Letters to the editor 5/19

May 19, 2004

Enjoy the bugs

To the editor:

Well, it's that time again. The cicadas are coming! That's the good news. The better news is that there is no reason to panic. They don't bite, sting, kill your tomato plants or eat your bulbs. They will, however, be everywhere in Central Maryland.

Try not to let your kids or dogs, cats, birds and other pets eat too many. Cover the pond and skim the pool daily. Pick up lawn objects that would prevent their emergence from the ground, starting in mid-May. Don't use pesticides on them. Pesticides are unnecessary, ineffective against the sheer numbers of cicadas that are expected.

Maryland Department of Agriculture entomologist and veteran of cicada emergences in 1970 and 1987, Gaye Williams, has put together a great resource for you to learn more about periodical cicadas. The more you know, the more you can appreciate and prepare for them. Log onto to find out what to expect during their brief visit, ways to cope with their presence, and to report your own cicada sightings to scientists.


Homeowners with other questions can contact the Maryland Home and Garden Information Center at 800-342-2507. Enjoy. You won't get another chance like this until 2021.

Lewis R. Riley

Secretary, Maryland Department of Agriculture


Proud to help city move forward

To the editor:

The owners and staff of TG Designs LLC, 19231 Longmeadow Road and 2 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown, would like to take this opportunity to thank the Hagerstown Mayor and City Council for their recent vote of approval for our possible growth and expansion within downtown Hagerstown.

Also a special mention of appreciation is due to Debbie Everhart and her staff within the economic development department for the city, and to Mike Deming of Demcore Development.

The revitalization and positive growth of our downtown is not possible without the support and efforts of our elected officials, staff and our community, and TG Designs is pleased to receive news of support on the first day of our eighth year in business within Washington County.

As we work toward a time of great momentum within our downtown area, we are excited to be a part of the business community working to address the needs of the residents and employees who live and work in the downtown area. As our store grows, we look forward to providing a wider array of products and services, as well as employment opportunities for residents of our community.

TG Designs is dedicated to the positive growth of our city and community, and we are pleased to add our voice of support to the efforts of officials working each day to make Hagerstown a better place to live and work.

Todd E. Gossert and Troy I. Gifft

TG Designs owners


Boredom, in context

To the editor:

While your reporter Scott Butki did not misquote me at the end of his article describing the One Room School House project put on by the Son Light home school group on May 14, (Dobbs said she thought the day went well, but there were times when playing a teacher of a different era was difficult. "My 21st-century brain kept saying, 'The older kids are bored,'" she said), I would like to offer the missing context of that particular comment.

The older students were not bored with the experience of the day. The boredom my 21st century brain was referring to related solely to the academic content I had brought for the subjects taught.

In addition to the morals and manners, students received lessons in the following: Reading. Writing. Arithmetic (addition facts for the youngest students, multiplication for the somewhat older, and Roman numerals for all). U.S. geography (for 1850, of course - where states are, and their capitals). Spelling (complete with a bee).

The three older students were very helpful to younger students during the day, as was expected in the time period. The two oldest assisted during the spelling bee, and indeed, one of those two, Britney Stroud, won by spelling "fatigue."

Butki just happened to catch me in part of the usual "What could have gone better" postmortem of my efforts for a day. I do this whenever I teach - in any century. The self-reflective question, however, was: What could have made the day better? My own answer, to use a 21st century educational phrase: More lessons for the oldest students at their rates and levels of learning. Should this project be repeated, I will provide more learning of new material for the older students within the one-room school situation. (a bit of Latin perhaps?)

The most difficult part for me? It was difficult to be so formally stern and strict in the period-typical manner (tapping desks with a pointer, slapping a ruler on the desk of an inattentive student). While I would expect the same attention to instruction from my own students today, (as I told Butki when he asked the question), I did not feel comfortable being the one who wields a big stick.

Everyone involved enjoyed the project, and I do thank The Herald-Mail for its coverage of the students' day, as well as the opportunity here to explain the context of my comment.

Sal Dobbs


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