Letters to The Editor – February 27th, 2019

Published 3:59 pm Tuesday, February 26, 2019

So much hatred

Editor, Smithfield Times
Wednesday I woke up to an article about the Juvenile Detention Center in Windsor filled with so much hate for our children, and it was being said by adults. Tuesday night I was in Gloucester at their school board speaking in support of equal rights for LGBTQ, and adults there were also spewing fear, ignorance and hate.
I find it funny that when any tragedy happens in our schools, or the loss of a child, everyone is so quick to ask, “How did this happen?” It happens when the adults in the room become the bullies instead of advocates. I read police officer referring to the kids in the detention center who need the most help as “animals” and others refer to them as “slime.” Everyone wants things to get better for our children, but no one wants to get their hands dirty or have those people in their backyard. These are children, who need help. And it is shameful to degrade them and write them off as a waste of time. Children who need the most help, ask for it in the worst ways. Wake up and stop pointing fingers … go help someone instead.
Jessica Packer Jackman

A boon to the future

Editor, Smithfield Times
As someone who has worked both in Behavioral Medicine and Public Schools, I appear to be much more positively disposed to the proposed juvenile facility than most. I have attended an information meeting and followed developments as reported in the paper. It is my belief that the proposed juvenile justice facility will be a boon to our future.
I see the leadership of the Virginia Juvenile Justice Department as committed to assisting youth, with previous experiences that would make many of us wither, to become productive members of society as opposed to a continued financial drain due to future incarcerations.
Jo Weaver

Decision is just wrong

Editor, Smithfield Times
Last Thursday the Board of Supervisors approved the placement of an institution that went completely against the community affected. That community did all that could be done to voice their concerns about this project. They wrote letters, made calls and sent emails. They went door-to-door and gathered petitions. They showed up at the public hearing by the hundreds. Many stood on their feet for five hours or more to speak and voice opposition. Most spoke passionately, eloquently and convincingly against how this would affect their community. The Windsor Town Council voted unanimously in opposition.
Concerns included little to no financial return at such high cost to the county, the highly visible location, the lack of criteria for the initial goals set for the industrial park, the complete loss of oversight by the county that comes in deeding land over to the state (no real estate tax, no machinery and tools tax, forever), and lack of consideration for other much more suitable locations across the state of Virginia.
Rarely in my previous six-year tenure on the board have I seen a community speak with one voice in one direction so clearly to an elected board called to represent, and be, their voice. I was personally lobbied by county staff for support and asked not to speak against this project (a request to which I could not agree). It was then stated they were lining up their own people. I believe these actions crossed the lines of necessary neutrality required from county staff on such issues.
The Board of Supervisors has decided to put a highly suspect institution not well suited for the location in a long established community whether that community wants it or not. It is a gutting of justice. It makes a mockery of the calling of elected officials. It leaves an entire community frustrated at the political process. And it is wrong.
Rex Alphin

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A cowardly board vote

Editor, Smithfield Times
First and foremost, thank you to each and every one of you who came out to make a stand with fellow friends and neighbors against this travesty that is being forced upon us by the dictatorship on Monument Circle. I would also like to thank Mr. Acree and Mr. Rosie for upholding your promise to serve your constituents with honor and distinction, regardless of personal feelings. I am proud to have the honor of being represented by such men.
Now for the rest …
Make no mistake. I will not allow this to be forgotten. I will be doing my best to ensure that those who are up for re-election this year never see another office, as they do not represent anything, but think that they lord over us. 
Despots and dictators have no place in a free society.
The supervisors who voted for this are not leaders, but cowards. Citizens deserve and expect honest representatives that can be trusted, and they have proven that they cannot. They spoke of community, and how they value their membership in this community. Well, after last night (Thursday) I really don’t believe that and as of now I sincerely believe that they are not members of this community nor do they truly want to be.
The stories I heard from other members of the community describing their interactions with members of the Board of Supervisors as argumentative, belligerent, petulant, name calling and hanging up the phone are appalling. Elected officials are there to represent the people in a caring and professional manner. They are not elected to condescendingly scold and disrespect the very people who put them in that position.
As a concerned citizen, it is my civic duty to call these elected representatives out when they do not fulfill their most basic obligation, to serve, not rule. This place has no room for those who don’t care about what makes it great — its people! This vote should frighten anyone who witnessed it, as it demonstrated that the Representative Republic form of government that this great nation was founded upon has been hijacked by elitist dictators who only serve themselves.
Carl J. Laule Jr.

