Letters to the editor

April 06, 2005

Magazine ads could create conflict

To the editor:

Having read Dick Trump's quarter page response on the hospital relocation in your newspaper, I have one simple question to ask him: If he is elected mayor, how can he claim to make any impartial, beneficial decisions for all of the people of Hagerstown when Hagerstown Magazine (which he publishes) takes advertising from several large local businesses, including the hospital?

Is this a conflict of interest? (It could, however, explain much about his stance on this particular issue.)

Eric Hurd

W.Va. commission botching our history

To the editor:

The Jefferson County Commission is the last bunch to have the future of jailhouse reuse in its hands alone. This body is not a good steward of our historic resources, steeped as it is in the minutia of county business and its seeming inability to collaborate with anyone but themselves. And while some commissioners have a grasp of the larger community and the future downtown, others talk as if private citizens spent four years fighting to save the National Register of Historic Places jailhouse just so the commission could get county office space without lifting a finger. Do these folks really think saving a facade is preserving heritage?


I am especially appalled that mention is made of how crowded the county attorney's office is, as if this attorney should be housed in one of the jailhouse's gorgeous office spaces after maligning it in four different court hearings, arguing on behalf of the commission for its destruction, while citizens argued to save it.

In fact, the failure to even mention heritage and the building's potential for many uses, even on the part of some commissioners elected on a platform of heritage preservation, is stunning. It shows disrespect for citizens who have spent their own time and money to raise public and official consciousness about the importance of making heritage a priority in a historic community that is overrun by growth. It ignores the local, state and national groups and experts who have weighed in with ideas and assistance on the jailhouse.

This unique building belongs to the people and to America and I pay my tax dollars for something besides office space. And there is something larger at stake here - the ability to see the connection between promoting history and preserving a united community that knows its roots and identity. It also brings in money.

It's time to learn to walk and chew gum at the same time. Sure, use some of the space for the county, but not as the priority. Office space can go anywhere, but you can't build history. This centrally located building in the historic district, with its beautiful Georgian-revival rooms, should be a multiuse center to serve the larger community - visitors and citizens - with an emphasis on history, including the coal miners' "treason trial" story.

The county should get about the business of building behind the jailhouse and across the street instead of taking over a historic building that citizens fought to save for a larger purpose.

Esther Burney
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Time to scrap Rocky Gap resort

To the editor:

When Rocky Gap State Park opened in the spring of 1999, the father of that fiasco, Cas Taylor, who at the time was the speaker of the Maryland House of Representatives, appeared on TV and hailed it as the greatest thing to happen to Western Maryland since ice cream.

He said the average working person could afford to spend a week there with their family. Well, if the so-called "average working person" is making a six-figure salary, there is no problem.

Apparently Maryland, and especially Western Maryland, is short on six- figure salaried "average" workers.

According to the recent press release in this newspaper, Rocky Gap is in debt to the tune of $26 million and counting. It has lost millions of dollars in each of the six fiscal years it has been open.

As a taxpayer, I am not in favor of subsidizing the "Titanic" any longer. Unload the place or close it down, just get it off the back of overtaxed people in this tax hell we know as Maryland.

I have expressed my feelings to the local delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, but it seems to be a "hands off" subject to the powercrats in Annapolis.

Someone once said voters can be like elephants - they never forget.

John H. McCune

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