Last Word on downtown plaza, Oct. 27

Downtown plaza

This is about downtown parking and revitalization: I am excited to see the plan for the downtown green space behind Merchants Square shops. In exchange for a few parking spots, the city will make downtown a family-friendly destination. Families with young children that otherwise would not bother coming to Merchants Square will do so to enjoy the fountains. Not only will local families enjoy this space, but it will help make downtown Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg more family friendly for sure. This will benefit Merchants Square businesses and make the area more vibrant. A fantastic plan. Thank you.

In 20 years we will simply summon a commercial robot car for all of our local travel, and public parking will no longer be an issue. Until then, please ask City Council to not further compound the shortage of free, convenient downtown parking. One of the forces pushing for this change turns out to be the “event” lobby. The P3 lot, DoG Street and the open area in front of the museum already host several excellent tent events each year. I am not sure how converting the P3 lot to a patio will advance the event business. It is pretty clear how it will discourage residents who must drive and park to patronize downtown events, restaurants and stores. Speak now or forever forfeit your rights to complain about downtown parking.

Prediction: If CW gets its way and the very useful P3 lot is converted, look for Colonial Williamsburg to try to leverage the existence of the new "pedestrian green space" in a renewed argument for a wall around most of the Historic District.

We are so sorry and disappointed to totally agree with Bill Kaufman’s description of the strange, puzzling and unexplainable direction Williamsburg is taking. We don’t understand either the taking of commercial properties for dorms, a viable shopping area to essentially a college campus annex and abdicating needed parking for -- what? Who in the world gives the parking space makeover an OK? Who is in charge? Do they talk, discuss or consider the goal of downtown? We will not bother going to Merchants Square if short-term parking is taken away. As locals, we need and use short-term parking to run into shops and restaurants for quick visits. We aren’t going to hike from wherever to get a quick bite or pick up something. It’s maddening.

Armed teachers

To the caller who said his concealed weapon permit should allow him to carry a gun in the classroom, I want him to think about this: If he doesn’t have experience shooting at a target that shoots back, no range training is going to prepare him for an incident where the target shoots back. Also, if he hits a student, who’s liable in that case? Certainly shouldn’t be the school system or the county.

Day well-spent

Yesterday we went to the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown. If you haven’t been there yet, we highly recommend going to visit this place. Plan on a full day or afternoon to include the outdoor exhibits, such as watching the cannons being shot. The museum’s inside exhibits are well done and educational for all ages. After the visit, you can go to the beach area and have a meal at the restaurants there. Parking is free. Williamsburg residents can get in free by showing your local address/ID card; visitors pay a nominal fee.

Looking for …

Our wooden, locally-built, multi-story bluebird house has succumbed to 15 years of Williamsburg weather; we bought it from a vendor along Route 5. Its 4x4 plastic mounting post has done fine. Need recommendation for a local builder/supplier before birds return for spring nesting. Please post contact name and number.

I’m looking for Hayman sweet potatoes. The only place I was able to find them was at Martin’s grocery store and since they’ve closed, I haven’t been able to find them. Could you please leave a message in the Last Word if you know where to find some? Thank you.

To the person looking for information on the Paw Paw, I believe you will be very pleased with a book titled “Paw Paw” by Andrew Moore. Also, Colonial Williamsburg’s latest edition of Trend & Tradition magazine can be of some help on the subject.

When is Panera Bread slated to open? It seems like they’ve been working on it forever.

Does anyone know if the Williamsburg Furniture shop is still in business? They were on Second Street in Williamsburg and I tried their phone number, but its been disconnected. I was just trying to find out if they are still open. Thank you.

Looking for somebody to write my story.

My pretty and inexpensive watches that are dead, even with a new battery, were made in China — is there any hope? I love them.

An Apple device was found in Chickahominy Haven. Anyone wishing its return please contact Toy at 6020 Tabiatha Lane and identify the device or leave your message in the Last Word.

