Thursday, December 17, 2015

Letter to Editor - Humane Society Lack of Communication

The following is a letter to the editor by Jessica M. The WashCo Chronicle and its editor are not responsible for its content. If you would like to contribute to the WashCo Chronicle, please contact on the Facebook Page.

I wanted to relay my experience with the Washington County Humane Society in the hopes that maybe it will reach someone that can make a change. My intention is not to deter people from adopting but to be cautious and to set expectations for what you can expect to deal with in some cases. I had a friend pass away at a very young age that left behind two pets (cat and a dog). Unbeknownst to any friends the family surrendered them to WCHS, which I cannot fault them for in the wake of the tragedy they experienced. We did not find out about the passing until the animals were gone. I made a call to WCHS to check if the animals were there. I was advised that they were after I explained the situation. I was advised that my name and number were taken down and that I would be contacted right away as soon as they became available. They were going through the initial screening process. I was going to be taking the cat. The same was told to another friend that was adopting the dog.

I waited for them to call, not wanting to interfere with any processes or contribute to what is I am sure is already a heavy workload. The friend that was to adopt the dog messaged me very upset, and stated that the dog was up for adoption on the site. I contacted the WCHS and explained the situation to the front desk and then transferred to the customer service manager who stated that they did indeed have notes that we were to be contacted and apologized for the inconvenience. I was also informed that they had already adopted the cat to someone else without calling me as promised. I was absolutely heartbroken as was my family who were waiting for Willow to come home. They apologized again and advised they would immediately hang up with me and contact the person who was listed for the dog.

They did contact the friend that was listed for the dog and apologized and she advised them she would be in as soon as her husband got off of work and she was off as well. They got there and immediately experienced rudeness from the employees as well as being told that the dog was “mean”, and as they did not know that she knew the person that had passed gave gross inaccuracies regarding the passing of the person that previously owned the dog. She brought her dog to meet the dog as well as her son and husband and they did wonderfully together. He took to them right away. She wanted to go ahead and take him but was told that there were no more appointments for same day adoption that evening. She said that was fine and she would come back tomorrow. She was callously told that they could not hold him and that he may not be there when she returned. She explained the situation and offered to leave a deposit or fill out the application while there and was told she would not be able to do that, and told to come back and if he was there that she could get him.

I am appalled at the lack of any type of communication and rudeness of employees at this organization. They took much more from me than an animal and made a time that was extremely difficult for many people even worse. I have always dealt with Cumberland Valley and have never been treated in such a manner. This has been a devastating experience for all involved. There is nothing in the world that can now make this situation right but again I have high hopes that the right individuals will see and acknowledge this information and make whatever corrections are necessary so that something like this does not happen again. There seems to be a huge disconnect and lack of communication and information between employees and managers, as well as just a general lack of caring.

I waited to post this until the dog was able to gotten from WCHS about an hour ago .

Jessica M.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Aramark Employee Layoff at Mount Saint Mary's

Emmitsburg, MD - According to the Maryland Work Adjustment and Retraining Notification webpage, 83 Aramark employees working at Mount Saint Mary's University will be included in a mass layoff effective December 31, 2015.

Aramark is an American foodservice, facilities, and clothing provider supplying businesses, educational institutions, sports facilities, federal and state prisons, and health care institutions.

According to multiple job postings from earlier this year, Aramark was responsible for providing food services at the university.

A request for comment was sent to Mount Saint Mary's and Aramark. Any response will be posted.

UPDATE: According to a spokesperson from Mount Saint Mary's, Aramark is currently contracted to provide Food Service and Physical Plant/Custodial Services for the university. Mount Saint Mary's is ending the Physical Plant/Custodial Services contract, and intends to hire the employees being laid off by Aramark.

Aramark has provided the following statement:
Our agreement to provide facilities services to Mount Saint Mary’s University has concluded. It is our understanding that affected employees will have the opportunity to apply for positions with the University. We are also working with impacted employees to access other job opportunities within our company.

Ken Buckler is editor of the WashCo Chronicle.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hoeber Campaign Responds to Website Hack

POTOMAC, MD - Amie Hoeber's campaign responded today to the WashCo Chronicle's article discussing her website being hacked.

In lieu of WashCo Chronicle's request for comment via email, Hoeber's campaign staff chose to respond publicly to the article. The public response, which is currently hosted on Facebook, is below:

The usage of quotation marks was used as an attention grabber only, and has since been changed per the recommendations of Ryan Miner, former Washington County Board of Education candidate. WashCo Chronicle apologizes for any misunderstanding, or perceived "snarkiness", as none was intended.

There is no hidden agenda here. WashCo Chronicle does not endorse any candidates, and only seeks to shed light on news which traditional media outlets don't cover.

Every word of Hoeber's statement are correct, in that there is no such thing as a 100% secure website. However, lacking from Hoeber's statement is any discussion of the actual root cause analysis regarding the hack.

Website hacks are typically the result of either an unpatched vulnerability (for which a patch may or may not be available), an insecure configuration, or a weak/stolen password. This means that if the Hoeber Campaign WordPress site is up to date on patches, then either a zero-day attack (for which no patch is available) was used, an insecure configuration existed, or a weak/stolen password was used.

WashCo Chronicle would like to encourage the Hoeber campaign to come forward with the root cause analysis, and disclose what the cause was, how it was remediated, and what steps have been taken to prevent the attack from occurring again.

WashCo Chronicle thanks the Hoeber Campaign for their response so far, and looks forward to full disclosure of the actual attack.

