Letters to The Editor – April 11th, 2018

Published 4:51 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Clearing for the bike trail

Editor, Smithfield Times
As I drive along Battery Park and Nike Park Roads, I am disappointed at the huge number of large and stately old-growth trees being felled to clear the way for the new bike path.
Wouldn’t it be more environmentally friendly (and much more scenic too!) to weave the path around some of these old oaks and maples rather than just cutting a really boring straight line right through?
And what happens when the bulldozers get to Harvey Saunders’ long and beautiful row of Azaleas just before the Fulgham’s Bridge? Will this decades-old, incredibly elegant stretch of our county’s landscape be destroyed also?
I sincerely hope the engineers have designed something attractive and inviting rather than just a damn-the-floral-beauty, full speed ahead frontal attack on Mother Nature!
If we remove the scenic stretches of old trees along this route, we may sincerely regret ever spending those multi-millions of dollars just to bring in a few bicycling tourists.
And by the way, based on the opinions expressed by most of the Town Council candidates at last Thursday’s forum, a crucial link in this project may never be built anyway. This much-ballyhooed “park to park” trail may end up just going from Nike Park to the doughnut shop.
But I guess that’s not really so bad after all. I really like Ringo’s!
Albert Burckard

Shooting solutions

Editor, Smithfield Times
Concerning school shootings: First, there will always be opportunities for attacks on school students in some form. For instance, even if school shootings were reduced to zero, these deranged persons could switch to school bus attacks like shooting out tires, head on collisions, or T-boning buses at intersections.
Isle of Wight Sheriff James Clark said at a recent Carrollton Civic League meeting that most school shootings are by previous or present students. That seems true when we reflect on Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook and Parkland. The best solution, then, is to fix these students before they leave the school system. One suggestion was for senior volunteers, grandma types, to sit in the back of classrooms and make themselves available to observe and listen to kids and help them find their way. Everybody should graduate with happy school memories.
More immediately, 10 states including Utah have limited conceal carry in the schools and it seems to be working. Others have school resource officers openly armed. The third strategy seems to be barriers. The internet shows glass bulletproof doors at $3,600 per door. The SHS entrance has six doors. However, it seems that all outside doors in all nine Isle of Wight schools need to be bulletproof in some way, or a perpetrator with a 45 could blast his way in. All strategies seem workable, but we should not vacillate. We should proceed to choose appropriate strategies for each school.
Unfortunately, non-school casualties like Orlando, Charleston and Las Vegas can only be minimally reduced. Violent video games, pornography, vulgarity, drug and fatherless cultures, bullying, gangster rap, nihilism, the rebellion to morality and convention are part of what we are becoming. As Sheriff Clark said, we need prayer in schools. The good news is that Dylan Roof, the Charleston shooter, said the church group was so nice to him he almost changed his mind. A few more interfaces and he probably would never have been a shooter. A return to more conventional standards and real caring seem to be what we need.
Thomas Finderson

Real story was missed

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Editor, Smithfield Times
Regarding the story about Mayor Williams and a “populist tone” printed April 4. McFarland failed to provide complete details as to why those particular campaign signs were made.
My daughter 11 years old, had seen my father’s regular campaign signs and told me that they were too boring. She began to draw her own sign with the “exploding” name and colored them in with crayons. She then decided that she needed to add in the total number of years my father had served on council and tell everyone why they should vote for him. She is proud of my father and has been with him at several meetings and events over the years.
My daughter was excited to show her “Pa-Pa” her idea for a campaign sign and he was, of course, flattered. He had a few signs and cards made using the exact paper she gave him and credited her with the design on each one made. It’s that simple.
It is well known that Carter Williams works hard alongside his fellow council members and town employees. Just ask them. The assumption that he thinks he is better than the other members based on wordage on a sign is completely absurd. Sure, it’s politics, but McFarland decided to steer away from the true nature of the making of the which, which is actually a better story.
Allen Williams

A sea of plastic

Editor, Smithfield Times
By now most of us have read that plastic, that incredibly useful product that all of us use every day, is fast becoming public enemy number one. We have been using plastics for decades and as a result, plastic is everywhere: in our fish, in our food, in our oceans, in our wastewater treatment systems, and in our public spaces.
We use plastics in every part of our lives, from single use plastics, such as bags, bottles, and straws, to our babies’ toys to our nylon clothes to our paint. Plastic particles and plastic microbeads are used in our shampoo, toothpaste, soap, and millions of other products, all of which contain different kinds of tiny particles of plastic, all of which come off in our bodies, our mouths, our scalp and our skin as we use them. And plastic use is on the rise, more than 10 percent a year, while industry titans build more and more profitable plastic factories with high priced fossil fuels.
Plastics everywhere was bad enough, but now multiple studies have found that 94 percent of our drinking water and https://orbmedia.org/stories/plus-plastic/ 93 percent of sampled bottled water worldwide are full of plastic particles and chemicals, including BPA, heavy metals, phthalates, pesticides, PCBs and other chemicals, many of which are linked in https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299092/ animal studies as well as some human studies to cancer, premature puberty, reduced immunity, birth defects, endocrine disruption, insulin resistance, and other major diseases.
And we have no idea and neither does the FDA, EPA, or any other federal agency, whether this lethal cocktail, which binds together with other toxins, is having an even more profound impact on our health and that of our kids.
We, the general public, have unleashed this problem on ourselves without understanding the impacts that fossil fuel based plastics were having on our environment or our health.
The plastics industry, and our fast food industry, which relies on single use plastics, along with others, perhaps taking a page from Big Tobacco, have assured us that everything is perfectly fine. Yet many countries are banning BPA, phthalates, and other chemicals from plastics in some plastic products, and even industry is scouring around for suitable alternatives to fossil fuel based plastics, although so far many “biodegradable” plastics aren’t living up to their reputation.
What’s the alternative for us, the consumers and multi-decade guinea pigs, while we wait? Getting rid of single use plastics, using less plastic and getting involved in local legislation and regulation to reduce and recycle plastics is a good start. In the meantime, some countries and some U.S. states are wising up to the problem and the plastics lobby.
An international treaty on plastics is under consideration but that may be a decade away. In the meantime, we know for sure that our plastic bottles, sippy cups, and the water in them are spiked with chemically laced plastic micro-particles that should not be there. 
Kathleen Rogers
Earth Day Network

It wasn’t newsworthy

Editor, Smithfield Times
Managing Editor Editor Diana McFarland should practice professional journalism. News should be newsworthy. Making something out of an innocent ad done by a 12-year-old in love for her grandfather is surely beneath her. She is proud of her grandfather and certainly had no intent to suggest that he alone has made Smithfield great. This is a warped interpretation. The news business must be bad when it resorts to inventing personal theories and suggesting them to the public and calling it news. Shame on her.
Evelyn B. Ransdell