Letters to the editor - 11/30/02

December 02, 2002

Trouble on the Potomac

To the editor:

A letter written by J. Charles Fox, director of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, details illegal activity that has gone unchecked on and along the banks of the Potomac River.

My neighbors who live on the West Virginia bank of the Potomac in Falling Waters have named our area "no man's land." We have all found that any illegal activity that occurs on the Maryland-owned Potomac River can continue as long as the Maryland police, West Virginia police, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources can pass the buck, because at some point the perpetrators entered or exited in a neighboring state.

The answer for no action is always as easy as "it's not our jurisdiction" or "You'll have to call..." pick one.

I once saw a dead body hauled out of the Potomac on a dock on the West Virginia bank. The West Virginia police were called. They determined the death occurred in Maryland. "It wasn't their jurisdiction."


The Maryland police were then called. The body lay in the sun on the dock anchored to the West Virginia bank until the Maryland police showed. When the Maryland police arrived, the locals were told to put the body back in the river if they wanted the Maryland police to take action.

They dipped the dead man's body back in the river and let his limbs dangle until a vehicle was eventually called to pick up the corpse.

In my land there are no dead bodies yet. But we have a "no man's land" situation. When high-powered deer rifles are being discharged on the river in residential areas and recreational areas where families bike, hike, camp and fish, there presently exists no department that takes action.

I hope between the three departments one of them answers the call before we're moving dead bodies in and out of the river to fulfill some bureaucractic requirement. The Potomac River is a beautiful and productive resource. It is the biggest reason our communities line its banks.

It is here to serve as our water supply, our natural wildlife preserve, our recreation and again it's natural beauty. We must protect and maintain it in return. We must enforce the same laws that protect the land as well as the water that makes up the Potomac River. No more passing the buck.

Donald Purnell

Falling Waters, W.Va.

Playground dream a reality

To the editor:

On Oct. 1, a host of children and dignitaries were on hand for the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the special "Rainbow Connection" MIHI boundless playground at Washington County's Marty Snook Park in Halfway.

The $120,000 project was funded by a $75,000 Maryland Boundless Playground grant obtained by MIHI, Many Individuals Helping Individuals. Funding from the Naomi & Nehemiah Cohen Foundation and the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, special MIHI fund raisers, private donations from individuals and corporations, plus site preparation assistance from the Washington County Parks and Recreation Department made the playground possible. The unique playground will serve children of all abilities in Washington County. The playground is located at the original site of MIHI's first playground when the non-profit organization was founded 15 years ago in 1987.

Children from Washington County's Marshall Street Elementary School, all five Washington County Commissioners, the MIHI Board of Directors, along with Delegates Bob McKee and John Donoghue, were on hand for the celebration.

I would like to salute the Washington County Commissioners for helping make this dream become reality. With the special surface used on this playground and the intense study that went into the design by our MIHI volunteers and the children of the community, the "Rainbow Connection" boundless playground will truly change the way playgrounds are constructed in our region of the country in the future.

The following groups, individuals and companies have gone that proverbial extra mile in the past months to help MIHI complete "The Rainbow Connection" Boundless Playground at Marty Snook Park: Action Products, Coca-Cola, Hagerstown Block Company, St. Lawrence Cement Corporation, CitiCorp, Pavestone Company, Henson & Son, Inc., Paul Crampton Construction, Inc., Frederick, Seibert & Associates, Inc., Washington County Gaming Commission, The Rotary Club of Hagerstown, Jim Sterling, Ted Wolford, Susan Lesh, Deb DeMine, Jamie Shyda, Susan Springer,Toni Nelson, Norman Bassett and Sarah Bonise.

On behalf of the MIHI board of directors and the children of Washington County, I thank you.

N. Linn Hendershot


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