Letters to the editor – May 17th, 2017

Published 6:59 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Town will be a bully

Editor, Smithfield Tim´s
This is a no win situation for Smithfield if they keep on bullying Mrs. Crocker. The Council does not want Mrs. Crocker to tear down her buildings. Mrs. Crocker cannot afford to repair her buildings, so her only recourse is to demolish them. The people want the buildings restored. The Council wants the buildings restored but refuses to buy the property and pay for the restoration. Mrs. Crocker has offered to give the buildings to the town but the Council has refused her offer.

For Heaven’s sake, she is in her 80s. She is not going to be able to afford the restoration by getting a job and saving up for it. She is not going to be able to pay whatever amount the town sues her for.

This is a no win situation for both parties but much more for the Town of Smithfield. The Town is going to look like a big bully. It going to be the loser in the end because the buildings will not be restored by Mrs. Crocker. Think about it. The Town of Smithfield will be a big winner if Pierceville is restored. It will be great for tourism and great for the County and the Town.

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Linda Reagan

Views at the park

Editor, Smithfield Times
I look forward to your paper each week. The baby eagles in the picture May 17 are now nearly grown and are exercising their wings, preparing to fledge very soon. Also, there are three babies this year. If anyone wants to see them, go to Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield, park in the kayak parking lot, walk 150 yards south to the observation pier and look south across the marsh to the huge nest in a tall pine tree in the middle of an island. Take your binoculars with you and enjoy the view.

As a bonus, you can also see Roger Ealy supervising restoration work on the outbuildings at Windsor Castle. Roger and his workers are really, really good at saving old buildings. Thank you to Joe Luter III and the Smithfield Town Council for providing the money and letting skilled workers do the restoration right.

Some of the materials Roger is using will extend the life of the buildings for much longer than would have been possible with the untreated lumber used to build the buildings originally.

Stanley Barlow

Politics of division

Editor, Smithfield Times Dear Sirs, you recently received a letter from a gentleman named Brandon Howard purporting to represent the leadership of the 3rd and 4th Republican Congressional District Committees alleging that Mr. Rex Alphin, Republican candidate for the House of Delegates 64th District, is not “Republican” enough for their liking.

I can assure you that they do NOT represent the leadership of the Congressional Districts or the 64th Legislative District. No one from Isle of Wight County signed that letter. Several who did sign do not live in the district concerned. The general public would do well to disregard it. No one benefits from the politics of division.

Lori Carlson
64th Republican Legislative District Committee 

Sheriff’s backing

Editor, Smithfield Times During the course of my career in public safety, I have rarely publicly commented about candidates seeking elected office. The seat for the 64th district in the House of Delegates, however, necessitates comment.

I am no stranger to contested races for public office. Platforms and party positions have a place in an election. The most important qualifiers, however, are the character traits that a candidate possesses. Integrity and a true concern for the betterment of the community should be at the top of the list.

Since my election as Sheriff in 2012, I have worked with Rex and the other supervisors to cooperatively find solutions facing public safety in Isle of Wight County. Many challenges were presented. I had a front row seat to the decision-making by the governing body. Rex’s approach has always included a detailed analysis of the issues presented. His thoughtful methodology and deliberate manner is an example all politicians should emulate.

His demeanor and the inclusive way he runs the meetings as the chair for the Board of Supervisors is but one example as to how Rex conducts the people’s business. Even with extremely contentious issues, Rex always makes accommodation for all sides to present their concerns. I know firsthand that he listens to the varying positions and then makes a decision that represents the best interest of all citizens in the county. His compassion and care for the residents speaks volumes of this man’s character. Rex uses a moral compass that subscribes to the highest tenets of integrity and doing the right thing for the citizens he represents.

It is said that the best predictor of future behavior, is the past behavior of a candidate. His intelligence, his thoughtful approach, and his even-handed temperament will be a welcome addition to the House of Delegates. Without any reservation, I am supporting Rex Alphin for the House of Delegates. All of us in Isle of Wight and the entire 64th District will be well served by his election.

Mark A. Marshall
IW Sheriff

Alphin a perfect candidate

Dear Editor, I would like to respond to the letter that was written to the editor from some of the Republican leadership in Wednesday’s Smithfield Times. The leadership of the Republican party should have asked their Republican members, because I, as well as many other Republicans, totally disagree with the remarks made by them.

