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Letters to the editor

May 23, 2004

Failing water in Falling Waters?



To the editor:

A Berkeley County, W.Va., Planning Commission meeting held Monday, April 19, led to nothing more than the commission failing the people. The commission was set to vote on the River Side Development off of Broad Lane in Falling Waters. On April 12, 2004, the planning commission held a meeting to discuss the approval of the afore-mentioned development.

During that time, a number of issues were brought to the commission's attention. A soil survey proved that not only did the soil of the development site provide poor drainage, but it is also unsuitable for grass growth, and could possibly create soil slippage. Also, the proposed lot sizes are inadequate for both a well and septic system.

In regard to the property's problems, a member of the commission commented that he "couldn't understand how it was approved by the health department." Due to problems with wastewater runoff on the property, the approval of the plat was postponed until the April 19 meeting. Again at the second meeting, the poor soil and well and septic inadequacies were mentioned with the same commissioner stating that he, "wouldn't allow his own daughter to live there; it would be a health problem."

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So what does all this mean now? Well, according to the planning commission, the possibility of some houses experiencing wet basements due to groundwater and poor drainage resulted in certain lots not being built on at all because of "seasonal high water." The lots are too small to fully house both a well and septic system, plus there are too many wells planned for the small areas, so the property owners may end up with dry wells.

Despite hearing and seeing these problems at two meetings, the commission still voted to approve the plat along with all its faults. Why? Because no one wanted to upset the health department, because they had already approved the lot sizes, and also upset the engineer who had already approved the lots and their drainage.

The point I'm trying to portray is that the commissioners voted to approve this development despite all the facts and concerns brought before them. So what's left now for the citizens of Berkeley County? Dry wells, populated lands and gray wastewater that will find its way into the Potomac River, while the developers come across the state line, rape the precious natural lands and leave once again to spend their money in Maryland.

John Denver once sang that West Virginia was "Almost Heaven." The county is putting a stop to that feeling by leaving its citizens more and more with nothing left to cherish.

Eric V. LaPole

Falling Waters, W.Va.




Donald Kaul will be missed



To the editor:

We loved Donald Kaul and feel that he provided a nice balance to some of the other columnists you publish - such as the vapid and sophomoric Kathleen Parker, for one.

It seems to us that if you publish Charley Reese and others of his ilk, you need a counterbalance. Kaul is a nicely unreconstructed liberal whose sharp-tipped pen will be missed in your pages - by us at least.

Heidi Welsh

Peter Wechsler

Boonsboro




Agencies propelled learning



To the editor:

I want to thank the Maryland Space Grant Consortium henry.pha.jhu.edu/msgc/) and Marshall Space Flight Center (www.msfc.nasa.gov) for their generous donations to sponsor the Mile High Rocket Team.

This team is made up of students from Boonsboro Middle and High School, Saint James School and the Pennsylvania State University campus at Mont Alto. The funding allowed the team to design and build rockets leading up to an 8-foot rocket to be taken to Huntsville, Ala., to be flown to see which of five teams from across the country would be able to carry a scientific payload the closest to a mile in altitude.

Through this opportunity provided by these educational sponsors, students have learned to design and build rockets, write scientific reports meeting deadlines, use e-mail attachments regularly, maintain a Web site, use digital photography, partake in video conferences with scientists, do research and study the life cycles, reproduction and development of frog eggs and fruit flies in the biology lab.

They do computer simulations, learn dual deployment of parachutes, work with electronics and GPS, analyze, problem solve, troubleshoot, work in teams, departmentalize, manage time, travel on an airplane to another state, tour NASA and Boeing facilities, meet with Homer Hickam and learn FAA rules and regulations and airline shipping restrictions.

This is a project that is the most interdisciplinary project that I have ever encountered. These students have learned a tremendous amount and it would have not been possible without the grants from our sponsors and the help from two rocket club organizations that provided us with mentors.

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