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Letters to the editor 8/6

August 06, 2002

Independence important to Memorial Rec



To the editor:

Misquoted statements in Bob Maginnis' article regarding the speech made by Delegate Joanne Benson at Hagerstown's Wheaton Park on July 20 prompted me to respond.

If Delegate Benson's speech had been quoted the way it was spoken, in an attempt to help strengthen the community, your article would not have been necessary. It amazes me how someone can claim to know best what others want and need without knowing or understanding the facts, and also how easily people can read other, unintended meaning into sincere words spoken.

I personally spoke to your reporter on what Delegate Benson's intentions were in the comments she made concerning the Memorial Recreation Center. The cut in our funding compared to last year was $10,000 not $7,000 as was stated in your article. Yes, the city has given us C.B.G. Block Grant monies for capital projects. I also stated to your reporter that all county cuts were across the board to all organizations.

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Memorial Recreation Center is currently the only known independent black non-profit community youth organization in the county, and I would like for it to remain independent so we can retain control of how it is operated. Partnering with other organizations often means giving up operating control. I firmly believe that the programs provided at the center for our youth are and have been well-rounded and much-needed programs for the betterment of children in our area. Your article portrayed us as unappreciative for the help in funding that we currently receive.

As the director of M.R.C., I want to say that we are indeed very appreciative of any and all financial help we receive from the City Council, the Gaming Commission, the United Way, and all other financial sources that contribute. Don't sell us short!

My main complaint with Maginnis' article is that it seems very biased. It is very likely that your article has hurt our organization in the public eye. You have highlighted M.R.C. as a money-grabbing agency that does not know how to run its organization and appropriate funds.

For your information, the M.R.C. has been around for over 30 years, since 1968, humbly serving the children of this community by providing much-needed educational and recreational programs that help them grow into well-rounded adults. It is my very strong hope that securing additional funding sources will enable M.R.C. to be around for at least another 30 years.

In the future, a phone call to the M.R.C., or perhaps a visit to our facility would be much appreciated to verify facts before they are set in print.

Ruth Monroe

Director

Memorial Recreation Center

Hagerstown




Negative piece hurts center



To the editor:

The Board of Directors of the Memorial Recreation Center would like to respond to Bob Maginnis' July 24 column "Government has helped black community." We feel that the comments made in the article placed a negative impression on our operation. The article implied that we do not appreciate the funding and support that we have been receiving to operate our facility. In addition, false statements suggest that we have not "partnered" with other agencies in the community.

We agree that government has helped Memorial Recreation Center in our quest to provide services to our community youth. The funding received for our capital improvement projects has allowed us to update our facilities, which has enabled us to form partnerships with local agencies in the community, contrary to comments made in the article.

However, in the past these partnerships have not resulted in recognition and financial benefits for MRC. In order for us to continue to provide services for the youth of our community, these partnerships must be beneficial to all parties.

In light of our current financial situation we intend to seek out additional support from the community, city and county government, as well as applying for grant monies.

Memorial Recreation Center, Inc., will continue to provide viable educational, training and recreational programs to benefit our youth.

Finally, we would like to state our displeasure in the way in which the negative information and misquotes for this article were obtained.

Willie Conyers, President

Memorial Recreation Center, Inc.

Board of Directors, Hagerstown

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