Last Word on Colonial Williamsburg, Oct. 21

Colonial Williamsburg

The citizens of Williamsburg will never give up their public streets so that Colonial Williamsburg can erect a fence around the Historic Area. CW must learn to live within its current resources by cutting back its programs to fit the resources they currently have. Attempting to scare us into thinking we need a fence for safety reasons is a cheap trick and an insult to our intelligence. City Council, beware. The citizens of our town will never give in to the Foundation on this ill-conceived issue.

Should the nation’s “cultural assets” be increasingly security conscious? Of course, they should. That said, based on what we have unfortunately witnessed around the world, Mitchell Reiss’ argument in the Gazette (Oct. 14) that a fence around CW will help protect “(his) colleagues and our guests” from a determined terrorist or merely a deranged individual is patently absurd. As a longtime CW donor, I was astounded to find that, shortly after Reiss arrived on the scene, the once visitor-friendly Foundation offices now required getting past a guard at the front desk. Of course, Reiss writes books about terrorism and, as an attorney, is well-versed when it comes to arguing in the alternative. So should we really be surprised when, having failed to convince the city to allow him to fence-off CW for economic reasons, he now turned to fear as a veiled tactic to achieve the same end?

First, the CW president and CEO tried to use lost revenue, visitors strolling downtown Williamsburg, as the excuse to fence off CW. Having failed that, he is now using scare tactics and his great concern for the safety of staff and visitors to accomplish the same. Where was this concern last year?

Really, it's safety now at CW that will get the wall built? Couldn't they do better than that? What College of William and Mary undergrad hasn't climbed over the back wall of the Palace? Their solution sounds like another's who argues for a wall. Before this regime moves on (as they all do), they seem determined to destroy what others have worked so hard to build — Colonial Williamsburg and the charm and allure of the entire town with it. None of this was Mr. Rockefeller's intent. If financial bleeding is so dire, why build that exorbitant pool at the Inn? And hiring additional vice presidents when they are already so strapped? I guess they have to manage all of those contractors, now. But, if safety is a true concern, they could do more by slowing down the coaches on DOG Street; the recent “fast trot” policy is a menace to all. Let's hope good sense prevails with City Council.

Wow! When the leadership of Colonial Williamsburg uses the threat of terrorism as the reason to build a fence around the historic area and charge admission, we have a very sad state of affairs, as well as greed.

All this concern for CW employees didn’t even cross Mr. Reiss’ mind when he laid off so many employees who have children to support — like the Inn needed a modern face lift. If he’s so concerned, he’s going to have to cancel the Halloween antics as well as Grand Illumination. Somehow, I don’t think he’s that concerned over safety, do you?

What will Mitchell Reiss come up with next? A fence for safety? Are they going to check guests at the gate for guns? It’s all about getting his way and spending more money. And what about private tours that bring in thousands of guests day and night who otherwise would not visit at all. Many come back the next day because of a nightly tour they enjoyed. And they shop in town that night, whether or not they return the next day. This is so ridiculous on so many levels. But, then again, what has he done that isn’t?

With all of the recent discussion about fencing in Colonial Williamsburg, I am sure that an objective cost analysis study was conducted to take all of the expenses into consideration. With construction, staffing, pedestrian/vehicle access checkpoints and all other costs, it should be an interesting read if it is ever released to the public.

The streets that run through Colonial Williamsburg are not part of the CW "campus." They are public streets owned and maintained by the taxpayers of Williamsburg and James City County. If CW wants to take ownership or limit access to these publicly owned streets, maybe they should consider buying them from the taxpayers who own and maintain them.

Mr. Reiss should be applauded for creative thinking. Terrorism as an excuse for fencing in the historic section lends itself to absurdity. Keep trying, Mr. Reiss, I am sure that some in Williamsburg government will support you in the never-ending quest to fence in the historic area. A famous statesman said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” As an aside, my daughter, grandchildren and I recently visited the historic section and spent nearly $100 in the bookstore and shops. We contributed while not buying tickets.

If Colonial Williamsburg has to devastate our family's financial future, the least they could do is stop requesting our families’ continued donations and support. A penny saved is a penny earned.

