Letters to The Editor 11-06-19

Published 3:47 pm Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Editor, The Smithfield Times,
Recent Times articles have lead with topics on increased school enrollment, growth focus in Carrollton, and 3,500 new houses. All are signs of growth, something the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors have declared to manage, especially in the direction of funding and economic interests. An appropriate balance of resources and county services is challenging, but paramount, since citizens should be the principle benefactors of community growth. Others who seek rewards from growth are retailers, realtors, developers and the county itself from increased tax rolls. Odd how Realtors® oppose “Adequate Public Facilities ordinances” that would support balanced growth.
Planners and expensive consultants are involved in developing roadmaps for change, but they are not accountable for the result and taxpayers will most certainly pay for it, boom or bust. Should growth exceed adequate funded infrastructure, schools often suffer first, and personally, since there is no catch up for the years of a child’s undermined education. Overcrowded schools are not quickly corrected or even necessarily well-planned remedies. The irregularities and questionable replacement of Windsor Middle School, extensively reported by The Smithfield Times and Daily Press, is a good example. No one was held accountable, by the way.
In spite of a multiyear development of a Comprehensive Plan, Isle of Wight needs to be cautious about the economics of unbridled growth. In overall debt per capita, Isle of Wight is seventh out of Virginia’s 95 counties and not in a favorable position to fix unfunded infrastructure with more debt. In 1985, Isle of Wight citizens gave away their direct say to seek bond funding that might satisfy demands for needed services.
No one can see the future, but we need to ensure that the county’s future lies with those accountable to us and those who can prudently manage the risks, especially the next generation’s schooling. Stay involved in Isle of Wight’s Comprehensive Plan and keep your checkbook handy.
Charles Spann

Editor, The Smithfield Times
I, like most people have experienced my share of disappointments navigating the path of life. However, the recent discovery that the Town had acquiesced to a request to destroy four oak trees aligning the walking trail in Windsor Castle Park is very near the top of the list. A tremendous amount of time, research and thought went into designing the park layout to maximize and preserve the use of existing topographical features. Considerable thought went into adding compatible landscaping to blend in and enhance the existing wooded areas. During construction, not a single tree was removed other than those that posed a threat to trail users such as dead, diseased, leaning or dying. Trees planted alongside the trails are an intricate part of the trail. They also attract numerous wild birds particularly bluebirds.
The question is, why did anyone find it necessary to destroy four nine-year old trees planted for a specific purpose? I was told by a person familiar with the process that it was to allow persons sitting on the porch of the manor house to be able to see the water. That makes absolutely no sense! Due to the high bluff, you cannot see the water nearest the manor house and view of the water beyond is blocked by Smithfield Station.
Another individual involved in the process explained that it was to allow vehicles crossing the bridge over the Pagan Creek to see the house. Again senseless. There are literally thousands of historic structures scattered across the country that cannot be seen from roadways. Yet they continue to attract large numbers of visitors. I would feel better if these drivers were paying attention to their driving rather than sightseeing.
According to the Windsor Castle Park Foundation web site, about 18,000 users visit the park yearly totaling 150,000 trips. Quite impressive numbers, and a testament that the people of Smithfield and surrounding areas have embraced the park’s natural setting. These participants enjoy the park as it is. Out of respect for all those who make up the 18,000, no part of the park should be altered other than to further enhance the character of the park as it currently exists.
It is my understanding that Windsor Castle Park Restoration LLC was created in order to obtain full tax deduction for donated contributions. The restoration web page states, “Committee was formed to oversee the long-awaited process of restoring the manor house and outbuildings.” No privilege or authority is granted under terms of the LLC application to perform work outside of those specified above. Terms of the grant have been violated and it is conceivable that penalties may be imposed. The town mayor should have pointed this out since he also chairs the Windsor Castle Park Restoration, LLC.
The damage is done and can be corrected. However, the section of the trail where the trees were removed will be years catching up even if they are replaced. I would encourage town officials to recognize the gem that was handed to the town, respect the thousands that appreciate and use the park and engage those same people when anticipating alterations to the park.
Lawrence Pitt

