Last Word on school walkouts, March 17

Student walkouts

For those students walking out, remember the vast majority of shooters were the “outcasts,” those that other kids bullied or ignored. So, as well as walking out, if you really want to make a difference, look for the kid eating alone or the outcasts among you and reach out to them.

I applaud high school students for taking the lead on fighting the NRA. I hope they realize student shooting deaths at schools are only the tip of the iceberg, and they broaden their scope to address the pervasive societal gun problems that kill 31,000 people a year.

I am proud of the young people speaking out and becoming involved in politics that affect them, such as gun control. Some people say the blame is being put on "an inanimate object" instead of on the parents of the kids that do the shootings. However, the guns involved in these types of mass shootings are made for soldiers to kill people on a battlefield of war. There is really no other reason for this type of weapon. However, they are sold to civilians to make money for the gun manufactures and have become toys for grown (mostly) men. They are not for hunting or for home protection; so it has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. Obviously, if someone decides to shoot many people, they are mentally unstable or sick and they need help. If these guns and large capacity magazines were not available, then the mass shootings would not happen. Then we, as a country, can address the other issues, such as mental health.

Sales tax increase

The regressive Norment tax raises our local sales tax rate from 6 percent to 7 percent. For a $100 purchase, we would now pay $7 instead of $6. That’s a 17 percent increase in the amount of sales tax we would pay, not 1 percent as many people would view it. I’m considering not making my annual donation to Colonial Williamsburg since they will be one of the beneficiaries of the Norment tax increase.

The Tommy Norment tax should be placed on the ballot this fall so the citizens of Williamsburg, James City County and York County can vote to see whether or not we wish to be taxed.

To the commenter in the March 14 Last Word thanking Sue Sadler supporting a no-tax approach: Maybe I misread Sadler’s letter to the editor, but I understood her to be in favor of the tax and her letter did nothing more than list the ways she proposed distributing the money. I didn’t read her comment as being in favor of not passing the “Tommy Tax”. At this point I can’t help but wonder if Bryan Hill bailed before this became public because he didn’t want to be included in the deception.

To answer one reader's question in the previous Last Word: Here is information from Sen. Norment's legislative aide, Zach LeMaster: "...regarding the final version of the bill. It is my understanding that this tax does not apply to motor vehicle sales."

Gov. Northam needs to veto Senate Bill 942 or, as it’s been referred to, the “Tommy tax.” It’s going to have a significant negative impact on the region, especially on larger items such as furniture and other consumable goods with high ticket prices. People will go to Richmond, Virginia Beach or Hampton/Newport News to purchase their items, leaving Williamsburg and York and James City out in the cold. Also, this tax was implemented by people outside of the region who do not benefit one way or the other from it, and we have no recourse on voting them out of office. This is basically taxation without representation. So, Gov. Northam needs to veto the bill. Please call him and voice your opinion promptly. Thank you.

For everyone to have a say on the Tommy tax, we need to call the governor’s office immediately. His phone number is 804-786-2211. Since it was never really brought to the residents of this area and never really discussed, they’re trying to pull a fast one on us. So everybody needs to voice their opinion on the Tommy tax as quickly as possible. It’s on his desk, waiting for signature. Please remember your civic duty and let Richmond know how you feel. It’s very important or else we all may be on the sinking ship of another penny tax. Thanks.

There is an escape hatch in the tourism sales tax legislation. If the Williamsburg City Council does not repeal tourism ordinances 17-09 and 17-10, then the legislation expires without being enacted on Jan. 1, 2019. Sources say they will repeal the ordinances to reap the extra tax dollars and throw us all under the sales tax bus. Tommy Norment probably would not have put the clause in this sneaky legislation unless the fix was in with Williamsburg. Call City Council at 757-220-6103 and let them know what you think. This is probably the last chance for your voice to be heard on this.

If published reports are correct, that the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance will be the overall managing agent for the supervision and distribution of the portion of the sales tax increase devoted to tourism marketing, you may want to have a look at their website, williamsburgcc.com. While your there, have a look at the board of directors and membership directory, as you may be both interested and surprised with some of the familiar names, organizations and businesses that pop up. Draw your own conclusions.

