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Letters to the Editor - Sept. 26

September 26, 2012

Reunion enjoyed by Home Federal employees


To the editor:

Employees of the former Home Federal Savings Bank and  spouses  reunited for a picnic at Doubs Woods County Park on Saturday, Aug. 25. 

James Failor, a 40-year bank employee who retired as a mortgage loan officer in 1999, expressed his desire in December 2011 for an employee reunion, and in March enlisted a planning committee of Celia Ausherman, Dick Kidd, Joyce Snurr and Donna Staggers. At periodic meetings over the next five months they compiled a list of some 175 former employees who were then invited to the August event. 

Of the 109 who attended, former bank President Richard “Dick” Phoebus and wife, Dale, who had relocated to Florida earlier this  year, were some of the first to arrive, stating they would not have missed it. Other employees from as far back as 1954 through several current ones who are still working at its successor, PNC Bank, enjoyed a time of renewing old friendships and recalling fond memories. 

Kidd, a former commercial loan officer, presented to Phoebus a certificate of appreciation on behalf of those in attendance for his exemplary leadership of the bank prior to various mergers.  Phoebus expressed his appreciation for the wonderful “family-like” environment that existed among the employees during his presidency.

A fried chicken and honey-glazed ham meal was provided by Applause Catering, and a sound system was supplied by Rob Smetzer for those who wished to share their memories and/or funny stories during times at the bank.

At the end of the day, as the sun was setting in a cloudy but rainless sky, friends said farewell with the hopes of seeing each other again at the next reunion. 


D. L. Staggers
for Reunion Committee

Hagerstown




Hager Park not the place for a dog park


To the editor:

Hager Park is a bad choice for a dog park, and a more desirable location can be found. Although I was not aware of it at the time, my opposition to a dog park at Hager Park began on a bittersweet day in mid-February when I sat next to the executive director of the Boys and Girls Club at the Washington County Community Foundation’s Grant Awards for 2012. I say bittersweet because, although I was there to hear the Foundation’s announcement of another grant award for my husband’s and my Learning Garden Project at the Memorial Recreation Center and to announce my creation of a designated fund with the Foundation to support our garden work with children, my husband and 45-year gardening partner Gordon Bartels had just died in late January.

After the discontinuation of the C-SAFE afterschool programs and before Gordon’s sudden death, we had been searching out new avenues to continue our gardening work with children. Knowing that in order to cope with my loss, I had to continue growing food in my C-SAFE neighborhood and knowing that the community garden at Hager Park needed a new partnership to keep it growing, I mentioned the idea of connecting the Boys and Girls Club After School Program on Frederick Street with the community garden at Hager Park. Interested in exploring that partnership, the director mentioned our setting up a meeting together with the city.

After speaking with Council Member Ashley Haywood about the proposal for her community garden, I continued with the plan and spoke to a city senior staff person who directed me to the parks and recreation department. Next I checked on the garden. Although the garden needed immediate attention, personal business and other gardening projects consumed my time.

Before I called Parks and Recreation, I checked the garden again only to find it gone — not a trace of garden left except for the turned-off water pump. Quickly, I made that recommended call to parks and recreation and was told that taking down the garden had been on the work list, but that the garden could be put back up. Because restoring the garden was not a problem and no mention was made of the impending dog park, I called the Boys and Girls Club director to schedule a meeting. However, I soon learned that the garden would be squeezed into a less desirable location to make room for the proposed dog park.

A dog park at Hager Park is a bad idea and combining it with a garden and children is an even worse idea. The area at Hager Park is too small and remote for the addition of a dog park. While plans call for moving the garden to a less sunny and more shaded area of the park (gardens need lots of sun), plans call for providing shade in the sunny dog park area (dogs and owners need shade).

Hager Park is a family park with picnic tables, playground equipment and an area for playing ball. When I visit the park, I see adults and children using it. The gardening project can increase that family use. The Hager Park area is too remote for a self clean-up policy on dog waste. Uncomposted dog wastes are bad fertilizers, but they are great water polluters. How does the city expect such a policy to work when many neighborhood sidewalks and street tree areas contain dog waste? I urge city dog owners to let their council members know that they desire a better dog park in a more suitable location. Since other options exist, Hagerstown does not need to use a small family park with a community garden used by neighborhood children to give dogs a necessary place to run and play.


Janet Bartels
Hagerstown

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