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The Mechanicsville Local Letters to the Editor: Week of 2/5/2020

The Mechanicsville Local Letters to the Editor: Week of 2/5/2020

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It’s pronounced  Hanover not  ‘Hand-over’!

There has been a lot of community interest concerning the proposed 1.1 million-square-foot Wegmans Distribution Center popping up behind our neighborhoods on Sliding Hill Rd and New Ashcake Road.

Many previously uninformed neighbors have shown up at meetings at Pearson’s Corner Elementary, Sugar Sweet, and a recent Hanover County Board of Supervisors Meeting, to educate themselves about this project. There is a lot of contradictory information being shared on various documents pertaining to the amount of traffic, noise, and proposed proffers.

There is a meeting scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, at Oak Knoll Middle School. It is anticipated that members from our Hanover Planning Commission and board of supervisors will be in attendance. It is critical that all interested parties plan to attend this meeting.

This project directly impacts those of us who live in the surrounding areas, who live and send students to school on Atlee Station and who live and commute on Route 1 and Route 301.

Many of us will be affected by the thousands of additional tractor-trailers and hundreds of additional employee passenger cars being added to our already congested secondary roads.

Larry Johnson, I agree with many of your points and I understand your long-time concern about large subdivisions being built (especially what seems like at hyper-speed these days). I grew up off Studley Road on three acres that my parents purchased in 1979 for ¼ of the price I recently paid for my home in Fox Head on .3 acres.

Unfortunately, for those of us who grew up here and would like to raise our families in Hanover, there are not many farm homes available for purchase. Many are handed down through families and others are being bought by developers.

Since my parents still own and live in their original home, I chose a not-so-new neighborhood that is currently pretty quiet and peaceful and is as close to country-like as my childhood home. I’m not sure where else you would have me live.

John Fairborn, I am actually a “classic NIABY” (Not In Anybody’s Back Yard) because this extremely “heavy” industrial project doesn’t belong next to, beside, or directly across the street from any residential area nor in an area zoned “light” industrial.

Fox Head was built in the early 1990s and in 1995 many of its residents and surrounding neighbors (with signed petitions) spoke out against the rezoning from A-1 to M-2. However, the then-HCBOS voted unanimously for the area to be rezoned ignoring their pleas.

It is obvious we have completely different perspectives on this project and how consequential its arrival and presence in our area will be.

All your “bullet points” fail to address the reality of the noise, traffic and air pollution that this proposed project will inevitably bring to many people’s “backyards” whether directly or indirectly. You are correct, the Comp Plan is the place where changes definitely need to be made.

Therefore, in 2022, I will be pushing for preserving more green space in the Suburban Service Area and a slower-growth plan.

Karri Messina


Gun rights: vigilance not paranoia

A letter in your Jan. 22 edition caught my attention. The writer began by accusing gun rights advocates of being paranoid. The writer went on to state he was tired of uninformed rants. Well, the pot has called the kettle black.

The Constitution does not allow laws that infringe on its precepts or amendments, period.

Additionally, I feel pretty sure that the writer does not own any firearms and if so they see very little light of day.

Shootings recently have been reported in the news. There also are stories of deaths from stabbings, blunt force trauma, distracted driving, and drunk driving.

Do we call to outlaw kitchen knives, hammers, cell phones, and Jim Beam? This would be ludicrous most would say. Unfortunately, they don’t carry the same emotional weight and media coverage as gun control even though they kill more people.

In his book, The Conservative Sensibility, Will (2019) states: “Liberty is commonly understood as the ability to do what you want to do. The challenge for a free society is to preserve liberty while nurturing virtue. A religion tells its adherents things that they ought to do and ought not to do. The U.S. Constitution, which is replete with proscriptions, tells Americans a number of things they cannot do even if a majority of them wants them done.”

I will always be baffled by the insistence of empowered and entitled groups to force their will upon others. It seems as though the loudest voice gets heard while the virtuous are ignored.

The current state of the Democratic process in the Commonwealth of Virginia is indicative of a group of people, majority or not, forcing their will on others. Violating the precepts of the Constitution doesn’t matter. They have been empowered by the entitled to ignore the very foundation of our system of governance.

Could this approach be the tyranny that the founders of America and the framers of the Constitution feared?

The referenced writer should query the citizens of Cuba, Venezuela, Iran and numerous other countries where liberty has been stripped away. Paranoia? No -- vigilance.

Eric L. French


Abuse reports in classroom spark concern

“Inspire. Empower. Lead.” That is the Hanover County Public School motto. After attending the county School Board meeting on Jan. 14, I saw teachers, parents, and concerned citizens trying to do all of those things in front of appointed Hanover County School Board members hell-bent on ignoring those words.

