Letters to The Editor – March 27th, 2019

Published 3:42 pm Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Take down the fence

Editor, Smithfield Times
I found the article in last week’s Smithfield Times concerning the construction of a fence at Windsor Castle Park to confine goats for the purpose of eating ivy, puzzling. Goats are from the animal family Bovidae and deer are part of the Cervidae family. The diet of both Bovidae and Cervidae consist of ruminants and plant base items.
There is a herd of deer numbering a dozen or more living in this section of the park that lived there long before the park was constructed. The question comes to mind, why have the deer not already eradicated the ivy? The answer is that neither animal group will eat the core vine that attaches to the tree and grows to the top to reach sunlight. The only reasonable way to rid the tree of ivy is to cut a section out of the core vines at the base of the tree and treat the root side with an approved chemical. This procedure would have been much less expensive than constructing a fence.
Placing an electrified fence in proximity to a walking trail in a park is senseless and dangerous. Mr. Smith’s comments that, “the fence being put up doesn’t use electromagnetism” is not true. Electromagnetism is a byproduct of conducting electricity. The electric fence being used is conducting electricity along the five wires that make up the fence. In the process, electromagnetism is produced. The energizer used to power the fence has a pulse output of 8,000 volts. Even though the voltage is high, it’s not lethal, owing to its very short duration. However, if a child (or anyone) came in contact and was shocked they could possibly panic and become entangled within the five wires and received repeated shocks. Multiple shocks could lead to death. In fact, in 1991 a child crawling under an electric fence became entangled and died as a result of multiple shocks.
The fence is dangerous and has no place near a pedestrian walking trail. It concerns me that Town of Smithfield representatives would jeopardize the safety of its citizens and risk potential lawsuits. There are safe and far less expensive methods of removing the ivy. To paraphrase former President Ronald Regan, Town of Smithfield tear down this fence.
Lawrence Pitt

An informed citizenry

Editor, Smithfield Times
This letter is in response to the Smithfield Times March 20 article entitled “New group organizes to represent ‘southern’ end.” The elements as described in the article are factual, but as president of the Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association, I would like to take this opportunity to provide comments.
First, Sentara St Luke’s has been more than generous over the years in providing groups with a modern and inviting space in which to meet. I am sorry that we placed them in an awkward position of seeming to pick sides. The member of our organization who raised questions that caused the cancellation of the RISE for Youth meeting did not represent our organization’s standards and goals in his actions. As a result, and as is fair, our own citizens’ association will not be meeting at Sentara St. Luke’s in the future since we, too, don’t meet their criteria of medical and health-related groups.

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Second, an informed electorate is paramount in ensuring our government carries on as it is intended. The Isle of Wight Citizens Association, with its almost four decades of non-partisan advocacy and community education has occasionally taken stands in support of local political interest. More importantly, however, it has provided an information forum for Isle of Wight citizens. To that end, we should all welcome a group that wants to form as a center of information.
I hope that, despite our missteps last week with the meeting space, we can come together with this newly forming group to make sure that all our citizens have both a voice and, a place where accurate information is provided in all parts of the county. Although there may be some location-specific topics that arise, most issues are of interest to all of us because we all pay taxes, all drive on our roads, all use our county services. We look forward to finding areas where we can collaborate with other citizen groups, learn about our common interests, and work towards our future together.
Finally, I would like to invite the community to our monthly meeting, which will be held on Monday, April 1 from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Smithfield Library meeting room.
Lisa N. Meunier
IW Citizens’ Association

Facility is needed

Editor, Smithfield Times The hysteria and propaganda over the Juvenile facility in Windsor has reached ridiculous proportions and people have completely lost sight of what’s really happening and why the facility is desperately needed. 
For one thing, two studies in this area and in Chesterfield have demonstrated no negative affects on nearby property values.
Second, we have other jail facilities within miles of Windsor:  Suffolk and Sussex. The nastiest creeps on earth are in Sussex but nobody has ever complained about either one, and there’s never been anybody protesting or demanding to move away because inmates are there.
Third, juvenile facilities provide much needed treatment! Counseling, mental health, evaluations and genuine care will be given to kids who desperately need to be put on the right path before they become adults. Kids who are denied treatment options will become adult offenders. These are kids who could one day steal your car, kidnap your wife or kill your cousin if they are denied the potential to become healthier and productive citizens. Why do you want to deny troubled kids this help?
Two hundred forty state employees will come to Windsor to work, making $60,000 salaries each. That’s annual wages of $14,400,000! I challenge anyone to find any company in Windsor that pays wages like that.   It’s truly sad how selfish people can be by opposing a facility that helps those who are most in need. While you’re worried about your real estate value, these kids’ futures are on the line. And for some real irony, one day it may be your own kid that’s in need of this facility. I won’t want to hear your bellyaching about traveling hundreds of miles to see him because you opposed a facility right here locally. I supported its location in Chesapeake, next door to me.
And then of course, there’s the real reality: If the facility is not built, that’s more kids that need confinement and care who will be forced to be at home: Your home — Breaking in while you’re on vacation. Of course then, it’s too late: a professional criminal will have been created.
Dave Lyons

Listening & learning

Editor, Smithfield Times
I listened at last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting and learned about the deplorable conditions at Hardy Elementary School, where among other things there is not reliable plumbing for the students and staff to have access to clean sanitary functioning restrooms and other structural disrepair conditions.
To their credit despite these conditions the Staff, Parents and Young Students who spoke have great positive attitudes. This brings up, why are we giving away to the State $200,000-plus in land value and another $500,000 to try and woo them to build a prison that a large number of taxpayers do not want and will have minimal return on investment? Dick Holland stated “bad investment,” this is coming from a successful bank president who not only has to evaluate his Bank’s investments but other businesses that come to his bank seeking funds to invest in their business.
My opening statement at last night’s meeting was “One of the primary responsibilities of the board and county administrator is to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money that they are entrusted with.” Based on the county’s poor financial decision in the past on the land purchase and to try to get that monkey off their back by giving it to the state along with an additional $500,000 (truly good money after bad) and this in the face of the deplorable conditions at Hardy Elementary, this tells me the Board of Supervisors and county administrator are not being good stewards of our tax dollars. The money being given to the state could be put to much better use to keep our children safe and on track in school so they go on to be successful and not end up in a facility like the one being proposed.
The statement last night by the board chairman to Wavy 10 News reporter — “I still have not seen a strong reason to oppose it” — tells me once again he and others do not have open minds and are not truly listening. Their minds are made up before they come in the door and are merely going through the motions to satisfy a legal technicality for a check in the box to cover themselves in the future.
Glen Little