Letters to the editor – May 11th, 2016

Published 6:58 pm Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A response to criticism

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I am writing this letter to address comments recently submitted by Mr. Albert Burkard in a letter relative to the report from the Virginia Fire Services Board.

    Mr. Burkard suggests that the Board of Supervisors accepted a report from the Virginia Fire Services Board that is false and demeaning to the County’s volunteer firefighters. Those words mischaracterize of the Board’s action and the nature of the report. The Board’s action to accept the report was formal acknowledgement of receipt of the written report and the verbal summation of the report provided by the representative of the Virginia Fire Services Board. Acceptance of the report does not mean that the Board of Supervisors agrees with the findings of the report.

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    The suggestion that any agency in the County was singled out for criticism is simply false. It should be noted that the data included in the report was provided by the individual fire and rescue agencies themselves, not by the County. While we all can agree that the accuracy of some of the data is questionable, we can also agree that it is our (all Isle of Wight agencies) responsibility to meet established State reporting criteria, and the report identifies an area in need of improvement across the system.

    The statement that the report is a “fabrication designed to justify expansion of county government at the expense of our volunteers” is blatantly false. The recommendations of the report, requested by the Board of Supervisors, are based on practices already being successfully implemented in other communities around the State wherein paid and volunteer fire and EMS personnel work together to provide excellent response times and high quality public services.


    Lastly, the report clearly states that its findings are neither legal advice for the Board of Supervisors nor binding. Specifically, the report is intended to provide guidance for the Board of Supervisors and “its fire and rescue stakeholders to build on what is working well, while observing opportunities for improvement with the ultimate goal being to enhance the overall quality and coordination of fire-rescue service delivery to residents of Isle of Wight County.”

    A copy of the full report is available on the County’s website at http://www.co.isle-of-wight.va.us/emergency-services/.

    Donald T. Robertson
    Director of Information Resources
    & Legislative Affairs



Superb music

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Mr. Joel Joyner is the director of the Smithfield High school band and jazz ensemble. He has lit a fire under his students. They all have a great time together as they put on superb performances for their lucky audiences. We attended the spring band concert last week and the spring jazz band concert a few weeks prior and were treated to a series of outstanding musical performances.

    Mr. Joyner is a retired Army veteran. His service included performing with the 1st Armored Division Band in Germany and Leading the 3rd Infantry Division Band. His vision is that “music is God’s spirit flowing out of the students as they perform their music”.

    Mr. Joyner is a wonderful role model and inspiration to the students.

    We are not exaggerating on the high quality entertainment that you will receive if you treat yourself to a concert. We recommend regular doses. We recommend partaking of this high quality local entertainment whenever it is available. Keep an eye on the calendar. You will not be disappointed.

    Bill & Betsy Egan



Amazing support

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    On May 7, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department hosted a pancake breakfast fundraiser. The support from the community is always amazing. All the money raised will be used to help provide support to the firefighters during their trainings, and for the Auxiliary’s projects within the community.

    Thank you so much to the firefighters who helped set up, cook and clean, and to Carter and Connie Williams for providing the apples served. Thank you to the car club for supporting us every time and bringing their beautiful cars to show. Most importantly, thank you to the community for such a great response and wonderful support. 

    Valerie Savage
    SVFD Ladies Auxiliary



Schools unprotected?

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I hadn’t planned to speak on county issues any more, because it’s impossible for the little people to be heard, much less listened to. The “anointed ones” who have full power and control over county government will never surrender their power or listen to the will of the average citizen.

    But once again, issues I spoke about and predicted have come true. Just as prosecutions are still a joke and the courthouse is merely a revolving door for crooks, county schools still remain unprotected and unsafe.

    An attack on a school is clearly an act of domestic terrorism. But like so many “leaders” who show off their degrees and past accomplishments, they usually present the attitude of, “it will never happen here.”

    People in Columbine thought that too. Same in Connecticut, and many other places before school attacks happened. Hey, it will never happen in Isle of Wight, right?

    Prior to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the ringleader and mastermind of that horrible day was in Hampton Roads. He came to Newport News and considered the airport for his launching point for that fateful day.

    If I were Sheriff, there’s no way in hell I would put a dollar figure on a person’s life, no matter their age. “I’m sorry that your little boy was killed today, Mr. Citizen, but our budget was tight and we didn’t have manpower…” is no excuse a grieving parent wants to hear.

    Despite a budget that is much larger than under the previous Sheriff, Mr. Marshall still whines about manpower and money shortages. Where is all that extra $3 million being spent? Clearly some of it is wasted on excessive office staff. How many secretaries are really needed? Why so much turnover?

    The sheriff’s own email talks about response times, preventing crime and patrol districts. Response times and more officers do not reduce crime.

    It comes down to ego, politics and personal political priorities. Makes me glad I don’t have children, but when I do, they surely won’t be enrolled in a school system that is unprotected just because “it will never happen here.” I know better.

    Dave Lyons