Letters to the editor – September 14th, 2016

Published 7:03 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Stormwater project?

Editor, Smithfield Times I have read with interest the various discussions related to the bike trail from Windsor Castle to Nike Park. More than 20 years ago I was approached by VDOT for land in front of my business, Walls Insurance Agency, located at 1018 South Church Street, to be part of a street improvement that included sidewalks, curb, gutter, drainage and street widening. I donated the land as requested and have waited all these years for the improvements to mitigate the stormwater that collects in front of my business during rainstorms.

Now, we are only talking about a bike path, but we need more than that! I understand that we are in a “use it or loose it” situation with state funding for the bike path and the town has not been able to find other funds to do a sidewalk and street widening project because of the increased costs related to stormwater treatment. What about the funds all of us are paying the county for storm water treatment projects?

Smithfield is a town, a part of the county. Why is this not a stormwater project that needs addressing? Why not bring the various funding sources together to get the project done. Build the sidewalk, widen the roadbed to make bike travel safe and build the stormwater system to handle the resultant water runoff with funds from a number of places. I call on all property owners on South Church Street, from the Cypress Creek Bridge to Battery Park Road, to request the county and the town to move this project forward, with funding from VDOT, the stormwater funds and other local funds.

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Fred Walls Smithfield

Chamber for trail

Editor, Smithfield Times On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Isle of Wight Smithfield Windsor Chamber of Commerce I am writing to reaffirm our support for the Park-to-Park Trail. We believe the trail can help to stimulate economic vitality in Smithfield and Carrollton, attract younger, active families to the county, and promote greater health and quality of life for residents.

The trail project began with a small group of local residents in 1999 who brought to the chamber of commerce their idea for a bicycle and pedestrian trail connecting Nike Park to downtown Smithfield. The chamber’s leaders quickly embraced the project, and encouraged county and Smithfield officials to apply for state and federal grants to fund it.

To date, the project has received more than $4 million in state and federal bike and pedestrian grants that, along with previously approved county contributions, will fund complete construction of two segments of the trail. These grants were only available for bike and pedestrian trials, and could not be used for any other road projects.

If the county fails to complete construction of the project, it would be required to reimburse the state more than $800,000 already paid for expenses associated with the trail.

More than 8,000 households will have access to the trail. It was funded to such a great extent by Transportation Enhancement Grants because it safely connects such a large number of residents to recreational facilities, shopping, services and each other.

We want to again express our support for the Park to Park Trail and urge the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors and the Smithfield Town Council to continue moving this project forward within a timely schedule to ensure that grant funding does not expire.

Andrew Cripps
 President IW Chamber

A ‘paper genocide’

Editor, Smithfield Times Credit goes to both Historic St. Luke’s Church and the Isle of Wight County Historical Society for hosting wonderful presentations last weekend on the Indian heritage of our area. The Cheroenhaka Nottoways were excellently highlighted by Chief Walt Brown at St. Luke’s and the Warraskoyacks by Ms. Rosa Holmes-Turner in the Isle of Wight County Museum.

Both are attempting heroically to right the historic wrong done to our “First Virginians” by the “paper genocide” perpetrated on them by our Commonwealth in the early 20th century. All Virginians must learn about, and come to terms with, the widespread attempts by white supremacists and racial eugenicists to erase Indian heritage.

People always ask, whatever happened to all the Indians who were here when the English landed in 1607? The answer is, of course, that they are all around us. They still live here. We don’t know them at first because their ancestors were forced by Virginia law to declare themselves other than what they actually were. But they are alive and well and their history is part of our history. Appreciation also goes to the many descendants of these first Americans who are bravely confronting accepted historical norms and a history written by their antagonists.

Albert Burckard Carrollton

Kudos for paving work

Editor, Smithfield Times Last week our Pave-In-Place road was treated with tar and topped with ‘moon dust’. The tar was precisely placed so it didn’t get onto lawns or driveways and the topping was exactly on top of the tar. It was an impressive result and the crew deserves to be complimented. Thanks to the contractor and to VDOT.

Jim Vandiver Smithfield

Has faith in all police

Editor, Smithfield Times There seems to be so much division, anger and racial tension between folks the past couple of years. Our very president, who takes no heritage to his white background, should set the example but has in fact incited several racial activities.

What saddens me is to have a “black” president, a huge historical landmark, but we still have made no progress. If anything, we have taken many steps backwards. I grew up military and met all walks of lives. People, the color of the skin doesn’t dictate who that person is.

The recent motto “Black lives matter” has not been used as awareness or educational, but instead is used as a venue to demonstrate racism. The simple solution to it all is to recognize that all lives matter!

I cannot understand the mentality that it is okay for a young black man to commit a crime, yet when he is killed by a white police officer, many scream prejudice as the motivator. When does the responsibility of a wrongful act by the young man take part in the picture? And then, many feel justified to riot and start a more recent motto: shoot policemen.

Perhaps we all need to consider what it would be like to have our lives threatened and fear grip you to the point you take measures to protect yourself that tragically ends in a death. I believe all police persons are trying to serve the public for safety against crimes and cannot imagine for a minute that someone literally uses their badge to kill because they are prejudiced. And let us remember that prejudice runs both ways.

If you want to take a stand, let us stand united as a nation unto God. Don’t let prejudices rule your lives. Let us all agree to put off all the years of harboring racism toward one another. Educate your young to look past the color of anyone’s skin and to look to the person inside. As long as there is racism in this nation, we will stand divided. And a nation divided falls.

Darlene Moskowicz Smithfield

Stand up for right

Editor, Smithfield Times MLK Jr. said “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” What is lost by many people is that they are being judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin! Many of the racially charged events over the last few years focus on the color of their skin only. The fact that they were not behaving properly, perhaps even breaking the law, seems not to matter.

We need to focus on working on both character and color. Let’s continue to work on race relations as it is still a problem everywhere, and remember racism goes both ways. We also need to work on the larger issue of bettering the content of the character of our young people. There is a pattern of entitlement within the last couple of generations that has run rampant and it is colorblind. 

Sitting down for our National Anthem looks to be the next wave of demonstrations to focus on color, but really it only further demonstrates a flawed content of character! Standing tall with your hand over your heart to honor the Pledge of Allegiance or National Anthem is perhaps how we start working on the content of our character. Change is not made by sitting; it is made by standing up for what is right and good.

Gregg Mitchell Smithfield