Letters to the Editor

June 30, 2010

Run helps pay for community's well

To the editor:

On Saturday, May 29, my daughter Cristalle and some of her friends from her church, Smithsburg Baptist, held a 5K race, called Project 320, to benefit Living Waters Ministry in providing a much-needed well for clean water in a needy area around the world.

This was actually the vision of one of my daughter's friends, Grace. I won't put any last names as they are all very humble and don't want a fuss made about them. To name a few of those involved, Matt and Grace, Cristalle and Jon, Becky and Andy, Jeremy and Katrina, Curtis and the list goes on. This event turned out to be awe-inspiring and very successful.

This group of young people, all in their 20s and 30s, was a bit intimidated when it first began putting this together - none of them had ever been involved at this level before in a 5K. So they brought a fellow on board who had some experience, and then they were off and running, so to speak.


The run was held at Antietam National Battlefield on a beautiful spring day. The weather was certainly very cooperative. Young and old participated, literally, as they had a "fun run" for the younger members. My granddaughter Karyn (6 years old) ran the "Fun Run" and my grandson Maddux (9 years old) ran the 5K.

When they began putting the run together, the organizer informed them that usually for a first run your numbers aren't very large. They expected about 100 participants; usually by the second year things pick up. But by the day of the race they had 185 people signed up and paid, a lot via Facebook, one of the places the race was publicized. On the day of the race more people signed up on-site and the numbers grew to more than 300. The organizer was amazed. God truly shined on this event.

The event began with prayer and thanksgiving to God. They raised more than the $5,000 needed to provide the well, which is so fantastic. They achieved their goal. This was quite an undertaking and it all started with one person's vision. The representative from Living Waters was so elated.

I feel that this group of young people should be applauded for putting its energies into something so positive and beneficial. May God bless each and every one who was involved in making this happen, and all the participants as well. And now, let's build that well.

Dana T. Thompson

Editor's note: The following two letters were published in the Sunday, June 27, 2009, print edition of The Herald-Mail:

Springfield Barn, park not meant for commercial ventures

To the editor:

It was always Springfield Barn in Byron Memorial Park - it was never Springfield Barn next to Byron Memorial Park. That was the "spin" the Williamsport mayor and Town Council recently used to justify the approval of the consumption of alcohol during events at Springfield Barn.

Program Open Space grant funding was used shortly after the purchase for renovations, which raises the question of whether conditions of state funding could be violated if alcohol is consumed on the premises. Has this been discussed publicly and resolved legally?

Byron Memorial Park was dedicated on May 15, 1949, to the Byron family, which lost a son serving in World War II. It's been a memorial community park ever since and has brought joy to young and old alike.

The Conococheague Little League is just a short fly ball from and in plain sight of the Springfield Barn. The L. Beard Miller Pool and the new Williamsport Rotary Playground are near the barn. Williamsport High School is just one practice football field away. Two of the Park's pavilions are named in memory of the late state Sen. Victor Cushwa and Williamsport Town Clerk/Mayor "Buzz" Seymour.

Alcohol has never been needed to make this park a success.

Now, Springfield Barn is a catering facility supported by taxpayers' dollars. There has yet to be a full disclosure of related costs and expenses except that a sprinkler system was installed for $146,000 - where did that money come from and was it forward-funded into the next fiscal year? Who paid for the electric upgrade and where did the funding to build bathrooms in an out building next to the barn (an estimated $80,000) originate? Who paid for and what price for the removal of the bats and follow-up treatments?

Meanwhile, the tenant house (next to Springfield Barn), the home of our founding father, Otho Holland Williams, which was the site of an arson in late 2006 remains in disrepair, despite being named a top priority.

The answer to whom the bill for the Springfield Barn project is to be written ... may just be you ... the citizens of Williamsport!

In a Herald-Mail article dated July 14, 2009, Mayor McCleaf stated that funding for the Springfield Barn was to be taken out of the "farm account." According to McCleaf the farm account totaled $352,000 and was made possible from the sale of a property in Pinesburg. McCleaf also stated that the "farm account" would be reimbursed from the general fund and through funds received from leasing Springfield Barn.

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