Last Word on a changing landscape, March 24

Changing landscape

When driving along Route 60 toward Newport News, I note significant timber thinning, earth moving and other horizontal construction ongoing at Carter’s Grove Plantation. Can you shed light on what is going on at Carter’s Grove and what we may expect in the future?

Sales tax increase

Doesn’t it seem odd that residents of the local area will pay more in sales tax, yet residents of Williamsburg only pay 54 cents per $100 real estate tax versus James City County residents who pay 77 cents per $100? With the two areas sharing tax-funded services, this doesn’t seem quite fair. Maybe the residents of Williamsburg city should be assessed a special tax instead of raising taxes for all.

I’m referring to a recent Last Word where it was stated, the proposed tax was voted on by people outside of the region. Good point. Also, Sue Sadler says, “This is found money,” as if she came upon it dropped on the sidewalk. It is not found money. It is taken from the people without their consent. It’s called “robbery.”

The supervisors in Williamsburg, James City County and Yorktown should fight to cancel the 1 percent sales tax increase. This tax would increase the sales tax on food as well as other items from 6 percent to 7 percent and would impact a lot of low-income people in these areas. Collecting the tax and finding ways to disburse the tax for increasing tourist programs will require another commission with high-priced executives that will only take away money the citizens need for their own expenses. What has Tommy Norment done for us these past years? It is time to vote him out.

We noted in the recent Gazette article that now the Tommy tax will also be applied to our groceries and dinning tabs. What is it about regressive taxation that Sen.Norment does not understand? We will remember him and Sen. Monty Mason come election time. We may not be able to "Lock Them Up" but we can sure "Vote Them Out".

Closing shop

After 20 years, La Petite Tea Room at the Williamsburg Antique Mall will be closing at the end of April, but we’ll also be doing afternoon teas and teaching teaism, the history of tea, for special events here in Williamsburg. If you have any questions, call Miss Jean at 258-1599.

Road worries

Bulletin from Virginia DMV to all automakers in the world: You can save money by leaving off turn signals or making them optional on cars intended for the Williamsburg area. No one uses them anyway.

What is the VDOT guidance for an organization to Adopt-a-Highway? The organization that has adopted the area on News Road between Monticello and Firestone is not doing its job. It is a disaster. Surely there must be guidance that states the frequency of cleaning. This area is a real eyesore and needs work. How about someone from VDOT checking it out?

Would someone notify the department responsible for digging up the sidewalk at the corner of Bypass Road and Commons Way about a year ago and ask them to come finish the job? The deep hole has been temporarily covered with plywood and surrounded by four ugly orange cones wrapped with warning tape ever since. Whenever there are high winds, the cones blow off, then are replaced.

The potholes on Longhill Road — are they going to wait until the first of September, when they start the roundabout, before they spend any more money on Longhill Road? So, as soon as school starts in September, we’re going to have construction delays for the next two years. Something to look forward to.

Fair warning

Whoever stole the Easter decorations on Brookwood Drive and Lake Powell Road: I have installed security cameras.

A local, highly regarded restaurant routinely asks its hourly wage earners to run errands off the clock. They are either unaware that this practice is illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 or choose to flaunt it and take their chances in court. Workers fear retribution, so they remain unpaid for work for which they should rightfully be compensated. Other restaurateurs should be aware that fines may be greater than the cost of simply paying the workers.

School shootings, guns

I am writing to clarify that AR15 on a rifle stands for “ArmaLite,” the company that first manufactured these in the 1950s. Thank you.

There is an old saying, “You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.” There are so many guns in the U.S. we will never eliminate them. Should we ban assault rifles? I say who needs them. But gun owners fear the slippery slope — what will be the next type of gun to be banned? And many have a healthy and valid distrust of our government. The elephant in the room is the mental health issue. Addressing this should be the prime focus of our government.

"AR" simply signifies a design or product of ARmalite. They also sold pistols, such as the AR-24 and AR-7 fold-away survival gun. The Second Amendment is indeed all about the arms "available to the common soldier" and not simply limited to hunting. This determination was part of the Supreme Court decision on certain shotgun configurations.

To the commenter who stated they were scared about teachers having guns to protect themselves and their students: Maybe you can imagine the fear and helplessness the teachers and students felt while being hunted. Let’s be clear, no one has suggested that all teachers should be armed, but for those who choose to be properly trained, that should be their right.

