Letters to The Editor 02-26-20

Published 2:52 am Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Local change, global impact

Editor, Smithfield Times;

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Each year we spend millions of dollars buying grass seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Americans spend hours mowing their yards and using gas, which pollutes more than regular car (mowers, trimmers and blowers do not have a catalyzer). If we also water the lawn, we are using more than 40 percent of water consumed in each household. On top of that, we also landscape yards with non-native plants, which need special care most of the times.

Nevertheless, there is another way to think about our yards and landscaping. We should keep in mind of how our land appears before we tear down a large section of trees or scrape away a great deal of landcover.  All that rich vegetation was native, it was here before us, and it is a result of hundreds of years of transformation, adaptation and evolution.

The flora, different species and varieties of plants, multiple species mammals, birds, reptiles, insects, etc. are dependent upon nature and together create a complex and valuable ecosystem.

We should think more about our environment, and that we are part of it, and our actions will affect us in the near future (water and air quality, droughts, hurricanes and global warming). For this reason, beginning with myself, I would encourage everyone to consider gradually shrinking lawn areas by creating tree or shrub “islands” with native plants. Replace any non-native plant that dies in our yard with a native plant. Compost leaves, weeds, clippings. Make or buy a rain barrel to reduce storm water runoff. Use less pesticides and fertilizers.

By keeping, preserving and using native plants in our yards, we will save money and time. The tree or shrub “islands” will enhance and beautify our properties. They will bring nature closer to our homes (pollinators, birds and other species of animals). It will promote clean air. It will reduce the risk of flooding and saves water. We will enjoy our outdoor space as a natural area; relaxed and embracing the nature at home.

Antonio Viudez



Applauds Smithfield Parks staff

Editor, Smithfield Times;

Regarding the Feb. 19 Times article “Smithfield Parks Department growing,” I for one applaud the expansion of the Parks and Recreation Department.  Small-government advocates may disagree, but they probably do not fully appreciate the scope of their maintenance effort.  This expansion also comes at a key time as baseball season is just around the corner for the Luter Sports Complex and Windsor Castle Park use appears to be up, and the completion of the manor house restoration should attract even more visitors.  Bottom line:  Among these two parks, as well as Clontz Park, there is plenty of work for Chris Hewitt (maintenance supervisor) and his able crew of three; there is no make work whatsoever. 

Anyone who frequently walks in WCP already knows that the major footbridges seem to be in need of frequent repair due to the deteriorating planks; replacing those planks goes well beyond the mission and skill sets of the Trail Doctor volunteers, whose numbers, quite frankly, have been declining.  The Trail Doctors are also reliant on the Parks team for tractor support for hauling crush and run gravel for trail and berm repairs caused by erosion; when Chris was the sole parks maintenance employee, tractor support was a hit and miss proposition because he was getting pulled in two directions with only one tractor to work two parks.  Now, with a dedicated crew, support has been greatly enhanced and we now have a smooth running, collaborative effort between the Parks department and the WCP volunteers.

While working in the park quite a few park patrons have commented to me on how much better the park looks now, to include the condition of the trails.  To cite but one example, the very professional-looking set of stairs leading down from the “big kids” slide in the playground was an unsightly short cut/erosion ditch, but Chris and his team recently corrected this long-standing eyesore, a project that would not have happened anytime in the near future without an expanded workforce.

Steve Senkovich



Success due to many

Editor:  Smithfield Times;

In January the Times article “Windsor Town Center not a money-maker” cited town records as showing $98,165 in expenses for the first year of operation.  For clarification, a large part of that was a payment of over $90,000 to the contractor for completion of the building renovation, with the remainder being operational costs.

In the first year of operation, the numbers indicate that over 7,000 people used this facility.  That success can be attributed to the versatility of the building and the support of many people and organizations in the town and county, including the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, the Isle of Wight School Board, and the Isle of Wight Department of Parks and Recreation.

We also want to thank your newspaper for covering this project from its inception when it was a seemingly impossible hope that we could make this dilapidated old structure on the demolition list into a beautiful space that is meeting the needs for many community activities.  Dreams can become reality when we all work together! 

Carita J. Richardson



Plan needed for coronavirus

Editor, Smithfield Times;

With all the fears of the illness, SARS Covid-19 virus, from China, has the Isle of Wight Health Department developed and put out information for area doctors on process and procedures? This is not to say it’s happening, coronavirus, but local doctors and urgent care facilities need to understand the procedures early on. This is to protect the ill and the medical staff we will so depend on in a crisis. Remember, you don’t implement a plan when an emergency is announced, it should already be in place.  Notification (i.e. a plan)  is needed  to allow a good management approach for our public health. Otherwise we will look like China, South Korea or even Iran in their containment of this tragic illness.

It’s kind of like the Surry Power Plant, if there is a nuclear accident or even an earthquake affecting the facility, is Isle of Wight ready? Are facilities in place (schools or ??) for those kind of happenings, are there plans? Are there medications available to protect children in the case of a Surry event? Has our very mobile and new residents/population of Isle of Wight been informed of what to do?

Just a few little things that really I have no idea of … and no idea where to go look for copies of plans etc. My local GP has told me they have not been informed what to do in case of either emergency. Don’t you think that would be a good idea to inform  all of the plan? It takes time to understand and prevent confusion. China is a really good example of terrible confusion causing tremendous human issues.

Joan Conover



Bloomberg out of touch

Editor, Smithfield Times;

Contrary to Mr. Bloomberg’s misinformed remarks about the American farmer, his skills and “grey matter”, I beg to differ. As President Eisenhower astutely observed, “You know, farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”

Bloomberg seems to think his wealth and possessions somehow give him a greater skill set and superior “grey matter” to the man who “puts the food on his table”. The demeaning, elitist and out-of-touch remarks such as, “It’s a process: you dig a hole, you put a seed in, you put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn.” surely doesn’t say much for his “grey matter.” I wonder if he has ever seriously thought about where his meals come from?

Agricultural production has been a necessity since the founding of this country. Year round, from late March and early April with the plowing and cultivating of the fields, to the fertilizing according to the soil’s type and tilth, to the type of and most productive seed, to the further cultivation and application of herbicides and pesticides to enhance growth over the hot summer months while praying for the right amount of rain; in absence of an irrigation system; and lastly, deciding the optimum time to harvest, the farmer toils in the fields to provide both food and countless other necessities for the world’s ever-growing population.

America is going to wake up hungry tomorrow, Mr. Bloomberg included, and it is the American farmer who will provide his bacon and eggs, the flour for his bread and the butter for his toast.  Mr. Bloomberg might be a financially wealthy man but he is a pauper concerning the real facts of life.

“A lot more gray matter?” Don’t believe it. Farming is the oldest profession and still foundation for all the others.

Helen C. Eggleston



Only one school needed

Editor, Smithfield Times;

Mr. Finderson’s letter in last week’s Times is spot on.  Building one school would not only be less expensive, it would eliminate the considerable administrative cost of operating two schools for years to come.  The duplicate costs for cafeteria, library and other supporting processes just doesn’t make sense.  On top of that, you now need duplicate management positions to run each school.  It makes one wonder if sustaining high-paying school management jobs might be the hidden agenda.  We need a new school to support the elementary education needs in our county.  Just build one quality school that we all can be proud of.

Bruce Gearey