Last Word on outstanding work, Oct. 7

Way to go!

Congratulations to Stonehouse Elementary School for being among seven Virginia schools recognized as a “2017 National Blue Ribbon School” by the U.S. Secretary of Education. What an honor to them and all involved with the school and surrounding community. Their hard work and dedication has certainly made them worthy of this recognition. So proud of them and keep up the good work!

Cub Scout Troop 103 knocked my socks off, selling fundraiser popcorn and other items. Ian appeared at my door in his uniform. He introduced himself, told me what he had to sell and explained what the proceeds were for. He and his tiny sister, who was at his side, flashing a big smile and holding a box of popcorn. Mom was in the background to handle the cash. How could I not support the troop with a purchase and a donation? And, it gets better. Several days later, in my newspaper slot, I found a thank you card with Ian’s photo and a hand-written note. Way to go, Troop 103 — and Mom, too.

Las Vegas

Thank goodness the shooter in Las Vegas was not black, Hispanic, Muslim or Asian. Just a regular old white guy. Does this mean that we are now going to ban regular old white guys from entering the country in vast numbers? If we would show to each other on a regular basis even a portion of the compassion demonstrated by bystanders Sunday night, the world would be a much better place.

It was only a matter of time before Trump's vitriolic speech would result in someone flipping. The evil genie is out of the bottle and Trump may not be able to control it.

It does not matter the motive. There is no "good" reason for the kind of killing that took place at the concert in Las Vegas. It’s not like when we find out any reason we would suddenly say, "Oh, I understand now." The only reason is because he could. And the reason he could is because he legally had the arsenal to do it. The majority of the people in this country want stricter gun laws; like universal background checks, limited magazines and banning assault rifles (the kind that should only be found on the battlefield). This does not stop the citizens of this country from owning handguns and hunting rifles. Nor would it stop the shootings we hear about daily in all corners of the country. But it would stop the mass shootings that kill the many who are enjoying life in the free world. This is a political issue. It should not be.

Redistricting

Why did W-JCC schools hire a company from California to develop new school districts? Maybe if they hired local consultants who understand our demographics, we wouldn't have to go through this exercise so often. Busing students long distances to balance the free and reduced-price lunch population is not a good idea. The county should be looking at how it can help families get off that program. School officials wonder why grades are dropping: Too much time on the bus and not enough time for homework and family. Maybe if W-JCC had used a local consultant years ago, James Blair would have remained a middle school (in need of renovation) and one of the many vacant Williamsburg office buildings would be Central Offices.

Helping Puerto Rico

Many years ago, I was stationed in Vietnam. When we were short on food and water, these items were delivered by air. Why can't this same method be used to help those in dire straits in Puerto Rico?

When we talk about Puerto Rico, people must remember the facts. It has territorial status and is not an official state. Also in June 2017, the people of Puerto Rico were asked to vote in a referendum on if they wanted to join the U.S.A. as a state and an amazing 23 percent of the population cared enough to get out and vote. Puerto Rico is equivalent to a third-world country. The infrastructure and economy are similar to poor countries in Central and South America. You can't expect the recovery to be anywhere close to what it would look like in the U.S.A. Get the facts. Don't listen to fake television news.

There is absolutely no reason for the president of the United States to treat the mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, the same way he treats Kim Jong-un, because, if for no other reason, she’s an American citizen.

Phone help

I just got word from a cyber security expert, and he was saying that a lot of seniors are giving out way too much information. They’re posting too much on Facebook, saying when they’re out of town, what they’re doing, etc. Limit who gets your Social Security number. There has been an increase in phone calls coming into homes of senior citizens, saying they did this, that or the other thing wrong and they need information. Hang up. Or, if you have caller ID, don’t pick it up. The phone company suggests that if you receive a call that’s from a city/state — in other words, it says, “Richmond, Virginia.” Don’t touch those phone calls — that’s phishing.

Guns

Back in the mid 50s and early 60s, I grew up in a rough, high-crime city. There was lots of crime all around us. One thing that was missing was gun crimes. Random shootings were almost unheard of. I am concerned about the propaganda that the NRA and politicians who take checks from them are spreading, that preach the myth that guns are an important part of the American fabric. That is completely false. Guns were more common in rural areas, usually low-caliber, low-performance rifles used by farmers to remove “varmints.” Hunters had shotguns and rifles for deer hunting. The NRA was once a really good, useful organization whose primary function was teaching gun safety to young people. Their magazine was interesting and widely read. Today it is owned by gun dealers and manufacturers who just want to sell as many guns as they can.

