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letters to the editor 4/15

April 15, 2002

Our do-nothing delegation

To the editor:

Here I go, burning bridges again. After reading in this morning's Herald-Mail that all four local bills have cleared the Maryland General Assembly and understanding what those bills will accomplish it should put most Washington County residents into a state of despondence.

As a result of the efforts of our delegation's efforts in Annapolis this past session the County Commissioners will get an undeserved 50 percent pay raise, Orphans Court judges receive a 16 percent raise as well as an increase in allowance for room and meals, the Hagerstown Soccer Club Inc. will be exempt from paying property taxes on its fields and the other bill will limit the terms for Washington County Museum of Fine Arts Board of Trustees members. Except for the museum bill, all of these bills cost us money.

Now I ask is that a worthwhile return on our investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a do-nothing delegation? It should be noted that each delegate received a substantial pay raise also. One would be hard pressed to find a single instance where a member made a difference on any issue that came before the General Assembly this session. Yet we are likely to hear from some about how we/he/she/she/me/I/ brought home the bacon. What nonsense.

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On occasion we hear delegates say they value our comments and suggestions. At this moment I have one. Do something constructive.

Donald Day

Beaver Creek




Park Service police carry heavy load

To the editor:

I took offense to a statement your paper wrote in the April 8 issue on page B2 under the story about the boy who was injured while rappelling on the C&O Canal National Historic Park. Your paper made the statement that no police agency responded to the incident, when in fact a police agency did.

Law enforcement rangers of the National Park Service from both the C&O Canal NHP and Harpers Ferry NHP responded to the incident. NPS rangers make arrests, write citations and investigate crimes every day across the United States. Of all the law enforcement agencies in the United States, National Park Service Rangers are the most likely to get assaulted in the line of duty.

The reasons for this is that NPS Rangers patrol alone in some of the most isolated areas in the United States without backup and sometimes without radio communications. NPS rangers are the first line of defense for Camp David. NPS rangers are the first agency to respond when the Police Department of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., needs backup. NPS rangers in this area often locate and detain individuals wanted for various crimes in the region and across the United States.

These individuals are then turned over to the police agency who have issued the warrants for these individuals. It was Park Service rangers at Harpers Ferry NHP who located and arrested a subject wanted for a double homicide on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. National Park Service rangers from this area recently deployed to Salt Lake City to assist with security for the Winter Games.

On 9/11, every law enforcement ranger in the region responded to Washington, D.C. and guarded the children who were evacuated from the Pentagon Day Care Center and later assisted in other security details in Washington. In the last few years, rangers in Hawaii and North Carolina have been shot and killed in the line of duty. I have been a full-time law enforcement dispatcher for the National Park Service since 1990. In that time, I can remember 10 times when rangers in this region have been assaulted in the line of duty.

A police agency did respond to the climbing accident on Sunday, April 7th, an agency that responds every day to accidents and crimes that occur on Federal Lands and one that also responds and assists local police officers in this region every day.

Blair Williamson

National Park Service

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