Letters to The Editor – June 18th, 2018

Published 4:14 pm Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Observed Clarke For many years

Editor, Smithfield Times
Eighteen years ago, James Clarke was a student in a course I was teaching for Paul D. Camp Community College on Child and Adolescent Psychology. At the time, Mr. Clarke was an officer for the Smithfield Police Department.
I was so impressed with then Officer Clarke’s interest in and commitment to learning about children and adolescents to enhance his ability to do his job well that I followed his career as reported by the Smithfield Times. I noted promotions over the years and his move to the Sheriff’s Office. As I became aware of acting Sheriff Clarke’s candidacy for the position by election I felt compelled to share my experience with this man beginning so many years ago.
Jo Weaver

Luminaria rescheduled

Editor, Smithfield
Sometimes, even the best laid-out plans don’t quite stand up to Mother Nature. After a year’s worth of planning, scheduling, meeting and reaching out to the community, our Relay For Life event of Isle of Wight and Surry on June 2 was cut short. Due to incoming thunderstorms, we moved our Closing Ceremony to 4 p.m., unable to carry out some of the most anticipated aspects of the event including the Luminaria Ceremony.
Our Luminaria Ceremony has been rescheduled for this Saturday, June 16, at Benn’s United Methodist Church, 14571 Benn’s Church Blvd., Smithfield. The ceremony will begin at 9:30 p.m., but you are encouraged to arrive by 8:45 to enjoy a slideshow, music and a caregiver corner before viewing our 1500-plus luminarias that will be on display. All community members are welcome, and registration is not required! Updates can be found on our Facebook page throughout the week: www.facebook.com/IOWSRelay/. Come help us honor those in our lives who’ve ever heard the words “You have cancer.”

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I have had the privilege of participating in this Relay For Life event for the last five years, and I am always touched by the support of the community. Regardless of how frequently or how recently people have been involved, there is always a note of fondness and support in people’s responses to Relay For Life. You, the people in Isle of Wight and Surry counties, are the heroes who we were celebrating on June 2. Businesses, individuals, civic clubs, and churches in this area have been donating their money and time to the American Cancer Society through Relay For Life for the last 25 years to help benefit all people who will ever face cancer – and their families. Thank you for helping to raise the much-needed funds for cancer research, services, and education. In our community alone, we have raised over $3M for the American Cancer Society.
Anyone who is still interested in donating can do so at Saturday’s Luminaria Ceremony, on our website, www.relayforlife.org/iwsva, or by mail: ACS, 4240 Park Place Ct., Glen Allen, VA 23060, ATTN: Isle of Wight/Surry. I look forward to seeing you on Saturday!
Melanie Cena
RFL Leadership Team

Questionable predictions

Editor, Smithfield Times
Time’s come to speak up. What is in the brew the superintendent is giving to School Board and parents ?
By 2021, more than 300-plus students K-12 than the current 5,362 in the January 2018, IWCS demographic report?  By September 2031, more than 900-plus students above the 5,362? And the basis for this came from where? It was not UVA’s Weldon Cooper Center, I bet, but an architectural firm that designs schools as a for-profit business(reported in this paper). Really!
History is a basis going forward on the number of future student predictions. In 2000, K-12 in IWCS had 4,972, and this was after a boom in building in the 1990s. In January 2018, K-12 in IWCS numbered 5,362, a plus of 390 over 18 years. The Superintendent predicts 300-plus by Sept 2021. Really? And over a 13-year period, a total of 900-plus to nearly 6,300 by Sept 2031. Seriously?
I have a bet with the Superintendent that neither will be realized as he’s predicting. Sure, there are lean and fat years, and adjustments have to be made to utilize budgeted dollars efficiently, place classroom trailers temporarily here and there, make altered grade assignments when necessary in specific schools.
Big bucks get paid to school administrators to make smart recommendations to the School Board members we elect. They have to keep their “thinking hats on” and not be snowed just to end up with their names on a bronze plaque in a new school that is not necessary. Board members are paid to think on behalf of all their constituents. And parents, I regret seeing y’all getting jerked around with questionable predictions.
Unless a professional school facilities engineer has studied and come up with more current school building capacities, even program-related, no IWCS building is at capacity. And several can be added to to meet a predicted slow increase in number of students, like Carrollton Elementary. Spending $5 – 6 million to do so and not overbuild with new at $35 – 40 million is smart business, and expected by county taxpayers. IWCS Board made that $23 million mistake six years ago — not a history lesson to be repeated.
Herb De Groft

Red Cross initiative

Editor, Smithfield Times
The American Red Cross is launching the Missing Types campaign to recruit new blood donors — and those who have not given recently — to ensure lifesaving blood is available for patients.
During the Missing Types campaign, the letters A, B and O — the main blood groups — will disappear to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays. When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B and O blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted.
Join the #MissingType movement today. Make an appointment to give blood by visiting RedCrossBlood.org/MissingTypes, using the Red Cross http://www.redcrossblood.org/bloodapp Blood Donor App or calling 1-800-733-2767.
A recent survey, conducted on behalf of the Red Cross, revealed a troubling disconnect between the public’s perception of blood donations and the realities of patient transfusion needs.
Each day, blood and platelets are needed for accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those like Lily who are receiving treatment for leukemia, cancer or sickle cell disease. The Red Cross must collect more than 13,000 blood donations every day for patients at approximately 2,600 hospitals across the country.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. But for the past four years, new Red Cross donors have declined by about 80,000 each year. This is not just a Red Cross trend, but a challenge blood collection organizations face across the country and around the world.
Donating blood is a simple process and only takes about an hour from start to finish.
The Red Cross appreciates the support of its 18 lead partners who have joined the #MissingType campaign, including: Adobe, Anheuser-Busch, AvalonBay Communities, Inc., Domino’s, Dropbox, Google, IBM, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Mastercard, Nationwide, Neiman Marcus, the New York Yankees, Oreo, PayPal, Salesforce, State Farm®, Sunoco and U.S. Bank.
Local blood drives
Windsor, June 26: 1-5 p.m., Isle of Wight Ruritan Club House, 17011 Courthouse Highway
Zuni, June 20: 2-6 p.m., Tucker Swamp Baptist Church, 37527 Seacock Chapel Road
Surry: June 26: 2-6 p.m., Surry County Public Library, 270 Colonial Trail E.
Bernadette Jay
External Communications
Mid-Atlantic region