So, months ago, CW wanted help paying taxes because they didn’t want to dip further into savings. Now they want to revisit the fence around CW and they use the terrorist card to help legitimize it. That will further push people away from the area. How is it that you all of the sudden have money to build a fence and hire more employees to staff the numerous entry points? Next we will need armored horse drawn wagons. Maybe you should change out the muskets for M16s. We need a no-fly zone over the city. The city streets belong to the city and the city is not the board, it is the taxpayers. If you don’t like it, put a ticket booth at every door. You have driven away the crowds with your changes over the years. Deal with your situation that you created. I’m not paying to walk down a city street.

Mitchell Reiss must be living on another planet. Does he think that pirates are going to storm the beaches at Jamestown, march down Jamestown Road and attack Colonial Williamsburg? Another absolutely ridiculous proposal by Reiss and a very sneaky way to plant the seeds of fear to push CW being closed off to the general public. Any fair-minded person knows that such an attack would be rare. The City Council should not allow Reiss to bully them.

Really? Now we hear building a wall around Colonial Williamsburg is truly for safety reasons— to “protect my colleagues and our guests in the Historic Area.” Putting lipstick on a pig makes it no less a pig. To take Mr. Reiss’ justification to its rational conclusion would be to build walls around all public areas. The wall was, and still is, a bad idea.

If security at Colonial Williamsburg is such a major concern that they are now approaching the possible fencing in of the Historic Area “for the protection of our residents, employees and visitors,” why would Colonial Williamsburg be disarming its own security department? It seems like an armed security department would also be part of the security package. Or perhaps the fence for security reasons is just another way to get people to look at the possible fencing of the Historic Area, hoping to give that new life.

Warning: Colonial Williamsburg’s recent baloney about putting a fence around the Historic Area because of a need for security is fake. City Council, don’t let Colonial Williamsburg truncate our rights to the Historic Area.

I almost cannot believe what I’m reading, that Mr. Reiss wanted to have a confidential conversation with the City Council but had his meetings hijacked and had to have them at a later time. Well, I don’t believe that you should have any confidential conversations with the City Council that bar public access to an area that is deeded in perpetuity, for free access to the public. If you want to wall off a section of the city and stop our access here and say that it’s for safety, then let’s be clear about the facts. It’s not about safety. Charlottesville was not a terrorist event. So, please, get your facts straight, make your meetings public. Don’t be waiting for things to die down because we’re not going to go away quietly. This is just an end run around to get his way, to get a fence. He says he can’t let go of his fence. Well, we can’t let go of our freedom of access, either.

So let's get this straight: CW asks for tax forgiveness and then taxes on every meal sold in Williamsburg are set at 13 percent to pay for it? Now we learn (VA Gazette on Oct. 14) that non-Union CW employees will receive a one-time $1,000 bonus in November, and two new senior VPs will be hired? Then, in thanks for the bail-out, a fence to deprive locals of their heritage is proposed. Brilliant. I wonder when CW will next ask for another handout to give away, with the expectation of our local middle class bearing the burden. Send a message to CW and other planners: Stop eating in Williamsburg, boycotting the 13 percent (before your tip). It's cheaper to drive elsewhere, regardless of the cost of fuel.

CW attendance will be worse if there is a fence around it and charges for parking. I, for one, and many others, will no longer be going there. If they think attendance is down now, just wait.

Let me see — if CW builds a fence and charges all to enter, that should decrease the number of cars parking in the lots around Merchants Square while people run up and down DOG Street for an hour or two for free. If the city charges for all that parking, that will make some people stay away, so I figure there will then be plenty of parking available, along with less spending in the shops and restaurants. Hmmmm.

Great Occasion

The whole family took a spin through the Occasion for the Arts this year. It’s always amazing to see how many people come from all over the United States and to overhear so many pleasant and exciting conversations between artists and art lovers. However, we were absolutely blown away by the Youth Art Show. We spent more time in that tent than anywhere else on Saturday. Many thanks to Davenport and the Contemporary Art Center and the Junior Women’s Club for sponsoring it.

Cable TV

Why isn't FIOS available in Williamsburg 23185 area?

Little lost dog

On Oct. 14, at about 11:15 a.m. at the intersection of Monticello and the Court House/New Town Methodist, a little dog was in the middle of Monticello. Lots of traffic. Apparently, the mailman who was in his truck on the street leading to the Court House had snacks and was able to get the dog out of the busy traffic. Thanks to the mailman! Hopefully, the dog's owners were found. If you know the ending of this, please respond to Last Word.

Road worries

I'm one of the drivers who leaves space behind the car in front of me. If somebody hits me from behind, I won't hit the car in front of me. If the car in front of me has any mechanical problems, I will have room to go around it. Makes sense, don't you think?

