Seeking a good sandwich and solutions to other issues

October 03, 2007|By BOB MAGINNIS

Odds and ends from a columnist's notebook:

Sober and serious topics can only occupy so much of your time, even if that's what you're paid to write about. And so I decided to do something fun this week, by reviving an old contest we haven't run in a while.

I call it "Hagerstown's Best Sandwich" and it's easy to enter.

The rules are fairly simple: Describe, in 100 words or less, your favorite sandwich. The culinary delight must be available on the regular menu for eat-in or carry-out, at a restaurant inside the Hagerstown city limits.

In the past, some people have questioned the Hagerstown-only requirement, and I must admit that I have an ulterior motive for that.


Hagerstown is where I work, and if some of the entries sound good, I don't want to have to go to Harpers Ferry, W.Va., on my lunch hour to try them out. Call me selfish, but since the prize comes out of my pocket, that's how it's going to be.

By the way, the prize is $25. The only people ineligible are Herald-Mail employees and the owners and employees of the restaurants involved. That doesn't mean they can't recruit a customer to send in an entry, however.

Send entries to Best Sandwich, c/o Bob Maginnis, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

The deadline is Monday, Oct. 15, with the winner announced on Oct. 17.

On Monday, the Washington County Planning Commission reviewed plans for a drive-through fast-food restaurant at U.S. 40 and Mount Aetna Road, across from the Pizza Hut.

There is commercial development all around this site, but the site also happens to front on one of the two mains routes to the Robinwood Medical Center.

If the Washington County Hospital is successful in moving to that location, I hope the planners do what they can to minimize the effect of another fast-food restaurant on ambulances trying to travel that route.

Speaking of transportation, The Associated Press this week quoted Del. Christopher Shank, R-Washington, as saying that one of the reasons he's opposed to Gov. Martin O'Malley's budget plan is that it raises more money for transportation at a time when the state faces serious fiscal problems.

If Shank is opposing new cash for the Inter-County Connector linking Prince George's and Montgomery counties, I'm with him. But if he's against a solution that would fund necessary local projects such as the upgrade of the U.S. 40/ Edgewood Drive intersection, Del. Shank might need some additional local input.

I saw recently that the Massey Body Shop on Hagerstown's Baltimore Street is closed now, so there would seem to be one less obstacle to building affordable townhomes to draw people with disposable income to downtown.

The shop was on part of a nearly 3-acre parcel that was planned as a site for 20 to 30 affordable units.

The project was announced in September 2004 and the city government allocated $300,000 in federal grant money to the effort.

Then housing sales slowed and the developer who had been picked began to put his efforts elsewhere, according to officials of the Hagerstown Neighborhood Development Partnership, which was in charge of the project.

A row of nice-looking townhomes recently went up on Cleveland Avenue near the old Ames Shopping Center.

Can someone ask that developer is he's willing to work on Baltimore Street?

Lately the editorial page seems to be filed with letters from people arguing over questions that seem mostly philosophical and spiritual - evolution vs. creationism and whether religion is divinely inspired or man-made superstition.

Contrast that to the relative lack of debate on matters we can see and touch - and possibly get resolved in our lifetimes. Washington County's proposed charter is one, affordable housing is another. I'm considering, pending other input, reserving one editorial page a week for reader discussion of true local issues.

What do you think? Send reactions to Bob Maginnis, The Herald-Mail., P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741. Thanks.

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

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