Letters to The Editor – May 23rd, 2018

Published 5:04 pm Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Destruction continues

Editor, Smithfield Times
Seven year-old Braver Kelly regrets the loss of a 100-year-old oak tree planted by his great-grandfather.
This relentless destruction of living family heirlooms to allow construction of a bikeway for tourists continues apace along Battery Park Road.
County bureaucrats recently visited the Kelly Family to inform three generations of this long-time Isle of Wight County family, still living in their ancestral home, that the front of their property will be condemned to make way for bicyclers. The family asked that three large oaks be spared because there was obviously more than enough room for the path to go right around behind them. But they were told that it must be built straight and the ancient trees had to go, government orders.
Although just part of the construction cost of this frivolous, destructive and controversial amenity was recently reported as a mere “$6 million,” the real cost is far higher. The extension to the Cypress Creek Bridge is now reported in excess of an extra $2 million and the “low” $6 million figure does not include $500,000 local taxpayer funds already spent on lawyers’ fees to confiscate residents’ property along the route and also does not factor in some $2 million already used for engineering designs, staff work and other associated costs.

When finally completed (maybe!) from Nike Park to Windsor Castle Park, this isolated and narrow bicycle raceway through neighborhoods, that connects to no other bike trail, will probably be an extravagance that could well exceed $12-15 million dollars as “unforeseen” costs pile up in the future.
Second only to voting unanimously (861-0 according to COL E.M. Morrison) for secession in 1861, this bike project may well go down in the history of our historic county as the next biggest (and much more expensive) mistake we’ve ever made.
And by the way, the City of Norfolk recently reported that their extensive network of downtown bike paths cost less than $500,000. Really?
Albert Burckard

A respectful conversation

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Editor, Smithfield times
I attended the Surry County Board of Supervisors meeting on May 13 along with many county citizens. I heard citizens speak about the proposed grocery store — some in support, some opposed and some who voiced concerns about the details of the proposed project. I was encouraged by how many citizens attended and how most were respectful of opinions differing from their own. To better our county, we must engage in public conversation on the issues that face our county. We must try to come to a consensus on how to move our county forward for the betterment of all citizens.
The county meeting was lengthy and many citizens left still wanting to share opinions or ideas. The purpose of the Concerned Citizens Association is to give all citizens an opportunity to speak in an open forum on topics concerning our county. We will only progress our county if we are respectful of one another and come together in the common goal of moving forward for all.
The Association’s next meeting is on Thursday, May 24 at 6 p.m. at the Surry Community Center, 205 Enos Drive, Surry. Come join us for an open conversation on topics concerning our community. Thomas Byrd
Concerned Citizens’ Association

Relay For Life

Editor, Smithfield Times
Relay For Life of Isle of Wight/Surry is Saturday, June 2 at Smithfield High School from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. We hope that our community will join us in our annual celebration! Entertainment and activities are planned for all ages.
We are blessed to know that the communities of Isle of Wight and Surry have supported Relay For Life for 25 years — raising over $3,000,000 for the American Cancer Society patient programs, services, research and advocacy.
Have you noticed? The purple bows in the Towns of Smithfield, Surry, and Windsor are to raise awareness of our Relay For Life.
Did you know? The American Cancer Society has funded more than 42 Nobel Prize winners. It is currently funding 14 grants in Virginia alone, totaling over $8 million (cancer.org). The Cancer Action Network (CAN) works tirelessly to convince Congress to make federal funding for cancer a top budget priority (acscan.org).
We have been fundraising since Sept. 1 and June 2 will be the celebration of these efforts. We ask our Cancer Survivors to join us at 10:00 am or 6:00 pm and proudly walk a lap; this is a powerful show of support for those still fighting their battle.
Luminaria Ceremony will be at 9:00 pm; we will light candles to honor those who have battled cancer and those we remember. Donations may be made at http://www.RelayForLife.org/IWSVA ; a detailed schedule is also available on the website. Contact me at Pam78@aol.com or (757) 810-5207 if you need more information. We look forward to seeing you at the track on June 2!
Pam Jordan

Thank you to supporters

Editor, Smithfield Times
We are the auxiliary for VFW 8545 here in Smithfield and we want to say “thank you.” Thank you to the local businesses that have allowed us to use their store fronts to do our fund raising. The next thank you is to generous people of Smithfield. Even the people who have little to give gave a lot, for they gave what they had.
Helping those who fought to keep our country free means a lot. Once again, our auxiliary wants to say “thank you.”
Shirlene Harper
Poppy Chairman

SCS responds

Editor, Smithfield Times
SCS Broadband (SCS) would like to repudiate misleading information to the Smithfield Times article titled, “Broadband is Elusive.”
The story begins: “A year ago, Surry County residents seemed poised to begin receiving wireless internet service from SCS. So far, that hasn’t happened.” SCS was obligated under an EDA grant agreement to have the first tower operational by Dec. 31, 2017. The article also states that Surry’s industrial park tower was thought to be the only tower needed for all of the County. This was never the case. Broadband wireless requires multiple towers.
SCS set out to work with 380 Communications to mitigate any issues. After meeting with owners, SCS felt that the best direction was to purchase the assets of 380 Communication and hire one of the owners as a regional manager. During this negotiation period, SCS could not deploy in the competitor’s territory, a standard negotiating practice. This caused a four-month delay off the first tower until negotiations ended on April 20 with a rejection letter from 380.
The local provider, 380 Communications, is quoted that there will be interference between our equipment. It will not.
The article portrays two counties of the 11 in bad light to discredit SCS. There is no mention of the eight counties SCS has been extremely successful. The article claims that SCS was part of the tower design for the Charles City County project. SCS had nothing to do with the tower selection or location of those towers. SCS has invested heavily to do as much as, including investing in gig fiber and leasing commercial towers, as well as lowering fiber costs to many businesses by as much as 60 percent. The article claims that SCS listed Fluvanna County as a partner on the SCS website. SCS website explicitly states we do not have service within Fluvanna.
As proof of our commitment to Surry County, SCS has now signed five-year contracts for multiple fiber backhauls, as well as for a second 300-foot tower. That tower will serve many citizens, including Supervisor Lyttle, who is quoted in the article. SCS has identified eleven possible towers with which to build the best possible service network in Surry. These can be seen at https://scsbroadband.com/surry-details/ where any citizen can track the project as it matures. This maturation takes time. These represent a long-term, high cost commitment to help as many Surry County residences as technically possible to obtain true high-speed internet services.
Any negative articles, especially ones with such incorrect information, hurt deployments of broadband by reducing financial opportunities for companies like SCS. Citizens and government need to get behind the rare companies trying to do something while no one else is doing anything.
Additionally, this project, represents the commitment of the Surry County Board of Supervisors to help solve the rural digital divide as the best technology available at lower rates.
Clay Stewart
SCS Broadband