Letters to the Editor - Jan. 15

January 15, 2012

We can honor King by serving others

To the editor:

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?" — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

There are monuments to Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington in our nation’s capital. And now there is a monument to Martin Luther King Jr. That monument, which is beautiful and awesome to stand beside, towers over the Tidal Basin in the shadow of the White House.

It’s a fitting tribute to Dr. King, whose birthday we mark this week. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is an important day to celebrate, and his example is worth emulating. It’s the perfect time to pause and reflect on his question to us: “What are you doing to help others?”

It’s a question I’ve asked myself, many times. It’s the reason I chose to come to West Virginia in the first place. Now, decades after I came as a young VISTA volunteer, I’m still driven by the idea that in helping others, we can truly make a difference.

This holiday is also an opportunity to pause and reflect on how far we’ve come as a nation, a time to come together, without regard to race, creed or nationality, in joining with others across the country to celebrate his dream. Dr. King’s legacy to us is that hoping for a better tomorrow is ultimately worth the sacrifices we make today.

There is no better way to honor him than to answer his “most persistent and urgent question.” Let’s all ask that of ourselves today, and resolve that whatever the answer, we’ll push ourselves to ever say, “I can always do more.”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

Many questions remain about proposed gas-tax hike

To the editor:

The Jan. 7 front-page story, “Local officials meet privately to mull gas-tax hike,” was confusing and maddening at the same time. The story states, “The subject line of D. Bruce Poole’s Dec. 27 email invitation to the meeting was ‘Antietam bridge/BOE move/revenue sources.’” The story later states that Del. Donoghue said, “I asked Bruce Poole to come along.” Who called the meeting, Donoghue or Poole?

The reporter then cites, but does not quote, Donoghue as saying that before he supports the gas tax, he wants to hear from local constituency groups if they would seek additional revenue and for which products. That is like asking a user if they would like you to buy their drugs. It is nice to know that if no one wants the drugs, Donoghue would not buy any.

Then comes the real winning statement from Donoghue, again not a direct quote: If any group opposes the increase, it won’t get any of the new money for its projects. So, if you don’t want Annapolis to take more of your money and they do take more, you can’t have any of it back because you did not want them taking it in the first place.

Is this the time to impose an additional tax on Maryland citizens? Who will this impact more, those living in Baltimore, where mass transit is available or Washington County residents? Where will most of this money come from? Where will most of it go (new roads to the Ravens’ stadium)?

Another bit of confusion is the use of the state’s transportation tax dollars for the possible move of the BOE to downtown. Are they going to build a road from the current BOE location to downtown? I just can’t see how this is a transportation-related project.

As close as we are to West Virginia, it will be cheaper to drive there to refuel. In fact, why don’t we just secede and become part of West Virginia so we can get some meaningful representation, lower taxes and a fiscally conservative people running a state government.

Cliff Lane
Black Rock

God, not progressives, gave me rights and freedoms

To the editor:

Progressive movements are alive in Europe ... Europe going bankrupt. Yes, we want that here, don’t we?

Allan Powell’s Jan. 6 column invites us to jump into that progressive pot of cool, shimmering water. Water too cold? Let us progressives warm it up (with government help and regulation). Still too cool? More warmth (and laws). Not warm enough yet? Turn up the heat (complete government control). Finally, it is too hot but we are boiling but cannot get out of that pot.

Progressive thought crosses party lines. Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians are progressives. But progressives seem to forget or ignore the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. The Constitution guarantees the right to pursue happiness ... it does not guarantee it.

Progressives think that they know better and are above the rest of us. They need to make everyone equal in some way and believe they can guarantee happiness ... their definition of happiness. That’s when the progressives start implementing regulations and laws that favor one group over another to “even things out,” circumventing the Constitution.

Progressives know better what to teach our children than we do. They replace the father in homes by providing financial support without consequences. Government control is the overriding mantra of the progressives.

Powell states, “We should be thankful that the world is gifted with the progressive impulses of empathy and charity to strive to make the world a better place for all.” My God is empathetic and charitable. I was made in His image, thus, when born I was empathetic and charitable. Those gifts did not come from a progressive. They came from God. It does not take a progressive to tell me or show me how to be empathetic or charitable.

Our rights and freedoms are God-given, not progressive-given.

Bill Reno

Thanks to all who support Smithsburg wrestlers

To the editor:

Thank you to the supporters of the 2011-12 Smithsburg High School wrestling team. Several area businesses have shown their support by making donations to the wrestling team.

Thank you to Albright, Crumbacker, Moul and Itell-Certified Public Accountants and Business Consultants; First Impressions Hair Salon and Spa; Smithsburg Youth Athletics; Huntzberry Bros. Inc.; Customizers Creative Accents; My Favorite Place; Hahn’s Auto; Yingling’s Golf Center; Blue Mountain Sports Apparel; Smithsburg Family Dentist; WHAG; Mace Auto Body; Allegany Dental Care; and New Direction Utilities Inc. The businesses’ advertisements were featured in the program for the 23rd annual Leopard Holiday Invitational, which was held at Smithsburg High School on Dec. 30. Their contributions help pay for wrestling trips, workout gear, and shirts and jackets for team awards.

Also, thank you to Ivy Hill Farm for the apples and to Hadley Farms for the cinnamon buns that were donated to the concession stand and sold during the tournament.

The wrestlers, coaches and families of Smithsburg High School greatly appreciate the support and donations from the local business community.

Lisa S. Milligan

Summit Avenue traffic measures aren’t needed

To the editor:

The proposed traffic-calming incentives for Summit Avenue are both extreme and problematic. Well-intended solutions are not always panaceas. I urge all affected residents to get the facts and consider this matter carefully, because it really isn’t needed.

Stephen D. Steinmetz

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