Cyber security is of the utmost importance for our nation, and we are glad that the Hoeber Campaign takes the matter seriously.

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle, and a cyber security professional.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

National Security Expert Congressional Candidate Hoeber Website Hacked

This article has been updated on 11/29 with information from the Hoeber campaign.

POTOMAC, MD - As reported by Ryan Miner, Congressional Candidate Amie Hoeber's campaign website was hacked today by a hacker known as nofawkX-al.

This is the second time this year Candidate Hoeber's website has been hacked. The website was previously hacked on August 24 by D@rk Di@mond.

No details are currently available regarding the hack, and the website has been reverted. However, a few clues as to the possible cause of the hack do exist.

According to the security website Sucuri, Hoeber's website is running WordPress version 4.1.
Editor's Note: According to Hoeber's campaign staff, the website is running WordPress 4.3.

Website Details for
WordPress is a very common website development platform, and as such it is quite commonly attacked by hackers and exploits publicly released.

Recent WordPress Vulnerabilities
Unfortunately, WordPress version 4.1 is out of date, and as such vulnerable to multiple attack vectors.
Editor's Note: According to Hoeber's campaign staff, the website is running WordPress 4.3.

Hopefully, since Hoeber is a National Security Expert, she will remind her staff of the importance of keeping software up to date on patches, in order to prevent attacks.

Since writing this article, the Hoeber Campaign has responded to this article. The response can be viewed here.

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle, and a cyber security professional.

Monday, November 23, 2015

P-Tech Program Could Help Washington County Grow

According to the Washington Post, "Under the P-Tech (Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools) model, students spend six years navigating a high school and college curriculum tailored to prepare them for high-tech jobs."

Below is my recent letter to Governor Hogan regarding the P-Tech program, which was recently discussed in the Washington Post. I hope that my letter can help to implement this program in our area.

Governor Hogan,
I am writing to you regarding the P-Tech program, which I read about at
As a cyber security professional and lifelong resident of Washington County, I would like to encourage you to establish a P-Tech program in Hagerstown. While Hagerstown Community College has excellent IT oriented education, we must provide an additional push to increase interest at the High School level.
Washington County was hit hard this year, with the loss of 528 jobs, through layoffs from Radio Shack, Home Depot, and BB&T. Our local economy is in a slump, and an educational program such as this may be exactly what Hagerstown would need to attract tech companies to our community, through a steady supply of IT-oriented graduates. Our community is strategically located within driving distance of Frederick, MD, Martinsburg, WV, and Letterkenny Army Depot in PA - three communities with a large federal IT presence, creating tremendous career opportunities for students upon graduating college with high-demand skill sets. With the P-Tech program, Hagerstown would be extremely attractive to new and relocating companies to set up shop.
I would absolutely love to sit down with yourself or members of your staff and further discuss why Hagerstown is a perfect location for the P-Tech program. Additionally, I would like to offer my insight and assistance as a cyber security professional, and lifelong resident, on helping implement this program in our area.
I love my community, and want to see it succeed. Please, help me help my community.
Ken Buckler
Editor, WashCo Chronicle

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Local Layoffs Now Total 528 This Year

HAGERSTOWN, MD - With the recent layoff of 126 workers from BB&T, the total number of workers subject to layoff or closure of a business now totals 528.

This has been a very rough year for Hagerstown and Washington County.

In March, 87 jobs were lost when Radio Shack closed nationwide.

Home Depot, which is currently in the process of laying off workers, expects to layoff a total of 315 workers through November.

And finally, 126 BB&T workers were subject to a mass layoff this month.

Data was gathered from the Maryland Department of Labor Work Adjustment and Retaining Notification (WARN) webpage, available at

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

State Aware of Central Chemical Ground Water Contamination in 1962

HAGERSTOWN, MD - Historical documents have surfaced which reveal that the State of Maryland was aware of ground water pollution at the Central Chemical superfund site in 1962.

According to the official history of the site from the EPA's "Record of Decision", the State of Maryland received complaints from nearby residents regarding the air quality surrounding Central Chemical. Air quality samples were taken, and the concentration was deemed not to pose a hazard at that time by the state health department. No mention whatsoever is made of the State of Maryland's knowledge of ground water pollution under the Central Chemical facility.

However, new documents reveal that the State of Maryland was aware of ground water pollution at Central Chemical due to a water quality study performed in 1958. The well in question, named Wa-Bi 19, was located on the Central Chemical property off Mitchell Ave. in Hagerstown.

In the 1962 bulletin, "Bulletin 24 - The Water Resources of Allegheny and Washington Counties", the following is stated:
The analysis of water from well Wa-Bi 19 (318 feet deep and cased to 38 feet) indicates chemical contamination of the ground water at that site.
This raises the question - why did the State of Maryland fail to act when finding evidence of chemical contamination? Any action taken by the State of Maryland would undoubtedly have been included in the EPA's Record of Decision - but this information is noticeably absent. Further water quality testing was not performed until 1976, when DDT was found in the Antietam Creek. This means that for eighteen years, the ground water contamination would be ignored by the State of Maryland. Even once identified, the State of Maryland only instructed Central Chemical to cover the lagoon and potential sinkhole to prevent surface runoff - no actions were taken to address ground water contamination.

Hagerstown and Washington County residents need to start asking for answers. The contamination at Central Chemical was unchecked, unmitigated for far too long. It's time for the State of Maryland to start answering questions. The problem was identified early on, why was no action taken?

Additionally - did the State of Maryland even notify the City of Hagerstown or the Washington County Health Department of the contaminated ground water?