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Editor, The Smithfield Times
Another major residential area faces possible approval, and yet again, the County seems ready to approve it, adding another 2,000 people to the population.
Already, the both sides are gearing up for a fight: Those who oppose more “move-ins” and those who clearly want to have a slice of the slower pace of life.
I’m not necessarily opposed to additional housing in the county — as affordable options are clearly needed. However, once again, developers and county leaders rush to jam more million dollar houses in here, and there’s still one thing sorely, badly, terribly lacking — jobs. Tell me, Mr. Developer, and tell me, Mr. Board Member, the new folks who move to Isle of Wight: Where are they getting the incomes to pay for those new homes? I’ll tell you, despite nearly 50 years of searching, I still haven’t found that magical money tree. Since money isn’t growing out of thin air, those folks need a source of income. They need jobs.
What do we have here in Isle of Wight? Locally owned businesses aplenty, but no high-income wages, aside from a select few whose names don’t need mentioning. There’s not enough to run the infrastructure of this county. This is a major problem that creates another massive, undeniable problem — congestion.
Where are those big stores at Benn’s Grant? Why are there no hotels in Windsor? How is it that you can’t even go see a movie without traveling to another city?
I’ve been preaching about this problem for over a decade. Hopefully, maybe some day county leaders will wake up! Isle of Wight needs jobs. I did my share of commuting from Smithfield to other parts of Hampton Roads reporting to work and I got sick of it. It’s time to let people work near where they live.
Dave Lyons

Editor, The Smithfield Times,
In an age where there is so much focus on youth, Isle of Wight County sure has love for its seniors! Bubba-N-Franks/Hardees Senior Bingo Friends held its third annual End-of-Summer Picnic on Oct. 16. As usual, our local businesses rose to the occasion to make it a fabulous success. Many thanks to Home Sweet Home Care Inc. who has been a sponsor and supporter of our bingo group for many years; Bubba-N-Franks for the incredible catering and meal; The Oaks Veterinary Clinic who donated for side dishes; Keith Compton of Edward Jones of Carrollton who donated for prizes and décor; Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor for dessert and Kroger’s of Smithfield for the beverages. A huge thank you goes to the Isle of Wight Ruritan Club for allowing us to hold our picnic at their wonderful facility. David Smith, director of Isle of Wight Parks and Recreation along with Pastor William McCarty, chairman of the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors attended and who, along with Shirley McGee and Keith Compton, spoke to our seniors about what their companies and Isle of Wight County is doing and wishes to do for our seniors. They also personally served lunches to our seniors. We had some great musical entertainment and want to thank the talented Jeffery Bradby, First Gravel Hill Church and lead guitarist for the local band Forte’, Pastor Edwin Goodwin, from Alpha and Omega Baptist Church, Chesapeake, base guitar and David Earl, retired minister of music, Union Baptist Church, Suffolk. A special thank you goes to our very own Raymond White for closing our picnic with his beautiful voice and song.
Lisa Bright

Editor, The Smithfield Times,
The growth in our county in residential development needs to stop, AND NOW!
A residence taxes only makes up for about 70 percent of the cost of services, on average (Isle of Wight might be more or less than this average). The rest is covered by industry and business taxes. STOP the residential building until our infrastructure, including highways (Carrollton Blvd, Route 10 bypass, etc.) are stable and up to standards. Otherwise, we are draining our own government of funds. No business would exist if it only made 70 cents on every dollar spent. Isle of Wight needs to learn this lesson, and soon.
Jim Minton

Editor, The Smithfield Times,
While running errands on a recent Friday, I became hungry and pulled into McDonald’s drive thru to order lunch. When I went to the first window to pay, I was told “no charge” that the car in front of me paid my bill!
Thank you to that person, whoever you are, for you are a fine example of the “Good Samaritans” that flow through our beautiful Town of Smithfield.
I hope the kindness is returned to you and it will “make your day” as you have made mine!
Diane Hill

