Last Word on going to church, Aug. 19

Going to church

In response to the person who said families with young kids were not supposed to be at the 8 a.m. Mass: I would love to know how you decided this. The church has been very welcoming to my family and kids. Sometimes we cannot make the other Mass times and have to attend the 8 a.m. Mass. We have been encouraged by the deacon to bring the kids and start raising them with a church routine. Like all kids, it takes time to learn church behaviors. Please do not shame families for bringing their kids. I have never seen a parent not address disruptive behavior in church, but you also can't expect them to be silent the whole time. If you are living God's word, you wouldn't be so judgmental and would rather be encouraging. Maybe you need to sit up front to hear better or choose a seat away from kids — just a thought?

As a clergyman, I was deeply disappointed to read the "Going to Church" commentary in the Last Word suggesting that church services ought to be age-restricted and that children be seen and not heard in the church. It is awfully difficult to raise children, and I commend those parents who raise them in a community of faith. Parents ought not to be scolded for striving to bring up their children in their faith. Yes, sometimes children can be unruly and occasionally distracting during worship, but this is a small price to pay to ensure that they feel welcome in church. It is no wonder 80 percent of all baptized Christians no longer take any part in organized religion with attitudes like these. Our children deserve better.

I was shocked to read how someone was upset that there was a fussy child attending church with his or her family and that maybe they should go home. Mass times are not set up according to age groups, but to enable more people to attend. Maybe 8 a.m. is the only time this family could go due to work or another reason. I, too, attend 8 a.m. mass and often hear children talking or crying. I don't think of it as a nuisance, I think of it as a family worshiping together. Our church bulletin reads, "All Are Welcome."

As a member of the "Grandparent community," I was saddened to see the advice in "Going to Church" suggesting that parents remove their children, or taking them to a service where older people are less likely to be present. I applaud parents for bringing their children to church, and know the effort it takes to get there — whether it is early evening, early morning or mid-day. I also know that the time that they are young is fleeting. I have watched many a young family mature, continuing to attend through the tough years. These occasionally fussy little ones are the future. Embrace them and encourage the young moms and dads. By the way, I would bet the priest already knows and loves the kids you reference.

Said a prayer for the parishioner whose Sunday must of started off wrong long before 8 a.m. services. Who does not long for a quiet and peaceful environment in church? But what about adults that gibber jabber off and on during services? Don't believe any parent enjoys a crying child in church either. Sorry, too, that you missed out on Matthew, Chapt. 19 or Luke, Chapt. 18... "Let the little children come to me..." I Googled here and there for a ruling on who should attend which service (5:30 p.m., 8 a.m. or 10 a.m.) No luck so far, but still researching. Perhaps the next time you hear a child cry in church, you can say a prayer of thanksgiving that this child made it out of the womb alive. And let's not forget prayers for the stressed parents who are trying to fulfill their religious obligations.

Save the tomatoes!

If your tomatoes are being robbed by squirrels, wrap them in aluminum foil after they form. I haven't lost one since I did it. Out of sight, out of mind.

Thank you

Loved, loved, loved the recent Summer Breeze Concert. The Michael Clark Band was fantastic! Thank you, Merchants Square merchants.

A special thank you to Diane Phares of Style by Design for repairing a minor hair emergency. She not only stayed late but also did a fantastic job.

Colonial Williamsburg

Here are some suggestions for CW to cut costs: Cancel Grand Illumination with all the employees getting laid off and the talk of no freebies. Why have free fireworks in three locations when money is in short supply? The amount spent by guests does not add up to the cost for the show. They will still come to see the Christmas decorations. The hotels have been a financial loss since their creation, so sell (not rent) the Governor's Inn to W&M as dorms, which they need. The Woodlands could be turned into housing for the employees, as Busch Gardens has for its employees. Most employees can't afford to live in this area; that way, they could walk to work or be bused in bad weather. It would be a win/win situation.

