Letters to The Editor – May 8th, 2019

Published 3:43 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Build a new Hardy

Editor, Smithfield Times
I strongly support building a new Hardy Elementary School over renovation. Any school over 50 years old has structural deficiencies that cannot be observed by an engineering firm. A wise investment will produce dividends for everyone in the future.
This should not be a hard decision for the Board of Supervisors and the School Board to make. I am a tax paying resident of Isle of Wight. Most of us do not wish to have our taxes increased. However, if needed for this purpose, it is acceptable. I suggest, along with all of the other spending items included, put money in the budget for a new Hardy Elementary School.
Hazel C. Edwards
Retired teacher

Taxing the Water?

Editor, Smithfield Times
My husband loves to garden. He has raised the majority of our produce for many years. His hard labor has saved us a great deal of money throughout the years on our grocery bill.
Now, due to the frequent increases in the county water rate it is becoming less and less of a benefit to continue gardening and is actually becoming more expensive than grocery shopping. The article in the Smithfield Times states that the Board of Supervisors is considering raising the rates again. The Board is already increasing the real estate tax. Why must it “tax” the water?
Linda Jacob

A ‘free’ STEM class

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Editor, Smithfield Times
STEM, the all important acronym in Isle of Wight County Schools — Science, Technology, Engineering, Math! The Superintendent and some of his board promote this as the “attention gainer” in their budget calculations and request to the Board of Supervisors for the 2020 IWCS Budget funding. Why? These are today’s lead educator’s “buzz” words that grab the attention of parents, students and the useful idiot crowd, getting them all fired up to “go get ‘em” the big bucks from the supervisors, roughly $500,000 for five STEM teachers!
Sadly, the administration needs to stop being the local jester with this phony baloney. This Administration has had the opportunity for years to develop a close working relationship with a “free” local STEM lab for all IWCS students to experience how this all comes together in the technical age, everyday. It’s just 10 miles away at Dominion Energy’s Surry Power Station Information and Visitor’s Center. All it takes is a phone call and the center’s director will schedule any IWCS class for a real treat to experience on how STEM comes together and we all benefit from electricity produced by this nuclear power station right in our backyard.
With the STEM emphasis in education circles today, supported by industry’s needs, one would think Isle of Wight would Be scheduling every student sometime between beginning 8th grade and graduation to experience this free STEM lab just up the road. Even for our youngsters not going into STEM-related professions, the experience to be had at Surry Power creates an appreciation for that one thing that makes modern man’s life so much better — electricity!
The county administration needs to do more than “talk STEM.” They can by utilizing a “free” STEM resource for our 8th-12th graders.   This school year one SHS class managed to get to this “free” STEM lab, in December. What about the other 2,100-plus students in this identified grade grouping ? Serious about STEM? Make the “free STEM lab” experience happen over the remaining roughly 25 instructional school days in the 2019 school year.
Herb De Groft

New form of agritourism?

Editor, Smithfield Times
Agricultourism was once hailed as a way to help our farmers and educate our children. It is now running towards the absurd. From Washington State across the nation to Virginia, agritourism has become a national issue. At last y ear’s Virginia agritourism conference, three dozen groups from across the commonwealth met to discuss the present and future state of agritourism. A third of the attendees represented the wine industry. Only one zoning administrator and one county administrator — neither from Isle of Wight — attended.
Last March, I asked Delegate Emily Brewer if she planned to attend this year’s conference in Roanoke, to be held in late April. She had no knowledge of it. Reaching out to local officials has been met with disinterest. Although they are quick to point out all the by-right activities awarded these venues, total silence occurs when they are asked what rights the neighbors impacted by such activities have.
I understand now how the folks in Windsor felt over the detention center. Perhaps that fiasco could have been avoided if our officials would learn to better communicate. Be proactive. Avoidance never works. It will only exacerbate the response later from citizens who are fed u p with this new agritourism.
William Faulkner