Few promises emerge from discussions

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The conversation ran the gamut from teacher pay to broadband access to proffers as Isle of Wight County officials and state legislators met Thursday in a pre-General Assembly discussion of legislative priorities.

Delegate-elect Emily Brewer, R-64th, and Sen. John Cosgrove, R-14th sat down with members of the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors, School Board and schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton to get an idea of the concerns facing Isle of Wight County, which is located in each legislator’s district.  

Sen. Tommy Norment, R-3rd, had representatives in the audience.

While Isle of Wight officials provided legislators with a printed list of priorities, school officials brought up some additional topics of concern, such as lagging teacher pay and shortages and Standards of Learning testing. 

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By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

After scores of residents flooded several Isle of Wight County Planning Commission meetings to speak out against a proposed housing expansion at Benn’s Grant, the Commission is now considering restricting citizens from commenting on an issue after it has already held a formal public hearing.

“The logic behind that is, you have a public hearing for a purpose,” said County Attorney Mark Popovich, who presented the option to the Commission Tuesday, Dec. 12. “The public hearing is an opportunity for everybody who wants to speak to come out and speak on the particular issue, and that’s the night to do it.”

The change in the citizen comments bylaws would also bar people from speaking about an issue at meetings prior to its scheduled public hearing. 

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By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

At least one trailer will be placed at Westside Elementary next year to provide more classroom space at the increasingly crowded school.

Isle of Wight County schools superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton made the announcement to the School Board and Planning Commission this week, also noting that the division is scheduling a trailer for Carrollton Elementary School for the 2019-20 school year as well.

Faced with trailers and a student population congestion that seems to have caught the division largely off guard this year, the School Board voted Thursday to expedite the design plans for the construction of a new school in its northern end.

“I think, all of the sudden, this is real,” said Smithfield District School Board representative Kirstin Cook of trailers needed for schools, stressing that it is only a temporary solution to the problem. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

SURRY — The town of Surry was added to the National Register of Historic Places this month, according to the National Park Service.

The listing includes areas along Colonial Trail East, Rolfe Highway, Lebanon and Beechland roads, and School and Church streets.

The national listing follows the town’s listing in the Virginia Landmarks Register in September. The Surry County Courthouse complex was put on the National Register in the 1980s.

The designation is expected to add luster to tourism in the town of Surry and the surrounding county given its proximity to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.  

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

With a blustery mix of rain and freezing cold temperatures, Smithfield cancelled its annual Christmas parade because of the weather, according to organizers.

It will not be rescheduled, but Isle of Wight County Tourism officials are floating the idea of replacing it with a St. Patrick’s Day parade in March.

The Smithfield Christmas Market, also cancelled last Friday due to weather, has been rescheduled for Friday, Dec. 15, 6-9 p.m. on Main Street.

Isle of Wight County Director of Tourism Judy Winslow said the decision to cancel the market was made early on the day of the Dec. 5 Town Council meeting, so organizers were able to go through the “process” that day. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The Smithfield Town Council passed a resolution Dec. 5 allowing VDOT funds to be used for maintaining a large swath of Main Street. That would include using state funds to pave it with asphalt, a material VDOT considers “standard,” said Smithfield Town Engineer Wayne Griffin.

If the town paves the street with a more visually appealing, but non-standard, surface over the asphalt, that portion would have to be paid for by the town, said Griffin.

The street is currently paved with a non-standard material, round brown pea gravel. The granite curbs along a portion of Main Street are also not considered standard by VDOT, Griffin said.

Smithfield 2020 member Rick Bodson said emphatically Thursday, “There will not be asphalt on the road (Main Street),” during an informational meeting on Columbia Gas’ project to replace gas lines beginning in January. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

One of Troy Vandenberg’s biggest challenges is convincing veterans how big Smithfield Foods really is.

Vandenberg is Foods’ new military talent acquisition manager, tasked with hiring 4,000 veterans of all stripes by the end of 2020 — a company goal called Operation 4000!

Vandenberg is looking for veterans to fill jobs ranging from retail to animal welfare to maintenance, logistics, management and more.

What veterans often don’t realize is that Foods has 44 manufacturing facilities, four corporate offices, seven distribution centers and many hog farms spread out across 28 states, Vandenberg said in an interview last week.

Vandenberg’s job is to scout local military installations, social events, transition offices, state agencies and other resources to find veterans looking for a job. 

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By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Residents of Benn’s Grant say they were promised a serene view of the site’s two lakes when they first bought into the new development.

They’ll still get a view, Benn’s Grant developers proposed Tuesday. It will just include 28 condominiums in the middle of it.

At its meeting Tuesday, Nov. 28, the Isle of Wight County Planning Commission voted 6-2 for more condominiums and more growth in the northern end of the county as it approved a conditional zoning amendment request from East West Communities, which is looking to rezone 26.43 acres of commercial and open space areas to residential in order to implement 216 additional housing units at Benn’s Grant.

With the weight of the Planning Commission and county staff now standing favorably behind it, the developer’s application will move on to the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors for a final decision at a public hearing Thursday, Dec. 14. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Christmas trees are going fast in Smithfield, despite a reduced inventory this year.

Boy Scout Troop 25 expected to sell out last weekend, while Smithfield True Value had a run on natural trees on Thanksgiving weekend and had to reorder.

Troop 25, which has sold trees at Wise Tire on South Church Street for years, had to order from three different farms and still didn’t get its regular order, said Troop mom Tracy Adams. 

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Edna Felts Myers

 

Edna Felts Myers, 96, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015 in her home. She is preceded in death by her husband, Luther Power Myers. Edna leaves to cherish her memories her son, Robert Hall. A graveside service will be held Friday, Aug. 7, 11 a.m. in St. Luke’s Memorial Park with the Rev. Mike Frank officiating. A special thank you to Marilyn Oliver and Joe Brown for all their love and support. The family request memorial contributions to VFW POST 8545, PO Box 461, Smithfield, VA 23431.

Service arrangements are in the care of Colonial Funeral Home, Carrollton, Smithfield, Isle of Wight and the surrounding communities.  Family and friends are encouraged to share condolences and remembrances at colonialfuneralhomesmithfield.com.

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