Last Word on school conferences, Nov. 18

School conferences

I left the first day of parent teacher conferences at my elementary school feeling very disheartened. I prepared your child's report card to share with you. I collected writing samples and reading assignments your child has completed. I wanted to show you how much your child has grown since the beginning of the year. I wanted to tell you how proud I was of how hard he is working and how much his classmates like him. I wanted you to know how your child makes us smile each day and what he really enjoys learning about. I hired a babysitter to watch my children so I could be there late and you wouldn't have to leave work early. I missed a choir rehearsal. I arranged transportation for two of my children to their after-school events so I could tell you about your child in just 20 short minutes. I'm sorry you couldn't make it or call to let me know. I had eight conferences scheduled so I was prepared to be busy and talk all afternoon. I was not prepared for only three of them to show up.

Great performance

It is amazing to see and hear how Williamsburg Chorale Guild Artistic Director Jay BeVille can create such appealing and special themes, songs and music. His Chorale members, guest soloists and instrumentalists must enjoy the unique programs. We audience members certainly do. Thank you all for a lovely and so special fall concert at Warhill High. The Chorale is one of the very special gifts in Williamsburg.

Keep moving

To all my Wawa friends; we all love Wawa’s great food, cheap gas. When you get gas and are done, move your car. The lines are long and we shouldn’t have to wait for you to shop and get your sandwich as your car sits at the gas pump. Please, move your car to the parking lot after you get your gas. Thanks for the courtesy.

Senior housing

The James City County Planning Commission recently voted to approve rezoning a piece of land that Williamsburg Landing wants to use to build apartments just 300 yards from the airport. In 2013, a skilled Air Force pilot crashed his plane 50 feet from a home in Boatwright Circle. Common sense would tell anyone that you don't build housing very near an airport. The commission officials said it would provide needed housing for the older residents in our area. The only people who can afford to live at Williamsburg Landing are the wealthy. If you care about this issue, please go to the Dec. 12 Board of Supervisor's meeting at 5 p.m. in Building F of the Government Center near Kingsmill.

Equifax breach

Equifax needs to be forced to close its doors, sell its computers and building and let the workers move on. The breach is just too far and wide. They also need to be sued. I don’t care about their legal side. We only need one good credit bureau that monitors who is asking for a report. I called them recently and a few strange things I never asked about were on my report. We all need to write to the government agencies that control them — I also think this could be another foreign threat issue.

Downtown parking

I understand the city and CW are planning to take away the parking lot behind the Precious Gem to make way for a green space for events. Since when do events take precedence over parking in an area that struggles to have available free spots for shoppers? It's a slap in the face to all of the shops in Merchants Square who do a great job keeping Williamsburg's economy going. Duke of Gloucester Street and the grassy area in front of the DeWitt Wallace Museum are already perfect spots for events. Please don't take away any of our free parking.

Guns

I own a couple of guns and I hate the NRA. Their lies for eight years that Obama was going to take everyone's guns had one result: The price of ammunition and many firearms doubled, making their real clients — firearms dealers — richer. Most organizations’ leadership look after their members, not stick it to them.

Colonial Williamsburg

Is it true that CW is looking at the possibility of adding two senior vice presidents to help the CEO with the financial problem of being so in debt? Please explain further how this would work.

So, Mitchell Reiss apparently told a group that he needs the fence around CW because it is in the top 10 for terrorism targets. Well, if that is so, by announcing that he has just potentially reduced tourism by a lot. Why would people want to visit a place in the top 10? It makes me think about not attending any large events, such as Grand Illumination, where large crowds are gathered.

Reading the recent letter to the editor from a Georgia resident who is sad to think of returning to Williamsburg and having to pay to enjoy his hometown, well, since he is not paying local taxes, and probably is, like all visitors, expecting to see the paint fresh, the gardens perfect, costumed interpreters holding forth along DOG, the reality is keeping all the old buildings fresh and whole is a very expensive, ongoing expense. Keeping gardens weeded, pruned and blooming takes an enormous amount of manpower and cash. Hiring, training and costuming actors to effectively engage with the public is also costly. None of us expect a real town to have every home and yard in perfect condition or buildings open with professional programs happening. What is the answer? Does the city work with Colonial Williamsburg to work out a plan to cover the costs of providing "Super Colonial Williamsburg"? Or will they just let visitors complain that they can't freely walk along the beautiful free and costly streets, buildings and employees? Keep it all open and free and watch Colonial Williamsburg and our economic engine die. We can't have it both ways — we’ve done that for too long and we have to wake up and acknowledge reality. Quality costs. Free can’t be free for long.

