Letters to the editor – September 28th, 2016

Published 6:37 pm Tuesday, September 27, 2016

No to adult entertainment

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I find it very troubling that Isle of Wight County is considering changing zoning regulations for a variety of business types, which include adult entertainment establishments. I am quite sure that I am not alone with what that title brings to mind. It is particularly frightening when it is stated that the distance is proposed to be shortened from one mile to 1,000 feet from schools.

    If this is passed, no matter what the county’s definition is of adult entertainment, I am sure that any person can find a way around it as the definition of adult entertainment is quite up for grabs in any court.

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    Please, county officials, come to your senses and at least change the wording of this ridiculous regulation and omit adult entertainment entirely. Use your God given brains, if you have any among you.

Linda Reagan

Doesn’t like sidewalk idea

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    The proposal to build a five-foot-wide sidewalk along South Church Street in lieu of a ten-foot-wide multipurpose trail just won’t work. Bicyclists will just ride in traffic in the 35 mph zone along the South Church Street business district, which will be unsafe and will impede traffic.

    The alternative proposal to have bike traffic follow Lumar Road and John Rolfe Drive is clearly at odds with the first objective stated in the county’s bike plan, which is to “Develop a countywide walkway, bikeway, and greenway network among residential neighborhoods, Towns, workplaces, shopping centers, historic districts, schools, libraries, recreation centers, parks, and other destinations, including linkages to neighboring jurisdictions.” The bike trail should not be thought of as just a recreational amenity. It should be thought of as part of the transportation network.

    The idea of a spur along John Rolfe Drive in addition to the main route along South Church Street has merit. A similar spur is needed to Gatling Pointe, and a short bike and pedestrian ramp is needed between Fairway Drive and Cedar Street. The next major expansion should be to Eagle Harbor. That would give Smithfield and Carrollton a network that would be the envy of the region.

    Thank you for patiently tolerating my views.

Greg Vassilakos

Supporting education

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    The Education Foundation for Isle of Wight Public Schools last year raised more than $80,000 in donations, all of which went directly into the classrooms of our nine public schools to pay for innovative projects, trips and activities that weren’t otherwise funded. The Foundation also donated $20,000 to help launch the new greenhouse/agriculture program at Windsor High School and will continue to support that project.

    With the school system’s new project-based learning initiatives, the Foundation anticipates even more teacher grant applications for funding this year as teachers learn new ways of instructing their students and come up with more innovative plans and ideas. Foundation Board members are excited to see the enthusiasm among students, teachers and administrators as the new school year begins.

    This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Education Foundation for Isle of Wight Public Schools, a nonprofit 501©(3) organization comprised entirely of volunteers from your community. With our major fundraiser just weeks away, we ask you to consider supporting this worthy cause. Our annual Students’ First Gala and Auction is Saturday, Oct. 15 at The Smithfield Center and it is a great celebration of the outstanding school system we have in our county. Please consider buying tickets to attend the dinner and auction and becoming an event sponsor. There are many ways in which you can participate whether as an individual, business owner or corporate sponsor. All of the information on how to become involved is on our website at www.iowfoundation.org, or contact me or any one of our Foundation board members.

    Together we can make a difference in our schools, in our county, in our society. Thank you for working together with us to support our schools.

JoAnn W. Hall
IW Education Foundation

Town activities

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    There are several things happening in town that I would like to discuss.

    Main Street is bumpy to say the least; the town will soon be in the process of replacing or repairing water and sewer lines. As soon as that work is completed, the street will be refinished. The three options we are considering are: brown rock (as it currently is), stamped asphalt or, my favorite, pavers (the most expensive option).

    The Joseph W. Luter, Jr. Sports Complex will begin construction sometime in October or November. I am hopeful that we will be playing ball and the Relay for Life will be holding their rallies on the track by late Spring 2017.

    Meanwhile, a public boat ramp being put in at Clontz Park should constructed beginning in November and ready for boat launching by late Spring 2017.

    Restoration of the Windsor Castle Manor House and outbuildings is under review by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and a notice will be sent out soon to detail the scope of work to be completed.

    There are many events in the town throughout the year and it seems we have become quite the destination for visitors from all over. We would like to thank all of the homeowners and businesses who have endured all of the vehicle and foot traffic when these events take place. These events tend to get crowded together sometimes and we are working hard to suit everyone as best we can. We sincerely appreciate your patience and willingness to embrace our visitors.

    The Town of Smithfield provides water for the cheapest rate of any other water system in Isle of Wight. However, we draw and treat water from the groundwater aquifers, and the state may be reducing our future allotment. We also still have a debt on our reverse osmosis water plant. Thus, towns of Smithfield and Windsor and the County of Isle of Wight have formed a task force to look at the water situation that will no doubt be changing in 10 – 15 years and as we all know the County has plenty of water from the infamous Norfolk water deal.

T. Carter Williams
Smithfield Mayor

Homework reinforces

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    As a retired educator of Isle of Wight County, I was very proud to read that all nine of Isle of Wight County’s schools are fully accredited. This is certainly a testimony of the very fine work being accomplished by the past and present administrators, teachers, parents and students. It reflects a job well done.

