Letters to the editor 3/5

March 05, 2002

Battle shaping up over Little Orleans race track

To the editor:

Lest we forget, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of a battle similar to David and Goliath that's taking place just over the Washington County line into neighboring Allegany County.

The outcome of this battle will be felt throughout Western Maryland and in the long run the entire state of Maryland. In February of 2000, the citizens of Little Orleans, in Allegany County, Maryland, received news that was more chilling than anything that Ol' Man Winter could offer.

William Rickman Jr., a Montgomery County developer had purchased a local farm with the intentions of constructing a one-mile horse racing track and off-track betting facility. The farm is the central view of an overlook along Scenic 40, that in the early '50s was designated "The Beauty Spot of Maryland."


The Rickman property is 112 acres of farm and forest land that sits at the intersection of Orleans Road and interstate 68. Orleans Road serves as one of the main entrances to Green Ridge State Forest, for the thousands that visit to enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and biking.

Little Orleans is a community whose families have owned and protected their land for up to six generations. The residents there, approximately 180 families spread over 10 miles, have learned to live and love a lifestyle well in tune with the natural wonders that surround the area. In early March of 2000, many residents of Little Orleans formed Citizens Against the Racecourse. The group has met political roadblocks at every turn.

The Western Maryland Delegation, Speaker Taylor, Del. Kelly and Del. Edwards have refused to meet with the citizens group. These concerned citizens have not thrown in the towel but continue to meet and plan hearings, appeals and various strategies to stop the proposed horse racetrack and off track betting facility. With only 21 days of racing and an off-track betting facility, this project would provide few jobs that could support families and provide benefits. It offers little to Allegany County, other than the destruction of a rural community.

The local water supply, rare and endangered plant and aquatic species, two pristine trout streams, and wild life are all threatened by this project. Citizens across the state need to let the legislators know that this project should be prevented. Even Allegany County's own Comprehensive Plan recognizes this farm as being in a sensitive srea that should be preserved. The politicians involved are as blinded by gambling dollars as the "rail birds" who will lose their week's earnings at the track. There is so much to lose, and very little to gain.

Beth Earley

Little Orleans, Md.

In search of family history

To the editor:

I am wondering if any of your readers might be able to help me track down a missing part of my family's history.

My great-uncle Thomas Boyd and his sister Minnie, children of Sarah (Somerville) and John Boyd, came to this continent from Belfast, probably in the early 1900's. Minnie, my grandmother, proceeded to Alberta where she married William Garlick. Thomas went to Maryland. They corresponded until the mid 1920's when Minnie moved to British Columbia. Recently, partial postcard of Thomas surfaced. A note on the back places him in your town.

My mother, who is now getting on in years, has recently started wondering why these siblings migrated. We would be interested in hearing from anyone in your area who may be able to help. They can reach me at Box 166, Hagensborg, B.C. VOT 1HO, Canada.

Wilma Hallam


Don't weep for Taliban prisoners

To the editor:

I'm so sick of hearing human rights groups, as well as some U.S. allies, criticizing the conditions under which these Afghan war detainees are being held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

These detainees are being treated humanely unlike our military who were captured during the Korean War. I have an uncle who fought in that war, and even though he doesn't speak of that war often I have heard horrible truths about how our military were treated inhumanely and cruelly.

As far as the detainees, let's call them what they are: Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters being held in Cuba being considered POWs, no way. America is dealing with murderers of innocent people, our U.S. citizens.

How soon we forget these days. My uncle hasn't; and I doubt if our U.S. veterans have when they hear these human rights groups criticizing our treatment of the detainees. I bet they become nauseated, like I do.

So, why don't these human rights groups just go to Afghan to live and take John Walker Lindh with them?

Betty J. Mumma


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