Letters to The Editor – March 6th, 2019

Published 5:08 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Tolls for bicycling

Editor, Smithfield Times
It is great to give bicycle riders a safe lane with proper surface so they can ride alone or in groups and fell safe enough to enjoy themselves. One big problem, however, is that money collected through tolls and fees and auto taxes (fuel, etc.) Should be spent only on roads for auto, motorcycle and truck use only. The one exception being farm equipment. Tolls should be imposed on the trail users. Employing toll collectors will reduce unemployment. When projects cost millions, then those receiving the benefits should be paying the bill.
Kenny Hudson

In the end, positive

Editor, Smithfield
Like Springtime temperatures, tempers in Isle of Wight — especially in Windsor — are rising over the location of a juvenile prison proposed by Virginia State. Three Supervisors (North end of the County) voted for conveying the land to the state for this prison and the two supervisors directly representing the affected people voted “No.” Virtually all residents of Windsor voted “No.” I remember just a few years ago, the Supervisors did everything their way and did not listen to the citizens. They were soundly thrown out of their positions at the next election — rightfully so.
I personally do not see the problems that the citizens of Windsor see, and think in the end, the prison will be a positive event for the county. People are amazing; they want law and order, jails, prisons, etc. But not in their backyard. That presumes the prisons are acceptable if located down the road in some one else’s community with or without their concurrence.
These same citizens were against the improvements/relocation of US 460 last year. Again, put it in someone else’s community. The canine training facility was opposed. Yet, the very same citizens want the government to do more to improve their way of life. The Windsor Supervisor, Mr. Acree, voted no with the stipulation that he was elected on supporting the people and in this case his vote was “No.” Well sir, you should also remember the phrase “hard love.” Also if more than one person is involved, each has their own opinion and after listening, one should use their best judgment or when in command — command rather than form a committee. Aah, the joys of Springtime!
Ray Baxter

IW vote is just wrong

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Editor, Smithfield Times
The county plans to give land in Windsor to the State for a juvenile detention center. Here is why I and many others oppose this deal.
It’s 20 prime acres on Route 258, two miles from town. Prisons do not bring prosperity to small rural towns and can be detrimental. As to it being a juvenile detention center, Andy Block, director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, said the inmates will be ages 14-21, including felons of murders and rapes.
The State says it will provide jobs and boost to economy. That may be too good to be true. Most prison jobs go to State employees; who usually choose to live outside the area. The State gets free land, paid for by county taxpayers, worth more than $200,000, plus $500,000 of County taxpayers’ money towards utility lines!
Once the State owns the land, neither the County nor town will have jurisdiction. Later on they could expand from 60 beds to 160 or make it a Maximum-Security Prison. There’ll be no tax revenue from the State! 
Citizens of Windsor and Carrsville Districts will be affected for generations. The three board members driving this don’t live nearby! The supervisors did no independent studies on the economic and social impact this will have on a small town and did not survey the citizens or properly publish their plans to the community. There was no transparency.
A group of citizens got information to the people. They were stunned about the plans for their community! Often their reaction was; Why haven’t we heard? Most of those canvassed were opposed to it being in their backyard!  A thousand people have, and more continue to, sign a petition to oppose this.
The 2/21 BoS Public Hearing overflowed to the outside with citizens in opposition! Citizens had done research; brought concerns to the board for over five hours! At the end, three board members were not moved at all for the citizens’ concerns.
Rural small towns are not good for JDC’s. Inmates are removed from their communities/families and don’t get the support needed for rehab.
So why supervisors trying to ram this project thru? The crux of the matter is that nothing about this has been transparent or inclusive for the citizens.
All of this is just wrong.
Louise and Guy Bennett

Oust three supervisors

Editor, Smithfield Times
I believe we all learned in history, that as part of a democracy we get to elect representatives to speak the will of the people. Seems three members of our Board of Supervisors have forgotten that basic democratic principle, or never learned that lesson!
The voice of the people was loud and clear when it came to building the juvenile detention center in Windsor: “we do not want it.” This was stated in this paper and the Daily Press and Virginian Pilot as well. Yet Richard Grice, Rudolph Jefferson and William McCarty decided they were smarter than us little people and voted for the juvenile detention center, against the desires of the people. Thanks to Joel Acree and Don Rosie for voting no and representing the voters who chose them.
So let us remember the three board members who voted yes, and make sure they are not re-elected. They have forgotten that they were supposed to represent the people, the basic tenet of democracy.
Jim Minton

Unconcerned and misleading

Editor, Smithfield Times
Please allow me to express my frustration on the vote Thursday night at the conclusion of the Public Hearing by the Board of Supervisors to locate a juvenile prison in the Windsor community. For the people of Windsor to pour out their hearts with such passion expressing their concerns about the project and have Mr. Grice, McCarty, and Jefferson turn a deaf ear is far from how our county governmental process should work.
The process our Board of Supervisors and County Administrator Randy Keaton followed when they prematurely committed to the State to where they ended up last night was deceptive.
• Keaton reported the return on investment will be very lucrative to the County. In truth it will be negligible. We are giving them close to $1.3 million in property and cash, taking the property off the tax rolls in perpetuity.
• The sewer line will not be an economic boom for the county allowing for future development to tie in. It’s too small and there are only 8 additional acres of high ground to hook on.
• The Town of Windsor was misled when the County approached them for a letter of support. The county had committed prior to many of the affected residents having any knowledge of it coming.
• We were told this new type of facility will be very successful in rehabilitating the youthful offenders. History shows 75 percent are or will be repeat offenders. It’s a shot in the dark at best.
•Mr. Block with the State said at the Public Hearing that he did not remember telling anyone they would have placed the facility here even if no incentives had been given. He confessed that to me in a public meeting. Our county gratuitously gave away $1.3 million.
• Keaton reported this prison would not decrease land values in and around Windsor. I am not even going to give that a response.
I believe the newspapers should request a timeline from both the County and State. That may reveal other untruths.
Mr. Keaton, Grice, McCarty, Jefferson made a decision affecting people they do not represent. The bottom line is they wanted a prison in Isle of Wight County and so as to not affect their constituents, they put it in Windsor.
I suggest the prison be named The Grice, McCarty, Jefferson, Keaton Prison. This will be their legacy.
Richard J. Holland Jr.

Lived near Baptist Church

Editor, Smithfield Times
“The night the Baptist Church burned” brought back significant memories for me. I lived two doors from the Baptist church and saw it every day — from 1943. I was in my 30’s then and had gone off to Arlington to live, but when I came back to Smithfield to visit, I remember that burned church and it was horrible. In your article you say Warren Taylor saw the burning church, and when the church met again at Smithfield High School he said “Begin again and press on.” I liked that and I hadn’t known it was said. Thank you for printing the column in Short Rows!   Lelia Brock Whitley Martin
Glen Allen