Last Word on paying customers, Jan. 12

Biltmore vs. CW

To the person asking how Biltmore gets 1 million attendees a year: Perhaps because everyone who steps inside the old mansion is a paying attendee. The Waste Management Golf Tourney in Phoenix next month will draw 700,000 people in four days. Everyone on the golf course is a paying attendee. Unfortunately, CW has been too gratuitous with their hospitality and most who walk the streets of this historic gem never spend a plugged nickel. Charge everyone an annual $50 fee or a daily $5 fee. Like or leave it.

Tourism council

Well, I saw where the tourism board, funded by the Tommy tax, has $1.1 million in salaries and benefits. This is all taxpayer funding. I’d like to see a breakdown of who’s getting paid what, because it sounds like an awful lot to me — just somebody getting fat off my tax dollars.

Shutdown and the wall

I recently retired from the federal government with 36 years of service and I experienced a few shutdowns. I never remember anybody missing a Social Security check or a pension check. I always got paid for staying at home. We were always happy because it was like getting another week of vacation -- paid vacation.

Someone who is forced to work for no pay is called a slave. No government workers should be required to work, essential or not. Shut the entire government down — then we would see how long this lasts.

The state of California wants to open the doors to every Tom, Dick and Harry coming from Mexico. Well, I think they ought to do that, and I also think Trump should build a wall around California. Maybe that might solve the problem.

The Democrats say we’ll have better use for the border money. Does that mean the same as the use they had for the shovel-ready jobs, the $700 or $800 billion that we got nothing out of, not even a street or a bridge named for Nancy Pelosi? No. They can’t get it right, never have, never will. Thank you.

I am pleased to read that our president is standing firm on his promise that "Mexico will pay for the wall." Maybe there will now be a breakthrough on restarting our government.

If the Democrats really believe the wall won’t work and is a waste of money, then they should let President Trump build it and prove him wrong. However, if the wall works, the Democrats would lose the 2020 election, and that’s what they’re really worried about. Bottom line, the Democrats are playing politics with our national security.

Apparently, the president fantasizes that building his promised wall is no more difficult than his waddling down to the beach at Mar a Largo with his little bucket and plastic shovel and building a sand castle.

Why is it that when 800,000 government employees are not working or getting paid do the vice president and members of Congress get their checks?

To the person asking about the Immigration cost: Although I was not the person who sent that information to the Last Word, you’ll find that we spend between $119 billion and $135 billion each year on illegal immigration. So, it’s there to be seen — it’s just a matter of really wanting to see it. The CNN site gave the same numbers. So that we wouldn’t pay $5 billion for a wall is crazy — that we wouldn’t do that in order to save money. It’s called “penny wise, dollar foolish.”

In order to build his vision of a steel barrier, the president is going to have to rescind his tariffs on steel so that the wall will be affordable. There is no need for the U.S. government to spend a needless 25 percent-plus on it.

I’ve learned so much from Donald Trump’s presidency thus far. I’ve learned even folks I thought were intelligent can be taken in by his snake-oil salesman pitch. I’ve learned folks now feel they can openly turn against their fellow man for reasons of color, gender, religion, etc. because they feel empowered to do so. I’ve learned people believe what they want to believe even when deep down they know better. Case in point: Mexico is going to pay for the wall. Of course, they are! Not. Did anyone really believe they would? In my opinion, Donald Trump has hoodwinked a great many people. I can only hope those who supported him are starting to see the “let’s make America great again” plan they bought into is now a muddy swamp.

Resolutions

What will you do this year? Construct, uphold, propose, praise, protect, build, esteem, support, assist? Or attack, defame, obstruct, oppose, slander, destroy, malign, resist?

Refreshing read

I just read Emeline Bailey’s little essay in the Jan. 5 Virginia Gazette. What a delightful essay. I certainly enjoyed reading it. We need more like that. It was a really feel-good piece. I like to refer to columns sometimes as the “whiners,” but this was totally opposite. Made my day. Thanks so much.

