Letters to The Editor – June 27th, 2018

Published 4:45 pm Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Burning history

Editor, Smithfield Times
I cannot understand how the town’s Board of Historic and Architectural Review can call itself that. Members of this board obviously do not know town ordinances, have not bothered to read them, or have been told to let the Wombwell house burn.
William Saunders told the newspapers when the property was purchased that the house was in good enough shape to keep up. It is the town that has let the condition decline.
This board tells other people that they must keep up their historic property, yet the town is allowed to ignore its responsibility. Isn’t this situation a double standard? There are graves on that property. What is going to happen to them?
That cottage is at least 175 years old. It does not matter if the town has squandered money on other projects; this group needs to do its job and protect this house before the fire department burns it on “Olden Days.” How ironic that a salvageable old property is scheduled for obliteration on Olden Days. It is the town’s obligation to take care of its history.
After I spoke, Trey Gwaltney kindly informed me that the Wombwell house is not in the historic district. I was unaware that BHAR discriminated between the historic district and the rest of the town.
Town attorney Bill Riddick informed me that the town had offered the Wombwell property for $1 to anyone willing to move it. However, no one is interested. Mr. Riddick said, “The town does not want to be bothered with it.” If the town does not have to be bothered with property it owns, how can it dictate how individuals choose to maintain their property?
Betty Clark

Why must she pay?

Editor, Smithfield Times
A question for the Board of Supervisors:
Why do we, as seniors or those who have no children, no grandchildren or great grandchildren, have to pay to have the schools repaired? Mine have all grown up and moved from Smithfield. I agree they need to be repaired, but I would like to try and understand where the money is going since we are already paying the highest taxes in this county. Did you know that?
How about that we are paying for the largest mistakes that have been made, like the water deal for water we don’t use, or the property you can’t sell that we paid $1 million for? Or how about fixing pipes under Main Street where the street is awful, or the sidewalk to nowhere, the water overflow tax, the decal tax, which we are all paying for to fix other people’s homes?

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

My health insurance has gone up, my auto insurance has gone up, my homeowners insurance has gone up, my real estate taxes have already gone up, as have food and gas.
Where does all this stop? I’m a widow and on a fixed income, and would like to have a few dollars left to eat on. So I’m against you raising my taxes. Cut your pay raises or do whatever you need to do to stop taxing all of us in Smithfield because you can’t balance the checkbook.
Lorraine Carl

Tax guzzling? in Surry?

Editor, Smithfield Times
“Seward’s Folly” is the latest of the Surry County Board of Supervisors’ $4 million, financially doomed-to-fail enterprises the working taxpaying citizens will have to pay for.
So far, there has been the industrial park with two tenants after more than 10 years. Surry’s Broadband implementation, which is a money guzzling enterprise with no end in sight. The original Surry Seafood was a mismanagement extraordinaire financially, and the taxpayers still don’t know how many thousand dollars it has cost us. Then they are gleefully galloping ahead with a $4 million Rescue Squad and Dominion Energy Emergency Operations Center despite the fact that Dominion Energy has informed them that the EEOC is not in their budget.
They have approved an astronomical budget befitting a county population twice the size of Surry County. The budget includes a salaried position for a tourism coordinator! Can you imagine tourists coming to a county where the ditch banks along the roads look like one continuous dump?
As for “Seward’s Folly,” a grocery store befitting the environs of Williamsburg or Newport News is ludicrous at best. Number one is the fact they are buying the land from a board member, they are going to do the building, the maintaining and the choosing of a retail grocer to come in and run it. And Supervalu is no longer a retail grocer, but is becoming a wholesaler.
There is not enough population in Surry County to support a grocery store and that population is shrinking. From a population of 7,065 in the 2010 census to 6,544 in 2017 and a misleading traffic count of vehicles traveling through the town of Surry, a grocery store of the magnitude that has been presented is pure fantasy.
Yes, we need a grocery store, but not on land purchased by the county from a board member, not a store built by the county, and not an enterprise funded by the taxpayers of the county. The county has no business committing taxpayer funds to what should be a private business venture. Taxpayers are already up to their proverbial neck in long-term debt right now.
Helen C. Eggleston

