Last Word on Colonial Williamsburg changes, July 5

Colonial Williamsburg

CW should find its celebrity. For good or bad, we have a celebrity culture, fueled by modern communications. Other historical sites have already figured this out. More than 6 million people visit the Mona Lisa at the Louvre each year. Millions more visit Botticelli's Birth of Venus. More than 1 million visit the Liberty Bell. Nearly 3 million visit Mount Rushmore and travel miles to do so. Scour the archives and find the most iconic item and market, market market. Perhaps readers would have suggestions for what the CW celebrity might be.

The CW website shows their mission as "To feed the human spirit by sharing America's enduring story." So I would say, why does CW need a golf course? Why did you invest in a "Spa Boutique" primarily for the very wealthy? How does that fit "historic education" for the general public? Why does CW need a CEO making $600,000? Why get rid of loyal employees? I would say first get a new CEO at a reasonable salary.

I have read a lot of reactions to the cuts at CW and what seems to create the most outrage is not the loss of jobs, but the closing of the Kimball Theater. What does this say about our uppity, entitled community that we care more about not having a place to see symphonies and art-house films than our neighbors losing jobs? CW reports that the Kimball has lost money for almost 20 years. If those who are worried about the Kimball would be willing to pay the price necessary to make it profitable, I'm sure someone would be happy to operate it. Otherwise you're just asking for CW to subsidize your entertainment.

There is the forest. CW Foundation and management can't see it because of all the trees. The high-dollar spa trees, the high-priced hotel accommodations trees, the over pricing of certain food services trees, the lack of dedicated interpreters trees, the cut anything and anybody that is not connected to overpaid management trees, the overgrowth of scrub pine management trees choking out any new growth. Until these trees are thinned severely, CW will continue to decline from the vibrant forest it once was. CW's product has been diminished so deeply by mismanagement and the loss of knowledge as to what brings in tourists, I do not think the will is there to correct the problems or clear the dead wood trees. Management in the past 20-plus years has focused on catering to large-dollar clients and neglecting the things families used to come to participate in. Until the Foundation stops the welfare system for management and gets back to what matters, the losses will continue to grow.

Let's support CW and President & CEO Mitchell Reiss! He has been vigilant in the mission to preserve CW and American History. I challenge each Williamsburg/JCC household to donate $35 in 2017. This will provide you a subscription to the quarterly Trend & Tradition, a beautiful and informative magazine. More importantly, it will be a positive action to support our beloved Colonial Williamsburg. It's time for all of us--residents--to be Patriots and Good Neighbors. Thank you.

What is wrong with Mitchell Reiss? Layoffs, closing the Kimball, emptying out rooms in buildings guests visit. Yet lots of money for a new look for the Inn. Who's gonna be coming to stay anymore? There's nothing left. And the wall? Why not keep everyone out and turn our beautiful historic town into yet another lost piece of important history. Send him to D.C. He'll fit in fine with all those clowns.

My wife and I were deeply dismayed to learn of the Kimball's closing. As longtime residents, we regularly attend movies and other events there and we take family and friends when they visit us. All find delight in this cultural and community gem that provides a significant service in a historic building, while also being a source of community pride. It's truly a centerpiece in our downtown, and its closing is a real loss. We hope a way can be found to reopen this treasure, and we urge the city and local residents to take steps that will make this happen. Thank you.

Perhaps closing the Kimball is an opportunity for the city. Acquire the theater and turn it into a real civic asset.

It's so predictable: Every time there are cuts at CW the chorus starts about eliminating the "overpaid" vice presidents or cutting the CEO's salary. Get real. Even if you cut Reiss and all of the VPs, their salaries would barely make a dent in the $40-$50 million annual losses. And then who do you think will run the place? Will all the workers manage themselves, develop the business plans and secure the donors? Do you think anyone of worth would come in to run the place for minimum wage?

Way back when CW sold Anheuser Busch the land where Busch Gardens was to built, my late Father said "Someday CW might be sorry because this will be big competition for them!" Indeed, how many tourists come to town and pay big money to go to Busch Gardens, but just walk around CW without buying tickets- if they go at all?

While I understand the predicament in which CW finds itself, I cannot imagine how a landscaping company can maintain the details of the gardens. For instance, will they dig up the thousands of tulip bulbs, store them and then replant for the next season? Will the topiaries all be maintained, or just allowed to grow back into ordinary bushes? Time will tell.

Colonial Williamsburg tells us for decades what its severance package is. Then, just weeks before major layoffs are announced, they send out documents cutting the payout by 30 to 50 percent. I guess that's the "heart" that they're speaking of.

After reading today's article and having been in Audit and Financial Management for 42 years, two things always spell doom for poorly managed organizations: taking on too much debt and bloated payroll costs, usually at the top end. Too much debt sealed the fate of one of my former employers years ago: Rockefeller Center Inc., later Rockefeller Group Inc. Sound familiar? I sure wish I could review their financial statements.

Williamsburg taxes

I've been following the Tourism Development Fund that the city manager has proposed to the City Council. My question is how can Doug Pons pretend to be fair when he is the president of the Williamsburg Hotel & Motel Association and also the "lead" for the Council for this project? Doesn't that constitute a conflict?

