Letters to The Editor – November 7th, 2018

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Poppy sale this weekend

Editor, Smithfield Times
This year’s VFW Post 8545 Poppy Drive is fast approaching. The annual Poppy Drive works like this. The VFW Post will be giving away lapel poppies and accepting donations at various locations throughout Smithfield and Eagle Harbor, on Friday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 10. Donations are used exclusively to help local veterans, their widows and children, by providing emergency cash to pay for essential goods and services, from paying property taxes to heating bills and groceries. Last year, local residents donated a little more than $6,000.
Veterans’ Day originated with the armistice at the end of World War I. That armistice was reached on the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918 — a century ago this week.
In 1923, the Veterans of Foreign Wars began the organized, nationwide distribution of poppies to raise money for disabled veterans. The use of the now famous poppy as the symbol of veterans’ sacrifice came from John McCrea’s poem, “In Flanders Fields,” in which he describes the poppy flowers growing between “row on row” of the white, wooden crosses that marked the graves of the fallen soldiers.
Smithfield’s Post 8545 cordially invites friends and neighbors to show their appreciation for America’s veterans by accepting, then wearing, the traditional red poppy that we will distribute Friday and Saturday. As always, every dollar raised will be used entirely to help veterans in need. Chris Torre Jr.
Vice Commander
VFW Post 8545

More shelter help needed

Editor, Smithfield Times
This summer, I spent over 100 hours volunteering at the Isle of Wight County animal shelter. I spent additional hours at home creating documents to promote the shelter, updating Facebook pages, and with the help of my own dog, fostering a scared surrendered hound to learn more about him for potential adopters or rescues. I’ve been driving from my home in North Suffolk to volunteer at the shelter for a few years now and I will continue to do so because the staff and my fellow volunteers are some of the best citizens you could ever hope to meet.

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Much of my time volunteering this summer was devoted to cleaning. This task is started first thing in the morning but it was hard for any individual to work efficiently because both staff and volunteers were pulled in so many directions — answering phones, doing paperwork, directing volunteers, etc. Since only officers can go on calls, the cleaning crew was often reduced even more.
As a teacher, I know all about providing great customer service to the community, so I have the necessary skills to answer phones or greet and answer questions from citizens. I am willing to do all kinds of tasks at the shelter.
However, the real strength my fellow volunteers and I bring to the shelter is our ability to spend quality time socializing with dogs and cats at the shelter, taking them into the community or even into our own homes to do the real work that makes them adoptable. The shelter staff is tied to the building, but volunteers have the flexibility to reach beyond the shelter on behalf of the animals and the staff.
The shelter needs additional staff to do cleaning and paperwork at the shelter so volunteers can concentrate on the community-based activities that increase adoptions. Consider the addition of staff as an investment in the shelter and the community at large.
With the start of the school year, my volunteer time at the shelter is limited to the weekends and other days off. I still assist with Facebook pages and advocate for the shelter animals and staff at every opportunity because I am passionate about the good work this shelter does for the community.
Rebecca Burley

Lost faith In IW staff

Editor, Smithfield Times
As a longtime resident of Isle of Wight County, I must confess a complete loss of faith in leadership at the Isle of Wight County schools central office level. I believe our children are our most important responsibility and deserve a quality education. But we cannot trust the current school system leadership to manage the significant amount of money they are asking taxpayers to provide.
The revelation that more than $65,000 was wasted on locks has made it clear we are in need of a change in leadership. To ignore the recommendation to get the installation cleared reeks not only of arrogance but also incompetence. That is money we will never see again. Central Office’s cavalier attitude that this does not need to be continually brought up is a clear indicator of the culture of our leaders.
I have noticed that money is often moved from one area of the budget to another to cover shortfalls. Why can our Central Office leadership not stick to the budget it proposes? The collusion at the highest levels in central office has denied taxpayers of their hard earned money by not spending wisely or as proposed. Expenditures of $800 for Wizard of Oz costumes for Central Office and $20,000 on leadership retreats boggles the mind. Even by their own records, they have exceeded their budget for travel by over 500 percent. How can these expenses be justified when our children cannot depend on having soap or toilet paper in the restrooms and teachers are asked to provide copy paper? At least central office staff looked great in the costumes for their skit.
Current leadership has shown it is incapable following the advice of competent authority to ensure the appropriate expenditure of public money. We cannot raise taxes to support the Superintendent’s vision, until we have a change in leadership. The damage to our trust has been done. It is our responsibility to demand a change in leadership. There is a School Board meeting on Nov. 8. Come and be heard.
Katie Lemon

Another political view

Editor, Smithfield Times
I must respectfully disagree with my friend Joe Puglisi’s conclusions in his letter in last week’s Times.
Joe has it backwards. Republicans, not Democrats, are the modern Humanists who put people ahead of Party.
Two examples will suffice:
Despite the Democrats’ efforts in the 1860s to keep their slaves, it was the “humanist” Republicans who freed them. Democrats also acted very “uncivil” by firing on Fort Sumter to start a war in their vain attempt to keep their own enslaved humans here in the South.
And, in the Kavanaugh hearings, Democrats proved to the nation what lengths they will go to in putting Party over humanity.
But Joe, you and I do agree on one thing. We should all vote like “humanists” to put as many Republicans in office as possible.
PS: I’m NOT a Republican!
Albert P. Burckard Jr.