Letters to the Editor - Sept. 6

September 06, 2012

School transporation policy needs a review

To the editor:

I am writing in reference to the unrealistic idea that the Board of Education of Washington County calls “safe transportation” for the students of our county. 

I received a notice two weeks prior to the start of school that my daughter, just entering kindergarten this year, is considered a “walker.” Of course, when I received this notice, I automatically assumed it was an error. To my surprise, the transportation department at the School Board informed me that the notice was correct. 

My 5-year-old daughter was indeed expected to walk 3/4 of a mile to get to school, where there are not even any sidewalks. I was told that elementary school and middle school children can walk as far as one mile to school and high school students as far as 1.5 miles. 

I, and any other mother with any common sense and concern for her children, think this is absolutely absurd. I wonder if the employees of the Board of Education would feel safe allowing their 5-year-old children to walk that far to school.

So, to my dismay, I made other arrangements for her to be transported by bus leaving from and returning to her grandparents home. Very aggravated and disgusted by the whole situation, I shared my concerns with the transportation department. I was told they receive complaints from the residents of our development every year. So why has nothing been done?  Why can’t there be one bus routed through our neighborhood to ensure our children make it to school safely?

After brewing over this and having accepted the fact that this is the best it would get, I have moved on. However, upon reading the front page of The Herald-Mail on Aug. 28, I came across an article titled “Local man accused of raping preteen girl.” As I read this article I learned that this man was accused of sexually assaulting, choking and raping a girl in the basement of his house. The assault started right outside of her school — this being the same school that my daughter attends. My daughter would practically walk right by this predator’s house if she had to walk to school.

So tell me, is this not reason enough to have a bus run in this area? If this is how the board treats our children’s welfare, maybe the education they are receiving is the next thing we should question.

Tracy Thompson

Clint Eastwood had it right

To the editor:

Well, the Republicans gave us a fine charade at their national convention last week.

The liberal bloggers are all in a tizzy about Clint Eastwood’s talk; they think he blew it. I disagree. He’s too good an actor to make that kind of mistake.

I think his speech encapsulated, in a light-hearted way, exactly what the rest of the GOP crew had been saying all week. They think Barack Obama is an empty chair. They have set the chair up as a straw man to throw snide remarks at, and are refusing to look at what his administration has accomplished, despite their obstruction and obfuscation. They are wrong.

Eastwood summed all that up very nicely, but he was too subtle for the vast majority of the chattering classes.

Burr Loomis
Chambersburgh, Pa.

Searching for the New Hagerstown

To the editor:

I’ve been a resident of Hagerstown or Washington County for 85 years, except for a few months in 1951. I remember shopping for groceries with my mother at Abe Martin’s in the northeast corner of Public Square. That was when it was more of a circle than a square. Before one-way traffic. While the trolley cars still ran, and the Christmas tree was in the middle. That was Hagerstown before the 1970s. And that Hagerstown is gone, never to return.

We fought tooth and nail to bring the University of Maryland campus to downtown, because that was going to be the key to revitalization! Nope, didn’t work that way. The Barbara Ingram School of the Arts was sold as a magic button that would lead to downtown renewal! Nope, hasn’t happened. Sorry.

Now, we look forward to yet another pipe dream to bring back Hagerstown! A baseball stadium will work. Maybe this third attempt will be the charm. Maybe not.

Personally, I’m too old to worry about where a new baseball stadium is built. I don’t think downtown is the best location, but I am not privy to all the studies that have been done. And I am certainly not inside the mind of Mayor Bruchey, who seems to be its major booster.

I have heard many times that a downtown stadium will be the key that turns downtown Hagerstown around. But no one has been able to explain to me how that will happen.

When you’re 85, you get to vent. And I’m not finished, yet. Out near the old ball park, there is a reasonably good building made to the specs of a recycling company. The company is now history, but the physical plant is still there.

Maybe it’s been done, but if I were part of the city’s economic development team, I would be doing my best to find someone in the recycling business to give that building to. As long as it sits there empty it is getting older and deteriorating. Let’s get a tenant in it before it looks like its neighbor, the old electric light plant. Regardless of the tax revenue it may or may not generate, it could provide a few jobs to Hagerstown citizens.

The New Hagerstown will not be a retail center like the Old. It will be a center of service businesses and entertainment venues. Again, our economic development team needs to work with the Board of Education to plan and develop a new home for it. Don’t try to fit it into a couple if existing old buildings.

Find out what the board’s requirements are, and put up something of which the whole community can be proud. If it means clearing out a block of decrepit storefronts, so be it.

The New Hagerstown that can develop over the next 20 or so years will be a wonderful city, but it requires foresight and courage to accomplish. It can be done!

John Porter

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