Last Word on loose change, Sept. 22

Loose change

Once again, I've had my coins slide off my dollar bills and drop to the ground while checking out at a business today, and feel compelled to share this piece of advice. Store/restaurant managers, please instruct your staff when giving change to customers, to place the coins in the recipient's hand, then lay the paper money on top. This way, the coins won't slide off the bills and fall to the ground. I know we can't expect clerks to give change back the old fashioned way, counting it back up to the original amount given; computerized cash registers have rendered that skill obsolete. We just have to trust that the machine calculated the change correctly. But I implore store and restaurant managers to encourage their staff to adopt this sensible practice.

Cleaning up

When will the demolition take place on the burned out building in Lightfoot? The facility burned months ago. I imagine all investigations are done, never did hear what happened — accident, arson, etc. It is on a community character corridor; I would think it would be a priority.

Looking for …

I am looking for any information on the abandoned cemetery on Airport Road. Please email me at yorkcountyhistory@yahoo.com.

I’d like to know if anybody has a solution for 100-foot trees that are very close to the property line, ready to fall on a person’s house. Has anyone had this before and can they tell how they solved the problem?

To the person who enquired about where to find lampshades: The best selection of lampshades I’ve found around here is the At Home store. It has locations on Mercury Boulevard in Hampton, as well as in Richmond near Richmond International Airport.

Road worries

To the woman in the silver SUV with the mobility scooter on the back of it at Walmart: I see you are healthy enough to walk inside and get a scooter, but you were too lazy to take it back when you were finished so that somebody else who needs one could have it. Shame on you.

Has anyone else noticed the problem that is happening with the new traffic light on Ironbound Road at Aldi? Many times now, I’ve been in a line of vehicles that backs up into Richmond Road because there is such a short amount of road between the light and Richmond Road. It’s definitely an accident waiting to happen. I’ve heard people say that now they cut through the CVS parking lot to avoid that light, which doesn’t seem like a safe alternative. Thank you.

Tourism Council

As I read the reports of the groups figuring out what to do with the additional tourism money generated by the sales tax increase, all I keep seeing is hiring more people and consultants. It would seem that building an empire with the added funds is the current plan. How about finding out what was done before from the people who did it, and improving on it? Do we really need to start from scratch again? Bewildered that the last few articles have not said a single word about more advertising, more TV spots, mailing, anything like that. Just more people and a bigger empire. But maybe I am being too practical, and the purpose of the raised tax was to aid the economy by hiring more people.

Good-to-go cars

Thank you to Barry Hood for his letter to the editor warning that our “good to go cars” may not be safe to drive. Who knew? We certainly didn’t think of digging into recall notices as a part of an annual inspection. Just seems automatic that the required inspectors would have current knowledge about the various safety issues from auto manufacturers. Thanks for alerting us and offering solutions.

Weather Channel

I recall a few years ago we were so pleased that Williamsburg was again included on the Weather Channel’s reports. But now, I wonder why this was so important. Due to the impending hurricane, we were watching the channel. It stated currently sunny skies while we were experiencing torrential rains, thunderstorms and lightning so severe that it hit a neighbor’s house. While I understand that forecasting weather is not an exact science, can’t these people just look out their windows?

Student debt

Does anyone know how many millions of dollars of debt college students and for-profit school students have racked up? Does anyone deign to mention to the borrowers that A) they will have to pay it back. B) they will need a job that pays enough money to live on plus repay the loans! Is there anyone out there with a modicum of common sense? Common decency?

Mandatory reporting

The pope has called another meeting of bishops to discuss sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. When is he going to start firing not only the abusers, but those who knew about it. Clergy are mandatory reporters. So why is law enforcement giving them a ride? In other professions, if you even suspect abuse and don't report it, you can be fired.