Eye to the sky

The hawks are back and will attack cats and small dogs. They will do this even if you are standing close by. Someone saw a hawk take a black and white cat in their neighborhood and they were unable to stop it before it flew away. So please, keep your pets inside or be very close should a hawk come after your pet.

Looking for …

To the lady who lives in Colonial Heritage who needs to have the scooter lift removed from the back of her vehicle: Forgive me, but I have lost your contact information. I really want to help you; please call 757-645-4255 at your convenience. Thank you so much.

Is there any validity to the rumor that Pierce's Bar-B-Q is closing? Editor’s note: A quick call over to Pierce’s puts this rumor to rest. They’re open and plan to stay that way.

I need help locating the Leonard Ballou Family Cemetery. It is reported to be in the James Terrace area. If you can help, call 757-903-6011.

Can anyone point me in the right direction? I’m going through my mother’s antiques. Some of these include regular china, Occupied Japan dishes and Shirley Temple dolls. Does Williamsburg or Richmond have a place where I could sell these?

Just wondering about the status of the consignment store that closed on Richmond Road, Chickadee’s. We’re due a check and have not heard anything. Just wondering if anyone else is due money or goods from the store. Thank you very much.

Does anyone know when the Publix grocery store on Monticello Avenue is scheduled to open? Just curious.

This is a reply to the person who is asking where you can get a good haircut and beard trim: I highly recommend Wayne Sawyer of Colonial Barber & Beauty, 4655 Monticello Ave., 220-8039. He’s been doing my hair for years and he always does a great job.

To the person looking for a good men's haircut and beard trim: Try Tru Cuts, 155 Monticello Ave., 757-220-9836. I get my hair cut there all the time and am very satisfied. You'll have to inquire about beard trims.

The good life

Upon returning to our home in Williamsburg after six years, my wife and I were reminded why we settled in this awesome community. All of our wonderful neighbors wave and say hello, the stores in New Town, shops and restaurants in Merchant Square and Harris Teeter folks are all polite and friendly, strangers greet one another as they walk by and drivers are courteous to bikers, walkers and other drivers. Keep up the good job W'Burg!

CW thank you

We would just like to say thank you to Mr. Mitchell Reiss, CEO for Colonial Williamsburg, and his wife, Elizabeth Reiss, for the wonderful work they have done to improve the CW experience. Especially the way they have sought to honor our military service members and their families with the innovative Liberty Lounge and hosting the Army chaplains spouses and numerous other groups. Not to mention getting CW onto sustainable financial footing. We have known Mitchell and Elizabeth for nearly 20 years and their lives are truly an example of service to others. Keep up the wonderful job and God bless.

Congratulations

I read in The Virginia Gazette that our Williamsburg Regional Library won national recognition for its excellent staff and programs. Congratulations to the staff and the board of the library, and gratitude to the members of Williamsburg City Council and the elected officials in James City County and York County who together support the library so well. Thanks also to the hundreds of citizens who give generously to have our library maintain a margin of excellence. All of us can rejoice in this national award and the high annual ranking of the WRL.

School shootings, guns

Let me see if I understand this. A hunting rifle is good for hunting animals and target shooting. A shotgun is good for hunting animals. A pistol is good for target shooting and/or personal protection. And an AR-15 or similar assault weapon is good for — what? Assaulting?

The high school teacher with a permit to carry scared me twice: once for thinking a gun in school is good and then because this high school educator thinks “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is from the Constitution and not the Declaration of Independence, from whence it came.

Some argue against gun control, declaring automobiles kill people, cellphones kill people at the hands of drivers, so they should be banned. This tired, flimsy argument is neither sound nor a fair comparison. The primary purpose of an automobile is for transportation; of a cellphone, for communication. The primary purpose of a gun, any gun, is to kill whatever its target may be. And the purpose for automatic and semi-automatic weapons is to discharge as many bullets possible in the shortest time to kill as many subjects possible.

Has anyone noticed while driving through beautiful downtown Toano on Richmond Road, that there’s a gun shop and it is just within walking distance of the school? Has anyone noticed?

