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NEWS
by JANET HEIM | October 27, 2005
Editor's note: There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like ... Gary and Laurie Graves Age - Both are 60 Occupation - Gary is vice president of sales for Fil-Tec in Smithsburg; Laurie works part time for West Virginia University supervising student teachers and teaches a class in child development at Hagerstown Community College. Hometown - Both are from Topeka, Kan., although they met in Denmark.
NEWS
By KAREN HANNA | November 30, 1999
His wrists branded by the restraints he once wore, Samba Guisse says he believes he finally has the freedom others died to enjoy. "I like America, and the people (of) America because I love my liberty. I have my liberty, and the liberty of my family," said Guisse, a native of Mauritania who survived 17 years in exile and 16 months in prison. On Aug. 18, he started a new life. Guisse is one of 217 refugees who have moved to Hagerstown over the last two years, since the Virginia Council of Churches, an affiliate of Church World Service, opened a resettlement office here, according to figures provided last week by the office.
NEWS
September 12, 2007
A public informational forum on the resettlement of refugees in Washington County will be Wednesday, Sept. 19, at Hagerstown Community College's Kepler Theater. The forum begins at 7 p.m. and will discuss how the resettlement program works and will answer questions from the audience. Presentations will be made by representatives from the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, U.S. State Department; the Maryland Office of New Americans; Church World Services; and the Virginia Council of Churches.
NEWS
April 30, 1999
A car wash Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Montgomery Ward Auto Center at Valley Mall will raise funds for Kosovo refugees. Youth groups from the Martinsburg Adventist Church and the Hagerstown Adventist congregation will provide the labor. Proceeds will go to Adventist Development and Relief Agency, which sends supplies to people in need around the world.
NEWS
By DAN DEARTH | September 29, 2007
HAGERSTOWN - The Virginia Council of Churches, citing an "unwelcoming" community, will close its Hagerstown office to resettle refugees by the end of this year, an organization official said. The Rev. Richard Cline of the Virginia Council of Churches wrote in a Thursday e-mail to The Herald-Mail's opinion page that the office would begin reducing staff Monday. The office is expected to close its doors for good by Dec. 7, the e-mail said. "The people who made the decision felt that it was not in the best interests of refugees to resettle them in an area that is perceived to be unwelcoming ... I regret that our presence in Hagerstown had to end in such a manner," wrote Cline, who was out of his office Friday and could not be reached for comment.
NEWS
by ANDREW SCHOTZ | September 21, 2005
HAGERSTOWN andrews@herald-mail.com About 90 Meskhetian Turk refugees have resettled in Hagerstown this year and another 140 are expected next year, a state official said Tuesday. Turks were first expelled from Georgia in the former Soviet Union in 1944, Martin Ford told the Hagerstown City Council. Many moved to Russia, but were treated as second-class citizens. Hagerstown City Council members grilled Ford - the associate director of the Maryland Office for New Americans, a division of the Department of Human Resources - on the program and why the refugees ended up here.
NEWS
by JENNIFER FITCH | December 6, 2006
Discussion became heated Tuesday when the Hagerstown City Council sat down with the manager of the Virginia Council of Churches Refugee Resettlement Program's local office, which sponsored a group of African refugees at the center of October's West Franklin Street stir. A language barrier Oct. 11 led officials to quarantine a building and set up decontamination tents in a perceived health scare. George Miller, manager of the resettlement program's Hagerstown office, did not specifically detail what happened that day when he attended the city council work session, but instead described the program and fielded pointed questions from council members.
NEWS
April 26, 1999
Several Tri-State area agencies are collecting money and one is collecting clothes for ethnic Albanian refugees fleeing Kosovo. Checks can be written to the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. "Kosovo" should be written in the memo portion of the check to ensure the funds are used to aid the refugees. Local chapter addresses for the American Red Cross are: - 113 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown, MD 21740. - 90 W. Main St., Waynesboro, PA 17268. - 25 Penncraft Ave., Chambersburg, PA 17201.
NEWS
September 11, 2007
In June of this year, Dave Jordan, director of the Washington County Community Action Council, wrote an opinion piece criticizing the project to resettle refugees in Hagerstown. At the time, Jordan took pains to state that he was not opposing the idea of refugee resettlement, but knocking what he perceived as poor communication by the sponsoring organization, the Virginia Council of Churches. After his piece appeared, Jordan was invited to attend a monthly meeting that included representatives of VCC, Hagerstown's Police Department, the Department of Social Services, Hagerstown Community College and the state refugee coordinator's office.
NEWS
By BRENDAN KIRBY | May 14, 1999
When refugees from Kosovo receive buckets of soap, detergent and other supplies in a few weeks, they can thank strangers from a faraway place they may never have heard of - Hagerstown. About 25 members of Hebron Mennonite Church north of town joined the international relief effort on Friday. Volunteers packed white buckets with supplies bound for refugee camps in Albania. "When you see all of the publicity on the TV about what's going on over there, I feel overwhelmed," said Jean Peifer, one of the volunteers.