I knew the school board members asked for a 50% raise, which would make them the highest paid appointed board in the state at $12,000 a member. I knew nothing else about them and hadn’t attended their meetings, but I was doing so now because an elementary school teacher and friend at my daughter’s school would be speaking about classroom abuse at the hands of her students. I was not prepared for what I would hear.

Cliff Parker, the abused elementary teacher’s husband was visibly angry when he spoke about his wife being “... harassed, intimidated, and assaulted in her classroom for the last four months …”

The teacher, Shannon Parker, then read her comments about how the first-graders in her class were affected by seeing this abuse. This was a public servant who was being abused at her job and her first concern wasn’t even herself, it was her students.

She applauded her school administrators who are “... given the task of adhering to a policy that does not work. The procedures they have to enforce focus on the child exhibiting the violent behavior and completely disregard the needs of the majority ...”

The Parkers’ son then spoke about volunteering in the classroom and seeing the child’s behavior, “... the teachers [and] students were afraid of him and my entire family became extremely concerned for my mother’s safety. I saw this child corner my mother ... repeatedly attempt to kick her, slap her, punch her, throw a desk, and slam a door into her hand ...”

The Parker family talked about filing five police reports for simple assault in a matter of six weeks. Another parent spoke up about witnessing a different teacher being abused in her child’s classroom.

I did some online research and learned this is the third time Mr. Parker has spoken at a school board meeting about this issue. And, at the Dec. 10, 2019 meeting, resident Ashley O’Dell stated, “Teachers are being physically and verbally abused by students and are being dissuaded from submitting office referrals.”

I spoke to a few teachers who said they or their colleagues are too afraid to report abusive behavior for fear of losing their jobs. So, in addition to classroom abuse occurring more frequently than one time or at one school, teachers are told not to report it? Why is this happening in a county that is supposed to be the bastion of school excellence?

If a county won’t protect their teachers, why would they protect the students? They are already failing students who are witnessing these events – events that will affect their impressionable brains and hearts for years to come.

But, more importantly, why aren’t we hearing more about it? Why isn’t this on the front page of The Mechanicsville Local or the Richmond Times-Dispatch? This is happening to our neighbors, our friends, our children.

Hanover’s school board definitely isn’t doing enough, but the news media has dropped the ball and needs to look beyond one or two lines about this that are buried in the latest meeting recap. I implore you to please get someone on this.

Like Mrs. Parker herself said, “You can’t say you don’t know what’s going on. We’ve told you. It’s up to you to fix it. The teachers and the students are counting on you.”

Sarah E. Miller


Impeachment impact rebuttal on election(s)

In Daniel Corso’s Jan. 29 letter he made several points. “Nancy Pelosi was hesitant to launch an all-out assault in the game of political chess.”

Yes sir, she was hesitant but not necessarily for politics. She knew the difficulties inherent in any such action as an impeachment. More so, she knew the strains that’d be placed on our entire society during such.

I submit that under normal circumstances, yes, an impeachment always interrupts Congress’s ability to adequately serve their constituents’ day-to-day concerns.

However, Pelosi knows full well how dangerous Donald Trump is. He is nothing even closely resembling “normal circumstances.” I paid strict attention to what was going on during that time in history where she was forced to linger -- almost painfully.

Then you added “Mitch McConnell’s declaration that this particular impeachment is meant to undo an election and not meant to be judicial.” I submit that Mitch McConnell is simply acting as clearly as “not an impartial juror” as possible to facilitate Trump’s criminal agenda(s).

I left the Republican Party when (as a senior Army officer) I was made privy to the information on how Dick Cheney cheated this country out of $40 billion for Halliburton while simultaneously causing the deaths of 4,400 of my brother/sister compatriots, as well as over a 100,000 Iraqis. Since that time I’ve seen the party I was aligned with for over 30 years deteriorate into what is now (almost officially “the Trump party”).

Now, with Trump’s continued lies/crimes/misrepresentations and felonies, I find that I no longer try to tolerate him, but I now “passionately despise him” (for what he’s doing to your country and mine and for the reasons he’s doing so).

Then you begin towards the “(voters) experiencing significant prosperity” (under Trump’s [I guess] guidance). If you know of a college freshman majoring in economics (don’t trust my feeble financial judgment), go ask them. They will tell you that for a behemoth economy like ours (GDP—gross domestic product -- at $18 trillion a year) to proliferate, you need lots of time.

When Obama saved the entire auto industry from collapsing in 2011-2012, that was one of the sparks that lit the prosperity fire. This link gives Obama “partial credit” for this feat. Point is that Trump’s prosperity program is meant for only one person.

