Last Word on cable TV changes - Jan. 2

The Virginia Gazette

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Needs a clean up

As you enter Winston Drive from Jamestown Road, a first sight is a huge mattress that has been strewn on a student rental's lawn. The mattress is moldy and decaying and has been there nearly a year now with other garbage piled on it. The students who left it are clearly long gone. Why doesn't the landlord take some responsibility and remove it so that the entry to the neighborhood doesn't look like a ghetto?

Power lines

To the person who asked if the proposed Dominion Virginia towers across the James River will have obstruction markers and lighting. They certainly will! The FAA ruled that they must have multi-colored 3-foot diameter spherical markers on the wires and red obstruction lights on the towers in order to provide "…the most conspicuity against all backgrounds." Dominion's visual simulations do not show or mention the required markings. In fact, Dominion's statements about the visual impact of the towers have stated the opposite: that the towers would be made of "…galvanized steel to better blend into the view." Why haven't the regulators challenged Dominion about this glaring discrepancy?

Cable TV

In reference to the confusion about the Cox digital boxes that will be required in January. There are several issues that are important. First, every TV you have hooked up to Cox service will need a mini box or high definition box to receive TV. The mini boxes are digital, not HD. It allows Cox to charge an additional fee for every TV you have hooked up to cable service and prevents cable theft. I lived in a Comcast Cable area until last year and they did this three years ago. The difference is they provided up to three mini boxes to every subscriber since you are already paying for cable TV. Cox might consider fairness to their subscribers as we are dealing with a local monopoly.

Cox is dropping transmission of analog channels in about a month, and simultaneously encrypting most of the digital channels. If your TV is an older one without a digital-cable-compatible tuner, it will not pick up any channels without one of their tuner boxes. However, if the TV is a newer one with a compatible tuner, you should still be able to tune in local channels and an as-yet unknown selection of additional channels without a mini box (according to Cox support). We have a rarely-used guest bedroom TV that is fairly new, and we plan to wait and see what it picks up. The number of channels available with the mini box will apparently be significantly more than without one, but less than with one of their digital tuners or DVRs. An alternative is to use an antenna to pick up local channels. You would probably need an amplifier, but you can pick up 20+ channels that way if done right. However, older TVs without built-in digital tuners would still need an external digital tuner box because the airways went all digital years ago.

I hope the Gazette will interview some responsible person at Cox to find out the details of their latest revenue enhancement scheme to further fleece the good citizens of James City County and environs. Do we get no TV service without the box or just not certain channels? Their advertising and direct mail letters are a bit gray on this point - likely intentionally, especially if people can get most channels without the box. Gazette - hope you are bird dogging Cox.

I cannot figure out Cox. They just want the people to keep spending more money for no reason. Now everyone has to get mini boxes to watch TV. Not only that, but if you buy a new DVD or VCR, you can't set it up through the box. You now have to go and purchase an additional connection to attach to the mini box. If they were going to the mini box, they should have put more thought into it. There should have been more connections on the back for HDMI. Why is that generally the boxes are $1.99 nationwide with some markets (e.g., including Cox servicing Hartford as featured in the Hartford Courant) providing current customers with a free box for two years, depending on individual plan. Seems like Hampton Roads payers are getting the shaft. Wake up localities…you regulate Cox and limit the providers in the marketplace and as a result are rewarded a premium/kick-back.

Recommended

I was recently visiting Aromas, a terrific coffeehouse in Williamsburg, and had the chance to hear Lou Vangieri / LCVProject performing instrumental holiday tunes on solo acoustic guitar. What a great gift to the Williamsburg community! Thanks to the management of Aromas for bringing Lou in to perform. It was an outstanding night! Lou will be performing at 1st Night Williamsburg at the Sadler Center Lodge 1 from 6:45 to 8:30 pm. Looking forward to hearing his music once again here in Williamsburg!

For years I have visited the many consignment furniture stores in Williamsburg, looking for bargains. This past week I stumbled across the ReStore on Jamestown Road, Colonial Square Shopping Center. It is a store that supports Habitat for Humanity projects. They have great furniture from rehabbed resort property and donations, overstock items, a variety of furniture, tools, appliances and home decorations. Many of the items are as good as regular consignment stores and the staff is the best I have ever come across in a retail store. It's a great cause and some treasures at half the price you might expect to pay for consignment items.

National politics

Wouldn't it be nice that during the debates that all the candidates had to be hooked up to lie detectors and answer only yes/no answers? That way the chosen person to be President would have no choice but to actually do what that say they would do upon winning.