A few decades ago, teachers were in the classroom to teach. That’s what they were trained to do and wanted to do. If a child was was in trouble for their behavior/discipline, the child was in even more trouble at home. But since then it seems as though many parents have passed the behavior/discipline responsibility to our schools. Which means less time for teaching. And now our president wants to have teachers carry guns to defend against possible school shootings? With that scenario, a person who is supposed to be teaching our children would have to put their lives on the line protecting them from bullets — with bullets. That’s the job of law enforcement, who are trained to do it. Let’s please nip this nutty idea in the bud with both letters to our political leaders and at the ballot box if they do not respond responsibly.

To the commenter telling us about his brother-in-law hiding from a shooter behind his desk: If he had a permitted gun maybe he could have actually defended himself and others. Can someone go berserk? Yes, but I still would want at least a chance to protect myself in any situation, and that choice must be mine.

When a group of armed teachers go after a shooter in a crowded school hallway, the resulting fire fight has what is called “friendly fire,” and the casualties from that are called “collateral damage.“ Sadly, the collateral damage far outweighs the value of the friendly fire.

I was puzzled by the “more guns in schools” NRA supporter’s letter to the editor on Saturday. She said anti-gun folks are mistaken to refer to an AR-15 as an assault rifle. Hmm. I wonder what “AR” stands for, and why everyone who sells them, makes them or provides accessories for them identifies the guns that way?

Gentrification

Malik Smith's call for a "gentrification" of Grove (Letter to the Editor, The Virginia Gazette, March 3) sounds nice on the surface, but hides the dirty secret that "gentrification" means the current residents of a community are normally driven out when this happens, as property values rise. As a community goes upscale, property owners see a chance to raise rents and those already there are forced out. A better solution would be to find a nonprofit group to open a small subsidized store with an emphasis on fresh foods and affordable necessities.

Fill the stores

Several months ago, I heard Panera Bread was coming to Lightfoot Marketplace. Is that still going to happen? And why is it taking businesses so long to come there? We are in dire need of a pizza delivery place. Domino’s would be a nice choice, because we don’t have one of those on this side of town. We also need a sub shop. We used to have a Blimpie’s years ago, and that would be a nice choice. And I was hoping that maybe Quiznos would relocate to that area, but they have been closed for some reason. They used to have the best fruit in town.

Missing a movie

I was disappointed that no Williamsburg theaters are scheduled to offer the movie, “Paul Apostle of Christ,” which comes to theaters starting March 23.

Affordable housing

Why is it that people keep asking for someone to build “affordable housing”? The responsibility for your housing is solely yours. You buy the house you can afford. If it’s not in the area where you work, you have to go to an affordable area. When I lived in New York City and worked in Manhattan, I had to live in the borough of Queens, as the cost of housing in Manhattan was unaffordable for me.

Free to you

Egg cartons. Please text or call 757-509-2878. Thank you.

Donating adjustable hospital bed (bed and mattress) used by my wife for four years. Excellent condition. Contact Peter Zucker, 757-220-2278, or peterzucker@cox.net.

Thank you

I want to thank the teacher and students from Stonehouse Elementary for reporting the location of my stolen purse and stuff to the police. Thanks to you, I got back items of great sentimental value. You are good people. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Many thanks to the young man from Priority Nissan who came to the rescue of my husband and me March 6. Our car battery died in the Harris Teeter parking lot in Lightfoot Commons. He overheard our dilemma and came over with his jumper cables and in a few minutes we were on our way. There are wonderful people in Williamsburg, and Priority can be proud of having people like this on their staff. We’re only sorry we didn’t get his name.

The whole bill

A point of interest to James City County taxpayers: When you pay your tax bill, if you pay it in person and you use a credit card, you’re charged 2.95 percent service fee. So if you’re paying a large amount, such as $300 or something like that, than you will pay $9 more for the privilege of using your card. So, I would say, use a personal check or cash. Thank you.

Problems with litter

This is in response to the litter situation: Do you want to know where it’s coming from? A lot of it is coming from the trash vehicles themselves. I had the misfortune of being caught behind the County Waste vehicle one day, and with each and every container that was dumped, loose articles of trash — paper, plastic bags, cups — came flying out. We all need to do our part to eliminate this, so if we place those loose articles in a weighted-down bag inside our trash receptacles, this will keep this from happening.

