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letters 12/23

December 23, 1999

Tobacco money belongs to us

To the editor:

The tobacco company money which will come from the tobacco lawsuit settlement does not belong to the state government, it belongs to us.

For anyone who does not remember, the tobacco lawsuits were explained to us as a way to recover money which we had to spend to take care of extra medical needs of smokers. This money did not come from the state, it came from us. We paid higher taxes to meet these expenses.

Since the lawsuit settlement is supposed to do justice to those who have been forced to spend extra money, unjustly, it follows that this money should be returned to those who spent it.

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Remember, we are not discussing trivial sums here. Maryland will receive billions of dollars which belong to us, not the government. Every taxpayer in Maryland has a right to expect a check for his share of the tobacco settlement, every year, for the next 25 years. If the governor does not agree to give this money to its rightful owners, I will consider going to court to force it.

I invite everyone in Western Maryland to contact your delegation and demand the return of your money which the state government is holding for you.

James H. Warner

Rohresville

Take a moment to sit and relax

To the editor:

A Mental Health Minute.

Take time out of your busy schedule to relax. This is especially important when you are under extra stress.

Warning signs of excess stress include:

Grinding your teeth.

Muscle tension in forehead, jaw, neck, shoulders, stomach, lower back.

Inability to sleep.

Overeating or not eating.

Upset stomach.

Inability to concentrate.

Take care of yourself and relax.

Support Groups:

Depression 7:30 p.m. 1st and 3rd Tuesday.

Divorce and separation, Wednesday evenings by the Mental Health Association 301-733-6555.

Consumer at 5 p.m. 1st and 3rd Tuesday.

And bipolar at 5 p.m. 2nd and 4th Tuesday.

The Office of Consumer Advocacy's phone number is 301-790-5054.

Peggy Reynolds

Hagerstown

Sound land plan

To the editor:

The Franklin County Forest and Farmland Conservancy would like to take this opportunity to applaud the recent vote of the Washington Township Supervisors against the rezoning of the Glen Afton Farm. We believe that the vote demonstrated a commitment by the Supervisors to the Washington Township Planning and Zoning Commission's recommendation and the long-range comprehensive plan for Washington Township.

The preservation of farmland in Franklin County is of vital importance. From 1992 to 1997, Pennsylvania lost over 1 million acres of farmland to development - ranking second only to the State of Texas in farmland loss. Urban sprawl is destroying our rural way of life. Adhering to long range comprehensive plans and to zoning maps is the only route towards guaranteeing that urban sprawl will not succeed in the county to force increases in taxes and crime, and drive the county's farmers out of business. Our local planning commissions, as well as the county's Planning Commission, are crucial to this mission.

The residents of Washington Township who voiced their concerns very eloquently were heard by the elected Township officials. We encourage the remainder of Franklin County residents to be as vigilant in their own municipalities as this group of residents is in Washington Township.

Thomas Alan Linzey, Esq.

On Behalf Of:

The Franklin County Forest and Farmland Conservancy, Inc.

Abusers should keep their guns

To the editor:

Your editorial of Dec. 3 endorses the gun prohibitions applied to persons served with domestic violence protection orders.

Persons served with protection orders have not been convicted of anything. The taking of their 2nd Amendment rights is therefore unconstitutional.

In April 1999, Federal Judge Sam R. Cummings so ruled, writing, "It is absurd that a boilerplate state court divorce order can collaterally and automatically extinguish a law-abiding citizen's 2nd Amendment rights, particularly when neither the judge issuing the order, nor the parties nor their attorneys are aware of the federal penalties arising from firearm possession after entry of the restraining order."

Judge Cummings found the law to be unconstitutional on both 2nd and 5th Amendment grounds. His entire opinion was released over the Internet at www.txnd.uscourts.gov under "Public Notices" and at www.NealKnox.com.

The mainstream press generally ignored this pro-gun ruling.

Doug Delmont

Waynesboro, Pa.

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