Letters to The Editor 05-20-20

Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Let downtown eateries serve outside


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox


I would like to ask the Smithfield Town Council to consider an emergency ordinance to allow downtown restaurants to use sidewalks and perhaps part of the street for takeout counters and outdoor dining. 

Many of these restaurants are suffering, and there is serious risk that some of these businesses will be lost. Restaurants in other parts of town are able to use privately owned parking lot and walkway space for takeout counters and outdoor seating, but this is not the case downtown.


Greg Vassilakos




An alternative on bike trail


Editor, The Smithfield Times:


I am not sure that the bicycle trail will ever reach Windsor Castle Park. However, I would like to suggest an alternative to the ones I have heard about. 

On Battery Park Road, there are two entrances to Royal Farms. There is a tract of land between the two entrances that I estimate to be 120 yards by 30 yards. Using eminent domain to build a park on the undeveloped land there would not require any acquisition of land on Church Street or Lumar Road. It would not disrupt traffic. No further bicycle path would have to be built. 

Simply put a park there with parking, public restrooms, a bicycle rack, and a few picnic tables. It could be accomplished in a relatively short period of time.

At a later time, when we are out of the economic crisis, the town could consider the contentious issue of the best path to Windsor Castle Park. But in the meantime, people could enjoy a bicycle trail that has two ends to it.


Jerry Tenney




Encouraged by the good she sees


Editor, The Smithfield Times:


I hate that a pandemic has the world turned upside down and I hate that so many people are having such a hard time. That being made clear, I am so encouraged by all of the good in this world. With life being a little slower, the good things seem to come to the forefront.

Small, local business owners and employees seem to have the lead when it comes to serving others. This is not a new thing. They are always the folks who support the community the most, but I do want to highlight a few things that I have seen myself.

The owner of Maggie Casey’s Celtic Treasure has been arranging front door food drives and she is personally picking up food from people’s front porch and delivering it to COP. The owner of Smithfield Auto and Truck Center allowed a Birthday Parade for a child with Down syndrome to line up in his lot and then voluntarily chose to stop traffic as the parade headed out to its destination.

The owner of Southside Ballet Studio arranged a birthday parade for a staff member, made a special Facebook video for graduating seniors, and decorated her storefront to encourage her students. A manager from Taste of Smithfield voluntarily joins parades as an inflatable dinosaur and cheers up disappointed birthday boys and girls.

After paying for my daughter’s senior prom dress alterations, the seamstress at Cho’s Clothing Care gave a beautifully handsewn fabric mask to my daughter free of charge.   I’m certain there are so many other small businesses doing great things!

Employees at larger chain stores are equally wonderful. Several employees at Wendy’s pushed a broken-down vehicle out of their drive through to assist a woman. Employees at Hardee’s walked out into the parking lot to bring ice packs to a woman having a medical emergency. An employee in the meat department at Food Lion was patient and kind while helping an elderly customer find meat.

The list goes on and on. The local high school hand-delivered signs for all graduating seniors. It would be easy to write a book about all of the good happening in Smithfield, not just now, during the pandemic, but always. I’m certain you have seen many things as well. Praise God we are living in such a wonderful town.


Kim Orrock




Hypocrisy on government spending?


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

This is in response to what I assume was meant to be a satirical letter from Mr. Grice (“Take cue from business during hard times,” May 13) blaming other politicians for the same “benevolence” he practices.

At a local civic group he ranted that it is mandatory that we continue to overdevelop the north end of Isle of Wight even though this causes a greater strain on fire, police and EMS services. In the fall he stated that it’s easier to raise taxes than to cut expenses.

He has a habit of creatively interpreting laws regulations, and quotes to satisfy his own rhetoric while holding himself unaccountable.



Richard Gillerlain




Redistricting is chance for new approach


Editor, The Smithfield Times,


With the census in progress and to distract our minds from the harsh present, some of us might begin thinking about the problems of future redistricting.

