Letters to the editor

November 07, 2004

Furthering education in W.Va.

To the editor:

One of the great challenges facing West Virginia higher education is the need to increase the enrollment of adult students in the state's public colleges and universities. The educational attainment rate of our adult population is among the lowest in the nation. Before the state can make strides in its effort to be competitive and meet the workforce demands of the new economy, it must effectively address this problem. All of West Virginia's higher education institutions, particularly community and technical colleges, must develop innovative programs to reach the adult population.

Recently, the West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education approved the Board of Governors Associate of Applied Science Degree program. This program is designed for working adults who have been out of high school for at least two years. It provides a great opportunity for individuals to pursue an associate degree by combining credit for military experience, technical education certificates, licensures and other past learning experiences with present college course work. This degree can result in significant savings of time and money and allow for new opportunities in the job market or advancement in present employment.


Community and technical colleges offer attractive, economical and realistic options for individuals seeking a college degree. Degrees offered by community and technical colleges generally provide two options - go directly into the job market or transfer into a four-year degree program. The Board of Governors program is designed to permit adult students to transfer directly into the Regents Bachelor of Arts degree program. which provides an opportunity to earn a four-year degree.

Each of West Virginia's 10 community and technical colleges offers the Board of Governors associate degree program as well as other certificate and associate degree programs that lead to productive employment. I encourage adults who have an interest in pursuing a college education to contact one of our community and technical colleges or call 1-304-558-0265 and inquire about the Board of Governors AAS Adult Degree Completion program. It may just be what you and the state of West Virginia need.

Nelson Robinson
West Virginia Council for Community and Technical College Education

Land snags at Ritchie live on

To the editor:

It was heartening to me to read in your Oct. 20 issue that, "City officials think they can get more money" from the U.S. Department of the Interior. There is only $800,000 on the table for the National Park Service to "buy" land rights along the Appalachian Trail east of Smithsburg. City officials have negotiated for years and want more money.

I had begun to think that the PenMar Development Corp., representing Washington County, was an anomaly. They have negotiated for 14 years on the sale/transfer/gift/reverse mortgage/lease of former Fort Ritchie, a same-size property, and have now decided to give it away.

By coincidence, this property also abuts the Appalachian Trail viewshed.

One of the first parties interested in 100 acres of the old base in 1996 was the same National Park Service. I helped them prepare their request to obtain viewshed easement when price was not an issue. The NPS took a figurative hike down the trail when the issue of munitions came up.

Said munitions have been removed, thus presenting the county and city with yet another opportunity to work together on a project. By piecing off the 100 acres from the property being handed to COPT and adding it to the 576-acre Warner Gap Hollow Road deal, in Washington County/Hagerstown math, city attorney John Urner could then jack the price of the Appalachian Trail deal closer to the $2 million range.

I have mentioned such a philosophy of piecing off segments of Ritchie, that COPT has never expressed any interest in, to Commissioner Bill Wivell in the past. For example, the hundreds of acres of standing timber that COPT will not develop. However, county officials have no will to tame the "powerful juggernaut" that is PMDC.

If the current issue with PMDC is that the COPT selling price is wrongheaded, then Washington County's potential ability to "piece out" the property, like a take-over target, would seem to blunt the trauma of the government's snail-paced attempt to hand back ownership of the closed base to Washington County.

However, I have been confused for over a decade and my record is 100 percent inaccurate for placing a finger on any current PMDC issue, even though the Army had placed me in my last position because I was a Hagerstown native supposedly able to understand the "natives." I believe few of today's movers and shakers are aware of park service's past interest in any of the controversial federal land up in Cascade.

William Spigler
Waynesboro, Pa.

A love story lives on

To the editor:

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