Letters to the editor

January 05, 2004

Choose God's way or the highway

To the editor:

Has any subject other than Christianity had so much written about it by those who know so little? Consider, for example, the recent letter suggesting that the point of Christianity is inclusion. Nonsense.

The foundational document of Christianity teaches that the road to destruction is a wide and heavily traveled highway. Heading in the opposite direction is a narrow, lightly traveled footpath accessed by one, narrow little gate.

Not many pass through that gate. So narrow is it that one can fit through only when stripped of all rebellion against God and few are willing to strip down that far. Nevertheless, everyone is allowed to choose for themselves. His way or the highway.


Lester Negley

Rep. Bartlett is working hard on Ritchie projects

To the editor:

U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has recently been criticized for opposing legislation to convey 26 acres of property located at the former Fort Ritchie Army base to the National Training Center of the International Masonry Institute (IMI). Rep. Bartlett has been portrayed as an obstructionist to the development at the former military base. Nothing could be further from the truth.

During the past year, the Congressman has personally toured the base, on average, one to two times per month. He has been the fort's most vocal advocate, soliciting other influential members of Congress, leaders of various federal and state agencies and private companies, to relocate to the fort to bring back the 1,500 jobs which were lost due to its closing five years ago.

U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes has also helped in the redevelopment effort by soliciting IMI to relocate its masonry-training center to the fort. PenMar Development Corp., the group charging with redeveloping the fort, leases property to IMI with an agreement to sell them 26 acres as soon as the property is conveyed from the Army.

However, the conveyance was put on hold after a U.S. Federal Court of Appeals ruled that the Army had not given proper notice to advertise the property as a public benefit conveyance and further enjoined them from transferring the property until proper notice was given.

Sen. Sarbanes approached PenMar and said he would introduce legislation by attaching an amendment to a defense authorization bill directing the Department of the Army to convey the 26 acres immediately to PMDC, who would then sell it to IMI.

It was the consensus of both the PMDC Board of Directors as well as the Washington County Commissioners to seek legislation for transfer of the entire base. This too was Congressman Bartlett's approach. However, such a position could have prompted additional court battles; re-advertising the fort seems to be the quickest and safest course of action.

Rather than look at the re-screening process in the negative, we prefer to look at this as yet another way to advertise this beautiful site nestled within the Catoctin Mountains to federal, state or other private agencies. The re-screening period will end on Jan. 9.

IMI is an exceptional organization and will add immensely to the health of our local economy. We stand firmly behind our commitment to help them develop a national training center.

Rep. Bartlett has been a good friend to western Maryland and has worked hard to bring economic development to Washington County and Ft Ritchie. He should be commended, not criticized, for his hard work and we look forward to working with him and other members of Congress to redevelop the fort to bring these jobs back home again to Washington County.

Ron Sulchek, Chair
PenMar Development Corporation

Study the candidates

To the editor:

I find it very interesting that 16 people have filed for election to the four seats on the Washington County Board of Education.

My experience is that the primary election in March is all about name recognition. Having said that, I believe Ed Forrest, Roxanne Ober, Bernadette Wagner, Tom Berry and Wayne Ridenour have good chances to secure one of the eight slots awarded in the primary.

Sometimes there are candidate forums before the primary election, sometimes not. I would expect The Herald-Mail will do interviews of all the candidates and submit questions to the candidates with answers to be published in the paper.

As voters, we need to seriously consider all the candidates. I encourage all voters to study the issues and how the candidates stand on the issues.

Meredith Fouche

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