Letters to The Editor – November 21st, 2018

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2018

On May elections

Editor, Smithfield Times
Approximately 45 percent of the registered voters in Windsor voted in the recent election for Town Council. It was a contested election and it is encouraging to see the high voter participation.
Smithfield had a contested election for Town Council last May. Only 15 percent of the eligible voters participated, and that was a high turnout for a Smithfield Town Council election. There must be some justification for Smithfield keeping May elections. Possibly the low voter participation helps protect incumbents. Look at what happened in Windsor.
John Graham

Are You serious?

Editor, Smithfield Times
Regarding your article “Shelter canceling two months due to lack of volunteers:” How can this be? In a town and county steeped with Churches, organized clubs, a great workout facility that has many showers and lots of room, a massive Food producer, small buses riding throughout town all day and into early evening practically empty, heated huge tents for weddings, celebrations and events and folks who can build or buy buildings to store their antique car collections so they are protected from the elements, it is obvious there is enough shame to go around.
I am a small business owner with little time to spare, but I cannot just let this go as I sit in my warm home with plenty of food in the frig. Who else feels the same? Please email me at HYPERLINK “mailto:smcgee@homesweethomecareinc.com”smcgee@homesweethomecareinc.com and let’s see how we can help our Community.
Please consider, as my family will, including the less fortunate while saying grace before enjoying a Thanksgiving feast.
Happy Thanksgiving to all,
Shirley McGee

How about water bills?

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Editor, Smithfield Times
Reference Ray Baxter’s Nov. 14 letter, while I don’t disagree with most of what he said concerning our school division, the one thing that doesn’t make sense is his lead-in that the School Superintendent should pay for the lock mistake. If accepting responsibility for a fiscal wrong meant everyone had to pay for it, no one would accept responsibility for anything. Fraud, waste or abuse should definitely carry a penalty, but I don’t believe this falls into any of those categories. Plus, if making one pay for egregious financial mistakes was the way to go, then my water bill would be 30-40 percent lower since some previous Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors members would be paying.
Rob Hunter

Street is wonderful

Editor, Smithfield Times:
The new aggregate road surface on Main Street in Smithfield is wonderful. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Smithfield’s Mayor, Town Council, staff and all those involved in this decision ensuring that the HeART of Genuine Smithfield continues to be a unique place to live, work, eat, shop, and visit. 
Mark Hall
Hallwood Enterprises

IW Out of Sync

Editor, Smithfield Times
I enjoyed Diana McFarland’s article, “IW stands by GOP” published in last week’s Smithfield Times. However, the article easily could have been titled “IW Out Of Sync.” Based on the numbers in the article, Isle of Wight seems completely out of sync with the region, the state and the country. And, with a democratic governor, senator and representative, it seems like IW voters are out of touch with their closest neighbors and fellow Virginians.
As a fiscally conservative, pro-military, blue-dog democrat, Tim Kane is a very popular and influential senator. Apparently, most of the region agrees, as he thrashed Corey Stewart. Although Corey Stewart identifies as a Republican, his campaign was run on an anti-liberties, anti-freedom and a pro-government platform, distinctly different from the Grand Old Party I grew up with. It is easy to see why he lost — but strangely, not here in Isle of Wight. The IW voting numbers indicate an apparent disconnect with what others seem to see clearly, that the “New Republicans” are not the GOP. Maybe Kroger will sell us a new pair of glasses — maybe even before the next election.
Tim Lavallee

Our flag at half mast

Editor, Smithfield Times
Riding thru town the other day, I noticed that our flag was once again, flying at half mast. Why is it that this flag of ours has been lowered more times this year, than ever before!! That is a question we need to ask ourselves. Is it because of the nonexistence of proper gun control or because there are so many deranged people out there who are hell bent on killing as many innocent people as they can?
I wish I had the answer. I can only hope, that maybe somehow the violence that is gripping this country comes to an end soon. We need this great flag of ours to reach the top of the flagpole once again, and stay there for more than a few days or weeks.”
Stephen J. Pesci

Support veterans

Editor, Smithfield Times
What a great Veterans Day! We had parades, TV interviews, write ups in the paper and other publicity honoring our veterans. What a wonderful occasion and justly so. But what will tomorrow bring? Back to the usual strife, protests and other “newsyworthy” items, none of which will address our veterans, their deeds and their needs.
We will have Pelosi and her ilk screaming (again) for gun control in response to the recent slayings in California particularly since it involved one of those “demented” veterans. This will be echoed by the minions of her party voicing the need for gun control. Do they ever stop to think that if the poor Marine vet who committed these slayings had had the proper counseling and treatment that 12 persons might now still be alive. Have you ever seen Kaine, Warner or Scott march for veterans? I don’t think so. But they will defend illegals, criminals and other lowlifes.
Isn’t it time our Congress started to recognize the debt owed to our young folks who have suffered so much in the service of our country? Isn’t it time for legislation that would provide the necessary and deserved care for our veterans as a priority before that of illegals, criminals and protesters? It is time for our veterans to receive the care and support they deserve despite the fact that they do not march and scream in protest, which seems to be the new way for this country.
Ed Mortimer

