Letters to the editor - 1/15/03

January 15, 2003

Bad words, good intentions on hospital issue

To the editor:

Most of us at one time or another during our lives do or say things we regret. John H. McCune recently submitted a letter to the editor demanding a letter of apology from me to James Hamill for remarks I made in a meeting with the local delegation. McCune is absolutely correct in demanding this apology. My remarks were not appropriate and I publicly apologize to Hamill. I promise to do better.

At the time, I was attempting to explain my concerns pertaining to the welfare of our Hagerstown senior citizens if the Washington County Hospital moved to Robinwood. Over the years, the community has located a number of housing developments in close proximity to the current hospital site - Walnut Towers, Potomac Towers, Alexander House, Elizabeth Court, etc. There are more than 1,000 seniors, many with complicated health-care issues, living within blocks of the hospital. To me this has been a real concern.


Hamill stated in a press conference that the Washington County Hospital is going to offer a "dual approach" to health care in our community. There will be a facility at Robinwood and a clinic facility downtown. My hope is that the quality of services at both facilities will be equal.

In the last few days, I had the opportunity to visit Potomac Towers with a new tenant as he went through the process of getting settled in his new home. During the tour of the facility conducted by a member of the Hagerstown Housing Authority, one member of the group pointed out an eighth-floor window to the hospital and commented how great it was to be that close to the hospital. Before I left the property, I had been stopped by four individuals and the topic was always the same. "Please don't let them take our hospital away!"

Once again, I apologize to Hamill and the citizens of Hagerstown for my language, but I still remain passionate about my concerns for the welfare of our Hagerstown seniors on limited income. On a positive note, we have a fine group of citizens serving on the Washington County Hospital Board of Directors and I pray they consider all the consequences that affect so many people when their final decision is made.

N. Linn Hendershot, councilman

City of Hagerstown

County cozies up to developers at citizens' expense

To the editor:

Will someone in county government please explain how their lawsuit against the city is in our best interest? And whose lawsuit is it, really?

First it was a county suit, but recently the Washington County Homebuilders Association, Paul Crampton and Home Construction Corp. have joined as co-plaintiffs, with the Home Builders Association paying "all initial legal costs," according to Commissioner Bill Wivell. Who will pay additional costs, as the litigation drags on?

Let's hope it isn't the taxpayers. Developers are clearly the only party with a stake in this spat, so why can't the county pull out and let them fight their own battles? Where was the county government when a Mt. Aetna Road citizens organization sued the city over an annexation dispute?

They didn't even send a witness to court, let alone offer to be a partner in the suit. Why is this county always leaning over backwards to make life easier and more profitable for developers, usually at taxpayers' expense?

They never seem to evolve beyond the thought that growth will somehow make us wealthy and solve our problems. Some even believe that growth will bring lower taxes. Not likely.

Frederick County is growing at three times the rate of Washington County and both property and income taxes are higher there than here. That should give everyone a clue. You can verify that by looking at both county Web sites and the Maryland State Tax Instruction book - the section on local taxes.

Jim Laird


Thanks, Funkstown

To the editor:

We are writing this to publicly thank Funkstown Fire Company for its outstanding service to the community. In this instance it was a matter concerning carbon monoxide. On Friday, Dec. 27 our carbon monoxide alarm sounded.

We contacted Funkstown Fire Company and spoke to Lt. Glenn Fuscsick, explained our problem and requested that someone monitor our home, again.

We had a previous incident regarding CO1, (gas oven) however, our vendor's technician stated everything looked good and left (he did not have CO1 meter). I feel everyone working with gas-fired equipment should have a CO1 meter.

Fuscsick responded, assisted by Chrise Showe and Josh Young. After testing various areas of our home it was discovered again that when turning on the oven we had a reading of CO1 (140 ppm), and believe me, that's high. I don't know if everyone is aware of how toxic CO1 can be; it can make you very ill and if high enough, can kill, slowly or instantly.

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