Letters to the editor – December 14th, 2016

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Several local issues

Editor, Smithfield Times

As a concerned citizen, I feel the need to add my two cents on the following issues.

1. The Bike trail. First, if built, has anyone given consideration to the crossing of the creek along Nike Park Road? The current bridge must be on someone’s list for major overhaul in the near future? Would this be an option to include pedestrian crossing if a new bridge built? Does the trail really need to be 10 feet wide? I have seen many examples in other small towns where bike trails were included as part of the shoulder of the road where viable.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

2. Infrastructure. Are we the next Flint? The water and sewer lines in several large areas are on their last leg. Downtown and the subdivisions on both sides of South Church street have water lines pushing 50 years Old. Some are older. Is there a replacement schedule? Same thing with our roads, Miles of asphalt streets need replacement. I recently witnessed new pavement being laid and then three months later, contractors were digging up that same pavement to replace 60-year-old rotten water lines. Is anyone thinking ahead?

3. Pierceville. I would hate to see the Town put up money to help buy a piece of property so the Citizens in Goose Hill subdivision can keep their “rural” view. The town has enough to keep up with, all financed by the taxpayer. It’s time for the “Preserve Smithfield” group to, as they say, “Either put up or shut up.” The Delk family has the right to look at all options that would benefit them financially. We (the town) opened this Pandora’s box By demanding that Mrs, Delk preserve her property.

Bracey Scott

Capitalist gangsters

Editor, Smithfield Times

Some of my friends advise me to relax and accept Trump. “He won,” they say, and I know they are concerned about my peace of mind, if not my sanity. I can’t accept this guy. I will urge the Electors to deny him for as long as it is timely. Then, if he is confirmed, I will continue to point out every crooked and stupid thing he does while I redouble my support of decent office seekers.

I will briefly explain why. Having spent most of my adult life fighting the so-called “cold” war to resist a world run by Communist gangsters, I now find that the Capitalist gangsters have moved in. And most of them are homegrown. But they are still gangsters and need to be resisted.

OK, that should explain my knee-jerk reaction to bullies, but what about my support of a so-called “progressive” agenda? Why do I support an agenda that redistributes wealth to the extent that each of us has a decent standard of living, a decent education and decent medical care?

Simple. Enlightened self-interest. I want to live in a kinder, gentler world and, more importantly, I want my children, their children and everyone’s children to have that kind of world. I know, you have worked and toiled since you were 12. So have I. Wasn’t that much fun. And I am sure you learned something about yourself and the world from that experience. What I learned is that (a) I could handle it and survive and that (b) it is evil to exploit anyone, especially children.

John Wandling


No charge to vendors?

Editor, Smithfield Times

Saturday, Dec. 10 was brutal for the vendors who endured temperatures in the 30’s up and down Main Street until 10 p.m. I asked one vendor what she paid to have the space. The answer is $60. She said a week ago she was in Phoebus and paid $25 for the space at a similar market event. My feelings are that vendors should pay zero. They are goodwill ambassadors. They bring people to Smithfield and these people could very well be inclined to return.

The market helps enhance Smithfield as a friendly tourist town. If you agree or disagree with me that vendors should not be charged for space, then make yourself heard in a Reader Forum letter.

Willamena Thomas

Magical Night

Editor, Smithfield Times

This year the town Tree Lighting Ceremony was returned to its historic location on the Smithfield Times Lawn. A beautiful 14-foot Frazier fir tree purchased by the town was the focal point of this magical evening. I would like to extend a special thank you to all of the following individuals and groups who contributed to the success of this event.

Mayor Carter Williams welcomed nearly 250 people to the Times Lawn and offered history of this event which has been a part of Smithfield for over 40 years. Reverend Connie Gilman with Christ Episcopal offered a special message explaining the traditional meaning of holly berries. A special thank you to the Smithfield High School Band and Band Director Joel Joyner who performed throughout our program. Also, a big thank you to the Hardy Elementary School Chorus under the direction of Alison Chapman who kicked off our program with crowd-pleasing holiday songs.

Club President Royce Patrick announced local author Doris Gwaltney as the 2016 “Tree Lighter” and recognized her many contributions to the community and to her church Trinity Methodist. Mrs. Gwaltney was escorted to the tree and turned on the lights after a climactic audience countdown.

Special entertainment continued with a musical medley by the Smithfield High Band, breathtaking vocal selections by Anna Heffington and the Dempsey Sisters who sang their own rendition of two holiday favorites and encouraged audience participation. Town Crier Robert Cox announced the event throughout the town and Gail Smith, the Woman’s Club Elf offered candy canes to all the children.

Special thanks to my Committee and to all the Woman’s Club members who baked homemade cookies for the event and to those who served cider, cookies and water to Tree Lighting guests.

