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letters 11/15

November 15, 1999

Stadium will improve county's overall quality

To the editor:

I am writing to express my support and interest in the construction of a new sports stadium for our community. This project is important to those of us who live and work in the area for a number of reasons. Among those reasons:

1. The availability of professional sports is one measure of the quality of life available in a community. As we provide access to other important events such as the symphony, the museum, and the BluesFest, we should continue to support a local baseball team. Professional sports helps to provide balance to all of the activities that create the quality of life we all enjoy as residents of Washington County.

2. The recreational opportunities available to young people keep increasing as more of them find themselves engaged in activities such as youth soccer as well as football and baseball. Continuing to support professional baseball in this community is a must if we wish to further provoke interest in youth sports as well as provide constructive outlets for our young people as we are become more concerned about how they spend their free time.

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3. Hagerstown has long talked about attracting new businesses to the area. Many factors are important to attracting and retaining such businesses and that certainly includes the availability of sporting events. Not only will professional baseball show interested businesses that we are concerned about our quality of life but will illustrate how people, potential workers, can get their recreational needs met in the community in which they work.

4. Being at the crossroads of two major highways is a tremendous gift that we should use to our advantage. People are going to spend a portion of their disposable income on recreation and we have proof that even those who reside outside of our community enjoy the advantages of Hagerstown. Recent increases in shopping centers, hotel rooms and the proposal that will bring the University of Maryland to our community all suggest that there are increased opportunities for bolstering our local economy.

I am concerned that without a firm commitment to a new stadium, Hagerstown will lose its professional baseball franchise and will find it difficult to get it back in the future. Let us not make the mistake of letting it go as we have done with other opportunities in the recent past, only to realize afterward that it would have benefited our community to invest in the present in order to preserve the future.

Mark S. Rulle

Director of Education

Washington County Health Systems

Stop GOP's Social Security raid

To the editor:

Since the Lyndon Johnson tenure in the White House, the Congress has considered F.I.C.A. tax proceeds to be general revenue, thus creating fictitious levels of annual deficits, and it appears that there is no firm plan to reinstate the Social Security fund with amounts so confiscated plus interest at some future date if needed to keep SS alive.

Your Republican adversaries in the Congress would use the FICA surplus to pay for a so-called tax relief package; they appear to ignore the fact that the use of FICA funds to supplement general revenue has, in fact, amounted to a sizable tax increase for the many workers and their employers for many years.

I, for one, firmly believe that your plan to use any surplus to extend the life of SS is the only prudent approach - in fact, any surplus in the general revenue should also be directed to that end or paying down our huge national debt, the interest on which is overwhelming to anyone with only basic financial understanding. Apparently our Congress chooses to ignore the problem.

Good luck during your lame duck days, Mr. President. I still believe on your ability to lead our great nation and am appalled at the hatchet job the Republicans and Ken Starr did on a matter that was none of their business.

Cal Epple

Smithsburg

Sandy's list

To the editor:

Columnist Sandy Grady has done it again, constructed a long column almost entirely of name calling. All of the following terms were used in Grady's tirade against Pat Buchanan:

Ol' big ears (twice, insulting Perot), fruitcake, superpatriot, egotistical tycoon, blustering TV fulminator, professional provocateur, far-right wacko, Pat the Pug, pusillanimous pols, pugnacious pacifist, labor hard-hats, loose cannon and Peasant Pat.

Doug Delmont

Waynesboro, Pa.

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