Letters to the editor – March 9th, 2016

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2016

We can’t afford this

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Just a few weeks ago our County Government could not find the $250,000 ($25,000 a year) to help fund a sports complex in Smithfield, but now they are considering the Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Office proposal for a new Communication System that will cost $11 million and will cost $450,000 to $500,000 a year to operate. On top of that our new School Superintendent is requesting an additional $1 million in the next school year. And the County is planning to take on another $54 million in debt over the next five years, which includes another $32 million for a new school.

    You know, all these millions would be nice — if we could afford them. Eleven Million for a Communications System in Isle of Wight County? We are not Northern Virginia, or Richmond, or Tidewater. We don’t have hundreds of thousands of residents to spread this cost over. We can’t afford it and with technology changing as fast as it is, the new system would be obsolete in three or four years. Verizon Communication has spent Billions to build a cell phone system all over the USA. They have the best coverage of any Cell provider, but they are not doing 100 percent. Our cell phones are obsolete in two to three years.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

    We are all for Education. “We have got to do it for the kids.” But, how much more can we stand? This County is broke. We have the Fifth largest debt per person in the Commonwealth of Virginia. And tell me, why do we have to replace schools every twenty to twenty-five years? Does brick and mortar go bad? We have 200-year-old houses in Smithfield. These houses were renovated, not torn down and new ones. My church is over 200 years old. But not schools. We have to have a new one every 20 to 25 years. A Respected Educator once told me that to teach children who want to learn, they need something better than a cave. Our forefathers went to one-room schools with potbellied stoves and oil lamps. This writer actually went to a school, which was three floors without an elevator. But we had electricity and heat, though no A/C.

    My daughter-in-law served on the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors and constantly asked, How are we going to pay for it? The only answer was just borrow more money. And look where we are today.

    Frank Hall


Kudos to museum

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Last Saturday two friends and I attended the presentation at the IOW Museum commemorating the anniversary of Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech. What an informative and well-produced event! It shows what a small town can do when it displays its talent. Jennifer England and Albert Burckard deserve much credit for putting together the event. And special kudos to Trey “Winston Churchill” Gwaltney.

    Now if they could only get some cushions for those hard seats!

    Ed Mortimer


Thank you to donors

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I would like to take a moment of your time to acknowledge the storeowners of Smithfield, some of which allowed us the space in their business to collect donations for our annual Valentines weekend poppy drive. Thank you also to the ROTC volunteers and all of our member 8545 volunteers for working with our group to forge the cold, and to graciously give us their time. For those of you who are not aware, the money donated during the poppy drive will help in many different ways — some with food, payment of an electric bill, a much-needed wheel chair ramp and countless other needs.

    There are so many organizations and individuals around Smithfield that give generously because of their good character. Even small donations mean a lot, and they add up from loving people in this community. Once again, on behalf of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, I would like to thank everyone who responded, even in the bad weather we had.

    Shirlene Harper
    Poppy chairperson