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Letters to the Editor

July 24, 2009

Break in the towpath is the issue



To the editor:

I have been reading with appreciation the articles promoting the C&O Canal and its towpath. We read there about structures and areas needing attention and the considerable cost of such improvements. Mentioned is the break in the towpath above Dam No. 4 as one concern. However, as chair of the C&O Canal Association committee pushing for restoration of the integrity of the towpath, I want to point out that, for us, that is not one issue among many, but is the Issue.

As a resident of Williamsport, of course I would love to see the Aqueduct restored. But its present condition does not force anyone to find a way around it. The break in the Big Slackwater area above Dam No. 4 forces bikers and hikers onto a five-mile detour on a road with no shoulders, heavily traveled by cars, trucks and boats being towed to or from the boat launch area.

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There are economic issues here, since many groups will not allow their participants to go near the detour. There are persons who point out the desirability of having the historic towpath in place. But, to my mind above all, there is the issue of public safety. Numerous accidents have taken place over the years. Are we going to wait until someone is maimed or killed before we do something about the situation?

Recently our Boy Scout Troop (which we will not allow to ride on the detour) suffered an accident involving the vehicle which we use to transport our bikes around the detour. At a narrow point, our vehicle was struck and damaged by out-of-state bikers. I attribute this to the conditions along the road rather than to any negligence on their part. Will they want to come back here again?

Please, let's keep focus on what ought to be a priority. Big Slackwater needs restored or let's petition our County Commissioners to close the road to bikes, or maybe, to traffic!

Thomas L. Perry
Williamsport




Alcohol and drug abuse affect many lives



To the editor:

Drug and alcohol abuse touch the lives of many residents in our community. Just about everyone can name a friend or family member who has had a problem with drugs or alcohol. Our youth are reporting trying drugs and alcohol at younger and younger ages, which increases the risk of becoming substance dependent. Many offenders in our criminal justice system are there due to drug- and alcohol-related crimes.

To combat the problem of increasing drug and alcohol use in our community, Jodi Wadel, administrator for the Franklin/Fulton County Drug and Alcohol Program, is forming a coalition focused on the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse. The coalition's goal is to bring together concerned citizens from various community entities, such as schools, businesses, and private citizens, to create strategies to fight the increased use of drugs and alcohol in our neighborhoods.

If you share this concern, you are invited to attend the coalition's initial meeting on Aug. 10, at 6 p.m. at the Agricultural Heritage Building on Franklin Farm Lane in Chambersburg, Pa. If you would like more information on the coalition, contact Jodi Wadel at 717-263-1256.

Some problems are too large and complex for any one person or agency to tackle alone. By uniting together we can make a difference. Join us in making a difference and creating a change if not for ourselves then for our youth.

Kimberly M. Eaton
Waynesboro, Pa.

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