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Letters to the Editor

August 10, 2009

Editor's note: These letters were published in The Herald-Mail newspaper on Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009:

Give a special stimulus to our children



To the editor:

As summer comes to an end and schools start to prepare for the return of students, we need to think about a stimulus package for our children. The good news to taxpayers everywhere is it won't cost you one dime. "Go on," you're saying, "there's got to be a catch!" Nope, there's no fine print to this contract.

I disliked going to school so much that I can still smell the inside of a school bus, even though I'm not the kid getting on it. It was because learning did not come easy for me. To be called "slow" is the same as using the word "stupid" in the mind of a child. This was a feeling I carried with me well into my adult years.

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It wasn't until I got older, understood learning disabilities, that I wanted to tell every child I met who had challenges, "You don't have to fit into a certain mold to become something in life." What they do need though, is to understand we all do not learn on the same level. Every child on the face of the earth has great potential within them. They will only be limited if they are made to believe they are limited.

Patiently reaching out to help and encourage those with learning disabilities will stimulate the gifts inside them. Does something so simple really work? For those of us who remember not being at the top, or even in the middle sometimes, I'm glad to report it does.

Kate Prado
Hagerstown




Average Jane and Joe alive and well in Hagerstown



To the editor:

I usually stop for coffee at the AC&T on Burhans Boulevard while on my way to work in the mornings. I did so this morning. While I was waiting in line to pay, a man wearing a motorcycle helmet came into the store and asked for directions to Leitersburg.

Within seconds he was surrounded by four people, two men (I was one) and two women, all talking at once trying to offer their own directions. He looked both bemused and confused at the same time. I shut up and watched.

Then within a few more seconds, one of the ladies decided the babble had gone on long enough and told the stranger to follow her since she was going along the same way and would lead him. Mumbling gratitude, he followed her and off they went. I paid for my coffee, got into my car and began to drive to work.

As I drove to work, it dawned on me, again, how open and kind most people are and how it is especially true here in Hagerstown.

I travel a lot. I've been in most states and a dozen different countries. I've ask for directions a lot. I'm geographically disabled. In big cities, people will walk through you rather than stop, and in some places, asking for directions is like wearing a sign saying "rob me." But most people are happy to help and most places are safe.

I've seen a lot of changes in the 40 years I've lived in Hagerstown, but the one constant has been the good nature of the average person here. We have our share of arrogant, nose-in-the-air types. But the average Jane and the average Joe are still alive and well living their lives and being neighborly. For me, it is a real nice feeling to know that to be true.

  

Leon Seidman
Hagerstown

Chris Shank has made Maryland a safer place to live



To the editor:

For the past five years, I have had the honor of serving as an assistant state's attorney for Washington County. I have enjoyed my time living and working in Hagerstown. I am relocating to Virginia because of personal and professional obligations. However, before I leave I feel it is important to let the people of Washington County know that they have a legislator in Del. Chris Shank who has made the job of prosecutors and law enforcement a little easier in Maryland.

Any help we get from Annapolis is much needed, considering the leftward bent of the Maryland Court of Appeals and Gov. Martin O'Malley. However, Shank has stood up for prosecutors, police, correctional officers and victims of crime.

Two years ago, at Shank's request. I testified before the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of Jessica's Law. Jessica's Law, named after a little girl who was raped and murdered in Florida, keeps child sex offenders who were previously paroled, in prison with tough minimum mandatory sentences. When I went to Annapolis, I was told it could not be passed, defense attorneys hated it and the "establishment" in the General Assembly worked to defeat it. However, public pressure and the tireless work of delegates like Chris Shank led to its passage. 

Del. Shank worked with the State's Attorney's Office and one of my colleagues in particular, Assistant State's Attorney Brett Wilson, to kill a bill that would have lowered penalties on serious drug offenses. The bill would have taken a serious bargaining chip away from prosecutors and would have had dire consequences, particularly in a place like Hagerstown.

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