Additional stories will be posted as information becomes available.

Ken Buckler is the editor of WashCo Chronicle

Excerpt from EPA Record of Decision 2009

Excerpt from EPA Record of Decision 2009
Excerpt from Bulletin 24 - The Water Resources of Allegheny and Washington Counties

Friday, July 10, 2015

Letter Regarding OPM Breach and Maryland Conceal Carry Permits

The following letter was sent to Governor Hogan and Assistant Attorney General Mark Bowen. The OPM breach presents a clear threat to the safety of Maryland residents who are employees, contractors, or family members thereof of the Federal Government. Any response will be posted.
Governor Hogan and Assistant Attorney General Mark Bowen, 
As I am sure you have heard by now, 21 million individuals, including Federal employees, contractors, and their significant others, have had their personal information stolen, most likely by a foreign government.
A large number of affected individuals reside in Maryland.
One of the fears shared by affected individuals is that a foreign government may attempt to use the compromised information to blackmail workers into becoming spies, with the potential to threaten them as well as their families.  See
Given this information, will Maryland do the right thing and grant conceal carry permits to affected individuals and their families, in order to protect them from this new threat? 
Thank you,
Ken Buckler
Editor, WashCo Chronicle

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Uber Ride Sharing Comes to Hagerstown

HAGERSTOWN, MD - Residents looking to utilize taxis or other public transportation now have an additional option - Uber.

Local driver Christopher Campbell has been driving for Uber in Hagerstown for about two weeks now, under their Uber X service.

Uber X allows consumers to submit a trip request through their mobile app and pay for their ride using a major credit card.  The trip request is then passed on to local drivers.

According to Campbell "The fares are very responsible and it all depends when the driver wants to work."

Hagerstown residents interested in signing up to use the service can sign up at the Uber website, then download the mobile app for their smartphone.

Article by Ken Buckler, editor.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Mother of Imprisoned Guardsman to Speak at WCRC Meeting

HAGERSTOWN, MD - Renee Myers, the mother of Sgt. Derrick Miller, will speak at the Washington County Republican Club meeting on Wednesday, June 24, at 7 PM.

Myers will be coming to speak about the situation with her son, who is currently serving a life sentence at Leavenworth for acting as a soldier in time of war.  She is connected with United American Patriots in helping to advocate for her son through their Warrior Fund, and will speak about this organization, which helps military members and their families with legal defense for convictions of a "crime during combat".  Two hundred thirteen service members have been convicted of such crimes during the Iraq & Afghanistan wars.  For comparison, only 7 service men total had been convicted of "crimes" in WWII, Korean, & Vietnam Wars.

More information about United American Patriots can be found at

Information courtesy of the Washington County Republican Club

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Inquiry to Arlington About Anti-Profanity Law

ARLINGTON, VA - The following letter was sent to Arlington County Government regarding their new anti-profanity law.

Hello, I am the editor of the WashCo Chronicle, and I'd like to learn a bit more about your recent anti-profanity law.

Is there a list of words which are considered profanity?

Is only English profanity prohibited, or is profanity in other languages also prohibited? Are officers properly trained in recognizing profanity in languages other than English?

Are there signs informing visitors to Arlington County of this law?

Do you feel this law will have a positive or negative impact on Arlington County? How?

Thank you for your time!

Ken Buckler
Editor, WashCo Chronicle

A response will be posted once it is received.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lenox Corporation Moving Pennsylvania Operations To Washington County Maryland

Hagerstown, MD - The Washington County Department of Business Development is pleased to support Lenox Corporation in an expansion project to retain 105 jobs and create 14 new full-time positions in Washington County.

As Lenox consolidates operations from a Langhorne, Pennsylvania site, the company is set to invest $3 million at the Washington County project site for new equipment and infrastructure.

"Working with existing businesses is critical to expanding economic development opportunities and creating jobs for Washington County citizens," said Kassie Lewis, director, Washington County Department of Business Development. "We're proud Lenox has called the County home for more than 40 years and we look forward to the continued investment and commitment this organization has demonstrated in our community."

During the expansion, Washington County will provide a conditional loan for $63,000. The terms of the loan require Lenox to employ a minimum of 119 permanent full-time employees at the project site through December 31, 2020.

Other assistance available for the project includes the County's Fast Track Program - an expedited review and approval process for any facility construction needs and the High Performance (Green) Buildings Tax Credit Program. For three years, businesses are eligible for a tax credit based on LEED certification granted by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Lenox produces its sophisticated fine china patterns at the only fine bone china factory in the U.S., leverages its own marketing and design, sourcing and fulfillment, and wholesales to Macy's, Bed Bath and Beyond, Kohl's and other major department stores, as well as Amazon.  Lenox sells direct through e-commerce, catalog, direct mail and a chain of retail stores primarily located on the east coast, including the retail store on-site at the Hagerstown facility.

Press release courtesy Washington County Government

Friday, May 1, 2015

Looking for Paid Contributors to WashCo Chronicle

BOONSBORO, MD - For a while now, I've been wanting to find a way of paying independent contributors to WashCo Chronicle. As I've said before, I'm not interested in making money off WashCo Chronicle - but I'd love for my independent contributors to!

Today, Jason, who runs the DarkTechObserver Blog and YouTube, gave me a link to a website which may allow me to do just that.

Patreon is a crowdfunding website which allows you to make regular contributions to artists, writers, musicians, etc.

There are two funding models which I could implement.

