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COP gives out Christmas dinners, presents

Isle of Wight Christian Outreach volunteers Don Simone and Kevin Morris load up a car Saturday with Angel Tree gifts and Christmas dinner at its new facility in Smithfield. Smithfield Foods donated more than 500 hams as well as packs of hot dogs for the food drive. On Saturday, volunteers passed out 256 dinners.  Farm Fresh and Food Lion also provides food for COP’s regular monthly deliveries. The Smithfield Food Lion was first in its network of 1,100 stores for food donations as part of its Food Lion Feeds program and collected more than 59,107 meals, said Manager Tom Nester.


IW squad to aid CVFD

By Diana McFarland

News editor

After failing to meet standards set by its medical director, the Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department will now be assisted by the Isle of Wight Volunteer Rescue Squad.

The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the change as a short-term solution to Carrollton’s issues with its advanced life support coverage.



Stormwater regs were local option

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it iana McFarland

News editor

Smithfield officials said the town became more stringent in enforcing stormwater requirements about two years ago due to an audit by Isle of Wight County.

That included requiring residents who wanted to install a swimming pool or build an addition to a house to build rain gardens, install berms or other items to prevent stormwater runoff — often costing thousands of dollars.



Town studying five areas for possible annexation

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Staff writer  

Smithfield officials have begun public discussions concerning annexation.

At last week’s Planning Commission meeting, member Randy Pack, also a Town Council member, prepared the commission to discuss what outlying areas town would prove useful in ensuring the town’s economic vitality.

The Planning Commission is considering annexation as it reviews the town’s comprehensive plan, which staff is tasked with updating every five years.



Attorney General rules IW actions unconstitutional

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it iana McFarland

News editor

The Virginia Attorney General ruled that Isle of Wight County’s actions were unconstitutional with regards to a booth request by Del. Rick Morris at the fair.

Morris (R-64th) had asked Isle of Wight County staff if he could set up a dunking booth at the 2014 fair to raise money for CASA — a non-profit that helps abused and neglected children and an organization in which Morris had long been involved with.

County staff initially declined his request, citing its ban on political booths set the previous year. Morris took the issue to the the fair committee, calling it a violation of his First Amendment rights. After consultation with the Board of Supervisors, the committee decided Morris could have the booth, but was not allowed to pass out political material because of its ban. The Board of Supervisors also denied that the county had violated Morris' First Amendment rights. 

“It is the fair committee’s position, based upon legal advice, that your assertion that the prohibition of political booths at the county fair is a violation of your constitutional rights to free speech is unfounded,” according a July 29 letter signed by Board Chairman Buzz Bailey.

Morris took the issue to the attorney general. 

The attorney general disagreed with the county.

According to a summary by the attorney general, the “absolute prohibition on political booths at a county fair is not constitutionally permissible and charging a higher fee for such booths than others is presumptively unconstitutional unless justified by a compelling governmental interest, and unless it is narrowly drawn to meet that interest.”

In 2013, the fair committee decided to charge a higher fee to political organizations wanting to set up a booth because of prior conflicts over space and other issues. The fair committee later decided to ban all political organizations and individuals from setting up booths at the fair.

 “It’s unfortunate that county officials can so easily disregard basic constitutional rights. As an elected official of the General Assembly, I believe it’s my duty to protect individual liberties and freedoms and keep government from infringing on our constitutional rights,” Morris said in a statement issued Dec. 24.



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