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Letters to the Editor - March 12

March 12, 2013

A lot of misinformation surrounds fire company

To the editor:

The discussion that surrounds the situation over Fairplay Volunteer Fire Department needs to be more closely reviewed. I have seen too many incorrect letters to the editor, too many questionable acts by Washington County Commissioners, biased opinions published by this newspaper, biased selection of task force members and, most notably, the biased opinions of Kevin Lewis.  

In my opinion, every action by The Herald-Mail, most county commissioners, the task force and a few of the overvocal members of some other fire departments have no other goal than the total destruction and elimination of the volunteer fire department in Fairplay.

The most recent evidence to that fact comes directly from Mr. Lewis. In a presentation Feb. 5 to the Washington County Board of Commissioners, he recommends that the taxpayers of Washington County pay an additional $290,000 per year for four new personnel to operate a paramedic chase vehicle plus $42,000 for that vehicle, spend $450,000 per year for one full-time paramedic and open part-time firefighter, purchase a used local fire engine for between $45,000 and $350,000, plus another $20,910 for equipment on that unit. This equipment would be housed at the Washington County Ag Center, with the cost to build the facility unknown and not budgeted for by his recommendations.  

Mr. Lewis is suggesting that Washington County taxpayers pay an additional $1,152,910 plus the cost of a new building to serve as a fire station. That is per year, not including the cost of maintenance and fuel.

Fairplay Volunteer Fire Department has offered to house a paramedic chase vehicle at its facility, to buy an ambulance and to pay for full-time responders to ensure a timely response to every call — all from its own money. There would be no additional cost to county taxpayers. But this was refused.

Is the county trying to eliminate all volunteer fire and EMS service? Is Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co. next? The ag center is in their first-due EMS call area.

In closing, I feel that Mr. Lewis is not properly serving the tax-paying citizens of Washington County in his role as director of emergency services.

James J. Kaiktsian Sr.
Fairplay


Ask legislators to vote for smart meters opt-out bill

To the editor:

If you haven’t heard anything about smart meters, it’s because your state and local leaders want to keep the “whole truth” from you. In other words, the less you know, the better it is for them. On March 14, state legislators will vote on HB 1038 to force these smart meters on the good people of Maryland. The following information is what I have collected from various sources.

Smart meters can be harmful to your health and can cause malfunctioning of household and medical devices. It has been noted to affect pacemakers, people’s sleep patterns, defibrillators, security systems and Wi-Fi services, and has caused headaches, arrhythmia, vertigo, nausea and tinnitus. Smart meters are 24-hour, unauthorized search warrants, gathering detailed data about private home life. This technology will allow utility companies to know the most intimate details of our lives.

There have been thousands of complaints surrounding inaccuracies and overbilling. There was even a class-action lawsuit in California. 

According to Dr. Dan Hirsch, a radiation scientist at the University of California-Santa Cruz, the whole body exposure from smart meters is 100 times that of a cellphone. And unlike cellphones, smart meters can not be turned off. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM), an international organization of physicians spanning 15 countries, has recommended a moratorium on smart meters based on double-blinded, placebo-controlled research in humans — particularly if an individual suffers from any of the 40 conditions listed, including headaches, Attention Deficit Disorder, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases and even pregnancy. 

We have to act quickly to spread the word. Make phone calls to our state legislators and let them know that if they install smart meters, you would like to opt out. Ask them to vote for HB 1038.

Lloyd A. Mills
Hagerstown


Further clarification needed about Sen. Shank’s bill

To the editor:

After reading the recent story about the bill requiring the completion of an online class for high school graduation introduced by Sen. Chris Shank, I am hoping there is further clarification about the process.

The story said that after the bill was presented, there was “significant opposition to the bill” by several state organizations. As presented, it looks as if none of these organizations was partnered with beforehand. The story also did not state if Sen. Shank got any feedback from his own county school board on the bill. Also, it did not mention any public feedback on such a bill from the parents/community, who would be directly affected by such a bill.

The article further states that there is a “lack of financial support for the local school systems included in the proposal” and that the bill “doesn’t provide guidance on how to pay for the costs.” Which is why I am asking if there is further information not mentioned in the story that can be made known.

Basically, the story reads as if a costly education bill was introduced without feedback and suggestions from the educational community or parents, with no means on how to actually pay for it. It would be wonderful if any further details could be presented to better help explain the road this bill took.

Dottie Gruhler
Smithsburg

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