Letters to the editor for 7/30

July 30, 2003

Poor timing of suicide storyh4>

To the editor:

I am a subscriber, reader, and recently a writer on the opinion page of The Herald Mail. I have never e-mailed, nor have I ever written or called any paper in the many places I've lived in 53 years.

However, I must convey my concern and deepest regrets that you chose to run the story about Zachary Burger. The article, front page, above the fold, on the day his grieving family was accepting friends at the funeral home, was inhumane.

The fact that your reporter called the Burger's home and flippantly asked them to call him back ("as late as 11 p.m.") was an inappropriate intrusion. Where is your sense of decency? That story would have been just as "newsworthy" and would have sold just as many papers next week. The sense is that your front page became a place for the sheriff to ease his conscience and to continue the ongoing excuses.


Judy Fox

Waynesboro Pa.

Article insensitive

To the editor:

I am writing to you to express my disgust at your untimely article about Zachary Burger, the young man who committed suicide in the Washington County Detention Center on July 19.

I understand that your job is to share community news with the public, but I feel that the publication of that article prior to his funeral was insensitive and disrespectful to the many, many people who loved Zachary.

There was no time-sensitive information within the article itself that warranted its premature delivery.

Zachary was in a lot of trouble and had made numerous poor choices; I know that is true. But he was still loved by many and deserved a dignified memorial service and burial.

I hope you consider this in the future if, God forbid, this type of tragedy would occur again.

Maria Hopkins


Like it or not, Penny Nigh tells unvarnished truth

To the editor:

Penny Nigh, my wife, the mother my children and grandmother of my grandchildren, native and 55-year resident of the City of Hagerstown, ordinary housewife ran for a City Council seat and won with the highest number of votes.

Why? Because she saw our street, the home where I grew up, being assaulted by gangs of drug dealers and thieves and knew something had to be done.

When she and others approached the city government they were told it was their "perception" that people were selling drugs out of the backs of their cars. How did she know it wasn't tee shirts or chewing gum? So she decided to run for office herself on a platform of fighting drugs and crime in the city and better communication between the citizens and the city government through public forums.

So far she has done that and will keep on doing that in the future. She's gone after drug dealers and low lifes in person with a ball bat to run them off.

She is going after them where they live and after the people who put them up. She's going after the system that allows and encourages all of that to happen.

She's going after their dogs that they use for protection and for dog fights to raise money for drugs. Meanwhile our telephone is always ringing with calls from constituents that need help.

She returns phone calls to everyone that has a problem of just about any kind and does her best to help whether it is drug-related, somebody living next door to a house that looks like a junkyard, housing issues, someone who needs a meal, or finding a home or medical attention for an animal in need.

Penny Nigh is not your typical politician. Personally I do not feel she is a politician at all by today's standards. She seeks the truth and tells the truth which is not typical of any politician I know. She is not always going to say the politically correct thing because she is not worried about whether her statement will affect a future run for the same office.

She only ever thinks in terms of solving the latest problems of the constituents who have called for her help. She is not interested in being the first grandmother elected to be Governor, or mayor or State Senator. Penny is only interested in her family, and the people and pets around her being in a safe, good home with decent food and with someone who finally cares paying attention to them.

To quote a friend, "She is a force of nature. She'll go the distance and do whatever it takes to get the job done." I'd like to suggest that before anybody has the right to call her unprofessional or a disgrace they need to attend more than one council meeting, move into the city if they live anywhere else, and then they need to sign up and run for office laying out for all of us to see exactly what you are going to do for your constituents.

I wrote this letter after Erin Paul's letter to the editor "Nigh's behavior was a disgrace." I put it to the side and thought maybe I should just ignore Ms. Paul's comments because some of her comments were misleading. Anyone who has a copy of the tape could verify that.

Someone reading the paper who wasn't at the meeting, who didn't see the meeting on TV or doesn't have one of the many taped copies of the meeting would get the wrong idea about Penny Nigh. I do not know what you think constitutes "shock" but I always thought applause meant approval.

I am glad you found the pictures of my niece to be graphic. Penny just wanted to show what pit bulls are capable of doing to anyone and sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. If pictures are allowed as evidence in a court of law they certainly should be allowed in a City Council meeting to get a point across.

Wounds heal, blood fades. Pride, honesty and integrity last forever.

Bob Nigh


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