Letters to the Editor - Sept. 28

September 27, 2011

Skyline Coffee closing doors at end of October

To the editor:

After four years of operating Skyline Coffee Co. in downtown Hagerstown, I am happy to say that the shop will be closed for good at the end of October.

Happy to say, you ask? Let me explain.

I opened the business in partnership with six fellow youngsters with broad ambition and a complete lack of awareness toward the impending downswing of the economy. We spent more than we should have on startup costs and didn’t spend enough on operating capital. We had a bad business model from day one and as of day 1,460 I have almost, not quite, paid most of the debt with which we opened shop. I didn’t give myself the opportunity for the business to truly succeed and this is something I take responsibility for.

Recently, I have had the good fortune to launch another business, Skyline Food Source, with a stronger model that has been met with tremendous success. The ability to learn from my previous failures and grow out of them is, indeed, something I am happy about.

Now, before y’all get yourselves in a huff and puff about the councilwoman abandoning downtown, allow me to say two things. One, my business will remain downtown — just not in a storefront capacity. We have an office overlooking the square and rent kitchen space downtown. You will soon see a Skyline Food Source sign hanging in front of 6 W. Washington St. Two, I am doing downtown no favors by continuing to operate a business that just doesn’t work. In focusing on the business that does work, I project that I will grow to a capacity of three full-time jobs by the end of 2012 — jobs that downtown needs in order to support retail operations like coffee shops. I hope that in a few years I can open another retail operation downtown, but this time I want to do it the right way.

I am exceptionally grateful for the customers who have supported me and given me a great launching pad for my endeavors. It has been a wonderful four years spent making friends and, more importantly, making plans for my future and my business’ future.

Ashley C. Haywood
Hagerstown City Council

Incumbents pushing legalization initiatives to lure votes

To the editor:

Maryland and Massachusetts — two states. What do they have in common? An issue that I am addressing is that a representative from each state is pushing to make two current illegal actions legal: Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland wants to allow illegals to go to college in this state on in-state tuition; U.S. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts wants to legalize marijuana. What do both of these actions have in common? Garnering votes for these two incumbents.

Responding to O’Malley, if illegal people want to pay in-state tuition, then the reasonable next step is to become a legal citizen in this country and live in the state. Immigrants have successfully done that for years and years. Why do we as legal voting and tax-paying citizens have to give in to illegals because the sheer numbers of them make it easier to cave in to their demands? What does that say to parents who are citizens who are working two jobs, and to their kids who have part-time jobs, just to pay for in-state tuition to get into our colleges and universities?

Responding to Frank, because something is costly or difficult to enforce doesn’t mean that we cave into that, either. How would you like to be a teacher (which I was for 34 years) and have kids in your classroom on marijuana? This usage would filter down to middle and elementary schools, for sure, in any number of scenarios. Kids high, sick or in a daze would not benefit from the best teacher presenting the best curriculum, let alone one who’s also on marijuana. Nor do we need more drivers on the road who aren’t sharp or totally focused, or marijuana smokers in any number of professions or vocations. Who would this benefit? Only the politicians who push it through as law. Again, legal, taxpaying society would again pay in many ways for the repercussions.

Maryland and Massachusetts voters, it’s up to you.

Judith B. Sasmore

Late prison psychologist Princeton Young made a difference

To the editor:

The front page of the Aug. 13 Herald-Mail, reporting the death of Princeton Young, stunned me.

I was editor of the prison newsletter at Maryland Correctional Institution-Hagerstown and had an office in Basement Education, just around the corner from the psychology offices where Princeton Young reigned.

And Princeton Young did, indeed, reign. He was not just a psychologist, but an absolutely hilarious individual who could find laughter anywhere. While waiting for some prisoner/client to appear at the appointed hour for his counseling, Young would frequently step out into the hallway, where he would be telling funny stories to any and everyone walking by, whether to the school, prison library, addictions classes, or the newsletter office.

Young would have so many people laughing, so loudly, at his shenanigans and insights that both staff and prisoners in adjacent offices or passing by would join the hilarity.  

It didn’t matter where people in the prison were, everyone knew if they came down to Basement Education, they could likely find Young providing some de facto counseling through fun and great belly laughs. Young was invaluable in providing us a dose of sanity in the madness.

How frequently can it be honestly said that hundreds of prisoners mourn the passing of a correctional official? Young was a master of perceptions and the psychology of positive communications, and I tip my hat in salute for how his presence as a kind, compassionate and empathetic human made a wonderful and humorous difference in the lives of everyone blessed to know him.

Douglas Scott Arey, No. 130196 EA-111
Jessup Correctional Institution

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