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Letters to the Editor - March 18

March 18, 2013

Parkinson’s affects many of your neighbors

To the editor:

This April, I urge our neighbors to take part in Parkinson’s Awareness Month. Nearly 1 million Americans live with Parkinson’s and some of them, including my husband, are living right here in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

There is currently no cure. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is “a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. Parkinson’s involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain called neurons. Parkinson’s primarily affects neurons in the area of the brain called the substantia nigra.  Some of these dying neurons produce dopamine, a chemical that sends messages to the part of the brain that controls movement and coordination, as well as cognitive functions. As PD progresses, the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases, leaving a person unable to control movement normally. Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include tremor, brandykinesia (slowness), rigidity, stiffness, postural instability.”

Imagine being just 49 years old with a large family when a neurologist explains that the reason your movement is restricted, muscles experience terrible pain, walking appears intoxicated, sleep is elusive  and you occasionally “freeze” while doing simple tasks is because you have a degenerative disease called Parkinson’s. Our youngest children were only 3 and 4 years old when my husband was diagnosed.

But that didn’t stop our family. Through PD awareness and support of a strong and loving church and family, we are conquering this illness through the power of positive attitude and exercise. With constant activity and connection with caring experts in movement disorders, we have come to manage what was a devastating diagnosis. Although the journey can sometimes be “shaky,” it has also been joyous; learning to live daily by counting God’s blessings, realizing that each day is a new opportunity to be healthy.

I invite you to show your support for others living daily with chronic illness by participating in the national “Wear Gray for Parkinson’s Awareness!” on April 11. 

Angie Hott
Berkeley Springs, W.Va.


BOE move to Downsville Pike might not be good one

To the editor:

Some folks are assuring us that moving to the Potomac Edison (Allegheny Energy) building would be much less costly for the Board of Education than building downtown, even though no cost estimate of renovations has yet been reported. Surely these experts haven’t given much thought to the potential problems in renovating that property. The 97,000-square-foot building (22,000 square feet more than the BOE presently needs) is 45 years old and has sat vacant for about 10 years. When it was built, energy efficiency was a low priority as the cost of fuel was very cheap. Furthermore, vacant buildings tend to grow mold and deteriorate more rapidly than occupied buildings so this may prove to be a greater challenge than anyone is anticipating.

Bringing the building up to today’s standards would probably require ripping everything out, including the windows, and maybe paying for disposal of toxic waste. The only usable part of the structure might be the outer shell and roof, which could soon be leaking if it isn’t already.

And what would the BOE do with the 22,000 square feet of extra space? Would they go ahead and invest in renovating space they don’t need or let it sit and continue to deteriorate? Would they start a new program or bring in some other school activity in order to justify the added cost of renovating otherwise unneeded space? There’s also the argument that it could be held in reserve for future expansion of BOE offices. It might be best not to mention that, since some Washington County taxpayers have believed that BOE headquarters is overstaffed.

Don’t overestimate the value in being near Interstate 70. That highway doesn’t pass by very many of our schools.

Jim Laird
Hagerstown


Democrats will call Ryan budget cuts ‘extreme’

To the editor:

Over the next month or so, Americans are about to see just how serious Washington is about reeling in its out-of-control spending. With our national debt at $16 trillion, and on track to hit $20 trillion by 2016, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan has submitted his budget plan. With his plan balancing the budget in 10 years, and cutting the growth in spending to 3.4 percent per year, the fear mongering is about to begin.

Democrats will start calling these cuts “extreme.” With Nancy Pelosi claiming that Washington doesn’t even have a spending problem, why should we be surprised? Keep in mind, our national budget is now roughly double what it was in 2002. To refresh everyone’s memory, 2002 was just after 9/11, and our nation was spending millions to protect ourselves from terrorism. Homeland Security was created, huge spending on TSA was beginning and we were upgrading our military.

So if our federal government is spending twice as much as it was 10 years ago, how can liberals and progressives cry that a smaller growth in spending is extreme? They are basically insulting the intelligence of every American and showing all of us that they have no plan to avoid the cliff that our economy is about to go over. Has no one in Washington been watching what is going on in Greece, Spain and most of Europe? No nation has ever survived this level of debt without a major correction. I guess the reason that most Americans don’t seem concerned about the coming economic collapse is that they can’t see the danger. Most are wrapped up in their daily lives and their reality shows, and trust that Washington will somehow fix this problem. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Democrats are going to pull out the same old bag of fear. You’ve heard it all before. The same Americans who are ignoring what is going on in Washington right now will be the ones crying “how did this happen?” when the financial collapse comes.

Bill Stryker
Waynesboro, Pa.

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