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Letters to the Editor - March 20

March 18, 2011

Community rallied to support grieving family

To the editor:

The candles in Widmeyer Park flickered as they lit up the faces turned upward toward the Veterans' Memorial. But, instead of remembering our fallen heroes, citizens prayed together for a little girl, lying two hours away in a hospital.

They prayed together for her parents, her family and for the members of the local rescue squad; for her classmates, for the cheerleaders and Scouts; for the volunteers at the thrift store; for her teachers and others who enjoyed her smile, her innocent interest in life.

In the town park — which has seen its share of concerts and carnivals, picnics, swimming parties and library events, Lions' and Masons' breakfasts, festivals and baby contests — the citizens of Hancock, young and old, gathered to encourage and uplift. 

Little girls sang and read a poem, pastors and priests offered words of comfort and prayer, little boys gingerly pressed the wax that melted in the plastic cups held tightly in their hands.

Hundreds signed a poster for the family, filing up the steps where a picture and candles were displayed. Three days later, on Monday last, we learned that Serena Tasker, 11, had died.

Does this mean God did not hear our prayers? Not at all!

Those who make it their life's work to rescue and heal God's hurting children had done well, caring for her and her family, in response to God's command to love our neighbors.

Those who will receive donations of her organs will thank God for the hope they have been given.

Those who had at any time touched Serena's life and enjoyed her companionship learned once again the value of friendship and loyalty, the need to go home and hug the ones we love as if we might be seeing them for the last time.

Our prayers for comfort were answered as Serena's parents joined in our vigil, holding up pictures of candles on their cell phones as they and their priest sat by her bed. And around us all were the wounded hands of Jesus, who spoke in the midst of death, "It is completed ... into your hands I commit my spirit."

The death of this little girl is a tragedy in a broken world that would try to break the spirit of our small town. But I believe that our prayers will be answered, and that God — who did not "want" this to happen, who did not "plan" to take a child from her loved ones — was standing with us in the park, is standing with all those who weep for their friend, and will always stand among us whenever we face sorrow and loss.

The Rev. Anne Weatherholt


President will not release true hidden costs of "Obamacare"

To the editor:

 President Obama promised last year that negotiations over his health care overhaul would be carried out openly, in front of TV cameras and microphones.

But now, Republican congressional investigators got the negative cold shoulder this past week after pressing for details of meetings between White House officials and interest groups, which include drug companies and hospitals that provided critical backing for Obama's health insurance expansion.

It's just one more roadblock for Republicans who tapped into widespread anxiety about the scope and costs of the new health care law to regain control of the House in last fall's elections.

And so far, they've been unable to repeal the landmark legislation they dismiss as "Obamacare." GOP efforts to deny administration agencies the money to carry out the law are running into unintended consequences, not to mention the sheer difficulty of tracking those dollars.

Even if the standoff dramatically escalates to a congressional subpoena and investigation, history shows that presidents usually succeed in keeping records away from such inquiries. So, Obama continues to stonewall this situation and once again fails to tell the truth.

Al Eisner

Silver Spring, Md.

Thank you to all who have cared for my ailing dog

To the editor:

In 2004, my brother and I adopted two dogs from the SPCA. Of course, we had no idea of any history related to them. Their names are Amber and Licorice.

Amber is a beautiful white dog with brown spots and people would always say how beautiful she was. In October 2009, she started having health problems. She was taken to our vet right away and we were told the results were really not good. Amber had early stages of liver cancer and a heart murmur. We rushed her to Gaithersburg to a dog cardiologist, who gave us steady medicine and Amber started feeling good again.

Just a month ago, her problem started again and we took her back to a cardiologist in Gaithersburg again. Now, 17 months later, she is getting worse and probably will not live another couple of months. This letter is to personally thank everyone who has worked with me and my brother on Amber's care.

