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The Mechanicsville Local Letters to the Editor: week of 9/2/2020

The Mechanicsville Local Letters to the Editor: week of 9/2/2020

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Funds needed for businesses during crisis

(Editor’s note: The following letter was addressed to members of Asland Town Council.)

Dear Councilors,

Downtown Ashland Association supports the Town of Ashland’s efforts to help local businesses adapt to COVID-19 and its economic impacts. The town took quick action, allowing outdoor dining and providing safety early in the pandemic. These programs helped Ashland businesses to adapt more quickly and effectively.

Now, as federal recovery funding is available to local governments, further action is needed to sustain local business during the economic crisis.

There is a significant need for recovery funding to Ashland businesses.

To date, the financial assistance offered to businesses within the Town of Ashland is not equal to assistance offered to businesses elsewhere in Hanover County.

The county’s Small Business Resiliency Grant Program provides up to $7,500 for personal protective equipment, safety enhancement, technology and e-commerce, supplies, and other expenses, but excludes businesses within the Town of Ashland.

The Ashland Economic Development Authority’s Small Business Resiliency Grant Program provides Ashland businesses up to $2,000, but only for personal protective equipment and safety enhancement expenses. At the same time, the Commonwealth of Virginia’s RebuildVA Grant Program offers up to $10,000, but excludes businesses who receive recovery funds from federal or local government. The result is a confusing system that does not provide Ashland businesses equitable quantity or flexibility of funding.

During the global pandemic, our local community can focus on its long-term economic development. The global economy is forever changed in unforeseen ways due to COVID-19.

Our community’s economic development depends upon businesses’ successful transition to the post-COVID economy. We are fortunate that the Ashland economy was in an upward trend before the pandemic. To enable future growth, the community must act to stabilize local businesses.

Downtown Ashland Association supports the Town of Ashland dedicating federal recovery funding to provide small business grants up to $10,000 for purposes of both recovery and innovation, including protective equipment, safety enhancement, technology, e-commerce, supplies, and other expenses. We stand ready to help Ashland businesses undertake the challenge by providing business training and technical assistance, utilizing a Community Development Block Grant.

We appreciate the Town of Ashland’s attention to these issues, and look forward to enhancing our partnership as we continue to work together through this extraordinary time for the benefit of Ashland businesses, residents, and visitors.

Maggie Beal Longest

Executive Director

County placed on front line in school talks

The current situation with the Hanover County School Board is just another manifestation of the Marxist movement that is sweeping the country and the world. It is evident that the Commonwealth of Virginia is ground zero for this movement.

We are now seeing our beloved Hanover County being put on the front line. The effort of the minority of the residents’ view of wanting the names and mascots of Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School changed is, seemingly, going to prevail.

As with all current legislative matters from the federal government down to the Hanover County School Board, the “silent majority” is further being silenced by this socialist movement’s version of Joseph Goebbels’ “Big Lie”

theory: COVID 19.

Due to social distancing, public input is being limited to Skype and Zoom; there are no public forums.

In effect, the only views being considered are those of millennials and screaming liberals.

If I am 44 years old and do not have the technological prowess to access these forms of media, you tell me how folks from 60 to 99 can have their voices heard on this, and all, issues requiring public input?

Furthermore, even if I knew how to utilize this technology, the means of telecommunications provided by previous Hanover County Board of Supervisors to the far reaches of the county (Old Church in my case) make it almost impossible for me, personally, to have my input heard.

There are very few options that provide high speed internet in most of far Eastern Hanover, and various other pockets of Hanover County that allow access to such forms of media.

My answer was to sit down for 10 hours over the course of two days and put in writing what would have taken me 90 seconds to voice in a true public forum from the top of my head.

Prior to the June School Board meeting where the issue of the name changes had been placed on the agenda, this letter, which was printed several weeks ago in The Local, was emailed to every Hanover County School Board member, board of supervisors member, the superintendent of schools, and was faxed to the school board office in Ashland.

Following the shenanigans of the June meeting where the question regarding the name changes was never called for a vote, without even tabling the issue, it appeared at the 11th hour on the agenda for the July school board meeting.

I have been active in Hanover politics from the time I was an early teen. By the time I got word that it was to be voted on, the “leave a voicemail” for your opinion to be heard time frame had expired. In a conversation with a trusted school board member, I learned my input was never read for the record.

I have a couple of questions for the school board: Why was there no Survey Monkey poll done in 2020 as it was in 2018 prior to your vote on such an important issue?

Why, now that the various versions of “Puff the Magic Dragon High School” have been offered by a 30-member panel that is nowhere close to being reflective of the demographic makeup of the county, do you all of a sudden have an online poll for public input?

