Letters to The Editor – April 3rd, 2019

Published 2:54 pm Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Taxes up again?

Editor, Smithfield Times
“This is not a tax bill” so the paperwork said from the Isle of Wight County Reassessment Office. It also stated that if I was not the owner of the property in question, I was to forward the paperwork on to the owner. Well, Bingo, I am the property owner. Thus, I am told that I am to expect an increase in my annual Real Estate tax of upward to 10 percent over the last two years for the third of an acre on which I live.  The letter also stated that if I had an issue with the paperwork concerning the assessment, I had to furnish proof of my claim. Now, it would seem to me that if there is to be an increase, the burden of proof should be given by the ones doing the consideration of tax increases. The letter indicated that there have been changes in the last several years for this consideration. The thought crossed my mind that the only change I am aware of is the fact that I am now 88 years of age, as of February of this year. I am, and have been, on a fixed income for some number of years. That, too, has not changed.
The only rational I have come up with is that perhaps the “county fathers” are planning a “bike trail” for the county and I have not been made aware of it yet. Or, perhaps they would like to buy some more property at the foot of the James River Bridge? 
My plea is for those responsible for this tax increase proposal to stop and realize the people in my age bracket and financial situation cannot be expected to financially meet the needs of a county’s hopes and wishes for grandeur. No individual, or governing body, ever gets everything they want in this life. This is just a fact of life.  Perhaps it is time someone realized this, and the hope of $15-plus per hour minimum wages at the local McDonald’s has not yet arrived in Isle of Wight County. J. McDonald Hearn

Turn out supervisors

Editor, Smithfield Times
In your article “Youth Center Details Yet to Come” (March 27, 2019) you reported “Dan Shelton urged the audience to hire a lawyer to file an injunction against the project in court and petition for a recall election to remove the board from office.” I can’t speak to the call for an injunction, but in November two of the three BOS members Mr. Shelton wishes to remove — Messrs. McCarty and Grice — will be up for re-election.
In spite of the strong opposition of concerned citizens, McCarty and Grice voted for the project. This was not their first demonstration of thinking they know better than the people they were elected to serve, and if re-elected it won’t be their last. I urge all residents of the Newport and Smithfield districts to remember this disregard of citizens’ serious concerns and, come November, vote McCarty and Grice out.
Gayle Gillerlain

Libraries welcome all

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Editor, Smithfield Times
You may be surprised when you enter a school library today. The odds are that your local school library has made significant changes since your last visit. Gone are the days of card catalogs, whispering librarians, and silent spaces. Today’s libraries are warm, welcoming and sometimes-noisy spaces, where students are engaged in active learning. It’s a place for all students to gather without needing to have something in common. In the library, it doesn’t matter if you are an athlete, a musician, a gamer, a singer, or an anime fan, because in the library everyone is equal, and everyone is welcome.
April is school library month, and this year’s theme is “Everyone Belongs @ Your School Library.” This is the time of year to thank all of the school librarians that work diligently to ensure that all students feel a sense of belonging in their school library. School libraries help build a culture of literacy by serving as the collaborative meeting area, the perfect reading space, and the one place that is always welcoming no matter your reading preferences. School libraries build connections, a culture of learning, and encourage students to become lifelong learners and readers.
The school library is the true heart of the school. It provides flexible learning spaces that encourage student-driven learning. The library helps learners develop their imaginations while promoting individual and group learning. School libraries enable students to access and understand digital information as well as traditional resources. School libraries offer innovative programs that allow students to explore their creative sides while expanding their reading and writing skills.
It’s a refuge, a place for information, a place to problem solve, and a place where no one has to be alone. It’s the one place in the building that welcomes everyone, without any requirements, prerequisites, or appointments. School libraries not only have a positive impact on student academic success, they ensure that everyone belongs.
Wendy A. Guill

Master’s in Education Library Science Student

Border chaos

Editor, Smithfield Times
There is a crisis on the U.S. southern border where an invasion is overwhelming our will to defend our sovereignty and our ability to respond to families seeking legitimate asylum. Rejoicing are criminal drug cartels and obstructionists whose delusions support the chaos. Congress, a key player in this persistent havoc, may be paralyzed in helping due to an intense hatred that continues toward our duly elected President.
Our Congressional Representative’s recent Town Hall meeting revealed how Isle of Wight voters may be indirectly involved. We should be proud of Rep. Scott’s initiatives to create a brighter future for high school graduates and entry level workers. Less admirable is his apparent inaction to fix chaotic immigration laws and enforce a secure border.
In 2016, citizens of IOW found themselves assigned to Rep Scott’s 3rd district by court ordered redistricting. For 26 years our new representative has seemingly satisfied the urban interest of his pre-2016 district. My concern is his national perspective, consistently opposing immigration reform and border security. He was the only one of Virginia’s eleven Representatives to vote against the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and his Town Hall comments suggest continued opposition to defend against today’s invasions. 
Voters need to consider how well they are represented by government officials in national, as well as local issues. The future of our high school graduates is being shaped on our southern border and by your votes placing correct individuals in power.
Charles Spann

Flea market a success

Editor, Smithfield Times
On behalf of the members of the Woman’s Club of Smithfield, we would like to offer our sincere appreciation to the Smithfield community and local businesses that helped make our recent Flea Market a tremendous success. We embarked on this flea market over 50 years ago as a service to our community, providing quality items at reasonable prices. Profits are donated back to our community to support many worthwhile projects. For example, our Homework Station tutors elementary students, our scholarships are awarded to outstanding graduating area high school students and and sponsor an oyster replenishing project as well as other community-support programs.
The flea market would not have grown to the amazing event it is today without the generous contributions of local businesses who donated goods and services to the event this year. We thank Ms Dee Dee Darden, Smithfield Foods, The Flag Store, The Christmas Store, Smithfield Self Storage, Krogers, Food Lion, Channel 13 news station, CHKD thrift store, VA Displays, The Chamber of Commerce, Taste, Sysco Foods, West Sportswear, the Staff at the Smithfield Center and, as always, our wonderful town.
The Woman’s Club of Smithfield’s annual flea market drew over 1,300 people to our town from all parts of Hampton Roads. We thank everyone for coming to shop and to help strengthen our community by working together toward a common goal, making this the best little town around!  We offer a final thank you to our husbands, relatives, friends, neighbors and beyond for their tireless efforts gathering our donations and helping to set up this huge event. Without them, it would not have been possible.  We are making plans for next year’s event and we hope to see you there!
Suzy Brett
Teresa Franz
Mary Simmons
Flea Market Chairs

Successful fund raiser

Editor, Smithfield Times
I want to thank each and every one of our sponsors, foundation board members and the following fundraising committee members: Anne Williams, Judy Winslow, Shelia Hill, Diana Cutchins, Paige Powell, Kim Marks, Stacy Pauley and Amy Baird. for all of their support before and during the PDCCC Foundation’s spring fundraiser, Boots & Bling.
This was by far our best year yet. The food and music were spectacular, and we had 225 participants. Not only is it great to see our community come together, network and have a good time, but also to know that they share our goal of helping students be successful. Although we do not have all of the proceeds tallied, I can tell you that all of the funds will help students by way of our emergency fund, scholarships for logistics and warehouse training, and for the foodbank committee that also serves the students.
We know we can’t help them without you. We look forward to spending another evening with you next spring.
Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!
Dr. Renee Felts
VP, Institutional Advancement
Workforce Development
P.D. Camp College