Letters to the editor - 9/29/02

September 30, 2002

Moratorium needed to stop crime, pollution

To the editor:

To the farmers who think they can do anything with their land, I don't think so. I have more than three acres. I could undercut the price of the landfill and store millions of old tires on it, then move out of the state. I think the local and state authorities would be on my case big time. So I can't do anything I want to - why do you think you can?

Also, a speaker at a recent rezoning meeting reported a study showing the value of farmland increased in two Maryland counties with similar zoning changes. Are the farmers here slashing their own pocketbooks by fighting the rezoning? I wish I could answer that one for you. I also have a great deal of doubt about Harold Phillips' concern for the farmers. I believe he would rather see a pre-fab house on every quarter acre of Washington County.


Now let's look at development and crime. The county commissioners/planning commission claim about a 1 percent growth rate based on new housing starts.

The article by Tom Firey shows an even lower growth rate, about .73 to .80 percent based on population figures. According to the July 23 Herald-Mail article "Sheriff: Deputies underpaid" Sheriff Mades claims a 4.2 percent increase in crime over a year. I say "put on your bulletproof vests." The police typically come after the crime, not during. They are not your bodyguards.

Fiery suggests that the new housing built around Hagerstown will be occupied by residents of Washington County, a migration of people from downtown or remote areas. What then happens to downtown or the houses in remote areas? Will Hagerstown become a ghost town or will all the homes be demolished for offices and businesses? I believe the downtown houses will either be rented or sold. Where then do those people come from? If used for businesses, won't that just cause gridlock traffic in and out of Hagerstown? Try driving to Washington, D.C., on a workday at 7 a.m.

Along with increased development and growth come various forms of pollution. To see what can happen to air pollution get on an airplane on a hot and humid day and look down at Washington, D.C.

The first thing I see is an umbrella of smog covering the entire metropolitan area. How much more raw sewage will go down the Potomac on the next failure of the Hagerstown sewer system? What is the effect of that on the bay?

After all, the state is asking, perhaps telling, farmers to control agricultural runoff to protect the bay. There is also the question of water quality where the supply is predominantly from wells. Will it become polluted from the additional septic systems caused by growth in these areas?

The county landfill is also a source of visual and water pollution. It has been reported to be filling faster than expected. Increased development will only increase the use of the landfill. Who's backyard will the next landfill be in?

I believe increased development will increase crime, the population and pollution. Thus, I remain convinced a moratorium on new developments, especially in areas to be zoned preservation or environmental conservation, should be implemented immediately and remain until the new county zoning ordinance is in effect.

Edwin Kumsher


Officers saved life of this inmate

To the editor:

I'm writing concerning an article submitted to you by Doug Arey on June 5, referencing the heroic action of two correctional officers here at MCIH.

On May 28, my life was saved by the quick actions and response of Officer Bloom and Lt. Flanigan, after I had a serious heart attack.

In spite of the seemingly jealous attitude of certain other correctional officers, I personally feel compelled to acknowledge the good deeds that were exhibited by the two above named officers. I might also add that because of their actions both Bloom and Flanigan were awarded certificates by the commissioner of correction on July 11, for their absolute attention to a life-threatening situation even during the changing of shifts.

So often thanks go unsaid and actions unrecognized, so it is a pleasure for me to write about some of those I deem worthy of recognition, and to extend my heartfelt thanks to several officers here at MCIH. Without their immediate assistance, I might have died.

I'm back at MCIH now and doing better, but I don't want to imagine where I would be today had it not been for the quick response of Officer Bloom and Lt. Flanigan. What I do know is I am alive today and I owe that to them.

To me this was not just an act of true compassion for a fellow human being, but much more, true compassion for a prisoner, not something you can find much of these days!

Donald Hart

MCHI #215367


Powell's the one who is dishonest

To the editor:

In the article "Argue vouchers, but at least be honest," in my opinion, that should be practiced by the author. Allan Powell uses his own admitted youthful stubbornness as a standard for failure in the public school system.

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