Letters to the Editor

October 05, 2009

Some other options are suggested for improving downtown

To the editor:

I wish to take issue with Douglas Cronise's statement in his letter to the editor that was published Sept. 23 ("Some suggestions to improve Hagerstown," page A4).

He suggested that "the seniors currently living in the Alexander House (be moved) to either the hospital (if rehabbed) or another facility and sell the Alexander House to a developer."

To Mr. Cronise and anyone else who might harbor a similar idea, I would like to point out that those of us who live in the Alexander House are not cattle or sheep who can be moved at will just because the Alexander House has suddenly become a prime piece of real estate in downtown Hagerstown.


Many of us have lived in the Alexander House for several years. For us, the Alexander House is home, and we do not wish to be uprooted and moved to another building, rehabbed or not. This building is a relatively small building, and we are family here. This building is well-managed and well-maintained. In addition, because there are a number of disabled people here, we have a refreshing mix of tenants who are not all senior citizens.

Accordingly, instead of focusing on the Alexander House as a prime candidate for renovation and thus depriving its residents of their home, I would like to make two other suggestions for improving the attractiveness of downtown Hagerstown.

First, has anyone given any thought to making the proposed site for the new County Commuter into a hub for not only the County Commuter, but also the Greyhound bus and the MTA commuter bus, similar to the hub in Frederick, Md.? Without a cohesive public transportation system, no amount of rehabilitation and renovation is going to attract people to downtown Hagerstown.

Second, where are all the benches on which people might sit and rest when coming to downtown Hagerstown? How about installing permanent chess/checkers game tables in the square where people can sit and play, similar to the ones presently installed at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.? (And I don't want to hear the excuse that they attract the wrong kind of people.) Either you want people to come to downtown Hagerstown or you don't.

The message that is presently being sent is not exactly one of welcome. In short, it does not say, "Welcome, we are glad you are here."

If you really want to attract people to downtown Hagerstown, you have to say it like you mean it by providing benches and tables in the square where people can gather and interact in the style of Norman Rockwell. Without this kind of welcoming environment, no amount of rehabilitation and renovation is going to attract people to downtown Hagerstown.

Carolyn E. Watkins

Our president is worthy of respect

To the editor:

I am writing in response to the letter published Sept. 19 by Barbara Murphy ("Obama's performance isn't earning him respect," page A4). Her quote was, "I'm really fed up with people saying the president deserves respect."

Have you ever heard of manners and common courtesy? I was brought up in a home where my parents taught my five siblings and myself to respect those in authority and those who are my elders. Not once did they ever say respect only those who respect you. We were told to respect the police, the postman, teachers, doctors, clergy and even the neighborhood alcoholic.

We were not allowed to pick and choose who we would respect. You are setting your children up for failure. Someday, they might seek respect and when it is denied, they will recall what they taught you concerning the matter.

Because of your feelings for our president, I am assuming that you are a conservative, "the party of morality." You also probably profess to be a Christian. If so, you need to read what your Bible says about those in authority.

Romans 13:1-3 says, "Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you."

Pastor Raymond Young
West Side Church

How much does domestic partner law cost us?

To the editor:

I recently received my 2 percent pay cut from my state job. While I am grateful to have a job at this time, I can't accept that the state has looked at other more practical ways to cut spending.

Many taxpayers may not know this, but the state of Maryland started covering (paying for) medical, prescription and life insurance for "Domestic Partners & Domestic Partner's Family." This not only means they (we) pay for the "partner," but also for all dependent children. The criteria is that they have to have been living together at least one year and be sharing household expenses. I cannot believe they slipped this one in so quietly and without a public outrage.

For that matter, isn't that unfair in a way discriminating to all the heterosexual couples living together, often for many years? Cohabitation is the same, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Neither situation should be covered and paid for on the backs of single or legally married state employees.

It would be great if a reporter from The Herald-Mail could obtain information on how much money this new benefit alone is costing us.

Sarah Hendershot

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