Letters to the Editor - Oct. 8

October 07, 2012

Questions about land deal should be answered

To the editor:

This land purchase for the new West Hagerstown elementary school by the Board of County Commissioners points out some issues that need to be addressed, discussed and answered.

1. Is it acceptable for some commissioners to not do their homework and be ignorant about such a significant purchase? Covering your eyes and ears and claiming it is in the name of fairness is really questionable.

The county commissioners took an oath to wisely represent and spend the taxpayers’ money responsibly. I believe this did not happen. The new Rockland Woods Elementary School’s land was donated by the developer as part of the adequate facilities plan. There are a lot of new houses in that development. I know that this whole thing involves closing two old schools, but this still involves those new houses in that development.

2. Where was the newspaper in all of this? In other matters the newspaper will print names in situations where names should not be published, but here they came up blank. Could they not research and basically do the homework that the commissioners should have done and been up front with and about?

3. Where was the CHIEF industrial foundation in all of this? The average taxpayer may view CHIEF as a group of insiders who know when and where a government agency wants to purchase a particular property. It then buys it before it becomes known to the rest of the taxpayers, and sells it to the government agency, thus avoiding an inflated purchase price.

This can be very advantageous for the taxpayer, but leaves wide open the door for questions why it didn’t happen this way. 

Ron Poffenberger 

A chance to help those who are less fortunate

To the editor:

Something special is coming to Washington County, Maryland and Franklin County, Pennsylvania! In June 2013, the Mason-Dixon Workcamp, a community partnership of volunteers, businesses, and local governments organized by Trinity Lutheran Church in Smithsburg, will host approximately 400 youth and adult volunteers from across the country. 

The goal of this mission is to repair 60 to 80 homes in our communities at no cost to qualifying low-income, in-need and senior homeowners. Home repair projects will include painting, soffit repair, weatherization, wheelchair ramps, carpentry, basic home repairs and labor projects.

We are committed to those who are less fortunate in our community. We seek to help change the lives of those in need by taking bold action to bring about change and demonstrate the love of Christ. These efforts will not only improve individual lives, but will transform our communities!

Trinity Lutheran Church has partnered with Washington County Public Schools to use Smithsburg High School for lodging for volunteers during the week-long work camp. The church has also partnered with Group Cares, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nondenominational Christian mission organization, to coordinate youth involvement and attendance.

If you would like to join us in “Being God’s Hands” through this special endeavor to invest in your community, and to change the lives of others, we encourage you to visit our website We look forward to your partnership with us in this exciting and rewarding adventure!

Leigh Zahm
Mason-Dixon Workcamp 2013

What can our local leaders be thinking?

To the editor:

The late country comedienne Cousin Minnie Pearl (yes, we all remember her well) used to tell the story about how her brother E. Bob walked into the blacksmith shop in Grinders Switch and picked up a hot horseshoe that the smith had just laid aside to cool.

He immediately screamed and threw the horseshoe into the air.

The old blacksmith said “Awhar, it burnt ya, didn’t it?” To which brother E. Bob replied “Naw sir, it jist don’t take me long ta look at a horseshoe.”

I wonder if this will be the same quirky excuse offered by the majority of our county commissioners and our present mayor and entire city council when they get burned at the polls when it’s time for re-election.

I can hear them now, “No sir, it didn’t take us long to look at downtown as the only possible location for the Suns stadium and the community college area as the only possible location for the new senior center.”

I hope my fellow senior citizens will join me as I express my total dismay at the audacity of our county and city officials who have completely ignored the wishes of the vast majority of local citizens. They met secretly and decided to plod ahead with their own desires to put the stadium and the senior center where only they wanted.

I have no idea what their real reasoning is behind this, but I have never seen such insensitivity from our elected officials as is being shown regarding their support of these two strongly opposed issues.

It makes me wonder who is benefiting from this. It’s certainly not the taxpayers.

I only hope our present office holders have plenty of lard on hand to soothe their burns after the next election.

George Sylvester Coyle

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