Editor, The Smithfield Times,
As the principle landowner adjacent to the proposed East West development and former owner of the said property, I vehemently object to its approval. The land under consideration has been in my mother’s family name for over 200 years, as the Channell Farm. The Pitt Field was released to my great-great-grandfather, Arthur Channell, by Polly Pitt in 1834 for a barrel of corn and one barrel of corn annually as long as she lived.
The homefield portion the Channell land proposed development was acquired by George Franklin Channell, my great-grandfather in 1854. I, John William Garrett III, know to my classmates as Bill … continue to manage the remainder of the Channell Farm and my mother’s by my great-great-grandfather, Arthur Channell. Formerly, Arthur had rented the land for farming, as early as 1800, as a portion of the Ragged Island Plantation. Documents and original tax receipts from Isle of Wight County are still in my possession. Arthur and George Franklin Channell are both buried on the said property.
In the event of my mother and father’s passing, Emily Channell and John William Garrett II, the farm was divided between my sister Emily Lippe, now deceased, and myself. Even though my mother released nine acres for the construction of the access road from Route 17 to Carisbrooke, her intense desire was for the Channell Farm in its entirety to be maintained a working farm. Since the passing of my grandfather, Arthur Otis Channell, in 1946, who was also a former distinguished Isle of Wight Supervisor, the land has been farmed annually by RD Edwards until his death and now by Bruce Wayne Spady of Spady Farms.
I sincerely appeal to each member of the board to consider the long-range goal of importance that agriculture has for the county and its contribution to our community for over 200 years.
John William Garrett III
Glade Hill, Va.

Editor, The Smithfield Times,
Most parents want a better life for their children. Over the last few generations many equated this with earlier education and building self-esteem through non-judgment. Corporal punishment was deemed a non-effective way of teaching our children right from wrong. I think this is a disservice to our children.
The first five years of a child’s life are the most formative. Although our teachers are great, they are not equipped to teach morals, ethics and faith. They cannot replace the role of a parent.
In competitions all children get a “trophy” independent of their achievements. What message are we really giving our kids? The child who practices gets the same reward as the child who doesn’t try at all.
Some say it takes a village to raise a child. This allows the village to determine how a parent can punish a child because not all agree what is abuse. Most say bullying is bad, that is unless it’s someone most people don’t like such as a political figure. We now give our children equal voice and urge them to disrespect their elders if it is a cause we agree with.
Now our country has a violence issue and we wonder why. Could it be we haven’t given our children a solid foundation? We have shown there are no consequences for action. They can see murders and rapist get less time in jail than a dealer or a thief. They know from watching us that all they have to do is make an accusation against someone they don’t like to change that person’s life forever.
Our country doesn’t have a gun or violence problem. Our problems run much deeper. It will take more than the impingement of the Second Amendment to stop the violence. If we allow our Second Amendment to be further eroded because of the current bouts of violence in our country it will only be a matter of time before the rest of our Constitution is in peril.
Jane Schweiger

Editor, The Smithfield Times:
Much history can be learned from our veterans.
This coming weekend’s local events honor all American military veterans. By speaking with (and listening to) our honored veterans, one can absorb valuable history lessons that enrich our lives. These seasoned soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen have served our nation well and can relate their own personal histories that are instructive as well as entertaining.
Take one, or all, of the following local opportunities to talk to, and interact with, some military service veterans:
Thursday, Nov. 7, Westside Elementary School honors veterans from 9-11 a.m. All veterans are invited, and is our county’s best show of appreciation for their military service.
Saturday, Nov. 9, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., at American Legion Post 49. The Legion Auxiliary hosts this annual fundraising yard sale to support local veterans activities.
Sunday, Nov. 10, 2 p.m. Vietnam veteran All Coke reflects on his wartime experience at the Isle of Wight County Museum.
Sunday, Nov. 10, 3 p.m. celebrate the first black Women’s Army Corps in WWII at The Smithfield Center.
Monday, Nov.11 11 a.m. is the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Isle of Wight Veterans Memorial on North Church Street.
Please turn out to show your personal support for our local veterans who have experienced American history at first hand.
And remember especially our “Greatest Generation” veterans who are rapidly disappearing from the current historical scene. Their stories are well worth recalling.
Carolyn Keen
President, Isle of Wight County Historical Society