Letters to the Editor

Letter to the Editor - GO VOTE!

Dear Editor:

There is nothing more ominous or straight forward that can be said other than:

GO VOTE!

As a citizen of the United States of America, we have an obligation in our Constitution and duty to our nation, family and fellow citizens to exercise our right to VOTE!  

In history some of our ancestors were enslaved and were counted as three-fifths of a person and couldn’t VOTE, some were never allowed to vote because of their sex - they were women, yet others were charged poll taxes or asked to play the guessing game of gum drops in a jar before they were allowed to VOTE, if at all.  While others made the ultimate commitment – they died and were beaten so that ALL of us could participate in free and open elections.

If you will be 18 on or before Election Day – go register to VOTE!  If you have registered but have not exercised your right to VOTE in years – check your registration and register again, if need be, to VOTE!  If you have moved from your previous address go now and update your address so that you will be able to VOTE!  If you have never registered to VOTE and you finally realize that this election is THE most important election of your lifetime, which it is, go register and then VOTE!!!

Be a significant part of history – for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth we are allowed to VOTE early!  Early voting started on September 18th and will end on October 31st. If you want to be counted but don’t want to be in the crowds come Election Day take this opportunity to go by your respective Voter Registrar’s office either in the County at Government Building,1781 Greensville County Circle, Emporia or in the City at the Municipal Building, 201 South Main Street, Emporia during hours of operation and VOTE!

You may still request an Absentee Ballot with no excuse necessary by Friday, October 23rd. Your ballot may be mailed back to the Registrar’s Office or you may drop it off in person to avoid the rush!  If you should not feel comfortable having someone to witness your Absentee Ballot Envelope you are permitted to return it without a witness’ signature during this election due to COVID-19.

If you feel nostalgic and are compelled to VOTE in person on Election Day you may still do so!  The polls open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. however, remember to mask up and keep your social distance to protect the Election Officials, fellow citizens and yourself most of all!

As Chair of the Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee, I implore you to cast your VOTE for a well-qualified and most experienced team!  This year we have incumbents Mark Warner for the United States Senate and Donald McEachin for the United States House of Representatives!  At the top of our superior ticket we have Joe Biden and Kamala Harris!  Our team of Leaders will protect Social Security and Medicare while rebuilding our economy and creating and attracting jobs here in Virginia while they will work with public health experts to defeat COVID-19.  In their efforts to continue to work hard for us they will seek to expand access to healthcare and lower prescription drug costs – much needed help for a healthy and industrious middle class!

Our candidates are hard working and will continue to fight to put our Nation, State, County and City in the forefront! They know that we work hard and they will work even harder to return our Country to be the envy of the world!

And on the Constitutional Amendments, VOTE NO on Number 1 and YES on Number 2!

For an Emporia-Greensville Dems Sample ballot please go to our Facebook page at “Emporia Greensville Democratic Committee”.  Feel free to refer to our committee’s sample ballots and use it as a guide when you VOTE!!!

If you should need a ride to the polls or have questions please, do not hesitate to contact us through our Facebook page or call 434.634.5499.

VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! – It can’t be said enough!!!

Thank you,

George E. Morrison, 111

George E. Morrison, III, Chair

Emporia-Greensville Democrats

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

Letter to the Editor from W. Scott Burnette, CEO of VCU Community Memorial Health

 

I want to take this opportunity to let this community know how proud they should be of the health care team at Community Memorial Hospital as they have faced the challenge of dealing with COVID-19.  Over the last five plus months, the CMH team has shown true dedication to caring for patients in what could easily be called the worst of times, other than that of a war zone perhaps.  However, for all intents and purposes, they have been engaged in a war with an invisible, yet very deadly disease.  Highly infectious patients may not even display any symptoms of illness, yet can transmit the virus simply by being close to others and not wearing a mask.  The act of speaking, a sneeze or a simple cough can send droplets containing the virus that can then be absorbed through the mouth, nose or eyes of another person.

Since COVID-19 arrived, the CMH team transformed a 70 bed community hospital into a multi-hospital complex capable of housing at least 225 acute care and critical care patients.  This transition was accomplished within the first three weeks after the declaration of a state of emergency and was made possible by our ability to repurpose the original Community Memorial Hospital facility.  The amount of effort that was necessary to accomplish this was extraordinary and speaks volumes to the caliber of individuals who make up the CMH team.

