Many deserve thanks

First of all, thank you for publishing my article about the march January 13, 2013 in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, and in memory of the ministry, witness and martyrdom of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I truly appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the new Spirit from time to time.

However, when my husband Bob DuBose (motto: “The unphotographed event did not occur.”) sent you the various photographs from the march and the program that followed, I did not realize that there was one with me included. (It also showed Leetown United Methodist Pastor Joanna Marceron, and the youth contingent of the Jefferson County NAACP.)

So many people participated in the making of this wonderful event, including George Rutherford, Janet Jeffries, James A. Tolbert, William Gregg, Virginia Graf, the chorus of the Wright-Denny School, the youth of the NAACP, etc. As I said, I have been blessed to be an observer, reporter, and, this year as in others, participant. It was wonderful to see County Commissioner Lynn Widmeyer, local historian Bob O’Connor and many other participants. I want to give those people credit, and to encourage everyone to participate in the march next year. It was such a unifying, encouraging event.

Yours with more than a bit of embarrassment,

The Rev. Georgia C. DuBose

St, John’s Episcopal Church,

Harpers Ferry

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, Leetown

Profit over community?

I like the Bank of Charles Town, its employees and the good it does in the community. That said, I just withdrew my certificate of deposit from what I had considered my independent, small neighborhood bank because of BCT’s non-neighborly attempt to rezone the entrance to Harpers Ferry from rural to commercial. Many local neighbors, officials and business owners have spoken against the rezoning and the county commission will hear the matter.

The bank bought this small parcel of land at the intersection of Washington Street and Route 340 for $300,000, right out from under the Park Service and historic groups who were just hours away from signing the sale papers for $250,000. The Park Service is limited by law on funds for purchase but its plan was to incorporate the land into the preserved battlefield of Bolivar Heights. The bank is not limited and apparently now enjoys the real estate business and the money to be made from it.

This land is within the national park boundary area and is the entrance to the premier tourist destination of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, with millions of tourist dollars flowing in because of the area’s preservation of history and scenic beauty. It is open space, with no big commercial eyesores to disrupt its character, and the many small businesses and restaurants in town do not have to compete with yet another garish but visible fast food, trinket loaded, chain store stop along the highway. Approval of commercial zoning does not include limitations against such.

Communities can die or thrive based on countless small decisions that eventually reveal what they truly value. So can people or elected leaders or businesses. Sometimes we have to put our money where are mouths are. If BCT is community-minded, then it should be part of preserving community character and protecting our small businesses, and stick to what it does well — banking business.

Carol Gallant

Harpers Ferry

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