Letters to the Editor - 5/28

May 28, 2003

Put brakes on airport project

To the editor:

Why are we planning to spend all this money on the Washington County Airport? Who will benefit from the $8-plus million of our local tax money that it appears that the runway project will cost local county taxpayers?

Our county government voted to take on this project without adequate justification of benefits to the citizens of the county. If the existing air service cannot support itself and has utilized millions of dollars of state tax money in the last few years subsidizing air service from Cumberland and Hagerstown to Baltimore, what makes anyone think that expanded service with larger jet aircraft will ever come here?

We are about one hour driving time from three major airports, BWI, Dulles and Reagan National.

How many of our taxpaying citizens are flying from Hagerstown now and how many are driving to one of these airports? Would not a good airport limousine service satisfy the needs of those few people now flying?


Do we here in Washington County need a longer runway when there is already a 7,000-foot runway in Martinsburg, W.Va., which has not attracted any commercial service?

Someone needs to ask these questions and get meaningful answers and report them to the voters of the county. Do we need a referendum on this question? How can the irresponsible vote taken by the commissioners, admittedly without knowledge of its cost, be reversed or held in abeyance until the facts are known and the citizens have had a chance to speak on the subject?

In one of the more intelligent local government decisions made here, the City of Hagerstown actually sold this white elephant airport to the county some years ago, transferring the burden of its support to all county residents. This was about the time that Fairchild, a major, high-tech manufacturer, gave up here and gave its facilities to the state. Do we have to keep pouring money into this non-enterprise?

Remember all of the money planned for this project is tax money. It makes no difference whether it is Washington County, Maryland, or federal dollars that are being spent, it is all tax money. Is this the way you want it spent?

R. H. Rollins


Poor decision on parking meters

To the editor:

I was astounded to learn while viewing Hagerstown's televised meeting of May 20, that there had been parking meters installed at handicapped parking spaces.

No one in the city legal department warned the city that there is a Maryland MVA regulation that plainly prohibits charging fees for handicapped parking, even if it is done at a public meter.

As an outsider, it appears to me that city council and employees are experiencing a failure to communicate.

I think that I heard the word "abuse" used to justify the meter installation. What kind of abuse was referred to? Was it unauthorized use? If so call the cops. Was it because someone thought that someone else parked for too long a period? If so, that is not abuse. Solution: Add more handicapped spots.

Or was it because the same vehicle was parked in the same handicapped spot daily and was probably a downtown worker? If so, that is abuse. Be that as it may be, you do not penalize the entire handicapped community because of one greedy person, you go to that person and his or her employer and advise them of the greed. The embarrassment would stop it.

I have also heard it mentioned that the meters were meant to generate revenue. I will not insult you to pursue this point because the few bucks income would not cover the maintenance cost. However, if you are considering using parking to bring in the bucks I suggest that you install parking meters at the Municipal Stadium, the City Park and all other parks, the fairgrounds, the ice rink and any and all city- owned property used by the public.

This action would bring on one of four responses: 1. The money would come pouring in. 2. No one would use the parks or the stadium. 3. You would get lots of money from parking violations. 4. All of you would be recalled and impeached post haste!

Ronald F. Hovis


(Editor's note: As a result of questions raised by Hovis, the charge for parking at the city's handicapped meters has been rescinded.)

Dabbs to speak Thursday at North

To the editor:

Thanks to a grant received from the Washington County Community Partnership, North High PTSA and Washington County Council of PTAs are able to offer our community a nationally known and respected speaker.

Thursday, May 29, at 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Reggie Dabbs will be at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater.

Dabbs is a pastor, motivational Christian speaker, and talented saxophonist. He will share all of his gifts with us at this event.

While here, Dabbs will speak in several of our Washington County public schools. Dabbs has been in Maryland several times, both in schools and at religious events. He has also been a keynote speaker and performer in Ocean City at IMPACT, a Youth for Christ Retreat.

Dabbs will be the main speaker in 2004 at ROCK, which is a United Methodist Youth Fellowship Retreat. His message is appropriate for all Christians. His usual target audience is youth and young adults, but all ages from middle school age to adulthood will enjoy his message and be a little stronger from the experience.

He will share his personal story and encourage those in the audience to remember that it doesn't matter where you've been or what you have done - with God in your life you can begin anew.

Having someone of Dabb's caliber in Washington County is a rare opportunity. Please don't miss out. Tickets are free, but because seating is limited, tickets will be issued on a first come first serve basis. A free will offering will be taken.

Jenny Belliotti


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