They could solve the problem with Colonial Williamsburg very simply by replacing the president with someone who has common sense and logic. Putting a wall around Colonial Williamsburg would be like inviting Charles Manson to Thanksgiving dinner. Makes no sense.

Looking for …

The people in the Last Word who were looking for a way to get to the Richmond airport can call Williamsburg Chauffeur at 927-5049. Thank you.

If you have a Matthew Whaley High School Yearbook for class year 1952, or know someone who has one and is willing to part with it, please call or text me at 404-405-3746. It will be most appreciated.

You can find UNICEF cards at Pier One Imports, 4625 Casey Blvd.

I just found Dr. Patricia Mayes; she has moved back to Williamsburg from West Point and is in New Town at TPMG Neurology, phone number 757-872-9797. Welcome back! I know other patients will be pleased to hear the news.

I’m planning to leave the area. Can anyone recommend a mover, one that was really good? Thank you.

To the lady who left her purse on the shelf at a store Nov. 15: I turned it in to the store manager. I know how devastating it is to be missing a purse and hope they were able to contact you. If they haven't found you, the store manager has your purse.

Can anyone recommend a contractor or handyman to replace screening for an average size outdoor porch? Please reply in the Last Word or by email to tncc6001@gmail.com. Thank you.

Small kindness

To the nice lady who paid for the police officer's lunch: A police officer can definitely accept such gifts. Many officers get hefty discounts at restaurants on a routine basis. I was always pleased to receive a discount while on duty. It is always appreciated.

Small films

It is heartening to read that someone wants to have "small films" — independent, foreign and such — again be available for locals to enjoy. Actually, how is it that in this community of well-traveled, experienced folk there isn't a loud clamor for the variety of films that art theaters show in any other cities? How is it that entrepreneurs haven't put together films and the theaters here? We've got such talented and capable people. Please figure out a workable solution before people give up on downtown.

In response to the Last Word writer who misses the "little" films: Check out the Williamsburg Library Theater at 7 p.m. Nov. 18 and 2 p.m. Nov. 19. For those of us who miss quality foreign films in Williamsburg, the Jewish Film Festival will be showing two outstanding films from France and Germany.

The commenter describes a flier from Naro Cinema with all kinds of foreign films and those from small independent companies. Why couldn’t we have an organization of people who join a foreign film club and films be shown at the Kimball Theatre? This community with W&M, CW and numerous other organizations, could surely come up with a way of showing such films at the Kimball.

Be careful out there

Beware: several cars have had their windows broken and purses, laptops, phones, etc., stolen at local gyms in Williamsburg and Newport News. Don’t leave your stuff in the car. Take it with you and put in a locker or lock in your trunk.

Free to you

Looking to donate a baby crib and mattress. Excellent condition. Call 570-0306.

Proper diagnosis

Anthem wants to cut down on "unnecessary" ER visits. They are asking patients to diagnose themselves. Isn't that why doctors spend so many years in school? Some people abuse the ER system and things illnesses such as strep, sinus, ear infections can be handled in an urgent care clinic, but who decides that, especially if it is your child? Several months ago, on a weekend, I went to urgent care thinking I might have an infection, would get an antibiotic and go home. As soon as the doctor started his exam, he stepped out and called 911. What I thought was a slight infection, he thought was possibly a life-threatening event. So, Anthem, you not only paid for the lower price clinic, you paid for the ambulance and 48 hours in the hospital. Bottom line, Anthem, if you want to work with physicians on ER guidelines, fine. But, don't tell us we have to diagnose ourselves possibly endangering our lives. As with me, what you see as something minor could be deadly serious.