The first funding model, I setup a single Patreon account for WashCo Chronicle. Then I use any contributions to pay contributors on a per-article basis.  The upside to this is, once a dedicated stream of funding is established, I could pay contributors immediately for articles I review and accept. The downside is, I wouldn't be able to accept paid articles until there's a funding stream.  This also causes some legal headaches for me, as I'd have to make each contributor a paid contractor, fill out tax forms, etc.

The second funding model, and the one I'm really leaning towards, is having each independent contributor create a Patreon account, and include a link in their articles. This could result in higher returns for independent contributors, if the community favors their articles.  This would leave the "quality" judgement in the hands of the community, instead of my own personal opinion. This would also result in contributors receiving payment monthly, instead of a per-article basis.  Independent contributors could use the same Patreon link on their own personal blogs/etc. as well.  And best of all, it removes a lot of legal headaches for me.

I really want to help empower the community, and help provide additional income to those who need it.  I believe this might be an excellent chance.

What are your thoughts? I want to hear them.  Would you be interested in becoming a paid contributor to the WashCo Chronicle?  For readers - which funding model would you prefer?

Please email me,

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

2014 Maryland Governor Candidate, Shawn Quinn Statement on Baltimore

Shawn Quinn (left) and Lorenzo Gaztanaga (right)
of the Maryland Libertarian Party
The following is a post by David Malekar, who regularly contributes content to the WashCo Chronicle. The statement release is by 2014 Maryland Governor Candidate, Shawn Quinn, of the Libertarian Party.

Shawn was asked for comment on the issue that Baltimore is currently facing among civil unrest and the uncertain future of the city.  Thank you to Shawn for providing the following statement:

Statement from 2014 Libertarian candidate for Governor.

I would like to start by saying that my heart goes out to all the innocent citizens in Baltimore who are being affected by this state of unrest. While I am not surprised that things are boiling over, these folks have no justification for the destruction of property that is going on. I pray that the young people involved realize that what they are doing is wrong and return to their homes. I pray that parents get control of their children. I pray that there is no loss of life on top of the property destroyed last night. I commend the police for not pulling their weapons and making this worse. I am sure in the days that follow we will see many arrests.

Many people are going to come out in the weeks that follow to point fingers at the leadership in Baltimore, the Baltimore police and the Governor of our state for their handling of this situation. The two party agenda has never let a tragedy go by unused. I however am refraining from pointing fingers at this point and hope that these folks are getting the message people are sending. This has been building for years. I am not in support of the military being used as a police force, but due to the reactive nature of our government officials, they have little else they can do at this point.

Unemployment, homelessness, high taxes, over regulation, corruption, the drug war and a non responsive leadership have lead to this current situation. The answers are right in front of us. Our police need to live where they work. They must be involved with the community. People need to have a roof over their heads. They need to have jobs in order to take care of their families. They need to keep more of their earnings and not have the government steal for its own wasteful uses. We need to end the drug war. The city needs to become more friendly and attractive by lowering the tax rates, making it easier to start a business, getting control of the schools, and stop subsidizing programs that encourage dependency on the government. People with no hope have nothing to lose and will act accordingly. This is what is happening in Baltimore. Government needs to be proactive on behalf of its citizens, not just reactive.

In closing, I would like to reach out to the rioters and say that by destroying your community you will just make things worse. You can not get justice by treating others unjustly. I know you think you are venting, but you’re venting on people in the same situation as yourselves. You are giving government and police reasons to put their foot on your necks. You are making it easy for government to bring in troops. Listen to your community leaders and do this the right way. The peaceful way.

Shawn Quinn
2014 Libertarian candidate for Governor

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Leitersburg BBQ Festival a New Local Tradition

LEITERSBURG, MD - Today was the First Ever Leitersburg BBQ Festival, and it was a huge success. So much of a success, some vendors completely sold out of food after only a couple hours of opening!

The music was great.  The food was delicious. And best of all, the event provided a family-friendly atmosphere of games, as well as community.

This was more than just a chance to try delicious BBQ and listen to great music. This was a chance to learn about little-known small businesses in our area, as well as promote agriculture in Washington County.

The Washington County Department of Business Development was on site to promote farming in Washington County, and help encourage purchasing food from local farm markets. Educational children's activities were also provided to help them learn about farming. Everyone who stopped by received a bag of goodies, including all natural soybean oil based grill cleaner. I couldn't think of a better freebie for a BBQ festival than that.

The Washington County Fire and Rescue Association was also present to encourage volunteers to sign up. There's no better way to help serve your community than volunteer - even if you don't want to become a firefighter or EMT, there are plenty other volunteer positions available, including administrative, fund raising, and maintenance positions.

CASA of Washington County Maryland was on site to help promote awareness of their services. If you or someone you know is an abusive environment, contact CASA today for help.

And finally, The Downtown Movement was also present, to promote their next pop-up shop event, which will take place during Blues Fest

Of course, in addition to delicious food, there were several arts and crafts vendors available. A full list of all the vendors is available at the Leitersburg BBQ Festival web site. A lot of the food vendors I had never heard of before, and I will be visiting their business locations in the future, especially the CharColes Hot Sauce Store!

My wishlist for the next iteration of this event is very short. I loved this event, and
1) There was plenty of BBQ pork and beef, but not very much BBQ chicken. Perhaps get Smithsburg Market to bring in some of their famous fried chicken for next year?
2) Many vendors could only accept cash. I would strongly encourage vendors in future events to consider a mobile payment processing system such as Square. Unfortunately, many people don't carry cash anymore.
3) Consider reducing the admission fee, or make it a "donation requested" entrance fee. For a family of four on a budget, $28 ($7/person) is a bit high, considering food was not included in the price of admission.