Mail delivery

The United States Postal Service has a service called “Informed Delivery” where they scan the face of the envelopes expected to be delivered that day to a given address and email an image of these envelopes to the addressee. I’ve been enrolled in this service for at least a year. It a good service in that one knows what mail to expect, especially while on travel. Recently, and not for the first time, two envelopes, one a tax bill and the other a notice about my retirement plan, did not show up on the expected delivery day or the day after. I printed out the email and showed the missing envelopes to the carrier. Even after all this time he had not heard of the service and said the USPS never emailsan addressee. I showed him the email showing that the USPS does send emails. He said that he would check for mis-deliveries on his route and hopefully deliver it to me in the future. This reflects very badly on both local and national management. How could their internal communication be so bad that a delivery person had never heard of the service and why so many non-deliveries and misdeliveries that many of us have experienced?

Corporate tax

Virginia’s legislators need to look more seriously into lowering our corporate income taxes, which range from 6-20 percent or more for many companies. The current Business Professional and Occupational License tax places heavy burden on businesses by taxing gross profits rather than net profits. North Carolina eliminated its Business League Tax in 2015. Previous governors McDonald, McAuliffe and now Northam, have all campaigned on reforming the BPOL. Are Virginia politicians brave enough to step forward to get a bipartisan reform passed and supported by both sides of the aisle? Voters need to let them know about this now.

Pottery plans

So, the Pottery wants public input on its plan to expand and develop an additional 750 acres? Well, I’m happy to offer mine, but you’ve already shot yourself in the foot by closing a historically successful business and building a circus-style monstrosity that no one frequents. It will ultimately be a vacant eyesore. Please don’t destroy the landscape by building another so-called development, especially if it requires my tax dollars for a traffic light.

News on Lidl?

Is there any update on the planned Lidl grocery store in the Lightfoot area? Having a competitive store like Lidl in Lightfoot /Williamsburg would be very good. Editor’s note: We reported in February that Lidl put their James City plans on hold indefinitely; we learned this week that the company has withdrawn its zoning application to build a store in the county.

Scam alert

Just received a call from “Seattle” saying I had placed an order for $77 on Amazon using my Visa card. They instructed me to call a number to cancel the order if I had not placed it. Instead I called Amazon Prime’s customer service and was told no one from Amazon Prime ever calls on the phone with questions about an order; all questions are done by email. Be careful! I am sure if I had called the number they gave me they would have asked for my Visa information so they could credit my account. What a shame! Have to really be alert!

Absentee voting

Regarding a recent comment: The rules are not made by James City County Voter Registrar, the absentee voting rules are made in Richmond by the State Legislature and State Board of Elections. So, if you want the rules changed, you need to contact your state representative and if they don’t do anything, vote for someone who will.

Agreed Virginia is behind most states regarding absentee voting, but currently there are 20 accepted reasons you are allowed to vote absentee. None require a doctor’s letter. Also, if voting was still like in Colonial times, only white, male, landowners could vote, leaving the rest of us out in the cold without a say.

More hidden agendas

Regarding the “Hidden Agenda” item in a recent Last Word: The problem with the conservative side of the news as reported on Fox is that, by conservatives’ own admission, it is based on alternative facts. What are alternative facts? It is a belief about the information being provided based on how you feel about it, regardless of whether or not it is based on objective, verifiable facts. Thus, if you want to believe what you hear, if it agrees with your agenda, it is truth to you, even if it is contradicted by the facts. Throw in a little fear, paranoia, anger, lies and a conspiracy theory or two, you have the conservative version of the news. Nobody is perfect, but I believe that the so-called mainstream media at least make an effort to present a fact-based, objective version of reality rather than the subjective opinion-based propaganda presented by Fox.

Just wondering

Why would a CVS clerk sell anyone $1,600 worth of product and not get proof of ownership and identity?

GDP growth

I don’t know where the individual who was so proud of Obama’s GDP got their information. During his tenure, the GDP averaged a growth rate of 2.27 percent. The highest was in 2015 at 2.9 percent while the lowest was in 2011 at 1.6 percent. I also believe he indicated that was the best it would be for the foreseeable future. Check the first two years of Trump’s term.

What's New II

Do the people of Williamsburg remember the brilliant plan to enclose Colonial Williamsburg with a fence? And then there's the pond in front of the Inn — no fountain, no fish. Perhaps they could invest in water lilies to make it more attractive? That was then. Removing parking spaces adjacent to Merchants Square is now. What inane plans are in store for the future?

