Letters to The Editor – December 13th, 2017

Published 9:16 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why not a July 4 parade?

Editor, Smithfield Times
I hear we are thinking about having a “Saint Patrick’s Day” parade this year to make up for the unfortunate weather cancellation of our beloved annual Christmas event.
So, why must we honor just the Irish and the Catholics? The spirits of my own French-German ancestors would surely demand we also have a parade in Smithfield on Bastille Day and Otto von Bismarck’s birthday. Why must we always be so exclusive? And what about the Italians and Greeks amongst us? They never get a Columbus Day or Aristotle/Plato parade!
Besides, Norfolk already has a well-known and well-attended regional parade for Ireland’s famous patron saint. Must we go out of our way to deliberately offend the folks who control our water supply by attracting people away from their event? 
OK, so I naturally have the perfect solution that will offend no one and be acceptable to all: Let’s do a big Independence Day parade through town on July 4th this year. It is a holiday after all. Schools are out. No one will have an excuse to be absent.
No other Hampton Roads municipality holds such a big patriotic shindig (Lincoln used this word) celebrating our wonderful “independency” (as John Adams said) from the oppressive and high-taxing King George III.
I think marching bands and patriotic floats would enthusiastically converge from all over Tidewater to be in our parade. I also see floats celebrating our Indian and African-American heritage. Oh, the wonderful inclusiveness of it all!
Let us now put the past eight years of Yankee government-encouraged racial and ethnic separation behind us as well as all this silly and divisive gender diversity stuff — we can even hope for an LGBTQRS entry in our parade also!
We must celebrate our oneness as a community! Isle of Wight County is, after all, one of the eight original Shires in the founding of America.
So let’s do a big July 4th parade!
The dedicated, professional folks on our Tourism staff could easily put this together. They have proved this for years by expertly organizing our annual Christmas parade.
Will this help Make America Great Again or what!
Albert Burckard

Losing a sense of place?

Editor, Smithfield Times
I grew up in a small town in North Carolina that has overgrown in the past 20 years, losing much of its unique and individual character as a historic Southern place. Today it’s a blur of a seemingly endless string of generic developments, choked traffic year-round and endless road construction, more fast food and chain restaurants, far more frequent police sirens, trailers at schools to accommodate more students, and signs for yet more housing to come, and folks that seem more detached.  I also lived outside Atlanta and saw this on a grander scale. In these other places there is far less sense of “people and place” than Smithfield, which is a great place today. I hope Benn’s Grant isn’t an accelerant to making Smithfield just another developed place. To me, though, it feels deja vu.
Jon M. Zillioux

‘Ducks by Dashiell’

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Editor, Smithfield Times
I would like to thank several people who have assisted the Arts Center @ 319 in creating an exhibit in tribute to the late John Cofer “Jack” Dashiell who passed last May at the age of 90. His depictions of local waterfowl carved in wood are simply breathtaking. “Ducks by Dashiell” became a coveted item in local Ducks Unlimited auctions and won prizes from Stone Harbor, N.J. to Charleston, S.C.
Local collectors Philip Edwards, William E. Laine Jr., Robert Edwards, John Edwards, and Ron Pack have loaned their full sized and miniature carved waterfowl, assembling an impressive number of examples of Jack’s artwork. Several of these gentlemen also attended our reception on Dec. 2 along with other neighbors and friends who shared their memories and stories about Jack.
Thanks go to Isle of Wight Arts League Board members Kim Pugh and Jim Abicht who contributed generously of their time, expertise and material in making the exhibit possible.
I would like to also thank Tracey Neikirk, Curator of the Isle of Wight County Museum, for loaning several items from Jack’s studio. We look forward to the future permanent display in the museum recreating his workshop and honoring the life of an Isle of Wight County native son.
Make time in your busy December schedule to pause in the Arts Center and marvel at how Jack could transform wood and paint with carving tools and brushes into art that looks as if it could fly away at any moment.
Sheila W. Gwaltney
Arts Center @ 319

Animal Killer?

Editor, Smithfield Times
For the last five years I have lived in the Mason Street Apartments behind Trinity UMC. During my time here, we had some feral cats that who had made their home there. Many of these cats had been there since long before I moved in. Most of us who live there had grown very fond of these cats. These cats were the sweetest cats and for the most part just stayed at or very near the apartments. However, around Dec. 5 all that changed. We all believe that some cruel, sick person deliberately poisoned these precious cats with anti-freeze.
On the morning of Dec. 5, Deb Leclaire, a sweet Local lady, who faithfully came every morning to help feed these precious cats, and a couple of my neighbors found two of them near the apartments almost dead, bleeding profusely from their mouths and suffering greatly. One of them has still not been found. Deb immediately took the two of them to a local vet, where it was confirmed that they both had very large amounts of anti-freeze in their blood. As a result of this, they both had to be euthanized.
Based on this information, and the fact that it was not just one, but all three at the same time, we all truly believe that this was a deliberate act by some cruel, sick person. While I do understand that feral cats can sometimes be a nuisance, killing them in this inhumane manner is not acceptable. It is cruel and heartless.
These cats suffered greatly and did not deserve to die like this. If they were in fact bothering someone, there are other ways they could have handled it. My neighbors and I are all heartbroken and devastated by this. The Smithfield Police and the Isle of Wight Animal Control have both been contacted about this. This letter is to make the public aware that a possible animal killer may still be out there. I’d encourage everyone who has pets to keep them inside, but if they must go out for any reason, please keep an eye one them. I’d hate to see this happen to someone else.
If anyone has any information or knows anything about this, please contact the Smithfield Police Department or the Isle of Wight Animal Control.
Cory L. Williams

Youth Music competition

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Smithfield Lions Club announces its annual James A. Bland Memorial Music Scholarship Contest to be held on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m. at Benn’s United Methodist Church (14571 Benn’s Church Blvd). This is the first rung of an escalating series of contests (local, regional, district and state) sponsored by the Lions Clubs of the State of Virginia culminating in scholarships for music study. This preliminary contest (local) is open to youth attending elementary, middle, junior or senior high school (or equivalent home-schooled level) that are residents of Virginia.  Participants may only enter one local contest. For those advancing as far as the state finals, the Lions award scholarships of $2,500 for 1st place, $2,000 for 2nd place, and $1,500 for 3rd place, and cash awards of $1,000 for 4th, 5th, and 6th places to vocal and instrumental finalists. The state finals will be held in conjunction with the Virginia Lions State Convention, this year in Wyndham, Va., on May 18.
Interested instrumentalists and vocalists may obtain contest rules and applications from Lion Katie Lemon at Smithfield High School or by e-mailing her (HYPERLINK “mailto:lemon2@hotmail.com”lemon2@hotmail.com) or Lion Tim Marinelli (HYPERLINK “mailto:smithfield.lions@verizon.net”smithfield.lions@verizon.net). Deadline for completed applications is Jan. 15.
Finally, Bland competitions are free and open to the public. We invite everyone to come out to hear these gifted young musicians perform!
Lion Tim Marinelli
Smithfield Lions