Rex Alphin would be a fantastic delegate! He touches the hearts of everyday people — the real people of the 64th district. He is from the Carrsville District, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, and is serving his second term on the Board. Mr. Alphin attended Virginia Tech. He is a farmer, author and local newspaper columnist. Mr. Alphin is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Western Tidewater Regional Jail Authority and serves on the Hampton Roads Transportation and Accountability Commission (HRTAC).

He previously served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in 2014 and has served on the Isle of Wight County Planning Commission, the Virginia Pork Industry Board, and the Virginia Crop Improvement Association. He has proven his leadership and care for our community.

What an incredible opportunity the Republicans of IOW, Petersburg, Suffolk and the other cities of the 64th district to have Rex Alpin as the candidate to represent them. His love of the land. His personal connection with farming (family) and pride in producing a crop. He’s experience in growing the economy of the 64th. Make him the perfect Republican delegate to vote for.

Kimberly Winget
Republican Women South of The James

Alphin critics are wrong

Editor, Smithfield Times
I grew up in the same neighborhood as Rex Alphin and have known he and his family for many years. I know them all to be honest and upstanding people, but that in itself, as anyone that knows me will tell you, would not cause me to support him for Delegate in the 64th District. I have many people I respect and love that I could not support for that position because they are not qualified. As the representative for our area, the Delegate for the 64th District is a critical position for us the citizens of that District. After seeing Rex Alphin perform in several public service positions, I know without any doubt he is qualified for that position.

I have seen two criticisms of him in the press that simply are not accurate. One is that he voted several times to raise taxes in Isle of Wight County. He did, but with absolutely no choice. There is no one more opposed to the raising of taxes and waste of taxpayer dollars than myself, as anyone that has read my letters or heard me speak at Board of Supervisor Meetings can tell you, but I did not protest these additional taxes because after research, it became apparent that the Board that was in power before Mr. Alphin was a member made such horrible financial decisions — making the county one of the most in-debt in the Commonwealth — that they he had no choice. They could have closed schools, cut emergency services, cut law enforcement or raised taxes. They had bills to pay and were left in a horrible financial position and did what they had to do.

The other is that he is a follower and not a leader. I know, from my own observations in several very tough situations that I observed him politically navigate, that is so untrue. He is just a quiet, calming, nudging, and yes, when he has to be maybe cunning, but always honest leader. Not every good leader is loud and screaming. Some get much more done in a behind scenes quiet way. That is Rex Alphin’s type.   I know of no one better suited for this position and it will be a very interesting experiment for the citizens of the 64th District. Can a truly honest person be successful in Richmond? If Rex is our candidate, we will see.

Volpe Boykin

Grice for Alphin

Editor, Smithfield Times
Back in 2014 the then Board of Supervisors increased the residential real estate tax rate by $0.12 or to $0.85. Additionally, the same board believed that an additional $0.05/year for the next two years would be needed. The board had been advised that this was the only way it could stop the ongoing hemorrhaging of the county’s rainy day fund and that the county was dangerously close to having its credit rating negatively impacted.

In January 2016, Rex Alphin was completing his first year as Chairman on the Board of Supervisors. As one of three new board members, I nominated Rex to continue as Chair for another year and he was elected unanimously. I nominated him not because I looked favorably upon the outgoing board’s performance, but because under his leadership the planned $0.05 residential real estate tax increase for FY2015/16 had been set aside and the county’s financial belt dramatically tightened. Without the tax increase, he led the county to its first budget surplus in almost a decade

Once again Chairman Alphin and the new Board passed a FY2016/17 budget that set the 2014 board’s plan on its ear. No real estate tax rate increase for the second year. And this past Thursday evening, the Board of Supervisors passed the 2017/18 operating and capital project budgets. There will not be an increase in real estate taxes, nor will there be any no new borrowing of capital to fund a $16 million budget for capital projects.

In January 2018, Rex will leave the Board with the honor of being the only three consecutive year chairman in many decades, who did not have a residential tax rate increase while they held the chairmanship. That’s what I would call real fiscal conservatism.

Some have questioned his political party affiliation or membership, but membership in a particular political party is not a requirement for local elected officials. In fact, it is discouraged. Rex has been outstanding when it comes to representing his constituents regardless of their party affiliation.

