Letters to the editor - 6/3

June 03, 2004

In honor of Michael G. Callas

To the editor:

It is with sadness that we note the passing of Michael G. Callas. Mike was often heard to say that "the world is run by people who show up." To him, that was more than just a phrase. It became the credo for the man. Mike always showed up and more than just showing up, he became involved.

Mike was a charter member and the immediate past chairman of The Greater Hagerstown Committee Inc. As a charter member, he helped develop GHC's model for community involvement in those issues that make a positive impact for the citizens of our area.

As chairman, Mike led our organization in making our community involvement model a matter of everyday life for our members. Today and every day, we will honor the memory and the legacy that is, and was, Mike Callas.


Mike was a true friend of Washington County and a mentor to many. His tireless efforts to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community are greatly appreciated and will long be remembered. Our community has been enriched by his contributions, but is poorer by his his loss.

William Barton, chair

The Greater Hagerstown Committee Inc.

Ticket all of those cell-phone users, too

To the editor:

It has bothered me for some time now that there is this massive crusade against people who don't wear seat belts, but people who use cell phones in their cars while driving can continue doing this and it's not an issue at all.

Before anyone thinks I'm against safety, let me just say that on the contrary, I am pro-safety. Safety is the issue here. Think about it. If I am driving and not wearing my seat belt, how am I endangering the lives of anyone inside my car (except for my own life) or anyone on the outside of my car?

If I am not buckled up, I am still able to concentrate on the road, read signs, know if pedestrians are walking in front of me. If I wrecked my car while not buckled up, it wasn't because I wasn't wearing my seat belt.

Now, for the cell phone user. They are talking on the phone, not fully attentive to the road, concentrating on their conversation rather than their surroundings. And chances are, the response time would be very slow if they saw a potential accident approaching. But yet there are no laws against cell phone users, no massive crusade to get these people to change their driving habits - nothing.

I am not against cell phones per se. I know that people can still be good drivers while on the phone. My entire point is, cell phone use is a distraction while one is driving, while not wearing a seat belt is no distraction at all for the driver, yet buckling up is required by law. I've always understood laws that were for the protection of others, but laws that are for the protection of one's own life, it's like communism or dictatorship.

If they make this a law, then what's next? A law against smoking because it's hazardous to your own health? It's insane. I also love how the ads for this seat belt crusade make it appear as if law enforcement "cares" about you. It's not about them caring about our safety. It's about making sure we stay alive so we can continue paying taxes that go to their salary.

They want to keep us alive so we can maintain their jobs. It may sound far-fetched, but it's the truth. If law enforcement really cares about safety, they will start ticketing cell-phone users, too.

Larry Simons


Time to change the guard at City Hall

To the editor:

Arg! More tax increases for Hagerstown. Why? Because people will be upset if the City Council starts cutting services. Who will be upset?

The ones draining the system? I certainly get no additional services with a tax increase, just smaller paychecks and more headaches.

The last time I looked, I had to pay for every service I receive anyway. It is time for a changing of the guard at City Hall, from the mayor on down. And on election day, I'll be the first in line at the voting booth.

Christy Craver


Libraries need your assistance

To the editor:

Will those who love their Pennsylvania public libraries please stand up and be counted? Right now, the Pennsylvania state legislature is deciding the fate of public libraries all over Pennsylvania. Over the last year, Franklin County libraries lost about $400,000 in state revenues. Use of public libraries in Franklin County is growing, not decreasing, as some skeptics might have you believe.

Two versions of the state budget are currently afloat in the legislature, both increasing public library allocations above Gov. Ed Rendell's original recommendations for the 2004-05 budget. The House version calls for full restoration, plus an increase to offset the current losses ($80.2 million). The Senate version calls for $57.9 million, which is only a small increase over the governor's package.

Library supporters should contact their legislators immediately, supporting the recommendation of the House, in hopes that public libraries in Franklin County and Pennsylvania, as a whole, can bring their services back to the quality for which residents are clamoring.

As a whole, local legislators are, by far, in favor of restoring these funds, but they need constituent letters to convince others to support this important stand. Contact information for all local legislators is available on the Franklin County Library System web page:

Thank you for sticking by the libraries in their greatest hour of need.

Bernice D. Crouse

Executive Director

Franklin County Library

Chambersburg, Pa.

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