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'Building Community' reps chat online at 1 p.m. today

June 13, 2006

For a group whose mission was to bring people together, the organization known as "Building Community" got off to a rough start.

Two members of the Hagers-town City Council have criticized the group. One said it was too secretive, while the other said it exaggerated problems with racism in the city.

Then a former candidate for city office filed an ethics complaint - since dismissed - that said that City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman had improperly given the group several hundred dollars for its activities without council authorization.

Building Community has since adopted an open-door policy, invited press coverage and issued a statement detailing its goals.

The three are laudable aims - to explore issues of discrimination, to look at how the community integrates diverse groups into local society and how the community can celebrate its strengths and strengthen its weaknesses.

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If you have a thought on how any of these goals can be accomplished, or a question for some of the organizers, you may want to consider joining in The Herald-Mail's online chat today at 1 p.m. At that time, Dan Kennedy and Brad Barker will answer questions from those who participate.

To join in, you may e-mail questions in advance to onlinechat@herald-mail.com or come to The Herald-Mail Web site at www.herald-mail.com.

Once at the site, go to the bar at the top of the page and click on "chat." From there, you will be directed to the online chat.

In regard to the Building Community group, it's always been our position that groups trying to improve the community get further if they enlist the community's help early on and tell the public exactly what they are doing.

After a few hard knocks, the group's members seem to have learned that lesson. Today's guests have both pledged that they will be as forthcoming as possible about what Building Community hopes to do - and what it has done so far.

If you are curious or concerned about how all of this might affect the community, by all means join us today at 1 p.m.

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