Getting an early jump on New Year's resolutions

December 28, 2005|by BOB MAGINNIS

At the end of every year, it is good for each of us to assess the progress we've made during the last 12 months and pledge to do better in the next 365 days.

Those pledges are commonly known as New Year's resolutions and often involve promises to do things that we often put off, such as quitting smoking or going to the gym three times a week.

Resolutions are normally things we make for ourselves, but because of my concern for the health and well-being of the community, I'm taking the extraordinary step of making a few for other people.

Is that arrogant? Read them, then decide.

1. For the Washington County Commissioners: Put the same effort into the relocation of Washington County Hospital as you did into the runway extension project at Hagerstown Regional Airport.


Unlike the runway, which may or may not draw the predicted amount of traffic, the hospital will attract plenty of business. How well its customers can access the facilities will be, in large part, up to the county.

2. To drivers in the region: Give up the irritating habit of activating your turn signal only a few feet before you turn. It's an advance-warning system, not a flashing decoration.

3. To members of the Hagerstown City Council: Concede that Mayor Richard "Dick" Trump might occasionally have a good idea and say so in public.

4. To the Hagerstown city government: After a snowfall, plow on-street parking spaces downtown, instead of forcing visitors to navigate over uneven piles of ice.

Welcome newcomers with clean streets, not a museum of mini-glaciers covered with road dirt..

5. To motorists who park at strip malls and convenience stores and leave their car stereos blasting while they go inside. Turning off the music would be great, but we'll settle for an explanation: Why do you care whether or not anyone is listening if you're not there?

6. To the County Commuter bus system: Relocate your transfer point, which is now underneath a bridge on U.S. 40. If you truly value your riders, give them a space to wait that doesn't suggest that you'd rather not see them at all.

7. To the Hagerstown city government: Resurrect former Mayor Robert Bruchey II's proposal for a business recruiter for downtown. Under Bruchey's reasoning, the recruiter wouldn't get paid unless he or she closed the deals.

8. To all smokers in the region with small children: Keep matches and lighters secured so that toddlers don't burn down the family home while they're "playing."

9. To the board of directors of The Maryland Theatre: Begin raising funds to build an endowment, so that tickets to popular attractions don't have to cost more than $40 apiece. Why not hold an annual benefit concert with local talent to kick it off?

10. To restaurants in the region: Don't tell customers it's "homemade" soup if it's really out of a Campbell's Soup can. If we wanted canned soup, we'd go home and eat.

11. To local business people and government officials: Come up with a plan to build some affordable housing here before the entire county is populated by workers who commute to the big cities.

12. To the Hagerstown City Council: Promise not to ask for another tax increase before making a serious effort to merge some services with Washington County.

13. To everyone who thought a Hagerstown Civil War Museum was good idea in the late 1990s: Take a serious look at the State of Maryland's plan to create "certified Civil War heritage areas."

Such areas are eligible for marketing assistance, loans, grants and tax credits.

14. To the people who dream up gadgets such as the Blackberry and the picturephone: Invent a device that will tell us whether someone is really talking on their cell phone, or just jabbering away in an attempt to appear important.

15. To Washington County officials and citizens: Make a serious effort to cut the county's teen pregnancy rate.

16. To those building new housing here: Construct something you'd actually want to live in, as opposed to one of those sardine- can arrangements called a town house development.

17. To Herald-Mail's editorial page editor: Stay humble, mister, and remember that more readers look for "Dilbert" than search for your stuff.

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