Letters to The Editor 05-27-20

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Smithfield Lake is precious resource

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

It was disheartening to read recently in The Smithfield Times of our Town Council’s decision not to provide the initiative and funding necessary to maintain the dam at Smithfield Lake. This beautiful lake is an important resource that should not be lost. 

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As we see more and more suburban and urban development filling up our community, Smithfield Lake will become even more valuable. The lake provides us a beautiful natural area, valuable for its recreational opportunities for boating and fishing.

The land surrounding Smithfield Lake provides a healthy, forested watershed, naturally filtering the water and making it one of the few freshwater resources in our area, a reservoir of freshwater that is extremely valuable for our community.

Smithfield Lake has further value as a potential renewable hydroelectric energy source. The elevation drop from the reservoir to the bottom outflow from the dam is large, and water levels in the reservoir are pretty constant throughout the year. This makes the reservoir well-suited for a hydroelectric generation unit that could contribute significant electric power to our community.

In the beginning, by establishing Smithfield Lake, the community made a wise investment. Much taxpayer money was undoubtedly invested in its creation, and more has since been wisely spent in its upkeep and maintenance. Waterworks Road was built atop the dam, maintained and to this day serves the transportation needs of area residents.

When viewed on Google Maps’ satellite view, or by just driving across the dam, we can see what a fabulous asset Smithfield Lake is – a beautiful open area, with fishing and boating, freshwater reservoir, renewable energy potential and established roadway.

So we urge our Town Council to reconsider its decision. Let’s not allow this resource to be lost. Surely there is some feasible way to continue to maintain and preserve Smithfield Lake.

John Burnham



She commends Councilwoman Tynes’ service

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I am a retired educator who lives in the county of Isle of Wight. Decisions made by the town have an effect on the county.

I do not vote in town elections, but have kept up with the projects, business decisions being made. My interest began under former Mayor James B. Chapman and former Councilwoman Kaye H. Brown. This was the beginning of Councilwoman Denise Tynes’ tenure. As a citizen of the county, I wish to thank Councilwoman Denise Tynes for all the work she did in helping all the people of Smithfield.

Her efforts have not been in vain. She will be remembered as doing a good job.

Hazel C. Edwards

Isle of Wight



Arts League supports community

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

The past few months have been challenging for all of us as we focused on the realities of survival in the midst of our fight with COVID-19. Now as we begin to emerge from the lockdown and work toward a return to normalcy, we would like to offer our support to our friends and neighbors. 

Art in all its forms is often the catalyst that allows us to relax, refocus and rejuvenate our spirits. We are fortunate to live in an area with such a rich arts culture. For years the Isle of Wight Arts League has touched so much of our county, Smithfield and the surrounding areas with its many and varied programs, and as we work through our own steps for reopening, we plan to continue to provide this support to our community. 

Our Arts League comprises four major pillars: Smithfield Summer Concert Series, Smithfield Music, Sundays at Four and Smithfield Arts. 

·       The Summer Concert Series has, for the past 35 years, staged free open-air concerts on Main Street in Smithfield. We offer music from jazz to rock to bluegrass and much more. Join us when we restart these events and make Friday evening the highlight of your week.

·       Smithfield Music brings in a wide range of “Americana” talent from across the nation. These performances take place at the Smithfield Little Theater or, alternatively, are presented as a House Concert. Proceeds from these concerts help fund music programs in our Isle of Wight Schools.

·       Sundays at Four offers concerts and performances featuring more formal chamber music, vocals and the like. They also support our own developing artist by offering programs such as “Terrific Teens.”

·       Finally, Smithfield Arts operates the Art Center at 319 Main Street. The Art Center features a gallery, ongoing exhibits, working artists’ studios, art classes and an exceptional gift shop featuring the work of many local and regional artists in all mediums.  

As we all recover from difficult challenges, we hope you will remember that art, in all its forms, can provide both balance and joy in our lives. Visit us at the Art Center, attend our concerts and events, and allow us to continue to be a part of the vibrant community we have here in Isle of Wight County. 

For additional information, please call us at (757) 357-7707, email us at info@smithfieldarts.org, or visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/isleofwightartsleague/ .


Gary L. Hess

Isle of Wight Arts League Board of Directors




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





Virginia needs a leader, not a doctor


Editor, The Smithfield Times:


The physician’s Hippocratic Oath is often summarized as “First, do no harm.” A physician, as our state executive, is harming us. Virginia is the only one of 50 with a doctor-governor and his prescriptions are a disaster for the health of our commonwealth.

He has, unfortunately, put the “doctor” before responsible governing. If Franklin Roosevelt had been a doctor-president, we may not have declared war on Japan after Dec. 7, 1941 – too much risk of more death. If the commander of Walter Reed Army Hospital had been given the go/no-go decision for D-Day June 1944, he would surely have said, “No go. Too much chance of more killing.” America’s west coast today could be a prefecture of Imperial Japan and our east coast a province of The Third Reich.

All life is a risk and, fortunately, far less today than centuries past because of modern medical advances. But risky, lifesaving decisions, made by a myopic but well-meaning physician, are destroying our livelihood in order to save it. Sort of has the ring of that infamous Vietnam War excuse for burning a village, doesn’t it?

We must entrust cultural life-saving decisions to those with a broader view and leave the medical ones to the physicians. Their zero-life-risk mentality will be the economic death of us all.

So the Virginia Board of Medicine must at least revoke our governor’s license to practice. He has clearly violated his professional oath by inflicting great harm on the citizens of our beloved commonwealth.

For the rest of us, it is a true blessing that Virginia governors can “help” us for no more than one consecutive term. Next time, no medical doctor. Please!


Albert Burckard




GOP also needs lecture on prudence


Editor, The Smithfield Times:


I suggest that Mr. Grice (“Take cue from business during hard times,” May 13) contact Mr. Trump, Mr. Mnuchin, Mr. McConnell and Mr. Kushner with the same advice he gave Mr. Kaine.

I distinctly remember that Mr. Mnuchin did not want to provide information regarding where he and Mr. Trump were going to spend the money that Mr. McConnell sought in the first wave of financial support. In fact, Mr. Trump stated that he was not going to provide information, requested by Democrats, about who would receive financial assistance.

Even worse than not providing the requested information, Mr. Kushner was permitted to give multimillion-dollar no-bid contracts to firms with personal ties to him and the Trump organization. These firms are being paid millions of taxpayer dollars for solutions to problems for which they have no experience. I hasten to point out that these are ongoing wasted taxpayer money contracts.

I suggest Mr. Kaine is looking to the future needs and appears to be making an effort to approach those needs with the necessary consideration and avoid being caught without some analysis before spending our taxpayer dollars.


Edmond Easter