In the Maryland school shooting a good guy with a gun stopped a bad guy with a gun.

I believe when we took prayer out of school, everything went in disarray. I believe we need to put prayer back in school and maybe we wouldn’t be wondering how we’re going to associate having teachers with guns and more protections for our children. I truly believe that we need more God in our schools for those that truly believe. Let’s keep up our prayers for our children, our teachers and all of those that are in authority. Thank you.

The Second Amendment says, in part, "...the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Lever action rifles, bolt action rifles, muzzle loader rifles and revolvers are all arms. Why is it an infringement of the Second Amendment to prohibit semiautomatic rifles and hand guns if gun owners can still own non-semiautomatic firearms?

I applaud high school students for taking the lead on fighting the NRA. I hope they realize that student shooting deaths at school are only the tip of the iceberg, and that they broaden their scope to address the pervasive societal gun problem that kills 31,000 persons a year.

Recently, when I was about to enter a restaurant, I noticed a sign stating, “No weapons allowed on premises.” Think about it, as there are three things wrong with this policy. One, I had to leave my permitted gun in the car, where it was subject to being stolen. Two, it left me defenseless if a criminal decided to do me harm while robbing the place, and three, does anyone think a criminal would obey the sign?

There are three questions I have for gun control advocates who think changing the laws will prevent shootings: First, how do you propose to confiscate the weapons that are already owned? ( Is it possible to search every home? Isn’t this government over-reach?) Secondly, How do you control gun sales on the black market? Finally, why would you expect evil people to obey laws? I think it best to have tightened security to keep criminals from entering schools and churches. Also, the threat of capital punishment might keep them from acting at all.

It amuses me to read how the gun lovers try to blame gun control proponents of blaming the guns. No one is blaming guns. It is always the criminals who perpetrate the crime. If they don't have assault type weapons, they cannot do as much damage as they do now. No one is trying to take anybody's hunting guns away if you are an avid hunter. Most gun lovers are not hunters. Please do not blame their parents' parenting skills either. Blaming others is never a solution to a problem. We are not living in the wild west any more. Time to think sanely and have sensible gun control, before this lunacy hits home for some of us law-abiding citizens.

Better movies

Won't anyone explain to us movie lovers why our two theaters persist in having the same movies at the same days? Like, there are only those few made in the world? Do the local managers have no discretion at all to get a more varied selection? Must we choose only from dystopia, total mayhem, stupidity, vulgarity? There must be some uplifting movies made. There are still people who don't choose horror movies, or mean-spirited people doing ugly things to others — we get enough of that with the news. Maybe the Chamber of Commerce will explain if theater managers won't. Another reason to keep the Kimball going with movies.

Postal service

I also have gotten a note from the postal carrier saying they attempted to deliver but no one was home. The postal person never got out of their vehicle. I wonder how often they do this.

Glad to learn I'm not alone having problems with the USPS Regional Destination Facility (a.k.a, Sandston). From tracking information, my package shipped from Aurora, Ill., March 12 and arrived in Sandston on March 14. It traveled 837 miles in two days. It has now been three days in Sandston (and counting), 40 miles away. Tracking for the last three days shows "the package is delayed and will not be delivered by the expected delivery date." Delayed? Was the stage coach robbed by the Dalton gang of outlaws while en route to Williamsburg?

Library honors

Congratulations to Williamsburg Regional Library for the national recognition it recently received. They would have had my vote if they still offered the kindergarten story time. It was such a shame when this was discontinued after years of having hundreds of kindergarten students going to hear stories once a week, walking two short blocks to get to a building that many had no idea was there because their parents didn’t take them. These students would then bring their families back to that wonderful “story place.” Imagine how many more votes we would have had if these students were still being exposed to the library and bringing their families back.

Affordable housing

To the person who said people should move if they can’t afford a house here: That would be a mass exodus of all the hotel, restaurant and grocery store workers. Who would be left to wait on you when you expect it?

