Letters to the editor – May 4th, 2016

Published 7:45 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A deliberate fabrication?

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I was surprised that our supervisors, at their last regular monthly meeting, unanimously “accepted” a “Virginia Fire Services Report” that falsely, and perhaps even intentionally, demeaned our county volunteer firefighters.

    This vote was wrong and I humbly request that our supervisors reverse this decision as quickly as possible and reject this spurious report. The report is fraught with derogatory and erroneous data that give a completely false picture of volunteer fire fighting in our county. It also appears to specifically single out Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department for the worst false criticism.

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    The report recommended that, to correct some misperceived deficiencies, Isle of Wight County hire a fully paid staff of five more county bureaucrats to administrator our Emergency Services department that oversees volunteer fire response in our county. It cites the failure of volunteers as the reason for this government expansion. A few examples: Page 40 of the report shows Carrsville Volunteer Fire Department responding to zero calls in 2011. I’m sure this is a surprise to the dedicated volunteers of that long-serving agency! And more egregious: Carrollton VFD is listed for a grand total of four responses in all of 2014! This is patently ridiculous! In fact, Carrollton VFD responded to over 800 calls that year as verified by the county’s own records.


    This report was requested by the then county administrator in 2015 at the height of the tension between county government and Carrollton/Windsor VFDs over the infamous Facility Use Agreement. As everyone knows, this controversy was settled in favor of Carrollton and Windsor despite the despicable efforts of some county staff employees, even colluding with some supervisors, to portray these two dedicated volunteer departments in a most derogatory way. This report seems to be a deliberate, if not downright malicious, fabrication designed to justify expansion of county government at the expense of our volunteers.

    If allowed to stand, this false report will portray our county’s volunteer fire fighters in a most negative way. It may be the document that future decision makers refer to who wish to destroy volunteerism. As we all know, this was recently the case here.

    Albert Burckard


Defending the 1632 date

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Offered for upcoming Restoration Day: Opponents of a 1632 St. Luke’s Church date surmise Colonel Joseph Bridge built St. Luke’s circa 1682. Bridger was the wealthiest man of his day. His residence was comparable to Governor Berkeley’s Greenspring.

    However, the “Grievances of His Majesty’s Poor but Loyal Servants” show Bridger was a despicable person and stole his wealth. It is a disgrace that his remains were moved to St. Luke’s Church and given a place of honor.

    Unlike father-in-law Robert Pitt, in his will Bridger (16,000 acres) gifted nothing to St. Luke’s or any philanthropy. Historically, men like Bridger and Governors Berkeley, Culpepper and Howard are not generous. They might pay for some limited repairs, but to have built most or half the church is not in their grasping nature. It is not reasonable that Bridger built circa 1682 a St. Luke’s Church for which there is no documentation anywhere.

    Bridger’s spectacular mansion (11,300 square feet) one mile away from St. Luke’s was built with 9-inch bricks in English bond. St. Luke’s is built with 7-inch type bricks in Flemish bond. This dramatic contrast with the 9-inch bricks would seem to eliminate Bridger completely as a builder of St. Luke’s at any time.

    Hening’s Colonial Statues, Act V, February 1633, and Governor Francis Wyatt’s 1639-42 order that owners with more than 500 acres build a brick residence show adequate early brick making for a church. Also, population, wealth and workers were doubling through the 1630s and zeal temporarily united moderate dissenters and Anglicans. St. May’s (1400s) in Berry Pomeroy, Devon, has a rood screen, large chancel window and a design strikingly like St. Luke’s. It would have been known by dissenters and Isle of Wight Drakes and Norsworthys. There is no reason St. Luke’s could not have been built circa 1632.

    Thomas Finderson


Why no cooperation?

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    On Tuesday, April 26, a news story related a history of the Smithfield and Isle of Wight water supply. It was old news to those of us living in Smithfield who saw our water and sewage bills increase fourfold after the reverse osmosis process started. The article notes that before the $5.1 million reverse osmosis was approved by the town, the county offered to sell Smithfield some of the millions of gallons of water from the 2009 Norfolk deal. But, the article continues, the two sides could not come to an agreement. Why note? I suppose this is also old news and, if so, I would like to hear it again. Would someone who knows explain why the obvious was not done?

    Willamena Thomas