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Letters to the Editor - Jan. 9

January 08, 2012

Former Sears store would make great senior center

To the editor:

Now is the time to purchase the Sears store for a senior center. This building is located on Potomac and Northern, which meets city and county needs for busing or easy transport.

The old store, which has been closed for years, is perfect for us "old folks." The building is on the first floor with water and sewer hookups, heating and air conditioning. It also has toilets, kitchens and plenty of free parking at the door. It is very near shopping and pharmacy convenience.

As a senior citizen, you could drive up to the front door and walk down a ramp into the building. It could be easily wheelchair friendly.

It could include classrooms and a kitchenette for dining, coffee or lunch. A game room could be converted into other ways of use — exercising, games, movie specials, entertainment.

The store has had "fire safety" before. It could be easy to convert again with safety programs by firefighters and the police department to update our seniors.

An information desk could be set up at the main entrance, run by senior volunteers for the center. And outside interests could rent banquet rooms for local clubs to use.

The Commission on Aging could get its messages to the people it serves with federal monies.

We could have teachers from Hagerstown Community College give instructions on computers and teach other classes of interest to senior citizens.

The senior citizens in this town deserve a place of their own and they have earned it.

Let's get moving.

Pat Shaw
Hagerstown


Letter writer clearly outlined separation issues

To the editor:

Please allow me to thank Ernst Arnold for his excellent letter supporting separation of church and state (Dec. 28). His quotes from the Treaty of Tripoli and from John Adams were accurate, revealing and convincing.

Like many, the headlong rush to promote an American theocracy startles me. Examples include attempts to:

  •  weaken public schools by diverting educational tax dollars to religious training (I went to Catholic school and my parents paid for it, as it should be)
  •  interfere in personal medical decisions
  •  teach religious beliefs as science
  •  institute prayer in the classroom and at public events (Why should my personal God need public display? Does He hear me better through crowd noise? And what if others are praying counter to me?)
So why theocracy? I suspect as a recruitment tool and a form of public intimidation to force conformity to someone else's views.

I am not against people holding personal religious views (I hold them myself), but I have no desire to have someone else's views shoved down my throat through legislation. Secular laws do not prevent people from practicing their personal beliefs. Within reasonable limits, you have the option to choose how you live, what you think and how you worship. Sadly, some Christians promote legislation to weaken or remove these options.

The early colonists did not come to North America to escape secularism. Many (and perhaps most) came to escape their fellow Christians, who would deny them the freedom to practice their own religion without harassment. They ran from exclusionary Christian traditions, but once here, often tried to set up exclusionary religious states themselves. Our brilliant Constitution stopped this apparently natural tendency.

Religion has thrived in the U.S. because of our separation of church and state. I have no desire to return to the days of legally sanctioned inquisition, intimidation, witch hunts, shunning and excommunication. Currently, if I choose, I can mail either secular or religious Christmas cards, pray or not, buy cleaning supplies on Sunday, have a beer, go to the church of my choice, make my own medical decisions and fast or not during lent.

Separation of church and state and religious freedom are opposite sides of the same coin.

Larry Zaleski
Hagerstown


Store was ill prepared for handicapped customers

To the editor:

Yesterday, my husband and I had to do some shopping at a local store. Being disabled with back injuries and other health issues, I typically utilize their power wheelchair carts. But, alas, when we arrived, nine of these carts were out of order.

I did manage to see a man sitting against the wall in one of the chairs; but he was waiting for his wife to go shopping then needed the power chair to drive out to his car. No problem, though. I walked behind one of the regular carts, couldn't get half of the items that we went to the store for, had to search for benches inside so I could sit and get my breath, and by the time I had gotten back home from my trip, I was in an incredible amount of pain, which I'm still in today.

To me, this level of preparedness to accommodate the handicapped is prejudicial to say the least. This is the first time I've ever seen this happen at this store. There were waiting lines for the carts. I feel the management should be aware of the situation and hopefully remedy it for other handicapped people.

Pat Ritchie
Hagerstown

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