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Letters to the editor - 7/2/03

July 02, 2003

Trees serve a purpose


To the editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to several Mail Call entries regarding the tree planting on Eastern Boulevard. The trees were planted due to increased residential development in this area. Developers are required to plant trees when they clear land for development purposes.

The tubes are to protect the seedlings from browsing by deer, rabbits, etc. The tubes also act as a greenhouse to give the trees the best chance of survival. In a planting such as this, a 65 to 70 percent survival rate is all that can be expected for these seedlings. Although some may not care for the appearance of the tree planting, it serves the purpose of buffering a stream, resulting in improved water quality.

Another caller referred to this planting as a governmental program where the landowner receives "$150 per acre for the next 15 years for each acre that is put in trees. That is your tax dollars at work." This is incorrect information. This caller is referring to the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) which is federally funded through the Farm Bill. CREP is a program designed to protect biologically sensitive areas to improve water quality and protect biodiversity.

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Only agricultural land that is in close proximity to a stream or has wetland soils may be enrolled in this program. Only 2.5 percent of Maryland's agricultural ground is presently enrolled in CREP, which provides the resources enabling farm owners to plant trees and native grasses and restore wetlands.

I encourage landowners to contact the Washington County Farm Service Agency or Natural Resources Conservation Service to learn how to participate in such conservation practices in Washington County. We are fortunate to have this dedicated group of individuals assisting private landowners in restoring our water quality and wildlife habitat.

George C. Newman III
Chesapeake Wildlife Heritage
Wildlife Ecologist
Hagerstown




Shalom, Janice


To the editor:

This summer marks the closure of Janice Garfunkel's tenure as Rabbi of the congregation B'Nai Abraham of Hagerstown, Maryland. This astute and dynamic lady of the Judaic tradition has been a central player in the much-needed development of interfaith dialogue in our area.

We shall miss her presence and perspective at our tables of conversation. Boldly, Janice has gathered with dominating Christian crowds and often posed another view that challenged the oft-narrow thinking of the my-way-no-way bearer. Her sharp mind, keen intellect, and passion for truth always illuminated our get-togethers. At the same time I was ever impressed with her heartful-holding of the variances others expressed. Such is the place where character and integrity live and Janice holds both.

Janice, on behalf of your colleagues and friends from the interfaith community, I bid you the "shalom" you brought to us. Thank you. And thank you, congregation B'Nai Abraham, for being present to the other communities of faith through those whom you call to serve.

Rev. Don R. Stevenson
Hagerstown




Committee did well


To the editor:

Recently, my 2003-2004 Senatorial Scholarship Committee met in Hagerstown to make decisions about the awarding of Senatorial Scholarships in District 2. The committee was comprised of the following outstanding Washington Countians: Sharon Chirgott of Funkstown, Shirley Divelbliss of Halfway, Carol Moller of Hagerstown, Michaela Whitaker of Hagerstown and Joseph Kennedy of Hagerstown.

These dedicated citizens spent hours deliberating applicants' individual financial and personal situations in an effort to award monies fairly to students who had applied to me for financial aid. Each year my office receives more requests than the year before while funds to meet the needs of these requests stay the same; therefore, the decisions each year are even harder to make than the year before. All decisions were made with compassion and great concern, taking into account the particular circumstances of each applicant.

I would like to publicly commend and thank each committee member for doing a superb job. They all were very giving of their time, knowledge and experience. Their efforts have created a brighter future for 46 students in Washington County. I am most appreciative.

Sen. Donald F. Munson
District 2
Hagerstown




Church is in a bad neighborhood? Good


To the editor:

At first glance, I was in awe of the structural building (First Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown), shown in a photo on the front page of the Friday, June 6, issue of The Morning Herald. Upon reading the article which quoted the pastor of the church as pondering a move or relocating out of the community, based primarily because, "in large part due to crime/prostitution in the area," I was quickly appalled.

First, let me say we have ample historical evidence to concede that Jesus encouraged and admonished the early church to "go" into all the world and preach the gospel.

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