I recently stopped to see the refurbished Williamsburg Inn. Walking from my car, I thought about the atmosphere of this public lounge. It has an ambiance of the elegant 18th century that we see in Colonial Williamsburg's finest homes. It is the extension of the expression of Williamsburg, a room that is fine and comfortable, beautiful mahogany furniture, wingback chairs inviting you to sit and relax amid many wonderful arrangements of flowers in the 18th-century manner. As I walked through the re-decorated public spaces, it was attractive, said nothing about being part of the Colonial Williamsburg in the 18th century. What a disappointment! The new décor could be a Marriott Courtyard anywhere.

Was the Kimball already promised to W&M? I'm afraid the community relaxed a little when it was announced that W&M would lease the Kimball for three-and-a-half years.Unfortunately, this move was for the benefit of the college, not for those of us who have enjoyed the films and live performances at the Kimball. I was told over a year ago that the college's drama department needed to use the Kimball while their theater is being renovated. I would assume they were in negotiations with CW by that time. Losses at the Kimball represent only a small part of those losses and could be dealt with creatively, if CW had the will to do so.

Arts district

As a lifelong professional artist, I never expected anyone to help provide me with a place to live. As I know it to be, an "arts district" is a section, usually in large cities, where artists, art dealers and framers/suppliers congregated over many years in the same way that we have "China Town" and "Little Italy" and the "Theater District." What Williamsburg needs is an arts center where we can provide space for art education, art studios and a display venue, which can be operated on a co-op basis, with some funding and promotional support from the city. The art center on Westover Avenue is a start, but much too small. Imagine a cut down version of the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, in the old Rose's building, or a similar building. What I've described is only step one; then the really hard part starts in gaining support from locals and visitors. But then, no one ever said that a life in the arts was easy.

Food trucks

The comment in the Aug. 12 Last Word regarding food trucks at Merchants Square is the reason why CW is experiencing the losses they have created. To say our restaurants on Merchants Square offer affordable, healthy food is ridiculous and out of touch since, as you said, "snobbish and classy." These food trucks offer good food that visitors and residents can afford; they are not "tacky" as the person stated. Perhaps the trucks can park inside the Merchants Square area ...

The eclipse

The James City and Williamsburg Host Lions Clubs would like to remind residents not to look directly at the sun during the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday. Although it might be tempting to do so, staring at even a small sliver of the sun can cause permanent vision damage. Regular sunglasses do not offer protection, but eclipse safety glasses can be found online for purchase (see NASA's website for details). Other options for viewing the eclipse have been published in The Virginia Gazette and elsewhere. As your local vision service clubs, we wish you all to be safe.

Looking for ...

To the person who asked about rebinding a family Bible: The closest place we found is Long's Roullet Book Binders in Norfolk. They do an excellent job at a reasonable cost, are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. They are located on Monticello Avenue in Norfolk. Phone them at 757-623-4244 and discuss details. They may be able to give you an approximate estimate.

Are you looking for a thorough, honest cleaning woman? Muffin Holmes, the lady who cleans our home, has lost her other client after 19 years and she is looking for a new person to clean for. Please call us, the Meltons, at 757-229-5855, for references and to talk about what she can do for you.

I'm calling to recommend the backflow test people at J & D Enterprises Ltd., 757-790-9137. I just wanted to call to let the person looking for somebody that does the backflow test know who to call. Thank you.

I am looking for Chelsea Wright. She is a dog trainer who recently moved from Rochester, N.Y., to Williamsburg. If you know her, if you could have her give me a call in reference to dog training, I would greatly appreciate it. The number is 757-325-0545. Thank you.

Regarding the item in the Aug. 9 issue on backflow test: I have used Dave Taylor of the Backflow Company for the past five years and highly recommend him. Not only does he do the test at a very reasonable price, but he also submits the required paperwork to JCC. He can be reached at 757-220-8855 or by email at thebackflowco@gmail.com.

Where can we buy glasses to watch the eclipse?

I find myself in need of the number of the man who will help you understand Medicare, and I have misplaced the number. I would appreciate it if anyone who has the number would call in and leave it with the Last Word. Thank you very much.