Isle of Wight population will grow by 2,200 (Weldon Cooper), with the Newport District having half that growth (building permits). Hence, the Newport District will shrink again geographically, possibly to Route 17, even Ashby and Eagle Harbor.

On first sight, the fundamental problems seem to be making the Carrsville and Windsor districts more compact as they sprawl due to population shift to Smithfield and Carrollton and also maintaining a majority /minority district (Hardy) with no retrogression. Regression is loss of voting strength like one minority district in five districts (1/5) – 20% replaced by one minority district in seven districts (1/7) – 14%.

However, some, like Isle of Wight County Assistant Administrator Don Robertson, think a majority/minority Hardy may not be possible and voting strength (1/5) -20% cannot be maintained. This inability is probably true for both the five-district concept and the seven-district concept. Also, with either a five-district concept or seven-district concept, we still will have at least one district sprawled or strung out from Route 17 to either the Town of Windsor or from Route 17 to Mill Swamp Church, hence no community of interest.

What to do then?  Especially with no majority/ minority district we might consider dividing the county into just two multimember districts, one in the Smithfield/Newport area with three supervisors and one in the rest of the county with four supervisors, no individual districts. Elections would be like the elections of town councils with top three or four candidates being winners of their elections. 

The multimember concept would enhance minority electability, encourage more candidate participation, and is more democratic. It would minimize Windsor and Hardy from further swallowing Carrollton and Smithfield. If we keep adjusting individual districts, all districts will have serious community-of-interest issues like Carrsville stretching almost to Rushmere, and Windsor and Hardy intruding into Canterberry Lane and Grace Street in Old Smithfield.  The multimember concept addresses all these problems.


Thomas Finderson



New monument law insults veterans   

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Memorial Day is a special day when the people who were called or volunteered to defend the United States or the commonwealth of Virginia are to be remembered and honored.

Many made the ultimate sacrifice and gave up young promising lives so we can enjoy the country we have today. They were not asked if they believed in the cause for which they fought or agreed with what they were asked to do; they were not given the option of being allowed to go home and live their lives if they objected. They did their duty as ordered or requested and deserve respect and honor no matter the war they fought or the cause they were sent to fight for, which 21st century hindsight and knowledge may have decided was wrong.

It should also be remembered this Memorial Day that the Democrats in the Virginia Legislature this past session passed a law that after July 1 will allow the removal of ANY and ALL war monuments of any kind in the commonwealth of Virginia no matter the war or person they were erected to honor. If they had wanted this law to specify one type of monument, they would have included that in the law. They did not, and that makes it very obvious they intend that all war monuments can be removed.

This is an insult and disrespects every citizen who was ever sent to fight for this state or country. Ask yourselves: Is this the type person you want for a leader — cowards who wish to dishonor those who are heroes?

Volpe Boykin




Past time for broadband internet throughout IW


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Surviving “shelter in place” without Netflix, Hulu or Disney+ is an inconvenience for the rest of us, but for students who live in the county without access to broadband it’s a tragedy.

Having to access the internet through a wireless device like Verizon’s MiFi has surely prevented many students from fully participating in the digital home lessons they have been offered due to low bandwidth. When Surry County, one of the poorest in the commonwealth, is moving forward to provide broadband coverage to the whole county, it is a dereliction of duty that our Board of Supervisors talks about expanding coverage but does nothing.

In today’s digital world access to a robust internet network will be critical not only to the educational health of our kids but to the economic health of our county.  It’s high time for the Board of Supervisors to stop sitting on their hands and get with the program to bring Isle of Wight into the 21st century.


Edward R Hipp III




Blame the criminals, not guns


Editor, The Smithfield Times:


If you are as old as me (72), you may remember when criminals used to commit acts of violence. But today only guns do.

We’ve all heard “journalists” going on constantly about “gun violence” but never criminal violence.

Back in the early 1960s when I was in junior high, I read a book of science fiction short stories and one of them was titled “Inanimate Objects are Plotting Against Me.” Today, a “journalist” would consider that prophetic.


Jim P. McAdaragh