We have had to change how we operate all of our clinics and our patient care services.  Our direct care teams have had to adapt to more strict levels of infection prevention protocols and daily put aside their fears of working in an environment that exists to treat all illnesses and injuries, but is also ready to face this new world-wide pandemic.  This requires an enormous amount of dedication and resilience and it is something that will carry them through these many months yet to come until an effective vaccine can be developed.  I also want to thank the community for adapting to our stricter visitor guidelines that are necessary to ensure everyone’s safety at our facilities.  I realize they have been an inconvenience; but, cooperation overall has been great and it is much appreciated. 

While we all seem to have adapted a bit more to this “world of COVID-19”, I wanted everyone to know how awesome the CMH team of health care professionals is and how proud I am to be their CEO.  I also want to thank this community for the many expressions of support and encouragement that have been offered to the staff at the hospital and all of our patient care divisions of CMH.  It means a lot for them to know that their willingness to face the daily risk to their personal health is appreciated.  This same dedication is demonstrated by our EMS partners in this region who have worked tirelessly to make sure all patients receive whatever care is needed and I want to thank them as well.

We are not out of the woods with COVID-19 yet, but the teams at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital and VCU Medical Center in Richmond stand ready to face this challenge as they have done so well throughout our histories.

No words are adequate to express my appreciation to the CMH team, so I will simply end this letter by saying “Thank You.”

Sincerely,

W. Scott Burnette

Chief Executive Officer

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

VCU Health CMH CEO 2020 National Hospital Week Message

To The Editor:

It is with great pride that I want to wish all the team members at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital a happy National Hospital Week. The staff at CMH have been on the front lines of this war on COVID-19. They have tirelessly provided care to members of the communities we serve. Our employees have repeatedly demonstrated their strong commitment to their profession and their care and compassion for our patients has been evident throughout this crisis.

I want to recognize them for all they have been doing and are prepared to do in the future as we work to provide the excellent health care our communities need and deserve. This has been a uniquely challenging time for all of us, but as we celebrate National Hospital Week 2020, I want to publicly thank them for their countless hours of vital and fantastic health care during this crisis.

I am proud to be part of the family that is CMH strong!

Sincerely,

W. Scott Burnette

CEO

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital, South Hill, Virginia

 

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

In Support of Delegate Tyler

Dear Editor,

I am writing this article because it is very important for everyone to know Delegate Roslyn Tyler and the many accomplishments she has forth for and achieved over the last 14 years while representing the 75th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. As a Christian, medical professional and a small business owner, she has had a positive impact on the 75th District constituents and businesses. A respected and experienced public servant, Delegate Tyler has earned a reputation in Richmond for building consensus, making informed decisions and finding common sense solutions. More importantly, she makes sure ALL our voices are heard, democrats, republicans and independents.

Delegate Tyler was appointed by the House Speaker to serve on the Education, Militia Police & Public Safety and the Commerce and Labor Committee’s; in 2018 she was appointed to the House of Appropriations – Budget Committee. She has been a strong advocate for Education, healthcare, Virginia farmers, the logging and forestry industry and the public safety officers and hunting rights. Delegate Tyler serves on the Virginia Rural Center Board of Directors, the Joint Commission on Health, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission and a member of the Legislator Sportsmen and Rural Caucus.

Delegate Tyler stood up and carried legislation for the Virginia Education Association (HB 2332) that increased teacher’s salaries at or above the national average resulting in teacher’s receiving their highest pay raise in 15 years. As a member of the House of Appropriations, she was instrumental in increasing the salary for Correctional Officers and Deputy Sheriffs attracting over $11 million to improve infrastructure and create jobs. Delegate Tyler voted for Medicaid expansion providing 400,000 Virginians access to healthcare and affordable prescription drugs. Delegate Tyler successfully led the bi-partisan fight to protect hunting with dogs and sportsmen’s rights which was about to be eliminated in Virginia defeating the proposed law (HB 1900) 48-47 votes. Had she not fought for hunters, hunt clubs would have been forced to close their doors throughout Virginia.

As many of you have read flyers and seen false advertisements (from her opponent) on radio and television about Delegate Tyler visiting France. While serving on the Commerce and Labor Committee, Delegate Tyler was chosen in 2011 to be part of a bi-partisan delegation of Senators, Delegates and business owners to visit France to explore a multi-billion operation requesting to come to Virginia.  This trip was not funded by taxpayer dollars but business owners. Because of Virginia’s bi-partisan delegation approach to attract businesses, Virginia has been rated as the best state in the Nation to do business.

Delegate Tyler continues to work towards creating higher paying jobs and expansion of high-speed internet for homes and businesses in Southside Virginia, as an attempt to keep young graduates in our communities.

On Tuesday, November 5th I urge everyone to vote to re-elect Delegate Roslyn Tyler to the House of Delegates.

