Last Word on First Night, Dec. 30

No First Night

It is still a shock to realize Williamsburg chose to let the First Night celebration die a quiet death rather than step up energy and focus to continue the event. Really, can the city afford to have yet another business/event disappear? The announcement was "not enough volunteers," but past volunteers say they were never contacted about helping at 2017 First Night, and had planned to continue volunteering. So, what is the actual story?

Colonial Williamsburg

Congratulations to Mitchell Reiss and all Colonial Williamsburg employees, donors and friends for the difference you are making. The recent full-page ad in The Virginia Gazette and Daily Press outlined the successes being achieved. Attendance is up, giving is up, recognition by Forbes as a Best Place to Work, completion of exterior painting and deferred maintenance repairs making the Historic Area the best it has looked in some time, beginning construction of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg expansion and renovation, the Williamsburg Inn receiving Five Diamond Rating status — a turnaround is in progress. With the overabundance of negativity that appears in the Last Word regarding Colonial Williamsburg and Mr. Reiss, it is time we recognize that changes were necessary to be successful. I am glad that there is someone in charge with the courage, intelligence and foresight to make those decisions. You may not always agree with what is being done, but the results are beginning to speak for themselves.

Heavy lifting

With more city businesses closing, disappearing, business spaces remaining empty for years, or in the case of all the never-opened spaces in High Street, and now the Kimball — "our" auditorium and movie house is in a maybe open/maybe not situation for two or more years, no First Night to bring people to the city, no fireworks at midnight Dec. 31? So for decades Colonial Williamsburg opened the Kimball, hosted the glorious Grand Illumination, and the July 4th festivities with fireworks, and so many other activities and special events. Other cities put dollars into attracting public events to draw people and dollars in. We are trying to understand what part, if any, the city played in the work and expense of putting on major popular activities.

Police need help

While I sincerely appreciate our local police for all they do to protect us, please provide them the support they need to upgrade their website. After reading in the Gazette about how I could register online to have my home checked while I am out of town, both the links, as well as the website, failed to work. I love the concept and I love our people in blue, but can we get it together?

Redistricting

Want to ensure your high school student never gets redistricted? Send them to private school. Better yet, home school them. Otherwise, school redistricting at all levels should be expected. The W-JCC School Board has done such a poor job of redistricting our high schools during the past 10-15 years, it was finally time to “course correct.” Even worse, the board has chosen to basically do nothing and add trailers at Jamestown. Have we not elected these board members to ensure they can make the hard decisions and do what is best overall? And to the W-JCC taxpayers: You just wasted about $40,000 including the high schools in the consultants plan, and will spend more than $1 million in the next several years for the temporary fix trailers. Wonder what will come out of the Board of Supervisors budget to cover those costs? Teacher salary increases? Improved learning materials? Higher educational training for instructors? Four of our board members (who voted “no” to redistricting) just underserved us. But thank goodness no one will have to change mascots.

Interesting how, when some do not get the outcome they desire they result to tossing around the old, worn out charges of racism, etc., as a recent Last Word writer did. Can’t we just discuss the issues without resorting to name calling? It is this type of hyper overreacting to just about everything that is keeping our country divided. Please just grow up and discuss the issues as intelligent adults.

Thank you

This is the biggest thank you going out to Carmen Moores and his band and all the other guys who showed up at Hardie’s in Lightfoot to raise money for Amanda Ellis and Justin Harris after a devastating fire took their home and vehicles on Dec. 13. Amanda’s grandparents are the late Woody and Joann Ellis of Norge and Wesley Cowans of Toano. Thanks for the monetary gifts and miscellaneous items that were donated. God bless each and every one who’s been a part of this fundraiser and especially the Carmen Moores for putting it all together. God bless.

Looking for …

R&J Services would be happy to help with any small plumbing issues. Call 757-879-9129.

To the commenter looking for a hairdresser that will cut curly hair with a razor: You should try Mel’s Beauty and Barbering. It would not be a problem for them to trim your hair with a razor, giving it a free-flowing style. Their number is 757-220-1066. Ask for Melinda.

Do you have a fruit-bearing persimmon tree? I need some twigs from a producing tree to graft onto my non-producing (male?) persimmon. I’d like to snip the twigs this winter while the trees are dormant. Please call me at 633-0964 if you can help. Thank you.