Hateful speech

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am writing in reference to the Department of Juvenile Justice article concerning locating a facility in Windsor. The article quoted a woman from Zuni referring to the youths as slime, a former police officer calling the youths animals and a man opposing progressive and liberal ideas coming to their God-fearing community. My comments here are neither in support of nor against locating the Residential Youth Detention Center in Windsor.
After reading the article in the Smithfield Times and seeing what some folks said about the youths that will reside in the Center, I ‘m appalled at the mean and hateful words made by the individuals quoted in the article, in particular, the statements by the woman from Zuni referring to the youths as slime and the former police officer who called the youths animals. Can you imagine how he treated people who he encountered and “thought” they may have violated the law. To him I say, society is blessed that you are a ‘former” police.
These statements are inhuman and downright hateful. What I know about the faith belief of Isle of Wight County is that the majority of its citizens are Christians. Hence, I assume that these two individuals are Christians.
Well, what does Christ require of us? “Love God, love neighbor and love yourself.” Jesus ask the question of us; “How can we say we love God whom we have not seen and hate our brother/sister whom have seen.” And to the gentlemen who said not to bring “progressive and liberal ideas” to a God-fearing community, did not Jesus bring progressive and liberal ideas to the world, so that we sinners could be forgiven of our sins?
In closing, I challenge us to love each other like Christ loves us. This includes the youths in the Department of Juvenile Justice System. Because as Christians, when we fail to love we stand in contempt, disobeying God and headed to being locked up in the fiery pit of hell. So, let us keep God in our attitude and treat even these youth as human neighbors, and this love will cause these youths to be an asset instead of a liability to society.
Rev. Lilton J. Marks Sr.

Give them a chance

Editor, Smithfield Times
I just learned that the Board of Supervisors voted to build this youth detention center near Windsor.
To those who are against the facility, I ask, did you ever have a second chance in life when you were a teenager? Maybe you and I didn’t get caught.
As a farm girl, I knew the consequences (my dad) by watching my older siblings (two brothers and two sisters). Only one (the fourth one) was restless and got into trouble and was sent to Tazewell, Va. for something. He got a second chance.
Let’s give these young juveniles a second chance. We don’t know the whys, but as a Christian county, let’s put ourselves in their shoes and do our best to house them, educate them and teach them a trade, pray for them and maybe visit them and let them know that as our neighbors, we love and care for them. They might never see or know about Jesus’s love if we don’t show them.
Remember God’s word: “I was in jail and you visited me.” What will your answer be when you stand before God?
Marie Bailey

Let’s talk trash

Editor, Smithfield Times
Unwittingly I have become a highway litter expert! In driving many Virginia roads as well as co-owning an Isle of Wight farm with highway frontage, I am deeply saddened about the roadside trash and litter, which is increasing exponentially!
Beer cans, liquor bottles, plastic water and pop bottles, fast food containers, plastic and styrofoam wrapping from construction materials, construction materials, car parts, and, of course, the many “decorative” plastic bags stuck on cotton plant stems and hanging from trees. There were even trash bags full of garbage tossed into the ditches.
Couple the unsightliness with the knowledge that it takes from 10 to 1,000 years for plastic products to decompose.
Based on my “research” and “eye witness experience”, our problem points to two main sources: trucks carrying unsecured trash materials either in open beds or on trailers in tow, citizens heading to the dump, construction workers going to and from job sites, even garbage and recycle trucks with loosely-fitting covers. Then, of course, there are vehicles carrying riders who just don’t care to think of the consequences. They simply roll down that window and get rid of it!
I realize that most of you reading this are like me. You see the problem, are affected by it, and possibly even have dealt with it on your own property; plus, you have great respect for our environment and treasure its future by not littering. So, what do we do next?
I propose a simultaneous reactive/proactive approach: cleaning up what is already there and preventing future abuse through educational awareness and the enforcement of penalties, if necessary. The Wharf Hill Chuggers, for example, clean up a half-mile of Battery Park Road.
I urge other local organizations, businesses, churches, schools, neighborhoods and individuals to help find a solution to this growing blight! To those able and inspired to pick up roadside trash, thank you! Those not able to react in this way, take the proactive route by communicating your concerns and discussing improvement ideas with others.
We’ve been placed on Earth with the mission to be good stewards of our natural resources and to leave it better than we found it. Let’s start the conversation.
Beth W. Butner

Not a boom is heard

Editor, Smithfield Times
I have lived in this hamlet for 65 years — on the Pagan River for 40. I have been blessed with the honking sounds coming from above — the “Hello’s, I’m back.” The visual delights floating on the water, the sparkling emerald, turquoise and gold.
All’s quiet now — no dreaded boom, boom, boom to awaken you. Thank you for Jan. 31. The boom boom is gone. Welcome back, honkers.
Woodie Bell

A profusion of trash

Editor, Smithfield Times
Welcome to Isle of Trash, VA. My journey by vehicle through Isle of Trash to Newport News was most euphoric and exhilarating on this rainy day as Mother Nature displayed her most coveted floral specimens for this time of year. An abundance of plastic, cardboard, rubber, paper, aluminum, glass and what have you flowers have suddenly blossomed and sprouted everywhere.
Albeit most of the colors seem to be white, there are some other colors thrown in there to catch the eye. For whatever reasons some of these floral arrangements seem to congregate more heavily in some areas than others, especially along ditches that have overfilled with storm water, and at edges of woodland. Open fields are not immune to the growth of flora as wind seems to spread their seed as far away as to enter the tributaries of our water sheds and probably our rivers and oceans.
My only wish is that everyone who has the luxury of making their journey through Isle of Trash will appreciate the horoscape as much as I have. Another paradox of what is natural and what is man-made. And the question remains as to what we do about it. Perhaps we should all become blind so as to not recognize our shame or our being a disease upon the face of our Earth.
Don Land

Beautiful county?

