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Letters to the editor 12/27

December 27, 2002

Tower needed for communications



To the editor:


The Region-II Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council recently adopted a resolution urging the construction of new communications towers at Lambs Knoll and Hagerstown in Washington County to facilitate local and state emergency communications.

Due to the critical need for this lifesaving communications network, were are writing this letter to request your support.

Approximately four years ago the State of Maryland initiated a statewide project to upgrade its communication system, including EMS, police and many other agencies. Construction has been completed or is nearing completion in all areas of the state except the three westernmost counties of Washington, Allegany and Garrett.

A tie-up in the construction of new facilities on South Mountain at Lamb's Knoll and a tower near Hagerstown, adjacent to the Maryland State Police barracks, has occurred because of a campaign mounted by environmentalists who want to eliminate any new or replacement towers in these locations. In fact, the opponents to the state plan want to eventually remove all towers on that high point near the Appalachian Trail and near to Antietam Battlefield.

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The old fire tower at Lamb's Knoll, erected 67 years ago, has been used by many governmental agencies of the state and Washington County government, including EMS. The tower links not only Western Maryland to the state EMS headquarters, but also provides vital communication linkage from ambulance, fire and rescue units on critical service calls to their respective hospital and headquarters operations.

The old tower needs to be replaced. A proposed tower, which is less intrusive (visually), will provide even much better communications between emergency units on calls in the area and their bases than exists today.

The proposed tower in Hagerstown is needed to link the Washington County Central Communication Center to the microwave backbone system.

These two towers are critical, not only to emergency communications in Washington County, but to Maryland's statewide emergency communications as well. Our council is very concerned that if the aged and weakened Lamb's Knoll tower were to collapse today, there would be no communications for our EMS, fire or police in a large portion of southeastern Washington County. Statewide communications both to and from Western Maryland would also be interrupted.

We thank you in advance for any assistance that you may be able to provide to ensure that this critical communications project is expeditiously approved for construction.

John Sexton

President

Mid-Maryland

Emergency Services

Advisory Council




Cause of attack was apparent



To the editor:


I am a little surprised that the paper published Earl L Jackson Jr.'s letter without pointing out a number of factual errors regarding the attack on the USS Liberty. For the record, the USS Liberty was attacked on June 8, 1967. The attack left 34 dead and 171 wounded out of the crew of 290 officers and men.

Commander William McGonagle, the captain of the USS Liberty at the time of the attack and a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, afterwards wrote: "For many years, I wanted to believe that the attack was a result of confusion and error, but I have come to realize that it resulted from gross incompetence and aggravated dereliction of duty on the part of many Israeli officers and men - or that the attack might well have been deliberate."

Daniel Moeller

Rohrersville

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