So, the Fathers of Williamsburg intend on bleeding our visitors once again. Don't they know, or even care, that they are also bleeding the residents of the city as well as the county? If this new tax increase is approved, we'll just have to take our business out into the county and boycott those areas being penalized by another stupid, ill-conceived tax increase.

Looking for ...

With yard sale season in full swing, please remember that Sidecar Santa is always looking for Beanie Baby sized animals to give away during the holidays. If you would like to give some, you can email sidecarsanta@hotmail.com, or you can drop them off at Artfully Yours art studio on Jamestown Road.

I'm looking for information regarding the motorcyclist who hit my van on Interstate 64 westbound near Busch Gardens June 25 between 3:15-3:45 p.m. in heavy traffic. The motorcyclist wearing a red helmet and black/gray clothes, was traveling between the lanes, lost his balance and hit my van causing significant damage. After the collision, the driver regained his composure and drove off, again between vehicles. Tags were 30-day tags. If you have any info, witnesses, please contact the VA State Police or me: 345-0528. Thanks.

A response for the person inquiring about the Yorkshire Restaurant: 47 years ago, our parents Tom and Rose Paparis opened the Yorkshire. Now, with bittersweet feelings, and having lost both our parents, we have decided that we will close the Yorkshire and have family time with our children and grandchildren. We would sincerely like to thank all of our employees, our patrons and say it has been an amazing 47 years. We have made many, many friends and memories, and for this we thank you. On a different note, the restaurant will now be the new home of the Old City Barbeque. We hope you will patronize this new establishment, owned by three amazing local young men. We wish them all the best and hope you give them a try. The Paparis and Palantzas Families.

Road worries

To all of the people complaining about turning left on the flashing yellow light: What do you do on Richmond Road and Mount Vernon and when you get to the corner of Monticello and Lafayette where it says, "Left turn yield on green"? Is that confusing to you as well? Do you avoid those streets as well, or is this just about needing something to gripe about because it's different? Do you have medical issues with the flashing yellow light? Thank you.

Regarding the recent Last Word comment on how turn signals work, I was unaware that you can buy a car in the Commonwealth of Virginia that came equipped with turn signals.

To all those writing that they don't understand what the problem is with the left turn on flashing yellow signs: Maybe you will find out if you are driving on Monticello Avenue at the posted speed while your light is green and a car goes across the lanes into the Post Office right in front of you and the car next to you, causing you to jam on the brakes to avoid T-boning them. Again, in theory this is a good idea—it is some drivers who are not catching on.

I don't complain about other people's driving and such because I try to be a considerate driver. One thing, though, that drives me absolutely crazy — I don't know when it started — is the two- and three-car lengths behind a car when someone stops. If they're at a stoplight, everyone stops at a red light — they're stopping two and three car lengths behind. Do they understand how that backs traffic up, from people being able to turn, to go in that direction or whatever? Pull up to the car in front of you and stop. You do not need to be one, two and three car lengths behind the car in front of you.

Hands off

This to the senior citizen "lady" who purchased four cases of water from a local DIY warehouse store on June 28. Your hands became dusty lifting your merchandise and my husband was your cashier. You asked him if he had something you could wipe your hands on, and when he turned away to reach for paper towels, you wiped your dirty hands down his back. I don't know what your actual problem is, but you don't know my husband. Your cashier served his country for two decades before retiring from a DoD-funded science lab. As a people person, he believes in the humanity of his neighbors, no matter what their walk of life. I cannot believe your rudeness and disregard. I wonder what the outcome would be if you were the cashier, and an elderly man wiped his hands on you?

Health insurance

I'm confused. Who is this legislation supposed to help? Those who cannot afford health care? Are these the same people who can't afford to eat? Nothing in life is free. If you get government assistance or alimony, you get income. Who receives no income? You must have money to live. We're not talking about people on Medicare, or those who receive health insurance from their employer. We're not talking about the young who are healthy and not wanting to waste their money on an insurance policy. We're not talking about the wealthy who pay their own way. We're not talking about those who go to a free clinic. Who's left? Illegal immigrants (11-12 million) and those on welfare, unemployment and food stamps. Plus those too lazy to work. I suggest everyone must pay something for health care, even if it's only 10 percent of the medical bill. Nothing in life is free.

Democrats keep stating that 23 million people will be deprived of health care insurance if the GOP bill is passed. Will Democrats ever admit that Obamacare is a disaster that must be repealed and replaced? While the new bill isn't perfect (more improvements to come later), anything is better that what we now have. I, for one, congratulate Taylor and Wittman for their courage in supporting this bill.

Pertaining to the person who is stated, "I always have to laugh when I hear someone complaining about paying for someone else's health care," you must not be directly affected by Obamacare. I now pay a $1,000 a month for my health insurance and it has a high deductible, high co-pays and reduced benefits. Believe me, I'm not laughing; crying is more like it.

Up in Washington

President Obama said that he set up some hacks on the Russians before he left, but it was up to Trump to execute. President Obama didn't execute anything. He was basically toothless the whole time of his administration. They thought they were going to win with Hillary Clinton and he wouldn't have to worry about his legacy or anything, but oh, oh, the obstructionists got a surprise. Sorry!

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