I find it laughable that politifact gives Trump the lie of the year when you look at the statements they attribute to Hillary Clinton. Page after page they label as half true to totally false and yet its always the Republican or conservative that they label a liar, at a rate of 9 to 1 no less. Only a fool would believe that they have no bias.

As a mature woman I am offended by the recent cartoon depicting the male Democratic candidates waiting for Hillary Clinton with the message, "She's measuring the Oval Office for drapes." I am not overly sensitive, but this is the very reason we as a country often cannot see females in the highest office. With her credentials, no man delaying a debate would have this derogatory message as a cartoon. But the Gazette doesn't appear to have a problem.

This whole phoniness over Hillary being upset about the words that Trump used to describe her past presidential run and her defeat is nonsense because NPR used the same words to describe Ferraro's massive defeat. She was running. Nobody said a word then

Crisis talk

The next time you hear Al Gore & friends rail about global warming – or for that matter, practically any politician evoking almost any "crisis" -- remember the words of H. L. Mencken: "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."

Guns

In reference to AG Herring's decision to not accept out of state conceal carry permits, would someone please ask him to repeat all the incidents of problems concerning those permit holders? Oh, that's right, there are none. These people are law-abiding gun owners. Please address the thugs, terrorists and mentally ill. Stop abusing law-abiding gun owners.

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Thank you

This is dedicated to a very special lady and a very special doctor at Sentara Hospital, Dr. Lofgren.. She is the most wonderful person I have ever met in my entire life. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have been able to come home for Christmas. And I thank God for every day, every second, every minute that she came into my life. She changed my life. She's healing me. I have so much joy and love in that hospital. Part of me did not want even to come home. Even down to the nurses. They were lovely. They were my friends. In fact, I take them to be my best friends right now. Always—I'll never forget them. Thank you for letting share this..

Colonial Williamsburg

I would like to thank President Mitchell Reiss of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for avoiding the question at the town hall meeting of where the year-end merit bonus pool has gone. After a 1% COLA raise—and some got no COLA raises—we were promised that there would be a year-end merit pool for exemplary employees' pay. Thanks.

Scam alert

I was reading the "Scam alert" in the Last Word recently and I, too, have seen this lady work in Newport News. What she's doing is she's working that area first. Now she's in Williamsburg. She was at the Fresh Market. I'm glad that you put it in the paper, but she's working this area. Just to let you know. Once they work an area, they move to another area—it's quite bad. They're ripping people off. But I'm glad you noticed. Thank you.

New street signs?

Hey, James City County, with all this extra money you've raised with this new budget, how about replacing some very outdated and very faded street signs? Thank you.

Just wondering ...

If you have a baby shower and ask to bring an old book, does that mean a baby book? Thank you.

Roundabout

I live a fourth of a mile from News Road. A roundabout there is a disservice and such a waste of money. I would rather see them put up a red light that could be a caution later on in the evening. So much money is wasted. It seems like the neighbors have no say in the waste of money with that and even the waste of money in the school system. I just don't get it. I moved to this area. For the last 10 years, the waste is unbelievable.

Road work mess

I've been in Williamsburg for 40 years. Never have I seen such a mess that VDOT has made on Ironbound Road into the Meadows. No one seems to care. VDOT needs to fired and get someone who knows how to repair this mess.

God bless us

I believe sometimes we use people instead of things. We use people to get them to do things to make us look important, to fight and get killed to protect our interests and, as underpaid workers, so we can have more possessions. God will bless us when we stop using people for personal gain.

Affordable gasoline

Responsible to "Affordable gasoline" for the uninformed writer here: Gasoline, at the end of the second time of George Bush—the second George Bush—gas was at a national average of less than it is right now. For the entire Obama Administration, gas has been high until just recently. Besides that, it's funny that gasoline, when it got high under Bush, it was all his fault; and when it got low, no one said anything. Now, gas is low and it's thanks to Mr. President? Are you kidding?

W&M football

In response to "William and Mary football," Jimmye Laycock is the best thing that ever happened to William and Mary football. In competing against teams, one big difference in William and Mary and some of the other schools is that William and Mary players actually have to be able to spell their own names. They actually have to go to class, and they actually have to do the work. So the accomplishments of William and Mary football that's happened under Jimmye Laycock are amazing, and we should really appreciate this man. We would be fortunate to have a coach of this caliber ever again.

Terrorists

Terrorists in San Bernardino were followers of al-Awlaki's work, which continue to haunt after his death by American drones.

