Letters 10/19/11

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Getting the facts

    Ward Armstrong has made a lot of statements recently in the political campaign about Applachian Electric and his opponent, Charles Poindexter.
    There is a Web site, http://www.politifact.com which checks statements by politicians for truthfulness.  It’s quite interesting.  I urge those who may believe that Mr Armstrong is telling the truth to go to the Web site and search “Ward Armstrong” and click “see them all.”  If you don’t have time I’ll tell you his score:  True: 2, Half True: 1, False: 3, Full Flop:1.  That’s 2 1/2 out of 7.  Each has an explanation of why the rating is given.
    The “Full flop "was his campaign stunt in Roanoke last July where he accused Poindexter of taking money indirectly from utilities lobbyists.  He failed to mention that he had taken far more money from the utilities.  The Roanoke Times reported that between 2007 and 2010 Armstrong received $100,750 from utilities,  He did turn over $250 to a charity to help people with utility bills.
    Search Poindexter on the same site and you won’t find anything.
    You can also see a brief clip on Armstrong’s Web site regarding Poindexter and electric rates.  This few second clip is taken out of context to a longer statement.
    Ward Armstrong has spent too many years mastering the art of deception.  It past time for him to go.

Kenneth Herndon
Outrageous statements

    It is often difficult to determine which of David McLouglin’ s statements is most outrageous. Certainly, one comment earning the distinction is the following from The Bulletin, Oct. 5: “Why should kids of the rich have the resources of this country handed to them when they don’t earn it?” (Referring to an inheritance)
    Could it be because the Constitution of the U.S. guarantees, in both Article IV  and Article V, the right to private property?
    Could it be because the Constitution of Virginia in Section I, states that “all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights” and cannot be deprived of “the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property ...?”
    Or, for readers who accept the Holy Scriptures as the ultimate authority, (as opposed to Mr. McLoughlin, who is a self-described atheist) I refer to II Cor. 12-14, “... for the children  ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.”
    It is very egregious to state that one’s personal wealth, whether acquired or inherited is the “country’s resources.” I am surrounded by neighbors who have inherited wealth and cannot imagine ever thinking that  they are not entitled to every penny of that wealth. If legally acquired through ingenuity and hard work, a person’s wealth is his to dispose of in any manner he desires, including leaving it to his children.
    I recently heard someone say that if all personal wealth in the country were confiscated and redistributed equally, within a given number of years, those who were formerly wealthy would have again reached the status, while those who were poor would still be poor. People become wealthy because they continually make decisions in life that project them in that direction, while the poor continually make decisions in life that lead to poverty. Of course, there are exceptions and someone who has made all of the right decisions can lose a good job in a bad company. But instead of demonstrating on Wall Street, he will take a menial job, or two, while he continues his primary job - searching for something better.
    It is the conservatives (usually Christians) who, since the founding of this country, and continuing until today, have contributed a far greater share of their wealth to charities. Almost all of the great universities and hospitals were started by Christians and many great medical discoveries can also be attributed to Christians.
    Atheism has given the world Fredrick Engels and Karl Marx, to name only two of many well-known haters of liberty, some being responsible for the murder of millions of people. Marx and Engels put the Communist Manifesto down on paper in 1848. One of their tenets was the “Abolition of all right of inheritance.”

Joyce Preston

Important local elections

    Next year, 2012, will be an extremely important election year for our country in turning the tide of government intrusion around.
    But, this year, locally, we have a tremendous opportunity to start making a change with our own government.Supervisors control all of the money taken from each of us through various means of taxation. Supervisors also have the responsibility to keep government in check and accountable.
    We have four supervisor seats up for election this year – Districts 1, 5, 6 and 7. Steve Arrington, supervisor for District 5 is unchallenged. Current District 1 Supervisor Dale Wheeler is being challenged by Bill Thomasson. Current District 6 Supervisor Annie Pollard is being challenged by Martin Leamy. Current District 7 Supervisor Gary Lowry is not seeking re-election and his seat is being sought by Tammy Parker and Kyle Williams. As a whole, the supervisor board affects our whole county jointly with each of their votes – even if a supervisor is striving to achieve something for his/her own district, it takes four votes for his/her effort to pass.
    Supervisors Steve Arrington, Dale Wheeler and Annie Pollard have a voting track record – we can each see where they have stood on issues and all have worked at various times on behalf of all us. This is not the year to risk removing a proven voting record from office. Arrington, being uncontested will retain his seat. We need for Supervisors Wheeler and Pollard to be re-elected – to keep a proven voice in place.
    Between Parker and Williams, Parker has an understanding of how government works from her position in the Department of Community Development. To avoid any conflict of interest when voting on budgets, grants, etc. for government departments and positions, if elected, she will resign her position with the county.
    Williams, a deputy with the Bedford County Sheriff’s office, has stated that he does not see any conflict of interest in retaining his position, if elected, even though he will be voting on various items throughout the year brought forth from the Sheriff’s office – budget, grants, positions, etc. Therefore, he will not resign from his position if elected. There was always the concern that Lowry was a conflict of interest in that he works for the school system and votes for the school budget from his supervisor seat. We do not need to open the door to another period of seemingly conflict of interest by having a deputy elected to the board who will be voting for Sheriff Department items.
    I am asking each of you in these three districts – 1, 6 and 7 – to give serious thought to your votes and consider the overall impact your elected official will have on each of us here in Bedford County. Please vote for Arrington, Pollard, Wheeler and Parker. Along with the other voices of conservatism on the current Board, we, the taxpayers of Bedford County, should have the minimum four votes needed for good change to happen.

