Letters to the Editor - Aug. 11

August 11, 2011

Why rush to print Little League story?

To the editor:  

Shame on The Herald-Mail and reporter Andrew Schotz for the Aug. 5 front-page story on the Aug. 2 Little League incident in Sharpsburg.

After reading this article, one could come away with the opinion that the Sharpsburg Little League and community are racist, gay bashers who use “a slew of profanity” and assault women.

You would think that before publishing an article that, regardless of the final outcome, has stained the reputation of the Sharpsburg community, a more thorough investigation would have been conducted.

I won’t even get into who said what or who struck whom because that only begets counter-accusations. But, I will say that this story contained some untruthful statements.

Does a story of this magnitude need to be printed immediately after the incident? Why didn’t you make the Sharpsburg president aware of the severity of the accusations? You hounded him with several phone calls to further your story. As you noted, he initially commented that the argument concerned the umpiring, which wasn’t newsworthy. Why didn’t you contact Sharpsburg parents and fans to present a complete picture which might have given you a second thought about even pursuing the story beyond the questionable umpiring?

You were invited to Sharpsburg for that purpose and the opportunity to speak with witnesses from Conococheague Little League, but you did not show. But no, unsubstantiated racial claims, etc., are more exciting. I am sure that you will be hearing from Sharpsburg and hopefully others who witnessed the incident like the person who commented on your web page that “your article ... is a little disturbing.”

For a front-page story, why didn’t you contact the other two teams playing that evening for any input they might have? Why didn’t you contact the other six teams in the tourney to ascertain their experience with the umpiring and particularly their experience with the two teams involved in the incident?

Bottom line, get out the story ASAP because, in your opinion, it is newsworthy. We don’t care about the long-lasting impact of such an article even if it wasn’t researched thoroughly.

I hope that you would attempt to make amends and have a follow-up story that provides the complete picture, regardless of its final conclusion. If you don’t, I hope you lose some of your readership, of which I certainly will be one.

Ronald F. Moats Sr.

Habitat for Humanity thanks Career & Technology Center

To the editor:

I am extremely grateful for the Franklin County Career & Technology Center. Their student construction crew, led by teacher Todd Swan, volunteered their time to craft a beautiful gazebo, from scratch, as a donation to Habitat for Humanity. The gazebo, measuring 12 feet by 10 feet, is currently on display in front of the garden center at Lowe’s in Chambersburg, Pa.

Habitat will use the gazebo as a fundraiser called Building Hope Giveaway. We are making raffle tickets available for $10 as an opportunity for someone to win the structure, which will be given away at Chambersburg’s Apple Fest in October. Photos of the gazebo can be viewed at  

Two students in particular invested many hours on the gazebo: Dillan Mackey and Cody Burkett. I am encouraged by the philanthropic spirit that the career and technology center possesses and have seen the immediate value that their hands-on approach to learning produces. Franklin County should be proud of the good work that Todd Swan and the other teachers do at the center.

Mark D. Story, executive director
Habitat For Humanity of Franklin County

VIP setup at Frederick event was a disappointment

To the editor:

I would like to express my disappointment in the organization of the recent Frederick Gone Country event.

We purchased VIP tickets in advance of the event last Friday night figuring we would get the best seats and amenities available as we are big fans of Josh Gracin.

Upon arrival, we noticed that parking was poorly organized.  No signs directing to any VIP parking (although a parking fee was included in the price). We ended up parking half a mile away from the entrances. We asked a police officer about the parking and he stated that they were not given a lot of information, either.

When we arrived at the stage, we came to find out that the VIP tickets were absolutely not the best seats at all — off to the right of the stage, right near the speakers. The best seats were the ones right in front of the stage and they were $20 cheaper than the VIP tickets. That is just not right. We asked several event staff people for clarification and nobody knew anything or could direct us to the people responsible for the event organization.

The website said there would be a private bar, private food area, tables and chairs, and higher-quality bathrooms. The private bar was a table set up with a guy mixing some cocktails far from the stage. Private food area was one vendor who served the general admission and had one side of their setup for the VIP, which meant you still had to wait like everyone else as they were serving both sides. I didn’t any see tables near the stage. There were a few tables far away from the stage. Higher-quality bathrooms were a few porta-potties that were situated far away. I don’t call porta-potties higher quality.

All-in-all, our experience with Frederick Gone Country was horrific and a big disappointment in its organization of the event. The organization should do the right thing and refund some money back to all the people who purchased VIP tickets.

An e-mail to their advertised address on the website came back undelivered stating there was no such user.

Henk ten Hoope

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