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Letters to the Editor - March 4

March 04, 2011

Basketball league has improved RCI

To the editor:

Three years ago at the Roxbury Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Sgt. Mills and myself, a Life for Lifers Group member, co-founded the Tier-Ball Basketball League with the support of Athletic Director B. Coulter. In this league, incarcerated American citizens must learn to put their issues and differences aside if they want to play basketball, since in this league the men must play with others who are housed on the same tier.

Now, Sgt. Poffenberger is in charge of the league and is taking the league to its ultimate championship level by allowing the winners of each housing unit to play a single-game, elimination round to determine an overall champion. This is being done to reward the positive efforts of these men and to encourage these same men to use the same spirit in all other aspects of their lives to make better choices in the future.

This is another example of the vision, influence and encouragement that RCI Warden Gregg L. Hershberger and Assistant Warden Keith Lyons are having on their staff in a continuing effort of reinforcing positive behavior in the ongoing task of citizenship building. Not one of the nearly 300 participants in the tier-ball basketball league has been involved in any disruptions to the normal operations of the prison.

Various self-help groups have joined with the current RCI administration to help change the mind-set of those who have made mistakes, so as to make better choices in the future, avoiding the revolving door of prison.

The atmosphere at RCI has become more about rehabilitation than the warehousing of yesterday. Incarcerated American citizens are now thinking of others and how their actions affect others. As a result, the prison confines is a safer and positive environment for change.

Theodore Wiener
No. 153-037
Roxbury Correctional Institution

Black history celebration was wonderful, but museum needs community support

To the editor:

The City of Hagerstown should be proud of the event that took place on Feb. 26. Kudos to former Hagerstown Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean and the Friends of the Doleman Black Heritage Museum for producing a wonderful day of remembrance with its second Celebration of Black History Month at the Maryland Theatre.

A program of this quality is normally reserved for the metropolitan area and with a much heftier price tag. The performance of Taia Collins of South Hagerstown High, and Niki Perini was a great addition to the program and having Councilwoman Helen Holton as mistress of ceremony and showcasing the outstanding Morgan State University Choir just lends to the statewide appeal and support the Doleman Black Heritage Museum is able to attract.

Time is of the essence and the Doleman Black Heritage Museum needs the support of its municipal leaders and the community at large. The preservation of African-American history in Washington County should not be allowed any further decay.

John McGuire
Fairfax, Va.

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