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Each year I and my family make a trip to Bedford to see the Christmas lights display at Liberty Lake Park. We usually bring several vehicles, and plan on continuing this "tradition" for years to come.

I have always been so amazed at the amount of time and effort those folks must put into the beautiful display, and I must say, this past Christmas, they truly outdid themselves. So on behalf of myself and my family, we thank each of you who work so hard to make our trip (and many others I'm sure) each year an enjoyable one. Please keep up the wonderful job.

Betty Dodson


Response to article 'Seatbelt saved teen driver'

I would like to comment on the article and several issues that it raises. My background includes 24 years of law enforcement, 14 in the US Army, both active and reserve duty, and 20 year with the United States Park Service. I have been teaching the National Safety Council's Defensive Driving programs for 25 years and in 2000 was designated by the National Safety Council as a Master Trainer.

In the United States the leading cause of unintentional death for the 16 to 25 year old age group is a motor vehicle collision or crash. The driver in your article, Katherine Hogan, falls into this group. The fact that she was using a seatbelt says a lot for her background and training in the operation of a killing machine (the auto).

What the article seems to be doing is blaming the Virginia Department of Highways for the incident with the sub-topic "Several sections of VA. 24 needs guardrails." This is the wrong assumption to take. Guiderails (not guardrails) are only designed to help redirect a motor vehicle back onto the roadway. These guiderails are not designed to prevent the motor vehicle from going through the system and into the un-improved areas.

The root cause will most likely be found in the decisions made by the driver just prior to the crash. This driver, a young teen with little experience, behind the wheel, most likely started her day at about 6 a.m., put in a full day at school, and then worked in a very demanding profession (satisfying customers with good wait service), then to complete her day by driving home from work, some 14 hours after waking up that morning. Her activities of the previous several days may have also contributed to her fatigue.

Route 24 is a well maintained two and four lane highway, at times with moderate traffic between Vinton and Bedford. The speed limit varies from 45 to 55 MPH. The lawful posted speed limits are based on ideal light, weather, roadway, traffic, vehicle and driver conditions. Diminish any of those conditions, then the driver needs to slow down.

We need to better educate our teen drivers on making good choices when driving. They, the teen drivers, as well as the "seasoned" adult drivers, must understand that there are real life consequences for each decision made while driving a motor vehicle. We should not be quick to blame the roadway for the motor vehicle incidents, crashes or collisions, but rather we need to look at the root causes which should include the drivers.

Charles R. Stebbins III

Master Trainer, National Safety Council, Inc.

Sick over actions

In reply to Barbara H. Hare's letter, 'Fed up already', in Sunday's News and Advance (1/06/08). Barbara mentions that she is fed up with the candidates vicious attacks on each other that we will need to put up with for nearly another year. Well, I think most Americans are sick over the sorry actions/inactions of our members of Congress, and rightfully should be.

Ms. Hare goes on to say: "Is there anyone out there who actually sees what has happened to this country in the last few years, and if so, does he have the insight and fortitude to try to bring us back to the respected, trusted country we once were? If there were such a person anywhere who fits that description, would he please stand up? America needs you!"

I am here to tell Barbara and all concerned American citizens that there is a candidate out there, and he is running for President of the United States. He is the one man that our nation needs to see move into the White House in January 2009. His name is Dr. Ron Paul (R), a U.S. congressional representative from the 15th District of Texas.

I too am 'fed up' like Barbara Hare. But, I am fed up with major media, much more so than with the various candidates. The media will not even mention Ron Paul. They are afraid of Mr. Paul because he will upset the "apple cart," change the status-quo of "Corporate America." The media go out of their way to speak of only five Republican and three Democrat candidates. None of which, in my opinion, are even qualified to hold the highest office in our Constitutional Republic. Yes, I said Republic, we are not a Democracy.

Every time I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States, I pledge to the Republic for which it stands - not Democracy.

Just tonight, Sunday, 1/06/08 from 8 to 10 p.m. Fox News Television held a debate/forum in Manchester, New Hampshire, with only five Republican candidates on the panel. Fox TV barred Dr. Paul from the forum. Chris Wallace, the moderator, opens the forum by introducing each of the candidates and then says: "One of these five will be the Republican Party's nominee for President of the United States." That was a false statement! No one can make a positive statement like that, when Congressman Ron Paul is a viable candidate running for his party's nomination.