I lost a vintage copper/enamel Christmas tree earring, about 1-inch tall by 3/4-inch wide, possibly on the walkways around or inside the Food Lion on Richmond Road. It has great sentimental value since my mother gave these 1940s-era earrings to me the Christmas before she passed away. Contact subscrip@cox.net if you find it.

I would be glad to try to help the person with recipes in shorthand. Contact me at 757-941-8284.

To the person looking for a cat groomer: Purrocious Styles Feline Designs is used by a lot of our clients. It’s a cat-only grooming salon and veterinarian endorsed. They can be reached at 971-808-2287 or at www.purrocious.services.

You gave us a thing on Shoofly Pie and didn’t tell us where to get it. Could you give us a call at 757-378-2827? Thank you.

I lost a divot repair tool/ball marker somewhere on the front nine at Kiskiack Golf Club on Tuesday. This item was from the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club and has sentimental value to me. If you’ve found this item, I would be very appreciative if you’d call me at 757-817-4645. Thanks so much!

Christmas thanks

Congratulations to EnPointe Dance Academy on one of the most beautiful Christmas recitals I have had the pleasure of attending. The costumes were beautiful. The music was beautiful. The performers range from adorable preschoolers doing ballet or tap, to the accomplished ballerinas dancing en pointe. The 10-year-old who sang a solo of “First Noel” was amazing. She personified grace and poise while sounding like an angel. As someone behind us said, 'If you don't have the Christmas spirit after this recital, there is no hope for you.” Thank you, En Pointe Dance Academy, for this Christmas gift.

Wonderful Christmas music! If you missed the Christmas program at the Williamsburg Library a few Saturdays back, sorry for you. You missed the best band I’ve heard in many years, a continuous sound of Christmas music, sung and played as it is written. The band Good Shot Judy plays all around our area and on the square in the Summer Breeze Program. It is a continuous program, with interaction with the audience, especially with the children. The emcee keeps the action going — you must see and hear them.

Road worries

The newly near-complete Interstate 64 seems to be fine with the most straightforward, expeditious roadway construction I have ever observed in my many decades. But we hope, pray that the concrete median wall is temporary, for it is too low and oncoming headlights glare at drivers going the other way. What happened? Please correct ASAP. This is dangerous and totally unnecessary.

Drivers who would like to go 35 miles an hour between Airport Road and Bypass Road should consider using Richmond Road instead of Mooretown Road.

Whoever you are, in the parking lot when you were backing out, you turned your wheel to the left and scraped the side of a 1986 pristine, maroon-colored vehicle and damaged the wheel opening molding as well. So, you know you did it. If I find you — I’m a body shop manager/foreman — if I find any maroon paint on a bumper or even a tire, four tires might be the meeting of the price. Thank you.

When slow traffic on I-64 travels in the right hand lane, the trip is safer for all of us.

Lottery proceeds

The commenter on the lottery is correct. When the lottery was started, profits were dedicated to mental health and schools in Virginia. But, in order to balance the budget, the Allen and Gilmore administrations moved the profits into the general fund and away from schools and hospitals.

History lessons

Germany of the 1930s, Italy of the 1920s-1930s and Russia of the 1920s taught us that fascist, socialist and communist governments: 1. Disarm the public, 2. Teach propaganda in the schools, and 3. Have control over the press. These are lessons D.A. Willard failed to remember in a recent letter to the editor. Most Americans remembered their history lessons from back when history was taught in schools and voted for our president.

Health care

To the person who felt it was cruel to suggest that doctors and hospitals be allowed to deny medical care for those without insurance who can’t pay in full at the time of service: Would you also require restaurants to feed people who have no money? Or, would you require gas stations to fill the gas tank of someone who has no money? Of course, you wouldn’t, but medical care is a service just like a restaurant meal or a tank of gasoline. The only difference is if you get it and don’t pay for it, the rest of us have to pay for it, which is blatantly unfair to the majority.

In 49 states you have to pay an uninsured motorist fee if you don't have insurance. It goes to a pool to pay those involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. The individual mandate was the same thing. That is why everyone with health insurance will see their rates double in seven years — to pay for the people who run up a $50,000 hospital bill and then file bankruptcy.

Recommended

Roger and Denise Mitchell, owners of Peninsula Window Coverings, do fantastic work. They have done work for me twice. They are professional and experts in their field. If you need any blind or shutter work, big or small, call them at 757-880-3796. Their work is impeccable.

