Letters 05/30/12

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    In response to Ms. Bennington’s Letter to the Editor- Bedford board’s actions puzzling, she indicates that the Board of Supervisors is planning to decrease funding for the schools when in fact they are increasing the local funding from last year’s funding of $36, 285,144. The School Board asked for an additional $4.2 million above last year’s funding and Ms. Bennington is referring to the fact that the Board of Supervisors may not give the School Board the entire additional request of $4.2 million. The School Board 202-2013 Budget indicates that the decrease in incoming revenue is from the Federal Government, not Bedford County. The residents of Bedford County and the Board of Supervisors cannot be held accountable for the $2 million decrease in funding of the Federal Government.
    Ms. Bennington stated that the county has a fund balance near $20 million, but let’s not forget that in the very near future, the county is going to have to build a new Middle School and how will that be funded? Also, with the reversion of Bedford City to a Town, there will be additional funds the county will have to pay the town, and who knows what unknown additional costs the county will have to incur due to the reversion.
    The Board of Supervisors is responsible for good fiscal management for the entire county, while the School Board has only one priority. The Board of Supervisors announced that they are level funding the County Budget, and with all other county departments/agencies being held to last year’s funding, why is the School Board complaining when they are getting additional funding.
    Since the school system is presently addressing the issue of bullying within the student body, maybe some of the School Administration and some of the School Board members should be included in this process as well!

Katherine Jennings
Box of

    Forest Gump once said that life is like a box of chocolates...you never know what you’ll get.
     Apply this idea to the 2010 Congressional election. When the box of chocolates was opened, the candy was found to be outdated and stale. Since elected, the freshman far right conservative members in Congress, for almost two years, have been out of touch with government as it relates to middle class America.
    In 2012, there is a chance to open a fresh box of chocolates. Elect Brig. General John Douglass to Congress from the 5th District. Elect former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine to the U.S. Senate. Re-elect Pres. Obama. These candidates are on record with the knowledge and experience needed to effectively serve in government. Sweet!

Diana Persinger

Huge success

    I am thrilled to have heard so much good feedback on the Cruzin Downtown Bedford event last week! 
    It really seems to have been a huge success, and we hope to do it again in the fall.  Bedford Main Street and the Downtown Merchants want to thank the sponsors who made the day a reality.  Major sponsors include Dominion Dodge, the Bank of Fincastle, the Bedford Country Store, Artisan Café, D&H Cattle, Rapid Printing, Peggy Overstreet of KW Realty, StellarOne, Ivy Bridge Café, Jim’s Auto Center, Snap-On Tools, and Otter Peaks Alpaca.
    We also appreciate the local Coca Cola Distributor for a nice selection of soft drinks.  Special thanks go to Wayne Gray, our “oldies DJ” for the afternoon and to Elvis Presley, who dropped in to entertain the crowd.  Volunteer assistance came from Robert Bryant and his group of helpers who parked cars and directed traffic.  Let’s not forget Sue Hillsman and her Red Hat Society friends Charlotte and Joan, who judged the best costume.
    Prize donations came from Walmart, the D-Day Memorial, Advance Auto, The Well, Artisan Café, Lyons Jewelry, Advance Hair Fashions, Pizza Hut, Southern States, and Advance Auto.  We also appreciate the use of the SunTrust Bank lot for both porta-johns and the location of the Gold Wing Motorcycle Club.  T-shirts and caps were done by Divine Design.
    Personally, I would like to express my appreciation to the City of Bedford for assistance with blocking the streets and providing traffic coordination.  We were happy to see that the streets and sidewalks were clean and neat almost immediately after the last cars pulled out of town. 
    This Cruzin was a success because of the leadership and very hard work of Rachael Ellis, Jann Sloper, and Karen Gorneau.  There were many others who helped, but those three people did the lion’s share of the work.  They had the idea to host a Cruzin; and they made it happen.  Kudos to them!
    Bedford Centertown is a great place to be. Support your downtown. 

Sue Montgomery, Executive Director
Bedford Main Street

‘Bath salts’ a concern

    The recent emergence of synthetic designer drugs, commonly referred to as “bath salts,” in our community is creating a serious public health concern.  Ingestion of these substances can cause physical  reactions such as nausea, heart failure, and stroke, as well as psychotic reactions like paranoia, delusions,  suicidal ideation, and violent outbursts. The growing abuse of these synthetic compounds is being reported by the healthcare community and local law enforcement at an alarming rate.  The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 5,853 calls to their centers related to bath salt exposure in 2011, a dramatic increase from 303 such calls in 2010.
    “Bath salts” are mixtures of many different chemicals, including those that resemble cocaine, methamphetamine, and MDMA or “ecstasy.”   These drugs are in commercial establishments on and the street under the general category of “research chemicals,” “bath salts” or “plant food” with a disingenuous claim that they are not for human consumption.  They are labeled with names like “Ivory Wave,” “Purple Wave,” “Vanilla Sky,” and “Bliss.”  Marketing in this manner attempts to hide the true reason for the products’ existence -- the human consumption of these psychoactive stimulants. 
    Many people mistakenly think the sale of these synthetic substances is legal.  The law makes the distribution of “analogue” substances marketed for human consumption illegal if they are chemically and pharmacologically similar to a scheduled illegal drug.  The DEA and our office will use the available provisions of the statute to investigate and prosecute those who sell these synthetic substances.  Proposed federal legislation and changes in state law are expected to assist federal and state prosecutors in this effort.
    Law enforcement is working hard to stem the flow of these “bath salts” into our communities. Our office has joined efforts with the Drug Enforcement Administration and our state and local law enforcement partners to locate, test and identify these substances and then prosecute those who illegally distribute them.  As proof of this office’s commitment, four individuals from the Charlottesville and Augusta County areas were recently convicted in federal court of conspiring to distribute “bath salts.”
    Other investigations are currently ongoing.  Those involved in distributing these synthetic drugs should understand that significant resources are being devoted to the investigation and prosecution of these cases where the law permits.
    While it is important for law enforcement to vigorously enforce the laws, it is equally important that the community become educated as to the harmful effects of these drugs and that we speak with our children, neighbors and friends regarding the significant health risk they pose.

Timothy J. Heaphy
United States Attorney