Letters to The Editor 07-15-20

Published 6:43 pm Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Board muzzles Surry citizens


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

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In March, Surry County leaders followed COVID-19 guidelines and closed government offices and meetings to the public. In an effort to keep county business moving, the Board of Supervisors holds virtual meetings and opens them to the public for listening only.

Unfortunately, they have silenced the voice of the public by only accepting public comments by email. There is no opportunity provided in the virtual meetings for the public to speak. There is no confirmation that comments are received, either by announcement in the meetings or an email confirmation back to the sender. Public comments are simply tacked on the meeting minutes that are distributed 1-2 months later.

Removing the citizens’ right to speak in the Surry County Board of Supervisors meetings is a great injustice to our county.

Citizens, to have your voice heard in a timely manner, you may want to send your public comments not only to the board, but also to the local papers.


Dianne Cheek




Let sun shine on Christ Church


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Light can be seen shining through newly restored stained-glass windows at Christ Church. While the stained-glass restoration work is still in progress, it will be completed by the end of July.

The sun shone through the “Life of Christ” window’s stained glass on Friday for the first time since January of this year. Artists from the Epiphany Glass Studios have been restoring each piece on every pane of this window, and are likewise working to restore to the glory of all 10 stained-glass windows within the Church as part of CEC’s “Preserving a Smithfield Treasure” project, which seeks to not only restore these rare and precious windows but preserve the safety and structural integrity of the church that hosts these treasures.

The window restoration results are dazzling, revealing vibrant colors and details long hidden by nearly a century of grime. From Church Street at night, lights will shine through the window depicting scenes from the life of Christ. This week, most of the window restoration work will be back at Epiphany Studios in Middletown before being reinstalled at CEC.

The beauty of the newly restored Life of Christ window draws you into this church. It inspires one to not only admire the window as art but reflect upon and embrace the content of the story and the peace therein. 

We invite everyone to join the CEC community in celebrating the history, the art and the life of Christ when we are able to open our doors, anticipated in the August/September timeframe.


Susan Cooper


Preservation Team

Christ Episcopal Church




Bring discarded statues to IW


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Isle of Wight County’s seat could become the “Statuary Sanctuary” for the whole of Hampton Roads.

We already have our very own statue in Monument Circle. It could become the nucleus of a splendid assemblage of historic monuments and statuary from all ’round our region.

As surrounding municipalities and communities divest themselves of their icons because they don’t fit their current public image, we could accept them for display in our historic setting that is already home to one.

Would this be a fantastic tourist draw or what? In the future, folks who pine for a view of their own once proud edifice would travel here to see it and probably buy a meal or two, contributing to our local economy.

I suggest that our supervisors immediately contact the leaders of all nearby governments to offer a home for their beloved shrines that may now be threatened. We would welcome them all: Norfolk’s mermaids, Gloucester’s beehives, Portsmouth’s Confederates, Virginia Beach’s King Neptune, Hampton’s pirate, Newport News’s tugboat, Suffolk’s Mister Peanut, Southampton County’s “Rebels,” Chesapeake’s blue heron, Surry County’s cannonballs and Franklin’s historical markers. We’ll take ’em all!

Or maybe we just temporarily rent them space to display their historic treasures until the mobs turn their attention elsewhere?

In either case, all such images seem to be under severe duress in today’s political climate. We could move all of Smithfield’s now nationally despised bronze founding father figures out there. Why, even our beloved piggy statues would fit in Monument Circle. What an honor! PETA would surely approve.

What do you think?


Albert Burckard




Don’t be selfish; wear a mask


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I have been monitoring the website for coronavirus in Virginia (https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus) for some time now. I wish to congratulate the non-mask wearers among us for their contributions to the recent increase in the rate of COVID-19 infections in the Eastern region of Virginia. As of this writing, only the Southwestern and Eastern sections of Virginia are showing an increase in the infection rates; all others are either in decline or plateauing.

It is important to state what the coronavirus truly is: a parasite couched in an elegant name. It has no instincts beyond eating cellular tissue and reproducing.

When humans do not wear a mask, the virus has no interdiction between one set of lungs and the next. When one human wears a mask and the other one doesn’t, the one wearing the mask protects the one who doesn’t, but the reverse is not true. The one not wearing the mask is truly the selfish one, the one who doesn’t care what happens. The one who is doing their dead level best to ensure that our children will not be able to go to school in the fall. The one who is helping to keep the infection going.

As the Sorcerer Supreme said to Dr. Strange in the Marvel movie: “It’s not about you.” To which I add: Wear a mask.


Karen Kinsley-Smith




Attacking police is foolish, harmful


Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Recent events and a letter to the editor compel me to write again.

First, does anyone really think that cutting the New York City police budget $1 billion or the Los Angeles police budget $400 million, not requiring bail for any but the most serious crimes (New York State) and lowering the crime of assaulting a police officer from a felony to a misdemeanor (Virginia) make us any safer?

It won’t be Nancy Pelosi’s walled mansion or Donald Trump’s penthouse that will be the first stop on the next round of riots. It is foolish to attack the police because of the actions of a few bad apples. Look at the huge recent increase in violent crime in our cities. Seattle’s mayor thought CHAZ/CHOP was great until there was a protest near her home.

Second, I am disturbed by the letter (“Monument proposal insufficient,” July 1) from the writer who suggests that all white America is to blame for slavery (“It is their ancestors, etc.”) To begin with, massive immigration did not end with the Civil War; millions came afterwards, which means that many Americans whose ancestors arrived here over 100 years ago had nothing to do with slavery.

Also, a number of Confederate soldiers had no slaves and finally, many whose ancestors go back to the earliest days of the country had nothing to do with slavery and, in fact, may have opposed it. I offer my own family as Exhibit A.

My father’s father’s people were Mayflower descendants who married into other old Massachusetts families and remained in the Boston area until after the Civil War. Some were abolitionists who are buried in Boston Commons. My great-grandfather and two of his brothers enlisted in various Massachusetts infantry and cavalry regiments and fought for the Union during the Civil War. One, a great-great-uncle, was killed at Cold Harbor.

My grandfather, an American educated in Europe, enlisted in the French Foreign Legion and married the commandant’s daughter. His in-laws and those great-grandparents were a French Army officer and his French/Algerian wife. My mother’s mother was a McDowell and her ancestors include Gen. McDowell, the Union commander at Bull Run/Manassas.

The only possible link to slavery lies with my mother’s father’s people. They were from Kentucky, a border state. They were not big farmers, but it is possible that one of them may have had a slave. I can find no Confederate veterans in my family tree, but several Union vets, one of whom was killed in action.

I personally have always tried to be fair to people of all races. In the Army (one of the first federal organizations to integrate) We have a saying, “There is no black or white, only Army Green!”


Roger Healy Jr.