Letters 06/04/14

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Rush to judgment

    The Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce (“the Chamber”) is concerned by the rush to judgment on the possible closure of two elementary schools in the county. We urge that no decision be made until completing a careful evaluation of all relevant factors, as further discussed below.
    Having a robust, strong, healthy school system is the best thing Bedford can do for economic growth in the county.  Schools are economic drivers that form the heart and soul of a community. They serve a role similar to that of an anchor store in a shopping center. If the school is removed, the surrounding community suffers, businesses close, families leave and the entire area deteriorates. When new investment evaporates, property values drop and so do the tax receipts of the County. There is then even less money available to spend on education and the vicious downward spiral accelerates.
    While the study performed by Prismatic Services, Inc. is informative, it is overly narrow in scope and failed to consider the larger economic impacts of school closures. At a minimum, the following critical factors should be fully evaluated prior to making a final decision: 

•    impact of a school closure on local businesses;
     impact on future economic development of the area;
•    negative impacts on home purchases and property values;
•    adverse effect on tax revenues;
•    impacts resulting from extended student commute times, including higher transportation costs; and
•    potential negative impacts on the quality of education resulting from reductions in school volunteers due to school inaccessibility.

    Closing schools will not solve the County’s longer-term problem. The challenge is how to improve the educational service provided by the schools such that they will attract and retain more students. The Chamber strongly advocates increased investment in the community-based education of Bedford County’s children, as they will be the business and civic leaders of the future.
    The Chamber urges that these facts be carefully considered before making a decision that will impact the current and future economic viability of the area.  We challenge the School Board and Board of Supervisors to take a step forward in improving the level of education and facilities in our community thereby increasing potential for future growth, revenue and quality of life.

Roy Enslow
SML Regional Chamber of Commerce

A huge thanks

    The members of Stoney Creek Rebekah Lodge would like to take this opportunity  to thank all who supported the benefit  concert on May 31st at Bedford Middle School for Paula Clark. We first want to  thank both bands Clearwater Branch and Lynch Station Mens Chorus for giving of   their time so freely to share their God given talent to raise money for the benefit. We want to thank the School for working so good with us on the facility and to Kathy  Saunders for her hospitality shown to us.
    We thank ALL the many businesses and individuals or stores who were sponsors and helped support this event in any way. To those who donated drinks, water, chips, prizes of any kind, we truly appreciate you. To all the people who came to enjoy the music and fellowship and to donate to the cause, it would not have been possible without each one of you.  To those who were not able to attend, but gave items or donations to the  offering, we thank you deeply.
    We were able to help them have the way to purchase the power  equipment and pay on their medical bills they  have been incurring. Above all, we give God all  the honor and praise for such an outstanding concert and for the outcome being so great. God supplies our every need. To Roger and Paula, we appreciate you allowing us to sponsor this event and help you in this way and we pray for God’s  blessings on you both each day.

Wanda Toms- Noble Grand
Stoney Creek Lodge #103