I would like to know why James City County is the only county in the surrounding areas to have to pay to carry the trash to the trash field. Thank you.

This is in reference to the litter pickup by the inmates in New Kent. There are a lot of factors involved with this and sometimes it doesn’t get known by the general public. James City does use inmates in certain areas on certain occasions. So you can get involved with helping make sure our roads and roadsides are cleaned up. Check with the Clean County Commission or the environmental coordinator for James City County. Thank you.

Crime and punishment

Congratulations to the father who used good, common sense in selecting the punishment for his son, who was bullying at school. And to all of you who immediately condemned the father for being so hard on his son — boo hoo! He didn’t punish him by hitting him or sending him to his room without his cellphone, TV or computer game. Nope, he selected a punishment that wouldn’t hurt him but one that he would remember for a long time. And as for making him run in the rain, are you kidding me? It’s OK to ride your bike in the rain, play sports in the rain or just take a walk in the rain for the fun of it. I applaud the son for accepting the punishment his father selected for him. Thank you.

Potholes

I wanted this in the Last Word. On Longhill Road right by Lafayette High School — that road goes all the way to Ford’s Colony, all the way to the stoplight at the 7-Eleven — there are potholes all over the place. It looks like everybody’s just getting their tires killed on these potholes. I was just wondering when will this road get fixed? It’s in really bad condition. Thank you.

Tariffs

The decision to impose stricter tariffs on steel isn’t the only answer to the U.S. not being competitive. The ruination of our steel industry was largely due to the greed of steel workers and their unions. Steel workers were getting paid way too much and their benefits were outrageous. Some would like to blame the management of steel companies, but they had no choice but to cave to union demands or workers would strike, thereby shutting down plants.

Recommended

I just wanted to let the person who recommended Janet Neal at Mel’s Beauty & Barber know that I got a perm from her and it was the first perm I’ve ever gotten that didn’t frizz and looked absolutely wonderful. She did exactly what I wanted. The phone number is 757-220-1066. The address is 7408 Richmond Road. Stop by. The staff is very nice and friendly, and it was a wonderful experience.

Postal service

When you purchase something from eBay, you can track the package's progress on their website. No matter where the package comes from, it takes very little time to get to Sandston. Once it arrives at the USPS distribution center there, it will take almost a week to arrive in Williamsburg. About 24 hours from California to Virginia and then seven days to travel the last 35 miles is sad.

I had a situation happen where I watched my mail carrier from my chair pull up and drop off the mail and keep going. Nothing unusual until I went to go grab the mail. Inside was a sticky note saying they had tried to deliver a letter that needed to be signed for. There were different boxes checked, stating they attempted to deliver but no one was home. Aren't mail carriers supposed to actually come and knock on your door?

Up in Washington

After George W. Bush’s leadership brought the world to the brink of the second Great Depression, the Obama administration passed the Dodd-Frank Act to bring Wall Street to heel. Now, under Mitch McConnell’s leadership, with a tremendous amount of bribery from Wall Street lobbyists, Congress has castrated the Dodd-Frank Act, allowing Wall Street to go back to its same old corrupt practices. Let’s hope it doesn’t lead us to another depression.

To our elected Republican politicians: Keep doing what you’ve been doing for us and don’t listen to those Democrats who tell us not to vote you in again. We voted Republicans into office because we were disgusted with nothing getting done with the last Democratic president.

Trump must have never heard of the Smoot-Hawley Act, which led to the Great Depression. The Trump trade war act will lead to at least a recession.

Action needed

Syrian President Assad has used the deadly sarin nerve agent gas at least 200 times in the past seven years to kill his own people as reported by CBS “60 Minutes.” In an attack on April 4, 2017, a village near Damascus was bombed by Russian and Iranian air planes, resulting in more than 100 killed and more than 200 people affected by the poison gas. In 2013, more than 1,400 were killed in another village. The Russians shut down a U.N. investigation to determine who is responsible. When will the world leaders stop this killing of innocent people?

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