Last Word on public comment, April 5

Public comment

Well, you finally got what you wanted in regards to public comment at JCC Board of Supervisors meetings. You made the public comment section harder by having to fill out a speaker card beforehand. That didn't slow down the public comment section enough, so you had made the start time of the meetings earlier to make it as inconvenient as possible. Now you seem to have achieved what you wanted all along: The public to go away. You should be ashamed of yourselves by calling yourselves public servants. I sure hope this year at election time people think about this and the ridiculous tax increase approved by the board. Vote out the ones that voted for the tax increase!

Colonial Williamsburg

To the person who wrote in reminding us of the "perpetual use" agreement made with the Rockefellers: The treaty between the Republic of Panama and the U.S. for the use of the 5 mile zone on either side of the Canal area stated "in Perpetuity" – and you know how that went. Also – would remind CW of Xanterra's experience when they shut off the use of its Kingsmill restaurants except for "members of the resort." Restaurants wound up closed for the season due to lack of business. Think of the business CW would lose should they close off DOG Street. Bad idea!

I was dismayed to read that the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is considering closing off part of the Historic Area. My parents brought my five siblings and me to Williamsburg many times when we were children. It didn't matter that some years they were not able to afford a pass for us to enter the buildings. On those occasions, we still had fun walking through the restored area and imagining what it would have been like to live here in the 18th century. The many visits we made reinforced our love of Williamsburg and gave us an appreciation of our history. All of us have continued to come back year after year—now with our children. My husband (a William and Mary alum) and I live here. I truly hope that the city of Williamsburg will not grant the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation permission to close off the Historic Area. I would like visitors to experience Colonial Williamsburg in the same way I did growing up instead of having to make a decision about whether it is worth coming here at all if they cannot afford to pay for the total Colonial Williamsburg experience.

CWF should reinstate its strategic statement, "That the future should learn from its past," and then relearn from its local past with the city of Williamsburg.

The balladeers are independent contractors. Many sing and give historic interpretation besides playing an instrument. Many of these musicians are making serious money and I can see why CW wants to get them on a lower pay scale. Most of these people are doing it part time because they love to entertain and love 18th century history. They offer a lot to the guest experience. My suggestion is to get back to your core business, a museum with lodging for the rich donors. In other words, sell the Governors Inn, Woodlands and Lodge to Marriott. Keep the Inn. Close Campbell's and Huzzah. When the next union contract comes up, let them walk, keep Shield's open (non-union). Cut back on management and unnecessary jobs wherever possible.

Thanks, Colonial Williamsburg, for a great membership preview meeting. I'm looking forward to a great season. I think a speaker said that kids would be able to milk a cow? Fun!

Looking for ...

For the person in need of coco fiber liners: I don't know of a local source, but if you'd like to go on-line at www.kinsmangarden.com (or call toll-free 1-800-733-4146, 24 hrs./day), they have an enormous assortment of shapes and sizes of liners. Editor's note: Coco liners are available at most garden centers; we've recently seen them on stops at Lowe's and Cooke's Garden Center.

I am calling the Last Word to see if there is anyone in the Toano area that does Avon, that will deliver the book and the product to the customer. Please put your answer in The Virginia Gazette Last Word. Thank you.

Looking for weed-free liriope, willing to dig up. 757-303-9278.

I have a dressing table which belonged to my great grandfather, who lived in Fredericksburg before the Civil War. It is not in good shape. I am downsizing and want to have something small made from the wood as a memento. If you know of anyone who would do this, please email tooachy@msn.com. Thanks.

Does anyone know anything about this organization in Merrifield, Virginia, which provides service dogs for Veterans: Paws for Purple Hearts? I can't find any information about how much of my donation would actually go toward providing a real service dog to a real veteran (and how much to overhead). This would be an invaluable service to a veteran if it is an effective organization.

Can anyone recommend a place/person who can repair a car six-CD player or replace one, other than a car dealership?

Personal lesson

Society demands that a school and teachers to serve as surrogate parents, nurses, policemen, psychiatrists and educators, which is an impossible task. To relieve them of this pressure, would it be helpful for the school board and board of supervisors to spend at least one day a semester with a teacher from the start of the day to the end? Together, these groups might be able to understand the untold problems in our schools. Maybe this would result in some relief to the faculty, the administrators and our vulnerable children.

Interesting story

There was a good segment on NPR's "All Things Considered" recently about the rise and fall of open classrooms back in the 70's. Basically, the teachers hated the physical lack of sound containment, but liked the collaboration and other pedagogical techniques, many of which we are already employing at our middle schools. The segment can be found at NPR.org, "All Things Considered," Monday, March 27.

Town halls

Why should Rob Wittman hold a town hall? Maybe because he is an elected representative of all his constituents, not just those who support him. Just because he thinks people will say mean things about him is no excuse. I'm not impressed with someone who chose to hold an elected office but can't manage disagreement.

Apparently Rob Wittman, who wraps himself in a Republican cloak, decided to team up with his Democrat pals to vote NO on the recent ACA vote. This, and his town hall issues, may not bode well for him in the future.

School funding

Isn't it ironic that on one page of the Gazette citizens are criticizing the schools for poor judgment and lack of sensitivity in developing the reading program for younger children and on the very next page the W-JJC School Board is asking the citizens to provide them with an additional $750,000 revenue. It seems as though there is a disconnect between school administrators and many of the citizens as to the values that should be upheld by educators. Think about it, educators – we, the people, pay your salaries.