Looking for someone that has excessive wine corks they would like to get rid of. I would like them for some craft projects.

To the rescue?

Maybe Tommy Norment needs to ride to Richmond on his horse, like Paul Revere, and rescue Colonial Williamsburg from its tax problems by passing a special law that exempts them from paying local taxes.

Well done, Frank

How does Frank Shatz continue to explain things just when we are desperate to understand? With his history, life’s work and amazing memory, he provides context, explanation, direction and often, hope. Thank you Mr. Shatz and The Virginia Gazette. A bit of much-needed sanity in this new world.

In the Oct. 24 Gazette, there was Frank Shatz’s World Focus column, writing about “soft power.” Such an excellent, excellent article and reminder for all the people in our country. I hope the article is sent at least to the Washington Post and The New York Times and also, if possible, The Wall Street Journal. It is an article all of us should read and put in our knowledge room in our brains.

Too noisy

During and after a storm, home generators serve a much needed and life-saving service. Perhaps there are some models that come with a muffler; that would be helpful. But what about all year long, when we have to listen to lawn mowers, leaf blowers, multiple noisy homeowner machines? Shouldn't those be made with mufflers also? There should be government requirements for noise levels on those machines and hours of use. Perhaps one hour in the morning and one hour later in the day and not during my supper hour on the back porch.

I've been one of those people who opened my home up to my neighbors because they couldn't sleep in their own house because of the noise of their neighbors' generators. Accept the fact that generators can make your neighbors miserable and act accordingly.

Privacy concerns

Who’s going to protect our privacy? Facebook admitted in March it had allowed the information of up to 50 million users to be given to Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Google had exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of its Google social network. Google chose not to disclose the issue earlier this year after noting the potential for regulatory blowback. We need Congress and the president to urgently come to grips with this problem by enacting a comprehensive federal privacy law. If not, each state will make its own laws and regulations, plus possibly facing European Union regulations.

Stealing the fun

To the person who tried to steal decorations on Berkeley Drive and Lake Powell Road: You are the reason I now have an alarm and lock everything up. You are not only stealing from my family but the whole neighborhood. We all enjoyed that.

Grocery stores

I don't see what all the hubbub on Publix is about. My wife and I went last night and it is a very nice store to be sure. How is it so different from what we have with Harris Teeter, Fresh Market, etc.? The Publix bread selection pales in comparison to what I can find at Harris Teeter and Fresh Market — don't chop my head off here. I just don't understand the big deal. It seems like a nice grocery store, but just that, and not anything head and shoulders above what we already have.

Check fraud

Uni-ball Signo 207 pen is a check-fraud-proof pen. It cannot be chemically washed. Do not get it on your clothing, unless the clothing is black. Nothing will remove the ink stain.

Immigrant caravan

If we want to help the problem of so many asylum-seekers coming to our country, as a nation, we might first figure out how to stop the demand for drugs — which comes from Americans who fund the deadly cartels in Central America, who are killing and threatening so many people. Get rid of the drug demand in the U.S.; that would dry up the cartel business and stop the killing of innocents in Latin America. And cheaper than building a 2,000-mile wall would be to send more aid— not less as the president plans — to these countries that desperately need help in getting rid of the cartels, whose business depends on Americans. So in effect, we started it all; we should take steps to attack the cause: drugs in our own country.

What is going to take to stop the 7,000 immigrants from infiltrating our country? It’s going to require 50,000 armed forces personnel with M-16s and bayonets. In addition, the United States military has military equipment for crowd dispersals — equipment that emits a sound that is ear piercing and that is used to turn back crowds. If Gen. Kelly does not inform President Trump about this military equipment, than he is nothing but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, just like the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.

Donald Trump’s recent campaign in Texas basically declared war on the caravan moving toward Texas. In my opinion, he basically told Texas to take a stand and build a wall of their own. I find this deplorable, you know, on a president’s part. Immigration is one thing, but all I can foresee is violence — military, National Guard, police actions. It’s a sad thing.

