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Letters to the editor 11/21

November 21, 2002

Don't waste taxes on scholarships



To the editor:


Some years ago, I raised an objection when Odell Rosen wanted to have a last hoorah by giving free HCC tuition to county graduates. Now I am objecting again to the same proposal made by Paul Swartz.

Providing free tuition may make the County Commissioners feel good, but shouldn't the county taxpayers have a say in this through the voting process? Unless I misunderstand, even if the money was funnelled through the Community Foundation of Washington County, Inc. (whatever that is) it is still taxpayers' money.

Hasn't this group of County Commissioners already left a legacy of creative use of taxpayers' money?

Swartz's proposal raises a lot of questions, not the least of which is constantly rising costs of yearly tuition. The graduating seniors who really want to get a higher education are going to find a way. Work/study didn't hurt either of our children, and it may even have helped them to build character instead of standing about and expecting a free handout.

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There are just too many students who want to go to college only to party. There are others who just aren't ready right out of high school to go to college. Still others will never be ready.

The kind of magnanimity Paul Swartz proposes does not belong to the County Commissioners for the purpose of leaving a legacy, but rather to large foundations, corporations and well-heeled individuals.

We are kidding ourselves if we think giving away free college tuition will keep the graduates from taking their diplomas and running. It seems to me that more attention needs to be put toward drawing the kinds of businesses to this area that college graduates would be attracted to, instead of taking the easy, glory-road out.

There is a better choice, and the County Commissioners will still be putting their money (their money?) where their mouths are. The Washington County public schools are in need of new computers. Where is that money to come from? Are they just going to be told to tighten their belts as usual and do the best they can with outdated technology?

I actually voted to keep Paul Swartz in office, but I definitely don't agree with his proposal. It needs a lot more deep thinking.

Rachel T. Bowers

Hagerstown




Communities need holiday support



To the editor:


Maryland HotSpot Communities is a crime prevention strategy in Washington County that has partnered with service providers, agencies, law enforcement and residents to improve the quality of life in the community through prevention and intervention. The Washington County HotSpot is the core of Hagerstown and living there are many families who need a little extra help at the holiday season.

At this time of the year, the focus turns to family support. The holiday season is quite depressing for many families. There are families who don't qualify for services or for special programs that offer assistance during the holiday. Some families are among the working poor, who try to make ends meet, but can't afford the extras that many take for granted. Often these families call upon the HotSpot coordinator for assistance. And we attempt to provide that while preserving the family's dignity. The children in these families deserve a happy holiday season.

Maryland HotSpot Communities partner with school outreach personnel and churches to identify the families in need. An advantage of the collaboration is that duplication of effort is avoided. More families are served. Each family is asked to provide a wish list that often includes food, toys, school supplies and personal care products. Gifts are wrapped and delivered to the families. All information is kept confidential.

Washington County has been generous in the past. I hope that we can count on your assistance this year. If you care to support the HotSpot holiday effort, please contact me for additional information, at 301-739-3290 (office) or 301-739-8577, ext. 468 (voice mail). If you care to send a check, please make it payable to Maryland HotSpot Communities and send it to the attention of Carolyn Brooks, c/o Hagerstown Police Department, 50 N. Burhans Blvd., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

Carolyn Brooks, coordinator

Maryland HotSpot Communities

Washington County, Hagerstown

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