Letters to The Editor 11-27-19

Published 3:02 pm Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Editor, The Smithfield Times,
Now that Democrats control the General Assembly, gun control will be at the top of the agenda. Mexico has gun laws which I hear are a lot stricter than ours, and I’m sure Democrats would love to see those laws here.
And since gun control works so well in Mexico, maybe we should adopt those same laws here — not.
Jim P. McAraragh

Editor, The Smithfield Times
I would like to thank the County Board of Supervisors for their recent recognition of my work with IOW’s historic original documents. It’s been amazing to hold the very paper that was once in the hands of our ancestors and to know it will be preserved for decades to come. A scrap of paper that deferred military service in 1862, a dictionary page on which a proud father kept records in the 1770s, a regretful consent for a granddaughter’s marriage in 1831 or a detailed plan for building one of the oldest houses in the county in 1750 can bring history to life — if the researcher can get to it.

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My mission to preserve, organize and present the loose paper collection to the public is only possible because of the laudable stewardship of our County Clerk, Ms. Sharon Jones. She has well and faithfully followed the long-standing tradition of pursuing grants to preserve endangered record books, ensuring deeds and wills are backed up and accessible, and understanding the importance of the original loose paper.
In 2012, Ms. Jones invited FamilySearch to take digital images of certain historic records that had long been in storage. Although their efforts would insure vital permanent digital backup, it became obvious that FamilySearch would leave the fragile original loose paper behind in an untenable state.
After careful consideration of a proposal that volunteers could save the original papers and make them accessible Ms. Jones approved the records project, provided generous work space, tools, supplies and constant support. When the processing of the in-house papers was complete, Ms. Jones retrieved thousands of documents warehoused by the Library of Virginia. The work of conserving, organizing and digitizing those records continues to this day.
The county owes a huge debt of gratitude to Ms. Sharon Jones, without whom the records project would never have happened. It has been and will continue to be my great pleasure to serve as a full-time volunteer in the Clerk’s office.
Valerie Schmidt-Wilson
Isle of Wight

Editor, The Smithfield Times: As a sworn deputy of the English Grammar Police, it is my duty to alert you to The Smithfield Times’ continued, flagrant abuse over many years of a proud adjective, to wit: the word “local”. As evidence, this adjective appears on page 3 of the Nov. 20, issue of the Times in the header “Shop Local” above ads for town businesses. This very same header is known to have loitered promiscuously in past issues of the paper, confounding local educators and students alike who, evidently, have ignored it out of politeness.
Enough! “Local” is an adjective, as in “local yokel”, meaning an uneducated and unsophisticated person from the countryside. “Locally”, an adverb, is a verb modifier that references a particular area or one’s neighborhood as in, “I shop locally wherever possible”. At least, that’s what Merriam-Webster says.
If the intent of using “Shop” is to exhort residents to spend their dollars in businesses locally (note use of adverbial version of “local”) instead of far-off big box stores and chain pharmacies, can we agree to stop inflicting bad grammar on innocent children and weary educators who have enough on their plates trying to teach local kids right from wrong?
Jeffrey Stark