Virginians are very upset about the caravan that’s coming to the United States, and I would encourage everyone to contact their senators and their congressmen and to encourage the president to continue with his plan of stopping them at the border with American troops. This is something to do with our nation and must be stopped now before we lose it. Thank you.

Mr. Trump really shows what he thinks of the people of this country. He believes they will swallow every fairy tale he tells them. Last week “the caravan” was an immigration issue; this week he has added the fear factor by including MS13, criminals and Middle Easterners. What's next? The zombies and the bogeyman? What is this group he leads, the Trump nursery school?

When I was a young Army lieutenant, the infantry division to which I was assigned trained for "anti-infiltration operations." With a combination of listening posts and small teams of reaction forces, we were able to prevent the enemy from slipping through our lines. I don't remember how wide a front the division could cover, but something like this could be used at the most vulnerable sections of our southern border to limit the effects of the caravan planning to invade our nation.

Tax bills

To the reader with the large personal property tax: It is my understanding that our personal property taxes are based on automobiles, boats and trailers. The reader that complained about his personal property tax being the same as his real estate tax must have a small house and lots of very expensive autos and boats. Our personal property tax is $35 per year because we have three old cars.

Whole new game

Now that the College of William and Mary has placed the rather hideous looking Griffin in front of the football stadium, it’s time for them to play Quidditch instead of football.

Legal marijuana

There are only two countries that have recreational marijuana legal: Canada and the United States. I remember watching the devastating effects of marijuana. When I was in college, I watched friends who came from really good, stable families, who thought it was fun to try it and I watched their lives unravel. Judgment? Forget judgment. Sexual promiscuity? Forget standing up for yourself as a young woman. It is a gateway drug. I came home from college, from BYU, where you’re not taking drugs or drinking. I came home to meet friends that I had grown up with and their lives were a disaster. I visited a good friend who’d been an A student, a track star, who overdosed and died. Why would you want to do that to your life? My brother’s an emergency room doctor in California. He said, “You can’t believe what it’s like to see these kids. It just breaks your heart.”

Dog attack

In Wednesday’s Gazette there was an article about two dogs attacking a smaller dog. A horrible incident and I am sure the little dog has been greatly traumatized but is lucky to be alive. It is really frightening to me that the woman who owns the dogs that attacked had been previously cited but continues to allow her dogs to roam free. Our laws are too lax in this regard. But, while the article went to great lengths to describe the small dog’s breed and its injuries, there is no mention of what breed the attacking dogs were. What’s going on? The public has a right to know what breed these dogs are, as they now both have “rap sheets.” Also size and color would help so people who are walking their dogs can run for safety. Don’t let this happen again.

Recommended

Carlos Torres is the best painter I have encountered in more than 50 years of home ownership. Those looking for perfection at an affordable price should contact him at 757-345-9867. He just completed some navy blue accent walls for me — gorgeous! He is trustworthy. He has painted for me for 13 years.

Tropical storm Michael took down a big oak tree in our front yard. Greg Monson and his crew from Monson's Tree Service were able to come quickly to remove the tree in a very efficient and safe manner. We were quite impressed with their work and how clean they left the area. I highly recommend them. Call 757-566-0600.

I recently had Atlantic Vent work on my dryer vent. My vent had detached from the wall and it was a huge mess! I was so impressed with how efficient, quick and easy my experience was with Atlantic Vent. I definitely recommend this company if you need your dryer vent system worked on. They can be reached at 757-595-7660 or 757-621-2595.

To those who are remodeling a bath or kitchen and are frustrated with working with manufactured cabinet distributors, we have a great alternative right in our backyard. Creative Cabinet Works in Toano builds custom cabinetry to meet your exact needs. Jay Taylor provided us with an amazing layout with spectacular quality, all within a price range very close to the price given to us by a local cabinet supplier. They have a full showroom and very polite and efficient staff. You won’t be disappointed.

