Letters to The Editor – March 28th, 2018

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Teachers and guns

Editor, Smithfield Times
Are the teachers supposed to go buy a gun and holster to carry it?
Do they have to have a permit to carry a gun?
Are they just going to put it in a desk drawer? And what if she has to go out of the room, does she take the gun with her?
We do not hire teachers to be guards or policemen. We hire them to teach our children reading, writing and arithmetic.
If a killer gets caught and is proven guilty, he should be punished to the full extent of the law, not just put into jail where we have to feel, clothe and give medical attention to him.
Ruth Price

Kudos to the kids

Editor, Smithfield Times
I just want say how proud I am of the kids who walked out of class. Gun violence is way out hand nowadays. Growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, my dad had a rifle and a pistol, I mean, people could get guns. But today, they sell them to anyone, including the assault-type weapons with military ammo. It’s just insane.
Back in my time, mass shootings were not a thing that happened. Where did common sense go? Keep up the protest, kids. I should say young adults, who I hope will be voting soon.
Howard Holloman

Destroying history

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Editor, Smithfield Times
It is a shame the Town Council is at it again. Is the group trying to destroy all of the history in and around Smithfield? We promote the town as “Historic Smithfield.” If this Town Council has its way, there will be nothing historic for visitors to see except Windsor Castle Park. Actually, I am NOT against Windsor Castle Park. The town took its time getting around to the restoration needed there. However, “new barns” built for Smithfield Events foundation were not necessary. Some of the money spent for new barns and for the new ball park, which is now over budget, could have been used to protect the Wombwell house. Town council says Smithfield has no money, but this group continues to find funds for pet projects.
Andrew Gregory reported in the Town Council minutes in March 2016, that he and other council members had been inside the Wombwell house. At that time, nothing was said about it being beyond repair. The vice-mayor said, “ It does appear that we are not going to have to move, to damage or to replace the Wombwell house that is on the property…. We are going to be able to leave it alone.”
It appears that the Town Council does not stand by what it says. Since Carter Williams has spent most of his life as a carpenter, he should know not to say that a property built for a doctor almost 200 years ago and lasting until now has “shoddy” workmanship. It seems to me that Williams should know what he is seeing.
How many original Tidewater cottages do we have in Smithfield that we can afford to burn one just because the town is too insensitive to maintain them? Our Historic District ordinance states that even private residences must be appropriately restored even if the town has to pay for the restoration and then recoup the funds when the ownership changes. Will the site of the graves on the property be compromised?
Smithfield citizenry should demand that the burning plan be rescinded.
Betty Clark

The federal farm bill

Editor, Smithfield Times
Working lands conservation programs in the federal farm bill offer an important opportunity for farmers and ranchers to increase stewardship on their land without impacting their bottom lines. For example, the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program support farmers in implementing new conservation practices, and the Conservation Reserve Program offers valuable options for enrolling marginally productive lands.
In addition to these existing programs, farmers and ranchers would also benefit from a farm bill that strengthens the link between crop insurance and conservation. For example, to qualify for crop insurance, farmers are required to follow “good farming practices,” but these do not include USDA-approved conservation activities. This uncertainty can be a disincentive for farmers to adopt conservation practices.
We applaud legislators who have proposed bills that would support conservation, and we urge legislators to include these proposals in the final farm bill. For example, Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and others, recently introduced the Give our Resources the Opportunity to Work (GROW) Act, which contains many proposals to strengthen our working lands programs for the benefit of farmers and ranchers. Another bill, the Strengthening Our Investment in Land Stewardship (SOILS) Act contains similar provisions, introduced by Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.).
The Crop Insurance Modernization Act, introduced by Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), contains proposals to strengthen conservation within crop insurance, such as including conservation practices under the “good farming practices” of crop insurance.
Finally, the American Prairies Conservation Act of 2017, introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) and others, extends protections for native grasslands to the whole country.
We urge Congress to pass a farm bill that has strong support for conservation, before the current farm bill expires on Sept. 30.
Anna Johnson
Center for Rural Affairs
Lyons, Neb.