Letters to the editor – June 22nd, 2016

Published 9:03 pm Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Help COP help others

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    As a regular volunteer, I was happy to learn that the Christian Outreach Program (COP) has just re-introduced their “Donate-a-Brick” fundraiser, in order to enhance their services to those Isle of Wight residents who are in need. For only $150 you can have a brick with your name or message placed in the front walk of COP’s facility, alongside the others who believe in the mission of serving those who are less fortunate.

    Over 300 local households (700-plus individuals) receive monthly food allotments, as well as help with other basic needs (household furnishings, diapers, appliances, dental and vision assistance and more). With Summer upon us, those children who depend heavily on being fed at school will now be even more at risk of going hungry.

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    A donation to buy a brick makes a great and permanent gift to honor a loved one or memorialize one who has passed, while supporting a wonderful cause. COP is an all-volunteer program, with over 200 volunteers giving their time and talents to make a difference in the community. Contact COP at 757-356-9267 and leave a message for more info, or stop in while volunteers are there on Monday, Wednesday or Friday from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. to pick up a “Donate-a-Brick” form. Your support would be most welcome and important.

    Kurt Frischmann


Library hours

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Ms. Bailey’s decision to reduce hours versus forgoing a wage increase is just an attempt to anger the folks in our county that use and work at the library.

    This is just one more example of a department director refusing to see the trees for the forest. We (the county) are still underwater and borrowing money to fund needs for the county, so a raise would not even be a thought if Ms. Bailey and other department directors actually had to balance her/their own department expenses with her/their own cash.

    She is also punishing the staff at the library. You ask how that is so?

    Well, let’s say that an average wage is $15 per hour, a 4 percent raise would equal 60 cents per hour, and basing that on a 40 hour work week would equal $24. But if the work week is reduced by, let’s say, eight hours at $15.60 per hour, the net loss in wages for the staff is $100.80 after the 4 percent raise per week.

    So Ms. Bailey (I hope you are in turn reducing your work week/salary by eight hours as well) you would be showing much more business acumen and a greater concern for your staff by not instituting the 4 percent raise and allowing the staff to continue on with a full work week that earns them more money and allowing the taxpayers that frequent the library to continue to have the same access that they currently do.

    Bill Kessler


Irish slaves

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    In my constant search for truth in all things, I recently found that white slaves in America outnumbered black slaves! I bet you did not know that.

    The Irish slave trade began with James II long before the African slave trade! James II sold 30,000 Irish as slaves to the New World. James II, in his Proclamation of 1625, sent Irish political prisoners to the West Indies to be sold to English settlers, and by the mid 1600s, Irish slaves were 70 percent of the total population of Antiqua and Montserrat.

    Michael Hoffman states in his book “Black slaves were late comers fitted into a system already developed.” From 1641 to 52, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English and over 300,000 sold as slaves! Ireland’s population fell from 1,500,000 to 600,000 in one decade! Over 100,000 Irish children were taken from parents and sold as slaves between ages of 10 and 14 to Virginia, New England and the West Indies. Another 52,000, mostly women and children, were sold to Barbados and Virginia while 30,000 Irish men were sold to the highest bidder.

    African slaves were expensive (50 pounds sterling) and had to be transported long distances while Irish were cheap (no more than 5 pounds sterling) and most often kidnapped from Ireland. They were beaten, worked to death or branded without it being a crime. “Red neck” was a means of poking fun at white slaves who worked in the sun in the West Indies.

    I am one eighth Irish and proud of it. I love the Irish people. How horrid we have treated them, and in my view, the British still do! Shame! Shame!

    Linda Steffey


Dating bricks

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    According to Oxford dendronchronology, the blurry picture of an Old St. Luke’s brick in a February 1888 American Magazine issue could have been dated 1682, not 1632, but has been lost. This lost brick is the basis of the 1682 arguments against a 1632 date.

    If the American Magazine brick is the present alter brick, then the Magazine brick was dated 1632 as face-to-face examination shows the date as unequivocally 1632.

    If the Magazine brick is not the alter brick and was made in 1682, then the person that made the present 1632 alter brick also made the 1682 brick as the two bricks are very similar, i.e., the six and six, two and two and the space between the 16 and 32 are remarkably similar. Forensics experts might be able to superimpose the 1888 picture and the present alter brick image onto one another.