I recently had my vehicle worked on by Hudgins Chevrolet and Cadillac on Merrimac Trail. I must say that the Body Shop did a fabulous job. Dan Reese was outstanding and represented the company well. He was very professional with his initial estimates, he found damage to the vehicle that we had not seen and found it unsafe for me to drive the car. He kept us informed and they finished the work early. I was also impressed with how clean my car was when we got it home. I highly recommend them for any body work you may need.

Animal cruelty

I would offer two comments to the writer on why it’s our business: "Saving one dog will not change the world — but surely for that one dog, the world will be changed forever." And "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by how its animals are treated." — Mahatma Gandhi.

Kindness rocks

The article in the Dec. 27 Gazette was great but left me with the feeling that people might feel like they need to join some kind of group to participate. What makes the Kindness Rock Project so much fun is that anyone can paint, place or find a rock. You do not need to belong to any group to participate. I paint rocks from time to time and mine are pretty rudimentary, but I have seen artwork on some of them that is almost museum worthy. One hope is that if a rock is found, the person who found it will post a picture of it on the Williamsburg VA Rocks Facebook page, but it's not required. I recently saw someone pick up and become excited over finding a rock I had painted and hidden. If you ever find a rock that has been painted, turn it over and usually there is an indication of where it came from. You can keep it or you can re-hide it. If a painted rock brings a momentary smile to someone's face, the artist has done their job.

Free to you

Free egg cartons. Call 757-509-2878. Thank you.

Harassment

Ford executives apologized for women that have been sexually harassed at the Ford plant. Here’s the problem: the ones who are harassing the women who want to come forward are the unions because they’re afraid it’s going to hurt them when they want to negotiate. And they don’t want any black marks against their operation. I think the unions in the car industry have outlived their usefulness.

Confusing reunion

If you graduated from a school and you are having a reunion — 25-year reunion — and they have changed the name of it right after you graduated, how would it be listed in the notices? If you graduate from a school after it was renamed or before it was renamed — how do we handle that situation? I mean to tell you, this is getting ridiculous. People’s names — I have people who graduated with me — their name was Lee or Stuart. Do they have to change their names? What a conundrum we’re getting into. As Archie Bunker said, “What a revolting development this is!”

Parking lot trap

I completely agree with the author’s assessment of unacceptable maintenance of the help system at the garage. Having said that, the easiest “escape” for the couple would have been to simply go to the entrance and push the button to get a new ticket, which would have been their passage to “freedom.”

Moral issue

I was so glad to read about “Gun violence a moral, not gun issue” that Reed Johnson wrote in a letter to the editor. I’ve been saying this for the longest time. We have changed our morals in our world and expect people not to stoop to that type of behavior. It’s not about the guns; it’s about the heart of man. We have taught our children to react versus stopping and taking time and teaching them how to use critical thinking to solve issues. But let’s do whatever you want to do. They don’t want there to be a clear right and wrong; they want there to be a relative right and wrong. And, it’s not true. Everything can be wrong, but everything can’t be right, and Reed Johnson was so correct.

No kids?

When visiting The Virginia Beer Company yesterday, I was amazed at the number of families who brought their young children into the establishment. They sell beer and chips and occasionally a food truck is outside. I just don’t feel it’s appropriate to have young children in a bar — for lack of a better term. Just my opinion.

Tax plans

So, now the Democrats are finally worried about the national debt. When the Obama administration raised it to an all-time high, we heard nothing from them. At least with President Trumps’ tax plan we actually get something back. Can anyone tell me what we got for the Obama debt?

In one year, the Republicans have been able to reduce the number of takers from 49 percent to 1 percent, and by 2027 even that will be reduced to .001 percent. Congratulations!

I, for one, am pleased with the new tax law because the 33 percent of the electorate who saddled the rest of us with that real estate hustler in the White House are going to get hosed by it while he moves money to the bank in a dump truck. The rest of us are going to get punished along with them. The sad thing is that with the elimination of the charitable deduction for most of us, small churches, the ASPA, the Salvation Army, and food banks are going to take a hard hit, while Ivy League college alumni funds will be winners.

