Letters to The Editor – August 8th, 2018

Published 4:27 pm Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Goal to ban all dogs?

Editor, Smithfield Times
An article on July 25 reported on a new dog policy enacted by Smithfield Farmers Market. “Any dog involved in a skirmish that warrants an incident report will be banned” from the market. This includes the victim. Blaming and banning the victim is wrong. Such an overreaction makes me wonder if this is step one in banning all dogs.
Gayle Gillerlain’

The JRB backup

Editor, Smithfield Times
At peak traffic hours, traffic on Rt. 17 in Isle of Wight sometimes backs up from Eagle Harbor across the James River Bridge, and it’s not just a bridge lift. VDOT has stated this traffic problem will not be resolved until a new Nike Park Road extension from the present Nike Park Road/Reynolds Road intersection to Rt. 17 is built. The new Rt. 17 road access will be near Carrollton Baptist Church just around the curve toward the Brewers Neck side.
That makes absolutely no sense. If the new Rt. 17 road access was on the other side of the three lights, near the Whippingham Parkway area, that would fix the problem. But the proposed road is on the wrong side of the three lights that are the problem, namely the Whippingham, Eagle Harbor and Smith Neck traffic lights.
It is a farce to think this proposed extension and road widening will fix anything, However, it will open up the area to more development, making traffic worse.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I have to think there is a data input error for computer traffic analysis to indicate a Rt. 17 fix. A traffic engineer with no familiarity with the area must have made the mistake. Our Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors must press this issue or limited, VDOT money allotment for Isle of Wight will be misdirected and squandered.
Thomas Finderson

Fire-rescue Board

Editor, Smithfield Times
Our Board of Supervisors is looking for a way to work efficiently and respectfully with all of the independently chartered volunteer and career fire, rescue, EMS agencies in our county. These well-established and professional departments are also looking for a way to make their collective voice heard more effectively with the Board of Supervisors without compromising their own historical independence.
May I suggest we establish a “Fire-Rescue Board” to codify and continue the work of our current quarter-century old Isle of Wight Fire-Rescue Association.
The Fire-Rescue Association now comprises the county’s seven independent Fire/EMS agencies and has worked well, but informally, for the past 25 years. But it is now time for a stronger, more unified voice, when dealing with complicated funding, interoperability, apparatus replacement and other issues that face these agencies individually and collectively.
I would add the county Department of Emergency Services as an eighth and equal partner on my proposed Fire-Rescue Board (FRB).
This new eight-member “FRB” would directly succeed our Fire-Rescue Association and consist of the eight agencies in Isle of Wight County now chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia to ensure a rapid first life safety response for all emergencies. Members would be: Carrollton VFD, Carrsville VFD, Isle of Wight VRS, Isle of Wight ES, Rushmere VFD, Smithfield VFD, Windsor VFD and Windsor VRS. Each agency would choose its own representative(s?) to the FRB with an equal vote to present a strong and unified voice to our County Board of Supervisors.
The FRB would be codified by the county and function to unify and consolidate the needs and concerns of the various agencies as a means to convey these to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors in turn would deal with the FRB in all actions concerning life safety issues within the county rather than with each agency individually as now appears to be the case.
Albert Burckard

Blacktop the street

Editor, Smithfield Times The following is a letter my husband and I sent to the members of the Smithfield Town Council after reading the article headlined “Main Street to retain similar stone finish” in the Aug. 1 edition of the paper. It is unfortunate that by the time the next edition of the paper is published on Aug. 8 my letter to the paper will be a moot point, as the vote is to be on Aug. 7.
In that letter, my husband and I urged the town to approve the asphalt finish for Main Street rather than the pea stone. The condition of the current finish should be reason enough to avoid using it. The aesthetics of pea stone are lovely on streets such as Duke of Gloucester in Williamsburg. In fact I believe that was the impetus for choosing it for Smithfield. But DoG Street is closed to traffic, a big difference from the usage Main Street in Smithfield undergoes.
This makes the choice of pea stone over asphalt a costly addition, both now and in future maintenance, to a surface completely pad for by VDoT. Please show fiscal responsibility in this decision. With luck it may start a new trend. 
 Barbara A. Barlow