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NEWS
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com | April 24, 2013
Siriki Diabate left his four daughters, parents and three siblings behind in 2005 when he was forced to flee his native Ivory Coast after suffering a terrific beating by thugs who left him for dead. He was working for a local newspaper at the time, writing stories exposing the national government's practice of persecuting the Malinki tribal people in the country's northern region, he said. “I am a Malinki,” said Diabate, who was 32 at the time he was beaten. The men who beat him were unofficial paramilitary goons hired by the government to harass Malinki activists, Diabate said in a recent interview.
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NEWS
By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com | November 16, 2011
Gabriel Bol Deng has come a long way since 1987 when militiamen attacked his village in South Sudan. At the time, the 10-year-old played dead to avoid being killed. When he finally raised his head, he saw dead bodies and buildings on fire. "The militia thought I was dead, and they left," Deng told St. Maria Goretti students during a presentation Wednesday at the Gael Center in Hagerstown. Deng said he fled the village without knowing the whereabouts of his parents and siblings.
NEWS
By MARIE GILBERT | marieg@herald-mail.com | April 9, 2011
They left on a warship, refugees with a few bags that contained all they owned in the world. They had lost their homes, some of their closest kin and were trying to redeem their shattered existence. Lisa Kohlstadt's family lived in Adolf Hitler's Germany. But in January 1945, with defeat imminent and the Russian army at their front door, they fled. Kohlstadt was 9 years old, she said, when her widowed mother decided it was too dangerous to stay on their farm near Danzig, which is now part of Poland.
LIFESTYLE
By HEATHER KEELS | September 28, 2010
From his five months of living in a community of resettled refugees in Clarkston, Ga., there is one conversation journalist Warren St. John says he will remember more than any other. St. John, author of "Outcasts United: An American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference," said Tuesday during a presentation at South Hagerstown High School that one of the most eye-opening exchanges he had while writing the book was talking with Shamshoun Dikori, a youth from central Sudan, about his experience coming to the United States at age 15. "He said that in his village in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, if a stranger walked into town, everyone in the village would come out to meet that person, they'd bring a lot of food, and they'd have a lot of questions," St. John said.
NEWS
August 4, 2009
Storm knocks out power Jonathan Street project getting a bit rocky Refugees tell of new life in U.S. Ultimate fans meet ultimate fighter Summer camps still popular
NEWS
By ERIN JULIUS | August 2, 2009
HAGERSTOWN -- Rano Khakkiyeva held a Soviet Union passport until she and her family came to the United States from Russia in 2005. Although she lived in Russia for 16 years, she was never able to become a citizen or obtain a Russian passport. Khakkiyeva was able to get into the U.S. under the state department's refugee program. Siriki Diabate fled Côte d'Ivoire, better known to Americans as the Ivory Coast. He was granted refugee status in Ghana after he escaped from his country.
NEWS
November 3, 2007
To the editor: It seems as if every time I pick up the newspaper I see an article about Hagerstown and how unwelcoming we are. There are many cities all over the United States that feel the same as we do. I feel it is time to present some of the facts, since initially the refugees were not given proper treatment here. 1. Volunteer church groups such as Virginia Council of Churches get paid by our government for resettling refugees. Since they are a nonprofit group, no one can figure how much goes to the refugees directly and how much for administration.
NEWS
By RUSSELL WILLIAMS | October 13, 2007
Let the reader understand, in the following I am not taking a position for or against refugees or immigrants be they legal or illegal. I am simply doing some comparing and contrasting and asking questions about the differences that I have noticed between the attitudes toward legal refugees and the attitudes toward illegal immigrants. On Wednesday, Sept. 19, I went to a public discussion about last year's resettlement into Washington County of 47 refugees and the possibility that another 50 or so might be resettled here this year.
NEWS
By GEORGE MILLER | October 13, 2007
To the editor: Now that the decision to close the Hagerstown Refugee Office has been made, I am compelled to comment on what I feel is a great injustice to our fellow man. The little town of Hagerstown will not have any great impact on the world's problems but it will continue to be recognized as a place where people of different backgrounds, races and religions are not openly welcomed. I have been involved with the refugee resettlement effort in Hagerstown since January 2005 and I am saddened and disappointed, not because of what the refugees will miss by not coming to the Hagerstown area, but rather by what the local region will miss by not befriending the refugees.
NEWS
By DAN DEARTH | September 29, 2007
HAGERSTOWN - The Virginia Council of Churches, citing an "unwelcoming" community, will close its Hagerstown office to resettle refugees by the end of this year, an organization official said. The Rev. Richard Cline of the Virginia Council of Churches wrote in a Thursday e-mail to The Herald-Mail's opinion page that the office would begin reducing staff Monday. The office is expected to close its doors for good by Dec. 7, the e-mail said. "The people who made the decision felt that it was not in the best interests of refugees to resettle them in an area that is perceived to be unwelcoming ... I regret that our presence in Hagerstown had to end in such a manner," wrote Cline, who was out of his office Friday and could not be reached for comment.
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