It is my hope that this BBQ Festival becomes an annual tradition of Washington County - and based upon the overwhelming turnout, I suspect we'll be seeing it again next year.

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle

Friday, April 17, 2015

Super Hero 5k Seeks to Raise Funds for Discovery Station

Get ready Hagerstown for the most extraordinary day of your life! Superheroes of all shapes, sizes and strengths will be descending upon our wonderful city! You’ll have more capes and masks than your power levels can handle! This is a battle to support Discovery Station and the race to the finish line will be of epic proportions!

Participants are invited to come dressed up as their favorite superheroes and race to "Save the Day" for Discovery Station. There will be three fun-filled "activities" along the race course and also a 1 mi fun walk for children and adults that runs along the museum.

There will be prizes awarded to participants for the following: 

"Best Costume" = 2 tickets to Leitersburg Cinemas for the Avengers 2 movie, 2 gift certificates to RoadID
"Best Selfie" = a free 3d print of the winner courtesy of the 3d Print Factory in the Valley Mall, 2 Gift Certificates to RoadID
"Best Group Theme" = three trip certificates to River Trail Outfitters, & a family pass to Antietam Recreation, 2 Gift Certificates to Road ID.

The "Most Heroic Award" will go to the person who raises the most money on behalf of Discovery Station. The winner will receive a 39" Flat Screen LED HDTV valued at $450, 2 Infield Box Tickets to any 2015 Home Game for the Washington Nationals, a year-long membership to AAA with a $200 goodie bag, valued at $300 in total, 2 Gift Certificates to Road ID.

Participants can set-up their fundraiser online through the registration page:

Cash Prizes go to the top three men and women overall: (1st Place = $100, 2nd Place = $75, 3rd= $50)

Medals will be awarded to top three men and women in each age group!

Registration is currently $25 for runners in the 5k and $15 for walkers in the 1mi fun walk!

There is a discounted rate for groups of 5 or more participants! (10%)

You can register at:

Race Course can be found on the race

All proceeds from the race will go towards the costs associated with operations, exhibit expansion and program development


The W House is truly saddened to hear about the loss of Brooke Simmers. Our sincerest condolences to her family and friends go beyond words.

We will be holding a Candlelight Vigil to honor Brooke at The W House, 519 N. Locust Street, on Friday evening starting at 7PM. We will also be conducting pre-screens at this time for any females seeking immediate treatment.

Resources for men and those seeking treatment elsewhere will also be available.

The disease of addiction has claimed another life, something that this cunning, baffling and powerful disease aims to do.  She will never be forgotten and will be celebrated at the candlelight vigil.  Any contributions to our facility will be in her honor and to help other women who are struggling with addiction.

More information about The W House can be found on their website:

Home Invasion Suspect Dies, Media Does Hatchet Job on Hagerstown Police

HAGERSTOWN, MD - The following is the official press release from Hagerstown Police Department regarding a home invasion suspect who died while being transported to Meritus Medical Center.

On April 16 at 10:32 PM a call for a disturbance came in to the 911 center from the 400 block of North Prospect where a female could be heard screaming in the background. A second caller reported a male broke into her house. The caller described the suspect as a black male wearing jeans and a shirt and was currently in front of the house stumbling around.The first two responding officers found the male suspect in front of the house in an aggressive stance and appeared to be highly agitated. Two additional officers and a supervisor arrived on the scene shortly afterward. The officers believed the suspect was under the influence of drugs and requested an ambulance to respond to the scene as well.
While waiting on the ambulance, the suspect refused to comply with the officers and remained aggressive. During the arrest, the suspect was tased by the police and placed in handcuffs. The suspect was conscious and remained uncooperative when he was placed in the ambulance for transport to Meritus Medical Center. As some point, the suspect suffered an unknown medical emergency and was later pronounced dead by Meritus medical staff at 12:11 AM on the 17th of April.
The identification of the male has not yet been confirmed.
The department has requested the Washington County Sheriff’s Department conduct the death investigation.

The department will be available for comment at 10:00 a.m. at police headquarters, located at 50 N. Burhans Blvd, Hagerstown, MD 21740 and by calling 301-790-3700.
This press release tells a much different story than the sensationalist headlines used by multiple media outlets to describe the incident.

Screenshot of Google News

Not only do media outlets fail to mention in their headlines that this person is suspected of breaking into someone's house, but they also try to make it sound like the stun gun was the cause of death.

However... "The suspect was conscious and remained uncooperative when he was placed in the ambulance for transport to Meritus Medical Center."  You read that right - after they tased him, he was still alive.

Could it be that he had some other medical emergency, possibly due to the fact that he may have been "under the influence of drugs"? That is after all the reason they called the ambulance in the first place.

Herald Mail, Baltimore Sun, and every other media outlet using this misleading headline and not telling the whole story - shame on you. As members of the press, it's your job to provide news in an unbiased manner. A hatchet job like this against our law enforcement officers, who put their lives on the line every day, is completely unacceptable.

Here's a better headline for those news sites which wish to report fairly.

"Home Invasion Suspect Dies on Way to Hospital"

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Subway - Help Support Local Radio and the Local Economy!

UPDATE: After discussing with the owner of the Middletown Subway, this isn't being "mandated" for Subways, but is being highly encouraged by Subway as a way to make customers aware of new specials/etc. The actual cost is $180 per year, not per month.