Government nonsense

Editor, Smithfield Times
Does not the Commonwealth’s statute declare that the title to an “automobile” or “local mobile property” cannot be transferred, even by the true owner, without delivery of a properly endorsed title certificate?
And isn’t it therefore implied that the true holder of a state-issued vehicle title has a warranty of title and title protection by statute? Furthermore, is it not also required of the owner to report said ownership to the county commissioner of the revenue to be legally taxed as required by law?
This is, and must remain, the only requirement of government to the free and unmolested right of ownership to personal property. Regardless of its state of assembly or valid license plates and/or inspection decals. The latter are only required when operation on a public road is desired.
Local government can by ordinance, however, dictate the appearance (public view) of said personal property and require it to be covered or placed behind one’s residence, but not the overreach of requiring a garage or structure be built to house such “inoperable vehicles,” it is not required of all titled conveyances to be so housed.
It is this kind of government nonsense that, left unchecked by its citizenry, continues to steal away our Constitutional rights. Our property, and our freedom to enjoy it, should remain without fear of being deprived unjustly. Good intentioned local boards and governing bodies must be throttled in their desire to control all aspects of our lives.
Further reflection on Surry County’s proposed ordinance subsection “Inoperable vehicles” should be taken. Just think. Where would all of our antique vehicles, boats and planes come from if past governments had felt it necessary to send out the “beautification police” to confiscate — yes, I say confiscate — our hard earned machinery, whether it is up on blocks, without tires or not.
Thomas L. Mayes

Putin’s minions?

Editor, Smithfield Times
My thanks to Elizabeth Churchill for an intelligent and factual statement regarding the Russian interference in the governance of America.
I suggest she send a copy of her statement to Putin’s vice president at the White House in Washington, D.C. Additional copies should be sent to the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader. These individuals need to understand that they all are supposed to represent the citizens of America, not provide comfort and support to Russia.
Edmond Easter

Spend only on absolute needs

Editor, Smithfield Times
Really pricey stuff, and the newspaper writer possibly influenced by the Superintendent, writes “we feel.” Back in 2010, “feeling” got us a new Middle School in Windsor, that instead of costing the contract price of $19 million ended up at $24 million. It’s construction was based on 110 percent overcrowding of the old school when the population was actually at 73 percent. “Feeling” versus thinking, based on “accurate” rather than wrong facts, can lead to costly unnecessary erroneous decisions.
As for renovations for new aesthetics as a part of $37 million needed for Hardy and Westside, past school board member Edwards was famous for saying,  “are we an education focused or bricks ‘n mortar school board?” Modernizing cafeterias and restroom are proper, but public areas, such as tile on the corridor walls, floor tiles, exterior facades, etc., are problems educationally ?! Methinks the golden goose must be laying eggs in our county when we face other infrastructure issues (water deal costs). In 2012-13, both Hardy and Westside were modernized in an “energy efficiency” project that results in saving citizen tax dollars and improved interior environment. Who’s thinking now — the Board, administration?
Adverse to the Forum, there are “needed” and there are “nice to have” renovations. Focus has to be on the needed, period, from a fiscally responsible School Board, and Administration. If they do not, then it falls to the Board of Supervisors to rein in the “big spenders.” Supervisors gave an additional $8 million for STEM related needs and costs. Wonder how much of it went to meet cost to asphalt parking areas for the Central Office staff that’s been parking on permeable gravel since 2006 ?
This Superintendent will be long gone when taxpayers are paying for “feeling” decisions on “nice to haves, not real needs” approved by an “educator-oriented” school board. It’s time to be fiscally responsible “thinkers,” not “feelers” on county elected bodies. Woe to us taxpayers otherwise.
Herb De Groft

Reassignment questioned

Editor, Smithfield Times
Well, I voted for a good citizen and watched for the outcome.
I truly liked the statements made by both now Sheriff Clark and then Lieutenant Pope when asked what the day after would be like. It appears retribution is the flavor of the day, reassigned and possible loss of pay as well for Pope?
As a person whom has the ability to use my position in such ways, I would ask the now sheriff, did the performance reviews of Lt. Pope ever touch on poor fitness or ever seem to speak on the need to be reassigned by former Sheriffs Marshall or Phelps?
I do not know, but the old saying when it it smells like *#!@, it probably is.
Bill Kessler

King Tide project

Editor, Smithfield Times
These past few weeks have brought another reminder of how vulnerable our region is to coastal flooding. But there’s still so much we don’t know about this threat.
That’s where Catch the King comes in.
Last November, an army of citizen-scientists, some 500 strong, put on waders and boots and went down to the waters of Hampton Roads. And there, with smartphones as their measuring devices, they set to work documenting the reach of the year’s highest astronomical tide, the king tide.
So was born Catch the King, which in its debut year, in 2017, became the world’s largest-ever king tide crowdsourcing event.
The data collected will help improve tidal flooding forecast models for years to come and help make it safer to live, work or play near the water. But the experience wasn’t enough for Catch the King participants. Their overwhelming refrain: “When can we do it again?”
Well, that day is coming, this year on Saturday Oct. 27. We have some big new developments. WHRO, owned by the 19 school divisions of southeastern Virginia, has embarked on an HYPERLINK “http://kingtide.whro.org/schools”ambitious year-round flooding resilience education effort with Catch the King at its core. Thirty-eight schools signed on to participate in the WHRO-led initiative within two days of its quiet announcement last week.
To learn more about the project, or to sign up as a volunteer, go to the new website, whro.org/kingtide.
Skip Stiles
Executive Director
Wetlands Watch