Letters to the editor

November 10, 2004

Tornado quite an experience

To the editor:

Before I saw a black cloud at the mountain across Md. 67, I was heading out to look for a rainbow after all of the lightning and rain. I backed in to get the camera and soon realized what was happening, sound and all. It was more sound than we get in the trees with summer storms from the west.

Back inside it crossed my mind that here comes the barn or the house and all on me.

When I went to the north side of house and opened the sliding glass door to the deck, the trees across the road bent west. I had the camera up for a picture and froze due to a bolt of lightning. Then the trees blew north- east and when a branch snapped, I shut the door, backing away. Whatever was happening was out of here like lost water down a drain.


Sylvia M. Bealer

Community steps up to help

To the editor:

As vice president of the REACH volunteer board of directors, I want to thank Bob Maginnis for his recent column highlighting the issue of homelessness in Hagerstown ("Into the woods in search of Hagerstown's homeless," Nov. 3).

As Maginnis rightly points out, many of the people sheltered by REACH and the other five shelter providers in town are struggling with substance abuse and/or serious mental illness. Often, they go together. It is worth noting, however, that the average length of stay at the REACH Cold Weather Shelter last season was only 20 nights per guest. A majority of our guests are in a temporary crisis and stay with us for a short time until they can get into a better situation.

I also appreciate Maginnis' point about the importance of providing services to the homeless, such as substance abuse and mental-health treatment and job counseling.

Hagerstown is blessed with many community agencies, public and private, that provide such services to those in need in our community. REACH works closely with these agencies to connect our shelter guests to the help they need. When we move into our permanent site (in a few months, we hope), we look forward to expanding the availability of these services.

Thank you to our community. Without the support of local individuals and organizations, we could not provide these services to those in need. To learn more about the future REACH Center and to get involved, please contact the REACH office at 301-733-2371 or send e-mail to

Tom Newell

Don't let truth pass you by

To the editor:

Although sincere, fervent and private prayer always is possible, regardless of our locations or circumstances, my special place of spiritual communion and communication is the Washington, D.C., Temple (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or "LDS" Church).

In that holy house, prior to, during or after completing sacred ordinances, my heart and soul are most receptive to spiritual counsel.

Our father in heaven attempts to counsel and help us every day, but the tumult of our workday and other distractions far too often make it difficult for us to perceive that "still, small voice" of the Holy Ghost, His messenger of truth and wisdom, who replies to our every prayer and plea.

And so it is, after completing an endowment session, and as I sit in the temple cafeteria to grab a quick bite, my attention always is drawn to a painting on the cafeteria wall, which gives me further pause to ponder.

The painting portrays Our Savior, Jesus Christ, on a hillside by a lake, teaching God's eternal plan of happiness.

On the lake, in the distance, is a sailboat. That sailboat and the people in it makes me wonder:

How many of us are that close to the truth, but, concerned and consumed with other issues and prejudices, let it pass us by?

For more information about the purpose of life and other eternally significant questions, please visit, or call 1-800-438-7557.

Larry D. Kump
Falling Waters, W.Va.

Hunters are not heroes

To the editor:

My opinion about the bear hunt is in favor of the bears. How ludicrous that the media treat the hunters as heroes and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources compared the passing of the legislation to allow the slaughter of 30 bears to the victory enjoyed by the Boston Red Sox.

I really should not be wondering why I cannot get any help with efforts to stop the rat poisoning of critters in my neighborhood.

Althea D. Thacher

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