Congressman Ron Paul is a true constitutionalist. He is an American through and through. He is the one man who can make many changes for the better in our government. Mark my words, we have not heard the last of candidate Ron Paul for President. Between now and November, I don't think the media will be able to continue to suppress the fact that Ron Paul is candidate for President in the Republican party.

I hope and pray that in January 2009 we will see Ron Paul sworn in as President of the United States, and many newly elected Independent party members take offices in the House of Representatives and Senate.

George Kelly


Appreciates help with program

We at Home Instead Senior Care would like to thank the Lynchburg Department of Social Services, Bedford, Amherst, and Campbell County Department of Social Services for serving on the Be A Santa To A Senior Committee as well as Lynchburg Parks and Recreation Senior Department for hosting the 3rd annual Be A Santa To A Senior Wrapping Party.

We would also like to thank the Lynchburg, Bedford, Madison Heights and Altavista WalMarts, Areva and The Oaks of Lynchburg for being a Be A Santa To A Senior tree location and the Lynchburg Fire Station 3 for being a gift drop site. We would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all the volunteers and shoppers who helped make our holiday community service program, <*I>Be A Santa To A Senior<*P>, such a success.

Thanks to the generous donations and efforts of our community, many seniors in need who may have been overlooked will receive a gift and companionship this holiday season. We were able to provide gifts to 600 seniors this season.

Thanks to all those who helped us brighten the holidays for seniors in our community.

Brenda Dixon

Community Service Representative

Home Instead Senior Care

Barack Obama ? Blessed?

According to a recent visit with an African missionary, the name "Barack Obama" means "blessed," based on an Arabic word coming from the Koran.

I remember a picture in <*I>The Roanoke Times<*P> a year or more ago showing Obama praying with the Muslims.

If Obama is elected to the White House as President of the United States, the Muslims indeed will be blessed, but Americans will be cursed.

Wayne Lawhorn

Pastor of Bible Truth Tabernacle

FNB merger - not a sale

Whereas I am not accustomed to writing letters for publication, I felt a need to answer a couple of letters to the editor regarding the FNB merger. As a past Chairman of the Board of Bedford Federal Bank and a former member of the Corporate Board of FNB, I have always felt that I had a fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders of Bedford Federal, and I still do.

First, this transaction is not a sale of FNB. A sale takes place when you lose control. This is a merger with shared control, and the stockholders of FNB will own 52 percent of the new bank. The "merger" of Bedford Federal Savings Bank with FNB was a sale.

Secondly, with the number of banks and current branching activity, it is difficult to grow under a situation of status quo.

In my opinion, there are only two sources of new growth: population growth in the area served and taking funds from other banks. Since 2000, the area served by FNB has only grown by 2.8 percent, whereas the area served by Virginia Financial Group has grown by 12.4 percent. Increasing the rate paid on deposits and lowering the rate on loans will take funds from other banks, and either or both will have an adverse effect on FNB's "net interest margin" and its "bottom line."

Thirdly, this merger ideally fits into the long-range plans of FNB that were developed while I was on the Board. Since there is no overlap of branches in the areas served by the two banks, there will be no branch closings.

Fourthly, whereas prices of all financial institutions have gone down lately, I believe that a primary reason behind FNB's drop is because FNB is no longer a member of the Russell Index used by money managers of mutual funds and pension funds for investment. With the merger, the new bank should be eligible to be a part of the Russell Index, possibly by the middle of 2008.

Whereas I don't expect an immediate rise in stock prices with this merger, the factors are in place for a 20 percent increase in dividends for FNB stockholders.

Regarding the opposition to this merger, it is my opinion that it is the result of one man, Kendall O. Clay, an attorney and former Chairman of the FNB Corporation Board, with whom I served. I believe that Mr. Clay wants to personally run the bank through a puppet CEO. I also know the other two members of the Corporate Board who voted against the merger and their close ties to Mr. Clay.

I have heard Mr. Clay say that he ran the bank for the two previous CEOs and that he could run it now. This statement was made during his tenure as chairman of FNB Corporation.