This newly enacted "tax cut" will create huge savings for the rich and a small pittance for the rest of the people, including those poor deluded souls who voted for Trump. It will also create a large additional deficit to the already strained budget. However, do not despair. Trump and his Republican cohorts in Congress have figured out how to pay down the deficit. Just gut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and, oh yes, eliminate Obamacare, thereby denying payments to those in need.

Why would a corporation build a new factory with their tax cut when they can buy a smaller company and lay off half of their employees?

Does anyone really care about those states that are complaining about no longer having a deduction for their real estate taxes? Being from New York, upon retirement I had to move due to high real estate taxes, so I know firsthand what I’m talking about. In these states government employees, including teachers, are overpaid. There are too many of them and their benefits are outrageous. Government needs to operate within a reasonable fiscal budget just like the private sector.

I read both the kudos and complaints about tax reform with great interest. One wonders when anyone in this country felt completely represented? The ACA is a travesty, and yet as a monopoly that controls greater than 12 percent of the U.S. economy and growing, and the best the “D.C. fleecers” have to offer, some appreciate it. Conversely, tax reform, while offering this or that to everyone on Main Street, nay-sayers want to imagine some unnamed boogeyman. That mean, old, invisible corporate CEO, who may make a nickel. Why is it OK for you to demand that you keep what you’ve earned (or were given), but no one else should even converse about being deprived the fruit of their labor? In a free country, why weren’t you complaining on behalf of your fellow man who would be fined for not participating in ACA? It benefited you to do otherwise — that’s why.

U.N. funding

Finally, we have a brave president who cut the United States’ contribution to the United Nations budget by $285 million. The U.S. has been the biggest contributor to the U.N., paying a good percentage of the costs of running it. Since 2001, the U.N. staff has doubled 140 percent. The U.N.'s budget runs about $5.4 billion, with Japan, China and France following the U.S.

It’s a test

If your wife sends you to Walmart on Christmas Eve, it’s proof she no longer loves you.

Immigration

On the face of it, the president's call for changing American immigration to a merit-based system might sound like a good idea. Once you take a close look at it, you will realize that it is a thinly veiled racist call to only admit educated white immigrants.

Voter fraud

Why would Virginia allow illegals to vote when one vote could decide the election in the House of Delegates? Public Interest Legal Foundation reported more than 5,500 noncitizens were registered to vote in Virginia, with 1,852 of them likely casting illegal ballots. Time to stop voter fraud and validate citizenship, not just check the box on driver licenses applications.

Panhandling

I see that James City County has put up signs to discourage panhandling. Maybe the next thing they need to do is to put up something similar to Jersey barriers so the panhandlers don’t have any place to stand.

I can't stop wanting to help those less fortunate. Instead of giving money, I buy fast food restaurant gift certificates in low denominations. This allows you buy a person a meal vs. cash that might go to an addiction. I just keep a pack of them in the car to use as needed.

Good reading

Gillette Law Group Newsletter: I work in an office that receives this newsletter and I always read it before passing it on to the attorneys. What a good mix of articles and information. Keep it coming.

Vernice L.Thompson's recent letter to the editor presented "conservative morality" and "liberal morality" caricatures, which successfully exaggerated or distorted these two moralities in a grotesque, rather than a comic, manner. Both victimization and self-reliance exist, but they are not absolutes. American morality is equal opportunity under the law; not in guaranteed equal outcomes.

Up in Washington

How is it that the administration gets away with saying that the people spoke in 2016, so the issue of charges of sexual harassment are on longer relevant? Trump lost the popular vote by more than 2.9 million — so the people did speak and they said no. It was the Electoral College that said yes. Thanks.

To the writer who stated that President Trump “is destroying America” with his words: That was already done by Obama’s eight years of fiscal irresponsibility. Actions speak louder than words.

The FBI thwarted an ISIS-inspired terrorist attack in a busy market area of San Francisco and not even a "job well done" from Trump. Pathetic.

The pro Russian/Trump propaganda on Fox News is so terrifying. I will never go into a restaurant or place of business that has it on their TV.

Fox’s 24/7 attack on the FBI is 10 times more unpatriotic than a handful of football players taking a knee before a dumb game.

When I hear those on the extreme right speaking on television of "purging the FBI," I think of Stalin's Soviet Union or of Mao's China where millions were sent to labor camps or worse. This is the kind of talk expected from brutal third world governments, not from the former leading democracy in the world.

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