Bad taste

At the Tribe vs. New Hampshire football game a few weekends back, a song containing profane and sexual language was played over the loudspeakers for all, including children, to hear. It went on for a few seconds and was turned off when the crowd starting booing. What gives?

High blood pressure

Now that blood pressure guidelines have been made even lower, many more people face taking meds. Don’t start meds based on one reading at the doctor’s office. Take your own at home or at the drugstore several times at different parts of the day. Then take those results to the doctor. Often, BP readings at the doctor’s office are elevated. This could lead to too high a dosage of meds. My BP at the office is around 138/78, but taken at home runs around 113/60. Maybe sitting there waiting for over an hour makes my BP rise.

Not so festive

Hats off to Virginia state officials for doing their best to look after the welfare of Virginia citizens. The Virginia State Department of Alcohol Control is offering a pre-holiday sale on certain liquors and on purchases of $99-$200. The sale will run “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” just in time for the traditional Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas high vehicular traffic volume “drunk-driving fest.”

Tax plans

Cutting corporate taxes is not the way to make the economy better and stronger. If businesses get tax breaks, more money goes to the top and does not a guarantee more hiring or higher wages. However, if people who have been living on a very tight budget with very little money to spare get a tax break they will have more money to spend, which will grow the economy. Supply will be fulfilled by demand where all people benefit, including business owners.

The corporate tax rate has been lowered seven times in the past 100 years. The average return for stocks over 10 years is 112 percent; after a tax cut, 106 percent. However, after interest rates rise due to increased government borrowing, lower stock prices have occurred 100 percent of the time.

Thanks to the Republicans, 13 million middle-class taxpayers will get a tax hike. It appears the GOP is going to stop digging themselves a hole with short handled shovels and save time by using a back hoe.

Too bad

It’s a shame that, for the first USA swim meet in Williamsburg, that 757 did not invite Williamsburg Aquatic Club, which has been in the area since 1979.

Think on this

Many years ago, Thomas Paine wrote an essay, “Common Sense.” If he were alive today, he would write another essay called “Common Decency.” Some of us today are not kind and considerate. Some of us today are not willing to make time to help others in need.

Anti-virus help

I have Verizon internet, telephone and email service and have been very pleased. Verizon has now turned its email accounts over to AOL. In order for AOL to provide technical service to the former Verizon accounts, they require that you sign up for their service “package,” which includes McAfee antivirus (approximately $5.95/mo.). If you do not agree to this package, you will not receive technical assistance on any email problems. My problem — I already have two antivirus programs on my computer and do not want McAfee, which might present problems with my other programs. Has anyone encountered this dilemma and, if so, is there a good solution?

Recommended

Are you looking for an excellent, reliable landscaper? Call Kate’s Lawn Care, 757-897-7210. Leave your name and phone number. They will return your call. Fine people. Thank you.

After researching and meeting with two local Williamsburg gas stove insert stores, I was disappointed to learn that neither said they could or were willing to retrofit an outdated gas log set with a more efficient direct gas vent option. After further research, my wife and I met with Hearth and Home Shoppe in Mechanicsville, who far exceeded all our options. Not only was the selection greater, but the installation was quick, cost was affordable and the look includes a modern facelift in our great room. A one-stop shop where all the employees are professional and the construction team is outstanding.

We are so lucky in Williamsburg to have a hospital like Sentara. I’ve been there several times and the staff is always so friendly and outstanding. For blood tests — I don’t even feel them and I’m a “challenge.” Sheila is one of their phlebotomists and always does an outstanding job. Really recommend that hospital for our local folks.

Road worries

While the Virginia driving manual states to use turn signals, I was unable to determine if there is a driving infraction for not doing so. You would think there would have to be one. Does anybody know if there is one?

Often, comments in the Last Word from elderly drivers around Williamsburg are complaints about the driving habits of others. What about you? Three times in the past week I have found myself sharing Route 199 with erratic drivers, proceeding 10 to 15 mph slower than posted limits, delaying others. In an unrelated incident, the elderly driver was nearly double T-boned while crossing a road, between traffic closely approaching from opposing directions and was obviously distracted. The cause in each case was clear. Seeking to be sensitive to our elderly, I offer this suggestion to help make the roads safer for all of us: Leave your lap dog at home.