It is still the belief of the editor that Subway should support local radio and the local economy, instead of using "Subway Radio".

Dear Subway,

I stopped in my usual Subway this morning on the way to work. The Subway is very convenient for me, because I can stop in at Middletown on Alt-40, and listen to local radio traffic reports while waiting for my food. By the time I'm ready to leave, I'll know which way to continue going to get to work on time. It's really become part of my morning routine, and it's working out pretty well.

Today I was very disheartened when I was informed by Birdie, the wonderful lady who always makes my subs for me, that they're going to have to stop playing local radio in the Subway.

Apparently, Subway came up with some brilliant idea to switch all the music systems to some sort of music box that plays "easy listening" elevator music, as well as Subway commercials (you know, because obviously you need advertising to tell you to go to Subway, while you're at Subway). Even worse, they're going to charge the franchises well over a hundred dollars a month for this "service". This is an unnecessary cost for franchise owners to worry about! Even if it only cost $100 - that means an owner must sell 20 additional $5 footlongs to make up the difference.

Sure, I get it. You want to make sure that while customers are in a Subway, they only hear Subway advertisements, and not advertisements for competitors. However, this reasoning is fundamentally flawed. If a customer is already inside a Subway, it's because they've chosen to eat there! The key to getting a customer to come back is good service, reasonable prices, and excellent quality food.

I'm not stopping in Subway to listen to elevator music. I'm stopping in to get my breakfast, knowing that if there's a traffic accident, I'll still be able to hear it on the radio.

More importantly, by just allowing local radio stations to be played in your stores, you're helping the local economy! You see, local radio stations actually help the local economy of the area they serve - in fact they generate approximately $1.24 Trillion per year in local economic stimulus. See

I hope that you will reconsider this, and keep local radio in Subway.

Thank You,
Ken Buckler
Editor, WashCo Chronicle

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Secret Meetings - Bad for Business

The following letter was sent to the Herald-Mail during the 2014 election. It is being re-posted in light of the fact that the City of Hagerstown has held over 40 official "closed door" meetings, as pointed out by the Facebook page "Hagerstown 1st".

There has been much recent discussion and debate regarding transparency, secret meetings, and backroom deals and politics within this community. Most of this discussion has focused on WCPS, and the current Board of Education elections.

I feel that we need to expand this discussion beyond its current scope. I am extremely concerned about the presence of County Commissioner Terry Baker at the “secret meeting” with Mrs. Williams, Mrs. Harshman, Mr. Guessford, and Mr. Stouffer. Mr. Baker specifically stated "I'm a county elected official. I have no say in what happens (in school system personnel matters)."  Residents should question then - if Mr. Baker has no say in those matters, why was he present? What was his role in this meeting?

This brings another question to light - how many other “secret meetings” have there been between our elected officials? Are other local elected officials meeting in secret as well? The Maryland Open Meetings Act requires specific circumstances for a “closed meeting”, but also requires certain disclosures regarding that meeting. By claiming an “unofficial” meeting such as this one does not apply, you are defeating the spirit of the law with the letter of the law.

I have a challenge for our elected officials. Comply with the spirit of the law. If you participated in, or have knowledge of a backroom meeting, come forward and tell the public when it happened and what was discussed. Even if this meeting did not qualify as “official”, if local issues were discussed, then it’s time for full disclosure. As long as backroom meetings are conducted, county residents will never be able to trust that our elected officials have our best interests at heart.

As was stated at the Board of Education meeting - “It’s time for people to start telling the truth.”

Ken Buckler
Boonsboro, MD

Ken Buckler is editor of the WashCo Chronicle

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Local cyber security company in Frederick, MD seeking new talent

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Are you interested in joining a fast growing firm that understands advanced analytics, cyber threats, cyber security and has a career path for technical staff? Do you thrive in a collaborative & dynamic work environment?
Competitive benefits available!
Bushido Associates is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Friday, January 30, 2015

Enhancing Security for Board of Education Meetings

The following letter was sent to the WCPS Board of Education and Superintendent on January 30, 2015, in response to recent concerns expressed by Board of Education member Mike Guessford. The letter is republished in its entirety.

To the Board of Education and Superintendent,
I am writing in response to recent concerns by Board of Education member Mike Guessford with regard to Board of Education meeting security, which was currently published in the Herald Mail.
I was wondering if Mr. Guessford could perhaps clarify what his concerns are? Have there been actual threats against Board of Education members?
Education is very important, and some members of the community can be quite passionate about education issues. I would like to encourage the board to make sure that any enhanced security controls do not interfere with residents right to express their views and participate in the meeting.
As a cyber security consultant, I am also required to learn physical security measures, in order to properly secure data centers, office spaces, etc. I believe that there are two deterrent controls which can be implemented at minimal cost to satisfy Mr. Guessford's concerns, as I understand them currently.
For those not familiar, deterrent controls are security controls designed to deter, but not prevent, a security incident or violation. A common deterrent control we're all very aware of is speed cameras, which deter, but not prevent, people from speeding.
The first deterrent control I would recommend is a simple pole and tape barrier between board of education members and those seated in the room. You've probably seen these barriers at movie theaters.  These barriers do nothing to actually stop someone from going past them, but provide a reminder that people should not pass the barrier unless authorized.  An example of such a barrier is here:
The second deterrent control I would recommend is the presence of an unarmed security guard or off-duty police officer next to the barrier I mentioned above. The mere presence of a security guard or off-duty officer will have an excellent deterrence effect. However, once again, it is important that this guard or off-duty officer not prevent residents from expressing their views or participating in the meeting, as long as they remain on the correct side of the barrier tape. Should they cross the barrier tape uninvited, then that would of course be grounds for removal from the building.
Also, I noted that in the Herald Mail article, active shooter training is not mentioned. I have to strongly encourage active shooter training. I would recommend you watch this video of a New Hope council meeting to see how dangerous an active shooter situation can be to untrained individuals. In the video, the council members are told multiple times to stay down, because they had no idea how to react. Fortunately no-one was injured.
I'd be happy to discuss this issue further with you all. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Ken Buckler
Note: After further review the Herald Mail article does mention Active Shooter training is not being considered. This letter was originally intended to state that active shooter training should be considered, contrary to what was mentioned in the original Herald Mail article. This was an editorial error. However, the letter above will remain as-is, as this was what was sent to WCPS and the Board of Education.