If the United States meant for a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment, it would be smooth bore muzzleloading reference only. Massacres like Las Vegas would never occur because a well-trained marksman can only get off five or six rounds a minute with a smooth bore muzzleloader, not several hundred.

Looking for …

Lost: Crystal earring at the Williamsburg Symphony, Sept. 26. Reward. 258-0818. This was an heirloom, part of a series that belonged to my grandmother so it’s very precious. Thank you very much.

We really miss Bees & Blossoms spiced creamed honey. The owners have apparently retired or closed the business. Are there other local sources for spiced creamed honey?

I would like to hear from individuals who are on or have used the drug Prolia. What are the side effects and would you recommend it to other individuals to help osteoporosis? Are there other drugs for osteoporosis that you have had success with?

To the person looking for someone to convert their slides to DVDs, Tom Bigford of Digitize My Images has helped scores of Williamsburg-area families convert their slides, photos and 8mm film to heirloom quality video DVDs. His email is tbigford@cox.net and his telephone number is 757-645-7004. And he makes free house calls.

For the person who was looking for somebody to convert slides to CD: Please give me a call. I can do that. My number is 757-645-7580.

To the person looking to convert slides to CDs: More than 10 years ago, I purchased a Brookstone Iconvert Slide & Negative Scanner. It does both slides and 35mm negatives. It allows you to view the slide or negative and then save it to an SD card or to a computer as a .jpg file. This year, I did about 40 slides and more than 600 35mm negatives and did put some on CDs. I looked at Brookstone and it was not available any longer, but Amazon has some converters. If you want to contact me, I can be reached at b1kerfred@verizon.net.

To the person who would like to donate Beanie Babies: I am a kindergarten teacher at DJ Montague and love to use “stuffies” as reading buddies for my students. Reading with a stuffed animal provides a comfortable way for beginning readers to practice reading out loud. Please call the school at 258-3022 if they are still available. Thank you!

Does anyone know a good person looking for work as a cook and light housekeeping five days a week? 757-229-7280.

I donate all my stuffed animals to Sidecar Santa. He passes out thousands of small toys to children all around Williamsburg. He can be reached at sidecarsanta@hotmail.com.

Equifax info

Has anyone managed to contact a live human being at Equifax? My queries online seem to be robo-answered and the phone dumps me into a robo-hell of computer-generated blather. I think I enrolled in “trusted ID premier” but cannot get confirmation of this. I am weary of going to Emerald City every time I ask real questions. Thanks for your help.

Road worries

The area around Colonial Heritage, along Route 60 East/West, is becoming more and more dangerous. Some residents of this community think it is appropriate to turn into oncoming traffic at a speed lower than the oncoming traffic, or they make a wide right loop to turn left. I have the misfortune of driving this way several times daily, and the situation is becoming worse. We need the police to observe the area and take corrective action on these drivers. I know this isn’t everyone, but this is a near daily occurrence. Come on, folks, get with the system and be courteous and obey the laws of the road before someone is seriously injured or killed.

Free to you

Free wood scraps left over from various projects. Call 968-0120 after 5 p.m.

Medicare help

Would those with Medicare supplement insurance policies that include a health club membership please share in the Last Word which company it is with and possibly your satisfaction with them? I will become a subscriber of the same soon and am looking for recommendations. Thanking you in advance.

Better movies

TV announces that an outstanding new movie is opening. The delightful Judi Dench is Queen Victoria in “Victoria and Abdul.” We have 18 screens in 23185, 18 in two theaters, absurdly showing the same movies most of the time. Would it hurt for one of the 18 screens to show an interesting, informative, even entertaining movie even if there are no aliens, no other planets? Possibly no profane language? What will it take for any of the 18 screens to show, each week, a film that adults can enjoy?

Thank you

Thank you from two ladies to a young man and his son for paying our breakfast bill last Sunday at Victoria's. We were very appreciative and surprised. We will repay your kindness to someone.