K. G. Jennings

Wrong on

    I read Mr. Howell’s column week after week and every week I am amazed that a human being can be wrong about everything.
    What in Mr. Howell’s life has led him to ignore all history and all facts? It’s bad enough that he is wrong all the time, but the fact that he gets to write a column every week makes it even worse. The citizens of Bedford have to be subjected to his ignorance. I would call what he writes lies, but I honestly believe he just doesn’t know any better. He was taught only one view point and now only reads certain authors who agree with him. So when he is confronted with facts he just throws out more emotional arguments not based in reality, but meant to play to people’s emotions and fears. He is a typical left wing, post State, socialist. This will sound sarcastic but I sincerely do feel sorry for him. To have lived a life void of actual facts and knowledge is a depressing thing to watch.
    So I have some facts. Readers please notice that all of his articles are about dividing people with emotion, not statistics and facts. CEOs of major companies are bad because they make so much more then we do is the theme of his latest article. The top 50 percent of wage earners in this country pay 97 percent of the taxes. Over 47 percent of this country do not pay any taxes at all and actually take from the government. The top 10 percent of wage earners (those evil millionaires and billionaires) pay over 50 percent of the taxes in this country. So I ask you Mr. Howell, how much more would constitute their fair share? You also mentioned FDR and the New Deal. Have you read the statistics regarding the new deal? Economists today admit that the New Deal prolonged the Great Depression by seven years. Government intervention into our economic system always makes it worse then before they intervened. The latest bailouts are another example.
    And of course the Liberal Agenda would not be complete without a swipe at Christians. I am not a pastor, I wanted to be but apparently I cuss too much and sleeping in on Sundays is really frowned upon in that profession. The primary message of Jesus was about the forgiveness of sins. Another major message of Jesus was helping the poor and less fortunate. Helping the poor is a matter of the heart. It is based on the idea that by helping those less fortunate, we gain something as well because in the process of our generosity God is glorified. In other words, we give to others because of how greatly He gives to us.  The message of Jesus was not that we should allow the government to take all of our money so they can then decide who is deserving of it. The heart is not involved by way of government taxation. Stated differently, Jesus never forced anyone to give. But again I’m not a preacher.
    Mr. Howell suggests that it’s embarrassing to be poor in this country. Why? I am not even close to rich and I am not embarrassed at all. I see those people who make more then I do and I hope that my children can be that successful if they choose. That is the promise of this country. The “American Dream” is not about two cars and a white picket fence. The American dream is liberty. Liberty, property rights, and freedom are why people come to this country. They want equal rights that are guaranteed by the Constitution, not equal possessions provided by the government
Jon Davison

Helping with enrollment

    As most seniors know the Medicare Part D Open Enrollment Period began Saturday October 15 and continues through December 7. This is a change from previous years when Open Enrollment began November 15.
    It is important that all seniors review their prescription drug coverage each year. Have I added or subtracted any medications from a year ago? Will the costs of my current plan change in 2012? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, or if you are enrolling in Medicare Part D for the first time, the Bedford Parish Nurse Ministry invites you to a take a free, no obligation review of your drug coverage. These reviews take about an hour and will take place Thursday and Friday of most weeks, except Thanksgiving, at our office at 403 Otey Street and at the Bedford Public Library.
    To a review seniors are asked to bring all their medications. Actual bottles are best due to the many variations of the same drug. We then put your information into the medicare.gov Web site along with your zip code. The site will then list all plans in order from least to most expensive in your zip code that cover your particular medication needs. This will help you make an informed decision on which plan to enroll in for 2012. We can enroll you by computer at these sessions but there is no obligation to do so.
    Unlike the salespeople who are in malls, and those who solicit on the phone or door to door, the Bedford Parish Nurse Ministry is not connected with any drug plan. We do not get a commission for signing people up. We shall be in the community year round to help with any problems that may occur. Our sole interest is in helping Bedford seniors to find the best possible coverage at the least cost period. Although we are a Christian organization we are not affiliated with any individual church or parish.
    Whether you take advantage of our services or not we urge all seniors and those who love them to be careful as to who signs you up for Medicare Part D. A good rule of thumb is don’t buy insurance from someone you wouldn’t buy a used car from. Many salespeople in malls, on the phone, or door to door, will tell you anything to get your signature on a contract. Once they have their commission you never see them again and the phone number they leave doesn’t work. And once you sign up you are stuck in that policy until the 2012 Open Enrollment next fall.
    Get your insurance advice from someone you trust, someone who will be here year round. In the surrounding counties and cities the local office of the Area Agency on Aging performs the same service we do. They can be found in the phone book. However in Bedford City and County the only non profit that provides a free objective comparison of Medicare Part D plans is Bedford Parish Nurse Ministries.
    To schedule an appointment or for more information, please call Parish Nurse Pam Willoughby at (540) 875-8655. We wish you good health in the coming year.

