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Letters to the editor - Part 2

October 19, 2003

Think before you speak

To the editor:

I am stationed in Germany and could not believe what Mrs. Ehrlich said about Britney Spears. I have a 6-year-old daughter who lives in Hagerstown, so I too worry about the image today's entertainers give young people.

The motto today is "If it's not sexy, it doesn't sell," but how could the governor's wife dare to make a comment about shooting Britney Spears? We all know she was making a figure of speech. I have no doubt she would not go out and shoot Britney Spears. But to make that comment in public, to a reporter, shows not only a lack of professionalism, but that she just clearly speaks without thinking.

She needs to think about the image she is portraying as the wife of an elected official. I too hope Britney Spears will outgrow the sex-for-sale image she is giving children now. I also hope Mrs. Ehrlich will do some growing up as well.


Britt Boyer
Hohenfels, Germany

Use your older buildings

To the editor:

I find it curious that the Jefferson County Commission is floating the idea of building office space outside of Charles Town, W.Va., considering the buildings and land they already own downtown.

It would seem that, all along, some commissioners have simply wanted to build a big, new government complex rather than utilize assets on hand.

Using the buildings it has and building a more modest office building on land it already owns behind the jailhouse would save tax money. As one of the volunteers who recently cleaned out the jail, I noted its sturdiness and that office space is available in the two-thirds of the structure that is a house. The Commission also owns the magistrate building and has been offered the Schewell building across from the jail.

Some officials may now speak of "obstacles" to justify their new complex, but not of its cost or where the money will come from. Figures from experts prove that adaptive reuse of a sturdy old building is cheaper than new construction of a comparable facility.

Now, I understand that $1,000 has been appropriated for the legally required historic review of the Commission jail demolition decision. I know the National Trust for Historic Preservation wrote three times and offered $1,000 for a feasibility study. The Commission never replied. If nothing else, good manners should mandate a reply.

The Commission might be well-advised to learn about adaptive reuse of buildings, as officials in other historic counties have done to save heritage and tax money. Taxpayers also benefit if the buildings they've already paid for are not destroyed but saved for public use.

In the case of the jailhouse, its architect was Tom Mullett of the famous A.B. Mullett Co., noted for "building to last." It is on the National Register for its Georgian Revival architecture and a renovated Mullett building would be a source of civic pride.

What is most important to me is that some elected Commissioners let a contract for demolition without real public input. They also tried to ignore the law and, when that didn't work, got the law amended to favor their view, and went to court four times.

This is not how our elected officials should be dealing with matters of interest to the whole community. We live in a great county and it is a shame that some of our elected officials seem to be unable to perform in a democratic manner. I vote "no" to their being rewarded with a new and costly government complex.

Sean Holly
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

In defense of Allan Powell

To the editor:

After reading James Bailey and Richard Giovanoni's letters in the Sept. 27 Herald-Mail, I believe it is time to defend Doctor Powell.

The only thing that faith and truth have in common is that when someone claims the first one, the second one usually suffers. I will not utilize philosophical terms that can overwhelm some people. Rather, I will present recent widely published events that will prove my point.

Hundreds of Catholic youths put their faith in their parish priests who then abused them. No less than an archbishop claimed that those men were sent away to be rehabilitated, when in fact they were shipped across the country to resume their shameful behavior in another diocese. Were faith and truth one and the same?

What of the thousands of faithful who believed in the fairy tales of Jim and Tammy Bakker who were using their followers' money to build luxurious weekend retreats. The truth? The money went into the preacher and his wife's pockets. Would you put your faith in people whose untruths put them in jail?

We have faith in our presidents to tell us the truth at all times. Then comes the break-in at the Democratic headquarters office at the Watergate. The untruths of Richard Nixon's defensive posture caused him to resign.

For centuries faithful Catholics were told to believe that Jews were responsible for the death of Christ. One had only to read a good history book or the encyclopedia to know that it was untrue. The Roman governor Pilate condemned Jesus to death. It took Pope John Paul to admit that this was a hoax, a murderous untruth that has been the cause of numerous pogroms, religious attacks and still simmering anti-Semitism in much of the world.

When you read in the encyclopedia that each translator of the Bible into English tried to correct the errors of the earlier ones, and those early translations were from the Greek, the Aramaic and the Hebrew, you certainly need faith to believe what was the work of over 40 authors.

Where does the truth lie in the holy book? This is what Doctor Powell meant by not confusing faith and truth. No one needs a degree in theology to understand this.

Jeanne Jacobs

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