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Letters to the editor

July 16, 2003

Future is bright for Hagerstown


To the editor:

In Boonsboro resident Charles Miller's June 15 letter to the editor, he listed several questions he wished to have answered regarding the U.S. 40 "Streetscape" improvements in Hagerstown.

1. The City of Hagerstown did not fund this project. Absolutely no city tax funds were used. The project was funded in full by the Maryland State Highway Administration's (MDSHA) "Neighborhood Conservation Program." Similar projects were completed by MDSHA on state routes in Hancock, Clear Spring, Boonsboro, Sharpsburg and other communities statewide.

Considering the new sidewalks, paving and storm drain being installed, we felt that this was an excellent state investment in the downtown. The specific cost of the project components can be obtained from the MDSHA Office of Public Affairs at 1-410-545-0309.

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2. As recently acknowledged in Chamber of Commerce President Fred Teeter's May 26 letter to The Herald-Mail, the concept of the brick sidewalks and crosswalks originated with a Chamber of Commerce-led recommendation to the City of Hagerstown in the mid-1990s.

Brick pavers provide a classic historic appearance in the downtown historic district. Other communities (Easton, St. Michaels, Frederick) all have similar sidewalk treatments.

3. The curb line narrows at certain intersections for two reasons. Motorists generally tend to drive more slowly through areas they perceive to be narrowed and constricted. The brick crosswalks provide further traffic calming by promoting the awareness of motorists that pedestrians are prevalent in the area. Secondly, pedestrians have a shorter crosswalk distance to traverse when the curbs pinch into the road. The message to motorists is that you are in a high pedestrian area, not a county highway or freeway.

4. Since the project is fully funded by the MDSHA, the maintenance program of the 101 miles of streets under city jurisdiction (basically all roads within the corporate limits except U.S. 40) has not suffered due to the "Streetscape" program.

I acknowledge that all roads in our area have suffered due to the harsh winter weather and growing traffic volumes. However, the city plans to continue the annual street overlay program, funded to the same level as in recent years and is attempting to acquire alternate sources of funding to upgrade our streets as needed.

5. Regarding the comment on the need for downtown building maintenance, three programs were initiated in the last week to ensure adequate investment in properties by the respective owners. More than 250 notices requiring exterior painting improvements were sent by the Code Compliance Office, with more to follow in the near future. A "Be Weed Free" program notified owners to remove weeds and grass in sidewalks and the Rental Registration program will provide for annual exterior inspections of all rental properties.

Contrary to Mr. Miller's opinion, significant investment is being made and I feel the future is bright for our community.

Rodney Tissue
Hagerstown City Engineer




A place for pets


To the editor:

We urge local public officials to set aside major portions of our parks and public lands for the exclusive use of our pets and their human companions where they can roam free in a stress-free environment. Only the few less-disciplined pets would need to be tethered to control their activities.

Our pets give us unconditional love and the least we can do for them is to dedicate public land for their exclusive use so that they do not suffer the cruel and unusual punishment that Kristin Aleshire and his dog recently suffered in City Park at the hands of a vigilante who was arrogantly trying to enforce an insensitive city ordinance banning dogs from our City Park.

Councilman Aleshire's impassionate plea at a recent City Council meeting must not go unanswered. His plight could well provide our public servants with the opportunity to provide national leadership in creating a pet-friendly city and county. More importantly, this is a small price to pay for the joy and comfort our pets bring us each day.

Dominick J. Perini
Hagerstown




Clean up TV


To the editor:

Of the five Federal Communication Commissioners, Commissioners Michael Copps and Kevin Martin have responded to Parents Television Council concerning written "demands" that action be taken on the following items concerning decency in television broadcasts.

1. The definition of indecency should address nudity, foul language, gross sexual innuendo and graphically depicted violence.

2. The commission should monitor programming on broadcast television with funds stemming from its $278 million budget.

3. The commission should announce a specific time frame for responding to indecency complaints.

4. The commission needs to direct the enforcement bureau to count multiple complaints about a single broadcast as multiple complaints.

5. The commission must levy fines that will deter broadcasters from allowing indecent material to go out over the public airwaves.

Their response indicates that PTC's points are well taken. As a concerned parent, active PTA member at both local and state level, and involved member of the community deeply involved in issues affecting children and families, I, too, am deeply concerned about what appears on our airways. I ask that you take Commissioners' Copps and Martin's responses to the next level.

The chair of the commission should seek immediate action on these "demands" that are in the best interest of children. PTC will continue to ask that these demands be met, as will I. To contact Federal Communications Chair Michael Powell, e-mail at: mpowell@fcc.gov

For more information about or to join the Parents Television Council e-mail at: www.parentstv.org.

Jenny Belliotti
Hagerstown

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