Special thank-yous are to our local veterinary hospital and all of the receptionists who took our phone calls and have always made sure Amber's meds were ready. Thank you to the doctors for always listening and being patient, and for working diligently on her case and never giving up looking for answers. These doctors and staff are all number one and will always be in my heart because they show nothing but love and compassion for animals. Even techs in the back who weigh her and all behind the scenes.

Thank you to all of you. As I know, Amber is coming down to her final days but all were great with her care. Also, thank you to the cardiologist in Gaithersburg who saw Amber. Also, if anyone out there was Amber's former owner, I would love to hear from you to find out any history on Amber and Licorice.

Thank you all.

Patricia A. Barnhart


Political power of unions becoming huge issue in this country

To the editor:

Let's look at the current situation with the unions and the political scene.

The unions, of course, collect dues from their members. A large portion of those dues are used to influence politicians and elections through donations to campaigns and paying for political ads. In turn, politicians who benefit from these donations and ads are inclined to support changes in laws that favor the unions who donated to their campaigns.

In some cases, these are the same politicians who the union negotiates against in contract negotiations. Of course, if you are agreeable in the negotiations, then you can expect more donations next election cycle. With a little thought, you can see how this cycle repeats until the benefits given breaks the bank.

Let's go further.

Richard Trumka from the AFL-CIO brags on tape that he is in daily contact with the White House, and visits two to three times per week. Andy Stern from the SEIU was one of the most frequent visitors to the White House during President Obama's first two years. Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars the unions pumped into (mostly) Democratic campaign confers, I would assume the visits were not to play wiffleball with the Obama girls.

Of course, one of their pet projects was to get card check passed to greatly increase their membership, which means more dues, which means more political donations, which means more influence, which ... well, the cycle continues.

After all, why would you want to conduct a secret ballot election in this country? Let's have union organization votes in public with union thugs looking on.

If you think I am anti-union, you are wrong. I was a member of two different ones in the past. I have seen the benefits, but also apparent problems in unions. They are needed and serve a benefit, however their political power is becoming a huge issue in this country.

Of course, the unions and some politicians are in a tizzy over the Wisconsin situation. The huge cash cow is being threatened. It will be interesting to see how this works out.

Larry Smith

Warfordsburg, Pa.

Shame on lawmakers for their position on same-sex marriage

To the editor:

Shame on Democratic Del. John P. Donoghue and Republican state Sen. Christopher B. Shank.

There is no Christian faith that believes it is immoral to extend the hand of charity through social services to people who are homosexual, whether or not they are married. Christ reached out to help the prostitute as an example to us to help people we have chosen to look down on and marginalize.

Some say we don't want the gay marriage law because we might be "forced" to cater the wedding reception of a homosexual couple and "that's against our religion." Perhaps we need to outlaw all marriages, because we might be "forced" to cater the wedding receptions of people who are guilty of unrepentant lies, betrayal, deceit or anything else that is against our religion. None could pass this test. There would be no more marriages, either heterosexual or homosexual. Let one who has no sin cast the first stone.

Admittedly, I have not read the gay marriage bill, but I am 99.9 percent sure it does not address wedding receptions. This is a ruse used to reach holier than thou status.

It seems the greatest fears are adoption, foster care and homosexual people "winning" souls to homosexuality. People don't learn to be homosexual any more than they learn to be heterosexual. It is an occurrence of birth, like left-handedness or right-handedness. Some learn to appear heterosexual in a society which persecutes and condemns homosexuality. We used to think left-handers were sinister, but most of us know better now. For purpose of illustrations, which is better for an older "unadoptable" child in the impersonal social welfare system — to have two same-sex adult human beings as parent figures or to be lost, lonely, neglected and unloved with little prospect of any enduring parental love and care? I know of no statistics which suggest a homosexual parent figure is any more or less likely to molest a child than a heterosexual parent figure.

I am ashamed to have Christopher Shank represent me. Even though I often sin personally and thoughtlessly — failing to do unto others as I would have them do unto me — in organized, well-planned situations, I observe God's commandment to live by the Golden Rule.

Anne P. Wright


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