Thank you, Mary Beth Washington

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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ASTROP – PIERCE ENDORSED FOR SUPERVISORS AND SCHOOL BOARD -- ZION AND NOTTOWAY DISTRICTS –

To the Editor:

Election season is fast approaching in a few weeks and we are less than 20 days to Election Day and a brighter more focused future is at hand!

On behalf of the City of Emporia and Greensville County Democratic Committee I write in full support of the candidacies of Mrs. Belinda D. Astrop for the Greensville County Board of Supervisors in the Zion District (District 1) and Mr. Drexel W. Pierce, Jr. for the Greensville County School Board Nottoway District (District 4). 

Fortunately, for our friends and neighbors in the Zion District, they will have a Board member that will represent them fairly and one which will unequivocally have their best interest at heart!  Rarely do you see a leader step forward and answer the call of her peers that is this well qualified, dedicated and excited…but Belinda Astrop is she!  As a member of our committee she sought our endorsement to run for the Greensville County Board of Supervisors from the Zion District under our banner to bring positive change.  In Belinda’s heartfelt plea seeking our support she clearly understands that the county is at a junction – we either remain idly complacent as the county implodes with ever increasing property taxes, no new major employers being attracted to the area, and schools that can’t attract and keep qualified teachers with decent wages.  OR…the Board of Supervisors and its leaders can seize the moment and address the county’s need for more viable and frequent efforts to incentivize Economic Development efforts to assist the county to grow.  She believes that it is time to insist upon productive intelligent conversations during board meetings about recruiting employers with jobs that can pay a living wage and take proactive steps to recruit developers that are willing to invest in the county.  Additionally, entrepreneurs and small business owners should be encouraged to grow and expand within the county.  When investment is encouraged and nurtured, new jobs are sought and created, the quality of our schools and their performance increases and in turn future generations will return home to seek employment and those recruited to our community will stay and continue to be a part of Greensville County’s future success story!

Mrs. Astropis an ardent supporter for after school and year round recreational opportunities for our children and youth.  She is a firm believer that governments place emphasis on the things which are of the utmost importance to them and for her that emphasis should be greatly shared with the future and hope of our community – our children. 

No less committed to the progress of the County and its school system in particular is Drexel Pierce. As a resident in the Nottoway District Drexel believes that the children inour community deserve the best possible environment to learn and grow in, while gaining a world class education. The safety and mental health of our children is at the forefront of his agenda.

Pierce strongly believes that a child’s educational experience is not just about curriculum, but that in order for them to flourish they must be in the safest, most inclusive atmosphere possible. We have the most capable and caring staff within our district, and they need our support and the proper tools to best serve our children at their maximum capacity. He stands to put our children and the Greensville County Public School faculty/staff first!

Drexel’s educational background and work experience offer a unique and fresh perspective as a school board member. If elected, he plans is to work with parents, teachers and our community to ensure that our students receive the exceptional educational experience they deserve.  When students feel safe, accepted and empowered, they succeed. Pierce states, “Together we can make that possible for every child at GCPS!”  Every Student Matters!  Every VOTE Matters!

There are no better qualified candidates that are well suited to stand and fight for this community and its citizens than Belinda and Drexel!  The two truly understand the needs of the county in both arenas to further the county government and advance its educational quality. 

I ask on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 that their fellow citizens for Astrop in District 1 (Zion) and for Pierce in District 4 (Nottoway) make your way to your respective polling place and cast your votes for Belinda Astrop for Greensville County Board of Supervisors and Drexel Pierce for Greensville County School Board!! The polls open at 6 o’clock in the morning and close at 7 o’clock in the evening – stop by and vote for Positive CHANGES in Greensville County!

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Emporia-Greensville Democrats,

George E. Morrison, III, Chairman

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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Morrison and King Nominated by Emporia-Greensville Dems

Dear Editor:

The Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee has nominated two outstanding candidates to run in this fall’s General Election!  We have running for Greensville County and the City of Emporia –

George Morrison for Clerk of Circuit Court and Stephen King for Sheriff!

George is the Chairman of our local committee and he brings nearly 28 years of experience in local government in middle and senior management as well as having owned and managed his consulting business.  He is a Silver Life Member of the Greensville Emporia NAACP as well as its Secretary.  Morrison is a lifelong United Methodist and attends Main Street United Methodist where he is a Trustee, At-Large member of Church Council, had served a decade as its Worship Committee Chairperson, is a member of United Methodist Men as well as its Adult Chancel Choir.  Additionally Morrison had been tapped by several Bishops and District Superintendents to serve on both State Church Conference wide and Petersburg and James River District Committees.

