Letters to the Editor - Sept. 5

September 05, 2011

Taxpayers cannot afford the current prison ‘non-system’

To the editor:

Tim Rowland’s column regarding prison inmates (Aug. 28) completely ignored a major problem regarding prison overcrowding and defective parole practices. Prison populations throughout the country are growing older. In many prisons, entire cell blocks only hold inmates 60 and older. And with age, come health problems and greater expense.

The logical cure for this problem, early release for inmates over a certain age, brings up another problem. Many older inmates no longer have families or other support on the outside and the parole boards are not set up to help them. It is hard enough for an ex-con younger than 40 to get a job, but for a senior it is almost impossible. But all of the parole people just seem to want their charges to report in when ordered. This age problem is only going to get worse until states and the federal government set up agencies to help seniors with housing, medical care and minimum income.

Many readers are now yelling that they oppose giving any help to ex-cons. The senior inmates and ex-cons are not going to go away; their numbers will increase. When you see how much it costs to keep an average inmate, remember seniors cost far more than that due to health needs.  

As governments are doing nothing to help older ex-cons, what about the private sector? There are some groups, few and far between, that claim to help. But they rarely do so. Most are religious-based with little funding and restrict any real help to those who convert and become active shills. They are very big on publicity, and politicians give them money so they can claim to be working on the problem. A total waste of money, in my opinion.

State and federal governments must take responsibility. The cost to maintain an old ex-con will be less than the cost of keeping him in prison until he dies. Taxpayers simply cannot afford the current non-system.

W. Bernard Randolph

World championship a treasured memory 40 years later

To the editor:

Salute to the world champions!

It was the night of Aug. 26, 1971, when a group of 14 teenage boys representing the Hagerstown Colt League completed their impossible dream by defeating a team from Aiea-Pearl City, Hawaii, by the score of 10-0. Then, they joyously hoisted the trophy and proudly displayed the flag that declared the “World Champions of Colt League Baseball.”

To some, it might seem like the 40 years ago that it was, but to these 14 men it still seems like yesterday that they were playing as 15- and 16-year olds. The memories they share will be something that will be treasured for the rest of their lives. They were the second team to win the world championship for the City of Hagerstown in the span of six years. But unfortunately, they have been the last team to accomplish this honor in the past 40 years.

So I would like to salute each one of the players from the 1971 Colt League world champions: Mike Brashears, Terry Brown, Gary Fahrney, Mike Gentry, Doug Higgins, Bill Jolliffe, Greg Leedy, Mike Lowry, Barry Miller, Bob Osbourn, Jim Repp, Lee Ridenour, Dick Showe and Mike Steiner. We also fondly remember those who are no longer with us: our manager Jim Brown, coach Durwerd Miller, and business manager Wesley Ruth.

Doug Higgins

Words of encouragement can make a big difference

To the editor:

I would like to thank you for providing a platform for Chad Smith to display his encouraging words on the Health page (Aug. 22) in reference to “stay in the fight.”

I am an inmate at MCTC. I’ve written poems, short stories and songs of encouragement. I’m also in the process of writing a book called “The Message.” There are a lot of messages in the book, but the main message is “no matter what you’ve been through, are going through or are about to go through in life, you can be a success as long as you turn your life over to the care of God and let Him guide you.”

I’ve been through a lot, so in order for me to complete the book, I have to be a success.

Mr. Smith’s words reassured me that I am on the right path. As an inmate, hearing words of encouragement is very hard to come by. Even though others rarely use them, I constantly do. And yes, I get discouraged because I’m impatient (I’m working on that). But whenever a negative feeling or thought occurs, God always seems to show me a sign that I am out of place and gives me the opportunity to fall back in place.

It is very important that society knows that words of encouragement can make a big difference in someone’s life. Make it natural to use them. Yes, I know that everyone might not be encouraged by my words. That’s life. But as long as I’m doing what God has chosen for me to do, I’m serving my purpose.  

Nicholas Fernandez Jr.

Items lost in traffic accident sought

To the editor:

My father, Ray Linebaugh, was killed Feb. 28 in an accident on Interstate 70 involving his pickup truck and a tour bus. I am trying to recover several personal items that were lost in the accident.

I am hoping to find or speak to anyone who might have seen the black leather truck bed cover, a wooden cane and a steel bucket shovel that were in the vehicle that day.

If anyone has information, please contact me at

I appreciate any help in trying to recover these items.

Vickie Smith

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