The Republican Party should be thankful that it has two “outstanding” candidates running in this year’s primary for the 64th District. I am! 

Dick Grice

Cemetery preservation

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Isle of Wight County Historical Society wishes to publicly thank Eagle Scout Logan Meyer of Carrollton for undertaking the cleanup of the historic Shoal Bay Cemetery.

Logan, along with his father Bruce Meyer and friend Andrew Kowalski, took on the weed and detritus clearing of the cemetery as an official Eagle Scout project. We especially appreciate the care taken to avoid contact with the ancient grave markers that identify the cemetery.

This sacred site contains, among others, the final resting place of one of our county’s more famous sons, Captain Mallory Todd. It was he, of course, who made the Smithfield Ham world famous and, by extension, the town where he established his export business in the late eighteenth century. This small cemetery takes its name from the former 17th century church established here concurrently with St. Luke’s.

The cemetery cleanup was also timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the founding of Bethany Church. It was Captain Todd who, in 1817, deeded the land for a “Methodist Episcopal Church” near Wrenn’s Mill that is the Bethany UMC of today. Sincere thanks go to Logan Meyer and the Eagle Scouts for helping to preserve Isle of Wight County history, and we are also grateful to the Liebherr Family of Austria for allowing access to the site for the purpose of maintaining this historic property.

Albert Burckard

Conservative leader

Editor, Smithfield Times
Rex Alphin is a smart, conservative leader who listens to his constituents and makes decisions based on what is best for the people he represents. Rex is a man of principle, a person of integrity and the kind of representative people in the 64th District need in Richmond.  I know these things because I had the privilege of serving with him for three years on the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors.  While we didn’t agree on every issue, it was evident to me that Rex Alphin wanted the same thing that I did and that was to make Isle of Wight County the very best that it can be. I believe Rex will continue to be the people’s representative in Richmond, making good, smart decisions based on what is best for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the 64th District in particular. His rural background, his beloved vocation as a farmer and steward of the land, and his conservative philosophies make him an excellent choice for our General Assembly.

For all of these reasons, my husband, Mark, and I support Rex Alphin for Delegate. We encourage you to do your homework on the candidates in the June Primary and expect you will come to the same conclusion. Vote Rex Alphin!

JoAnn West Hall

Investing her vote in Alphin

Editor, Smithfield Times
Throughout life’s journey, we come in contact with individuals who leave their mark on our lives in special ways. Such is the case with Rex Alphin. I have known Rex since we attended school together at Windsor High, let’s just say many years ago. I am proud to say Rex Alphin was a man of integrity then and continues to be now as well.

It is Rex Alphin’s love of people and the values instilled in him as a young man, growing up on a family farm that he continues to manage today that truly shaped his life. He has served in many capacities throughout his political career, most recently as a member of the Isle of Wight county Board of Supervisors.

But my interaction with Rex Alphin does not end with our attending school together. During his tenure with the county, I served as the Assistant Director of Social Services and now as an advocate for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault victims in our county. Each and every time I have seen and talked with Rex Alphin while serving in those positions, he has always shown a genuine interest in the programs administered at Social Services and in the wellbeing of the victims we serve. One can usually tell when speaking to a person who holds a political office when their interest is genuine and when it is just superficial. I know that Rex Alphin has a genuine interest in people, in governing efficiently and effectively and in doing the right thing whenever possible.

I realize that with the expanded geographical area in the 64th District, Rex will be challenged to serve more people, cover more area and address a myriad of issues. But I also know without the slightest doubt in my mind that Rex Alphin will work as hard for everyone in the 64th District as he has in the past for our locality.

And so it is with great pride that I enthusiastically endorse Rex Alphin as the Republican candidate for the 64th District. A vote for Rex Alphin is not a vote wasted, but a vote invested.

Nell J. Cyr

‘Thank you’ to supporters

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Carrollton Ruritan Club would like to thank everyone who supported both our twice-yearly Fish Fry Fundraiser on Saturday May 6 and also the Fish Fry luncheon we catered on May 17 for the Isle of Wight Commission on Aging at Smithfield Center. We also deeply appreciate sponsoring businesses whose special purchases of tickets and contributions exceed $140, with special thanks to the Wal-Mart Store 4623 across the James River Bridge and Travis’ Auto Service.