“Commissioners who voted against the proposal said the cost to provide services would outpace the direct revenue created by each home." The preceding is a direct quote from the Sept. 9, 2017, Gazette, and it explains why JCC will not support the development of affordable housing. This is the reason retail clerks, cashiers, maids, janitors, drivers, gardeners, servers, cooks, dishwashers, groundskeepers, child caretakers, elder caretakers, health aides and a myriad of other jobs that pay less than a living wage for the individual that takes the job, but whose labor supports the lofty ambitions of creating a suburban enclave for the well-to-do that generates a profit for local government and ignores the fact that those workers need places to live. Our colonial ancestors recognized that their servants needed to be close at hand. Our authorities assume they can keep the servants of their favored retail and hospitality trades at arms-length.

Recommended

We recently had two nice gentlemen from Williamsburg Electrical Services replace all of our smoke detectors in our home. They did a great job, and we highly recommend them for any of your electrical needs. Thank you.

Kudos to Mattress Firm for a good deal and next-day delivery on a twin box spring. Also, thanks to Tyrone, who delivered the box spring, carried it into our home and set it up. Mattress Firm is at 757-229-8450, 4940 Monticello Ave.

Johnstown Jewelers just finished a pendant for me. It turned out beautiful. I would certainly recommend them for anyone looking for a reasonable great jeweler.

I recently had window tinting applied to my 2018 Ford F250 pickup truck. The work was done by Safe & Sound LLC, 18421 New Kent Highway, Barhamsville. They did an excellent job and we highly recommend them. The owners, Chuck and Michele Ward, are knowledgeable professionals who work to best meet your specific needs, and they have a very qualified technical staff. They also do marine and RV stereo installations and are DCJS certified for home and business security systems.

Just had both of our cars detailed at Reflections on 2nd Street — what amazing results. My 2006 looks new inside and out. And my husband’s 2009 looks brand new. Eric and Eric did a truly incredible job. I would highly recommend them for detailing any vehicle — well worth the investment. They are at 124 Second St., 253-1981.

I recommend Whitney or Janet at Mel’s Beauty & Barbering in Toano. They are great. That’s the only place I go and I would follow them. If one couldn’t do my hair, the other one does.

Haley, the Harris Teeter cake decorator at the Centerville store in Williamsburg, has a real talent along with great tasting cakes, cookies and even petit fours. Lent is almost over.

Colonial Foreign Car Service saved my 2001 Volvo S60 with 198,000 miles on it. They worked on it until they found and fixed the problem, and now I can drive it for another 100,000 miles. They’ve gotten lots of business from me in the past. They’ll get all my business in the future. They actually care about your car.

School protests

American schools are far below many other nations' schools in various international rankings. Now, at most places in America, students are being granted absence to participate in political demonstrations. Those who make such policy in America must be idiots — so what can we expect of our students and the future of America?

Safety measures

Every high school student should have a minimum of one hour training every year in the basic life-saving procedures of: 1. Clear the airway, 2. Stop the bleeding, 3. Cover the wound, and 4. Treat for shock. Such training, reinforced annually, can save lives both in school and in the community. Those who have already had the training, such as Boy Scouts and JROTC cadets, could help as assistant instructors.

Grocery stores

For the person wanting Kroger to purchase the Farm Fresh stores instead of Harris Teeter: Kroger owns Harris Teeter.

We need a Kroger in the Norge area. I’m hoping that Kroger buys out Farm Fresh in Norge. Thank you.

Assessing value

A house and stock in a company are only worth what the next fool will pay for it. Many houses someone paid $500,000 for in 2008 sold for $350,000 two years later. The house didn't lose any land or square footage. When interest rates go up, treasuries become more attractive to older investors and stock prices fall.

A little privacy

A local business proprietor recently tracked us down — at home — after we left an average review about them on Google. We were shocked and consider this an invasion of privacy. Local retailers, please be warned. This is unacceptable behavior and will be reported to the Better Business Bureau.

Looking for …

I, too, need someone to train my wildly growing pyracantha to grow along my picket fence instead of sprawling upward and outward. If you can do this, please publish contact info in Last Word.

I am seeking neighbors’ help in determining whether or not to continue our homeowner warranty arrangements. I have had them for couple of years on my primary residence and on a rental and are hearing some controversy on their real value. My one experience with my rental also lends credence to my concern, as it appears that there are a lack of some contractors in this area. I would appreciate hearing from those of you who can lend advice, and that also includes contractors who may have an experienced opinion. I need to renew one of these in May and the other in July, so I would really appreciate the feedback. Thank you.