I reside in the Holly Hills Carriage Homes neighborhood and when westbound on Route 199, between Henry Street and Brookwood Drive, the speed limit changes from 55 to 45. However, most traffic exceeds the original 55 mph and doesn’t slow to 45 mph before Brookwood Drive. Cars and trucks come around that bend at very high speeds and often go through the red light at Brookwood. I have lived here for four years and have yet to see a police car monitoring this stretch. Please reduce your speed around residential neighborhoods before someone is seriously injured.

Any JCC police looking to make their quota of traffic violations should watch the "no right turn" at Windsormeade Way and Monticello Ave. So many turn right without waiting for a green light that the officer would stay busy. Of course, the reason is because there is no reason to prohibit right turns on a red signal. The view to the left down Monticello is perfectly open and clear, and drivers are just using common sense, even if the prohibition lacks common sense.

I’m not clairvoyant. Please use your turn signals to indicate that you intend to change lanes, not your middle finger.

As a frequent shopper at the Williamsburg Crossing Shopping Center, I cannot believe the roads infrastructure there. There is new building going on, new developments going on, but the people in James City County paid no attention to the roads, in and out, of that shopping center. No work is being done. They have the DMV moving in. It’s just incredible that you have an antiquated road going in and out, and I’m appalled that my county has not instructed the developer to fix those intersections, then build.

You know, I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to park in a parking space straight and between the lines. I just left a little shopping center and there must have been 10 cars parked so crooked they couldn’t even stay in their lane — they were all in the other lane. Why is it so hard to park? They even give you lines and people still can’t do it. Amazing!

Fitness class

Jackie Sorensen’s fitness classes are back. I did this religiously 40 years ago when she was a pioneer in women’s aerobic dancing. It is a great work out and I am so happy that someone is now teaching in Williamsburg. Call Chris Matter at 345-6615 and she will tell you everything you need to know. You won’t be sorry and I will be happy to have some exercise mates.

A neighborhood

To the reader who complained about Hubbard Lane's trees (Dominion contracts limb removal to protect the power lines during storm season, it's ugly but necessary), curbing (edging is the homeowner's responsibility and many of the residents are elderly), and a popular cut-thru that the owner of that property allows neighborhood residents to use, and a very few jerks that sometimes litter: Find another route or, better yet, volunteer your time to clean it up, you seem to have too much of it. It is a wonderful neighborhood and we don't want to lose our shortcut to James-York Plaza. If you were also the person complaining about the installation of the speed bumps, don't speed.

Looking for …

Can anyone recommend someone to do whole house pressure washing?

As asked in Last Word, Village Bank is located where Middleburg Bank used to be on Discovery Park Boulevard in New Town.

If anyone is looking for the former floral designer at Michael’s arts and crafts, Karen, I finally found her. She's now at the Williamsburg Pottery. If you haven't seen her work — she's amazing.

I just had a bad experience with a dentist with needles. Is there any dentist that someone can recommend who has painless needles? Thanks.

Can anyone tell me where I can find Pizzelle Italian cookies? I used to buy them at Martin’s, but since they’re gone I haven’t seen any. I’d really appreciate your help. These are my family’s favorite cookies and they’re so low in calories. Thank you.

Free to you

Cana plants with yellow and red flowers, also old wax candles. 757-503-2214.

A 55-inch projection TV for free. Contact 757-221-8195.

A free, 35-inch television that works, and it can be delivered free to anyone in the Williamsburg area. Please call 757-817-0027. Thank you.

Building standards

I think it’s interesting the city is willing to have this new five-story building put in place in Williamsburg on that particular corner when just across the street, so to speak, there was a gentleman who was told that he had to take his vinyl windows out because they were not in keeping with the time period of the area. Now, what sense does that make? The city really needs to not just think about money. As someone said, “One and one does not equal three.” And what we’re doing is just ridiculous.

Puerto Rico

Since the president only believes things he can see, General Kelly needs to take him on a field trip. The first stop should be the Wall, where the President will be shown the names of soldiers of Puerto Rican ancestry. Then to Arlington Cemetery, where he can see the graves of Puerto Rican-American soldiers. And, finally General Kelly should take him to a Veteran's Cemetery in Puerto Rico to lay a wreath in the honor of Puerto Ricans who have served in the U.S. military and died defending the United States. While there, the president can also apologize to the people of Puerto Rico for his lack of sensitivity to their needs.

