Letters to the Editor - April 28

April 27, 2013

Fairplay residents thank Sharpsburg Volunteer Fire Co.

To the editor:

Residents of Fairplay and surrounding areas within District 12 are grateful. We send our sincere thanks to the dedicated men and women who have volunteered their time, expertise and service to ensure our safety. Due to the extraordinary efforts of Sharpsburg-area volunteers, an EMS unit was donated for temporary placement at the Ag Center. We commend everyone in that unit for their vision, generosity and hard work to accomplish this task. They alone initiated this endeavor, and they deserve our respect and our support. 

We also commend our county officials at the Board of County Commissioners, Department of Emergency Services and Emergency Medical Services for facilitating these efforts. Without their approval and assistance, this wouldn't have been possible. The Neighbors helping Neighbors Program is a novel and enlightened approach. Like a breath of fresh air, it demonstrates what people can accomplish with determination, skill and genuine compassion. 

People like Damien Teal and James Ulrich from Sharpsburg, along with volunteers from Hagerstown, Smithsburg, Williamsport, Boonsboro and Funkstown are all commended. It has been my pleasure to watch these volunteers and those from surrounding areas conduct business, offer advice and expertise, and come together for the common good during the task force meetings convened to mitigate problems in the Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. Many District 12 residents are highly trained firefighters.  They are fully competent, certified in EMS as EMTs and first responders.   These men and women are our future, and we’re grateful to them for their dedication. 

My hope is that we can all work together to reinstate Fairplay Volunteer Fire Co. under the direction of these dedicated volunteers and that those who don’t measure up will see this as yet another reason for their demise and dismissal.

Barbara (Warrenfeltz) Shipe

City will press forward despite school board’s decision

To the editor:

Listening to comments recently from Schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox during a meeting of the Greater Hagers-town Committee in which the school board’s consideration of the Potomac Edison site was challenged by various community leaders, I would offer that his responses articulated well the practical approach the board has taken in its deliberations. His detailed engagement was enlightening to those present of the broader picture considered. The follow-up news article in The Herald-Mail Sunday edition two days later further outlined a broad range of elements considered by the board for some time as part of clearly a much larger process of moves, which again I would agree were well-presented and practical. 

While the urban planner in me, more so than the elected city official, welcomed the idea of further centralizing local government operations downtown, I understand the board’s position and ultimate decision, which in light of those broad factors better serve their long-term needs, and the charge to their elected responsibilities they feel responsible to meet. There have clearly been politics associated with this public decision throughout its course, but in final vote they acted clearly and simply as public servants instead of politicians in reaching a decision. That in itself, from me as a citizen, is appreciated.

Of course, certain factions put forth the notion that a “loss” of having this move made downtown should relegate us to put our heads in the sand and be convinced there is no hope for our urban core, yet I believe neither this decision, the course of a stadium or any other potential single project is likely to bare such irreversible results. Instead, we will continue to press forward with ideas, possibilities and endeavors that serve to improve the community, and I would welcome their participation in other ventures we might deem appropriate to partner.

It appears some with more history quickly forget the condition of downtown when there was no Blues Fest or Augustoberfest, when drug-infested bars flanked our main streets, when the Baldwin House and Shoe Factory were left to crumble, and the A&E parking deck entrance was a back-alley adult bookstore.

Like most communities, there will be success and failure, just as there will be projects that might or might not work. Our job as public servants is to responsibly manage our systems in some collaborative approach to be properly positioned and prepared to fairly consider them within reasonable public exposure as they arise. Unfortunately, some that would put forth the belief that every project has merit with no conditions on cost or credibility often share no accountability to the public purse strings it effects, beyond a view from the receiving end.

Kristin B. Aleshire
Hagerstown City Councilman

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