As Clerk, Morrison proposes further modernizing the operations of the office while improving the quality of customer service to ALL citizens and customers.  Upon taking office George will reinstate free Notary Public Services to the citizens of Greensville and Emporia.  Additionally, he will seek to select jury pools that accurately reflect the real demographics of our community.  Morrisonwill seek to establish, like other counties and cities across the Commonwealth, an introduction to the necessity and functions of the courts system.  This program will be geared toward our high school seniors as he works with the school system to introduce the functionality of the court and judicial system on a level playing field.

Stephen is a Greensville County native, graduate of Greensville County High School, and meets and exceeds all of the requirements set by the Commonwealth of Virginia to be YOUR next Sheriff of Greensville County and the City of Emporia.   He intends to use his nearly twenty years of extensive corporate management experience, bybringing to the community his analytical, administrative and organizational skills. His ability to achieve goals, objectives, and futuristic; both short and long-term visions will provide a safe, secure, and better quality of life for all citizens of Greensville County.

He is an active member of in both the Democratic Committee as well as the Greensville Emporia NAACP.

Sheriff King WILL maximize crime prevention, take a strong stance against drugs that currently plague our community and establish community outreach for our youth.  In addition, Stephen is a strong believer in Community Policing increasing patrols throughout the county and reestablishing Project Lifesaver and the Triad Program for our seniors and an after school program for our youth. 

Stephen is dedicated to Progressive Change and FIRM but Fair Leadership.  When elected, he is ready to roll up his sleeves and serve our community in a hands-on, collaborative way with RESPECT, INTEGRITY and theINVOLVEMENT you deserve!

Recently, both Morrison and King have been endorsed by United States Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, Virginia State Senator Louise Lucas and Member of the House of Delegates, Lashrecse Aird, and Chairwoman of the Fourth Congressional District Democratic Committee.

Keep Greensville County and the City of Emporia BLUE and vote the Democratic Ticket on November 5th

Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee

George E. Morrison, III, Chairman

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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Christmas

Dear Editor,

When December dawns, thoughts turn to the greatest of all seasons — Christmas. A lot of customs have become associated with Christmas since the reason for this great season was born more than 2,000 years ago. The birth of Christ changed the world and offered hope and eternal life to all who believe in him.

Today, some people do not want to identify the greatest of all holidays by its true name. Sure, retailers want Christmas gift-giving to keep growing, but some have reverted to calling Christmas “the holidays.”

Of course, the true meaning of Christmas is not the gift-giving, decorations or parties. Nevertheless, activities observed in honor of the Christmas season should always be identified as Christmas observances.

I plan to stop shopping in stores that do not clearly identify the Christmas season. In a country where 75 percent of the people identify themselves as Christians, this great season needs to be given the respect it is due.

So, in the future, there will be no “Happy Holidays” from me. My greetings and observances shall always be identified with a big “Merry Christmas.”

JOHN G. KINES JR.
Disputanta, Va.

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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HINES FOR CITY COUNCIL – DISTRICT 7

To the Editor:

Election season is in full throttle and we are less than 30 days to Election Day and some major decisions are at hand!

On behalf of the City of Emporia and Greensville County Democratic Committee I write in full support of the candidacy of Mrs. Yolanda Hines for City Council in District 7.  District 7’s representative resigned her seat on Council after many months of living outside the city and ultimately moving to be near her new job.  This resignation left a vacancy and thusly it brings us to an election to be held this November 6, 2018 to fill that vacancy.

Fortunately for our friends and neighbors in District 7 they will finally have a Council Member that will represent them fairly and one which will unequivocally have their best interest at heart!  Rarely do you see a candidate rise to the top that gets it…and Yolanda Hines GETS IT!  As a member of our committee she sought our endorsement to run for city council under our banner to effectuate positive change.  In Yolanda’s impassioned plea seeking our support she clearly understands that our city is at a crossroads – we either idly watch as our city folds with ever increasing water bills, “shell games” of devaluing property assessments while increasing property taxes, as well as decreasing city service.  OR…the city council and its leaders can “take the bull by the horns” and address the city’s need for stronger and more frequent efforts to spur on Economic Development efforts.  Instead of discourse over disrespecting fellow citizens and calling them belittling names she believes that it is time to try regular and persistent intelligent conversations during each and every city council meeting about recruiting employers with jobs that can pay a living wage and take proactive steps to recruit developers that are willing to invest in our city.  Additionally, we should be encouraging entrepreneurs and small business owners – as we all know a rising tide lifts ALL boats!  When investment is encouraged, new jobs are sought and created, the quality of our schools’ performance increases and in turn the will of future generations to return home and know they are wanted and needed to keep writing the city of Emporia’s future success story!

