Letters to the editor

July 19, 2008

Shutdown of bridge didn't need to happen

To the editor:

Well it's official. Washington County Commissioners have voted to close down one of the busiest roads in the county. That's right, 9,000 cars a day, with more than 13,500 county voters in them.

The answer is "no" coming from Commissioners Kristin Aleshire, Bill Wivell and James Kercheval on available money for a temporary bridge in Funkstown. Terry Baker voted against it originally, but after funding looked possible, he did change his opinion.

Bill Wivell was investigating the temporary bridge up until last week, but stayed with his original position.

I mention these names officially, because for those who travel East Oak Ridge Drive, the road will be closed, starting in August. Of course they say it will only be closed for five months. Remember what they said about Broadfording Road?


When I asked an engineer what a realistic time frame would be he said that on the low side, six months, but more like nine months. He also said that's if weather conditions are perfect.

So when you are taking the eight- to 15-minute detour this summer, fall, winter and maybe spring 2009, remember that money was available for a temporary bridge.

Del. Chris Shank helped find federal highway money. Thank you, Chris, for your support and John Barr and Terry Baker. You all at least tried.

We all know that some of the commissioners were upset that an outside-the-county-government source did their jobs.

Yes, if The Herald-Mail had printed a letter from the State Highway Administration, the voters would have known that, in fact, temporary bridges have been built in the state and in fact the Funkstown bridge qualified because it was so highly traveled.

Federal highway funds would have paid 80 percent of a temporary bridge. But select commissioners just voted no. So what will happen starting in August?

1. Fire service response time to East Oak Ridge Drive will be slower. This point was stated by an official at one of the public meetings.

2. Commuters will have to take a detour around East Oak Ridge Drive. This detour, which many of us experienced in 2006, takes about 15 minutes in rush hour and nine minutes at other times each way.

Currently it takes less than two minutes to go from Sheetz to the Funkstown bridge. But now, thanks to your County Commissioners, the average driver who works five days a week will spend about an extra 56.3 hours in his or her car during the six-month minimum bridge closure.

And, as many voters remember, the last time the bridge closed for "only" three weeks, it turned out to be six weeks. The six months mentioned above will likely be longer.

Oh, did I mention that gas is around $4 a gallon? So the two-minute trip today, be expanded to up to 15 minutes each way is going to cost you voters as a whole hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost time and money.

3. To the senior citizen voters who live on East Oak Ridge Drive, your two-to-three times a week treatment visits to Robinwood Medical Center are going to take longer and cost you more money.

To the hard-working business owners and their employees in Funkstown and East Oak Ridge Drive, remember your County Commissioners will be responsible for lost business and jobs.

Many already know, how business-friendly Washington County is. Just look around the next time you go downtown. Remember to look at the $4.6 million dollars in buildings that your county just had to have. That was for you voters.

Steve Demory
Demory's Christmas Memories

Farewell, friends

To the editor:

Farewell to all I've come to know, loved, worked with, played with and worshipped with for 29 years.

My telephone office in Ithaca, N.Y., closed, so my son Harlan, who lived in Maryland, suggested that I try for a transfer to be nearer to him.

I tried and I selected the Hagerstown office. I brought 10 years with me and after 20 years, I retired.

We had transfers from New York, Wesy Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C., and on and on.

I thought, "How am I going to say farewell to so many whom I've known as kind, loving and caring persons?"

They include those in the churches, such as Pastor Pittman and his friends on Virginia Avenue, Pastor Robinson of Calvary Temple and my friends at Emmanuel Baptist Temple.

I also want to thank the following:

o The local restaurants for their good service and food. I spent many hours in them.

o My dentist, Luther Knight, who, along with his workers, has the best practice in the world.

o Keplinger's, who gave my car the best of care.

o Fan Fare, the "beautiful factory." I could in feeling sad and ugly and come out feeling beautiful and happy. Thanks to Beverly, Peggy, Chris, Lori and Linda. They all had their specialty.

o My bank, where all of the workers were friends.

o The Williamsport Post Office, where I counted the postmaster, the special girs and the special carriers as "the best."

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