Paper vs. plastic

To clarify a previous writer’s comment: Plastic bag recycling is not prohibited in this area. You cannot put your plastic bags into your home recycling cans, as they clog up sorting machines, but you can certainly recycle them at area grocery stores and many other stores such as Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Staples. Also, many schools collect them.

As long as plastic grocery bags are recycled, does it matter whether it is done locally or not?

Making it nice

Now that the speed bumps on the Merrimac Trail shortcut which leads to Hubbard Lane have been painted and are visible, what about trimming the weeds climbing on the faded stop sign and the fire hydrant?

I kept waiting for maintenance to be done to the median areas where the Interstate 64 improvements have been completed. A beautiful selection of plants — lots of them — were installed in the median areas. But no maintenance. So now the weeds are taller than the plants in most areas, and who knows if they are alive or dead. I am dismayed at all the taxpayer money which seems to be totally wasted on this. If there isn’t going to be any maintenance, then install rocks. Certainly not as desirable in appearance, but lots cheaper. I am surprised that none of the VDOT supervisors or the board in charge of the I-64 expansion have not travelled the road and seen this complete lack of maintenance. Maybe they don’t travel the road at all? I have to believe that somewhere there is a contract for maintenance being funded by taxpayer dollars. Let’s clean it up quickly.

Apparently Governor Berkeley's staff did not get the word to him about cleaning up and cutting down the overgrown weeds that have taken over Historic Green Spring. What will it take to get the National Parks Service, the state or James City County to get a mower and restore what we used to enjoy, the remains of Governor Berkeley's home, greenery and deer. Are there any others out there in VAGazette Land who agree?

Storm prep

Neither rain nor snow nor gloom of night and so on is no longer the motto of the USPS. On Sept. 11, with a hurricane headed for Wilmington, N.C., the regional center in Richmond went into panic mode and ordered local offices be locked down after business hours for an indeterminate amount of time. This made it impossible for those of us who still have to work for a living to pick up our mail in the evening, because the doors were locked before we get off work. It was particularly silly on Wednesday evening when the weather was clear, in the 80s, a mild breeze and not a hint of storm clouds in the sky.

Folks that chose to stay on in a major storm despite evacuation instructions and then expect other people to risk their lives to provide a rescue are selfish and spoiled. They should be left until it is totally safe and feasible for trained people to offer help and they should be charged for the actual costs to the community. There is no excuse for anyone to refuse common-sense instructions and expect the community to pay the costs of unnecessary rescue. Shameful and stupid.

New buses

WATA recently announced replacing, upgrading and adding bus stops in the area. Who are these buses picking up and driving around? Ghosts? Those gigantic buses ride around with two or three passengers and very often empty. Has anyone done the logistics? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have smaller buses? What a waste.

Meeting voters

RE: "Wittman's silent response is inadequate." Thank you, Mr. Graves, for the concise letter to the editor. As a voter who has voted both Democratic and Republican, depending upon the candidate’s qualifications — I could be considered an Independent — you made the point. My dealings with Wittman's office when voicing concerns is receiving a orm letter with no substance. Wittman's game plan appears to be to go along to get along, forget the oath of office, the country and the constituency. There seems to be a number of people in Washington with the same posture. When I raised my right hand and took the oath, it made an impression on me. Today, that oath means even more to me.

Supreme Court

First Anita Hill and now Dr. Christine Ford, it feels like Groundhog Day.

On the confirmation of the Honorable Judge Kavanaugh, make no mistake about it, it is about power. The Democrats will stoop as low as necessary to preserve it. The Democratic senators made up their minds to vote ‘no’ before they knew Kavanaugh’s name.

It appears the GOP’s position on sexual assault is if the man denies it, move on.