Rev. Geoff Hubbard, Chair,
Bedford Parish Nurse Ministries

Where the money is going

    My mother died in 1991 at age 60 from breast cancer, and I have never participated in a Komen for the Cure event. 
    You might ask why; the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Web site states, “We’re working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all … we have become the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.”      Unfortunately, millions of pre-born women were never given the opportunity to be empowered or receive quality care because Komen affiliates donate to Planned Parenthood.  In the last five years Komen affiliates gave $2,358,995 to Planned Parenthood affiliates.  Sounds odd but it is true.  One fights for life, and the other is the agent for death. 
    Komen defends their contribution to Planned Parenthood stating that their funds go for “breast cancer education, screening and treatment.”  Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards appeared on the Joy Behar show and stated in response to the move to defund Planned Parenthood, “if this bill ever becomes law, millions of women in this country are gonna lose their healthcare access – not to abortion services – to basic family planning, you know, mammograms.”
      Lila Rose and Live Action Group exposed this as a lie.  They phoned and recorded calls to 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 states and asked about getting a mammogram; all 30 clinics told the callers they had to go elsewhere for a mammogram.  Another strange fact, Komen only gives to nonprofits, and technically Planned Parenthood is a nonprofit, but yet has shown a profit every year since 2000 and their profits range from $12 million to $114 million. 
    Even though Komen states “under no circumstances are Komen funds used to fund abortion” a prior director of a Planned Parenthood clinic, said “all funds received went into one pot at the end of the day, it isn’t divvied up and directed to specific services.”  So as the Komen funds are given to Planned Parenthood, those funds free up other funds to provide abortion services.   
    I for one want to know where my money is going when such an emotional charged request for support comes my way.  Maybe you do, too.
Janet Robey
Virginia State Director
Concerned Women for America

Home Tour a success

    The 21st Annual Charity Home Tour was phenomenally successful.  After a year of soul-searching and wondering whether the Tour had outlived its usefulness, our community came together in a very big way to make this a highly memorable event.  
    Over 2,000 people purchased tickets and toured the eight beautiful homes on this year’s Tour, nearly twice the total of 2010.  More than 130 local businesses and 93 patrons contributed nearly three times the amount of money raised last year!  The entire Charity Home Tour team is profoundly grateful for this outpouring of support.
    Whereas we all know that we have a caring and giving community here in SW Virginia, this tremendous success is simultaneously the result of the tireless efforts of many people and organizations and indicative of something much larger that is taking place in our community. 
    We experimented with many new elements in the Tour this year.  The idea was to leverage the Tour as part of a larger Smith Mountain Lake Open House.  Many groups participated to make this reality.
    We marketed the Tour broadly, well beyond our local area, in order to bring more business to our sponsors and our local economy.  We worked closely with the Fall Festival to enhance the level of excitement and welcome felt by visitors.  Special offers from 47 businesses for Tour ticket holders, including a special shopping spree raffle, reinforced that feeling.  The Smith Mountain Arts Council sponsored a wonderful concert on Saturday night. We had live music in several of the homes, and a special Tour cruise by the Virginia Dare. The press, radio & television throughout the entire lake area, including Roanoke & Lynchburg, supported us in very meaningful ways, substantially raising the Tour’s visibility.
    The results speak for themselves.  We rolled out the welcome mat, and the people came.
    There are many who deserve our gratitude.  First, we would like to thank the eight homeowners who graciously opened their residences to the public and especially for all their hard work prior to the Tour to make them picture perfect.  We also owe deep gratitude to the many sponsors and patrons whose contributions in these tough economic times will go to support eight very worthy charities in their efforts to assist those in need.
    Of course, we would not have a Tour without the dedicated support of an army of volunteers.  Over 1,100 volunteers provided the heavy lifting on Tour Weekend.  They gave generously of their time to make our guests feel welcome and ensure that their arrival and departure from the homes, whether by land or water, was safe. 
    Behind the scenes there are another 100+ neighbors who volunteer their time throughout the year on a wide variety of critical tasks.  There are teams that review and select homes, contact sponsors for participation, approve & coach charities, organize & train the hostesses, map out and document the land & water travel directions, sell tickets, keep track of finances and develop & execute the extensive public relations campaign. 
    The Charity Home Tour is truly a labor of love – for our community, by our community.  It is a manifestation of how much we care about those around us, and a reflection of our aspirations for the continued health and vitality of the greater Smith Mountain Lake area. 
    With that in mind, we would like to thank the SML Community for supporting the Tour and for recognizing that when you help others, you are also helping yourself.  We all are living in a better place, thanks to your efforts.