Looking for a good contractor to repair rotten wood, repair screen porch and paint. Local considered. Please list names of reliable people who can begin work as soon as possible. Thank you.

In response to the lady who has a good cleaning lady she was recommending — please email me the information at walnutacresfarm@gmail.com or call 757-565-3478. I am in need. Thank you.

Looking for an individual cabinet maker or quality carpenter to replace kitchen cabinet doors at a reasonable price. Call and leave your phone number at 757-565-7031. No big companies need apply.

Does anyone know what happened to Rockin' Robbie's Resale? I left an item, went to see status and both sites are empty. Have called and left messages but no one returns calls. Would like my merchandise back or a check. Any information?

Where to buy the household solvent called goo-gone (2 oz.) in Williamsburg?

Does anyone know if there are updated maps of New Town available anywhere?

Corgis wanted

To the Corgi herd in Ford's Colony: We, a smaller herd of two Welsh Corgis in Windsor Forest, would love to get together with you to go walking! Please give our "hooman" a call at 565-6290. Corgi high fives from Linus and Miss Flier.

Free to you

Free complete single bed. Call 757-229-4195.

Political support

Regarding the Aug. 12 letter to the Gazette providing tongue-in-cheek support of the Koch brothers, the writer bares his prejudices by focusing only upon political spending by that conservative family. He could have similarly lambasted any number of liberal persons or groups that spend politically for their causes, not the least of which includes George Soros, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, Emily's List, et al. The writer's lack of balanced political ridicule is conspicuous.

The Crust closing

Despite Councilman Benny Zhang's desires and good intentions, you can't simply foist a business upon a locale and expect it to survive. In the real world, not the make-believe one imagined by government, a business must supply goods and/or services that customers want and at a price they are willing to pay, plus be well-managed and marketed. That's Business 101, something they (hopefully) teach at W&M's business school right down the road.

Help that dog

I'm worried sick about that black dog the young, homeless beggar keeps at the stoplight on Monticello Avenue at Settlers' Market, near the little Walmart. That little umbrella isn't much help with the heat and braving all those exhaust fumes. Please rescue that dog before its little lungs are filled with cancer. Friends say they've seen the two at other intersections, begging.

Return visit

I went to my favorite allergist this morning, Dr. Shield's office, and I learned that no one has turned in any of the timers that were taken. I am really, really disappointed in the people that have done this. It is not right because they did not belong to you — they belong to the doctor's office. They were not a gift. Please return them so that they can use them with the other patients, and this is not his staff giving this Last Word, it really is a patient. I'm disheartened by the fact that people would walk off with someone else's stuff. Thank you.

Come out and play

If there are any new mahjong players looking for a stress-free place to play, the Unitarian Church at 3051 Ironbound Road welcomes new players on Thursday afternoons at 1 p.m. Call Suzanne at 220-6830 for more information.

First Night

I am truly sorry to see the First Night end. I think that was a worthwhile thing to do. I, and I'm sure many others, had already contributed to this year's First Night when the announcement of its demise appeared in the press. May we expect a refund on the gifts we have given? Or is that money going to go into someone's pocket?

Time of need

As long as people are too lazy to work and know that someone else will take care of them, there will always be a "time of need." Someone should tell those who are asking for handouts that there are plenty of signs asking for paid help, that is, if they are really interested in getting a job.

To the individual who wrote "Times of Need:" Please do some more research before penning such a self-righteous condemnation of those less fortunate than yourself. While I am thrilled that smoking rates are plummeting, I refuse to judge those among the poor members of society who find themselves unable to quit. It would be impossible to enumerate all the deep-seated reasons for why the smoking rate among the homeless population is threefold that of the population at large, but nicotine addiction is an unfortunately powerful force. Given that the daily existence of many individuals asking for handouts is one of toil, stress and monotony, please recognize that the issue is not so simple as you suggest. A degree of empathy would not go amiss.

Rating hospitals

It amazes me that some people review hospitals based on how nice everyone was to them rather than the expertise of their treatment. I could go to a "grade C" hospital, get seen right away in the ER, have everyone falling all over me being nice, but get "C" grade diagnosis and treatment. I will still always look at the hospital's ranking — and we have one of the best right here, Sentara, with an "A" grade.

