Letters to the editor – March 22nd, 2017

Published 8:06 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Kudos to IWA & paper

Editor, Smithfield Times

I was very pleased to see a picture, along wit an accompanying story, on the front page of your newspaper dated March 15 concerning the students at Isle of Wight Academy attacking world hunger. With all the negative reports we often see on front pages, it is refreshing to read about the good works that our youth are involved in. Shannon Spain, along with other IWA staff members, are to be commended for coordinating the event. What a sensational accomplishment of getting 50 fourth through seventh graders together to pack 14,472 meals for hungry people world wide. Good job IWA!

I also noticed the absence of reporters such as Andy Fox from WAVY TV making a second trip to IWA to cover the story. He certainly knows the way to IWA, recently airing a very negative report about three of our students. As a matter of fact, your newspaper was the only media that chose to cover this very newsworthy event. Thank you and thanks to the students and staff of IWA

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Larry West

Thanks you, elected officials

Editor, Smithfield Times

Every year or two Surry County is faced with a divisive issue that our elected leaders are tasked with sorting through and coming to a decision that follows the law and seems best for the residents of Surry. The most recent issue has been the turning over of local sewage treatment to HRSD. A lot has been written about the ways HRSD would affect residents and businesses in Surry County and in the town of Surry. I do not care to rehash any of those arguments. I would, though, like to thank the elected leaders of our community for the thankless job at which they work.

While most of us spend some amount of time second guessing the decisions of the Board of Supervisors and Town Councils, few of us understand the hours of research, discussion and deliberation that goes into those decisions. We rarely understand the weight felt by our leaders as they make decisions, and we never have to endure the criticism leveled against them by those of us who disagree. Our elected officials work hard and do the very best they can, but usually only hear from us when we want to complain.

Members of the Board of Supervisors and local Town Councils are paid almost nothing for the sacrificial service they offer. It is a difficult job that few people are willing to take. Our elected officials choose to take on the jobs they do because they truly care about Surry.

Thank you to the Surry Board of Supervisors, the Surry Mayor and Town Council, the Dendron Mayor and Town Council, and the Claremont Mayor and Town Council. I trust that you are doing the very best you can to make our community a great place to live.

Jason Wiedel

Proposed cut alarming

Editor, Smithfield Times

The President has released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018 and we are extremely alarmed that the proposal completely eliminates funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. The Chesapeake Bay Program is the driver of our river and bay restoration programs in Virginia and is recognized as one of the most significant ecosystem restoration programs in the world. This funding cut will halt critical restoration efforts that have been underway for decades and have a history of bipartisan support.

The Chesapeake Bay Program is a cooperative effort of federal, state and local governments as well as local partners. Together, these groups have brought local rivers and streams back to life, including the improvement of the James River to a B- grade on the latest State of the James report. These cuts threaten to undermine to progress we have made and would allow the health of the James River to degrade again. Our cleanup efforts are paying off and we cannot stop.

On-the-ground projects that engage communities, such as our Walkable Watershed work in Lynchburg, Petersburg and Charlottesville neighborhoods, would not be possible without the Chesapeake Bay Program. Similarly, our work with local Soil and Water Conservation Districts to help farmers install stream protection practices is made possible by the Program. Efforts to monitor our waters and target and refine the cleanup plans would also be eliminated by these cuts.

Congress has the final say in shaping the budget and it is critical that our congressional representatives maintain essential funding for the Chesapeake Bay program. The James River Association will work with local, state and federal partners as well as our elected representatives to ensure that this funding is restored in the final Fiscal Year 2018 budget. We encourage all citizens to let their Senators and Representative know how important clean water and a healthy James River are and to urge them to restore funding to the Chesapeake Bay Program.

Bill Street
James River Association

A project handled well

Editor, Smithfield Times

I would like to commend Smithfield public works and Lewis Construction on their efficient handling of the Main Street water line project.

I am grateful to Jesse Snead of the town, Stacy Lewis of Lewis Construction, and their crews for providing thorough information to merchants and residents before and during the project. Good weather has sped the project along, and Lewis Construction minimized disruption by being flexible about business deliveries, and scheduling some service interruptions in off hours.

Thanks also to Rick Bodson, Project Manager of Smithfield 2020, for relaying information between the crews and merchants, allowing everyone to cope effectively with these necessary disruptions.

Main Street will have some scars until next year. However, coordination between the project team and property owners made this water line replacement go as smoothly as we had hoped. Thanks to everyone involved.

Andy Cripps

IW Chamber of Commerce

Repaving in 2018

Editor, Smithfield Times

Thanks once again to the merchants on Main Street for their patience while the main water line replacement is under way. The work should be complete by the end of March and the street will then be “patched.”

In May 2016 the town notified Dominion Power, Charter Cable and Columbia Gas as to the work that was to be performed starting Jan. 1, 2017. Columbia Gas decided in January 2017 that they wanted to replace the gas line, but couldn’t start until April 2017 and would take approximately 2-3 months to complete the work. With the tourist season coming, we felt that we didn’t need Main Street torn up at that time. They have agreed to start in January 2018 and finish by March 2018 at which time we can then repave the street.

The Joseph W. Luter, Jr. Sports Complex is well under way and ahead of schedule. We signed a contract to have the concession stand built, and although the bids were higher than anticipated, we are still slightly under budget. The concession stand is a multi-purpose building that contains two large rest rooms to handle the many people that will be on the site, a meeting room, a storage room, a kitchen, and serving room. Upstairs there will be four press/announcer boxes that will overlook each field.

The Wombwell house is still for sale and we have reduced the selling price by 50 percent and it’s now 50 cents. Any takers? All you have to do is remove it from the site.

The boat ramp is still undergoing changes as the bids came in way over budget, so we are still pursuing a direction to go but we will not be launching boats this year. As you may know, we have received a grant from VMRC for $250,000, but the bids were all well over that amount. Back to the drawing board.

Windsor Castle Park historic restoration on the outbuildings, Manor house, and Caretakers house are well under way and ahead of schedule, thanks to the mild winter. Stop by and take a look.

T. Carter Williams
Smithfield mayor