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Letters to the editor for 12/26

December 26, 2003

Rethink downtown campus location


To the editor:

If older women are reluctant to utilize the parking garage in the daytime for safety reasons, how will students at the University System of Maryland branch campus feel about using it at night? My daughter attended Frostburg College at the downtown Hagerstown campus, and often got out of class after 10 p.m. She frequently witnessed drug deals, and she was approached by strangers with sexual intentions on a nightly basis. Once there was a police kiosk on the square, unmanned usually, but even that is now gone.

If the University of Maryland campus is to come to Hagerstown, it should provide a safe, accessible venue for all of its students. That is not the case now, with one campus located in the downtown area, why should it suddenly become different with two?

Since the decision was taken to locate the UM campus in downtown Hagerstown there have been some major changes in the plans for the future of the county. The most striking of which is the proposed location of the hospital on Robinwood Drive. This will require major road improvements which were considered to be prohibitive when discussing the location of the University campus. That apparently is no longer a consideration.

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What should be considered is the proximity of the nursing degree program at HCC to the new hospital, and the future requirements of the baby boom generation for qualified health care professionals. Already there is a shortage of nurses and there is also a nationwide trend to require a bachelor's degree for RNs. By blending the HCC facility with a UM campus close to a hospital, many benefits of scale would accrue to education in Washington County. Other benefits would include the ability to expand an already existent library, and shared use of athletic and cafeteria facilities. It would also be possible for students to have dual registration so as to be able to take upper level classes that would not normally be available to the HCC students. There would be space to expand as needed. Space to park. And a far greater sense of safety in the daytime as well as at night.

If there is concern that those who live in the city would be unable to attend because they do not have cars, there is currently public transportation that connects the downtown area to the HCC campus, and subsidies are available to low-income students,

The decision to locate the University of Maryland campus in downtown Hagerstown has never been seen by the majority of vocal county residents as a practical, fair and viable one, but rather one that is rife with political machinations that seem to benefit a few with a cost to the many.

It is time to revisit this decision.

Eileen G. McNeely

Boonsboro




Outdoor litter box hurts


To the editor:

For the past several months, some lout has been dumping used kitty litter along both sides of Trovinger Mill Road, from the railroad tracks southward toward Hebb's garage.

While we appreciate this person or persons for presumably keeping their cats safely indoors, the littering is not only illegal, but is malodorous on warmer days and has the potential for carrying disease.

Pregnant women are at risk for contracting toxoplasmosis (which causes abortion) from cat litter. Trovinger Mill road is used in all kinds of weather by a number of people, ranging in age from mothers with children in strollers to a gentleman in his eighties. These people enjoy walking along the road for exercise. Some walk their dogs (and carry plastic bags to clean up after the dogs). The HCC cross country team and bicyclists also frequent the road.

The mere fact that all land along the road is not a manicured front lawn does not mean that the land is not owned and valued by someone. Just since the last snowstorm, about a half bushel of litter has been dumped on the snow along the road.

We are starting to monitor the road; if this does not stop, we will eventually identify the person or persons responsible and will gladly pursue legal action against them.

Polly Schofield

Hagerstown




Saving grace


To the editor:

Recent efforts by the ACLU to eradicate Christ from his rightful place in our public celebrations of his birthday at Christmas prove only to reveal the depravity of this organization.

The ACLU offers nothing to mankind that would elevate his estate in a world torn by strife. In fact, in the absence of Jesus' saving power within the believer, the ACLU and its sympathizers offer nothing but a further downward spiral of mankind's predicament.

Evil continues to beset us and increases in virility. Our fascination with violence and attraction to the sensual side of life grows daily, sending us down the path of unfulfilled desires. It is true the ACLU is not responsible for the presence of evil among mankind, but neither does it offer any solutions. Not so Jesus Christ, whose birthday reminds us of the wonderful gift given so freely in Bethlehem and consummated so obediently and completely outside Jerusalem at Calvary.

We Christians have a responsibility to tell all the world what took place in those two Middle Eastern communities so very long ago; and in so doing let us not forget what Christ's power to save is as great now as it was then.

God's word reveals to us many facts of history, science, politics, cultures and military forays, all of which have been proven through archaeological finds. But the greatest of these facts is the coming of the savior, Jesus Christ, into the world to save each and every sinner who comes in faith, receives grace, is given salvation and is assured of eternal life proven by the experience of the believer.

No one else on earth offers these redeeming assurances but Jesus. It's his birthday, not that of any part of the secular world. Invite him in as your guest this Christmas.

Richard E. Besecker

Greencastle, Pa.

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