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Letters to the Editor

April 21, 2008

Labor council observes Workers Memorial Day on Monday, April 28



To the editor:

On April 28, the labor movement will again observe Workers Memorial Day to remember workers who have been killed or injured on the job and to renew our never-ending struggle for stronger safety and health protections.

Congress, more than three decades ago, passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Mine Safety and Health Act, promising our American workforce the right to a safe job. Unions have waged a strong battle to make their promises become realities. Those battles saved thousands of lives. However, the toll of workplace injuries and deaths continues - thousands of workers are killed and injuries run in the millions. Injuries in the coal mines and factories continues unabated.

Congress previously exerted effort to reach a broad consensus on legislation to establish a federal asbestos trust fund to compensate victims of asbestos. Republican senators refused to address the important issues of adequate funding and fair compensation for victims. The bill - S.2290, introduced by Sen. William Frist (R-Tenn.) and supported by industry groups, did not receive sufficient support to be considered by the Senate. For more than seven years, the Bush administration has made our fight much harder - it has refused to act. Instead, protections have been moved, weakened and rolled back at the behest of corporate interests. Coal miners and factory workers continue to be catastrophe victims because of this lack of action on the part of the administration.

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This election year, we stand a good chance to change the direction the country is taking, and make worker' issues a priority. Our theme for Workers Memorial Day is "Good Job. Safe Jobs. For all." We make it clear, here and now, that we will continue to fight to make workers' issues a priority, to guarantee the freedom of workers to form a union and to keep and create good, safe jobs in this country.

On April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO will conduct a tribute program commencing at 10 a.m. at the United Auto Workers Hall, 18131 Maugans Ave., Hagerstown.

The public is cordially invited to attend.

Teresa A. Martin
President
Central Maryland
AFL-CIO Council




Bridge represents county futility



To the editor:

The confusion over the closing of the stone-arched bridge over the Antietam Creek at Funkstown is just another example of the lack of real planning that exists in Washington County for the road systems.

We have watched as the winding route between Sharpsburg Pike and Dual Highway has now become a major traffic artery. The result has been an overload of Funkstown's city streets and an old historic one-lane bridge designed for horse and buggy.

Now that bridge is to be rebuilt in its present image - one lane - so that $1 million in federal funds can be used to soften the blow to county coffers. But the traffic situation in Funkstown has not evolved overnight; we have seen it worsen over years, many years. Once in a while we hear about a "Funkstown Bypass," but details are never forthcoming.

Again, in the county's planning, foresight and action are absent. However, the construction of homes, businesses, and a mall (all use east Oak Ridge Drive) proceeded without addressing the problem of increasing traffic towards Funkstown.

This bungling by the county parallels the inept handling of the "Robinwood Bypass," which was never offered a reasonable solution (in the 1998-2003 era). For less than $1 million to revise the roads in the Woodbridge development at that time, a real bypass to the west towards Smithsburg, where most of the traffic goes, would have been possible, but not now.

There are more examples. The tragedy of the lack of intelligent planning continues. How long must we wait for a positive change in personnel responsible for roadway development? Before we become another Frederick, Md?

Ned A. Garrett
Hagerstown




City's plans keep changing



To the editor:

I have a question for the City of Hagerstown, the water and sewer department and the mayor and city council.

I live in the northern part of Hagerstown in Cortland Manor and am curious about a couple of things. I and several other homeowners attended one of your Hagerstown city open meetings last year. This meeting was in reference to the now Stonehouse Square strip mall.

I am amazed or a better word is confused. Since in that meeting we the homeowners were told that then proposed Stonehouse Square would consist of Lowe's, Weis, a bank and a drugstore. What happened to the original plans? I would think the Longmeadow Shopping Center site could have been reworked and made more appealing to shoppers. The old Sears building has been vacant now for too many years along with several stores in Longmeadow.

Also, we as homeowners in Cortland Manor and the surrounding northern end of Hagerstown were told that the building would have to be limited in size due to the number of water and sewer hookups.

Oh, and not to forget the Cortland Apartments complex. The Cortland Apartments in the original site plan were to be eight high-end luxury condo units. Now, here also that number has way surpassed the original plan for allowed water and sewer hookups.

So, in closing, I and many other homeowners are wondering just why the City of Hagerstown allowed all of the unplanned water and sewer hookups? And, is this one of the reasons for our higher bills?

Donald L. Crum
Hagerstown

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