Letters to the editor - 2/1/03

February 02, 2003

Hate crimes not acceptable in Hagerstown

To the editor:

I recently learned that a sign pointing the way to Hagerstown's only mosque - The Islamic Society of Western Maryland - has been removed by an unknown party three times.

The first time one could believe it might be an obnoxious, adolescent prank. But three times -this last time the sign was cemented in, so the person used a chain saw to remove it - indicates that this is a determined effort to harass our Moslem brothers and sisters. This sure looks to me like a hate crime.

When our synagogue was vandalized with hate graffiti several years ago, a diverse array of our neighbors rallied in our defense, offering to help clean the offensive graffiti off, and writing numerous letters to the editor condemning such vile behavior. The Herald-Mail itself wrote an editorial condemning the bigotry and hatred of that act.

I hope Hagerstonians will similarly rally around the mosque, letting them know that intolerance and hatred are not what this community is about.


America is a place of refuge from persecution and intolerance. We here are committed to freedom of religion. As George washington wrote in 1790 to the members of the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island:

"It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who ive under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens. . . .

"May the Children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid."

Rabbi Janice B. Garfunkel

Congregation B'nai Abraham


Firefighters were amazing

To the editor:

On the coldest day of the year, Jan. 18, Maugansville, Longmeadow and the Hagerstown City fire departments reported to a fire in the roof of our business, Brewer's Saab Inc., in Maugansville.

We would like to thank these ladies and gentlemen for the outstanding job that they did. Not only did they contain the fire to a small area of the roof, thus saving our building and our business, they took the utmost care to keep from causing unnecessary damage to our vehicles and our facility. They all acted in a very professional and courteous manner throughout the whole ordeal.

They even took the time to help clean up afterward and temporarily seal the damage to the roof. We were very impressed.

We would also like to thank Kay and Sam Myers for taking the time to call 911 to report the fire in time for all to be saved. We owe you all a debt of gratitude.

Thanks again.

Ed and Donna Brewer,

Kevin Brewer, Terri True and the staff of Brewer's Saab, Inc.


Many thanks from ballet

To the editor:

The Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company recently held its annual Nutcracker production at the Maryland Theatre.

To everyone who helped make this production possible, we extend our sincerest gratitude. To our sponsors, Washington County Gaming Commission, Washington County Arts Council, Wachovia Securities, F&M Bank, Drs. Rumbarger and Schiro, the Lions Club of Halfway and to all of our private donors, thank you. Your generosity enables us to make the production bigger and better every year.

To Dame Broadcasting, thank you for letting us rule the airways with your most generous advertising sponsorship.

To Pat Wolford and the staff of the Maryland Theatre, thank you for your continued support and assistance. Things run better and better every year.

To our guest artists, Lauren Anderson and Dominic Walsh of the Houston Ballet, thank you for sharing your artistry and yourselves with our company and our community. To Jeffrey Bailey from Toby's Dinner Theater in Columbia, we're so glad you were able to return and share your talents and creativity.

To our company members, thank you for all your hard work and dedication. We know you sacrifice a lot to be a part of the Ballet Company. You are all amazing.

To our more than 100 cast members, from the youngest to the oldest - thank you for your time and dedication at such a busy time of year.

To all of our cast families and volunteers - we could not do it without you. Every year our costumes are more beautiful, thanks to Angie Sievers and her talented group. And to our backstage parents - what a group - you all performed like a well-oiled machine even though many of us had never met before.

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