Does the person that’s so embarrassed by the president in throwing paper towels in the crowd, are you aware that the assistant director of FEMA said that there was water, there were generators, there was food in place before the hurricane? But because of the infrastructure and it being an island, things could not be delivered. The roads and such were horrible because there has been such corruption and monies not being used the way they should have been. Otherwise, the people would have been helped. And, out of the 48 sections of Puerto Rico, only one was complaining.

Health care

It's time to hold Republicans in Congress responsible for our health care. They are the majority party with a Republican president who has now sabotaged the ACA health care system. Poor folks with families, children or veterans will now see their health insurance go up tremendously because Trump has taken away the subsidy that goes to help those that can't afford high health care costs. Remember this Nov. 7 at the ballot box.

Powerful protests

To the person who wrote “protesting does nothing to help the thing being protested.” Really? Just how do you think women got the vote? How African-Americans got to attend desegregated schools, eat in public restaurants, stay in public hotels and buy homes in previously all-white neighborhoods? Most Americans would not call those protest results negative.

International students

Thanks for the article telling of the 1,000 William and Mary students, and their dependents, from other countries. Does the city have any program to welcome the students to the founding city of America? Do our presidents Washington, Jefferson, Madison, for example, have a time to meet and talk to the students to share the reality that America has got going here? Or welcoming them to America, not just college? Since these students will be future voices in the world, why not make sure they have a good impression, knowledge and feeling about America?

Election countdown

As we enter the final weeks of this election, I am amazed at the amount of money being spent on the constant barrage of TV ads. I can't help but think how this could be better spent helping people in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. Meanwhile, I have my finger on the mute button for every time an ad starts.

Scary movie

To the individual concerned by possible U.S. government actions after viewing the film "American Made," the key words are "made in Hollywood." No Hollywood film producer, director or script writer has ever taken a pledge or vow to produce historically and factually accurate films. That would make films far too boring. The agencies you question are doing their very best to keep you and Hollywood free to make and enjoy the entertainment.

To the person who wrote about seeing the movie “American Made,” do you usually receive your news from and then form your opinions based on what you see at the movies?

Guns

To the person who thinks that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to own any and all types of weapons: Do you really think that a relatively small percentage of armed private citizens could actually defeat the combined military force of a tyrannical U.S. government? It is delusional to think so. This isn’t the movies.

Tax cuts

In response to the person who asked what Democrats have against a corporate tax cut: In the past 60 years, only one GOP president balanced a budget and only for one year, 1969. If we have to borrow trillions to pay for the tax cuts, interest rates will rise, costing everyone more than the tax cut. Great for the money lenders though.

Shopping center

A commenter asked why Whole Foods would locate a store in the new Williamsburg Shopping Center when the former Martin’s store is sitting vacant. One reason is that all the infrastructure of that store will be 20 years old next year. It would have to be gutted, with all new freezers, coolers, AC and heat, duct work, floors, lighting, display shelves and cooler cases, etc. Also, that location is not good for college students, who I think would frequent Whole Foods, like the UVA students do in Charlottesville.

California fires

Now that California is burning up and will be asking President Trump for millions in federal aid, he should negotiate with having them stop their opposition to his travel ban, health care executive order and other frivolous lawsuits. California and New York, just like all sanctuary cites, can’t survive long without federal funds, as they’re run by Democrats who are incapable of managing.

Thank you

I'm a frequent shopper at Fresh Market and I appreciate the way the store is marked for gluten-free customers. They may not all be in the same aisle, but they are very well marked with large signs and are easy to find. More grocery stores need to follow their lead. Thank you, Fresh Market, from a satisfied customer.

I would like to thank Citizens & Farmers Bank in Norge for their wonderful Bread Event Day on Oct. 13. Citizens & Farmers is a wonderful local bank that does so much for the community. Their employees are incredible, and we so appreciate everything they do. Thank you very much.

Free speech

Black Lives Matter is rapidly undoing the civil rights gains that have been made in the past half century. They are burning down the bridges that so many of us have labored for so long to build. They are doing more to destroy race relations that all the supremacist groups and the KKK combined.

Yes, the BLM group at William and Mary suppressing free speech is not what our country was built on. Evidently, they have not read any of the history or understand the Constitution or Supreme Court rulings. However, if I had a grandchild who was ready to go to college and did not have the funds, I certainly would not offer to give my hard-earned, free-speech funds to William and Mary to educate my grandchild to not respect the Constitution. Thank you.