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Hogan's Instructions for Senate Vacancy May Have Been Contrary to Maryland Contitution

HAGERSTOWN, MD - It was recently reported by the Herald-Mail that Governor Hogan's office was in the process of sending instructions for the Washington County Republican Central Committee to nominate multiple candidates for the open Maryland Senate seat, previously held by Christopher Shank.

Further research shows that Governor Hogan most likely cannot instruct a committee to nominate more than one candidate, as he would be in essence instructing them to ignore the state constitution. A book on Maryland Constitution, page 140-141, cites an Attorney General opinion from 1977: "The central committees are supposed to nominate only one candidate, "but if a central committee 'ignore[s] the clear intent of the Constitution and submit[s] the name of two or more qualified persons to the Governor, the Governor cannot ignore the names . . . [but] must appoint one of these persons to the vacancy.' 62 Op. Att'y Gen. 241 (October 19, 1977)"

The Maryland Constitution states:
SEC. 13. (a) (1) In case of death, disqualification, resignation, refusal to act, expulsion, or removal from the county or city for which he shall have been elected, of any person who shall have been chosen as a Delegate or Senator, or in case of a tie between two or more such qualified persons, the Governor shall appoint a person to fill such vacancy from a person whose name shall be submitted to him in writing, within thirty days after the occurrence of the vacancy, by the Central Committee of the political party, if any, with which the Delegate or Senator, so vacating, had been affiliated, at the time of the last election or appointment of the vacating Senator or Delegate, in the County or District from which he or she was appointed or elected, provided that the appointee shall be of the same political party, if any, as was that of the Delegate or Senator, whose office is to be filled, at the time of the last election or appointment of the vacating Delegate or Senator, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to make said appointment within fifteen days after the submission thereof to him.
... currently non-relevant section omitted ...
(b) In addition, and in submitting a name to the Governor to fill a vacancy in a legislative or delegate district, as the case may be, in any of the twenty-three counties of Maryland, the Central Committee or committees shall follow these provisions:
(1) If the vacancy occurs in a district having the same boundaries as a county, the Central Committee of the county shall submit the name of a resident of the district.
(2) If the vacancy occurs in a district which has boundaries comprising a portion of one county, the Central Committee of that county shall submit the name of a resident of the district.
(3) If the vacancy occurs in a district which has boundaries comprising a portion or all of two or more counties, the Central Committee of each county involved shall have one vote for submitting the name of a resident of the district; and if there is a tie vote between or among the Central Committees, the list of names there proposed shall be submitted to the Governor, and he shall make the appointment from the list (amended by Chapter 584, Acts of 1935, ratified Nov. 3, 1936; Chapter 162, Acts of 1966, ratified Nov. 8, 1966; Chapter 681, Acts of 1977, ratified Nov. 7, 1978; Chapter 649, Acts of 1986, ratified Nov. 4, 1986).
Any instructions by Governor Hogan to the Central Committee to submit multiple names for the vacancy would be a violation of the Maryland constitution. The only time a list of names should be submitted under the Maryland Constitution is if a district comprises of multiple counties.

Simply put, the Washington County Republican Central Committee followed the Maryland Constitution appropriately.

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle

WashCo Chronicle encourages discussion of current political issues and candidates, regardless of viewpoints. Please keep comments polite, and on topic.

Ryan Miner outlines Delegate 2A Replacement Process

HAGERSTOWN, MD - Local resident Ryan Miner, host of "A Miner Detail", has recently released a podcast outlining the process which will be used to replace Delegate Serafini, who has been submitted to Governor Hogan for the vacant Senate position.

Listen to Mr. Miner's podcast here.

WashCo Chronicle encourages discussion of current political issues and candidates, regardless of viewpoints. Please keep comments polite, and on topic.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Maryland Senate Seat to be Filled from Existing Delegation

Washington County, MD - Maryland Delegate Serafini, or Maryland Delegate Parrott, will most likely be the replacement for Maryland Senator Shank, who has been appointed as the next Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

Per the Washington County Republican Central Committee:

JANUARY 16, 2015
On Tuesday, January 13, 2015, Governor-elect Hogan announced his selection of current sitting State Senator for Washington County District 2, Christopher Shank, to be the next Executive Director of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention. It is the decision of the committee that the vacancy will be filled from within the current membership of the Washington County Delegation representing District 2. No public applications will be accepted for this seat. 
The committee will be working to expedite this appointment as soon as possible so that Washington County remains well represented in Annapolis during the 2015 Session of the Maryland General Assembly. The 2015 Session began on Wednesday, January 14, 2015. An announcement will be made immediately once the nominee is selected. The name will then be sent to then Governor Hogan for confirmation and appointment.
This will create an opening for another Maryland Delegate, once Governor Hogan confirms the committee's recommendation.

