Letters to the Editor

December 01, 2009

Table games vote a choice of competing visions

To the editor:

I am very concerned about the expansion of gambling in our lovely, historic community. Casino proponents have spent a lot of money convincing us of supposed benefits, but are silent as to the costs that local residents will bear.

Let me paint you a picture of what I see. If table games are permitted, Penn National will market the casino as the "Las Vegas" of the East. High-rise hotels will explode and our main thoroughfares will be clogged with traffic. Neon lights will beckon us to strip bars and pawn shops. Competing restaurants and shops will close. Taxes will go through the roof to pay for the increased infrastructure and social costs.

Once our neighboring states get slots and table games, then what? Our boom town goes bust. Like Atlantic City, N.J., we go into a death spiral. Shouldn't we instead focus on the long-term economic benefits of bringing in businesses that do not have the known side effects of gambling addiction, bankruptcy and crime?


The choice ultimately comes down to competing visions for Jefferson County's future. Will we strengthen our community by protecting our families, preserving our historic heritage and encouraging smart economic development provided by companies like APUS? Or will we expand the role of the casino and its power, which inevitably leads to corruption, crime and untold social costs?

The choice is ours. Vote "no" on Dec. 5. To learn more about what's really at stake, go to

Lisa Petretta
Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

RCI legal seminar was a huge success

To the editor:

The recent legal seminar at Roxbury Correctional Institution was a huge success due to the behind-the-scenes work of Mullie Crenshaw, Robert Martin-El, James Scott, Wyman Ushry, Gregory Wamsley, Anthony Fair, Craig Walker and Mark Tibbs. Ask yourself why is it that these men, as well as other lifers, have viewed their captivity as a chance to face the difficult task of improving themselves by service to others.

Dedication to others is a testament to survival as an act of grace under pressure. Directed action that is essential to this type of survival creates a super-living existence. These men know in order to be happy they must have a purpose, something that will keep them going and provide meaning, direction and coherence to an otherwise insane existence, which prison is.

Actually, these men have acquired the classic ability to survive through surrender. Survival by surrender means accepting the fact that you might die, while simultaneously embracing and trying to extend the life you have. This means letting go of the outcome and engaging in the process of living.

Auschwitz survivor Viktor Frankl said, "Those who made it through were able to retreat from their terrible surroundings to a life of inner riches and spiritual freedom."

Many lifers understand the concept that a life condemned, but not yet finished, can be exquisitely rich and rewarding. To live that way is to live fully to the end, no matter when that end might come.

Primo Levi, another Auschwitz survivor, wrote, "We must not become beasts ... We must polish our shoes, not because the relation states it, but for dignity and propriety."

Many lifers understand that and follow the words of Anne Frank, "Beauty remains; even in misfortune ... A person who has courage and faith will never die in misery. Thus, they march on serving others."

Larry Bratt
Inmate No. 168687
Roxbury Correctional Institution

Thanks to all who helped with Holly Place event

To the editor:

The members of St. Andrew's United Methodist Church recently held a pancake breakfast fundraiser for Holly Place.

We sincerely apologize to Martin's Food Markets on Dual Highway, North Pointe Drive and Wesel Boulevard and to Hoffman Meats on Cearfoss Pike for omitting their names with our story and picture. We want to thank them for their generous donations, which helped make this event a success.

We also would like to thank all of the people who bought tickets and attended the event. Success in any project is always easier when everyone participates.

As part of its mission project, St. Andrew's also prepares one meal each month for Holly Place, and again, we want to thank all of those at the church who support this mission.

Thanks again to all of the businesses who supported this project.


Nancy Wallech
St. Andrew's United Methodist Church

Holiday season shouldn't be about money

To the editor:

Everything is very much a repeat from previous years concerning the holiday season, such as Christmas.

I think it's really something how a lot of Americans seem to forget the true meaning of Christmas as well as other days. It's not supposed to be about shopping 'til you drop and buying a lot of material things that people will hardly use. Having a lot of luxuries doesn't make people any better as human beings.

Every holiday, no matter what it is, people and businesses turn it into a moneymaker. Everything is all about money.

But I admit, I look forward to Christmas. I like listening to Christmas songs because the words refer to the true meaning of Christmas. I also like seeing manger displays at people's houses that show the reason for the season.

Russell "Pete" Seville
Greencastle, Pa.

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