Letters to the Editor

February 26, 2009

Emphasize education, not incarceration

To the editor:

o Re: The Feb. 23 column by Kathleen Parker

The question is, "Should we fix our schools or build more jails?" The fact that this question should even be asked is upsetting. It seems to me that if we concentrate our resources on one, the other would me less necessary. The atrocious condition of the schools along the Interstate 95 corridor of South Carolina as conveyed to us by Parker's article is an example of schools across the country.

Many factors of our poor economic state prompt budget cuts and that re-prioritizing of finances within all state and local governments. An example would be the state of California. A proposed cut of $2 billion from elementary, middle and high school funding on top of the existing $3 billion from K-12.

Oh, but let's make sure we approve the $30 million to save the San Francisco "harvest mouse" as per House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's concern.


I am a high school drop-out, acquiring my G.E.D. and taking a couple of community college courses. I have a hands-on education and have, and may always be, in the blue collar sector. Of that I am proud. I do, however, want more for my children and their children. It's my belief that education should follow only national security as our nation's main programs.

I believe that schools across the board should be safe, well-constructed or refurbished and equipped with up-to-date materials, equipment and supplies.

Teachers should make a fair wage, based on their experience and education level, with incentives to further their learning. Curriculum needs to have more positive focus, with strong emphasis on morals and ethical principles, especially in the political arena.

Quality education for all, regardless of location or economic status, can only result in a more advanced society. I believe that a majority of the population presently incarcerated in our correctional institutions would have possibly made better "life choices" had they had the chance to learn in a positive atmosphere. Learning should be fun, free and without boundaries.

Let's not build more prisons, let's build our future through education, not only in the academic sense but also through the media and entertainment areas. We can't paint everything rosy and right, but we can at least make an attempt to minimize the dark side of things and promote creativity and positive expression.

With a better educated, creative and diverse population, serious situations as we now are facing may be averted due to a better understanding of economics, government, politics, fairness and each other.

Stanley Margeson

Re-elect 'Team Williamsport'

To the editor:

A few short years ago, the Williamsport Town Election brought new life to our town when Mayor James McCleaf and a new council were elected.

Immediately, it was discovered that the town had been spending more than it took in for a number of years and was not only heavily in debt to creditors, but also to the State of Maryland and was in danger of losing its charter.

In addition, the infrastructure had been seriously neglected, from buildings and equipment to curbs and drainage.

The new mayor and council dubbed themselves, "Team Williamsport" and although they had to make some unpopular decisions to balance the budget, they were able to obtain a loan from the state to maintain the charter and balance the budget.

That loan has been repaid. Since then, they have obtained funding and generated support for library renovations, two new playground areas, swimming pool renovations and expansion, additional trees, handicap accessible curbs, mini-pavilions, new lighting, sound system and a new stretch of road through Byron Memorial Park, which sees thousands of visitors in December alone for the lighting display, state-of-the-art, energy-efficient boilers, and stabilization of the remaining structures.

They coordinated teams of volunteers, committees, churches, the National Park Service, town employees, business owners and vendors who banded together to create "Williamsport Days."

Between the Community Band events, street dances, 4th of July Celebration, First Friday Sidewalk events, Classic Car events, Harvest Hoedown, Lantern Walk, General Otho Holland Williams Founders Celebration, Riverview Cemetery Luminarias, the First Annual Canalers family event, the overwhelming success of the First Annual USO Show and other events and projects too numerous to mention, it's hard to find a time to take a vacation without missing something spectacular.

Unfortunately, "Team Williamsport" developed a rift and once again the residents are faced with a major decision as team members run against each other. Both sides initially had great intentions, but in my opinion, only one side has never failed to put the best interests of Williams-port first.

This team is led by Mayor McCleaf, who has worked tirelessly and gained the personal confidence of the governor of Maryland.

On March 2, please vote to continue Mayor McCleaf in office, for Tony Drury for assistant mayor and for Joan Knode and Tim Fraker as council members.

Future projects pending include complete renovation of the boat ramp in Riverbottom Park, Renovation of the Springfield Barn, restoration of the Springfield Farmhouse, and the Railroad Lift Bridge, restoration of the Aqueduct and drainage repairs to name a few. With Mayor McCleaf in charge, Williamsport will be as well known as Williamsburg and tourism dollars will pay for us to continue to enjoy our Norman Rockwell Community.

If you haven't seen it, check out the Williamsport Web site at

When you see the mayor or any of the members of his team, please remember to say thank you. Believe me, no one does it for the meager pay, but out of love of their community.

Johnna Maravelis

The Herald-Mail Articles