Letters to the Editor - Jan. 8

January 08, 2012

Habitat for Humanity hoping to sell donated property

To the editor:

The deed transfer section of our local newspapers reported that Habitat for Humanity of Franklin County has acquired the property at 458 E. King St. in Chambersburg. While the report is accurate, it might appear to some that we purchased this property with funds donated to build homes.

In reality, the building was an unsolicited gift to Habitat by the former owners, for which we are very grateful. We considered using the property as our headquarters, since we rent our current office at 23 N. 3rd St. in Chambersburg.

The King Street building is more than 6,000 square feet and has space for 14 offices — quite simply too large for our present and future operations. For that reason, we are attempting to sell the building. The good folks who donated this building to Habitat wish for its value to further our mission, which is to build or renovate homes in Franklin County for low-income families in need.

We will be doing just that in 2012 as we rehab two homes in the Borough of Chambersburg, bringing our total number of houses completed by volunteers to 30. I am pleased, though not surprised, by the generosity of caring people in our community. Together, we’ll make a difference in 2012.

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

MCTC doing its part to keep roadways free of litter

To the editor:

Keep America Beautiful Inc. reports that more than 51 billion pieces of litter land on U.S. roadways each year. That’s 6,729 items per mile. Some surveys indicate that 90 percent of people litter sometimes, but 10 percent are habitual litterers. Traveling around the countryside, it is evident that roadside trash blights the American landscape.

Cleaning this all up costs the U.S. almost $11.5 billion each year, and the presence of litter in a community takes a toll on quality of life, property values and housing prices. Keep America Beautiful’s 2009 National Visible Litter Study found that litter in a community decreases property values by 7 percent. And debris finding its way into local waterways just adds to the already serious environmental pollution problem.  

Most litter is tossed onto roadsides in remote places where there aren’t many houses or into our rivers and streams while crossing bridges. And litter just keeps piling up until a state or local government agency or civic-minded individuals or organizations clean up. There is a lot of that community service going on in neighborhoods all over the U.S. and right here in Washington County. We all can do our part by picking up trash as we are out and about in our daily activities, especially in our neighborhoods.

But the real reason for this letter is to salute the Maryland Correctional Training Center for providing crews to work with state and county agencies that keep up our region’s roadways. This partnership delivers a valuable, visible and welcome public service that benefits everyone. Let’s encourage them to keep up the good work.

Chuck and Melissa Schwalbe

Political traffic is going both ways

To the editor:

I read with interest Russell Williams’ letter in the Dec. 26 Herald-Mail. However, I think he needs to look further.

With flair, he uses Westbrook Pegler to hammer David Limbaugh.  Well, I will quote one of my favorite philosophers (my Grandmother Smith), who said, “Before you cross the highway, look both ways because cars come from both directions.”

I have read Kathleen Parker and Leonard Pitts in The Herald-Mail. What have they preached? Let’s see. Well, Republicans and conservatives are dumb, not caring about the young, sick, elderly and unemployed, and are racist. Have you read many columns by Leonard Pitts that weren’t based on race?

On the national circuit, we hear the tea party members are bigots, racists and “Astroturf.” We hear that Republicans want dirty air, dirty water, to break up families, end Social Security, cripple Medicare and want you to die quickly. If you question the president or his administration, you are called a racist. In fact, the head of the Department of Justice has said the reason the Republicans are pursuing him “fast and furious” is because he is black like the president. Forget that hundreds of weapons were sold to the cartels that resulted in numerous deaths. The only problem in his mind appears to be his race.

Have you considered, Mr. Williams, that in the super highway of politics the traffic is going both ways? As a registered Republican, I look on with disdain at the garbage both sides of the political picture produce. Yes, I watch Fox News, but I also watch CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC. As a Republican, I have voted for a Democrat many times and will again in the future. Political columnists, talk show hosts, pundits and politicians will always talk up their side; we should expect that.

As a citizen, it is our job to sort through the malarkey and vote for who, in our opinion, is best for our country, family and friends. But to sort through the malarkey, we need to hear it, check it out and decide for ourselves. To have a newspaper that presents columnists that only support one side would be to empower more Westbrooks. We need to stop attacking each other, work together, keep our wits and get through these times. Perhaps then we can attack the problems, not each other and make the progress this country truly needs.

Larry Smith
Warfordsburg, Pa.

Let’s make offshore wind a reality for Maryland

To the editor:

The Maryland Sierra Club has found that Maryland electricity prices rose 75 percent from 2002 to 2009. These massive jumps in price cannot continue. By investing in renewable energy sources such as offshore wind and solar, we can protect electricity rates from these price fluctuations.  

According to the Abell Foundation in Baltimore, 67 percent of Maryland’s electricity demands can be met with just the existing offshore wind infrastructure. These energy sources will reduce air and water pollution, avoiding hundreds of deaths per year due to asthma and other respiratory diseases.

But how can the average person contribute to this cause? All you need is a little bit of time. Write a letter or make a call to your state legislator urging them to support development of this promising renewable energy source.

Gov. O’Malley will likely introduce an offshore wind bill to the Maryland legislature as soon as January. Visit to learn more about the Maryland General Assembly and find your legislators. Your help is needed now more than ever to make offshore wind a reality for Maryland.               

Sarah Peters
Monrovia, Md.

Dog waste at Pangborn Park a disgrace

To the editor:

My wife and I have been exercising our pet dog for several years, circumventing Pangborn Park. Within the past two years or so, we have observed an unusual amount of dog feces along the sidewalk bordering the park.

When parking along the sidewalk, it is necessary to check where you exit your vehicle. You, as a pet owner, by good nature and common sense — not to mention breaking the law — should pick up after your animal.

I would like to alert the City of Hagerstown to better police this area and to keep it clean. It is also to be noted that trash is also being deposited in the same area. There is only one sign posted at the park, stating that no dogs are not allowed in the park.

We need other signs of the same and in other areas, and also signs for people to pick up after their pets. It should be noted that many small children are using the park and should not be exposed to such filthy conditions.

Tom Wilhelm

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