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Letters to the Editor

April 08, 1999

Hagerstown UM campus is no great deal

To the editor:

Last weekend's Herald-Mail offered several splendid examples of the stark contrasts between "worthy goals" and "practical reality."

1. The outstanding chronology of noteworthy Washington County historic structures demolished during the recent past was instructive. Even more interesting was the modest legacy of buildings and usage that have replaced them.

Some years back, the late Edmund Hillary was asked why he climbed mountains. His reply: "Because they are there."

The same question might well be addressed to CitiCorp and earlier corporate defilers of our irreplaceable historic legacy: "Why destroy the Kammerer House?"

Answer: "Because it is there."

Apparently, not even a parking lot is planned for this soon-to-be-level site.

2. On other pages both days, the entire community seems delighted by the State of Maryland's commitment of $150,000 to study locating a branch of the University of Maryland near Hagerstown.

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Between the lines, I sense unanimous opinion this new university is assured and upon building will be surrounded by new high-tech industries - not only clean and positive environmentally, but providing oodles of high-paying jobs plus tax payments large enough to bail out the local sewer bonds.

While not wanting to rain on anyone's parade - can someone point to similar growth anywhere else in our nation (except, perhaps, near Stanford, Calif. and the Research Triangle in North Carolina - both of which took decades)?

Also, the U of M appears to be considering an undergraduate institution. Yet locals talk of employees "walking from lab into classroom." That's graduate study. Even if U of M takes the unlikely step of decentralizing its grad program, it'll take at least another decade after the undergraduate facility is complete to provide even one or two - probably non-technical - grad programs.

PS - What happens to Frostburg State's city branch? Did you ever see the big industrial park near FSU?

3. Another news article chronicled the well-meaning effort by Shepherd College's Contemporary American Theater Festival's project to reduce teen-age pregnancy by commissioning a study of unwedded teen-agers, a resultant play showing it's unwise to become pregnant while a teen, and with uncommitted state funds performing this play in statewide high schools and churches.

How many prospective unmarried teens were found in high schools and churches at all? - Let alone seeing a play there?

Might this idea be based on Maxim Gorki's elimination of 20th Russian century poverty with his classic play "The Lower Depths?"

Or might the feature on "South Pacific" in another section apply? It noted that musical's unusually strong statements against racism in the song "You've Got to be Taught." As original cast member Bettina St. John concluded: "That's where theater can be so wonderful, introducing ideas without slamming you over the head and hopefully starting a certain awareness."

How does racism stand - 50 years later - from Kokomo to Kosovo?

D.L. "Dave" Woods

Middleway, W.Va.

A poor bet

To the editor:

Governor Underwood has failed to veto the Coin-Drop Gambling Bill. It will become law without his signature by April 9. Concerned Women for America (CWA) is deeply disappointed by the governor's failure to protect West Virginians from the ever expanding demands of the gambling industry.

Underwood blames the legislature for this state of affairs. The legislature is apparently counting on gambling money to make up $9.6 million of the budget. However, this is money that comes from a destructive habit that increases crime and harms West Virginia families. The governor can stop it by simply vetoing this dangerous bill. Families are more important than money.

Alice Click

Chapter Coordinator

CWA Of W.Va.

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