Squirrel problems

Rick Landis, who's a liability manager for Virginia Dominion Power, stated that they had more than 4,700 animal-related outages this year, mostly from the squirrels. "They're everywhere and they are so many of them," he says. "We've got to find a way to keep the lights on." Earlier this year, a family of squirrels chewed through an electrical line in Richmond and left a high rise full of senior citizens in the dark for three days. Forty-five thousand homes in several cities in the San Francisco Bay area lost power this summer when a squirrel took out a substation by gnawing through the lines. In October, a squirrel caused a transformer in Frederick, Maryland, to blow, cutting power to more than 2,000 customers. And last month, a squirrel killed the lights in part of Northwest Washington.

Ferry problems

You know, I'm sure people get tired of hearing complaints about the ferry, but I was just thinking about the people that made the decision to close down the largest ferry in the fleet, send it to the shipyard one week prior to the largest holiday travel time of the year, Christmas and New Year's! Now, everybody's sitting for two hours, trying to get across. They couldn't wait for another week or two? Give me a break, people!

Thoughts on Islam

Yes, the article that's in Saturday's Last Word, December 26th, in regards to Islam: The caller that put that article in there—I would like to make a comment in regards to that article. If you don't think that the Koran has anything to do with other than peace, then I think you should read it very carefully. It does say, "Kill the infidel" and you can lie in order to uphold and bring to light the Islamic work. And it just goes on and on and on. I don't think that Islam is a peaceful religion. I think it's just the opposite. Thank you.

W&M speaker

I have an idea for the person who wrote in that was unhappy with the speaker for the William and Mary Martin Luther King event at William and Mary. Please stay home and let the rest of us enjoy the program. Thank you.

Stryker building

I have purposely stayed out of the Stryker Building debate. My background? Design architecture. I purposely stayed out until the Last Word comment comparing the Stryker Building concept to Frank Lloyd Wright. Are you joking? Even if you didn't like Frank Lloyd Wright's style, the Guggenheim Museum is phenomenal. Falling Waters is phenomenal. His place out in Scottsdale, Arizona, is phenomenal. Even if you don't like that style, and that's not my style, [it's] incredibly well executed—it's phenomenal. My opinion of the Stryker Building? It's just plain ugly. Looks like they tried to do a 1940s industrial-style building. It's just ugly. That's why people don't like it. Frank Lloyd Wright would never have made a building look that ugly. That's why people are weighing in. They drove by, they looked at it, and they said, "Are you joking?" And now, I weigh in. Are you joking? It's ugly. It's like the emperor has no clothes on. You're supposed to go by and revere it and say it's wonderful, and the problem is, the people who are not educated in that field are like the little child saying, "The emperor has no clothes." The average person looks at it and thinks it's ugly, because it is.

Handicapped parking

To the caller that complained about handicap tag abuse in Virginia: It's rampant. In Northern Virginia, there's a black market in stolen ones. South Carolina has a solution to the problem. They require your photograph to be on the handicap tag. If you want to see that here, you're going to have to mount a campaign to petition your state legislators and with the speed with which the state legislature moves, it'll probably be 20 years before they get around to it.

Yes. I get tired of people complaining about handicap stickers just because somebody doesn't look handicapped. Just because they're not using a walker or using a wheelchair doesn't mean they don't have limitations. Myself, for example. I look 30 years younger than I am, at least, and I walk into a store. By the time I get back out, I have a hard time walking because of my leg. But people wouldn't know that just if I was standing there and they look at me. You cannot judge a book by its cover.

This is a response to the person in the Dec. 26 item about abuse of the handicapped parking space by people who do not appear to require their government-issued handicapped stickers or license plates. Just because a person doesn't have a wheelchair, walker, or cane, does not mean they aren't physically unable to walk long distances from their car to the store. You have no idea why the people you saw "abusing" the parking space had that sticker, and there are countless reasons why they might need it of which you are unaware. I have two close friends—both women under the age of 40—who have used handicapped stickers because of medical issues that you would not necessarily see just by looking at them or watching them walk a short distance. Did they need those stickers? Yes, absolutely, and even if you think they don't, their doctors and the DMV obviously believed they did. Frankly, I'd rather the police spend their time dealing with the traffic violations that I see every day, than interrogate people about whether or not they actually "deserve" that handicapped parking spot—a decision that a police officer has no medical authority to determine, any more than you or I. Please stop judging people's health based on how they appear.

To the caller inquiring about handicap parking: My question is, how do you know they're not handicapped? They might have a lung condition; they might have a heart condition. They might even have nerve damage that allows them to walk as far as to a restaurant, but maybe not two miles. I think one needs to look up the definition of what applies to having a handicap placard, but everything is not visible as far as the handicap. So we need to be real careful about—I hate to use the word "judging" someone, but that really is it. You know, I have a placard and I look great, but people don't see the pain in walking. So you just need to know what handicap means in order to obtain a placard.

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