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Letters to the Editor

November 30, 2009

Jefferson County doesn't need more gambling



To the editor:

"If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

Citizens in Jefferson County are facing a choice this year. Will we fall for the propaganda Penn National is spinning? Or will we stand up for what we know to be the truth? The truth is we do not need more gambling in Jefferson County.

West Virginia is second only to Nevada in state reliance on gambling revenue. This gives out-of-state casinos way too much power in West Virginia government and leads to corruption. Give casinos an inch, and pretty soon, the Legislature will be lowering their tax rate for them to "remain competitive" and "maintain jobs," which will mean higher taxes for the rest of us.

The table gaming proponents overstate the revenue and understate the costs to get our vote.

Penn National misleads us when they claim the 500 new jobs will average $45,000. When questioned at a local forum, Al Britton admitted they will be paying dealers $7 to $10 per hour, with the rest in tips.

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Penn National misleads us when its officials say we'll be getting millions for our schools. Their projections, which don't kick in until 2012, are based on biased projections by the West Virginia Lottery, which has a vested interest in promoting the casino. With competition ahead from Maryland, Penn National admits there will be a 40 percent decline in its slots play, which will severely decrease what the county gets from gambling taxes. The minuscule amount from table games will not make up for the decrease. In addition, the School Building Authority might well decide to decrease our funding based on what our schools receive from table games.

Penn National misleads us when its officials say it will be good for the local economy. There is a good reason they are not broadcasting how table games have affected the northern racetrack. The results from Mountaineer Park have been disheartening - purses are down about a third, races have been cut and track owners are requesting a four-month cancellation of winter racing. Table games will severely impact our local horse and farm industries, bedrocks of our local economy. Gamblers who come to play table games are only going to the casino; they are not going to stay in other hotels, eat in other restaurants or explore our beautiful county.

Penn National is very good at looking after Penn National. Who will look after Jefferson County?

"No one in the history of mankind has ever developed or operated a casino out of a burning desire to improve the lot of humanity" (Chuck Gardner, former Nevada Attorney General).

I urge you to go to www.VoteNoTableGames.org and before you vote, review the many costs the proliferation of gambling will bring.

Vote "no" on Dec. 5.

Shauna D. Johnstone
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.




Potomac Playmakers is a county treasure



To the editor:

Take another bow, Potomac Playmakers, Hagerstown's own community theater. You richly deserve it.

Opening your season with a wild, wacky and simply wonderful "Seussical, the Musical," you have proven once again that the performing arts are alive and well right here in Hagerstown. As the first show of the 2009-10 season, this toe-tapping and colorful cast of characters was just right to kick off a series of four shows in the new Academy Theatre.

With a new set of stage curtains, a new sound system and a cast of 30-plus, director Ruth Ridenour pulled out all the stops to weave together the most famous Dr. Seuss tales of wacky characters.

Beginning its 84th continuous season, this community theater group might be one of the oldest such organizations in the state. All of Washington County should be very proud to have this talented group to produce great shows year after year right here in downtown Hagerstown.

For additional information on the new season, call 301-797-8182 or go to the group's Web site at www.potomacplaymakers.com.

Blanton Croft
Hagerstown




Thanks to all who helped with benefit ride



To the editor:

We want to thank all of the riders, passengers and friends who braved the elements and participated in the benefit ride for Michael Anderson (of the Possum Holler Band) held Saturday, Nov. 14.

We also want to thank the individuals and businesses that donated door prizes for the event - Battlefield Leathers, Beef O'Brady's, Bob Evans Restaurant, Friendly's, Golden Corral Family Steakhouse, Governor's Landing Restaurant, Highway Song Leather, Ledo's Pizza, Frank McMullan, Roberta Nave, The Green Turtle, The Possum Holler Band, Twigg Cycles and Western Sizzlin Steakhouse.

Special thanks to the Washington County Sheriff's Department and two of its deputies for providing traffic control for the bikers exiting the park, to the radio personalities at WAYZ for making the public service announcements for the event, to Jim Sterling of the Washington County Parks and Recreation Department, to Ronald Renner at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park for helping us to relocate to another pavilion, all who volunteered as road captains for the ride, and all who helped with setup, registration and raffle tickets. We couldn't have put on this event without your help.

Thank you.

Jim and Debbie Kline
Hagerstown

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