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Letters to the editor

July 25, 2009

Living in Washington County is worth $5.07 a day



To the editor:

I would like to get my two cents in about taxes. I find it hard to believe that TEA Party people are against all taxes. That position seems a bit disingenuous to me. I agree that some taxes are a waste of my money while other taxes buy the best things in my life.

During my life I have traveled to many places in the world. I have sat and watched the sunlight make images on the enormous sand dunes of Sossusvlei, Namibia. Many times I have seen Mount Fujiyama silhouetted in the sky. I ate breakfast as the morning sun illuminated Uluru (Ayers Rock). I have traveled the Rhine and Danube rivers and saw the many castles. I lost myself in the canals and streets of Venice. I stood at the top of Angel Falls and saw the water wet the jungle one mile down. I am trying to make the point that there are many beautiful places in this world.

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But all of those sites sink into a whisper when I drive along Downsville Pike from West Oak Ridge Drive to East Oak Ridge Drive. I can see South Mountain from somewhere in Pennsylvania to Harpers Ferry, W.Va. This mountain shows its beauty as the morning sun peaks over Black Rock. It is also beautiful when it is shrouded in a haze.

Sometimes when one stands on Federal Lookout at Smithsburg and looks west across the Hagerstown valley to the ridge that ends with Fairview Mountain you can see the huge fire ball orange of the evening sun turn pink and highlight the pastel blue of the sky. I get to live in a special place like this.

I took a friend to visit the area where I was born. He says, "Your county has six paved roads and three of them are driveways." Here in Washington County all of my roads are just right. I can go fast on interstate highways or travel at a more leisurely pace on county roads. My car lasts longer on roads like these. I drive past homes and farms that are well maintained. I have good neighbors.

Although of a different political party than mine, I have County Commissioners who are honest and maintain this special place. John Barr and James Kercheval are true leaders. They generate the ideas that will protect our future. Terry Baker and Kristin Aleshire add a leveling influence to the other two.

All four of my children attended Washington County schools. They graduated and went on to college. They now have families and are contributing members of society. We had great schools back then and have even better ones today.

I am getting the money together to pay my county real estate taxes. If given the opportunity to tweak the budget I could do so. But I find that $5.07 a day is pretty cheap to live in such a wonderful place.

James C. Haught

Hagerstown

Don't judge a book by its cover; read its story first



To the editor:

Don't judge a book by its cover.

I know that it's how the saying goes, but it fits my story better.

Recently, I have made a change to myself that has people turning heads. Well maybe not just turning heads ... people stare, whisper, laugh and point. Do they know the reason behind my change? Do they even care that they make my children uncomfortable? Do they know it upsets my husband when they openly judge me? I wonder how they would feel to know the story. Would they be brave enough to make this change? Maybe? Maybe not?

I'm pink! Not all of me just my hair. I am taking a journey in October. Traveling to Tampa, Fla., to participate in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk. I will be joining my father, who has been part of this event for the past seven years. We are both walking to honor my aunt who lost her battle with cancer. Also, so that one day my beautiful daughter and new niece will never have to lose someone. I walk for my friends that won! I walk for the ones still fighting! I walk for a future with no breast cancer!

My hair is pink as a thank you to all of those who are donating so I can reach my goal. As of today I am at 25 percent so 25 percent of my hair is pink. The more money I raise, the more pink I turn. I know I could just write thank you notes or throw them a party, but why not give them more? I give them a piece of me.

Please think the next time you see someone a little different that maybe there is a story behind it, that maybe they are secretly fighting for you.

Think pink!

Hope Covert

Hagerstown

Cutting Sideling Hill out of the budget is bad idea



To the editor:

I was appalled to read of the planned closure of Sideling Hill Visitor Center!

I can't imagine that cutting it out of the budget is going to do anyone anything good. Not only will it cost the area in tourism, I would imagine it will still cost a lot just to maintain the museum and center to protect what is there. The article said that it cost $110,000 to operate in the last fiscal year. That is really not much when you look at the whole picture. I would imagine that if the recorded 95,000 visitors ... figure would actually be much higher if they could know how many visitors did not sign the registry.

I know the economy wasn't in as bad a shape as it is now when they decided to close and rebuild the one on Interstate 70 near Myersville. However, the existing rest area facilities there were always clean and had friendly employees. There was always adequate parking and there was always plenty of open and clean bathroom stalls. It was ridiculous to close it and build some fancy "updated" place that has taken almost two years to build (and no doubt, over budget).

Laurie Widmer

Hancock

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