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Letters to the Editor 5/25

May 28, 2002

Fort Ritchie saga drags on endlessly


To the editor:

Ho-hum. I write to compliment Andrea Rowland for a good try at making a news story out of more PenMar Development Corporation fluff.

I went to California in January fully expecting the property at Fort Ritchie to have been transferred from the Army to our Washington County "agents" before my return. This misguided belief was based on the PenMar Board Chairman Brett Wilson's news release in December that "about a month" was needed to wrap up the deed. Sorry, no land deal by May.

Then on my Kentucky Derby trip, my son indicated to me that his information showed that the PenMar Development Corporation could finally own something to develop sometime this month. Sorry, still no land deal into June, 2002.

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Attorney Wilson masters the art of hyperbole in stating that Fort Ritchie's largest tenant's legal action "might slow us down, but it won't stop us."

So said the glacier to the mountains. If my memory still serves, Fort Ritchie closed back in 1998. The Herald-Mail reporter points out that PenMar officials are working to evict the troublesome school for troubled youth. Now, that sounds like a redevelopment plan. Who allowed them in in the first place?

Who on the PenMar Board has any property redevelopment experience? At least the board members' terms are up on July 1, 2002.

If our County Commissioners learned anything from the last exercise in making their appointments to the PenMar Board of Directors (for which they are the approvers), then perhaps we can get ready to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Fort Ritchie's closing with some leadership from a group that has some working knowledge of property redevelopment. At this point the bar is not set very high.

It can't be as hard as the story PenMar constantly rubs our noses in on page one, and now pages three and six of our local paper. Compare the adjacent Letterkenny situation.

John Van Horn, in Herald-Mail news coverage, reports he has just received a deed in the mail for another 220 acres of the Franklin County BRAC site. The news was not that the Army actually mailed him a deed with no senators or gubernatorial candidates dancing until midnight, but rather that Van Horn's "redevelopment effort" has 80 percent of the property accounted for prior even to having title to the property. PMDC, on the other hand, has little marketing, it appears, so "the land transfer can proceed as planned," according to Wilson.

I don't understand all the things he places before the public, but I'm no lawyer. For example, he is identified in the Franklin County paper as saying that the latest "bankruptcy doesn't affect PMDC as much as it affects the Army."

This reminds me of a homeowner in the fire-ravaged hills of California saying, "This wildfire doesn't affect me as much as it affects those firefighters "

If blocking the land transfer does not affect our home-grown PMDC, then their record of significant accomplishments is bound to continue. If this group never shows the Army that they are in a hurry to take title to any of the land in this land transfer process, then how much longer can they claim to be a "development corporation?" At my age, I am not sure I have the time to wait.

Oscar W. Spigler

Maugansville

Optimist Club thanks sponsors for Law Week aid


To the editor:

The Optimist Club of Hagerstown wants to express thanks to the following companies, that made Law Week an outstanding success for the members and law officers that were honored at the Venice Inn on May 8.

Their donations can only be repaid by the Citizens of Maryland and Washington County in knowing the law enforcement officers are there for our protection.

They also need our support in making reports of crimes and doing volunteer work as may be required. It does take all of us to take the bite out of crime.

Thanks to: Bachtell and Company, CPAs; Expedited Services, Inc., Psillas Group Associates, the Groh Realty Company, Charles Henson of Nationwide Insurance and Shade of Green Lawn Care

David C. Borggren Sr.

President

Hagerstown Optimist Club

A veteran forgets to pay a single bill and gets a big fine


To the editor:

Please don't forget to pay your auto insurance. I am a veteran of World War II with an honorable discharge. I have never been arrested nor written a letter to the editor. Around Christmas my wife fell and broke her hip which had to be replaced. All the duties she helped with then fell on me - shopping, cooking, paying bills and cleaning.

In the middle of all this and her therapy our auto insurance lapsed. With no warning and no notice they just canceled my insurance after 50 years. I had no accident, so they reinstated me but the D.M.V. fined me $220 for letting my insurance lapse. Talk about kicking a man when he is down.

This is the thanks you get for being a good subject. I hope our legislature enjoys this $220 as I have really put my blessing on it and them. Maryland has turned into a cruel and hateful state for the elderly.

John Sullivan

Hagerstown

Optimist Club thanks sponsors for Law Week aid


To the editor:

The Optimist Club of Hagerstown wants to express thanks to the following companies, that made Law Week and outstanding success for the members and law officers that were honored at the Venice Inn on May 8.

Their donations can only be repaid by the Citizens of Maryland and Washington County in knowing the law enforcement officers are there for our protection.

They also need our support in making reports of crimes and doing volunteer work as may be required. It does take all of us to take the bite out of crime.

Thanks to: Bachtell and Company, CPAs; Expedited Services, Inc., Psillas Group Associates, the Groh Realty Company, Charles Henson of Nationwide Insurance and Shade of Green Lawn Care

David C. Borggren Sr.

President

Hagerstown Optimist Club

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