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Letters to the Editor

October 21, 2009

Christopher Nicholson Memorial Ride a tremendous success



To the editor:

The Blue Knights Maryland II Chapter (MD II) of the Blue Knights International Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club held the second annual Officer Christopher Nicholson Memorial Law Ride on Oct. 10. The annual motorcycle ride is to demonstrate the community support for Officer Christopher Nicholson, who served as a local police officer for the Town of Smithsburg and was killed in the line of duty.

With the threat of rain and all of the other events going on in the area, MD II and the Nicholson family would like to thank the 215 riders and passengers who attended the event. We would also like to thank all our corporate sponsors, who without their financial help this event could not be held.

This year's event, which raised $5,000, will be split between Children's Village and the Nicholson Scholarship Fund for aspiring law enforcement officers. The scholarship is available to Washington County high school graduating seniors.

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The 57-mile police-escorted ride began at Veterans Park in Smithsburg next to the Officer Nicholson Memorial. The ride continued passing Children's Village, where Nicholson was an instructor, through Hagerstown, north into Mercersburg, Pa., then south through Blairs Valley, where Nicholson hunted and fished with his family. It traveled through Clear Spring and on to Williamsport, passing the high school from which he graduated and then passing through Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, where he is buried. The ride concluded at the Williamsport Redmen, where we gathered for a meal, fellowship and music provided by the band Sister Mary Elephant.

We would like to thank the following law enforcement and fire police agencies for their help in making this a safe and enjoyable ride:

o The Town of Smithsburg for the use of their park

o Smithsburg Police Department patrol units and Chief George Knight, who rode in the event.

o Frederick County Sheriff Department Motor Officer Sgt. Dave Hunter for his expertise in running this type of event.

o Latimore Township (Pa.) motor officer Ralph Griffths from Blue Knights PA 24.

o Montgomery County Sheriff's Department Motor Officer Craig Cupaiuolo.

o Washington County Sheriff's Department patrol officers.

o Maryland State Police patrol units from the Hagerstown barracks.

o Hagerstown Fire Police, who without their traffic control through Hagerstown this event would not be as safe or run as smoothly.

o Mercersburg (Pa.) Police Department and Fire Police for traffic control.

In memorializing Officer Nicholson, we are saluting all of the men and women who wear the badge and gun each and every day protecting us and putting their lives on the line. Serving and protecting the citizens of Washington County is a noble job.

Mike Barnhart
president, Blue Knights MD II
Hagerstown




Glad that our president is known for promoting peace



To the editor:

I am pleased that President Obama received the Nobel Prize for Peace. What a pleasure it is to have a president of the United States known worldwide for promoting peace instead of one denigrated everywhere as a warmonger. I would like to remind our forgetful public that Mr. Obama opposed the war in Iraq when many of our brainwashed citizens were gung-ho for criminal adventures abroad.

Think how much better things would be if the billions, or perhaps trillions, spent on Iraq were spent on health care, promoting the economy, and regulating the unbridled greedy ones, known heretofore as monopolists.

Harold C. Craig Jr.
Emmitsburg, Md.




Prisoners need positive options while inside



To the editor:

It's not hard to see and realize that the United States is the "world's leading prison state" (the Boston Globe), with 2.3 million people incarcerated - one out of every 100 adult Americans - now languishing behind bars. A most recent opinion in Mail Call was to remove all prison programs and another suggested not educating anyone with a sentence of 15 years - before release.

If we followed this advice or suggestions, surely no one would ever be rehabilitated. Prisoners would just languish in the prison system until released back into society and then what? Would that be better than an education and/or a trade to pursue their re-entry?

That seems to be the root of the problem: no education and/or job skills. The programs initiated in the prison system are designed to guide offenders toward a better future; not just to punish them for their misdeeds.

Sister Mary Ellen Dougherty, (who grew up in the Cumberland, Md., area) in her essay, "The Last Option," Baltimore Sun, May 1995: "Prisoners are with us to stay. Through the anti-crime bill, the federal government has allocated $7.9 billion to states to build and operate prisons and alternative detention centers. If our own sense of morality does not mandate that we at least wonder what the residents of these centers will do for rehabilitation, our sense of practicality should force the question. What happens when prisoners do not have positive options?"

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