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Letters to trhe editor

August 22, 2003

Fort Ritchie has potential


To the editor:

While I must agree that closing the U.S. military bases will save the government money in the log run, the closure of Fort Ritchie must have been not well thought out years back. Here in Cascade lies a defensive strategic gem beckoning for some more attention. It (Fort Ritchie) rests square between Camp David in Thurmont, the Pentagon's underground backup defense site and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, located near Emmitsburg. It's not only a great place to branch or stage a Homeland Department of Security, but truly several Department of Defense agencies.

Why do I say that? The infrastructure and terrain give way to growth and development. No, I am not a member of the PenMar Development Corp. pushing for legislation to revitalize Cascade. I am a soldier in the United States Army who still serves today. I currently live on Fort Ritchie and work in Frederick on Fort Detrick. Daily I commute back and forth utilizing U.S. 15 and Maryland Routes 491, 550 and 77. I travel admiring the scenic Catoctin nature along the way. Nestled in this splendid countryside is what I see as the potential to economically produce jobs for the surrounding neighborhoods.

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It would lessen the commute into the National Capitol Region of Washington, D.C. for hundreds of commuters who once depended and worked on Fort Ritchie back in its old days. They were forced to find jobs that are now on the Beltway. To me, stimulating the economy means creating meaningful and good-paying jobs. What better than Homeland Security and old Fort Ritchie?

Why not re-open this base to those agencies? Several legislators may say money is scarce, we have a great deficit from the war, or no one is committed to seeing a rural area grow. I beg to differ. Fort Ritchie needs to grow and will grow if the right people push the right buttons. Though not a Fort Meade, Md. (home of the National Security Agency) or having Meade's proximity along a major interstate, Fort Ritchie beckons for habitation, the habitation of people who envision growth and opportunity.

Reginald Pugh
Cascade




Slow down for start of school


To the editor:

Because more than 1 million Maryland students are heading off to school this year, AAA Mid-Atlantic is cautioning motorists to be particularly careful when driving during the morning and afternoon rush hour periods.

As Washington County Public Schools reopen on Aug. 25, a new crop of children will emerge onto streets and sidewalks, excited about their first day of school and focused on everything except traffic.

During the next several weeks, AAA Mid-Atlantic will be carrying out its annual School's Open - Drive Carefully educational campaign. AAA School Safety Patrol members, wearing their familiar neon orange belts, will be on full alert for dangerous situations. We ask that all drivers be equally helpful and alert. Many children are at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to navigating in traffic.

It is particularly difficult for small children to see motorists and for motorists to see them - especially around parked cars or buses. Their peripheral vision is underdeveloped - in many cases one third narrower than that of adults.

Judging a car's speed and distance can be difficult, often leading children to misjudge how far away that moving car really is. Last but not least, children often assume that cars will stop instantly. A recent survey showed that many children ages 5-12 do not know how, where and when to cross the street.

Parents should provide children with specific instructions on the right way to cross the street, using crosswalks and following signals where available. Above all, motorists should slow down and be careful.

John White
AAA Mid-Atlantic
Baltimore

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