A curio of ideas for Hagerstown and beyond 8/28

August 28, 2005|By Bob Maginnis

Some suggestions and questions, based on recent news coverage and articles in The Herald-Mail:

· When the Hagerstown City Council begins negotiations on the annexation of property across from the Long Meadow Shopping Center, could part of the deal be getting the developer to kick in some bucks for upgrading Md. 60 and Eastern Boulevard, both of which need additional lanes where they intersect?

· On the same topic, could we get the Lowe's people to agree that if they eventually abandon their new building - as farfetched as that possibility might be - they will take some responsibility for finding another tenant for it?

· If the PenMar Redevelopment Corp. must spend any money it makes on the old Army base, why not go ahead with the proposal to build an 18,000-square-foot community center there? It may seem as if the would-be buyer of the old fort, Corporate Office Properties Trust, is looking for something for nothing, but isn't designating a 20.4 acre site of the land they're buying - given today's land prices - really significant?


· Two days after Jefferson High School in Jefferson County, W.Va., was hit with vandalism that cost more than $25,000, the miscreants struck again on Friday, Aug. 19. I know security people cost money, but this situation is a bit like a fox that's discovered a lame rabbit. Without a deterrent, the "rabbit" that tax dollars have paid for will get eaten alive.

· Just curious: If people want to remembered fondly by those they leave behind, why do so many people refuse to pose for one decent picture? Do you really want your grandchildren's visual memory of you to consist of one fuzzy Polaroid image?

· The Maryland Stadium Authority has narrowed its search down for a place for a Maryland Horse Park to sites in Annapolis and Cecil County, one of which is a 5,600-acre state-owned tract. The facility would feature "competitive riding events," including steeplechase, endurance riding and dressage, which is a competition in which the horse performs basic training movements.

This indicates to me that there are many people willing to spend big dollars on horses and horse-related matters. If there are so many horse lovers out there, why has thoroughbred racing fallen on such hard times?

· The Associated Press reported this week that as a result of base closings elsewhere, Letterkenny Army Depot in Chambersburg, Pa., will get new jobs, possibly hundreds of them. What does it seem so easy for Franklin County, Pa., officials to succeed in this area, while Washington County's efforts to redevelop the now-closed Fort Ritchie Army base have been so difficult?

· Acting Hagerstown Police Chief Charles Summers told the City Council this week that the downtown squad, which deals with such problems as public drunkenness and disorderly conduct, is down from four officers to two and that the force, though authorized to be 101 officers, is now at 96, in part because officers have taken higher-paying jobs elsewhere. If Hagerstown funds training, then loses officers to departments because it doesn't pay them enough, aren't city taxpayers paying repeatedly for a benefit that some other departments are getting?

· Hagerstown's Majestic Restaurant on South Potomac Street was renowned for its hot dogs for many years before it closed, so why did it take so long for someone to open another downtown restaurant - The Dog House on West Washington Street - that specializes in those tubular treats Hagerstonians love?

· Whether you agree with her or not, can anyone who has been a parent condemn Cindy Sheehan for her protest of the Iraq war? You may not believe that she's right, but in the natural order of things, mothers and fathers die first, not the children. And when it doesn't happen that way, a parent's grief can take a form that few might expect.

· If you don't have a child overseas, have you considered the possibility that the soldiers there may need some expressions of support from the home folks? The South Washington County Military Support Group, an organization of parents and relatives of servicepeople, is again organizing a holiday care drive that begins Oct. 1. To participate, contact the group through Lynn Jones by calling 301-432-4979 or by mail at P.O. Box 223, Keedysville, MD 21756.

· The Washington County Sheriff's department's chief deputy, Capt. Doug Mullendore, filed for sheriff this week, following the July 8 filing of retired Maryland State Police Sgt. Dan Seiler, who served as campaign treasurer for the incumbent, five-term Sheriff Charles Mades, for 12 years. When your top deputy and your former treasurer file for the office you hold, what message are they trying to send?

· When gasoline was a whole lot cheaper, just a short time ago, why didn't we realize how good we had it?

Bob Maginnis is editorial page editor of The Herald-Mail newspapers.

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