Letters to The Editor – April 10th, 2019

Published 4:24 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Whose Bright idea?

Editor, Smithfield Times
Who’s bright idea was it to charge small businesses $10 a month for “temporary” signs? And who thought it would be a good idea to go around town and snatch those temporary signs without any advance notice? Just take them from in front of the businesses who had paid $200 for their signs and threaten to not return them if they did not pay their measly $10 fee?
This is beyond ridiculous! Our town wants to bring new businesses to Smithfield and Isle of Wight. So why make it more difficult for them by adding unnecessary little fees for things like temporary signs?
Starting a new business is hard enough with all of the license fees and insurances without the town adding stupid, insignificant, unnecessary fees right and left. This only makes businesses want to locate elsewhere.
Wake up officials. Give back those signs and drop the silly permit law. And by the way, I think those signs are pretty. They are easy to spot and draw attention to the businesses a lot better than a sign on the front of the building. They are festive and lend a creative look, especially to Main Street, in my opinion. Let’s do more to attract business and not scare it away.
Linda Reagan

Celebrate 4th, Not St. Patty

Editor, Smithfield Times
I once again make a public plea for our talented Convention and Visitors Bureau staff to organize and conduct an Independence Day Parade this year, on Thursday, July fourth, of course, through town.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade last year was a reasonable one-time substitute for the weather-cancelled 2017 Christmas Parade. But the redux of it this year was not so, judging from the greatly reduced participation anyway.
The idea of an Irish, Roman Catholic, beer drinking parade through a predominantly Methodist/Baptist, Protestant English/Scot, teetotaling town is, well, not so hot. To say the least, it is somewhat divisive in this era when we all crave unity!
So let’s do something unifying!
Our CVB staff has demonstrated many times that they have the knowledge, skills, ability and experience to put together a marvelous parade. So let’s have a patriotic and very traditional Independence Day Parade! I’m sure the local VFW, American Legion, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, NAACP, local high school bands, churches, etc. etc., would jump at the opportunity to participate.
Let’s do it, CVB. Bring us all together!
Albert Burckard

Governing with integrity

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am writing to thank the members of the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors for their community service. Their jobs are, practically speaking, volunteer positions while their responsibilities are greater than many corporate executives.
It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it and I am glad our “somebodys” do it with dedication, commitment and integrity. Keep up the good work and thanks for all you do to improve the quality of life for all the citizens of Isle of Wight County.
Joe Puglisi

Replace Hardy Elem.

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Editor, Smithfield Times
As Isle of Wight County citizens and retired teachers from Hardy Elementary with combined service of 84 years, we are advocating for a new school to be built to replace Hardy Elementary. Over the years we have lived through numerous renovations, limited space, a faulty plumbing system, no sprinkler system and an inability to create equality in technology. In the best interest of students, staff, administration, community, and Isle of Wight County Schools we feel a new school is crucial for everyone.
Although Hardy has experienced numerous renovations, each has come with complications and challenges. Each time, asbestos has been found in tiles all over the building as well as in the ceiling. Mold has been evident throughout the building for the better part of our tenure. Upgrades to the heating and cooling systems have caused many issues with ventilation and temperature control. These renovations have just been band aids on serious problems.
Limited space has been a concern in our foyer, gym, cafeteria, library, classrooms, and resource classrooms. The entrance to Hardy is a hallway not a foyer. Parents have to stand out in the weather while waiting for dismissal in order to pick up their children. There is very limited space in our gym and cafeteria for programs, expos, PTA meetings or any other school-wide event. Due to the limited space, the number of parents/guests attending are controlled, result in standing room only or the event is moved to the high school. 
Original classrooms are much smaller than the renovated rooms added to the kindergarten wing. Resource classrooms are smaller than others across the county. A new school would alleviate limited space.
The ineffective plumbing system causes numerous problems. Everyone endures horrendous odors, backed-up sewage, flooding issues, and the inability to use the bathrooms. Although numerous attempts to repair the plumbing issues are made frequently, the problem has never been solved
A major safety concern is the lack of a sprinkler system. Students, faculty and guest at Hardy are all at risk if a fire were to occur.
Integrating technology was always an after-thought. When technology was added and further upgrades occurred, it was always an add-on for Hardy. Whereas, the newer schools had the infrastructure already in place.
In closing, we plead with you to consider doing what’s best for the Hardy community. Let’s build a new school that we can all be proud of and all students can excel in their unique gifts and talents.
Mary Ann Fry
Teresa Vedder
Linda West