Meals taxes

Restaurants located in James City County and York need to advertise that fact, so they don't lose revenue from tourists and locals trying to avoid that higher meal tax. Oh, and I feel sorry for already cash-strapped CW having to collect an admission tax, which they don't even get to keep.

Lived here in James City for 20-plus years and really didn't like the 10 percent taxes added to my restaurant bill already when you need to add 15-20 percent for tip. We go out three times a week and believe me when I say I will now avoid those restaurants that are not in James City or York counties. Enough already with the taxes. That tourism fund will have little impact and just add costs to residents.

Coolio! We've almost a year to promulgate the word that starting next July, Williamsburg will have the highest meal tax in the nation — surely a big tourist draw for the progressive minded. Certainly the city fathers should look into a place in Guinness' records. We'll for sure have a highlighted place in our local Ripley's Museum — perhaps all of them.

With the council's decision to go ahead and raise our taxes, we are now asking for an audit of the funds being spent by the Williamsburg Area Destination Marketing Committee established by the City Council. What have they spent their funds on? As they will continue to get $2 for each receipt and the city will have to make up for any shortfall, this sounds like a black hole to suck up money from the taxpayers. Let's see what projects they have been spending on. Audit results?

Pulled up Google maps so I could determine which restaurants reside within the Williamsburg city limits. I will miss going to eat at these fine places. This time next year they will realize it was a mistake, but it is rare for a government entity to lower a tax rate.

Spending more money (tax increase) on a faulty, outdated, strategy isn't going to bring more tourists or increase local spending in Williamsburg or related JCC/York businesses. What we need is more events similar to the Funhouse Fest and, yes, food trucks, a different kind of draw — adapt to our future. I am suggesting we try to move past relying on CW and start to draw a new group of tourist and locals. Keep in mind, part of the issue is loss of local spending; we locals have a choice too — Richmond and Norfolk are very close.

Our leaders have no specific projects in mind as to how they will spend the new tax dollars, but they are sure they can come up with some. Gee, it's fun to spend other people's money.

More on Dunkirk

Not sure if anyone realizes it, but the boat captain in "Dunkirk" was based on a real person. His name was Charles Lightoller, and he was the senior surviving officer of RMS TITANIC. His knowledge of ships and craft allowed him to systematically load his small boat with an incredible number of survivors ... 127 in all. He died in the early '50s, but his widow made the trip to Dunkirk on the 25th anniversary of the evacuation in 1965.

All about school

You left out one very important thing in your article about being unhappy with your child's teacher. Please refrain from bad-mouthing that teacher in front of your child. Your child may have a fine relationship with this teacher (particularly elementary students) and your negative comments may confuse the child and cause unnecessary stress in the classroom. Children should be taught to be respectful of their teachers even if they don't always like or agree with them. This will only happen if it is modeled at home and you try to resolve your differences in private.

I found your article on "no classes a pain for parents" completely disrespectful to the teaching profession and another sign of how parents expect the schools to be babysitters. These schedules are well thought out and planned in advance to give teachers planning time and professional development time that they need to do the best for your child. Parents have this schedule at their disposal as early as spring of the previous year to allow more than ample time to plan for the days their children will not be in school. While you did offer many great solutions for these days, it was inappropriate to include whiny comments from parents insinuating that instructional days are taken for frivolous reasons.

Cost of business

In Virginia, you can get a $500 fine for speeding in an interstate construction zone. But you can get a $2,500 fine for littering on News Road. Go figure.

Height variance

Saw in the paper today where the Board of Supervisors gave a variance to Busch Gardens for a 310-foot tower. When I go down the river, all I see is roller coasters and the towers at Busch Gardens. What's so different from the roller coasters and the towers, which are closer to Jamestown than the towers that will go across the James River to provide us power after the closure of the Yorktown power plant? I want to know what was on the Board of Supervisors' minds when they did that. Thank you.

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