I have several items I would like to sell on eBay, but I don’t have the time to photograph and otherwise prepare them myself for selling. Is there someone in the area who will, for a commission, do this for me? If so, please leave an email address of phone number in the Last Word. Thanks.

I was wondering if there is a multiple sclerosis support group in the Williamsburg area. If so, please leave a message or notify the Last Word. Thank you so much.

I’m wondering when and where any spring consignment sales for babies, toddlers and up to age 8 or so are happening in Williamsburg. I’ve heard there are a few that happen in the spring and I just really haven’t been able to find one place. I’m looking for information, so I thought maybe the Last Word would be able to help me out. Thanks so much.

Problem timing

Lately, after getting a firm appointment time, then comes the letter, phone call or email telling me my appointment show time is actually half an hour earlier. Why, oh why, can't medical people deal in forthright plain English and get it right and clear the first time?

Good old days

I may be dating myself, but the only violent act I remember in our school was when someone used vulgar language around young women like Trump did recently and we took him behind the school and pummeled him.

Nicely done

Kudos to Barbara Knowles again for her insight, commentary and a very timely balanced scenario about education in schools. Sort of gives a balance to the shooting and gun control. She has tremendous insight into why we send our children to school, and that is education. Barbara, we certainly do enjoy reading your comments that make us all think. Thank you.

Charging stations

While I think it would be good for Tesla to place a few charging stations in the area, I don’t expect for the area to get rich from highway drivers getting off the road here, eating and shopping while they wait for their cars to charge. The number of Teslas I’ve ever seen might total 12. Editor’s note: The charging stations Tesla and the EDA are talking about also have universal charging stations.

Gas price update

Costco: $2.19 Regular, $2.49 Premium. Both with detergent. Williamsburg: $2.39 Regular average, $2.90 Premium average. Both with no detergent. Still getting hosed.

Civil discourse

We retired to Williamsburg in 2013. We totally enjoy the pace of life here, the people and everything Williamsburg has to offer. I am perplexed, however, at the anger and rigidity expressed by so many in their Last Word comments. With respect to the recent school shooting, a commenter assumes that negligent parents are responsible for school shooters without any facts to support such an unfair generalization. Commenters against gun control assume everyone is advocating confiscation, despite the many common-sense restrictions that don't involve anything as drastic as that. Lastly, we find out that only Republicans pay federal personal income tax, get jobs and are contributing members of society. Come on, we are all Americans and have the right of free speech; what we don't need in this great country is the inability to discuss our differences in a civil and courteous manner. Check your facts before you think you've gotten "the Last Word." Thank you, Virginia Gazette.

Up in Washington

No budget out of Congress, another continuing resolution about to expire, another government shutdown looms. No real work on keeping school safe. But a New York State legislator has proposed a law to give pets on airplanes the same rights as humans. Good to know we have our priorities straight.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions should be commended for his brave and courageous action to fire FBI Agent Andrew McCabe just prior to McCabe's retirement. McCabe lied to Congress and investigators about his actions in the FBI FISA applications to investigate President Trump's involvement with Russia. Sessions' actions have brought back positive beliefs in our democracy and in our government officials.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, said exactly the right thing on Fox News this weekend, when he was asked about Trump’s Twitter attacks on Mueller: “When you are innocent ... act like it. If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible.” What is it that Trump is trying so hard to hide?

Gen. McCaffery, youngest 4-star general in history, Bronze Star, two silver stars, four purple hearts, says Trump is a serious threat to our country and Putin has something on him. I concur with the general and not the Fox News cowards.

I remember my GOP friends telling me how much money they made under Bush by 2006; two years later, half their money was gone.

The real effects of the Trump tax cuts are starting to show up. The budget deficit for February was $215.2 billion, up 12.1 percent from last February. This is just a drop in the bucket compared to what is coming. The deficits combined with out of control spending are going to create debt levels never seen before. Seems when you cut your income dramatically, your debt increases. Thanks to the tax-cut and spend Republicans for out-of-control debt.

Kimberly Clark gave $981,000,000 to their stock holders and closed their plant in northern Wisconsin. Thanks, Trump.

Democrats are fast to state that Trump’s presidency is always in a state of disarray due to frequent firings. While it is true that with the Obama presidency no firing took place, this means incompetence was the norm. In the private sector, there is such a thing as being held accountable. It’s about time the public sector holds its employees to the same standard.

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