Letters to The Editor – July 31st, 2019

Published 4:09 pm Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A volunteer’s perspective

Editor, Smithfield Times
I enjoyed reading about the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown in last week’s In the Short Rows. I am a former Smithfield resident and now reside in Williamsburg. Presently I am a proud volunteer of the museum. I assist guests in the gallery, the concierge desk and the regimental coats. The coats are not only fun to try on and get a great picture, but we give some interesting history and information about each of them. I especially enjoy teaching children. I try to make it fun so they remember and enjoy their time with us.
As mentioned in Rows, we have two main movies: “Liberty Fever” and our 4D “The Siege at Yorktown.” The 4D is a must see! The entrance is hard to locate for many, so look for the blue cannon and the entrance is just after it. Not only does this movie have smoke and rumbling seats, it has scents! When you see coffee being poured, you can smell coffee (for 2 seconds). When the soldiers are walking through the woods, a fresh pine scent; during the York River scene, a seawater aroma; and finally during the siege, you smell gun powder. You feel like you are in the midst of it all fighting with them.
One of my favorite things in the gallery is the statue of George Washington. Many guests pass by quickly without a second thought. For me, this statue is priceless. It is an exact replica completed in 1860 by sculptor Hubard of Houdon’s original statue. It stood in the Hall of Representatives at the U.S. Capital for 80 years!

You definitely can’t miss the outdoor area. The 1780s farm and Continental Army encampment have knowledgeable interpreters who can answer any question. Visit the medical tent. It will make you appreciate your doctor and dentist. The musket fire is every 30 minutes and the artillery demonstration is usually held at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. during our busy season, weather permitting.
Lastly, don’t leave without seeing our special exhibit, “Forgotten Soldier.” I have learned so much information about these men and women. The exhibit will be there until next March. You can also download our new free app to enhance your visit: Yorktown Gallery Tour.
I look forward to seeing you if you are there on Monday or Wednesday. I will be happy to assist you.
Becky Veverka

How about the libraries?

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Regarding the proposed use of the 1820s clerk’s office at the Isle of Wight Court House by the Isle of Wight Historical Society, I urge all parties to investigate first the possibility of establishing a local history archive in one of the branches of the Blackwater Regional Library. The library has climate controlled buildings that are probably better suited than the clerk’s office for storing archival materials and is the obvious place to go for citizens interested in local history. The library has already delved into this area by providing access to genealogical databases.
Both my mother and my sister worked as librarians for the San Bernardino Public Library. At the main branch, the library maintains an archive called the California Room. Members of the general public can request permission from the librarians to access the California Room. Materials in the California Room are not available for checkout. The library works with multiple groups interested in specific aspects of local history, such as the nearby earthquake faults and the railroads that run through the region.
Greg Vassilakos

Do your own Research

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am a 73-year-old Vietnam era military retiree — white, married, male, Smithfield High School Class of 1965 graduate, not affiliated with any political party. I vote every chance possible, locally, state and nationally, for the candidate who most closely represents my ideas, standards and beliefs, and who upholds the laws of our city, county, state and nation, and the Constitution of the United States. I have been disappointed by the performance of elected officials numerous times.
Recently, our president tweeted disparaging statements toward four female members of the U.S. Congress, stating they should “go back to where you came from” to correct problems there and then come back and tell us how.
Immediately, the other political party and several news media outlets made accusations of racism toward the president. At no place was the ethnic or racial background of these four persons mentioned, however during the course of the text, names were brought forth, establishing they are female.
The accusations, in my opinion, should have been of sexism rather than racism. However, to gain more attention, “fake news” was implemented. This “fake news” gave the president objective ground to deny the allegations, which he did on several occasions. Had he been accused of sexism, his denial would not have been valid and would have led to ramifications of bigotry on his behalf.
Racism, sexism and bigotry are not to be tolerated anywhere or at any level in the government of our nation, but each is practiced and used to the benefit of both political parties. Don’t be swayed or persuaded by “fake news.” Do your own research, ask questions, use your own judgment on who would best serve you and your government, and vote your convictions. But vote!
Wilbur E. Sullivan

Bay grants available

Editor, Smithfield Times
The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund Advisory Committee is accepting applications for grants to support Chesapeake Bay-related education and restoration activities. The grants are funded with monies from the sale of the special Chesapeake Bay license plate, “Friend of the Chesapeake.” This year $224,475 in grant monies will be awarded to eligible applicants. During this past year, 66 grantees received $263,642 in grant funds. Since 1996, over $8.3 million has been awarded as a result of the sale of the “Friend of the Chesapeake” plate.
The deadline for submitting a proposal for 2020 support grants is September 25, 2019. Grant funds will be awarded in May-June 2020. To be eligible for receiving a grant, applicants should submit proposals emphasizing environmental education or restoration and conservation of the Chesapeake Bay. Projects focusing on environmental education should increase public awareness and knowledge about the Bay, and projects of a restoration and conservation nature should be action oriented. Grants are awarded for one year, except in special circumstances. Grant funds may not be used to supplant existing state or local general fund appropriations.
Applications will be accepted from private not-for-profit conservation organizations, schools and universities, and governmental agencies whose projects will affect water bodies that are located within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. There is no limit on the amount that an applicant may request. More information on the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, including the application, W-9 and EDI forms, grant guidelines, and a catalogue of past projects, can be found at HYPERLINK “http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/cbr.htm” http://dls.virginia.gov/commissions/cbr.htm.
General Assembly members of the Advisory Committee are Delegate Hodges of Urbanna, Senator DeSteph of Virginia Beach, and Delegate Ransone of Kinsale. Citizen members include Annie Cupka of King George, Terra Pascarosa Duff of Virginia Beach, Richard Moncure of Farnham, and John W. Peterson of Burke.
Scott Meacham
Gwen Foley
Legislative contacts