Others who purchased 10 or more tickets and/or contributions of $70-$100 include Import Car Service, Hannover Technical Sales, Jones & Jones Attorneys, Mike Duman Auto Sales, Colonial Funeral Home, Farmer’s Service, Bon Vivant Wine & Beer, The Oaks Vet Clinic, Saunders Supply, Crittenden Services, Isle of Wight & Suffolk Materials. And we always appreciate the neighbors who drive in on the day of the event without advanced tickets.

Our mission as Ruritans is community improvement through our fellowship, goodwill and community service. Our fund-raising efforts help us to provides six scholarships for a total of $4,600 to be awarded later this month to college-bound students. Other support and assistance goes to the Carrollton Library summer reading program, sponsorship for six decades of Scout Troop and Pack 36, and other support of the Free Clinic, Food Bank, Meals on Wheels and more.

Thanks again for your support of our work in the community.

Jim Henderson
Carrollton Ruritan Club 

Two types of intervention

Editor, Smithfield Times
Interventions can be the difference between life and death for a drug addict or an alcoholic. Not every person in need of rehab is going to initially jump at the chance to get clean and handle the issues that drove them to addiction. While some addicts or alcoholics have been so badly beaten and battered by their lifestyle that they grasp at the first opportunity to deal with their problems, others need some type of external help in order to seek help. Interventions are extremely helpful tools for families who are dealing with a loved one who is completely against getting help and resistant to going to treatment.

There are two types of interventions; one where the family sits down with the addict and has a professional interventionist conduct a family intervention, where the addict is confronted and offered drug rehab. If they choose not to attend drug rehab, the family gives the addict consequences for their choice.

The other type of intervention is done by an interventionist and conducted on a one-on-one basis, where the interventionist works with the addict alone to get their agreement to go to treatment. Once the interventionist, in either case, gets the addict to choose help, they will escort them to the treatment center the family has picked out and gets them successfully checked in.

Often, interventionists can be more successful in handling the addict than the family since, in many cases, the interventionist is an ex-addict himself. By having gone through addiction, the interventionist can level with the addict, speak from their reality and truly understand and have empathy for what they are going through.

The interventionist is also a neutral party and not heavily emotionally involved in the situation like the family is. If an addict is struggling with addiction, but refuses help, interventions can be a powerful tool used to save their life.

For more information on interventions, or if you are in need of a referral to a treatment center, call us at (877) 841-5509.

Luke Nichols
Clearwater, Fla.

Crying for the world

Editor, Smithfield Times
I sit today listening to the beautiful strains of Rachel Portman’s “The Cider House Rules” and felt warm tears roll down my checks at this beautiful music. It is Mother’s Day.

My thoughts fell on Grandmother Earth and how we have treated Her through the 73 years I have been alive. How sad and thoughtless of us. We with the brains, heart and soul who have stripped away Her treasures and left Her with great holes in Her face and soiled her waters and oceans with no regard for Her children who live there.

I thought of all the dear mothers who have lost their children to senseless and constant wars; to violence of any kind, boys and girls alike, from hate, bullying, racial prejudice, religious prejudice all over the earth. Those who starve each day and those who are ill, who live in horrid poverty. 

I thought of animal mothers that lose their families to hunters who don’t eat what they shoot — animals that die horrid deaths in backyards, in cities and towns that we take as pets and care not for them anymore than our own kind. Precious living beings that die of a broken heart from abandonment. Those killed for body parts and skins for our stupid greed and vanity.

The animals raised in meat farms in cruel conditions or those taken from their mothers for the slaughter house or drugged up for our racing industry making money off their misery, death. The whales that keep our Grandmother Earth in oxygen for all life, still blasted out of the sea while alive and breathing!

All the children and young women kidnapped for the sex trade never seen again by their families. The people killed for the black market’s human body parts. The prisoners in prisons abused, many not convicted of a crime, beaten, thrown naked into shower stalls for 13 hours with no food or water with shackled hands and feet and can’t even sit or lie down!

My heart weeps for them all. We have made the world we live in by our silence! I ask, where is our humanity? Worse still, did we ever have any? 

Linda Gould Steffey