Editor, Smithfield Times
Not a week goes by that we do not hear how important tourism is for Isle of Wight County. But as my wife and I drive our roads, the amount of trash and litter decorating the shoulders and adjacent fields ceases to amaze me.
Do people drive down the road and simply empty their trash out of their car windows? I venture a guess our visitors are not the culprits, but the local citizens. Drainage ditches are full of cups, cans, paper, bottles, and fast food bags. Fields are awash with white and blue plastic bags.
Are littering laws not enforced, or is it so rampant it cannot be controlled? Do people not have any pride in where they live? Before moving here 18 years ago from the peninsula, we would make day trips to Smithfield and remark how pristine the area was. Those days are past. We all need to make a conscious decision to end this disgusting, unsightly, unhealthy habit. If I were a tourist today traveling to Smithfield for a visit, I would be appalled at the amount of trash and litter decorating our roads and highways. It would certainly make me think twice about visiting and communing with people who have so little regard for their home and environment.
Ron Bailey

Legalize for medical use

Editor, Smithfield Times
For some time now, the state of Virginia has been in limbo concerning the future of marijuana and its legality. Our state legislators are no strangers to the topic of legalization. Bills on the issue are frequently brought in front of the House and Senate.
If this prospect seems scandalous to some residents of Smithfield, I can’t blame them for thinking so. However, I’m not here to advocate for the casual smoker who wants to spark up without getting locked up. Decriminalizing marijuana in the state of Virginia could have beneficial effects on those who need it to medically treat serious illnesses.
Under Virginia state law, qualifying residents can register with the Board of Pharmacy to obtain officially prescribed marijuana treatments. This process, however, can turn into a long and tiresome one, littered with bureaucratic obstacles.
Legalizing marijuana as a general substance would make it easier for patients who are medically in need of the drug to obtain it, giving them access to a better quality of life.
In Smithfield and surrounding towns, there were 3,916 cases of cancer between 2009 and 2013. Of those who had cancer in that time, 2,301 of those individuals survived, whether they were completely cured or in remission.
Marijuana has been a useful resource for many cancer patients in remission. For those survivors in Smithfield’s area (and the 115,098 survivors in Virginia as a whole), marijuana may be able to help elevate their standard of living.
A fair number of the people of Smithfield know cancer and the havoc it wreaks. They know the pain of illness firsthand or have watched a loved one suffer. Traditional treatments can work, but sometimes they don’t. It’s time for open-mindedness and new solutions.
If Virginians act now, this could be the year legislators decide to enact change.
To have a hand in changing marijuana laws and touching the lives of your fellow Virginians, contact the Isle of Wight County General Assembly representative, Emily Brewer, at HYPERLINK “about:blank” Brewerforva.com/contact.   Lauren Guzman

Protect The unborn

Editor, Smithfield Times
I trust readers took to heart the letter by Alice Boyd to The Smithfield Times published on Feb. 13, and especially her statement, “Science is clear that human life begins at conception when a human being is formed.” This is so true, for if the new life in the womb would happen to die, there would be an expulsion or miscarriage of the baby from the womb. As long as the baby has life, it would grow to full term. Life has to begin at conception or there would be no newborn babies.
It is vitally important to understand God’s Word in Zechariah 12:1 that it is the Lord who “formeth the spirit of man within him.” The spirit is the life of the baby that begins at conception. As James, the half brother of the Lord Jesus, wrote in James 2:26, “the body without the spirit is dead.” The husband and wife provide the physical body for the baby; however, it is the Lord who provides the spirit of life of the baby. Truly, it is a joy and a blessing to join with God in bringing new life into the world.
God have mercy on those who abort His gift in the life of the unborn.
Russell Leonard

A lack of trust

Editor, Smithfield Times
I did not attend the supervisors’ meeting last Thursday, but I did watch it on live stream. I am in favor of moving forward with the commonwealth to gather more information so that a face-based decision can be made.
There was a large turnout Thursday evening, and the majority voiced negative opinions. Most made it sound like they were “kept in the dark,” and it was being “crammed down their throats.” Their presentations had an added edge, and that is lack of trust in our supervisors. One of our supervisors apparently hung up on a constituent. Unacceptable! However, disagreement with this supervisor by email results in a return email of “tongue lashing” for disagreeing with him. Perhaps both of these examples are a tactic with the purpose of discouraging communication.
Prior to the meeting, another supervisor had posted on Facebook his full family’s support of the juvenile detention center. In the meeting, the supervisor claimed the post was removed, and it was — his son’s post, not his. It seems appropriate that, for an elected supervisor, a family discussion should have been held about discussing county business on Facebook.
Emotions are running high, and I would like to propose accurate, specific information be conveyed to all citizens. Examples are the number of juvenile detention centers in the commonwealth, how many escapes there have been, the criteria for placement in the center, the kind of evaluation that occurs before placement and what real benefits Isle of Wight can expect from the project.
If Isle of Wight is truly going to benefit, it should be easy to convince the citizens. Supervisors should take the time to do this right and perhaps some of their credibility can be restored.
Lynn Faulkner