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letters 6/20

June 19, 2000

South County needs better cell service

To the editor:

An issue that was raised that did not seem to be adequately discussed regarding the proposed tower in Rohresville was the issue of public safety. Every day there are reports of lives being saved by good Samaritans who use their cellular phones to report accidents.

The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) has made public safety an important priority regarding its policies this year. The E911 System technology to locate a cellular phone in a given geographical area exists and the details of that nationwide system are being considered by the FCC at this time. In order to implement this system, an adequate number of cellular towers need to be available to "triangulate" and locate a distress call from a cell phone.

I would much rather see a tower installed now, that has been designed to be located in an area where it has minimal impact on the local environment, instead of having the tower raised rapidly in the middle of a corn field because a commissioner in Washington, D.C., required that a tower needed to be installed to fulfill the requirements of the E911 system.

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I consider myself an environmentalist and conservationist at heart, frequently hike the Appalachian Trail and trails around the Harpers Ferry region, and enjoy cycling along Md. 67 and the backroads of southern Washington County. However, I have realized that very frequently my cell phone does not receive an adequate signal, in the event that I were stranded or injured. I have also spoken to the owner of a towing company in Boonsboro, who reports that he frequently cannot obtain an adequate signal in the Pleasant Valley area.

In the event that he were called to an accident, and found the accident victim injured in need of medical assistance, he would not be able to use his cellular system. I suppose he could drive back to Boonsboro to obtain an adequate signal, then call for help and then return to the accident victim.

My daughter attends day care in Boonsboro, and frequently travels in a minivan along with five other children on day trips to parks in the southern Washington County area. The day care provider has a cell phone in her minivan at all times that is charged and ready to use, but if she were in an accident with six children in the Pleasant Valley area and could not obtain an adequate signal, what good would a cellular phone do?

One issue that was not discussed are the advances in cellular technology. There have been tremendous advances over the last 20 years, and I would expect to see that continue in the future. Right now, there are systems being put into place to have low orbiting earth satellites provide nationwide cellular communications, which may extend to worldwide cellular communications. This could potentially make tower technology obsolete. As discussed in the current American Tower Lease Agreement, the tower would be dismantled and removed if it is not used for a period of 12 months.

I understand the concerns of the community, but I would also ask the county commissioners to consider their duty as public servants to consider the safety needs of the public in general.

Andrew R. Cukier

Keedysville

Make plans for farm camp

To the editor:

Maryland Cooperative Extension, Washington County, and Washington County Recreation and Parks Department are currently organizing Farm Fun Day Camp 2000. Farm Fun Day camp is a program that offers kids, ages 7-11, an opportunity to experience some hands-on learning activities about livestock, crops, nutrition, plant sciences and natural resources. The program is being held July 10-14 at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center.

One of the plant science activities planned for campers to complete is an herbal dish garden. The campers will learn about identifying, planting and growing herbs as they make their own herb garden to take home. Sixty plastic pots, approximately 12 inches wide and six inches deep, are needed for this fun, educational activity. If you have pots of this size and would like to donate them to Farm Fun Day Camp please call me at 301-791-1404.

Lori Taylor

4-H Faculty Extension Assistant

Hagerstown

A nice talk

To the editor:

We would like to thank State Sen. Munson for coming to Hancock Elementary School and teaching us about making laws and the people involved in making laws. He helped us understand more about the state legislature.

We would also like to thank him for letting us into the senate chamber. It helped us understand more about how the senators work together to make laws for the state. It was nice of Senator Munson to come to Hancock and talk to us about state legislature and to let us into the senate chamber.

Grade 4

Hancock Elementary School

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