Monument stays or land may revert

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

As the debate over Isle of Wight County’s Confederate soldier monument continues on The Smithfield Times' Facebook page, it seems the property it sits on has conditions of ownership.

If the piece of land is no longer used for the Confederate monument, it reverts back to the heirs of O.L. Batten, according to Isle of Wight County attorney Mark Popovich, who researched the deed for the property.

The property on which the monument sits is in front of Isle of Wight County’s historic courthouse building,

O.L. Batten was Isle of Wight County’s commissioner of revenue from 1895 – 1904, according to the Isle of Wight County website.

The Confederate statue was erected in 1905, the year after Batten was no longer commissioner. 

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School Board votes to press on

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The Isle of Wight County School Board accepted a $3.6 million bid from Heartland Construction for new facilities at the county’s high schools, which was $600,000, or 17 percent, more than the division had estimated for the project, according to Superintendent Dr. Jim Thornton.

The construction will be for the building of a new welding lab at Smithfield High to go in the school’s “career building” (formerly known as the “E-building”), and a new construction lab at Windsor High. The labs are scheduled to be ready for students to use for Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses in January.

The cost will also cover the construction of a new football field house and JROTC field house on the campus, planned to be completed in March, according to Thornton.

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The Isle of Wight County Museum is asking residents to dig in their attics and drawers for old photos and memorabilia from World War I and World War II.

The Museum is building an online exhibit to highlight Isle of Wight County residents and their service during either war, either overseas or here on the home front, said Jennifer England, director of the Isle of Wight County Museum.

The Isle of Wight County Museum plans to compile the information for a program, “World War I and World War II: Conversations and Commemoration,” on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The effort is part of a statewide push by the Virginia World War I and World War II Commemorative Commission to plan, develop and commemorate the 100th anniversary of first world war and the 75th anniversary of the second world war.

The museum's event will honor local veterans and feature lectures, living historians, stories, military vehicles, document preservation and the Virginia World War I and World War II Commemoration Commissions Profiles of Honor Tour, England said.

Folks who have and would like to share photographs and other documentation are asked to set up an appointment with the museum staff. The museum will scan their photos and take information, England said. Photos and other information can also be sent by email. 

To set up an appointment with museum staff, call 356-1223 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information on the state’s efforts, visit www.virginiawwiandwwii.org

 

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The third generation of Stallings to serve as chief of the Smithfield Volunteer Fire Department is handing off the reigns to a new leader.

Jason Stallings is stepping down as fire chief on Oct. 1. He is being replaced by long-time deputy chief Jerry Hackney.  

Stallings, 45, has served as chief for 11 years and has been with the department since he was a teenager. 

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The Smithfield Little Theatre will bring “Broadway on Main” to Times Square Friday as the local troupe closes the 2017 Summer Concert Series. The 8 p.m. concert will be performed on the Gazebo Stage at 228 Main Street.

The collection of musical numbers performed by folks from the Smithfield Little Theater will include selections from this summer's Summer Youth Project production of "Seussical, Jr.", as well as SLT's very popular rendition of "Grease" from earlier this spring.

Along with a few other Broadway-esque numbers, you'll get a peek at what's coming up with a number from SLT's fall show, "Thoroughly Modern Millie," opening in October.  (Tickets are on sale now!) 

So come relax and enjoy one last summer weekend with Smithfield's own version of the Great White Way, "Broadway on Main."

The Summer Concert Series is sponsored by The Smithfield Times and the Isle of Wight Arts League. Concerts are free to the public.

For more information about SLT, tickets and volunteering, visit www.smithfieldlittletheatre.org.

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

The discussion over removing statues honoring the Civil War and Confederate soldiers has moved to Isle of Wight and Surry counties in the wake of violence resulting from a recent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.

Two local black leaders have stepped forward and asked the Surry and Isle of Wight County boards of supervisors to remove statues honoring Confederate soldiers.

The statues are located in front of the historic courthouses of both localities.

Isle of Wight NAACP Chapter President Valerie Butler Thursday asked the Board of Supervisors that the statue honoring fallen Confederate soldiers, which is on county-owned property, be removed. Butler was also concerned that the violence and turmoil that erupted in Charlottesville could come to Isle of Wight County.

At the same time, retired Surry County Judge Gammiel Poindexter sent a letter to the Surry Board of Supervisors asking to remove the county’s Confederate soldier statue. 

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By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors voted to table a decision on whether to change the format of its invocations before meetings, which have often invoked Jesus Christ.

County Attorney Mark Popovich advised the Board Thursday that the practice of Board members opening government meetings with a prayer to Jesus was deemed unconstitutional as a violation of the Establishment Clause by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit July 14.

The invocation procedure of the Rowan County Commissioners in North Carolina, who lost the appeal, had been identical to Isle of Wight’s, according to Popovich, which begins meetings with a Call to Order, followed by an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, led by each supervisor on a rotational basis.  

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

A cat carrier filled with 16 kittens abandoned on the side of the road recently has left animal activists advising other solutions.

And Isle of Wight Animal Services is seeking information about the carrier found at Fire Tower Road and Route 258 in the Windsor/Zuni area in the early morning hours, according to the Isle of Wight Animal Shelter’s Facebook post.

Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight Animal Shelter is working with the non-profit Cat Corner of Hampton to help manage the sudden influx of 16 kittens, said Isle of Wight County Animal Control Officer Tiffany Webb. 

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By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

Without a completed usage plan, the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors was hesitant to approve a new draft of a MOU relating to its promised financial contribution to the Joseph Luter Jr. sports complex.

After some expressions of frustration with the process, the Board ultimately voted to sign off on the Memorandum of Understanding with the town of Smithfield, with the caveat that it must also approve of the site’s completed use policies and procedures, which town and county parks and recreation staff are still working together to finalize.

The Board agreed last year to contribute $250,000 overall to the sports complex project, roughly 6.25 percent of the $4 million endeavor.

“I’m not going to agree to a MOU until I know all the things that’s going to be stuffed in behind it,” said Newport District Supervisor William McCarty during the meeting, stating that there is still no clear outline for how the county will be able to utilize the facilities once they’re completed. 

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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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