People who are clueless about how to use an acceleration lane when entering the highway should not be allowed to drive an automobile.

Thank you

I worked the polls Nov. 7, and a beautiful lady named Becky came into the polling place with cups of hot chocolate for all of the workers. Three cheers for Becky!

As a veteran, I would certainly like to give accolades to the people at Golden Corral — the management and the wait staff and all these people involved in the free dinner that they gave veterans on Monday. It was very well organized. Everything went off without a hitch. And again, I would like to thank the Golden Corral people — the management, the cooks, the wait staff, everybody involved. Thank you.

Panhandling

A caring writer admonished “not all disabilities are visible.” I agree, but must also warn “not all visible disabilities are real.” Sitting in the left turn lane from Route 199 onto Route 5, a man with “please help” sign began slowly limping along the line of cars waiting at the light. As he neared, I noticed his left foot turned outward and dragged on the ground. I genuinely felt bad for not offering loose change or a spare dollar. However, after turning into the Williamsburg Crossing Shopping Center and driving around the closed Zaxby’s, I saw this same man walking in normal full strides toward a parked car. Scammers cheat those in legitimate need because potential donors fear being duped.

I agree with the comments about the panhandlers. There is a well-organized group of people who rotate between "stations" throughout the city and county. I see them almost daily at the corner of Monticello Avenue and Windsor Meade Way, and have seen some of these same people out by Lightfoot Road. I have seen a group of three, who rotate their shifts, then go into Wendy's and order big meals and then sit in a lounge area and charge their iPhones. There is one guy who is stationed in front of Settlers Market who has a dog. If they can afford pets and smartphones, then they shouldn't be on the street begging for money. The city of Hampton has asked citizens not to enable them, as there are many organizations set up to assist them. Williamsburg, James City and York counties need to follow suit.

If people would not give money to these people panhandling or begging on the street corners, they would disappear and go someplace else. They are able to stand all day and smoke cigarettes, which are expensive, so why can’t they find a job? Someone must be transporting them to our community and transporting them home or to a shelter. I have feelings for them, but there are services we pay taxes for to help out in times of need. Just stop giving money, folks! You are not helping. You are encouraging them not to work or even look for a job. You are enabling them never be responsible.

Wrong address

Why are we paying somebody in Baltimore, Md.,to receive our county property taxes? Do we have full employment in JCC?

Up in Washington

On his Asia trip, President Trump suggested the Japanese might consider making cars in America. As a businessman for five decades and President for a full year, he should know that most Japanese cars are made in the United States in plants employing American workers. He should stick to his Teleprompter scripts to avoid making such outrageous comments.

I watched the President’s talk in Vietnam on foreign news. It is nice to see the president not be on an apology tour. They have a horrible dictator over there. I’m glad President Trump addressed it. For those who were criticizing when we were really trying to help the situation, to keep us all safe from the lunatic in North Korea, and they wanted to address trade — the appropriate place to address it was at the trade conference in Vietnam. Trump said, “We’re putting America first, just like all your countries want to put your countries first. We are not going to do business the way we’ve done it.” So he did a fabulous job in Vietnam, and it was well received.

With the exposure of Commerce Secretary Ross's financial ties to Putin’s inner circle, it now appears that you couldn't get a job cutting the grass on the White House lawn unless you had ties to Russia.

With his Asia trip this week, the President will finally do something he should have done 50 years ago. He will go to Vietnam. Let's hope that once he returns to the U.S. he doesn't start making noises about fake memories the trip brought back to him.

If you really want to know what Donald Trump thinks, you ought to read the book “Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again,” written by Donald J. Trump. He lays out his plans for reforming health care (without alienating doctors and patients), rebuilding the military, closing doors to illegal immigrants (key, illegal) and pressuring businesses to start producing goods at home. It’s published by Threshold Editions and it’s about 200 pages long. Rather than hear somebody else’s opinions on what he thinks, I would think it’s good to read what the person has to say about their own philosophy.

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