The WJCC Schools budget as approved adds a $50 per month surcharge if employees cover their spouse on their insurance. The superintendent's budgeted salary/wages is $220,000, an upward change of almost $13,000 from last year. This includes a $750 a month car allowance and a gas card. Thirteen admin positions at Central Office consume a total of $1.4 million in salary/wages, an average of $109,000 per person. Stipends in the budget amount to over $1 million; in other places, this is called "your job" or "other duties as assigned." As a retired WJCC employee, it causes me great concern for the good people I used to work with. It seems that the superintendent and the School Board (didn't they just vote themselves a raise?) want to make up their budget short fall on the backs of the "little folks" by adding a surcharge on top of the extra premium already paid for spousal coverage. WJCC employees haven't had a meaningful salary increase in years. In fact several of my former co-workers have advised me that their net pay has actually decreased several years in a row due to a rise in health insurance premiums. Perhaps the highly paid Central Office administrators – who spend little or no time in the classroom — should remember this and look themselves in the mirror before adding a surcharge to folks who may already be struggling.

Mail delivery

Well, I got my gas bill on 3/29 with a billing date of 3/9/2017. Hmm, 20 days to get here!! You kind of have to wonder how many other bills either never make it or come after their due date. A couple of years ago, I got a Christmas card in June, so I guess anything is possible from the Post Office! Amazing!

Handicapped parking

In response to the person upset about the note left on their car at Lowe's parking lot: I wasn't the one that left the note, but I do understand the frustration of people using those spaces when they don't need one. Rather than taking it personally, maybe you could be happy that someone cared enough to fight for your right to park there. PS, thank you for your service.

Christopher Wren changes

Christopher Wren is a wonderful asset to Williamsburg, but the recently announced upcoming changes are severe. While the Town and Gown cost increase is not large, the class fee increase plus new parking charge is significant. Running the same size program with less staff is a problem for those who stay. Why didn't the Board survey the membership to see what changes would be preferred by the most people? There are options. If this happened, no one asked me what my preferences would be.

The board of CWA needs to reconsider their pricing structure. I am sure that there are a large number of persons who take a lot of classes and the price increase not significant. However, I only take one class and the increase is significant. The pricing structure should be based on the number of classes a person attends. If it remains as currently proposed, I will no longer be attending or purchasing a membership.

Shredding problems

Did anyone else have a difficult time getting to the recent courthouse shred-a-thon? There was no way to get into the parking lot. Poorly planned.

Health care

No question that change is needed to ACA. As of Friday, Rob Wittman failed to lead, failed to follow and got in the way. Once again Freedom Caucus plus Democrats in "group think" (Schumer calls it unity) leaves us spinning our wheels in status quo, at least for now. Principles are fine, but reform that cannot get done is no accomplishment, Congressman Wittman.

Virtual reality

Having just seen Chairs for virtual reality sessions at the MacArthur Mall, we wonder who on the Peninsula can open such a business for us here! Comfy chairs and 10 programs to choose from! We can envision Ram programs of virtual travel! Stepping into a favorite movie as a main character of our choice? Learning how things were in olden days! Doesn't this sound like a great fun activity? Can a creative entrepreneur open this in Williamsburg?

Delicious thought

Microwave a couple of Girl Scout S'mores cookies for 6-8 seconds. The chocolate will start to melt and the cookie will be slightly warm. Delicious!

Recommended

If you love the look and feel of woven material, whether it is knit or crochet, you must visit "Flying Needles" in the Williamsburg Crossing Shopping Center. If you've never picked up knitting or crocheting needles before you will be lured in to try this new hobby. For the experienced knitter, the choice of beautiful yarns will absolutely wow you. The shop has a wonderful feel to it the moment you walk in, and the staff is welcoming and quite knowledgeable in their craft. Experience a "feel good" moment after visiting "Flying Needles"!

We Fix Computers by Khalid 757-291-3663. He came to our home, and cleaned up our computer, upgraded soft wear programs, deleted unneeded programs, dusted, installed needed power strip and USB, etc. Don't put off calling; he does a great job.

Kudos to Rafael and his son, Catarino Vazquez, for expertly cutting down a large tree limb that was shading our garden. They were very professional and are good at what they do, and I highly recommend them. The phone number for their business, Vazquez Landscaping, is 757-218-9552. Catarino's wife, Maria, is at 757-232-1768. Thank you, Rafael and Catarino!

Waller Mill Park

I cannot believe the forest destruction that has been permitted at Waller Mill Park. Was the fact that this was wildlife habitat considered? What about erosion? It definitely will be occurring. How much soil will be washed into our drinking water when we have the next hurricane with a five-day rain? Only a few small trees were left standing—they will probably be gone, also. While we are in the business of a face changing here, why not repair and open the restrooms between shelters 2 and 3 that have been closed for years? If you visit Waller Mill, don't forget: No open fires, no feeding wildlife, no fishing from banks. It may destroy our park.

Thank you

My mother is a resident in an excellent assisted care facility here in Williamsburg. During a recent quarantine, it was understandably requested that families limit their visits in order to help prevent the spread of germs. It was hard not to see her on a daily basis, but the wonderful caregivers from At Home Care Hospice continued to visit, provide ongoing care and report to us on her condition several times a week. Knowing she was doing well and her needs were being taken care of provided a great deal of solace to us when we were unable to be there in person. Thank you to At Home Care Hospice for caring for us, too!

Space pens

In response to the recent comment about NASA spending millions on space pens, the truth is a much more inspiring story. I recently came across this topic in the book The Gravity Well. Both the U.S. and the Russians originally used pencils. They worked, but they presented a materials hazard. Both the U.S. and Russia pursued space pens, but NASA stopped the effort when it proved to cost more than $1 million. Inspired by NASA, a pen manufacturer then invented pressurized ink cartridges and sold Fisher Space pens to both NASA and Russia.

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