Welcome to Williamsburg MN Jeweler. What a find! Great custom jeweler at 5251 John Tyler Highway. He fixed my cuckoo clock and changed my watch battery. Creates beautiful custom jewelry, does engraving. All with a smile!

To folks looking for help in keeping their home spic and span, I recommend Julie's Cleaning Service. Julie Green has worked for a number of years and she is noted for her thorough, knowledgeable approach to cleaning. She is dependable, professional, and reasonably priced. If you need help, phone Julie at 757-561-1679

International students

As anyone can clearly see, William and Mary has a large international student body, as students from all over the world seek to attend here. This seems to annoy some people. As the last president freely admitted, that all things being equal (grades, etc.) and he was stone cold honest, they pay good old fashioned cash. I find somewhat amusing that in the town of “we did it on our own” and where they are never shy about telling you that even though many are recipients of some form of government largess/benefits, that they have their panties in a bundle because someone pays cash. I guess it just depends on whose ox is being gored. William and Mary is also a business. I say good for those students who are able to pay and not look to someone else to pay for their education. They should not be condemned for paying their own way.

A new store

York County needs to check in to get an Ollie’s bargain outlet in one of the vacant buildings. They got the JC Penney store, the Farm Fresh on Merrimac Trail and also K-Mart’s coming up. We could definitely use an Ollie’s somewhere in either York County or Williamsburg.

Thank you

Many thanks to the sponsors and authors of the Williamsburg Book Festival earlier this month. The folks I spoke with were very willing to share tips, process, and encouragement. For hopeful writers like myself, you were a blessing.

A huge and grateful thank you to all of the Dominion Virginia employees who worked some very long and tedious hours so that we could live our lives normally again. Your hard work and dedication is most appreciated. Also, a big thank you to the other power companies who helped them out during Tropical Storm Michael. I do not envy your jobs.

Thank you to Brent Nowakowski at Discount Tire on Richmond Road in front of Aldi, who was most helpful in my tire purchase. As the sign on the store indicates, he did beat the advertised deal of Michelin and provided fast, in-store service as well. You can reach him at 345-7229. Thank you, Brent.

Up in Washington

I think these bombs are completely staged. You notice none of them went off, you notice that they’re poorly done, like some hasty person didn’t know what they were doing, some idiot. Trying to make it look like Trump voters are a bunch of hasty idiots that would do this. My guess is this is not a Republican at all. We’ll see how it turns out. I’m glad nobody was hurt and I hope they catch the crazies that did it.

To the person who accused the Democrats of being obstructionist. It’s obvious you have a very short memory. I have two words for you: Mitch McConnell. From the very start, he plotted with conspirators to make the Obama administration an abject failure and then for 18 months after he refused to even meet with Obama’s recommendation for the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland. If that isn’t an obstructionist, I don’t know what is. And the behavior of the Democrats, by comparison, looks like a bunch of amateurs.

President Trump has led 27 rallies in the run up to the November election. He has gone on 56 golf outings in his two years in office. Mr. Trump should spend more time in the White House learning what it means to be president and less time gallivanting around the country. We deserve a full-time president.

The Trump Administration is now running up the largest national deficit in the past 6 years due primarily to their recent tax cuts which mostly benefited corporations and the wealthy. The deficit solution, according to the GOP Senate leader, is to reduce federal expenditures for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Apparently, Trump voters don’t need any of those programs and don’t mind losing any of those benefits so that the wealthy, such as Trump, and big corporations can get big tax cuts. Average folks received tiny tax cuts to shut us up. Are we average people stupid or what?

Trump's dangerously explosive and divisive language and insults against all opponents has inevitably led to attempted violent attacks on former government officials including President Obama. Trump's continuous insults and veiled threats obviously encourages violent behavior and may constitute "high crimes and misdemeanors" that could lead to impeachment.

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