    However, I do have a concern about the new policies. I am aware of technology and that changes need to be made. We are living in a global world. We must remember that children need structure and guidance. I have many years of experience on all levels of teaching. All students do not work well on their own. Reinforcement of classroom work and practice will lead to better understanding for students.

    In my opinion, homework should not be an option. Certainly, teachers should have leeway as to the amount of credit for homework, but I feel that it should be of some credit. It will help students to become more responsible and more accountable. This is part of maturing and becoming adjusted adults. Parents need to be concerned about changes in their children’s school system.

Hazel C. Edwards

Voting Democratic

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    The Democratic Party is responsible historically for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the student loan programs, the Affordable Care Act and the desegregation of public schools.

    The Republican Party is responsible historically for “trickle down” economics which has facilitated income inequality and free market economics, which has created unfair trade agreements leading to job loss to other “less costly countries.”

    In addition, Republicans are responsible for budget sequestration, leading to automatic defense industry cuts and one government shutdown, with a continuing threat of more shutdowns and further automatic cuts.

    I think the results speak for themselves. I will be voting for the Democratic candidates in the upcoming Presidential and Congressional elections.

Joe Puglisi

Brave men and women

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    What a blessing it is to live in a small town like Smithfield. On July 22, we experienced the scariest time in our lives, as we had a house fire on a Friday afternoon. After dialing 911, the Smithfield Fire Department arrived in less than 10 minutes, followed by the Carrollton Fire Department.

    Since the fire was under our house, these firefighters had to crawl through two small crawl spaces. The fire was blazing and those men and women managed to put the fire out within several hours. The Fire Chief, Jerry Hackney, even returned later that night to make sure that the fire was out completely.

    We are so appreciative of both fire departments for their quick responses, bravery and professionalism.

    Saying thank you just doesn’t begin to let both fire departments know how much we appreciate all that they did. We also want to thank the Isle of Wight Rescue Squad and the Smithfield Police Department who came to our rescue.

    These brave men and women risk their lives every day to protect the citizens of Smithfield and Isle of Wight County. Let us never forget how important they are to our town!

Joe & Brenda Saunders

More on trail doctors

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    Regarding the Second Front article in the Sept. 21 issue of the Times, “Pesky trees marked for destruction,” I would like to expand upon a few points in this very informative piece. If readers are not familiar with the Windsor Castle Park Trail Doctors, we are a “volunteer trail and maintenance team.” Typical tasks that Trail Doctors perform in support of our mission include trail repairs and improvements (primarily erosion issues), storm cleanup and leaf blowing, especially in support of community events like foot races in the park. Over the past year our tasks have expanded to include invasive species eradication projects, which started with English ivy removal, and then expanded to address the other invasive plant species mentioned in the article.

    I would also like to emphasize that the Trail Doctors have a close working relationship with the Town of Smithfield Public Works (PW) department. We are reliant on resources that PW provides like tractor support for hauling “crush and run” (gravel) for trail repairs, downed, damaged or dead tree removal, and herbicide spraying, among others. As an example, PW played a key role in the Tree-of-Heaven eradication project by providing herbicide spraying using a basal bark treatment on female Trees-of-Heaven six inches in diameter and smaller and most recently, in the Japanese Stilt Grass eradication effort.

    If anyone is interested in volunteering as a Trail Doctor, please contact Amy Musick, Director, Smithfield Center and Outdoor Venues, at (757) 356-9939.

Steve Senkovich
Trail Doctor Volunteer

A Celtic experience

    Editor, Smithfield Times

    I would like to express my deep gratitude to all who took part to present yet another profoundly peaceful and serene Celtic Candlelight Service at Christ Episcopal Church on Sept. 18.

    Even though I was unable to attend this one I was able to enjoy it through a recording and photographs. I was more than deeply moved.

    The exquisite cello, choral and organ music perfectly embodied the quiet, reflective, healing essence of the service. Words really cannot describe the experience that evening.

    Listening, I was transported to a time long ago; a simpler but darker time when such a service would uplift heavy hearts to feel the embracing and upholding love from God.

    The Celtic monks persevered and kept the “light” beautifully alive during those dark times.

    I believe that this recent service was very similar to the services of the long-ago Celts in important ways: The night was filled with warmth, light, love, peace, thanksgiving, adoration, praise, and connection to God, humankind, earth; It served as a balm to transport one away from the grubby and gruesome pall of the 24 hour daily news cycle.

    My heart was so full. Tears were in my eyes. I cannot help but think that this services’ wondrous energy traveled far beyond the walls of Christ Episcopal Church that night and continued to resound. Its energy served to keep lit the light of God’s expansive love and profound messages for all.

    Such a service is ministry beyond the limits of walls and time… as was the time transcendent ministry of the Celtic monks.

    We have had wonderful music every Celtic Service. But the cello became my favorite in the way it made the service so deeply moving.

    There are two or three Celtic Candlelight Services at Christ Episcopal Church each year, and they are open to all. You are in for a very special experience if ever you are able to attend.

Betsy Egan