Mrs. Hines is an ardent supporter for after school and year round recreational opportunities for our children and youth.  She is a firm believer that governments place emphasis on the things which are of the utmost importance to them and for her that emphasis should be greatly shared with the future and hope of our community – our children.  Yolanda is equally as concerned about her fellow citizens in that she puts her money where her mouth is. She has assisted many citizens not only from her district but across the city and county with job searches through her work with head start and her work at Southside Virginia Community College.

There is no one better qualified and suited to stand and fight for this community and its citizens than Yolanda Hines!  She has worked in public service for more than 26 years and truly understands the need to attract new Employers, affordable quality housing and year round youth programs.

Yolanda comes to the table with a wealth of experience and has prepared herself to take on the challenges presented in the city. She has her Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from Averett University. She IS the only candidate that is ready to address the REAL concerns of the city of Emporia’s District 7!!!

I ask on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 that her fellow citizens of District 7 make your way to the fire department and cast your vote for Yolanda Hines, City Council!  The polls open at 6 o’clock in the morning and close at 7 o’clock in the evening – stop by and vote for a Positive CHANGE in the city of Emporia!

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Emporia-Greensville Democrats,

George E. Morrison, III, Chairman

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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RICHARD PEARSON IS BELFIELD’S REPRESENTATIVE!

To the Editor:

This letter is written in support of the candidacy of Mr. Richard E. Pearson for the Board of Supervisors’ Special Election in the Belfield District of Greensville County.  I write this letter on behalf of the City of Emporia and Greensville County Democratic Committee.  It is rare that this committee endorses any one candidate in a local election, further, a special election, and in particular a candidate that has opted to run independently.

Typically, our committee has the option to set on the sidelines and allow each committee member to focus on their particular candidate of choice in a contested local election or endorse a candidate that would reflect the committee’s sought direction for its community.  This is NO typical year, we have opted to do the latter in the person of Richard E. Pearson!

Upon the early resignation and untimely death of the late Honorable Dr. Margaret T. Lee from the Belfield District’s Board of Supervisors seat our committee was approached by several candidates seeking our committee’s endorsement and support.  The only fair way to wholeheartedly support any candidate was to interview each potential candidate; each interested person was asked to appear before our committee and share their vision and future for Greensville County and our region, provide answers to questions about their commitment to this community and its people, and finally answer questions from the committee’s interview panel.  To that end, it was the UNANIMOUS consensus of our entire committee to support Richard Pearson to run for the Belfield District Board of Supervisor’s seat in the special election this November. 

Mr. Pearson is an outstanding business man in this community and in our region.  He is civic minded and a staunch supporter of the communities of Greensville County and the City of Emporia.  As a dedicated member of Mount Calvary Baptist Church, he serves as Deacon.  He is a person on whom you can rely…if he says it, he means it and will get it done!

Above all else, he is concerned about the future of Greensville County and its citizens, in particular his fellow citizens in the Belfield District. As Belfield’s Board of Supervisors’ representative he will be proactive in keeping the concerns of his fellow citizens at the forefront of the board’s agenda and he assures action. He is concerned about this area’s lack of employment and limited job opportunities.  He will work tirelessly to insure a bright future for the county’s youth and foster a place of pride so that our brightest and best may return home to limitless employment and excellent careers with an educational system second to none.

As Chairman of the Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee, I write to promise that our committee is 1000% behind the candidacy of Richard Pearson and commit our energies as one body to guarantee his election to this seat.  We have been divided in previous elections but those days are assuredly over – that was a history which has taught us all valuable lessons.  We no longer look to the past but build upon it for a brighter and more prosperous future in Greensville County with Mr. Richard E. Pearson!

Now is the time to take ACTION! I ask you to join me in committing your support to elect Richard Pearson to the Belfield District in Greensville County on Tuesday, November 6, 2018!  The polls open at 6:00a.m. and close at 7:00p.m. Looking forward to seeing you there!

If you are not registered to vote it’s not too late to take action now and be counted and remember - If you don’t vote you ONLY have yourself to blame!

George E. Morrison, III, Chairman, Emporia-Greensville Democratic Committee

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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Letter to the Editor: Wasting Taxpayer Money

I was so pleased to go onto your website as I do regularly and see some genuine “hard” news in the form of your report of the happenings at the recent Emporia City Council meeting.

Public notices and such perform a service of sorts, depending upon their source and content; sometimes, though, particularly with regard to meetings of local governing bodies, it is even more of a public service to report to local residents and taxpayers the actions and inactions of those they elect to serve and represent them.