In a recent memo of "Questions and Answers" for the dissident committee, of which I have a copy, it states that "after the merger proposal is defeated, the Shareholders Group must turn the heat up on the Board by letters, emails, etc. to let them know that the majority of the shareholders have no confidence in their ability to manage FNB. This must be a quick and decisive slap in the face."

The Board of FNB does not deserve a "slap in the face," but rather our thanks for approving a merger with Virginia Financial that has the potential to greatly improve shareholder value for FNB shareholders.

It is my request that all stockholders of FNB Corporation join me in voting FOR the proposed merger. Should anyone wish to contact me regarding the merger, please do so.

Thank you for reading and considering this letter.

Hugh H. Bond


Recently, on a visit to my home town of Bedford for the holidays, I visited family and friends, who happen to be employees of Bedford Memorial Hospital.

I entered through Rehab and Recovery. This is something I do on most visits, as my mom was once a patient there. I would like to say that the employees there are wonderful, two in particular. After walking in, I noticed the surroundings, and how beautiful and festive the whole department looked. It was so heartwarming to see the efforts that was displayed to details to make this institution more homey and personal for the residents, some who otherwise would not have been a part of Christmas festivities.

It was outstanding. In inquiring who did this, I was told two employees took their time and effort to make this possible, and they do this on all recognized holidays. These two wonderful women should have some type of acknowledgement of their generosity and compassion, I consider them humanitarians. Their names are Beatrice Payne and Martha Karnes.

I've lived in a large city for more than 20 years and I have never experienced anything like the small town comraderie and caring that these two exemplify for the City of Bedford.

Please, let the town know that these are two of Bedfords' finest. It would be a something that they, the hospital and the town would benefit from.

S. Bow

Los Angeles, CA

Wonderful treasure

I am writing in support of a wonderful educational treasure in Bedford.

The Bedford Christian Academy is located next to Liberty High School, on Big Island Highway. I happen to know that the school is in financial need. We have some very high profile Christian institutions in the surrounding areas which are thriving....but I believe we are overlooking our local efforts.

I have participated in BCA's delightful fundraising concerts at Christmas time, made small donations which I wish could have been more, and I am blessed to have some of its fine students in my work as a piano and voice teacher. I also personally know some of its teachers, its headmaster, and families there.

I support education be it a public school or private, and have personally taught in both settings, and believe in the strengths of both. I do support a parent's right to choose smaller classes and an atmosphere supportive of their religious beliefs, if that's what is right for their child. And so, I am taking my checkbook out right now, and writing a check for $50, to Bedford Christian Academy -it's not much, and my electric bill protests....But if everyone who believes in Christian education would help this school - what a difference you could make in their future...and present.

The address is Bedford Christian Academy, 1987 Big Island Highway, Bedford, Virginia 24523.

No one put me up to this - I just think sometimes when you need something - you have to ask. Making every educational institution and business of integrity in Bedford stronger.....makes us all better.

Karen Nichols


Not taking it too lightly

In mid-October 2007, the city street light in front of our home began to turn itself off and on at night, somewhat like a small light house. It would come on for about three minutes and then turn off for 30 seconds, repeating this cycle throughout the night.

I called the city electric department and made them aware of the problem and was informed that a work order would be prepared and it would be taken care of. Two weeks passed and the light had not been repaired, so I once again called the city electric department. I was informed that the bucket truck had been in the shop for repairs and work orders were backed up, but it would be taken care of. Again, two weeks went by, we were now in mid-November, and no repair had been made.

I called the city electric department and was told that a "priority" work order would be submitted. Surprise, surprise, two weeks passed by and, you guessed it, the street light had still not been repaired. Once again, a phone call was made to the city electric department and once again I was told a work order had been prepared.

We entered December with the "light house" on our street continuing to flash relentlessly. Having decided that I had done my best to get the light repaired, I gave up my quest. But lo and behold, the city finally took care of the flashing street light. Their solution, let it stay on 24 hours a day.

Now it no longer flashes, it just burns all the time. Realizing that this is a waste of electricity, which we all pay so dearly for, I called the city electric department and brought this to their attention. Well that was two weeks ago and I?m sure you know where this is going. The light shines on.

Mike and Sue Trussell