    Two such bricks, a 1632 brick and 1682 brick, imply the bricks were added at the same time, possibly in 1682 celebrating improvements and the 50th anniversary of the church. The crude style of the numbers is not so important as known Isle of Wight colonial bricks vary greatly from one another in dating style. That is, there was no colonial dating style in Isle of Wight.

    Thomas Finderson


Treasure chest

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    The sellers at the old Pierce, Delk and Crocker Farm and Plantation have given us permission to pursue a new development option on their property. The old manor house, barns and out buildings are a 286-year old treasure chest of town and State history. They deserve to live again. Restored properly they will top the town’s long list of historic sites. Bonnie and I have a simple plan and that is to take $$ from the sale of homes and lots at our proposed 80 home “Smithfield Village Estates” to offset the initial $400,000 or so expenses to bring up the neglected Pierce buildings structurally and aesthetically. Critical to this plan is to get other nearby stalled and neglected properties transformed into an “Antique Emporium,” crafts center and small restaurant.

    We want to restore the carriage rides in and around town using pastures and barns on the Pierce site. We expect the real estate values to go up dramatically as the pieces of this project come together. There will be a slight gain in the town population and business opportunities.

    Thomas Pierce’s perfectly preserved will of 1739 has great detail about his wishes and holdings. More on that later.

    Stuart and Bonnie Resor



    Editor, Smithfield Times:

    Following the accidental fire that destroyed the old home at historic Fort Boykin, we county taxpayers, who owned it, received a small “windfall” of money when the fire insurance (which we paid for) was paid out. This money went into the county coffers where the rest of our tax money is.

    But since Fort Boykin is on the Virginia and National Historic Landmarks Register, having a known local history dating back to at least 1623, should that money not go to improving county history rather than diminishing it?

    Part of that insurance money is now slated for installing new (and surely inferior) windows in the “recreation hall” at Nike Park. The existing steel-reinforced windows in this 1954 barracks were designed to military specifications to withstand blast and explosive overpressure. This “overbuilt” construction protected the soldiers who lived there during the Cold War in case of nearby nuclear attack or failure of a missile launch booster. Because of those strong windows and other military design features, the current structures at Nike Park are some of the most substantial in the county.

    The installation of cheaply constructed windows will reduce the effectiveness of this building as an emergency hurricane or tornado shelter and reduce the architectural integrity of this historic artifact. For more than 60 years this simple but well-built structure has served national defense and Isle of Wight County. If left in its original sturdy, as-built, condition it promises to continue this useful service for many years to come.

    How about using the insurance money to construct some public amenities at historic Fort Boykin to improve tourism or maybe to help refurbish the “Old Clerk’s Office” at the county seat so it can be useful for another 200 years?

    Money received that insured part of a historic site should not be spent other than to improve a county historic site.

    Albert Burckard


Gender confusion

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    My mother, nearly a century old, recently asked questions concerning gender confusion. “When I grew up we never heard of such behavior. Nor when we raised our children did we hear of such behavior. Why do children want to dress in clothes of the opposite sex? Why do parents allow their children to dress in clothes of the opposite sex? Why do children want to change to the opposite sex?”

    My answers to her questions:

    We are all born with a sinful nature — a desire to disobey God. When Adam sinned (Gen 3: 17) his sin passed upon all men because we all sin (Rom 5:12).

    Children are a gift from the Lord, and we must care for each gift in a manner that is consistent with God’s standards. The Bible is the standard to which parents must refer to raise their children to prevent confusion. God boldly stated in Duet. 22:5 that a woman is not to wear a man’s clothing nor should a man wear a woman’s clothing.

    We are made in the image of God (Gen 1:26), but we choose to mar that image with our disobedience to Him. We should be proud of what God has given us and use it for His glory.

    When I was a child, all of the children in the neighborhood played together, boys and girls alike. I played dodge ball, football, baseball, basketball, badminton and I climbed trees. I never thought I was a boy, but I sure was a tomboy by standards of that day.

    If a girl or boy is interested in what we label as an activity of the opposite sex we should cherish that as a gift from God. Whatever your gift cherish it, nurture it, but do not try change the image you are made in.

    Linda Jacob