Gun violence

Since no one is willing to forgo the pleasure of owning lots of costly guns and bullets, how about guns and bullets be taxed with enough to pay for police, court costs, prisons, restitution of victims of gun mayhem, medical costs of victims and hospitals. Also, let deaths and all related costs be paid quickly by insurance on the company who made the guns and bullets and the company selling the guns and bullets. This is a simple cost of doing business, not accusatory. Just as taxes on alcohol should in part go to pay for the costs to the community harmed by the drunks. Taxpayers should not have to pay the costs of such injuries and mayhem. Criminal charges against the shooters are a separate issue. The victims should be automatically compensated for costs from guns and bullets.

Left hanging

To the woman in the silver SUV with the mobility scooter on the back of it at Walmart: I see you are healthy enough to walk inside and get a scooter, but you were too lazy to take it back when you were finished so that somebody else who needs one could have it. Shame on you.

Recommended

I just had the best carrot cake ever at Berret’s Seafood Restaurant in Merchant’s Square. It was moist, dark and rich with plump raisins that tasted like they’d been soaked. The orange flavored cream cheese icing was delicious, and generously slathered between the four cake layers and outside! Be prepared for the enormous portion, which is to share (or take home).

I highly recommend We Service, 757-797-5241, for appliance repairs. They are in Williamsburg. Several weeks ago, I needed a washer repair and called several numbers. One repair firm could not come for three weeks. Another never called back. I called We Service and they scheduled an appointment within a couple of days. They called back quickly, reconfirmed when they are on their way and were very timely. The technician, Jim, quickly diagnosed the problem and had a repair part overnight. A second issue was also quickly diagnosed and repaired. They repair most major brands of appliances.

After an extremely rainy summer, our wood-sided house was showing signs of mildew and mold, the likes of which we have never seen before. We were fortunate enough to find Just Right Cleaning Inc. Their telephone number is 508-3958. David Dean, the owner, was extremely efficient, and we were thrilled with the end results. They’re a local business and we give them all the support we can. A wonderful job! We thank them very much.

You've got to love a family-owned local business. Bruce's Body Shop completed my car repair earlier than expected and below the estimate, all with a smile. I hope I don't need their services again, but I'm pleased to recommend Bruce's.

Thank you

Thank you to the three young men who stopped last Thursday to help my husband push my car out of the traffic. My car stopped at the light on Monticello and News roads. They pushed the car through the intersection down News Road into Target's parking lot; quite a distance and in a light rain. My husband thanked them, but I wasn't out of the car quick enough to thank two of them who returned to their vehicles. The third returned with jumper cables, and I was able to thank him. Many, many thanks to the three of you. You are a blessing to your families and your community.

Up in Washington

Recently, the president claimed that the Democrats offered made up figures to make him look bad. Sadly, he doesn't understand that he doesn't need any help to make him look bad. He does "bad" all by himself.

Now Obama is claiming our economic boom and the record breaking stock market are because of what he started 10 years ago. Seriously, he is more delusional than anyone thought a person could be. The only legacy Obama can claim is the ruining of our once world-renowned health care system.

Mr. President, quit whining, man-up, and deal with an attorney general who did as he was required when he took a pass on overseeing the Mueller investigation.

Reed Johnson’s letter (Sept. 15) claimed that "diversity" "is abused by those who possess “Trump derangement syndrome." If he means Trump supporters, who must be deranged indeed to support such a narcissist and traitor, then he is correct.

I wonder if the parents of Democrats ever teach their children about being a gracious loser, instead of whining about losing, as in elections. As a parent, I try to teach my children by leading as an example. While I know someone will write how bad President Trump’s behavior is, at least he brought up his children to be respectful.

Thanks to Manafort's property forfeits, all Americans have a little piece of a condo in Trump Tower.

Why does more than a third of our country support a president that lies, and lies on a daily basis? This is the president of our country for God's sake, the highest office in the country; why is this accepted, why do our members of Congress support this president? And how do other nations view America? As a nation that elected a liar, we are viewed as fools. Maybe this is just the dumbing down of our country. What a shame.

If the Justice Department tests anyone in the White House about lying, they should start with the president and his continuous lies to the American people. Don't waste time and money trying to find out who it was that expressed their First Amendment rights by describing working in the current administration.

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