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Letters to the Editor

August 17, 1999

Don't blame guns

To the editor:

America recently suffered yet another mass murder by a deranged gunman. Irresponsible media coverage is portraying the killer as almost rational even though he was clearly crazy.

The full text of his writings speaks for itself. In spite of this, the news people talk about money and marital problems as if there is a logic to what he did.

The crime was nothing more than the action of an evil man suffering from mental illness. Failure to place the blame on the criminal invites more massacres.

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Those same news people, who overwhelmingly support gun bans, should listen to the words of Admiral Farragut, who once said, "The best defense against the enemy's guns is a well directed fire from our own guns."

Doug Delmont

Waynesboro, Pa.

Tips for saving water

To the editor:

Don't put that soapy, greasy, salty "grey" water on your nice plants. Keep your bath water in the bathroom and use it to flush the toilet. Each time, you save two to three gallons of potable water for your plants.

In time, we will have to reduce the per-capita water going to waste water treatment plants. There are two obvious moves.

1) Automatic "grey water" system for human waste and garbage disposal. Potable water is necessary for drinking, cooking, toothbrushing and dishwashing. It's desirable for bathing and laundry. Other than that, it is foolish to go to the expense of making potable water where it is not needed.

2) Install urinals in homes. Industrial urinals use perhaps a quart per flush. At home, (where you pay your own plumbing bills, so don't put cigarette butts in urinals) they could be designed to use about a cup of water per flush.

High water usage burdens waste water plants and thus puts those down-river at risk.

Charles M. Webster

Washington County

Giving season is coming soon

To the editor:

Thank you for the thought-provoking editorial on charitable giving in Washington County.

You are right in your statement that Washington County residents want to see where their dollars are going. United Way of Washington County has answered this request by allocating contributions to results-oriented programs in its member agencies for the last several years. Results-oriented programs focus on changing an individual's behavior to improve the quality of his life.

In some instances the improvement is immediate and obvious such as keeping children safe in after school youth development programs like those offered by the Boys & Girls Club, Memorial Recreation Center, or the YMCA.

Other examples immediately come to mind, including hot meals served to those homebound through Meals on Wheels, the Commission on Aging's home health aides, and food distributed to pantries and shelters across the county by Food Resources, Inc.

In other programs the improvement is not as readily obvious because it takes time to change human behavior. In the Parent Employment Program offered through Hagerstown Goodwill Industries, men and women from 16 to 40 years old learn the value of the work ethic by applying it to their own lives. The program helps unemployed parents learn basic job skills, develop career goals, and find gainful employment. This program gets results for the client and his or her family. At the W House, women learn to maintain sobriety while they work through issues that affect their success as productive citizens of our community. It costs $7,000 for each individual to complete the program at W House and participate in aftercare services. Contrast that figure with the $26,000 it costs to keep the same individual in jail for a year.

It is obvious that the program gets results not only for the client, but also saves the taxpayer money. In another program, called Adventures in Friendship, developed by the Interstate Service Coalition, children from 11 to 14 years old spend a week at day camp. The youngsters learn CPR, basic child care, and how to handle household emergencies. For all of the young people in our community who are alone after school, or who care for younger siblings, this program is a blessing. Adventures in Friendship gets results when these children handle an emergency they were prepared for.

United Way member agencies make a difference every day of the year. To see the difference, you just have to look at the results of programs like those mentioned above. When the United Way fund-raising campaign begins in September, I hope your readers will remember that a contribution to United Way gets results because the power of you changes lives through United Way.

Richard J. Gagliardo

President

United Way

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