As well, if the bottom dropped out of the stock market, Trump (and all his worshippers) would blame every Democrat in the country (not a fair way to judge “national prosperity” anyway, since only 55% of the general population own stock ( ).

Then you continue with “Pelosi’s not processing the Articles of Impeachment immediately” as “Schumer beats the drum of witness testimony.” Of course, man! Because the Republicans broadcasted (as in a punch to the head, not on a radio) their intent to block anything the Democrats could rally against Trump.

Republicans have blocked and obstructed everything from this entire impeachment process all the way back to McConnell’s “block everything he (Obama) asks for” at the Caucus Room dinner in downtown Washington, D.C., weeks after his (Obama’s) 2009 inauguration.

As McConnell obstructs this process (by “not being an impartial juror” and trying to keep witnesses out of the trial) he is emasculating his/their (Congress’) “co-equal” power in our federal government. This was the main worry/concern given by our Founding Fathers way back in 1776 (through 1787) as they wrote the Declaration and the Constitution. Trilateralism should be the core of the republic -- not a monarchy (dictatorship in Trump’s case).

As (“he appears determined to clear Trump”), McConnell paves the way to “exonerate” Trump, he is (very well could be) destroying our democracy. If I rob a bank, should I attempt to engage (the jury’s foreman) in determining I’m found innocent? If (in this same trial), am I allowed to keep central witnesses from testifying, to ensure my exoneration?

Hell no! (So why should Trump?).

Then there was your “politicians are merely people and thus capable of using public office(s) for personal gain.” I (again) submit that this “personal gain” thing has been given new meaning since the advent of Trump.

“High crimes and misdemeanors” (written into the Articles) were meant to be broad because of all the different potential disasters that any given person could bring into the presidency. These guys (Founding Fathers) were a bit “hand shy” of a single person acting like King George III they recently defeated.

Then you go after another “shiny object” thrown in by the master of deception. You start in with Hunter/Joe Biden(s). Man, sometimes when Trump does something so obviously outrageous and obviously immoral and obviously felonious and simply ridiculous, my 5-year-old grandson could see what he’s up to. So why can’t (seemingly) intelligent adults do the same thing?

Finally, just prior to your summary you go to the “witch hunt” label. This phrase, along with “fake news” (an original Putin quote) and all the nicknames Trump gives his adversaries (another 5-year-old on the playground tactic), have belittled the office itself.

Trump has been involved in countless “scams and flimflams” since 1973. Trump Wine, Trump University, Trump Steaks, Trump Airlines, Trump Charities, Trump Management Company ... everything! Everything he’s been involved with has always screwed over everyone who’s a stakeholder.

I didn’t know anything about this human until he first insulted John S. McCain way back in July 2015. He’s still insulting Sen. McCain posthumously.

When Megan McCain attempts to protect her dead father, she gets death threats. When Cindy McCain tries to defend her dead husband, she gets insulted.

Remember, when Lt. Cmdr. John McCain (USN, Ret.) was flying his F4 fighter jet merely hundreds of feet off the deck (above Hanoi during the worst time in Vietnam) Trump was dodging the draft (five times) in the same war that got McCain’s butt in a ruthless North Vietnamese Army (NVA) prison where he was regularly beaten.

Sorry I got so wordy. I just love this country so much. So much I stood at-the-ready for almost 24 years to die if I had to defend her. Trump wouldn’t give a ham sandwich to a homeless veteran.

Dr. Richard Ryder


Broadband: a necessity, not a luxury

In late January, final decisions were made on the distribution of $19 million in state grant funding for projects to expand high-speed internet access in some of the more rural areas of Virginia. Nearby rural localities Charles City County ($4 million) and King and Queen County ($2 million) both received awards to start projects.

An application submitted by Hanover County with Comcast was not chosen to receive any of the funds, so the wait continues for many residents in Hanover to gain access to reliable, high-speed internet access.

The year is 2020 – it is time for our local elected officials to treat this access like the necessity that it is -- a necessity for students to perform the research that their studies require.

Starting in September, every middle school student in Hanover will be getting a Chromebook. Their usefulness will be unnecessarily stunted by the lack of access for many of these students.

A necessity for business owners to expand their operations and attract employees. The long-term economic benefit for a locality that expands high-speed internet access is undeniable. Our farmers can reach more customers and get real-time data to help in their operations.

A necessity for families looking to buy or sell a home. The value of a home that has high-speed internet access can be 10% or more higher than the exact same house without access.

As decisions are made over the next couple of months regarding the Fiscal Year 2021 budget for Hanover County and Hanover County Public Schools, I urge my neighbors: contact your elected representatives and let them know you want to see them prioritize the expansion of reliable, high-speed internet access here in Hanover.

James Doran


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