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As Long as We Remember...

May 26, 2008

Short Takes

Steven R. Berryman

Here are some short takes on happenings and observations from the last few weeks. From a Diversity Festival, to an Air Show, to English as a national language, to the proposal for 2300 new Beazer “green” homes, things are happening at a fast and furious pace!


I thought the jet demonstrations were fast at Andrews Air Force Base recently, but happenings in and around Frederick have been manic.


First, after having been involved in the illegal alien debate recently, I decided that it was only fair to witness the Pangaea Cultural Festival first hand. Despite the rain, I witnessed 98 people from all across the globe become legal American citizens at the Naturalization Ceremony. This was truly heartwarming as the centerpiece event.


As I suspected, Bob Miller had WFMD Radio set up a tent as a sponsor. Visitors to the Minion Man (the name of Bob’s most loyal followers) tent included Mayor Jeff Holtzinger, County Commissioners Charles Jenkins and Kai Hagen, as well as School Board President Daryl Boffman. Frederick City Police Chief Kim Dine mingled with his men and pressed the flesh.


This was the place to be to get your dose of Americana, Frederick style, and those in the political know knew it instinctively!


It was heartwarming to see the proud faces at a backdrop of ceremonial flags. Honor guards saluted the newest full-fledged participants in our great country. With an introduction by Commissioner President Jan Gardner and a patriotic keynote speech, the proud participants took their vows.


What followed was a celebration of the many nations involved in our country, and a show of cultures and dancing and camaraderie. Smiles were evident everywhere.


The oddity to me came from the official program. Some 40 countries were represented in the show brochure about the origins of the newly naturalized. Mexico was not on the list. Only eight of the 98 even came from the Hispanic community at all, and the vast majorities were Asian and African in origin, followed by Indo-Pakistanis.


My hope was to see more promise in the assimilation of the undocumented population, but it was not to be.


The Laura Ingraham Show on WFMD reported on a new study of this phenomenon last week. The very fact that the undocumented are already in violation of our law simply by being here keeps them, as a group, from assimilation. Politicians working on solutions take note.


The pressure is sure to remain on this circumstance as financial transactions showing money transfers out of the United States by workers sending it home are down by over 33% due to the lagging economy.


The same report about the relative assimilation rates of different countries into America also indicated the major obstacles to the process. Knowing the English language was a key indicator to the likelihood of cultural assimilation and eventually becoming a citizen.


This is a key reason to insist on a focus on English as our national language, certainly meriting official status. This certainly takes priority over English as a cost savings tool for document preparation. The tangential methodology taken by Frederick County, and now possibly by Walkersville in this regard, indicates the difficulty of even approaching the subject.


And then…”2300 New Homes” was a headline article in The Frederick News Post, initiating over 70 electronic comments to their online site. Ninety-nine percent of the comments ranged from mildly critical to frantic over the possible gridlock. The specter of four new schools needed for support was more than enough information for some!


Beazer Homes floated the big trial-balloon for an enormous tract of new homes on a parcel of land next to Walkersville, at the Eastern edge of the City of Frederick. The proposition was predicated upon the annexation of the historic Glade Farm to the city.


The sales pitch indicated a 20% commitment to solar electric power, and a geothermal heating system for “select” homes. The devil is always in the details in these circumstances!


Mayor Holtzinger went on record as opposing this planned community, based on his personal experience with infrastructure engineering. No doubt he does not want to joust with Burgess Ralph Whitmore of Walkersville either!


After all of this excitement, it was then my pleasure to endure yet more rain at the Air Show at Andrews AFB. The Sunday show was about drowned by 11:30 A.M., but I had just enough time to catch the spirit and have a taste of the truly patriotic event.


One paratrooper jumped with a 140 pound American flag unfurling, just in time to synchronize with the National Anthem. A C-17 transport did its demo just in time to beat the closing weather. Crowd control was excellent, so I guess I’ll give it another shot next year.


Here’s hoping for a dryer and quieter week!


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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