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Join list of snow volunteers

November 11, 2004

After last year's controversy over fines levied against Hagerstown residents who didn't have their sidewalks cleared of snow, city officials have decided to try something new - asking for volunteer help. Encouraging people to help their neighbors and keep down government expenses at the same time is a great idea.

But under this plan, not everyone can get help. Under the city's requirements, you must be 60 years of age or older, financially and physically unable to clear the snow yourself and have no family member who can do it for you.

The city's Office of Code Compliance will put together a list of volunteers. Once it's determined that there are enough of them, the city will coordinate with the Washington County Commission on Aging, which will register those who need help.

If it works, the arrangement will be ideal for older residents who have no family nearby or who are unsure about who to call for snow-removal help.

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Not only will it ensure that the sidewalks are cleared in a timely fashion, but it will also provide senior citizens with some of the human contact that they might otherwise lack.

The Code Compliance Office is the agency that's in charge of ensuring that rental property is not a danger to the health or safety of those who live there. But it takes more than buildings to make a neighborhood and a city.

It also takes people who help each other and watch out for those who live nearby. And as mental-health professionals told us after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, those who volunteer get as much out of doing that as those they help.

We believe the City of Hagerstown is on the verge of a comeback, as people seeking homes and new business locations discover that South Mountain is not the impenetrable barrier they once believed it was.

But can we really enjoy the progress if we forget the needs of those who've been here for many years? Please remember them and volunteer if you can by calling 301-739-8577, ext. 195. You won't regret reaching out in this way.

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