June 26, 2002

County taken to the cleaners

To the editor:

I noticed the county custodial cleaning Contract was awarded. I could not believe the county is going to pay $186,000 for a one-year contract to a company that is outside the county. As a county resident and the owner of a local cleaning company, I was disappointed that my tax dollars are being used to pay for a service that could be done for much less. I attended the pre-bid meeting, but due to circumstances beyond my control I did not submit a proposal.

I believe if the county would lessen some of the restrictions and requirements (not quality expectations) others and I would be able to place a low, responsible bid. First, the county has increased the contractor's costs by placing a set number of hours to be worked, although technology allows for quicker cleaning.

Second, the contract is confusing and allows for a wide interpretation by the county to assess penalties and fines. Finally, the contract requires that the same contractor clean all buildings and cannot be bid or awarded separately.


Finally, I hope the commissioners are not fooled by the price they are paying into taking this contract in-house and can look for other obvious ways of making this contract obtainable by local cleaning companies and at a big savings to the county taxpayers. I believe just by using multiple cleaning companies the county could save thousands. By the way, my unofficial bid based on the current specifications was $152,875 per year and as I understand it I would not have been low bid! Taxpayers should be asking the commissioners why they did not accept the low bid and give the almost $50,000 savings to the school system or other real need. I would hope their answer is better than a small technicality.

Charles Burkett

Servtec Custodial Inc.


Guns would protect

To the editor:

I read with amazement the article about a gun store opening in Hagerstown (Neighborhood group leader fights gun shop in HotSpot area).

People interviewed complain that a gun shop is not the type of business the area needs, that it will attract criminals and that it will be an eyesore. One person expressed concern about raising children near a gun store, as if it were a leaky nuclear reactor.

Even if such a store were an eyesore, if the HotSpot is such a high crime area, a gun shop could be just what the doctor ordered. Instead of whining about the business, residents should flock to the store to acquire the most effective means of self-defense available.

Then they should go to the range to learn how to safely and responsibly use these tools. Criminals are not brave. If they have a reasonable expectation that potential victims will be armed, they will look for easier targets.

Wouldn't it be great if criminals in the area were put on notice that its streets and homes were no longer criminal safe zones, and that victims can and will use force to defend their lives, their families and property?

As good a job as the police do, we cannot depend on them to protect us all individually. Citizens in this country have not only a right, but also a responsibility, to take the necessary steps to protect our loved ones from violence.

John Velleco

Gun Owners of America

Washington, D.C.

Wye Oak lives on

To the editor:

Fear not, citizens. The mighty Wye Oak lives on in Boonsboro, Washington County, and hopefully in Middletown, Frederick County. In an article in the Washington Post in the spring of 1994 the Post wrote of the Wye Oak, its aging condition and that offspring (clones) were being sold for $25 each.

I purchased two saplings about 25-inches in height. They came together with a scroll attesting to their origin and signed by the then Governor of Maryland, Donald Schaefer. I planted both, but unfortunately one died. However, the other Wye Oak has grown enthusiastically in my Boonsboro back yard on Main Street. It is now about 15 to 20 feet tall!

Two years later in celebration of my daughter's wedding at the Dahlgren Chapel in Middletown, Frederick County, I donated two saplings with their scrolls. One I gave to two members of the Middletown Historic Society, and the other to Bowman House Historic Society on Main Street in Boonsboro, Washington County.

Denny Warrenfeltz, an officer of the Boonsboro Historic Society, dug the hole and placed it in the Bowman House back yard while I held it straight and murmured maternal sounds of approval.

Long live the Wye Oak progeny!

Clara L. Brown


Hagerstown BMX makes us proud

To the editor:

In response to a letter to the editor in The Herald-Mail, Mr. Fearnow was right. On Sunday, June 16, Hagerstown BMX was kicking off another day of racing at the Hagerstown Fairgrounds. However, this was not just another Sunday race.

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