Speedy delivery

I have a contact that may be helpful in resolving mail delivery issues. Janice L. Atherly is a district manager in Richmond. Her work number is 804-775-6365. Her email address is janice.l.atherly@usps.gov.

We sent our son a Christmas card with a check inside well before Christmas. He never received it. A week after Christmas, we cancelled the check and sent him a new one which he did receive. Did you know it cost $36 to cancel a check? Thank you, USPS.

The postal service has removed the drive-by mailbox at the Richmond Road Post Office. It was at the corner of Richmond Road and Centerville. Why would this be? We need more drive-by mailboxes, not no mailbox. Thank you.

Holiday spirit

Thank you to the nice Christmas wishes this year and for the decorated trees on Route 199 and the cute apartment decorations next to Kidsburg. Williamsburg is the best for holidays. Happy New Year!

Thank you for informing us about Christmas decorations and the fullness of the season. I was not aware that we should leave our decorations up until Jan. 6. I brought our manager scene in early, but next year I will leave it out until Jan. 7.

I had the opportunity this past Saturday evening to see and hear a marvelous performance at the Bruton Parish Church by the Jamestown Youth Choir, entitled “A Twelfth Night Celebration,” an ensemble of Christmas music from the 12th century to the 19th century. It was guided by the most talented Chris Mooney. Tonia Herring was on keyboards, David Gardner on fiddle and Dean Shostak on glass armonica. All gave an excellent accompaniment to these wonderful, talented young singers. A memorable experience at the Bruton Parish Church.

Sidecar santa

Sidecar Santa has put away the sidecar sleigh for the year. I want to thank all of my elves that rode with me and helped to pass out more than 3,000 toys this year. I want to thank Mrs. Sidecar Santa for being supportive of what has become an obsession for me. Most of all, I want to give a big thank you to everyone who has given me beanies and other small stuffed animals. Without your support, I could not do what I am doing. I ask that if anyone has beanie baby-sized toys that they would like to give, I collect all year and I am very low in my reserve supply. If you have seen the Facebook posts that some beanies are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, don’t believe them. If they are true, I have given away about $10 million worth of beanies each year. I can assure you they are worth more to the child that receives them than they will ever be on the internet. I can be reached by email at sidecarsanta@hotmail.com.

Check it out

While waiting for a new Hallmark store to open, check out Olde Town Pharmacy on Longhill/ Olde Towne roads. All of their greeting cards are 50 percent off and they have very nice gift items.

Looking for ...

To the person looking for help to get some chores done, Senior Run provides that, and so I wanted to at least pass on that information. We can be reached at 757-726-7090 or 757-802-4246.

To the person looking for help with gastrointestinal problems, I recommend Dr. April Guminsky. She is a Functional Medicine doctor who helped me resolve my digestive problems within a few months. The name of her practice is Gateway Internal Medicine, here in Williamsburg on Bulifants Boulevard, 757-707-3025. Good luck.

I am 63 and in good health. When my husband retires, he will get health insurance with Medicare. I can’t for two years. Does anyone know of an insurance agent who can help find affordable individual health insurance?

Since Verizon no longer offers cellphone classes, can anyone tell me where I can find classes on how to use my iPhone? Thank you.

The writer who asked for information about groups in the area catering to folks older than 65: If you are single, you may want to contact the Mature Singles Network at maturesinglesnetwork@gmail.com. You may also want to get in touch with S.A.L.T., which meets in the Methodist Church on Jamestown Road every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

I’m trying to find a source or some leads to portable liquid oxygen systems that would deliver four to six liters per minute. I’m having a hard time finding anything on the internet or by talking to people. If anybody out there has any leads to help me find such equipment, please contact me at 757-229-2738. Thank you.

To the person looking for a new chainsaw handle, did you try eBay? Or Google?

Is there any local business that repairs zippers?

Someone looking for a gastroenterologist in Hampton Roads. My family has been patients of Dr. Frederick Gessner in Newport News, Riverside system, for more than 20 years (757-599-6333). Excellent doctor. You can go to Richmond, Charlottesville or even Baltimore but there are good doctors in Hampton Roads. He’s a very good doctor. I’m sure if he felt you needed additional consultation, he would refer you. Thank you.

