Letters to the editor - 1/17/03

January 17, 2003

Humane Society has problems

To the editor:

I would like to express some thoughts to the current members of the board of directors of the Humane Society of Washington County.

In spring 2002, I expressed my opinion that the HSWC needed new leadership. Unfortunately, my opinion has not changed. Since I went public with my opinion, the executive director has been found guilty of violating the very laws that the HSWC receives over $300,000 of taxpayers' dollars per year to enforce. (Daily Mail, Sept. 6) The newspaper published an article about the executive director's alleged misrepresentation of facts. (Daily Mail, Sept. 24.) As I stated before, new leadership is needed.

In my original letter I commented that the HSWC doesn't follow its own by-laws. According to the Secretary of State's office, by-laws are public information. Why won't you release a copy of them upon written request? I am interested in finding out if the by-laws have been revised since January 2001. If the by-laws haven't been revised, how did the "new" president of the board get the position? A membership meeting wasn't held in October. Members didn't get the opportunity to vote.


I have been told that a membership meeting will take place in May 2003. I was told that only members in good standing will be invited. Do you have an accurate list of members?

I sent in my renewal and never received an acknowledgment. Several other concerned citizens also sent in membership dues in order to be in "good standing" in anticipation of an October meeting. If we send in dues now, will we be able to attend the May meeting?

On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the County Commissioners urged the leadership of the Humane Society of Washington County to meet with concerned citizens. Why did it take so long for this meeting to be scheduled?

I am very disappointed in the leadership at the Humane Society of Washington County. The taxpayers and the animals deserve better.

Christine Clark


MSPAP revisited?

To the editor:

Regarding the article on teachers and students preparing for the Maryland High School Assessments (MHSA) on Jan. 10, one wonders whether the tail is wagging the dog.

Why do teachers need to instruct students on how to take the MHSA? Isn't the MHSA based on what the students need to know, i.e., what they are currently being taught (aka curriculum)? Or does this mean the Washington County Board of Education's curriculum is out of sync with the Maryland State Department of Education?

It appears that a lot of time and energy are being spent on preparing for this testing with a significant amount of stress - and the MSDE hasn't even determined a passing score yet! That tells me the MSDE doesn't know what the students need to know.

Workshops were held to help teachers prepare students for these assessments - why aren't they being prepared to teach the curriculum? The time spent would be better utilized giving teachers appropriate instruction on how to utilize block scheduling (which is different than traditional, e.g., 50 minutes versus 90 minutes) to facilitate presenting the curriculum.

I hope this is not another trial-and-error adventure like the MSPAP.

Stephen Popper


Insurance crisis coming in W.Va.

To the editor:

West Virginia residents had better take heed to what David Woods has stated. West Virginia insurance rates are a concern for medical malpractice, but insurance rates for home and auto are also out of control.

My auto and homeowner's insurance both came due for renewal this month (Jan. 3). I have different major insurance carriers for each, but both policies have an increased renewal rate of about 18 percent each! I have not had a claim against either for more than six years.

Our politicians better take a stand and stop this insanity before nobody can afford insurance in West Virginia.

Zack Fleming

Kearneysville, W.Va.

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