The best example of that was the report of the discussion about the under-performance of the Greensville County public transportation system, which city council was duped into joining in and contributing to when provided with low-ball estimates as to how much it would cost city taxpayers. So now it turns out that the cost to the city is close to 10 times what it was estimated to be. Wisely, city council voted to serve notice that it would be withdrawing from the agreement as soon as contractually possible.

I recall so well having told my wife—and she recalls it—that the city council and the county board of supervisors were both being taken for a ride of their own when they embarked upon this venture.  As is the case so often these days, consultants are too often hired to do what elected officials are paid to do and decide whether a project supposedly for the benefit of those they serve is worthwhile or not. This one was not, which I knew from the outset. Both governing bodies should have known better. Consultants should have, too. Your report did not mention it, but I would be curious to know if the board of supervisors had gone back and questioned the wisdom of their recommendation. Also, if it cost city taxpayers that much more than expected, how much are their counterparts in the county having to shell out?

Of course, it could be argued that the reason the venture has failed is primarily the result of less-than-expected ridership. But shouldn’t the folks who recommended the system have taken into account the prevailing factors at the time that contributed to that?

If I were still a county taxpayer, I would be disturbed by this waste of my tax dollars. But to take that a step further, if I had been elected to the county governing body when I ran, and if  I had voted to go ahead with this project in the first place, I would be irate!

It is one thing to waste your own money; it is even worse to waste someone else’s.

Keith W. Mitchell
Charlotte, NC

(Editor's Note: Your letters may not always reflect the views of Emporia News. Letters to the Editor may be sent to news@emporianews.com and must include your name. Letters that may be considered inflamitory in nature will not be published. Do not include profanity, racial ephitets, lewd, demeaning or disparaging comments. Letters may be edited for space, clarity and/or grammar.)

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Own a Business or Live in Brunswick County? Take the Broadband Survey

Dear Editor,

Greetings from the Brunswick County Board of Supervisors!

The Board of Supervisors adopted its Vision for 2035 in February 2017 to provide a guide, or road map if you will, for our County. Among those priorities in the Vision for 2035 included the following:

Premier Location for Economic Growth and Development

In response to this goal the Board of Supervisors voted to partner with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) - at no cost to the County — to conduct a comprehensive Broadband Needs Assessment Survey for the County to:

  • Identify gaps in broadband service,
  • Identify key vertical assets that could address the un-»“under-served areas,
  • Provide funding options for new infrastructure,
  • Define strategies for partnering with incumbent providers, and
  • Document methods for addressing broadband awareness and adoption to improve utilization for all citizens.

As you may be aware, better broadband access can enhance the quality of life for many through increased access to health services, improved communication with friends and family, and faster home entertainment streaming, as well as opportunities for working, shopping, and education from home.

I am certain that by now everyone has either seen in our local newspaper or on social media a request to go online to complete the Brunswick County Broadband Needs Assessment Survey. If you have filled out the survey we GREATLY appreciate your participation. The deadline to respond to this survey has been extended to Monday, April 30, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. The deadline to participate has been extended to permit more households and businesses an opportunity to be heard — as we stand today we are at an average of 9 % participation whereas we need to be in the 12 to 15 percent participation level to attract and be competitive with various broadband providers. The higher level of participation clearly signals that our citizens are serious about their interest in as well as showing concern for our education systems (public/private/higher ed/job retraining) and dire interest in attracting Economic Development opportunities to the County! Again, we need EVERY HOUSEHOLD OR BUSINESS to either complete a paper copy that is located at the public library, the County Government Building — Administration or Planning Offices or the Chamber of Commerce. You may still go online and complete the Broadband Needs Assesment Survey.

We look forward to your responses to the County’s Broadband Needs Assessment Survey.

Sincerely,

Barbara Jarrett Harris

Chair Brunswick County Board of Supervisors

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Letter-Greensville County Training School Update

Editor, Emporia News

Efforts are under way to establish an appropriate memorial garden/park on the site of the former Greensville County Training School at the intersection of Ruffin and Halifax Streets.

Three separate fund-raising projects are in the works and will be announced in the near future. One would allow donors to honor those of their choosing with engraved bricks and other on-site memorials.

Architects working on a pro bono basis have already drawn a conceptual design for the project.

The Emporia City Council recently delayed implementation of an earlier plan to finalize demolition of the remains on the site, agreeing to allow a new Special Project Committee a year to plan and begin to implement improvements to the site. 

The Citizens United to Preserve the Greensville County Training School voted in September to allow Marva Dunn to select persons to serve on the committee, and to serve as its chairperson.

