Letters to The Editor 05-13-20

Published 9:38 pm Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Take cue from business during hard times


Editor, Smithfield Times:

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Not so fast, Senator Kaine!

Once again (“State and local governments need support,” May 6) an elected government official proclaims that if the federal government doesn’t bail out state and local governments, we citizens will be forced to lose fire, police & EMS services. Who even thinks that way?

Cutting essential services only comes after all the waste, fat and nice-to-haves have been reduced or eliminated. Has that been done yet?

These times call for management skills and any small-business owner who’s been around for a while can tell you all about it. For the survival of their business, the leader makes tough decisions on how to strategically use “limited” resources. More often than not, when crunch time comes, their own salary is one of the first bills that goes unpaid. 

Has Senator Kaine or any of his staff volunteered to take a pay cut to keep their jobs? How many of his staff did he have to furlough without benefits?  Will he forgo paying next month’s medical insurance invoice to pay for product deliveries, utilities and rent needed to keep the doors open?

Instead, he proclaims that he’s willing to spend more of our tax dollars, even if he has to borrow the money to do it! $3.3 billion just isn’t enough.  Instead of asking for some reasonable accountability of those monies, he wants the federal government to give state and local governments greater flexibility in spending even more.  

Our county recently received $35,000 from the federal government to assist with replenishment of PPE gear for our emergency services folks. We really appreciate it, but be assured, that’s what it will be spent on!

Before Senator Kaine and his fellow politicians start another round of being benevolent with more of our money and debt, let them take a step back, carefully assess the situation and make sound business decisions.   Remember their benevolence, with our money, tends to come with strings attached. 

Here’s a thought: With additional federal funds to cover “potential” state revenue losses, the state could afford to extend the lockdown. Oops! Am I starting to think like a politician?

Dick Grice





Legion seeking to assist veterans


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

American Legion Post 49 in Smithfield has just completed a “buddy check” on all members of the post to see if they or their family members are in need of any assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All members were contacted by a team of four legionnaires by phone or email. We did discover that some post members have outdated phone numbers and are in the process of updating our information.

The post is now entering a second phase of these buddy checks seeking any veteran in Isle of Wight who might need assistance with managing their lives right now. We ask that they contact Post Service Officer Bob Watkins at 757-234-5421 or email him at bobwatkins58@yahoo.com. 

According to Post Commander Bob Hannon this buddy check program is just part of the American Legion’s mission of taking care of one another and all veterans. It is one of our national commander’s initiatives for this year. 

Any veteran interested in obtaining more information about Post 49 or how to join can contact Matt Streeter at mstreeter77@gmail.com. 


Tom Mastaglio




He wants answers from school board


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

On May 14 the Isle of Wight County School Board clerk is to read my email on my concerns with reporting potentially erroneous IWCS Standards of Quality Compliance Annual reports prepared by the superintendent since his 2015 arrival.

I question his “accuracy” in each year’s SOQ Compliance Report when answering yes to all the SOQ standards and other reporting requirements such as Va 22.1-70.2. Surely he’s known IWCS did not meet several.

Per regs, if an answer was “no,” a corrective action plan had to be provided to Virginia’s state superintendent. All IWCS board members, through their email addresses, have been provided evidence of these potentially erroneous IWCS reports. E-mails forwarded to them were in 15 attachments from Virginia Department of Education Senior Analyst Elizabeth Morris.

VA law 22.1-253-13:3 (G) states: “Each local school division superintendent shall regularly review the division’s submission of data and reports required by state and federal law, and regulations, to ensure that all information is accurate and submitted in a timely fashion. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall …(report)… the status of compliance … to the Governor and the General Assembly as required by Va 22.1-18.”

In these five years Dr. Thornton has received numbered state superintendent memos for the submission of annual IWCS Compliance reports. On May 14 I’ll be asking for a written response from the IWCS board chair, answering each question simply yes or no.  She may have to do research certainly. 

As a concerned citizen and former school board member I want to know IWCS’ status in meeting SOQ requirements for our students’ benefit.  Somehow we’ve dropped in ratings in Virginia’s 130-plus school districts from 16 to mid-40s.


Herb De Groft