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Letters to the Editor

May 24, 2009

We still have right to free speech



To the editor:

The First Amendment says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

In the recent event of the arrest of former presidential candidate, Alan Keyes, and other members of a pro-life group on May 15 at Notre Dame, I figured maybe it might be necessary to remind our leaders of the contents of the First Amendment.

It's a tragic day in America when citizens are arrested for exercising their First Amendment rights in a peaceful protest.

E.D. Mills
Hagerstown




Open Space is a valuable program



To the editor:

I read with interest your recent article entitled "County to get more than $200K in open space funding." Thanks to the efforts of both Gov. Martin O'Malley and the members of the Maryland General Assembly, the state will continue to have funding to preserve open space and develop park and recreation facilities during the coming fiscal year.

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Even during these difficult economic times, the legislature felt strongly enough about our environment that it approved a total of roughly $60 million in funds to support the purchase of open space and the development of new parks. Of this total, just over $6 million will be available to local jurisdictions - like Washington County - to support their own local park projects.

As your article notes, since its inception in 1969, Maryland's Program Open Space has allowed our state to add nearly 350,000 acres of open space for parks and natural resource areas. It is important to point out that, of this total, more than 43,000 acres have been for local park projects, like those recently approved for Washington County.

Without Program Open Space, local governments would simply not be able to maximize the full potential for preserving our ever-diminishing open spaces, let alone being able to add new amenities to existing park facilities. Thanks to the progressive vision of our elected officials, we all have a "greener" future ahead of us.

Jeffrey Smith
Chairman, Legislative Committee
Maryland Recreation and Parks Association

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