Bill Telford, Chairman of the Board
Bill Piatt, Director, Executive Operating Committee

Awaken, ‘We The People’

    My dear daddy, who spent a lifetime as an educator and deeply believed in fairness and every child having a chance, late in life saw a program about college kids segregating themselves and sadly commented, “You spend a lifetime trying to make things better, and they just get worse!” He also stated, “When government begins something, it never ends!”
    Another wise man, when Mike Brown first ran for sheriff of Bedford County, said, “That man will put us in debt for 10 years!” Consider how deeply in debt we are after he has had four wasteful terms in office!
    The Bedford County Sheriff’s office budget of $5,200,000+ is by far the highest expenditure of any and all county departments and a minimum of 25 percent of it is unnecessary! ...
    Mike Brown is a product of Washington, dung heep - where federal corruption breeds “self” adoring narcissists whom desire to be kings, have their pictures in the paper, and have full control over “We The People” - “the pawns.” ...
    We have citizens in Bedford County whom are starving, and many who are struggling through hard financial times, as well as teachers whom buy school supplies for their students out of their own pockets. ...
    “We, The People” must - at times - empty our septic tanks! Now, is the time to get out of the financial bondage which we and our children have gotten under due to Mike Brown’s gestapo methods!
    Chuck Reid is, contrary to his opponent, an honest, ethical man whom respects “We, The People” and will talk to the little man and make certain that when someone’s home is broken into, that deputies will follow-up and not be out shopping in taxpayer’s cars. A vote for Chuck Reid will also assure that the money wasted by Mike Brown will go to give pay raises to deserving teachers and provide supplies needed for students - our future!
    Which is more important to you ... voting for Mike “Look At Me” Brown, whose unethical tactics have put all county citizens decades into debt, or voting for Chuck Reid, who has compassion and understanding for “We, The People” and our children - our future?

Samuel E. Coffey

Sorry sheriff

    When I stop by the convenience store to get gasoline the pump comes on, I pay and drive away. When I turn the thermostat up or down the extra electricity is there and I’m either warm or cool. When I go into a grocery store I am overwhelmed at all the food and household goods that I have to choose from. Capitalism, headed by CEOs that are probably overpaid see to it that I have all the necessities of life plus a lot of luxuries at a reasonable price that I can purchase at my convenience.
    When the citizens of Bedford County call on the sheriff’s department after having been burglarized or vandalized they get absolutely no help at all. Sheriff Brown operates on a $6 million budget and unlike the private enterprise CEOs he furnishes us very little if any protection with his overstaffed department. Before you go to the polls to vote, talk to a neighbor that has been robbed and they all have the same answer. The investigating deputy tells the victim he will get back to them to never be heard from again. With the exception of election time Sheriff Brown is the most inaccessible public servant who has ever been on the payroll of the taxpayers of Bedford County.
    Hopefully, if we elect Chuck Reid we will get something in return for our $6 million that Sheriff Brown has squandered every year that he has been in charge of the protection of the citizens of Bedford. It’s time to show the incumbent sheriff that we are not happy with his performance.

Richard H. Ruff

uranium mine

    Although I am retired from my previous full-time occupation, I still live in Danville and work part-time for a business here in Danville. Just like virtually every other business here in Southside, we have seen a big decline in our business activity over the last decade as our jobs, factories, and mills all went overseas.
    Now our youth are leaving the area en masse and our population keeps shrinking. That just leaves a small group working, along with a big group needing government assistance. Yet, there are a lot fewer people with jobs paying taxes to the local governments so they can provide assistance to those that need it. And that inevitably leads to higher taxes. Many of our remaining residents are on fixed incomes and they cannot afford to pay higher taxes.
    All of this combines to leave us in a big hole with no way out! But this uranium mine will provide all of us with a ladder if we’ll just let it. They will hire 300 to 400 employees at great pay scales and put them to work for 35 to 40 years. That’s a lifetime for most working people. And the local governments will collect a lot more taxes both from the mine itself and from the economic boom that comes from the mine’s employees re-investing their income into our local economy.
    And we all know that when this mine is built, it will be the safest and most highly regulated uranium mine in the world, right here in Southside Virginia. We need this thing and we need it now.

Linwood Phelps