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Letters to the Editor

May 08, 2010

The better approach is to remove the Devil's Backbone dam



To the editor:

This letter is related to my thoughts on the problem regarding the Devil's Backbone Park dam.

I realize that the dam is the centerpiece of the park and it has both recreational and aesthetic value but it has been well-established that dams are ecologically harmful for numerous reasons. The trend among environmentally enlightened jurisdictions is to remove nonfunctional dams rather than restoring or replacing them. Back in the days when dams were used to provide power or to run a mill, it made sense to harness the power of moving water, but those days are long gone and the multitude of crumbling dams in this country are harming our streams.

The dam at Devil's Backbone creates a heat sink and sediment reservoir that is damaging to Antietam Creek above and below the dam. It blocks passage of migrating fish, traps debris behind the dam, and is at risk for catastrophic failure. Replacing or repairing the dam will also foist the responsibility for future maintenance and repair on future generations. It makes much more sense fiscally and environmentally to remove the dam and return the stream to its natural channel. A park with moving water can be equally or more beneficial to the citizens of Washington County as one with impounded stagnant water.

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It is my understanding that the money provided by the state to deal with the dam issue is not strictly for dam reconstruction but can be used for dam removal and stream reconstruction. Also, removing the dam can open the way for receipt of grant money from nonprofit organizations such as American Rivers, thus lessening the financial burden on Washington County taxpayers.

I would encourage Washington County to take an environmentally enlightened approach to this problem and remove the dam and reconstruct the stream channel rather than just fixing the existing dam. If you agree, please contact the county commissioners and make your views known.

Michael Saylor, M.D.
Hagerstown
president, Beaver Creek Watershed Association




Every day is a good day to appreciate your mother



To the editor:

Dear Daughters and Sons,

As Mother's Day approaches, I am reminded with every publication, service announcement, restaurant advertisement and the florist from whom I ordered flowers last year, reminding what my Mom's favorite flower is. "Hurry, now, before it's too late, reserve, buy, send ... to avoid rush delivery charges."

For me, it is, indeed, too late. This Mother's Day is the first in my life that will pass without celebration, though in fond remembrance of all that my Mom did, of all that she sacrificed, to make our lives what they were. As I shop and run errands, I see moms and daughters shopping, extended families having a meal out together and envy what they still have, what I have recently lost.

Alzheimer's disease robbed me of her long before she passed in March. Her personality eroded, her memories faded. She needed gentle nudges and reminders of who I was, where I lived (much too far away) and other names, words and thoughts that once came easily to mind. She asked endless questions, child-like, and then apologized for asking them. I told her it was "payback" for all of the questions we asked and she answered when we were children.

To those who still have their moms with them, cherish the hours and days. Listen to their stories - that history is your own legacy - and a priceless gift. If you are struggling to find "just the right gift," look no further (my apologies to retail), give her time, give her a receptive ear; give her companionship and patience. Live the life she inspired in you and tell her every day, not just Mother's Day, what she means to you. Honor your mothers every day by living the values they taught, by serving the communities in which you live and by parenting your own children.

My mom is at peace, free of pain, and at rest, but I am confident she is in Heaven with her beloved cat, Hi, sitting in her lap purring: "Where have you been, I have been waiting for you."

Karol Kennedy
Hagerstown




Mother's Day in heaven



To the editor:

I was the sixth girl born to my parents, before my mother gave birth to my two younger brothers. I still have a vision of my mom standing outside, hanging up cloth diapers on a clothes line, after they had been washed and run through a hand wringer. There was no such thing as a disposable diaper in the 1950s.

My father tried to figure out one day how many diapers my mother would have changed and washed in her lifetime, but it was impossible to add up.

Now my dad was not one to give too many details about the "birds and the bees," so when I asked him where babies came from, of course he gave a safe answer. He was a writer with a marvelous imagination, we lived in the country, and so it was all very simple. "Your mother and I found your brother in the strawberry patch," he'd say.

I continued to look each time I went out into the garden, even peeking under the watermelons when they came in season, but never found any babies. Since we moved into the city before my youngest brother was born, I was never quite sure how they got him.

When I was old enough to figure out we weren't picked from a strawberry patch, it made me love my mother even more. She had carried me for nine months, sheltering me until I was ready to take my first breath, and I live each day knowing I am part of her.

Mom passed away in 1982. I believe in heaven there are no diapers to wash and hang out on a line. So my mother can sit back, relax and enjoy Mother's Day, hopefully knowing how very much she is still loved.

Kate Prado
Hagerstown

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