Bulk trash fest a fine welcome back

October 15, 2002|by TIM ROWLAND

Unlike a couple of months ago, this time when I returned to Hagerstown from vacation something had indeed changed.

Everywhere throughout the city, the sidewalks were lined with battered old sofas, chairs, lawnmowers, tables, washers, lamps, carpets, paint cans, pipe, engine parts, vacuums and Democrats.

It was almost exactly as if everyone's home and apartment had been turned inside out. Every last piece of unwanted refuse and broken-down appliance was sitting right out there all proud and happy in the sunshine for all to see.

Stopped at a traffic light, I closed my eyes and pressed my fingers to my forehead, the first signs of a migraine coming on. What, I wondered, has prompted THIS little trampoline act?


Turns out it was Bulk Trash Removal Week in the Hub City, which meant anything, and I mean anything, would be removed from the streets by city workers and disposed of.

Well, why not? The resulting look was so impressively nouveau Calcutta, I regret it only lasted a week. Sort of like the barricades in Paris during the revolution, but not as orderly. The way this town works, the only thing that surprised me was that Hagerstown didn't have some downtown street festival scheduled for the same week.

Even some Hagerstonians were themselves aghast. Jack Sweeney of Potomac Towers said he couldn't even get down the sidewalk on his scooter for all the debris. Another friend who lives right on the city/county line said pickups would come out of the county at night and dump old furniture just across the city line.

I suppose if it's so well-used, though, the city should be congratulated for providing such a popular public service. And speaking of street festivals, maybe we could turn this to our advantage. Maybe we should have a street fair to correspond with this time of year.

"Bulk Trash Removal Days," or something. I think it would be well-received. You have to admit, it's quite a sight, one you can't see much anywhere else.

Anyway, among the other things I missed:

  • The Washington County Trauma Center reopened, which is good, but was downgraded from a Level II to a Level III center (this after both doctors and the hospital threw Level I tantrums about how shabbily the other side was treating them), which means that surgeons will be on call instead of in-house.

    I hope this doesn't start a trend. Don't want to be reading a year from now that we've been downgraded to a Level CLXVIII center, in which means a trauma victim can still be treated if he brings a note from his school nurse.

  • I see after all these years they finally found a reuse for Fort Ritchie. They want to take the old Army barracks and make it into, ta da, a new Army barracks.

    Um. Couldn't they have just - oh, never mind.

  • Speaking of Fort Ritchie, the Role Models Academy, last seen getting $10 million from the federal government to educate troubled kids, now has less than $200 in the bank, according to a Role Models attorney.

    Man, I hope they have overdraft protection.

    Of course, being married to the PIN Number in High Heels, I find it perfectly understandable how you can blow through $9,999,800 before you can say "Welcome to Hecht's." But at least we have some stuff to show for it, instead of just a Dumpster full of old computer parts.

  • Rough week for Allegheny Energy, with one union official saying he has fears that Allegheny won't be able to pay its bills. Yikes. Hope they don't get their power cut off.

  • All this rain must be bad news for the county's proposed building moratorium. What excuse is the county going to use if the drought ends, potential flooding?

  • Congratulations to Del. Chris Shank and his wife, Cindy, on the birth of their new baby boy. But yes, it is curious that it occurred right before the election, and yes, we will be watching to see if one "Caleb Alexander Shank" is caught trying to vote.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or you can e-mail him at

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