker. The majority of these workers feel they are not overly paid due to working conditions. A handpacker works a 10-hour shift, four to six days per week with two 10-minute breaks and one 20-minute break per shift.

The 4 percent, 3 percent, 3 percent raise is misleading. A handpacker does get these increases but the higher labor grade amounts to a 2.9 percent, 2 percent, and a 2 percent increase over three years, with proposed health insurance rate increases of 5 percent per year. This doesn't look like much of a raise does it?

Nobody wants to see a strike and the union is in no way trying to force one. In fact the union has been bargaining in good faith to address the company's issues at hand.

Roy Funk Jr.

Grievance Chairman

U.S.W.A. Local 9386

Get our history right

To the editor:

I would like to respond to Roger Boyer's statement in the Sunday, Aug. 16 issue of The Herald-Mail in the article about saving the Hagerstown and Martinsburg roundhouses.

Boyer, who is project coordinator for Potomac Headwaters Research Conservation and Development Region Inc. needs to get his Civil War history concerning the West Virginia Panhandle straight. Contrary to what he says in the article, the Panhandle (Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan and Hampshire counties) did not secede from Virginia during the Civil War.

In fact Martinsburg's citizens welcomed Stonewall Jackson's troops with cheers when he marched through the town. The Panhandle did not break with Virginia and become part of West Virginia until 1866, when, through the influence of a Union sympathizer railroad magnate by the last name of Garrett, a vote held for the citizens of the Panhandle areas to see if they wanted their region to be part of West Virginia which was formed in 1863 by West Virginia Union sympathizers. No Confederate veteran was allowed to take part in the vote and it is entirely possible that the vote was tampered with in behalf of Garrett's advantage. Garrett wanted the Panhandle to be part of West Virginia to further his railroad empire.

Tom Johnson

Hagerstown

Zoning issue won't go away

To the editor:

"It" (being Murphy/Corporation of Shepherdstown vs. Terrance Britt, represented by Frank Hill), finally dawned on me why zoning violations have taken so long to initiate prosecution.

The planning commissioners are so over their heads in this situation. So by allowing continuations, perhaps "It" will go away. The Murphy's and private citizens of this "Historic District" will not allow "It" to go away!

Kenneth Starr has taken seven months to gather evidence for a grand jury to indict the president. This is now going onto the 10th month, with mounting evidence at present of 150 violations and counting. But, the planning commission continues to give lip service, They're working on "It." I seriously doubt that in the private sector that one violation, let alone 150, would be allowed to be set aside. Another answer as to why government is so slow!

I ask you citizens, taxpayers, historians and voters of the corporation of Shepherdstown, would you want your new neighbor to have 150 violations, while your other neighbors jumped through the hoops, dotting their "i's" and crossing the "t's" to be in compliance of zoning laws, even after a Cease and Desist Order is served?

Come to "Historic Shepherdstown," re-founded in 1998 - buy historic homes and do whatever you want in our "Historic District."

Whenever I think of a nice tranquil vacation, I am reminded by looking next door, of where I don't want to go - To the Terrance Britt Sarasota Sunset Hilton (a non-historical attempt), trimmed in tranquil Caribbean turquoise, with the constant humming of a Motel 8 air conditioner. So the next time you think of taking a cheap Florida vacation to watch the sunset, as the house glows, come on down to West New Street and we'll keep the front porch light on for 'ya!

Robin Murphy

Shepherdstown

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