An emotional experience

Editor, Smithfield Times
On Nov. 14, I was afforded the extraordinary pleasure of witnessing something so engaging, so moving and so patriotic that this old soldier was left emotionally drained, reduced to tears and speechless. Through the graciousness of Mrs. Patricia Hall, regent of the Col. William Allen Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in Smithfield, I was invited to accompany my wife and her organizational sisters to the US Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony at the Federal Courthouse in Norfolk.
Ninety-eight prospective US citizens, their friends and families nervously huddled to complete paperwork and signatures, and to intently listen to all final instructions of a very patient INS agent/guide. There was a feeling of tense anticipation in the air. They were asked to renounce all that had previously legally tied them to the country from which they came, not to sacrifice their culture or customs, but rather all the legalities that tied them to their country of origin.
Then came the United States oath of citizenship, a recognition of rights and duties of a US citizen, and a Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. Throughout, I periodically turned to view the faces of our prospective citizens. There was no lack of understanding. No sadness. No confusion. Only a laser focus on the well-rehearsed task at hand. They recited the oath barely glancing at the written page. Darn, I felt proud to be an American. They universally looked like they had just finished the longest carousel ride of their life and had snatched the brass ring.
Once again I turned to see the faces. Ninety-eight new citizens from 58 different countries, all congratulating each other. All those differing languages and one universal understanding. It was told by the ear-to-ear grin on every face in the room. We did it. After all the waiting, all the work, all the expense, all the unknown. Some waited more than 10 years. We did it and did it the right way. And because we did, we are Americans! I shook every hand. They cried. They sobbed. They held their Certificate of United States Citizenship with an iron grip. They are proud Americans! And we are proud to welcome them.
Ron Schupner

More staff for shelter

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am a pet owner and a strong supporter of providing homes to animals through adoption from local public animal shelters. 
I have supported the Isle of Wight Animal Shelter in the past and will continue to do so and will seek to adopt pets from the shelter as my experiences there have always been very satisfactory. I have always been greeted with enthusiasm by the staff there and have been able to observe the great amount of work required to keep the shelter a clean, safe and humane environment for the animals they are charge to find homes for.
However, the current staffing has simply become inadequate. There are two attendants and two active Animal Control Officers, as well as a fluctuating level of assistance from part-time volunteers. Clearly the work level required is simply more than these four should be asked, or expected, to continue to meet.
I am absolutely aghast at the costs in both, time and money, in excess of $6 million dollars, being thrown into the construction of a bicycle trail in the County, while the Sheriff’s Office’s comparatively small request for an expansion of two additional personnel for the Animal Shelter has, to date, apparently fallen on deaf ears. I am truly disappointed in the Board’s lack of support to the IOW Animal Shelter! The Shelter needs at least two additional full time positions added, immediately, in order to continue to provide humane treatment and relocation adoption of the rescued animals in the County’s care    The current employees are proud of their accomplishment at the Shelter, and they love their work and the animals that they care for. If we continue to demand so much work from so few staff we will risk deterioration of moral, and the loss of the dedication of both the staff and the volunteers who are seeing the demands exceed their ability to help.
On behalf of the taxpayers and voting public of the County and even more so, on behalf of humane treatment of the rescued animals, I urge the supervisors to support the Animal Shelter and fulfill the requests of the Sheriff’s Office for this additional staff to man this facility.
William A. Harrison

Nominal Christianity

Editor, Smithfield Times
In Jim McAdaragh’s recent letter to the editor, he cited a decline in Christianity, warning that Christians will likely soon bemoan their newfound minority status. And he held out hope for a decline in all organized religion.
I suspect he was referencing surveys like this Gallup Poll. Admittedly, Christianity is on the decline, at least in America. (It is exploding in much of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.) And this may come as a surprise, given that I am a Christian pastor, but I don’t think this decline is necessarily a bad thing.
It might be more accurate to say that nominal Christianity — Christianity in name only — is on the decline in America. Increasingly rare, in other words, are those who identify as Christians, but do not trust Jesus or believe the Bible. There is less cultural pressure to identify as a Christian than ever before. What used to be an asset on an American social résumé is now increasingly considered, by many at least, to be a liability.
The result is that we are all a little more honest with ourselves. People feel the freedom to openly identify as an atheist, or as an agnostic — rather than insisting on identifying as a Christian, despite wanting little to do with Christ or his church. I see this as progress. It is much easier to discuss spiritual things with a person who identifies as an agnostic than with one who believes and lives like a non-Christian, but still maintains that they belong to Jesus.
But the question remains: How will authentic followers of Christ respond as Christianity drifts toward minority status? Will they suddenly cry for religious liberty for all people? Will they insist that people of all religions are free to worship as they see fit, without having the religious views of others forcibly imposed on them?
I will. And I do. Right now. Christianity teaches that all persons, without exception, are made in the image of God. And as such, they possess inherent dignity and worth. God has given all people freedom to worship as they see fit. (And God has given them the responsibility to worship him as he deserves.) Far be it from me, or any power in the majority, to force religious beliefs on anyone in the minority. Doing so would be a violation of their religious liberty, conferred on them by God, who created them in his image.
Is nominal Christianity on the decline in America? We can only hope. But is the good news of King Jesus thriving all over the world, as people turn from sin and trust in him? It is, and I celebrate God’s generous kindness for that.
Ben LoPresti
James River Community Church

On foul language

Editor, Smithfield Times
In regards to the letter to Dr. Wallace and which appeared in the Tween 12 & 20 column about the nine-year-old boy using foul language, I agree with the 13-year-old brother. No one at that age should be using foul language — boy or girl. As a matter of fact, no one at any age should be doing it.
My mother used to tell us she would wash our mouths out with soup. Those parents should do the same to their son.
Ruth Price