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Letters to the Editor - Dec. 12

December 13, 2010

JFK 50 Mile director thanks all who made race a success

To the editor:

The 48th annual JFK 50 Mile held Nov. 20 in Washington County was a massive success. Participants from around the country - and from as far away as South Africa and Finland - visited Washington County for this historic and internationally recognized event.

As the director of the JFK 50 Mile, I am only one of many who work hard to make this event possible.

To thank everyone on the "team" individually by name in this limited space would not be possible, but I would like to mention some of the groups and organizations that helped make this event happen.

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They are the National Park Service, Maryland state parks, Maryland State Highway Administration, Maryland State Police, Washington County Sheriff's Department, Town of Boonsboro, Washington County Division of Fire & Emergency Services Fire & Rescue Operations, Antietam Radio Association, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Town of Williamsport, Boonsboro High School and Springfield Middle School (and especially their incredibly helpful custodial staffs) and Hagerstown/Washington County Convention & Visitors Bureau (headed by the JFK 50's great ally, Tom Riford).

Hundreds of volunteers lined the course and worked aid stations to help the 1,000-plus runners try to complete the grueling 50-mile course. Goods and services for these aid stations were contributed by many local businesses, including Oliver Homes, Hamilton Nissan, Roadway Express, Susquehanna Bank, Eagles Club 694, If The Shoe Fits, Bowman Sales & Equipment, Herman Chiropractic & Rehab, Keystone RV Center, BFI of Western Maryland, Hagerstown Ford, Dairy Maid Dairy, The Runners Sole, River City Cycles and Two River Treds, whose amazing employee Tom Shantz went to above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty levels to ensure that the JFK 50 Mile went off without a hitch.

For nearly a half-century, the world has been coming to Washington County for this incredible celebration of fitness, adventurism and volunteerism, as well as to honor and remember our late great President John F. Kennedy.

For everyone and every organization that lends a hand to make this logistical challenge happen year in and year out while playing such gracious hosts to our visitors, I send out my sincerest thank you.

Mike Spinnler
JFK 50 Mile director


Newly elected BOE member plans public meetings

To the editor:

As a newly elected member of the Washington County Board of Education, I am planning to be available one Saturday morning each month at a location in Hagerstown where I can discuss concerns with parents, teachers or students and that need the school board's attention. I invite other school board members to join me.

Only with direct contact from those involved with day-to-day experiences within our schools can the school board actually be aware of problems and concerns. Communication has been a tremendous problem in the past, and I hope we can now correct that problem.

Dates and locations will be available after the first of the year.

It is my hope that our new school board will see the value of open communication among all those concerned with education and will listen to differing views while responding in a professional manner. After all, we are all here to see that our children have the best education we can provide.

Also, I would like to thank you, the voters of Washington County, who supported me in the school board election and the parents, educators and my former students who dedicated so much of their time to my campaign. Your confidence in my ability to make educating our children the top priority in Washington County Public Schools has given me the courage and determination to see that our focus returns to accomplishments in our classrooms instead of achievements of the central office.

The success of education depends upon valued, respected teachers and eager, interested students. With your help and the assistance of the other school board members, I feel certain we will rise to the occasion and reach these goals for our students, for our educators and for our future. Thank you again.

Karen J. Harshman
Washington County Board of Education member


Special Forces Association donates to troops serving overseas

To the editor:

As a member of the Special Forces Association chapter, our team of two has been traveling to Germany for seven years to visit the wounded at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Kaiserlautern, Germany, as part of our Troop Morale Support Mission.

Each year over Thanksgiving, we escorted four NHRA race drivers in Germany visiting the wounded. We travel, space available, via the U.S. Air Force from McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., to Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany, with the tour lasting more than a week.

At Ramstein, we work with the USO, which supports our troops and appreciates our phone card program. This year, we distributed 1,500 "goody bags" provided by NHRA, with a primary supporter being Summit Racing Equipment Co.

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