Initially, three additional persons were added to the committee and have met several times. They are McKinley Jordan, President of Citizens United; Clarence Wells, a local historian; and myself. Others are in the process of being added to the committee.

We are appreciative of City Council members and other city officials considering our most recent presentation and agreeing to grant us additional time to develop it. Their positive comments regarding the work we have initiated and their unanimous approval of our request were encouraging.

Information regarding our initial fund-raising plans and implementation of the various phases of development will be forthcoming. We invite those who may have an interest in working with the committee on this project to contact any committee member.   

Keith Mitchell

Special Project Committee member     

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Letter the the Editor From Keith Mitchell

Editor, Emporia News:

I am writing to thank you for the contribution you made to the campaign process by sponsoring a public forum for the candidates. I was grateful for having had the opportunity to express my views and to have them so accurately reported. I felt that the forum and your reporting of it was fair to all the candidates.

The voters have spoken, though, and they have spoken in overwhelming numbers. And while I was both shocked and shaken by the results in my contest, I nevertheless know that the Lord led me to run for a reason, and I am comforted by my belief that His reason for so leading me will be revealed over time.

I am thankful that the margin of victory in my race for supervisor was as great as it was. Otherwise, had it been much closer, I would have second-guessed everything that I said and did during the campaign period. Now, though, I am comforted by the fact that I did my best and did not compromise my integrity in any way at any time. I am who I am, I say what I truly believe, and so be it.

l was humbled throughout my campaign  while going door to door and by having 302 of the people to trust me and show up to vote for me on Tuesday. And despite losing the contest and seemingly letting them down, I intend to work for them as diligently as I can and for as long as I can. As I told so many of them, it is sometimes as easy to work from the outside as it is from the inside when one feels that a system or a process needs to change.

I have no intention of being a radical crusader for change, nor do I plan to deliberately become a so-called "community activist." I do, though, plan to devote my time and effort to advocate for all the ones who touched me so deeply with their encouragement,  and who seemed so appreciative of having someone to listen to their frustration.

Do I wish I had won? Lord, yes. But if I could go back and change the result, would I? Heavens, no!  Because I believe without a doubt that all things work together for good for those who trust in the Lord and who are called according to His purposes...

I am reminded of the blessing we were taught as children to pray before a meal. It begins: "God is great, God is good..."  He really is, and all the time. We may not always understand. We can, though, always trust.

 Again, thank all of you who supported me, and I am so appreciative of and humbled by that support.

Keith Mitchell

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Letter-Training School "Deserves to be Preserved"

As you did with your earlier piece regarding the Emporia Elementary School Auditorium and the Emporia City Council's plans to demolish it, you made some persuasive points in your more recent writing regarding that same governing body's vote to do the same to the remains of the Greensville County Training School.
 
Why the rush to raze any old structure with historical significance unless there are plans to re-build on the site, or plans to develop the site in such a way as to benefit taxpayers? Especially questionable and seemingly inappropriate in this instance, as with the initial vote by City Council with regard to the old auditorium, is the spending of a sizable amount of tax dollars for the demolition.
 
And as with the auditorium, the Training School has a distinct historical relevance that deserves to be preserved, as you rightly pointed out. But in addition to its significance to black residents who may have attended there or whose ancestors may have done so, it should hold significant memories to the entire community.

In 1968, history was made when three white teachers joined the faculty there for the first time, whereas the entire student body remained black. Granted, it was only for a brief period of time until the new Belfield Elementary School was completed mid-year.

 I remember it well, because I was one of those three.
 
For the first time in my life, I experienced what it was like to be in a so-called racial minority. While I was readily accepted by the sixth- grade students, I didn't feel as though I were by some of my fellow teachers.  Eventually, pretty much all the faculty accepted me. Two whom I remember as being particularly helpful to me during the time I taught there were the principal, Ulysses Russell, and my fellow teacher, Larose Gilbert, whose funeral I attended within the past year. Mr. Russell and I eventually became good friends. Mrs. Gilbert became my confidant and earned my respect as one of the most color-blind people I have ever known.
 
Typically, when I am out and about in the community today, I bump into former students who recognize me and whom I am always happy to see. Some I see and speak with on a regular basis and have for years. With others, it is bump-into and see no more, but I always enjoy the experience. One even serves on the city council.
 
As with my earlier comments about the auditorium,  my suggestion here would be to develop some creative plan to restore and preserve the old historical  site. Some might see it as a reminder of the past that for them might not have been what they would have liked it to have been. Others, myself included, might recall the old school building as a reminder of a significant time of change in our community. For whatever reason, it has historical significance and deserves preservation.
 