Supporting Pope

On July 24 all the citizens of Isle of Wight County have an important choice to make. As a local farmer for 49 years, I understand the importance of dedication, leadership and work ethic. While formal training and attending numerous courses is to be commended, what good is all that training if it is never put to the test. At some point the “rubber must meet the road.”
In my opinion, that candidate is Lt. James Pope. Lt. Pope has shown the practical, logical experience and professionalism to lead the Sheriff’s Office. I have seen Lt. Pope on many occasions over the years throughout the county working with deputies to resolve a situation. As a local farmer, on many occasions we often must move large pieces of equipment on the highways. When I have called the Sheriff’s Office, each time I was transferred the patrol division supervisor, which is Lt. James Pope.
I personally want to thank Lt. Pope and his outstanding patrol division for supporting the farming community. Moving equipment on route 460 can be extremely dangerous. He has proven himself as a professional commonsense leader who has worked with me and my crew to move equipment safely. He has personally directed traffic as we moved equipment. I do not recall any other high-ranking Sheriff’s Office person doing that. Again, as a local farmer, I completely understand dedication, hard work, community leadership, professionalism and commitment. Lt. James Pope has all those traits and more. Please Vote for James Pope of July 24.
Terry Hedgepeth

Sheriff and ‘Coach’ Clarke

Editor, Smithfield Times
We have been impressed by Sheriff/Coach James Clarke’s commitment to our community through the Isle of Wight County Recreation youth basketball program. Our boys have been coached and/or officiated by Coach Clarke the previous four years. Every basketball season, he dedicates countless hours to youth in Isle of Wight and Surry counties as a referee and volunteer basketball coach of multiple teams. During basketball season, Coach Clarke gives up every Saturday and multiple evenings during the week to teach Isle of Wight and Surry kids not only basketball, but also enduring skills such as teamwork, problem solving, and perseverance.
Coach Clarke does an excellent job of balancing the goal of winning with the more important goal of being successful in life. He helps the young people focus on improving their own game, encourage their teammates to improve their game, and to improve the game as a whole through hard work, respect, and teamwork. We appreciated this, as parents, because in “real life” this translates to improving yourself, being a leader who cares about the growth of others, and working to make things better in your community.
Coach Clarke helps the children understand they can control three key things: their own level of effort, whether they learn from experiences, and how to respond to mistakes. When one of our children made a mistake during a game, he offered a hug and laughter first, and then advice. We have seen this numerous times from Coach Clarke and the advice is typically in the form of a question: “What are you going to do with what just happened?” or “What have you just learned?”
Coach Clarke’s patience with and commitment to Isle of Wight youth is nothing short of amazing. The power of his positive coaching has reinforced the personal traits we teach our kids at home. We appreciate Coach Clarke giving his time and talent to Isle of Wight youth. Improving the life skills of our youth is an investment in our community that will pay dividends for the long term!
Larry & Marianne McKee

In support of Clarke

Editor, Smithfield Times
On July 24, the citizens of Isle of Wight will be asked to make an important decision that will directly affect the quality of life in the county. As a result of my retirement at the end of February, a special election is being called to fulfill the office of Sheriff. While I had originally planned on completing my term and retiring, life circumstances made that impossible. The decision was difficult, but made better knowing that there was an extremely competent and qualified individual who could seamlessly step into the position. That person was my chief deputy now Sheriff James Clarke.
I have had the distinct honor of knowing Sheriff Clarke for more than 20 years. He is a lifelong resident who has a deep commitment to his faith, this country and this county. His service in the United States Marine Corp, in a local church as an ordained minister, and his service to the citizens of this county at the Smithfield Police Department and later with the Isle of Wight sheriff’s office demonstrate that deep commitment.
Succession planning is always important in a healthy organization. Upon my election in 2011, one of the first tasks was to ensure that continuity of operations was in place. Having worked with Sheriff Clarke for two decades, I knew there was no better person for his role as chief deputy under my administration. As a result of his acceptance, many firsts were achieved.
Sheriff Clarke is the first person from the Isle of Wight sheriff’s office to attend and complete the prestigious FBI National Academy. He played a pivotal role in getting the sheriff’s office to accreditation and reaccreditation. He has overseen the implementation of the public safety radio system. Most importantly, he established a level of professionalism within the organization that centers on integrity demanded by all who serve under his leadership.
Having worked with him for over 20 years, I know firsthand his deep sense of compassion and care for this community. Without any reservation, I endorse Sheriff Clarke’s candidacy and know that he would continue the progress made over the last six years. Sheriff Clarke has the qualifications requisite for the position and demonstrates it on a daily basis. Please continue the progress and vote for Sheriff James Clarke.
Mark A. Marshall
Cape Charles

Dutch connection?