Why are you bowing down to the political threats of the NAACP, BLM, and Antifa from outside of this community that are in no way consistent with the will of the majority of your residents?

Here is the deal: It cost the Hanover County School Board approximately $130,000 to have the previously filed NAACP lawsuit dismissed in federal court, which would the school board prefer, the threat of another NAACP suit from those who do not vote in this locality, which would probably be dismissed again due to lack of legal standing, or the execution of a petition already filed in Hanover Circuit Court on behalf of the residents of Hanover County?

My suggestion to avoid a nasty, long, drawn-out, and costly court battle with your own residents, would be for Superintendent Michael Gill and Mechanicsville District School Board representative Sterling Daniel, who called for the vote on this issue and himself was the “swing vote”, to resign immediately, put the names back on the buildings, and undertake proper due diligence to ascertain the true opinion of all of your residents before acting on a whim.

In closing, I’m sure a lot of folks in 1920’s Germany thought Adolph Hitler was a pretty cool guy in the beginning. Needless to say, history records he was not!

Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”

To the tax-paying voters of Hanover County, I implore you to call, email, and visit every Hanover County official and make your opinion be heard loud and clear.

To the minions, white, black, green, yellow, and purple, who think Antifa and BLM are cool, take heed and educate yourself as to the origin of the old saying: “Just following orders didn’t work for the Germans at Nuremburg.”

God Bless the Common-wealth,

Andrew Bennett Morehead.

Old Church

Renaming schools weigh heavy on the community

(Editor’s note: The following was addressed to “Dear Hanover community”.)

I hesitate to write this letter and rely on my faith to help guide my words. As the world is uncertain and things are not at rest, citizens must join and stand together for what is kind and what is just.

I know all Hanover County residents have much on their minds and are dealing with elevated stress as to the unknowns of schools opening with two learning plans, one being online and the other face to face instruction.

I commend the county officials in offering two options yet know it has been difficult on many levels to implement this plan as anticipated.

I will keep praying that our community will stand behind the school system and with each other to make this school year a success, no matter what obstacles may hinder our journey.

Another issue that weighs heavily on many hearts is the renaming of former Lee-Davis High and Stonewall Jackson Middle schools. Unfortunately, many in the community have clashed over this issue and do not understand all implications of this important project while facing a pandemic and worrying how schools, businesses, and communities can thrive under such turmoil.

The timing is not ideal to take on this serious issue, yet we still owe our students, and community justification in this process. If the community at large does not take the time for this, then we are only hurting ourselves and future generations. This issue is not to say, “Vote for anything because it does not matter in the end.” Many do not hold priority in this matter, and rightfully so, for they have more to think about in trying to give their families and students the best support and protection through surviving this pandemic.

The school names are significant for the unity of this county, as well as family building principles for the students, faculty, and administration in the buildings. Without a name, that all can stand behind, then social, academic and emotional growth are not in line.

I know the committee has put much thought and research into this process of renaming the schools, yet many in the community have been harsh and cruel with their remarks on social media. This committee is made up of many students and adults who all have put in much effort and time to make this next step for our community. With all groups and organizations, you will have distinctions and differences of opinion, yet through working together this group will make a single name recommendation, one for each school, and present their decision to the Hanover County School Board. With the help of this community, please vote your conscience and not be persuaded by others’ opinions or agendas.

I know my child is honored to be a part of the renaming committee. I empathize with the group for many have struggled with the fact that they were told the name Mechanicsville had to stay on the list against the majority’s wishes to remove it.

The committee wanted a fresh name for each school, one that all students can identify and grow with.

Our county has never duplicated school names in the past, and many feel the county is immensely rich in history and geography to recognize multiple same-named schools. It only seems fitting that these students, alumni, and the community should be able to have a unique name, be proud of their school identity, and stand behind what is important to them.

There are good, solid choices in the top three lists, and possibly there should have been room for a top-fourth choice since all recommendations were not highly favored by the group.

I encourage all to vote for your top choice and consider that you are making a true difference and your vote does matter.

In the recent committee meeting, the group was reminded, while they can submit a recommendation to the school board, the school board could potentially vote down their selection.

This communication can sound intimidating, especially to the younger middle school students who are on the committee. No one wants their hard work and dedication to be possibly rejected in the end.

I hope the school board will recognize how much thought, time, and commitment went into the committee’s choice and will not reject a name that possibly does not align with their vision.

I do hope and pray the committee will not be persuaded in submitting a name that they are not 100% in favor of. Should the committee submit a name that gets voted down, then they can say they gave it their best and can walk away with their heads held high.

Many blessings to the community and the committee.

Windy Collawn


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