Letters to the Editor - April 22

April 22, 2012

Don’t let the Suns slip away

To the editors:

If the Suns leave Hagerstown, it will be a big loss for the community. Major League Baseball does not put parks just anywhere, and once they have, that permission needs to be protected. If we lose the Suns, we lose baseball.

Consider that when the hotel/motel tax was increased, the stadium was to be the recipient of those funds. Tom Fiery’s excellent article, April 3, stated city, county, state and Suns funds need to be used for a new multi-use stadium. True. However, he doesn’t mention hotel/motel money. Yes, that’s a tax, but it is not generally paid by the citizens of Washington County.

When past talks failed, the money was not earmarked for stadium investment, as pointed out by past commissioner Paul Swartz. Had it been, enough money would be available to pay for the stadium today.

Funds for stadiums also come from the lottery and the Maryland Sports Authority — again money not out of the pocket of traditional taxpayers. Lottery money went to Camden Yards, Frederick, Bowie and Salisbury, so why not Hagerstown?

A recent article in The Herald-Mail showed $25,000 in hotel/motel money went to private small businesses tagged as economic development. How many jobs will that $25,000 bring to justify that expenditure? An additional $25,000 went to one-day events. The Suns play from April through August.

$308,034 was distributed by the county, from this money, to the city of Hagerstown and the eight towns in the community, so there are funds that can go back into the community for a multi-use facility.

Bob Parasiliti’s April 8 article chose to focus on all the negatives of the opening series. It’s traditionally cold in the beginning of April. In 2011, games began April 15, which was a little better than the first of the month; however, many came fortified in football attire. Nine innings is a long time to sit in 30- to 40-degree temperature, sometimes even in snow. I haven’t researched attendance, but April is never a good baseball month.

We need to keep baseball; we need to see the value of watching the formative years of the players of tomorrow; but more important, we need to see the positives resulting from a multi-use facility. Be sure you have all the facts. Don’t let a treasure slip through our fingers. Be a visionary, let’s not lose baseball. See you at the ballpark.

Regina Swope

A volunteer with a big heart, willingness to serve

To the editor:

Great things are happening in Washington County because great people are volunteering their skills and talents to strengthen our community. Just ask Naomi Rohrer, who at the urging of Volunteer Washington County, nominated Virginia Wilson for the Governor’s Service Award.

April 15 to 22 was National Volunteer Week and there’s no better way to celebrate it and Washington County’s renewed interest in volunteering than by publicly acclaiming Virginia Wilson as winner of the Governor’s Service Award and Washington County’s Volunteer of the Month.

Virginia Wilson is a volunteer with a very big heart and a strong desire to serve humanity. After teaching at many area universities, Virginia retired, only to find out that her teaching days were not over. At the Life House West Church, she and her daughter offered to help people prepare for the GED, and to tutor children after school. This “little school” has grown into a nonprofit known as Community Life Institute.

Wilson has brought in more than 50 students and a cadre of eight facilitators to help with the instruction. Wilson volunteers at the Institute more than 40 hours a week teaching students, and screening and training facilitators. She prefers the term “facilitator” to the term “tutor” because “they facilitate the success of the students,” she said. “I’m very picky about my facilitators. They have to be dedicated to helping people, be patient, positive and encouraging,” she said. “They have to believe in the students.”

Wilson revels in the success of her students. Among her success stories is a middle-aged man who came to learn how to use the computer, and is now working on his GED, and a young boy who was quite a handful at first, but is now using creative games to complete his work. “You’re doing a fantastic job here;” he told Wilson, “I’m doing much better!”

Bernadette Wagner, co-director
Volunteer Washington County

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