Letters to the editor – January 3rd, 2018

Published 9:29 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Listen more, not less

Editor, Smithfield Times
This letter is written in response to two front page articles in the Dec. 20 issue, “The ‘Voices’ now ‘care’” and “Planners may curb public comment”. These two articles seem to be in opposition. If the “Isle cares” shouldn’t its appointed and elected officials listen to the citizens more and not less? The issue concerning the “planners’” initiative was repeated in the Dec. 27 issue.

In the past, the Board of Supervisors received from the Planning Commission a simple yes/no vote regarding a matter. At the November meeting of the Planning commission, Commisioner Taylor recommended a more formal and explanatory resolution be submitted to the Board of Supervisors. The County Attorney was tasked with incorporating this recommendation in the Planning Commission bylaws.

The recommendation to change the format for citizen comments was not requested by the Planning Commission. This modification was initiated by the County Attorney or suggested to him by his superiors. He is quoted as saying this brings the commission bylaws in line with the BOS bylaws. 

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It is interesting to note that I submitted a letter printed in the Dec. 6 issue of this paper concerning “customer service.” In this letter I recommended the supervisors change their bylaws concerning public comments to show more respect for the citizens. Now the County Attorney is proposing the opposite change for the Planning Commission. This is a step backward.

The Planning Commission has even been accused by local civic leader as being “the Grinch that stole Christmas.”

I encourage citizens to attend the Jan. 23 meeting of the PC to let their opinion be heard concerning this matter. If the Isle truly cares, we need its representatives to listen more, not less. As explained recently in formal training completed by several members of the Planning Commission, the bylaws should be reviewed and modified if necessary on an annual basis. This function should be exercised by the Commissioners themselves with input only as requested.

Richard Gillerlain
Newport District
Planning Commissioner

Awesome neighbors

Editor, Smithfield Times
On Christmas Eve day I had a home accident that required hospitalization. I wish to publically thank my awesome neighbors and first responders that helped me and make living in Smithfield so wonderful!

To my neighbors that rushed over — Tracy and Zandra Neikirk, Stan Wheless: I thank them for your love, help and support! Thank you to my fellow Lions Club members, Betty and Martin Payne and to Gay Peacock for alerting EMS, caring for my pet and for my post hospitalization care. You folks are saints! 

Next, I wish to recognize one of Smithfield’s finest — Officer Will Wooley. Officer Wooley went “over and above” by anyone’s measure. I’m grateful for his sense of duty! The EMS responders were Duane Krohn, Bobby Nelms and Antonio Lucas. Many thanks for their professionalism and training. It was a great ride across the JRB!

Finally, I owe much to my neighbor Diane Hill, who has solved every difficulty I’ve faced since being released from the hospital. I owe her so much, but all I can say is thank you! Love you all!

Tim Marinelli

Freedom Hunters

Editor, Smithfield times
As yet another year comes to a close all of us at Freedom Hunters would like to thank several Isle of Wight individuals and organizations for their support in 2017.

Many thanks to Mike and Judy Luter, all of their family members and friends and Carl Outland of Sportsman’s Hunting Preserve for again providing a large group of our nations s military service members with a tower pheasant shoot at Sportsman’s Hunting Preserve in Carrsvile. This year, 32 warriors and family members enjoyed a day afield which included breakfast, plenty of pheasant hunting, lunch and lots of door prizes.

Also for the 5th consecutive year the Central Hill Hunt Club provided our service with a day outdoors hunting Whitetail Deer around the fields and woods of Isle of Wight County. Eighteen service members and military dependents had a fantastic day outdoors which started with breakfast at the club, lunch in the field and a fantastic dinner back at the clubhouse. 

Rogers Deer Club hosted six service members for a day of Whitetail Deer hunting in Isle of Wight. A cold and rainy day afield didn’t dampen the spirits or the excitement for this group of warriors, or the caring generosity of the hunt club. The warriors were greeted at the club with a warm breakfast before heading to the field a great midday lunch and a few beverages after the hunt.

Chuckatuck Hunt Club hosted five service members for a day of Whitetail Deer Hunting with. There was good food, lots of fun and a fantastic day of listening to the sounds of the hounds running deer through the woods of Isle of Wight

What don’t think about, or take for granted, is the amount of stress the members of our nations military are under Whether it be the visible wounds of war, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries, the never ending doctors appointments for those injured and what has been described as “cookie cutter” medicine provided by the VA, the stress of military service and long deployments separating families, all of this takes a toll both physically and mentally. On average 22 active duty service members and veterans take their own lives each day.  

All of the individuals and organizations mentioned here are providing much needed outdoor therapeutic recreation for these service members and family members. Whether you are aware of it or not, each of you are saving lives! 

Any organization that would like to help Freedom Hunters honor our nations service members can reach me by email at bud@freedomhunters.org.

Bud DePlatchett
East Coast Coordinator
Freedom Hunters

A Happy New Year

Editor, Smithfield Times
The seven members of the Smithfield Town Council would like to wish everyone a very happy and prosperous New Year.

We would also like to thank all of the employees that work for the Town of Smithfield for their hard work and dedication and for making the town run smoothly during the last year. Thanks to the merchants and the people that live along Main Street and side streets for their patience and understanding while there are markets, car shows and festivities throughout town.

Now, we have Columbia Gas that is ready to embark on the gas line replacement in the 100, 200, and part of the 300 block of Main Street. There will be some inconveniences to homeowners and businesses as well as vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This inconvenience was felt one year ago with the water line replacement, but this will absolutely be the last time! After the gas line replacement, we will be repaving Main Street with either split brown gravel as we have now or brick pavers. Either way, we will utilize the old brick that was discovered 22 years ago under the road surface. We will have crosswalks and even install plaques at each one that will explain the history of the old brick pavers.

Phase 1 and Phase 2 at Windsor Castle are 95 percent complete on the redevelopment project. This rehabilitation project is moving along ahead of schedule and below budget. Two deferred projects are also underway. When the Virginia Department of Historic Resources approved the restoration of the Windsor Castle property, it was agreed that the rehabilitation of the interior of the caretaker’s house and the reconstruction of two barns could be deferred until funding was secured. That funding was recently committed by Smithfield VA Events in return for a 15 year lease. This will recoup all of rehab and construction costs. Offices in the caretaker’s house, a maintenance building, and a storage building will be complete by mid-spring 2018. There will be a presence of occupied buildings on site, which will be a deterrent to vandalism. We are now ready to start Phase 3 on the manor house to remove all stucco, repair the old lime stucco, restore the lime ashlar block appearance, replace asphalt shingles with Cypress shakes, rework and paint the dormers and porches on the front and back, and build a porch on the east end.

T. Carter Williams

Competitors sought

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Smithfield Lions Club will host its annual James A. Bland Memorial Music Scholarship Contest Saturday, Jan. 20, 2 p.m. at Benn’s United Methodist Church. 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 (lemon2@hotmail.com) or Lion Tim Marinelli (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!

Betty Payne
Smithfield Lions

What’s in A name?

Editor, Smithfield Times
I don’t understand this thing about changing our name to something like Fakrash Alimash if you convert to Islam.

Does that apply to politics too? If you become a Democrat, do you change your name to Marx or Lenin? Or, if you become a Republican, do you change it to Elmer Gantry?

Oddly enough, I’ve been getting more than a little interested in voodoo lately. Ordinarily, I’m as religious as a rock. But I figure that any religion that serves bourbon for communion deserves a look-see.

So, I think I’ll convert to voodoo and change my name to Baron Macumba. See you in sherch.

Jim McAdaragh