Brush clean up

Ever since the December snowstorm, I have seen VDOT grinding branches on the interstate and York County out picking up branches in the neighborhoods in the upper end of the county, but James City County expects you to haul your own brush to the Jolly Pond transfer station.

Join up

To the retired senior citizen looking for a place to join: May I suggest that you check out the Senior Lounge at the James City County Recreation Center, 5301 Longhill Road, phone 757-259-4178. You are allowed two free visits. If you decide to join, it’s a real bargain at $60 a year for locals, plus fees discounted for low income. They offer various activities every weekday. I particularly enjoy Bingo each Wednesday afternoon, with free coffee and prizes; line dancing three mornings a week, Bunco twice a month, just to name a few. You’re sure to find something that interests you. Get involved and you’ll meet some of the nicest people, guaranteed.

Road worries

Once again it’s a gray, miserable, rainy morning and we’ve got people who think they’re Superman, driving their cars with no headlights on, hoping that my X-ray vision will pick them up.

I was recently involved in a vehicle crash on Cranston Mill Pond Road. I was the only driver, and I ran off the side of the road around one of the turns and hit a tree doing around 45 miles per hour, totaling my vehicle. A split second of inattentiveness and thinking about things other than the road were the culprit. Luckily, besides some bruising I was uninjured. I just wanted to take a second to remind everyone there are many forms of distracted driving. Just because you aren’t texting, talking or adjusting the radio doesn’t mean your attention is where it should be. Please stay focused while driving. Your life and the lives of others depend on it.

County sprawl

Well said for both Michael Grimes’ comments and the resulting response entitled “County sprawl.” It is apparent that issues of development and relative needs of the community are not being addressed in a particularly fair and far-sighted manner. To allow continued development of additional commercial sites when there are so many that are either unoccupied or underutilized begs the question of why are we allowing this to be done to our community. The point regarding the increased stress on existing infrastructures including police, fire, water, sewage, waste management, schools and road maintenance, etc., with developers not being tasked with adequate proffers to offset the increase costs to the community via tax increases is something that should be addressed prior to the approval of any project. This is not being adequately done. Looking ahead 10 to 50 years from now, will the approved sprawl provide a better environment to call home than what we now have? It's time to arrest this trend and preserve what makes this community so exceptional.

Bad broadcast

The ESPN broadcast of the National Collegiate Championship Game was absurd. Over a third of the screen was two pictures, one showing babbling broadcasters on a sideline and two more on the other sideline. Broadcaster comments while the camera covers the field activity are helpful. But the 100% time babbling broadcasters from the sidelines taking over a third of the screen is absurd.

Good jobs

Manufacturing posted best job gains since 1997, wages increased to $21.91 and unemployment rates for Hispanics, African-Americans and Asians are at all-time lows. Comparing the last 21 months of the Obama administration with the first 21 months of Trump’s, more than 10 times the number of manufacturing jobs were added. Manufacturing is key to making the “American Dream” a reality, for all.

Still waiting

I made this same phone call for a couple of years now, and apparently you don’t want to print it because you deal with facts. Well, this is a fact. The Redskins have said it again. Wait ‘til next year.

Recommended

Please call Shari Menke at 757-876-3713 for all your housecleaning needs. Honest, thorough, dependable, and reasonably priced. She also takes care of our dogs. We don't know what we would do without her. Thank you!