In reference to those William and Mary students who stopped the speaker from speaking, they should be expelled from the college. End of discussion.

In response to racist, xenophobic posters found on William and Mary campus: Suggesting that people should report illegals is not racist. Also, on the issue of women and equal pay, it can be argued — an educated argument can be made on both sides — and both sides exaggerate the argument. The problem may exist to some extent, but not nearly to the extent that liberals make it. Just because you do not agree with an opinion does not mean it’s racist or xenophobic, where “racist” is the cheapest word used in the English language today to make a comment or to stop an argument.

Recommended

I recently had Envirowash to clean the exterior of the house including the driveway. They were hard working, meticulous and professional. I would highly recommend them and would use them again. You can reach them at 757-599-3164. Five stars for sure.

My wife and I live in County Club Acres. We recently had our house power washed to remove a year’s worth of algae, Mark Seward of Cocke’s Crossing Landscaping (757-647-8029) came out, gave a very reasonable estimate and took the time to explain what needed to be done. He completed the work so far beyond my expectations, I felt like the house had just been painted. I strongly recommend Mark to anyone needing to have any home maintenance done right.

After trying to sell my home for six months with no luck, I switched to another real estate service. I was fortunate to have Mr. Jay Colley with Howard Hanna Real Estate, located in New Town. Jay was a pleasure to work with, very knowledgeable and all business. We had two contracts on the same day within two weeks of working with Jay. He kept us informed and up to date as the selling process moved forward. My dentist recommended him.

Saved again by Computer Clinic of Williamsburg. Ryan Oliver was once again terrific, and my computer is now happy. Thank you, Computer Clinic.

Under the bus

It seems to me that Hollywood is pushing Harvey Weinstein under the bus. OK, but didn’t we have a big, big person in the history of the United States that talked worse to people than he did? Somehow they just brushed that under the rug. So I just don’t understand. Thank you.

Earn first

A better solution for more employment is not tax cuts, but tax credits. Tax credits are earned by companies who hire and keep employees, and then and only then, at the end of the year, they get the tax credits. If they want to keep getting tax credits, they have to keep employees and hire more employees as the company grows. Do to companies as they do to employees: Earn first, then get paid.

Up in Washington

How appalling to hear Donald Trump rally his base today about honoring our American heroes and the flag. Such hypocrisy, after his ugly treatment of John McCain for being a captured “loser” in Vietnam and the Khan family, whose beloved son died serving our country in Iraq, for being Muslim. Enough diversion about the NFL and the flag. Let’s stay focused on an unfocused president’s dangerous rants regarding North Korea.

It is imperative that Congress pass a safeguard that requires a sign-off by House and Senate majority and minority leaders before a nuclear first-strike can be launched.

North Korea sells 6 million tons of coal to China each year. If Trump wanted to help our coal miners, he could offer to replace the Korean tonnage at a discount and bankrupt them simultaneously.

Horrific pictures and stories from the California wildfires are a grim reminder of what the state of the world would be should we engage in nuclear war. For our president to engage in schoolyard name-calling rather than sound diplomacy with North Korea is not a show of strength, but of irresponsibility.

President Trump, in only a short time in office, has already improved our economy, with lowering the unemployment rate, increasing our growth rate and inspiring the stock market to an all-time high. He has also attacked gang violence and has tried to make us safe again. So, what did Obama do in eight years in office? He ruined our healthcare system, negatively affected race relations, made us the wimp country in the eyes of the world, destroyed our military, increased our national debt to an all-time high, without any benefit.

The children's health insurance program, CHIPS, will run out of money in 48 days and all Trump can do is tweet about his last golf score.

It gets tiring when we read about uninformed people telling us how bad the Trump tax plan will be. Only those who have college degrees in business/finance should comment on the Trump tax plan. Those who have liberal arts degrees should only write in when the subject involves the arts. Some are saying that the Trump tax plan might increase the deficit. Obama significantly increased the deficit and we got nothing for it. I’ll take tax reform anytime.

Does it strike anyone else as ironic that the Trump administration, with Congress in tow, has destroyed EPA and the Paris Climate Accord, but is now forking over billions in damage control after environmental catastrophes for which climate change shares at least some of the blame?

This just in: New executive order signed by POTUS. All true Americans will say “Merry Christmas” from now on. Saying, writing, thinking or tweeting “Happy Holidays” is disrespectful to our nation, the flag and the national anthem. Oh, wait. This is fake news … or is it?

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