Letters to the editor – July 27th, 2016

Published 4:07 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Isle Jam debacle

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Gambling to make money when you’re in debt is never a good idea. That is exactly what our county officials did with the taxpayer’s money at the Isle Jam 2016 Concert Series. There has been criticism about so little use of the fairgrounds. You have to wonder, why is Windsor Castle hopping, while Heritage Park remains a mosquito farm 49 weekends per year?

    When I read Parks and Recreation was given a $192,000 budget for two concerts at the fairgrounds, my jaw dropped! I never dreamed the county would jump in the business of promoting concerts with nationally known acts. What was the Board of Supervisors thinking when they approved this? They should have created a weekly concert series with local and regional acts and built on that. These national acts get paid rain or shine and hoping for good weather is a huge risk!

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    Isle Jam 2016, despite good entertainment was a complete failure. After one reschedule, they were fortunate enough to hold both concerts. Though thousands were expected to attend, I expect less than 500 attended each show. Isle Jam 2016 is proof that our county staff does not know how to produce or promote an event of this magnitude. Taxpayers would be astonished to see how much this calamity cost us.


    I would love to see both an outdoor and even an indoor facility in our future — something concert promoters and others would want to rent from us. We seriously lack regular entertainment in our county. Judging from my past experiences with the county, if an amphitheater is ever built at the fairgrounds, I’m certain it will be impractical and over budget.

    The people who created this debacle have resigned or left the county. One was given a big raise and the other a severance package. We are still witnessing the effects of their incompetence. The volunteers on the Isle of Wight County Fair Committee were not associated with Isle Jam 2016. However, The Fair Committee is still feeling the effects of county employees in over their head. Our Board of Supervisors needs to pay attention.

    Stan Murrell



Supports Bike trail

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    In response to some letters opposing the proposed bike trail to Nike Park, I would like to show my support of the plan, and mention that there are indeed many area people with the “pioneering” spirit of our ancestors. My family does, in fact, bicycle to the grocery store and most anywhere else in town we need to go.

    A problem in many areas, including Smithfield and Isle of Wight County, is that bicyclists and pedestrians were not considered when planning area transportation. Thus, there are many locations within easy walking or biking distance where there is no safe option for pedestrians or bicyclists.

    Nike Park and Windsor Castle Park are only five miles apart from each other, which is an easy 15-30 minute bike ride. But right now, there is no access to Nike Park, aside from taking your life in your hands and sharing the road with cars doing 50 miles an hour. The proposed trail would solve this problem and allow many Smithfield residents to use the excellent facilities at Nike Park without needing to get in the car. And in this age, when one continually hears of the country’s obesity epidemic, couldn’t we all use a little more exercise?

    Additionally, it was my understanding that the bulk of the money for the trail is A) from federal grants, not area taxes, and B) cannot be used for anything except the bike trail. So, if we don’t use the money we have been offered, we lose it, and another town will get to benefit from it.

    Speaking for fellow bicyclists and myself, the trail would be a great addition to our county. And who knows, if we have a nice trail to ride on, you might even dig that old bicycle out of your shed and give it a try!

    Gregory Brown



‘Truthiness’ about trail

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    The term “Truthiness” describes statements that seem plausibly true but aren’t. Prime examples are letters recently published in your paper that imply that killing the park-to-park bike trail project will result in money becoming available for county road projects.

    The truth is that the primary source of funding for the trail is state and federal grants that would not be available for road projects. If the trail project is killed, that grant money will go to trail projects in other communities. Furthermore, if the trail project is killed, the county will have to reimburse previous grant money that has been expended on the trail planning and design effort. For the county to cancel the trail project would actually cost money.

    Greg Vassilakos



Nuclear is the past

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Dominion Power wants to build another Nuclear Power plant for $19 billion. As of 2013, the U.S. has been undergoing a “practical” phase-out due to rapidly falling prices of natural gas and reluctance of investors to provide long-tem projects when short-term profitability of turbine power is available.

    In recent years there has been a slowdown of electricity demand growth, financing has become more difficult and investors are pulling out. Siemens, a German engineering giant, announced in 2011 it will withdraw entirely from the nuclear industry, and said that it would no longer build nuclear power plants anywhere in the world. Other countries are closing, phasing out or placing a moratorium on nuclear power plants, some in response to nuclear disasters at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, and the unsolved problem of nuclear waste.

    Germany has permanently shut down eight of its 17 nuclear reactors and will close the rest by the end of 2022. Globally, more nuclear power reactors have closed than opened in recent years. Duke Energy’s Crystal River 3 Nuclear Power Plant in Florida closed, as it could not recover the costs needed to fix its containment building.

    Several countries are shifting toward renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable development. Their final goal is the abolishment of coal and other non-renewable energy sources. There are new analyses by big financial institutions, for example Deutsche Bank, Citi, Lazard, the largest Swiss bank UBS. UBS has calculated that a system including rooftop solar, a battery in the basement and an electric vehicle will be affordable for many people as early as 2020.

    Developments like these will completely change our energy system. Based on economics, environment, safety, alternative and renewable energy resources, and other countries’ foresight into the future of nuclear power plants, Dominion Power should be placing its $19 Billon dollars toward the global trend away from nuclear power and continue to invest in alternative and renewable energy.

    Diane Goodwin



Dislikes Kaine

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Thanks to Hillary for picking Tim Kaine. I hope he will leave the Senate and someone will replace him who will work for veterans. Tim Kaine was a bad governor and a lousy senator. He only works for the Democratic Party. And now, he’s teaming up with Hillary who said, “So we got four dead Americans. Get over it.” Well, I can’t as a veteran. Any one of those four men could have been my father, my brother, my son, my uncle or my nephew.

    I hope most veterans will be like me and never vote for Hillary the lying Clinton. As we all know, anyone who did what she did with emails would be in jail and so should she.

    Frank Taylor

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The quote Mr. Taylor refers to was made by Clinton in response to a question by Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, in 2013 during the first of several hearings related to the Benghazi attack. He was asking whether the attack that took four American lives was from protesters, as the State Department initially said, or a terrorist attack. After an exchange, Clinton’s final response was:

     “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime.” (Clinton’s quote was taken from Politifact.)



Successful Blood drive

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    The Smithfield Community Blood Drive was held on Thursday, July 21 with 103 donors signing in. The end results were 72 whole blood donors and eight double red cell donors for a total of 88 units of blood to the local Mid-Atlantic Region.

    A Special Thank You to the Benn’s United Methodist Church for being the sponsor and Pam Jordan’s volunteers for supporting the Canteen, Smithfield Union Masonic Lodge #18 for setting up and taking down tables and chairs and to Trinity United Methodist for the use of their facilities.

    A sincere “thank you” to each “Hero” from across the area (and you know who you are) who unselfishly took the time to roll up their sleeves and donate the Gift of Life and thanks also to all the patrons, businesses and organizations who supported the Smithfield Community Blood Drive.

    The next Community Blood Drive at Trinity United Methodist Church is on Thursday, Sept. 15 from noon to 6 p.m. The Sponsors and supporting canteen will be the Trinity United Methodist Church. We always have fun, seeing old friends and meeting new friends and the food is always an award in itself; so set the date, join us and donate.

    Willie Rountree