Think of others

Once again, I see that selfish people are abandoning self-propelled shopping carts in grocery parking lots, thereby denying their use to other people.

Singing the Anthem

There is a lot going on about the kneeling during the performance of the National Anthem. Why isn't there an outcry about the singing of the National Anthem? I don't believe any other country in the world allows the almost unrecognizable singing of their anthem. Every so often, someone sings it the way it's written. How refreshing. To me; it sounds as though the singer feels more important than the country.

Questionable funding

Seriously, the Virginia Tourism Growth Fund just gave $100,000 to a brewery? We don’t have enough alcohol flowing in James City County and Williamsburg? The tourism folks really want our area to attract drinkers who are then drivers? Who is making such ridiculous decisions? Just unbelievable.

Tax plans

In a first read, it is obvious that the Republican tax plan can be reduced to a simple observation that Americans living on both coasts will bear the brunt of the changes. Eliminating the deduction for local and state taxes will cause their tax bills to skyrocket.

About $200,000 — that is the average annual tax cut for the top 1 percent of the United States taxpayers if Donald Trump’s tax plan becomes law. He is always looking out for those that count. The annual tax increase for middle-class families if Trump’s proposed tax plan becomes law, you will find you have a tax increase, if you are 1 in 4, of about $1,000. Well, that certainly doesn’t seem to be quite equitable. Why should those who have the most get the biggest break and those of us in the middle and lower class get kicked out the door?

A poor job

What a terrible job was done on the Hubbard Lane curbside, which was in bad shape as pointed out by another Last Word writer. Some tree branches were cut, but there wasn't any edging on the ground and, worst of all, the stop sign on Merrimac’s back road is covered with weeds all the way to the top. That road is the biggest garbage magnet. When will a "No Littering" sign be posted? Ironically, there is a "No Trespassing" sign there. Whoever owns that piece of land: Sell it or keep it neat.

Up in Washington

Given the number of comments in Saturday’s Last Word about the president and the NFL, it’s obvious that a lot of people were suckered into his use of the SOS or “Shining Object Syndrome” to distract the American people from the serious problems that he’s unable to cope with, such as North Korea’s nuclear weapons, Iran and his saying it’s a failure for the nuclear deal there, the war against ISIS, Hurricane Maria in the Caribbean and other really, truly serious problems that are above his capability of coping with. Stop dealing with trivia and complain about the serious stuff.

Please call Rep. Rob Wittman in support of the budget resolution that increases the deficit $1.5 trillion and cuts Medicare funding by $450 billion. The phone number is 202-224-3121.

Can you believe that Trump does not think that anything can be accomplished by Tillerson talking to North Korea?

There are a lot of North Korean firms doing business in China. China just announced last Thursday that all North Korean businesses doing business in China must close by 2018. Wow! That one I was wondering what they were going to do on that. So now, we’ve added that to the list. Trump is one good negotiator.

Good riddance, Price. Ousted Health and Human Service chief Tom Price is described as a fiscal conservative — hey, how great to be personally fiscal, i.e. frugal with your own money, when you can charge expensive and unnecessary flights to all the rest of Americans. I can be fiscal conservative that way, too.

President Trump’s approach to North Korea and Iran is in sharp contrast to the appeasement policies and failures of the Obama administration to confront and stop the nuclear weapon programs of North Korea and Iran. President Trump was forced to confront a situation that was ignored for eight years. Obama's failures permitted both Iran and North Korea not only to develop nuclear weapons on his watch but also to develop the delivery systems that can reach the United States, our territories and our allies. Both countries have issued continuous threats with their weapons. Appeasement has never worked nor prevented war; ask Europe when Chamberlain’s appeasement policies resulted in WW II.

I am so surprised and disgusted that The Virginia Gazette would print the cartoon it did in Saturday’s newspaper. Donald Trump is our president and he should be treated with respect. The president is working every day to return our county to one that is respected throughout the world. Rocket Man is the man who started it all with his “tests,” sending deadly rockets closer and closer to our shores. What would you say if President Trump just sat back and said: “Oh well, he’s just a stupid kid. He won’t do anything to hurt the U.S.A.” Yeah! Sure, you can believe that if you want.

Copyright © 2017, The Virginia Gazette