According to local resident and former candidate for Washington County Board of Education Ryan Miner, Serafini is the best choice to replace Shank:
Washington County voters deserve someone who always places public service above partisanship, and we expect that whomever is nominated, this person will not sacrifice principles, but will be open to working across the political divide to resolve Maryland’s fiscal crisis.
For these reasons, I believe that Delegate Andrew Serafini is the best individual to fill Senator Shank’s District 2 Seat.
 You can read more on Mr. Miner's opinion at "A Miner Detail".

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle. Many thanks to Ryan Miner for providing political commentary on this issue.

WashCo Chronicle encourages discussion of current political issues and candidates, regardless of viewpoints. Please keep comments polite, and on topic.

Discovery Station to host "Superhero 5k"

Get ready Hagerstown for the most extraordinary day of your life! Superheroes of all shapes, sizes and strengths will be descending upon our wonderful city! You’ll have more capes and masks than your power levels can handle! This is a battle to support Discovery Station and the race to the finish line will be of epic proportions!

Date: May 2, 2015

Where: Downtown Hagerstown, MD

Registration Opens at 7:30 am Sharp!

9:00 am for the 5k run

9:30 am for the 1mi walk

Awards will be awarded for the:

Best Selfie, Best Costume, Best Group Theme, & the highly coveted ‘Most Heroic Award’!

Register now!

All proceeds from this race go directly to Discovery Station at Hagerstown, Inc. and the costs associated with operations, program development and exhibit expansion.

About the Discovery Station:
Discovery Station at Hagerstown creates exciting hands-on learning experiences that stimulate a curiosity for discovery, exploration and further investigation by children and adults to foster life-long learning. The programs and interactive exhibits on science, technology and history are unique educational resources available to all of its visitors.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Canal Fee Could Cost Local Economy $12 Million Per Year

HAGERSTOWN, MD - A local resident recently requested the WashCo Chronicle investigate the budget and proposed entrance fee of the C&O canal, in response to the recent announcement that the National Park Service may charge an entrance fee beginning in May. While a line-item budget for the C&O Canal is not currently available, the National Park Service "Green Book" budget is available online:

 Currently for local sections of the C&O Canal, there is no entrance fee, and no camping fee for hiker/biker camp sites on the canal.

The proposed entrance fee for 2015 is $3 per person or $5 per vehicle, which would then increase to $7 per person or $15 per vehicle in 2017. A hiker/biker camping fee would also be implemented at $20 per night.

According to the National Park Service, 5,062,079 people used the C&O Canal in 2013. C&O canal use contributes approximately $80,000,000 per year to the local economy near the canal.

In 2014, the C&O Canal requested $9,539,000. The enacted budget was $9,389,000, $150,000 less than what was requested.

For 2015, the C&O Canal has requested $9,467,000.

Assuming that on average a vehicle contains two people, if the full 5,062,079 people were to use the C&O canal, disregarding camping, this would provide the C&O canal an additional $12,655,197.5 in 2015.

5,062,079 / 2 people = 2,531,039.5 vehicles
2,531,039.5 vehicles X $5 = $12,655,197.5

It is unclear why the canal would need that large an increase in income, especially when upcoming improvements to the canal walls at lock 17 through 20, scheduled for 2017, are only estimated to cost an additional $3,967,000.

However, it's important to realize that if people do pay an access fee for the C&O canal, they may be less likely to keep spending money in the local economy. Assuming that most people are on a budget for recreational expenses, that $12,655,197.5 would be subtracted from local economy contributions. That's a 15% reduction in income for local businesses. What's worse, if some people refuse to go to the C&O Canal due to the fee increase, neither local businesses nor the C&O Canal receive the funds.

With many small businesses still struggling since 2008, one should question if they really could afford a 15% reduction in tourism income. This 15% could really make or break businesses which rely on C&O Canal tourism, such as local restaurants or stores.

Below are excerpts from the 2015 National Park Service budget as they relate to the C&O Canal. The full budget can be downloaded from

NOTE: This article was updated to correct a calculation error.

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Metro Mishap Mayhem - A Commuter's Point of View

Dear Metro,

You have destroyed all confidence of your riders that your system is safe, and that your staff are properly trained for emergencies. Of course, I've always questioned if we'll even be able to hear staff instructions in an emergency, since you normally can't even understand the train operator when they tell you which station you're arriving at.

When it takes 40 minutes for help to arrive, when a train is only several hundred feet away from a station, you've got a serious problem.

Add to this the fact that a person died due to the train operator instructing people to remain in a smoke filled train, when they could have easily evacuated the train and walked back to the station, now you're simply negligent and incompetent.

Let me explain to you the repercussions of this serious problem.

Now that riders have lost all faith in Metro staff to properly handle an emergency, we are not going to pay any attention to what your staff tell us to do in an emergency. Instead, we are going to look out only for ourselves, and find the quickest way out of a train or Metro station.

This really becomes problematic, because the next time there's an emergency, it might actually be critical for passengers to shelter in place, instead of attempt to escape. However, you have now destroyed any chance of that happening.

As a regular rider of Metro, I am quite angry. Metro is supposed to be safe. Metro employees are supposed to be properly trained to deal with emergencies. The response to this incident is inexcusable.

I refuse to be the next statistic in Metro's long line of avoidable accidents.

Ken Buckler is the editor of WashCo Chronicle. He regularly commutes to DC through MARC and Metro rail lines.