Letters to The Editor 01-08-20

Published 7:38 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Senior housing needed

 Editor, Smithfield Times;

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 Within the next 10 years, the senior population, 65 and over, is expected to increase in Isle of Wight County from 7,900 to 11,300.  This will be a significant portion of our population.

I am happy developers have recognized the need for senior housing in Isle of Wight County.  However, I am concerned that it is only or primarily the developers who are defining what our senior communities will be like.

It is the job of developers to recognize target markets, sell a product to those markets and make a profit.   It is the job of Isle of Wight County to ensure that what developers build will meet the needs of our community and enhance our quality of life.   Isle of Wight County needs “senior housing” specifications, which will guide developments within our county. 

Examples of specifications which should be set by the county are:  Passageways and doors should be at least 3`9” wide for wheelchair accessibility.  Showers should not require a step-up.  Kitchens and bathrooms should be appropriately designed for seniors and there should be at least one no-step entrance.  Senior community outside areas should be designed for ease of walking and for wheelchair accessibility with appropriately high benches for resting, etc.

Isle of Wight needs quality senior housing for all income levels, luxury to affordable.  We need senior communities where seniors can age in place. We need local businesses to service those communities.

With good preplanning, we could see, at very reasonable cost, wonderful senior communities.  We could have state-of-the-art senior communities that will be enjoyable places to live.  We are all destined to be seniors, if we live long enough.   We will all need quality senior housing.  

Lanelle Johnson



Lee not a slaveowner

 Editor, Smithfield Times;

 I am writing concerning the Jan. 1 story, “Governor wants Lee statue replaced in D.C.” Either U.S. Representatives Don McEachin and Jennifer Wexton lack a knowledge of American history or they have an agenda. To portray Gen. Robert E. Lee as a cruel slave master is ridiculous and untrue. Robert E. Lee did not own slaves. They can get away with such a portrayal because of a poor educational system and the ignorance of a number of our citizens.

Robert E. Lee was born Jan. 19, 1807 in Stratford, Va., to Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee and Ann Hill Carter Lee. Robert was born to wealth, but it was lost due to unwise investments and loans to friends by Henry Lee. Henry Lee was in debtors prison twice and died while out of the country in 1818. Robert was 11-years-old at the time of his father’s death. Robert was very close to his mother, and when the older children left home, Robert took care of her for more than four years.

In 1825, Robert entered the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. (partly because the education was free).  Robert completed four years at the academy without a single demerit, graduating second in his class and held the office of corps adjutant. Thus, Robert began a long and distinguished career in the United States Army. In 1831, Robert E. Lee married Mary Anne Randolph Custis, step-great-granddaughter of George Washington, in the Custis mansion in Arlington. They had seven children.

On Sept. 1, 1852, Robert became the superintendent at the academy in West Point. In the summer of 1855, he was reassigned to Texas while his family returned to Arlington. Lee was with his regiment in Texas from March 1856 to October 1857 and for another year beginning in February 1860.

I think it would behoove Rep. McEachin and Rep. Wexton to read Douglas Southall Freeman’s biography, “Lee,” and Alph J. Mapp Jr.’s “Frock Coats and Epaulets.”

Shirley H. Warren