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Sounding off on searches, Vinayaka and editor's blog

September 07, 2008|By TIM SHEA

Since I don't have any major issues that I want to write about this week, I'll just give some random thoughts on several different issues instead.

· Right now, the leader in the clubhouse for the award of "Most Screwed-up Attempt to Try to Do Something We Thought Was Going to Be Good" has to go to those who were responsible for the strip searches performed Aug. 12 on nine employees at the Maryland Correctional Training Center.

Gary D. Maynard, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said in a letter to the editor in the Aug. 27 Herald-Mail that while the strip searches were well-intended, "The hastily organized implementation of these procedures caused stress and embarrassment to some very fine employees."

Gee, you think so?

The searches had been requested by MCTC Warden D. Kenneth Horning because of a recent increase of contraband-related problems at the prison.

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Hey, I'm all for keeping drugs out of prisons, but this whole operation was botched from the beginning. Sounds to me like the warden wanted to have something done quickly about the problem, but instead of thinking things through, those who were responsible for this just wanted to do something, anything, to show that they were going to address the issue immediately.

I'm not an expert on the subject, but next time, why not sit down and have a couple of meetings and come up with a constructive plan to solve the problem rather than humiliate some good employees. You'll be able to address the problem in a better way, and avoid a lot of bad publicity in the end.

· Another institution of higher education looks like it's on its way to Washington County with the purchase of the former Allegheny Energy headquarters on Downsville Pike by Vinayaka Missions America University Inc.

Among other things, the university hopes to open a hospital and trauma center on the property, which would mean two hospitals in the county.

So what happens if two hospitals open in the county? Which hospital should I go to? Maybe it will depend on which one does the best job of advertising its services.

Maybe one of the hospitals could hire Crazy Eddie, who did commercials in New York back in the 1970s and '80s.

"Our prices are coming down! Need a heart bypass? An angioplasty? Our prices have never been lower! We've also slashed the prices on hip replacements, radiation treatments. ... You name it, our prices are WAY down! So come here, where the prices are INSANE!"

· I started an Editor's Blog at www.herald-mail.com/blogs/editorial several months ago. My intent when I started this was to give our readers insight into the decisions we make in the newsroom and provide other opinions.

The problem with this has been that I've been updating this about, oh, every two weeks or so.

The best blogs out there are those that are updated several times a day. If you're only updating your blog every other week, there's no sense in having one.

So I'm going to make a concerted effort to update the blog on a much more regular basis. The blog entries, in most cases, will be shorter than those that I've written so far, but I'd rather put a couple of paragraphs on there every day than do longer pieces.

Some of the entries will be related to The Herald-Mail. Others will be my so-called "random thoughts" relating to just about any other subject. I already provided my predictions for the 2008 NFL season on Tuesday. Who knows what else I'll come up with.

Don't be surprised if I give you some more opinions on the MCTC strip search scandal on the blog in the near future.

Tim Shea is a Herald-Mail copy editor. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2329, or by e-mail at tims@herald-mail.com.

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