In the spirit of spreading kindness in the New Year, I would like to share some positive recommendations for two outstanding businesses that have provided excellent service to us. K&K Electric and Kevin O’Connell (757-903-2565, kkelectricalva@gmail.com) has followed through on every promised phone call, service call, and job for which we have contacted his company. We trust him completely and are comfortable leaving a key for him to complete work in our absence. The technicians have been superb as well. Donna of PawPurrs Pet Services in Toano (757-253-8022, pawpurrspetservices@gmail.com) runs an incredible business. All pet sitting requests can be made online. The prices are very reasonable, and you can choose the length of visit you would like.The pet sitters are amazing! They take photos of your pets and send an email to confirm that they came and all is well. We are very grateful to have such dependable services that do an

My husband and I had the best experience with MN Jeweler on John Tyler Highway. Before he proposed, my husband received a few family diamonds and gold and took them to Mao with a vague vision of what he wanted the ring to look like. Mao was beyond patient and helpful in working with him to craft a ring he thought I’d love. I know nothing about this and I could not be happier with how it turned out. I get compliments on it from complete strangers regularly. Mao is cheerful, kind, and genuinely cares about his clients and their vision.

Our 20-year-old heat pump recently died. Reliance Home Comfort (757-921-5347) responded and had a technician out within 24 hours to confirm the entire HVAC system needed to be replaced. Owner Derick Valentine promptly responded to all of my inquiries, even calling as late as 8:30 p.m. to confirm when his technicians would be arriving. Parts were ordered and the new system was installed in less than 6 hours by technicians John Claud and Justin. The technicians were friendly, professional, competent and cleaned up the work areas when they were finished. I highly recommend them.

Immigration

Parents and guardians did not put their border guards in charge of the children. Trump did, when he decided to take them from their families in the first place. Thank you.

Virginia ham

In reply to the Virginia ham inquiry: The Chinese have owned Smithfield Ham for more than three years. Thank you.

What a wag

I just ran into an old friend at the grocery store. She told me she had just come from physical therapy and her arm was sore. I said her arm is probably not as sore as Trump’s arm from all the patting himself on the back he’s been doing lately.

Guns

Calling what Gov. Northam is proposing as gun safety measures is dishonest. Even though you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig. It’s still gun control.

Loose dogs

I’m calling about the four loose dogs described in Fenwick Hills. It is beyond my understanding why the animal police or the actual police don’t go to that area and roundup the dogs for the public’s safety.

Thank you

I want to say thank you to the woman who stopped and helped me when I had a fall and took me home. It is wonderful living here in Williamsburg, where people are so thoughtful. Thank you and God bless you.

I wanted to express my appreciation to Restore volunteers who worked cheerfully and tirelessly to assist the crowds in for their New Year’s Eve 50 percent off sale. I found unheard of bargains and a lot of friendly faces; who else gives you chocolate for waiting in line? I am definitely becoming a regular customer and donor. I'd also like to thank Walmart for donating a mountain of sheet sets and throws to Restore. They passed the savings on to us and it is greatly appreciated.

Up in Washington

Note to Lindsey Graham: Mitch McConnell is meeting in a basement of a Capitol Hill restaurant on Inauguration Day 2009, plotting to make President Barack Obama’s administration a total failure. So if Schumer and Pelosi want to make the current administration a total failure, that’s payback.

To the commenter complaining about the current administration dismantling the legacy of Obama: Which legacy is there to dismantle, the horrible Obamacare one? I can’t name even one good thing Obama did while in office, can anyone else?

I applaud Mitt Romney for showing the GOP senators that they are employees of the people of the United States, not Trump . If they don't get that straight soon, Trump can always use a few of them to cut grass on a golf course after they are booted out of office.

To the commenter wanting to applaud Mitt Romney: Mitt is a sore loser as he never won the presidential election, just another good looking politician without substance.

After Elaine Luria spent months on the campaign trail dodging the question about her support of Nancy Pelosi, she promptly bent the knee today by voting yes for Speaker Pelosi.

The elected congressmen/women were sent to Washington to do a job for the public and not to spend their time investigating and wasting taxpayers’ money on trivial things. If you want to investigate other congressmen or you want to investigate the president, do it after hours. We send you to Congress to do a job, to take care for America. Now America is getting cheated by our own representatives.

With all the talk by the Democrats wanting to impeach President Trump, first ask the American people how they like the most robust economy anyone has seen in recent times. You can’t argue with success. Is there a Democrat agenda to make America great again or is their only agenda to impeach President Trump? In the private sector, when you don’t like something, you need to have a better way of doing it.

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