Letters to the editor for 12/8

December 09, 2002

Rule a response to drownings

To the editor:

This letter is in response to your "Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down" section published Oct. 26. Your article addressed U.S. Magistrate Judge Digirolamo's fining of swimmers in the Potomac River.

The regulation contained in 36 CFR 7.96 only applies to the section of Potomac River near Great Falls in Potomac, Md., where these swimmers were located. It prohibits visitors from entering the river for purposes of wading and/or swimming.

This regulation was in response to the numerous drownings that have occurred in previous years on this stretch of the river. The extreme water flow and currents, due to the falls and dams in the area, make it extremely dangerous for swimmers.


Additionally, those rescuers who must respond to victims are put unnecessarily at risk. Since the implementation of this regulation, more than 10 years ago, there has been a steep decline in drownings and rescues.

Douglas D. Faris


C&O Canal

National Historical Park


Homework help available

To the editor:

The Washington County Free Library is participating in " - Live Homework Help" - a statewide program designed to help students in grades four through 12 with their homework assignments.

Parents and teachers have long known that homework is an important part of learning and that homework completion rates directly affect children's success in school. The library hopes that "," begun in September and funded for a year by the Maryland Department of Education, will further enhance our ability to address homework needs in our community.

The concept is simple. Students can log on to "" any day from 2 p.m. until midnight and chat one-on-one with a live tutor in the areas of math, science, social studies or English.

To chat with a tutor, students can click on the subject and grade level they want to access and are connected for a 20-minute session with a qualified tutor in that subject area. Tutors are certified teachers, university professors, graduate students, or professionals in their respective fields, and have been screened and certified through the training program. At the end of the session, the student can complete a survey that measures customer satisfaction with the service.

Students can access the Web site from home, through the Library's Web page at, or by coming into the central library. The branch libraries will be brought into the program as soon as possible.

The Washington County Free Library seeks to help the people in our community to pursue lifelong learning by offering a variety of materials and services. The "Live Homework Help" program is one component that we feel will help us to achieve this goal.

Marsha L. Fuller

Public Relations Coordinator

Washington County Free Library

Weather policy was confusing

To the editor:

A "world class decision" made by Washington County Public Schools that was prepared by the office of public information sent home on Tuesday, Nov. 26, didn't look out for the safety of our children.

I'm thankful the ground temperature was warm and this weather advisory disaster never happened. The memo stated that if there was inclement weather on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the early closure would be moved to Monday, Dec. 2.

Parents were asked to listen to area radio stations, call the Weather-Line, 301-766-733-3636, or check the WCBOE Web site.

I climbed out of bed on Wednesday. Not wanting to wake everyone in the house, I did not turn the radio on so I called the (entire) number as listed in the memo. The message said, "The number 301-766-733 has been disconnected."

I then tried calling 301-733-3636. This number gave me the day of the week and the temperature, followed by the weather report. At no time did this message say public schools were open and on time.

Since it was 6:15 a.m., I thought maybe they were not updated to the schools decision. I then called 301-766-3636 from the 13 digits listed above.

The message said, "I'm sorry the number you dialed is not in service; please check the number and dial again." So I went out for my morning paper and used my best judgment that schools would be open and on time.

I arrived at work Wednesday and surveyed a few coworkers who I knew had children in the public school system. One parent with two children at an inner-city elementary school did not receive the memo from either child and another parent whose child goes to a county middle school never saw the memo.

I actually wonder how many of these weather advisory memos never got to parents whose children left it at school, never made it to the hands of the students or went out the window of the bus.

Office of Public Information, please make decisions to keep my child safe. By the way, if you think you have our kids' best interest in mind look at the Kids Vote election results from high school students who feel the school system is not doing enough to keep them safe.

Todd M. Roberts


Singer Society says thanks

To the editor:

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