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PenMar plays 'capture the flag' in court

March 13, 2001

PenMar plays 'capture the flag' in court



Fifty-six poles of flags on the wall, 56 poles of flags.

You take one down, pass it around,

Fifty-five poles of flags on the ...

Oh, excuse me, I didn't see you standing there. No, no, come on in, maybe you can help me figure out what the heck it is about mountain air that seems to have made everyone up at the former Fort Ritchie a little loquito.

What was once a proud Washington County Army base has gone to something more like Fort Courage of "F Troop." Between PenMar Development Corp. on one side and the Role Models Academy on the other, we have our Sgt. Morgan O'Rourke against Chief Wild Eagle. Now we get someone to play Medicine Man Roaring Chicken and we're all set.

As we tune in for the latest episode, we find PenMar filing a lawsuit against Role Models for, I am not kidding, having too many flags.

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The suit asks that Role Models be blocked from installing up to 56 flagpoles at the base and requests that the school for drop-ins (no, I don't mean drop-outs, since Role Models accepts just about any kid who drops in) tear down two flagpoles that have already been installed.

Immediately I have a couple of questions. Like, are these flagpoles dangerous? Is Role Models erecting them in the middle of the road? Otherwise, I have to confess, I don't see what there is about a flag worth going to court over.

It seems like we spent years, thousands on thousands of dollars and a Total Quality Management lifetime supply of pointless committee meetings to put the base to a new use.

Then we finally find a new tenant and what do we do? Sue them.

I guess PenMar wants everybody to know who's boss, but aren't there other ways of proving one's manhood other than beating up on pennants?

As war games go, I know kids play "capture the flag" all the time, but I've never known one to take another to court over it. There has to be more to this than flags, doesn't there? Please let this be about more than flags.

Because this could get ugly. You know how it went with Iraq. Pretty soon we will need to dispatch U.N. inspectors to Fort Ritchie to be sure Role Models isn't clandestinely putting up flagpoles in some underground bunker.

And speaking of flags, where in the name of Betsy Ross is U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett? The man has made a political career out of wrapping himself in the flag, and now that we have a real live flag crisis on our hands he's nowhere to be found.

Which brings me, suddenly, to a great all-day Blues Jam concert at Hagerstown Community College going on this Sunday the 18th at Kepler Theater (am I slick on the smooth transitions or what?)

It's both a showcase of some of the best groups in the region, and a chance to help the families of leukemia patients. The benefit runs from 2 to 10 p.m., costs $15 for all day and features Duffy Kane & Black Manhattan, 2 Blue Ensemble, Rudy and The Bluefish, The Blue Comets, The Rhythm Kings, The Push, The Backroads Band and Stephen Britton & Friends.

I heartily endorse these bands, even the ones I haven't heard. They are volunteering their time strictly for the benefit of the kids, and since they don't have much of an advertising budget they are depending on word of mouth and Florida poll workers to deliver a good count.

If you've never seen any of these folks, I feel certain you'll be impressed with the talent; it's a rare chance to see so many groups with local ties in one spot. And to top it off, you will be benefiting children who could really use your help. Details of the concert were available in Monday's Lifestyle section of The Morning Herald and The Daily Mail.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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