Letters to The Editor – May 1st, 2019

Published 2:54 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Another site in IW?

Editor, Smithfield Times
As you know, very many citizens in our county strongly supported the establishment of a Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice Facility (DJJF) here. Also, many were very disappointed when the offer to build this very worthwhile youth rehabilitation project in the southern part of our county was rejected. If I understand things correctly, the offer by the Commonwealth was not necessary site specific. May I suggest we propose a better location?
There is sufficient land readily available, and now even on the market for sale, near the major highway intersection of Routes 10 and 32 near Benn’s Church. This 47-acre parcel appears to have most all of the advantages to support a regional 60-bed DJJF: Close to a large medical facility, easy access from major roadways, limited proximity to residential neighborhoods and, importantly, bordering on three strongly supportive centers of faith — Benn’s United Methodist Church, Campbell’s Chapel AME and Wat Pasantidhamma. And, even better, close to an appropriately named historic shrine. St. Luke was not only the Patron Saint of Christian evangelism but also the “Dear and Glorious Physician.” All of these beneficial and contributing factors are already in place.
If our legislature is serious enough about this new concept in youth justice and rehabilitation, perhaps this land for the project should be purchased outright by the Commonwealth as an investment in the future of our young men as contributors to society. The real estate agent’s contact information is on the large sign posted on the property.
I think it is worth our supervisors’ efforts contacting the Department of Juvenile Justice folks to see if this land would be a good fit for this modern, and publicly beneficial, regional DJJF.
What do you think?
Albert Burckard

‘Justice pervailed’

Editor, Smithfield Times
I would like to commend Supervisor McCarty for the courage he exhibited in his vote on the Juvenile Detention Facility. Few representatives, having taken a public position on an issue, are willing to change. To some, it is seen as weakness. believe he showed strength. He, along with Supervisor Rosie and Supervisor Acree, considered the voice of a community and those people most affected by their decision to such a degree that it determined their final vote.
I personally saw their individual struggles as they grappled with the pros and cons. Most decisions of this nature become clearer only as additional light is shed through time. Things seen that were not seen before. Challenges unveiled not previously clarified. The community itself weighs in. The decision making process can be a minefield requiring wisdom and flexibility. In the end, I believe justice prevailed in more ways than one.
The voices of the people were heard. After all was said, citizens felt their opinions mattered and representation worked. This fosters invaluable trust in local government and creates a sense of ownership for one’s area and a caring only those embedded in a place can exhibit.
It also fostered a unity within our county sorely needed. This northern/southern county stance has long detracted from our seeing ourselves a united people. To have approved this institution in southern Isle of Wight would have caused a longstanding resentment for the foreseeable future and a confirmation in many eyes that the southern end had no voice. This vote moved the needle in the right direction.
We know it was a long and arduous journey, with more journeys to come for sure. But thank you, Board, and particularly Mr. McCarty, for the final outcome. Justice prevailed and the voice of the people was heard.
Rex Alphin

Thanks supervisors

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Editor, Smithfield Times
The recent debate over the transfer of land to the state of Virginia for use to build a juvenile detention center has finally come to its conclusion. It is a reflection of the many issues that plague our government at multiple levels and how citizens and taxpayers can and should be listened to at every step of the process.
It does not matter which side of the argument you were on. In the end, the citizens of the area of the county that would most be impacted by the decision were heard and the majority of county supervisors did the job that they were elected to do. They represented their citizens. My husband and I would like to thank Mr. Acree, Mr. Rosie, and Chairman McCarty for doing exactly that and ultimately voting “no” to the state deal. We especially feel that Mr. McCarty showed much courage and integrity in going against his previous support of the transfer and voting with the citizens of Windsor.
We recognize that this may have been a difficult decision as he had to weigh his personal feelings about the project with the desires of the very vocal citizens. After the vote, he explained that all of the supervisors had been highly criticized and verbally attacked, including his own family. Shame on those who feel that such attacks on the families of our elected officials is ever appropriate. I am ashamed to think that any of my fellow neighbors would ever stoop so low as to bring about such tactics in a battle that should have been based purely on facts and the desires of the citizens. 
I would also like to add that the headline about the final vote in last week’s Smithfield Times was in extremely poor taste and disrespectful to all of Isle of Wight County. In a world where the integrity of our news media is met with much scrutiny as to it’s bias, the title of “No juvies here” painted the entire county as uneducated, uncaring and intolerant. None of these things have I found our great county to be. 
Pamela Horswill

Funding for farming

Editor, Smithfield Times The most recent farm bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump in December. However, simply enacting new legislation doesn’t mean Congress’ work is done. We now have to figure out how, and to what extent, these programs are funded.
The farm bill is unique in the sense that it not only provides authorization (creation, continuation, or changes) to policies, programs and agencies, but can also directly fund those with mandatory dollars.
As a result, some programs have the option to receive funding from two sources: mandatory funding through legislation (the farm bill) and discretionary funding through annual appropriations. This isn’t the case for all programs. Many are authorized to operate by the farm bill, but do not receive mandatory funding. These rely on congressional appropriators to designate funds each year. Without discretionary dollars, these programs cease to function.
For 2020 appropriations, we call on Congress to fund programs that not only help strengthen rural communities, but also improve quality of life for farmers, small business owners, and rural residents.
Those include: Rural Micro-entrepreneur Assistance Program; federal working lands conservation programs, including the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program; Conservation Technical Assistance; Farming Opportunity Training and Outreach, which includes the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (Section 2501 program) and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program; Rural Business Development Grant program; Local Agriculture Market Program, which includes the Value-Added Producer Grants Program and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program; Risk Management Education; Community Food Projects; and Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.
Cora Fox
Center for Rural Affairs