Oath of office?

Frederick News Post
Russell Harris
In my senior year at Virginia Tech, I joined the Order of the Engineer. As part of joining this group, I took an oath that states, “I am an engineer, I have an obligation. My obligation has become my desire. My desire is to apply the Golden Rule, our code of ethics, to the technical knowledge of the world by persuasion. My desire becomes the yardstick of my professionalism and lastly that my professionalism means to me that I will never again ask myself the question, ‘How much do I get out of it?’ but rather I will ask myself the question, ‘How much can I give?’ The symbol of the desire to be a giver is the Engineer’s Ring. The ring will say to all who see it, ‘Here is an engineer, possessed of a publicly avowed dedication to his profession and the public it serves.” Now I may be wrong, but I would imagine that public officials, such as the planning commissioners and the Board of County Commissioners, would take a similar oath in which they are appointed to serve the public and not themselves. As I watched and participated in the public hearing for the Monrovia Town Center, it did not seem that the planning commission was thinking about what was best for the public that they were appointed to serve, but perhaps what was best for them.

Rail to trail becoming a reality in Mount Airy

Frederick News Post
Nancy Hernandez
After two decades of wishful thinking, effort has begun in earnest to create a nature path in the heart of town. The trail will run alongside an abandoned rail line that folklore says played a role in the naming of Mount Airy. As the story goes, railroad workers were chiseling and blasting their way through Parr’s Ridge in the winter of 1839. Their goal was to create a safer and easier route for locomotives to traverse the steep incline. At the time, horses helped pull trains over the ridge using a series of plateaus near where Interstate 70 runs today. The journey was slow and dangerous. So B&O railroad officials decided to create a loop that would pass through a lower elevation. The route crossed directly over Main Street in what is now downtown, between Center Street and Prospect Road. One day, an Irish brakeman complained that due to the constant biting wind blowing on the ridge, the place should be named Mount Airy. The name stuck. The railroad line didn’t. Although passenger service ran until the 1950s, the route was largely abandoned around the 1970s. Today, a hardy group of volunteers are laboring with town officials to reclaim the line and convert it into a nature trail. For now, work is focused on a 1⁄3 mile stretch that connects Watkins Park with Main Street. The hope is to eventually continue the trail so that it runs from Village Oaks Drive to the wastewater treatment plant near the Nottingham and Twin Arch Crossing developments — an estimated distance of 2 1⁄2 miles.

Reactions mixed on revised plan for growth

Sherry Greenfield
No issue has elicited as much controversy in Frederick County in recent years as the New Market Region Plan. The Frederick County Division of Planning unveiled a revised plan for the first time to residents and property owners at an open house June 21 at Oakdale Middle School in Ijamsville. Due to the new plan, 12,200 homes that were slated for the New Market area have been reduced to 5,400, said Tim Goodfellow, project planner with the planning division. The reduction has left some unhappy property owners who were hoping to make a profit off their land.