Letters to the editor – November 9th, 2016

Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Beware of promises

Editor, Smithfield Times

There is an old saying: “Your freedom ends at the tip of my nose.”

It usually comes to mind when reading about organizations or individuals applying for rezoning or a special-use permit in order to enhance their financial situation. But sometimes such actions adversely impact the finances of nearby property owners — and oftentimes at least impact the peaceful use and enjoyment of their property.

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I empathize with those affected by the actions of those seeking something only gained through municipal action. Usually, the seekers promise this and that, rainbows and butterflies, if only their wishes are granted.

Anecdotally, I remember that it was more than 50 years ago, in another municipality, when a development company wanted rezoning so that they could build apartments across the road from where I owned a piece of property. I spoke in opposition, and the developers assured the planning commission that, if granted rezoning, they would talk with the neighbors to alleviate any concerns. They were granted their wish, but when I politely approached them afterwards to discuss a few things, they would not talk to me. Why should they? They had what they wanted.

So, beginning with that episode, and through observations over the years regarding other similar situations, I have developed cynicism born through experience.

Now, I know one modest-but-successful developer who meets with the neighboring landowners beforehand, divining their concerns, and often enlisting them as allies. And when a project will be too impactful, with anticipated and understandable strong opposition, he walks away from it.

But for those individuals and organizations, seeking special use permits or rezoning, who encounter sincere and strong opposition, and then promise sunshine, moonbeams and pie-in-the-sky, beware.

Thank you for letting me reminisce and ruminate.

Allan C. Hanrahan

Park vandalism

Editor, Smithfield Times

Windsor Castle Park is a gem that was donated to the Town of Smithfield six years ago by Joe Luter III. The beauty of Windsor Castle Park goes beyond the ever-changing seasons. There are geese, ducks, and plenty of deer. One morning while walking in the park I witnessed a mother deer giving birth, just 10 yards away from my position on the trail. I have also seen at the park eagles nest with their eaglets and the Great Blue Heron nest on the nearby marshes. There are turtles, raccoons, skunks, rabbits and, yes, snakes.

Unfortunately, vandalism is an ongoing problem; from spray paint on signs and other property, to missing signs (Parents: check your children’s rooms please). These vandals strike mostly at night or early morning. I am asking all families to keep their eyes and ears open for any leads to the whereabouts of these signs. The signs are expensive to replace. The town just wants the signs back and in return we ask for some “preventative maintenance” to be done so this practice does not continue. The most costly damage is to the pig statues. One statue was completely destroyed and will not be replaced.

Hats off to the Windsor Castle Park “Trail Doctors” who keep the trails in beautiful shape along with our dedicated staff from Public Works. We have an average of 450 individuals that use the park on a daily basis. Pet owners, please be courteous of other park users and clean up behind your dogs, especially on the park bridges and trails. There are numerous doggie stations set up around the park for your convenience. Also on a positive note, it is easy to see that the natural playground is nearing completion. There will be a grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 19 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hot Dogs and Water will be served.

Restoration of the Windsor Castle Manor House and out buildings are 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.

I wish everyone a very Happy Fall season!

T. Carter Williams
Smithfield Mayor

Market is a boost

Editor, Smithfield Times

Recently, a decision was made to move “The Vintage Market” out of town.

In its short history, the Vintage Market has been proven to be a high water mark in sales for Main Street Merchants.

Here in Isle of Wight, we are fortunate to have a dynamic tourism director whose initiative and long history of success is unparalleled. Meanwhile, it appears that the County, the Town Council and The Smithfield Times are having a hard time keeping pace.

When the date for Souper Saturday was changed, I knew there would be trouble. The Smithfield community cherishes certain traditional special events such as Souper Saturday and the Christmas Parade. These events are perceived as an integral part of our local customs and way of life. The dates for these traditional events should never be changed nor challenged with concurrent events.

Now, the Main Street Merchants have not only lost The Vintage Market, but there will be few customers downtown on Vintage Market Weekend, since most customers will be at the fairgrounds.

Robert Redlin

Shared memories

Editor, Smithfield Times

One of my favorite activities is spending time with the residents of Magnolia Manor Assisted Living facility here in Smithfield. I go there to entertain them but I am always the one who is entertained!

Recently, with Veteran’s Day, the beginning of the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the upcoming (2017) memorial of the entrance of America in WWI, I asked for a few memories and received the following:

1. There are two ladies who were teenagers during the Nazi occupation in France. One was present on D-Day and remembers that she had never seen so many planes, ships and soldiers on the beaches near her home!

2. A gentleman who was a young child living in the East End of London recalled spending time in an “Anderson shelter” (a shelter in the yard to hide during the nightly bombing and rocket attacks. He and his brother were lucky enough to be sent to relatives in the country for safety. Some children were sent to strangers and spent years of abuse and cruelty. Their parents were desperate and had no idea what was happening at the time.

3. Another veteran from Smithfield remembers being 18 years old as a tail gunner and radio man in a Marine PBJ (the same as the Army B25). They flew so low that they could see the targets and people below.

4. Memories of a young wife left behind in a small Va. town with ration books, bills to pay and major decisions to be made with very little communication with her young husband who was flying all alone in a cockpit over Germany. A rare letter was her only reward! He did come home and they were married for over 69 years.

These memories are not unique, as every armed forces family knows. They have been experienced by all who have served from the Revolutionary War to Isis. We here in Smithfield are fortunate that many of our residents are retired military but young active duty families as well. This gives us a special opportunity and duty to thank and support those who serve and protect!

Join us for our annual Christmas Parade, Dec. 17 at 10 a.m. as we honor WWII veterans as our Grand Marshals.

Kathy Mountjoy

Ashamed of many

Editor, Smithfield Times

I am a military veteran from the Vietnam era.

I want to say that I am ashamed of this government in which I served and am now living under. I am ashamed of this administration, which has robbed us with lies and deceit. Our children no longer have a future.

I am ashamed of the U.S. Supreme Court that they do not know the difference between right and wrong, moral and immoral.

I am ashamed of Congress, Senate and House, for allowing this to continue. We elect these people to protect us, but yet the dollar cries out louder.

I am ashamed of Clinton knowing she put my security at risk. I am ashamed of the F BI that refused to prosecute her even though they said she was wrong in what she did. I tis a fact that rich people can get away with anything while the poor is crucified, double standard.

I am ashamed of the American people what wants to put such a person in office like this knowing what she has done, ignorance turned to sin. She will do it again.

Last of all, I have grown to be ashamed to be called a veteran knowing that I have wasted my life for a government t that no longer cares about its people nor its future, only money and control.

This country must have new faces in Washington instead of the ones that continue to keep pie around their mouth.

David Scott