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Letters to the editor

July 14, 2003

Let county officials ride bikes


To the editor:

Why does Washington County continue to allow development, both in and around Hagerstown and in the farmland, when people are complaining about traffic and ground-level ozone that is above the national standard?

These thousands of new homes will put thousands more cars on our roads. I know of no plans to alleviate this traffic. Pollution will become an even bigger problem as traffic backs up at stop lights.

An idling car will pollute more than a moving car. Where are the plans to control pollution? Bob Arch of the Planning Commission must be dreaming if he thinks people will ride bikes to work on the worst of the polluted days. His suggestion that people ride public transportation has one slight problem - there isn't any. How does one get from Rohrersville to Hagerstown or one of the malls using only public transportation? Or anywhere else as far as that goes.

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There are also the projects of widening I-81 and extending the airport runway. I would like to see the "fuzzy math" used to show these projects will not increase the ozone levels. If widening I-81 doesn't increase traffic then why widen it? If it does, then there will be an increase in the ozone levels. The same would go for the runway project. If not more aircraft or larger aircraft then why extend it?

I also read where a new business of packaging and delivery will be coming to Washington County. According to Bob Arch there will be about 400 new jobs, half of which are low to medium salaries.

He believes this will be good for the county. I don't see how low-paying jobs of any sort can be good. Arch ought to give up his high-paying job with the county and take one of these low-paying jobs. If they are good for the county, they ought to be good for him. He can also ride his bike to work and reduce pollution.

Edwin Kumsher
Rohrersville




What's a 'menace' to do?


To the editor:

I am almost finished serving a two-year sentence for DUI at Washington County Detention Center, and yet I find myself somewhat disappointed because upon my release I will be jobless, penniless and homeless.

The detention center currently offers no assistance or information, that I am aware of, concerning my well-being or re-acclimation to society. In court I was labeled a "menace to society" by the state. The way I see it, the real menace is the system to which I have been incarcerated. This system offers nothing to the inmate along the lines of rehabilitation, no educational program, no job or life skills program, no exercise programs.

This system that I speak of is the same one that each year pushes hundreds of inmates out its doors in the same or worse conditions than prior to their incarceration. Many of those individuals, like myself, will find themselves homeless and desperate.

A homeless shelter and soup kitchen may mean the difference between hope and desperation, working or criminal behavior, sobriety or relapse, life or death. It's hard to imagine such circumstances unless you've personally experienced it. I have. For many, it's preventable if only the system worked in favor of instead of against us. If only the "correctional" system rehabilitated its wards instead of victimizing them.

Life isn't fair, no one walking the earth's surface is perfect, and everybody makes mistakes. Is there a solution? CertainlyHowever, I offer you none today. I would only like you to think about a homeless person next time you see one. He or she has a name, a child maybe, even a dream. They have two eyes, a nose and a mouth just like you; they are human.

We're not talking about an animal shelter. We're talking about a shelter for disadvantaged people.

As for me I'll be back on my feet in a few weeks, thanks to my diversified work history. Many others will not, however. That is another reason why a homeless shelter and its many services are needed in our city.

Leonard Stottlemyer II, No. 15400
Washington County Detention Center
Hagerstown

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