Editor, Smithfield Times
For the last Olden days, I offer this.
First, medieval Anglican churches are mostly built of rock, not brick, but Old St. Luke’s Church is not simply a new world adaptation of brick for English rock.
Early Isle of Wight residents were among dissenters, who thought the Church of England could be reformed within. Many went to Holland, the first dissenters settling near Amsterdam before sailing to the new world. Strikingly, some medieval Holland churches are brick not rock, in Flemish bond, with length to width, 2 to 1 similar to St. Luke’s. Likewise, their towers in line with the main church center line and 3 stories. Roofs are pitched to where the 2nd and 3rd stories join. Again, similar to St. Luke’s, except there is no vestry door on the south side.
I have often wondered why St. Luke’s was 66 by 30-foot and not 60 by 30. What is at work here is that these 1630s Isle of Wight residents, influenced by Holland residency, simply added the 6-foot vestry doorway of the Church of England to a standard 60 by 30-foot design to make the 66 by 30-foot variant design.
Second, the 1683 St. Luke’s deed states that the church site was “before named warrens bur g.” Among the thousands of names of Chapman’s and Boddie’s researches, only two are relevant Warrens, but were connected to the Rappahannock area and Surry County, not Isle of Wight.
The church site could be named after Thomas West, Lord Delaware or “de la war,” (Middle English “were” was akin to to Old High German “werran” and could be confused). West was Virginia’s first Governor, Governor for Life, Captain General and savior of Jamestown in 1610. He died in 1618. Also, Henry Woodward owned between 1652-1662 the 200 acres upon which St. Luke’s stood. The Woodward family was related to Lord Delaware through marriage with Delaware’s daughter Martha. It would have been appropriate to the time to name werrans “burg” after the governor as he was the mind behind the Indian strategies, popular then, but not now.
Thomas Finderson

Invitation to residents

Editor, Smithfield Times
I believe it is an important time for our county and community. There are many changes occurring in our community and the communities that surround us. We cannot be complacent and hope these changes are for our betterment. We must discuss our community’s challenges and agree on the best path forward.
The Surry County Concerned Citizens’ Association was formed with a goal of “Making Surry County Better” for all citizens. The Association believes this can be accomplished by providing all citizens an open forum to discuss matters of our community, promoting a unified community by creating a monthly opportunity to know one another better and bringing forth issues to our government when there is a consensus of community citizens that such should be done.
Please assist with “Making Surry County Better” for all by attending our monthly meetings. The Association meets every fourth Thursday of each month. The Association’s next meeting is on Thursday, June 28 at 6 p.m. and located at the Surry Community Center, located at 205 Enos Drive, Surry. Come join us for an open conversation and an opportunity to know one another better.
Thomas Byrd
Concerned Citizens’ Association

Strength in prayer

Editor, Smithfield Times
If you have a great friend, you are truly blessed by God, especially a friend who is also your prayer partner also, for the Bible says that where two are gathered in his name, you can ask what you will and it shall be done.
We live in perilous times. Every morning, as we tune in on the TV or radio news, there’s another shooting. Another soul has left this earth by the grave or cremation much too soon. Put down the guns!
Drugs are not the answer either. Looking for something to make you feel good for a short time, then you are hooked and must have relief or another fix.
Yes, it’s a new world, with fast money, fast cars, expensive clothes, shoes, homes that are much bigger, eating at fancy restaurants to impress. We used to call it keeping up with the Joneses. Actually, today it is living above y our means. So where do you turn? Your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents or your best friend?
My best friend is Jesus Christ. Since I was 11 years old, at a church revival one fall or spring evening. I don’t recall. But what I do know is that when I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior, life changed for the good.
I was one of nine children living in Nansemond County a the time of my salvation. Life changed for the good of my soul. I can truly say God has kept his hand on my life. God has never failed me. I may have failed him many times over the years, but he has never failed me. The song we sing, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is true. He sticks closer than anyone I have ever known. How about you?
Marie Bailey

Hypocrisy is showing

Editor, Smithfield Times
Democrats are outraged over the current immigration policy, but recent history points out their hypocrisy and double standards.
In 2009, during a speech at the Immigration Law & Policy Conference at Georgetown Law, a clip of which can be found on YouTube, Chuck Schumer said illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple.
From Jan. 3, 2009 to Jan. 3, 2011, Democrats controlled both the House and Senate. In 2010, Democrats used “reconciliation” to pass the health care bill, but failed to deliver on President Obama’s promise to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill in his first year in office, and even in his second year.
According to The Huffington Post, in 2015, Hillary Clinton defended her call to deport children from the U.S. fleeing violence in Central America. Mrs. Clinton said deporting the children, many of whom are seeking asylum, would send a “responsible message” that would deter Central American families from sending their children to the United States.
On May 27, 2018, Jon Favreau, a former Obama speechwriter with a million Twitter followers tweeted, “Look at these pictures. This is happening right now, and the only debate that matters is how we force our government to get these kids back to their families as fast as humanly possible.” Favreau quickly deleted the tweet after learning the photos were taken in 2014 and used in an Arizona Republic article, which described the migrants as “children in cages.” 
According to a May 30 article in Newsweek, “Obama held more than double the number of children in shelters compared to Trump White House”.
Where was the outrage over immigration policy during the previous administration? We need to fix our immigration problem but outrage that rings hollow with self-serving interest masquerading as compassion is not the solution.
Joe Naneville