Linda Lytton
Tree Lighting Chair
Woman’s Club of Smithfield

Troubling scenes

Editor, Smithfield Times

We were watching Blue Bloods on television one night until we saw some disgusting scenes.

First, a young policeman crawled into bed with his girlfriend. Later he was watching a man whose hands were tied behind his back being forced to sniff cocaine and the officer did nothing to stop it. Another police beat up someone and threw him in the trunk of a car.

This type of thing does not need to be shown on television. It makes people wonder if our policemen are like that. It gives the respected policemen a bad name.

Ruth Price

Guns protect

Editor, Smithfield Times

The people who “report news” are always telling us that the long-barreled semi-auto carbines that we have are weapons of war and that they have no legitimate function other than that.

But if the guns we have fit that description, then the short-barreled full auto MP5k’s that the president’s body guards carry certainly do too. But, strangely, I’ve never heard the peole who “report news” say anything about them.

If asked, they’d say that those weapons of war are being used to defend the president and that those carrying them have training.

But if weapons of war can defend the president, then we can use them to defend ourselves. And, as for training, everybody and his brother has been in the military, so we’ve had training too.

“But you don’t need guns when you have the police to protect you,” some say. Yeah, right. And you don’t need fire extinguishers when you have firemen to protect you.

“But fire extinguishers don’t kill.” True, but irrelevant. Fire extinguishers can save you for a fire and a gun can save y ou from a violent criminal.

But still, the bottom line is gun control for u s and weapons of war for Obama, our “gun control for the people but weapons of war for me” president.

So, I guess Orwell was right. Everybody’s equal, but some are more equal than others.

Jim P. McAdaragh

Thanks to everyone

Editor, Smithfield Times

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following, who assisted in making the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day at Ivy Hill Cemetery on Dec. 7 a success:

First, the staff of Smithfield and Isle of Wight Tourism, which is the best.

Earle Southard and Jim Phillips with the VFW Post 8545 for flag duty and Skip Sharpley for his excellent tent service.

Richard Stoud, a member of Bugles across America and Taps for Veterans for his excellent performance of Call to Colors and Taps.

Peyton Barlow and Johnny Stallings, members of the Ivy Hill Board for taking such good care of Ivy Hill Cemetery to allow for special activities such as the above mentioned.

Pat Hall, Ivy Hill Board Member and member of the DAR for providing the 48 star flags for the event.

Peter Knauth, Ivy Hill Board member for assisting in locating and marking graves of WWI and WWII veterans for flag placement.

Ron Koenig, Judy Winslow and Jennifer Vanhoorbeck for reading Westside Elementary students Veteran’s Day selections.

Smithfield Police Department for providing an officer to assist in parking and Smithfield Foods for allowing us to use their parking lot.

Most of all thanks to all the veterans who left their families to fight on foreign shores to allow us the freedoms that we have today. 

Katherine Walls Mountjoy

Group Coordinator
IW Tourism

Historic setting

Editor, Smithfield Times

It is difficult to imagine how many Christmas Eve services have been offered at Historic St. Luke’s. I attended them year after year as a child and into my college days. I would come home for the Christmas Holidays, grab my heavy coat, hat, gloves, and warm boots and hurry down to the mid-night service. It was a long walk down the dark path with my flashlight, but glorious when I arrived at that beautiful old door to find the church filled with candlelight.

Local folks from Smithfield, the county and beyond came in until there was standing room only. Tucked together tightly holding little candles, not yet lit, we kept each other warm — those were the days when we did not worry about infringing upon another’s space. In the early days when I visited, I remember the pew backs were high, and doors were on the aisle to keep out the drafts. Once the service started, cold was forgotten as I focused on a most meaningful service that called me back again and again. There is something really special about being in that historic place and soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of several hundred years of its existence.

I can’t wait for this December 24th when I will attend a service there after many, many years. The path is now lit by lovely lamps, the foyer is no longer dark, the church is now warm and electric lights illuminate the interior. Though there are no wax candles flickering, but safer battery-powered candles look amazingly real, and they DO flicker!

The service will be filled with music beginning at 10 p.m. The Rev. Connie Gilman, Rector at Christ Episcopal Church Smithfield will officiate beginning at 10:30 pm, and The Rev. Bob Gilman, now at historic Glebe Episcopal Church, will offer the sermon. This service will be a Holy Rite I Eucharist and all are invited to the table. Do come and join me in this sacred place in the woods with its almost 400 year history.

Another day, go and visit this living museum in the daylight with its many books, pictures and other artifacts. Take a trip through this lovely property with a tour guide. You will enjoy every minute as you are transported back in time.

Mary Cole