Supervisors do care

Editor, Smithfield Times
I have heard that some of our supervisors and citizens have received threats against themselves and/or their families for being (or for being perceived to be) in favor of the juvenile facility being located in Windsor. I hope and believe our county citizens can agree that threats are unacceptable and should not be tolerated by or against anyone.
I have read articles and heard statements that some of our citizens feel our Board of Supervisors does not care about the citizens of IOW. The board of supervisors, led by William McCarty, during and after the February BOS’s meeting expressed great concern that many county citizens could not get into the meeting room at the courthouse due to space limitations. They were alarmed that citizens had to stand in the cold, could not hear what was going on, and did not get to speak to the board. For that reason, the board of supervisors voted to moved the March and April Board of Supervisor’s meetings to the Community Center in Windsor. They were concerned that the communities most affected by the JDF proposal be able to get to and participate in the meetings, voice their positions on the subject and get home safely
This change of location required great effort and expense be approved by the board. It required county employees move from the courthouse to the Windsor Community Center and set-up all of the equipment necessary for the meetings including microphones, video equipment and all the associated supporting cabling, internet, sound equipment, etc. I have yet to hear anyone express appreciation to our Board of Supervisors or our county employees for their efforts on behalf of the Windsor and Carrsville citizens of our county, nor have I heard any citizen acknowledge that this change of venue went smoothly. Our supervisors have shown their concern for county citizens in many other ways as well.
Those who do not want to see the JDF in Windsor have every right to voice their concerns and positions. However, no one has a right to threaten another person.
I do not know what the final decision related to JDF will be, but I do now this Board of Supervisors cares about our county, its citizens and everyone’s safety.
Lanelle Johnson

A private email

Editor, Smithfield Times
In your April 3 edition, a portion of an email I sent on Feb. 26 as a private citizen to my Supervisor, Mr. McCarty, was published in an article outlining results of a FOIA paid for by an opponent of the Juvenile Justice Center. My remarks in the email to Mr. McCarty were certainly never intended for the public and reflected my dismay at the levels of anger and dirty tricks that seemed to characterize a few individuals’ behaviors.
Most importantly, they were my own remarks. Although Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association had voted to take a stand in favor of the Juvenile Justice Center locating in Isle of Wight county on Feb. 11, that action is not linked to my email comments to Mr. McCarty. I assume that the only reason my email as a private citizen became newsworthy at all is because of my subsequent election as president of the Isle of Wight Citizens Association on March 11.
I continue to advocate for honest communication and integrity in our dealings with each other. Moreover, the Isle of Wight Citizens’ Association, is always eager to partner with individuals and groups who want to make a positive difference in our beautiful county. I believe we can do that if we choose to make programs that benefit our citizens our focus rather than participate in the politics of outrage. I guarantee that this is my own goal, and I will continue to commit my personal energy to that end. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify responsibility in this matter.
Lisa N. Meunier
IW Citizens Association

Reckless volunteer

Editor, Smithfield Times
Friday night nearly saw a severe accident in town as a car traveling at a high rate of speed barely stopped in time at John Rolfe Drive and Battery Park Road.
I literally had to swerve our car towards opposing lanes, for sure that this reckless driver was going to T Bone us on the passenger side. I had my family with me!
Being scared instantly turned into anger and rage as the offending driver pulled behind us and had flashing red and white lights tucked inside the windshield near the visor area. This guy is a Smithfield firefighter, driving like this?
Of course, that didn’t stop there, as the guy hit the gas once again and came up in the right-turn only lane, and while the traffic light was red, pulled through the intersection to make a left turn onto South Church Street.
I’m appalled by this driving behavior. As someone who spent nearly 20 years enforcing the law, including five years with this county, volunteers with lights in their vehicle are absolutely prohibited from breaking traffic laws of any kind! Having those lights in your personal car is a courtesy only, and definitely does not permit such driver to speed, run lights or any other infraction.
It’s a blessing in communities with paid responders, who drive actual emergency vehicles, as there are no hotdog volunteers nearly killing citizens while trying to get to the life saving station there.
Dave Lyons

Stands with Windsor

Editor, Smithfield Times
I applaud Mr. Holland for his effort to gather all emails regarding the BOS Juvenile Detention Center. However, a couple of things jump out. First, the state informed the county that a “majority of jobs, 91 out of 240, would have an average pay of $38,270.”
Now, last time I checked mathematically, a majority of 240 would be 121! No wonder our governments are so messed up. Yet, it appears the trickery worked on three members of the Board of Supervisors.
The other issue is the attitude of Mr. Grice. His tone is derogatory to his constituents and one of arrogance. No matter what happens with the board’s Juvenile Detention Center (my chosen name), we can correct future injustices by ensuring Grice, McCarty, and Jefferson do not return to their appointed positions.
For the record, I live in Smithfield and stand with my brothers and sisters of Windsor. No county divided here.
Jim Minton

Agritourism is changing

Editor, Smithfield Times
Everyone needs to be informed about agritourism because surprises may be arriving soon in a backyard near you.
The original intent of agritourism was so farmers could make better productive use of their land by opening their farms to the public to provide educational experiences for all to enjoy. Teach about the day in the life of a farmer, how crops grow and are harvested, even allow kids to hop on farm equipment and wee what it’s like, serving lunches with food grown right on the farm, all for a fee. Agriculture tied to education: what a wonderful experience. Today’s agritourism is being driven by the wine and beer. When agritourism was connected to a learning experience, it emphasized agriculture. Now it emphasizes tourism. It is now alcohol consumption-driven via the wine and beer industries, and the commonwealth sees it as a cash cow. Whereas, previously, wine tasting rooms offering wine samples and wine selling by the bottle with educational strolls through the vineyard are now morphed into glorified event centers. Operators of such establishments get huge tax breaks, and who pays for all that? You. The commonwealth contends the lost revenue will be recouped in the future through tourism, job creation, etc. Why does our now infamous water deal come to mind? Fact is, the wine industry may have already reached its zenith. Every state now has vineyards. Virginia alone has 276 of them and counting. Where is that money going to come from if the wine industry tanks? William Faulkner Smithfield