Letters to The Editor – March 13th, 2019

Published 1:59 pm Tuesday, March 12, 2019

‘Trashbusters’ in Carrollton

Editor, Smithfield Times
The community wishes to thank Pastor William McCarty and his “trashbusters” for cleaning up Smith’s Neck Road from Route-17 to Old Mackelsfield Road last Saturday morning.
Some 20 volunteers, fully outfitted in safety vests and with appropriate road signage, picked up trash from the ditches along both sides of the road that filled more than 100 40-pound bags.
The large orange bags, provided by the good folks of our county Parks & Recreation Dept., were also not just left along the roadway but dutifully transported to the convenience center at Jones Creek.
I hope everybody who travelled Smith’s Neck Road last Sunday morning appreciated the absence of the usual litter along the way.
Joann Finderson

Facility will be a boon

Editor, Smithfield Times
Concerning the juvenile detention facility (JDF) opposition. All their points are false, misleading, overstated or outrageous. Opposition says the JDF will not bring prosperity to Windsor. The truth is, it will bring 240 jobs to a town with population of 2,700, i.e. $14.4 million in salaries per year, every year. That’s a boom to a town that is almost at stagnation with only 100 population increase since 2010. Opposition says these JDF employees will live outside of the area. Truth is, the Richmond area is a three to four-hour drive in heavy traffic to and from Windsor. Employees will eventually move to the area, bringing increased land values and real estate sales.
Opposition says the JDF will cost $700,000, leaving out the truth that Isle of Wight will gain $1.5 million in sewer and water lines in return. Opposition says the JDF could expand from 60 to 160 beds, when it could only expand to 72 beds, or that it could be a maximum-security prison. That’s absolutely untrue. They say there was no transparency. Outrageous. For more than a year, the facility was talked about in The Smithfield Times.
Holland says the new utility lines can support only eight additional acres. The truth is, the lines have been oversized and are a quarter mile from two farms, more than 100 acres of open land. Richard Holland says history says 75 percent of these youth will be repeat offenders. The truth is, 35 years ago Illinois had a similar program that reduced recidivism to the teens. Opposition says there could be a 14 to 21-year-old rapist/murderer, when these persons are not tried as juveniles, but as adults and are in adult facilities.
So it goes on and on. It is laughable to say these citizens have done research. Mr. Holland’s angry bullying is unbecoming to his great name. His misleading of citizens is a disservice, especially to his neighbors. His smearing of our supervisors is a disgrace. The JDF will be a boon to the Windsor area.
Thomas Finderson

Wrong to ignore opponents

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Editor, Smithfield Times
I do not live near the proposed Juvenile Justice Prison for Isle of Wight. I have heard all aspects of this project and see no benefit to the County or its citizens, but I see a much bigger aspect of this, or any proposed project, that all citizens of Isle of Wight should be concerned about.
It has been said that although the more than 1,000 citizens that live near this project oppose it, the other 36,000 citizens of the county do not. This may be true, because they do not live or own property near it and do not care one way or the other. What the remaining 36,000 citizens should be concerned about is having some members of the Board of Supervisors who do not care what the citizens that live near a proposed project think or feel about it. If these members of the board, especially when the citizens they ignored do not live in their District and cannot affect their re-election and who they do not represent, vote for a project the other board members, whose constituents are effected and who they do represent, vote against, we all better be warned.
The other 36,000 citizens should be alarmed that soon it could be some project near them and they will be the ones ignored. Approving anything that 90 percent of the people that live near it oppose sets a very dangerous precedence for everyone. It seems to me that Board members whose constituents are not affected by a project should listen to the Board members whose constituents are effected and vote accordingly. A Supervisor of a District knows what is best for his District and the citizens he represents.
I ask that all citizens come to the Windsor Town Center on March 21 at 6 p.m. and tell the Board of Supervisors that ignoring the concerns of citizens that live near any proposed project and forcing it on them is unjust and wrong. This issue is much bigger than the current proposed project. Remember, you could be the next helpless victim of this unfair policy.
Volpe Boykin

Thank you To squad

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am a former marine sergeant, retired sergeant from the Norfolk Police Department where I served as a detective sergeant, underwater recovery diver, bomb disposal tech and Swat team instructor. I then retired from Newport News Shipyard as the company’s chief investigator and guard force commander.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, I stopped at Ed’s Barber Shop in Windsor for a haircut. Six or eight others had the same idea. Shortly after being seated, I felt light headed and started to fall. Two men (unknown) saw that I was falling and grabbed me, then lowered me gently to the floor. I passed out for about three to four seconds.
Fortunately, a member of the rescue squad was also at the barber shop and quickly called for an ambulance. I was put into the ambulance and taken to Obici Hospital where I spent four days.
The ambulance crew members who I would like to thank were Keith Giffin, Shelby Hamilton, Cassi Hamilton, Reba Clayton, Chuck Glasco and Lou Jiannine.
I have been a resident of Isle of Wight for 32 years. This is the first time I have called or been assisted by the Rescue Squad. I think them and would let other county residents know that the rescue squads provide an excellent service to all county residents.
Pete Greene

Critical of School Bd.

Editor, Smithfield Times
The School Board and its superintendent, in my view, are not meeting their obligation under this law. This was one issue I thought was paramount in doing the “people’s work” using the “people’s” tax dollars as a board member for 13 years.
A Board member has even said clearly in a public meeting “what good is policy if we do not follow it?” Yes, there are a myriad of county policies the Board itself is mandated to follow just as all county school employees are. The Board and Superintendent cannot pick just certain policies and laws to follow, with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act standing out in maintaining transparency of appropriate actions. The board and superintendent are accountable, and the latter to the board especially for policy and law compliance.
Interestingly, in a FOIA response I’ve become aware of, on Feb. 11, 2019, a citizen was provided with the procurement procedures (policy DJA) IWCS Board and employees are accountable to comply with 100 percent. Without prior IWCS Board approval in open session the superintendent on June 28, 2018, signed an authorization (contract?) or $174,864 with Honeywell, exceeding policy purchasing authority. On Nov. 29, 2018, payment was completed to Honeywell. Shortly thereafter, I understand, at its Dec. 13 2018 meeting, the School Board finally in open session, after the fact, approved the Honeywell contract/payment. To my understanding of purchasing policy, two violations occurred, 1) Honeywell work was not authorized by an IWCS Board vote in open session before being awarded, and 2) the IWCS employee’s authorized limit was exceeded as shown on June 28, 2018, record. Both are significant “no-no’s”, and parties involved are liable for “corrective action” by us voters in one instance and by the School Board of their employee in the other.
In the minds of many Isle of Wight’s citizens, Board failure to take corrective action as regards the superintendent’s failures cements in many minds that the employment relationship is backwards. The Board works for the Superintendent versus the way it should be. 
Herb De Groft

Power line removal

Editor, Smithfield Times
I live along Cypress Creek and have a couple of comments regarding your article on the plan to relocate to a trench the power line that crosses the creek.
I actually have seen a sailboat on Cypress Creek. As I paddled by in my kayak, I had a brief conversation with the gentleman who was sailing it. He had launched the sailboat from his own property along the creek. It was a small sailboat, so the mast might not have been tall enough to touch the power line, but touching the power ine was enough of a concern that it dominated our brief conversation.

The power line crosses a high island in the marsh on the Windsor Castle Park side of the creek. The corridor on the island under the power line is kept clear of vegetation. They must spray weed killer because nothing grows there except grass and cactus. The island would provide better habitat for wildlife if the power line were placed in a trench and natural vegetation were allowed to grow in the corridor.

Greg Vassilakos