Letter to the Editor - March 16

March 15, 2012

To appreciate the present, we must remember the past

To the editor:
It is interesting how times and educational fads change. In a recent column in The Herald-Mail, the writer mentioned a supposedly relatively obscure famous black person — George Washington Carver.

In the ’50s, I grew up in segregated Cecil County, Md., and read the textbooks that were used by the segregated county and state public school systems. These were textbooks that (even in the course called Problems of Democracy), as best I remember, did not mention segregation, lynchings or the inability of many Southern blacks to vote. About the only black person we ever heard of was Carver. Dr. King had not yet achieved greatness and we never heard of Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. Du Bois or the NAACP. I do not remember mention of the Underground Railroad and certainly not any of the black or white heroes of the Underground Railroad. To the best of my knowledge, the same textbooks were used in both white and black segregated Maryland schools. 


I remember looking out a second-story window of Perryville High School and watching the black students, standing on the corner waiting for the bus to take them to the segregated high school in Elkton. In the ’60s, when many white people started objecting to busing for racial balance, I would remember those black students and wonder why the white people had not objected to busing for racial imbalance.

People need to remember the past in order to appreciate the present. Twice, in the last couple of years, I have sat at an NAACP booth. I asked children what the NAACP was and almost none of them had heard of it. Now, George Washington Carver, who in the past was the most famous black person in the Maryland public school system, has become an unknown.

Russell Williams

There are plenty of alternate routes for bike trail

To the editor:
Do we need a new bike trail? I say no. But if there are enough people that want a bike trail, there are plenty of alternatives. To make a bike trail from Hagerstown to Weverton, may I suggest Alternate Route 40 and Route 67 as alternatives? Route 67 covers 11 miles from Boonsboro to Weverton. It has great views and plenty of access for emergency vehicles. All that needs to be done is some painting for a bike lane. Same with Alternate Route 40 from Boonsboro to Funkstown. There is ample shoulder area for cyclists. Again, some painted lines and we have a bike trail. If people seek nature trails, what about the C&O Canal? Here we have federally protected 186 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Several lanes of traffic have been taken in Hagerstown streets for bike lanes. Locust Street is one I travel almost daily, and I have only seen two folks on bicyles using it in the past year.

I personally feel this is a ridiculous plan, and one that needs not to be considered in today’s economic times. We have far more pressing issues in the county and state than to spend untold millions for yet another mismanaged mistake, similar to the “Wetland Preserve” in Trego. That project was a total waste of time and taxpayer money. It sits rotting now, a symbol of the incompetence of elected officials.

In this financial crisis, the last thing we need is to spend more of the people’s money on yet another folly.

The people in the area do not want it, and I would not want to be the elected representative from the area that promotes it. Perhaps the money would be better spent on our schools and roads.

Steve Anders

House Bill 1051 will make car ownership more expensive

To the editor:
House Bill 1051, if passed, will expand the sales tax to include motor-vehicle repairs and services, including service contracts, extended warranty contracts, road service and towing. This proposal will add a sales tax on labor for all auto repairs and related services, as well as towing. It will be costly for every Maryland car owner.

I believe the State of Maryland is becoming very greedy and not showing any concern for its average citizens, who are the majority. If the state is in the hole, the solution is to stop digging. If the state does not have enough funds to operate things as they are now, they have no business starting new expensive projects, which will just be a continual burden on citizens. They will just continue to need more and more tax money from people who are very distressed now.

Almost any time we have car repairs, the labor can be $1,000 or $2,000 or more. Then add 6 percent to that. It is bad enough to have problems with your car and have very expensive bills, but then the state wants to add more misery and worry.

No one in state government seems to understand the tremendous problems citizens have in affording to live. Everything we need to live has gone up greatly. Homeowners insurance, car insurance, health insurance, the price of heating fuel, gasoline, electricity, water and sewer, cable TV,  groceries, automobiles, appliances and everything else necessary for life. There is no end in sight.

But the thing that hasn’t increased is the funds we have to pay for these things. All but the very wealthy are going backwards. It is time for our state to tighten its belt and live within its means, just like its citizens have to do.

Charles Semler

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