One suggestion might be to take all or a part of the money allocated to demolish it and to offer it, instead, to a non-profit group such as the association already formed as a type of challenge or matching amount for its restoration. And while the word "grant" as used for those financing vehicles that I mostly frown upon for projects that localities do not deem worthy enough to spend their own tax dollars to finance, why not pursue one for this project that is so worthwhile? Spending tax dollars to build or preserve definitely seems preferable than to destroy.
 
Regardless, as the city governing body did with the auditorium, at least consider going the extra mile with the training school.  And let others join in the discussion. Seek out innovative suggestions and follow-up with those that have merit and seem plausible. Don't just give up and give in because others have decided that that is the only solution.

The old school deserves it.

Keith W. Mitchell

Greensville County

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Letter-Heart Broken Over Training School Demolition

Wow, my heart is broken.  Thank you for the passionate and honest editorial on the planned demolition of the Training School.  Please let me know who authored the editorial.  I pray the decision is not final and there is some hope and plan to save the historical site.  It is officially registered on the Historical Preservation site.  How can this be?  Is it permissible to tear down historical buildings?  Many Rosenwald schools throughout the country have been restored and re-purposed bringing revitalization to communities.  The historic Training School because of what it provided to the African American community, and the community as a whole, deserves the same consideration.  If $80,000 is being proposed by the City Council to demolish the historic building, why not use those funds for restoration.  I felt the same way about the Emporia Elementary School and the Auditorium.  By the way, I attended both the Training School and the elementary school.  Emporia and Greensville County are such special places, due largely because of its residents, history, and geographical location.  It is rich with economic and development potential, but I am not so sure that those who govern there are aware of this.  Let's come together to save and restore the Training School, making this the start of revitalizing all of Emporia and Greensville County. 

Native Emporian - always in heart,

Rose P.

(Editor's Note-There is no law preventing the demolition of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places nor the Virginia Landmarks Registry)

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Reader Responds to Editorial About Auditorium

I complement you on a well-written and informative editorial regarding the pending proposal to tear down the old Emporia Elementary School auditorium. Assuming that your alleged historical facts leading up to that proposal are correct, then I find nothing in your opinion piece with which I disagree.
 
I am one who has fond memories from having grown up attending various assemblies in that facility, of having been there several times when my sons attended school there, and of having participated in and being in attendance at various other functions there over the years.
 
The one thing that stands out in my mind from a trip to Rome, Italy many years ago, was how so much of that city's buildings and infrastructure had been maintained and preserved for many decades, and even centuries.  Here in America, we--and particularly our governments--regular demonstrate a preference and even a fondness for tearing down the old and building new from the ground up.
 
One suggestion during this period of time pending a supposed final vote about how to proceed would be to appoint a citizens' committee of persons not only simply interested in preserving the structure, but who would have expertise and knowledge appropriate to the situation from a practical standpoint.
 
As a county resident with no legitimate right to have input in this matter, I nevertheless would further suggest that such a study not be done by using taxpayer's dollars to pay for professional opinions, but by persons willing to study and make recommendations that are both practical and in the best overall interest of the city as well as the entire community.
 
Keith W. Mitchell  

Editor's Note:  The subject of the Auditorium will be debated by the Emporia City Council at this evening's City Council Meeting.  Also on this evening's agenda is a public hearing about the change of the Polling Place for City District 5.  The public hearing begins at 6:30 and the regular meeting will begin immediately after.

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Letter-Train Noise Disrupts Visit

Dear Editor-

I was here visiting family from out of state, and have noticed the last several times I have visited that trains now blow their whistles at all crossings.  When I first started visiting Emporia it did not seem that train traffic was nearly as loud. 

I assumed that Emporia was a nice quiet city, but it is not.  City Leadership should very seriously explore making Emporia a quiet zone, so that those people living near the rail road tracks are not sleep deprived, which in itself can lead to traffic accidents.

A person should be able to visit family in Emporia without needing to get a hotel room across town or in Roanoke Rapids in order to simply sleep through the night.  Emporia has a very nice downtown area, but who in their right mind would want to sit outside at the Bank in an attempt to enjoy a meal or a cocktail with a train going buy every half-hour?

I have been in town during the Peanut Festival and the train whistles have even disrupted that great event, drowning out the music in the park and disrupting the fireworks.  It cannot be healthy for those at events in the park to have those whistles blown so close to unprotected ears.

If Emporia was once a quiet zone and crossings have been closed in an effort to restore that quiet zone, why is that designation not in place?  Who dropped the ball?

Exhausted in Emporia-

M. Hardy

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