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Schools vs. The Lottery

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the Lottery system supposed to help our schools?

    I walk into convenience stores and a big banner is displayed on the wall, “Virginia Lottery contributed (X amount of dollars) to the school system!” But, then I read “Bedford County Schools expect to lose $5.3 million from budget.” Something doesn’t add up.

    The education of our children seems to always take the back seat when it comes to money. If this Lottery is all it is cut out to be then we shouldn’t have a budget problem.

    If there is anyone out there that can outline what that money is going to, I would love to know, but I do know it’s not going to Bedford County Schools.

Brenda Padgett


Sheriff wants more

    A story appeared on the Jan. 13, 2010, Bedford paper titled, “ Sheriff Makes His Case On Funding.” The story just happens to come at a time when the Board of Supervisors is preparing to start on the county budget. However, the event happened in October 2009.

    There’s a picture in the paper showing three trucks being inspected. Three police cars are also in the picture. They are referenced by the Sheriff’s Office as “The Motor Carrier Unit.” This unit is referred to by truckers as the “harassing unit” with poor knowledge on how and what to do. I’ve seen six deputies on one truck.

    Now for the big story. On Dec.10, 2009, the Sheriff received a letter from the F.B.I. Terrorist Screening Center thanking him and complimenting Deputy Quarles for their professional handling of a national security matter during a traffic stop.

    If I understand correctly, here’s what probably happened. When making a traffic stop the officer will call in the permit number to see if there is information he needs to know. In this case, the deputy was told the subject was on the terrorist watch list. He had committed no crime and no arrest could be made. Sheriff Brown should know (and probably does) that this information should not be released to the public regardless of how much he wanted publicity and more money. This list is for federal authorities to know the whereabouts of certain individuals. This is another tactic to get more money added to his budget.

    As for money, the supervisors said last year they would not be giving any raises; yet Sheriff Brown got more plus more during the year. Three of the seven supervisors voted “No.” My thanks to them!

    Sheriff Brown wonders why the state doesn’t increase his budget instead of decreasing it. The answer to that is “no money!” You may ask why he keeps asking for more – more – more and continues to waste – waste – waste when so many in the county can’t buy medicine, keep warm, pay bills, etc. Plus the county is head-over-heals in debt. It shows that his priorities are on “self.”

    Over the years, Sheriff Brown has wasted a lot of money. Some of this waste includes: traveling throughout the country to get celebrities to come to Bedford County, going to other counties for police work when he should work where employed, allowing deputies to use county vehicles for personal use, etc. I ask you, “How has all this benefited Bedford County?”

    I thank the state of Virginia for cutting his budget – something the Board of Supervisors would not do.

Billy Hackworth


Perriello and J-Street

    Even though he claims to be a moderate, Congressman Tom Perriello’s radical left-wing connections are well documented.  He’s been linked to the far-left VoteVets.org, MoveOn.org, and other leftist fringe groups.  Now comes another one.  Perriello, a Democrat, was recently endorsed for re-election by an interest group called “J-Street.”  Along with Perriello, another 40 candidates were endorsed by J-Street including such liberal icons as Barney Frank and Charles Rangel.

    J-Street is funded by George Soros, the backer of a number of radical left organizations.  And while it bills itself as pro-Israel and pro-peace, it actually is neither.  It is so anti-Israel that Israel’s Ambassador to the US refused to attend a J-Street conference because the policies advocated by the organization would seriously harm Israel.  In fact, J-Street displays a consistent track record of hostility towards Israel.  Yet the group likes Perriello.   And when an interest group likes a candidate enough to endorse him before an opponent has even been selected, you can be pretty sure it believes the candidate supports the policies it is promoting.

    Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East, deserves better from Perriello.  He should publicly repudiate the J-Street endorsement and refuse any campaign contributions the organization might make.

Edward W. Clark, Jr.

Blue Ridge

African American History Club

    In my 9th grade year I helped organize an African American History Club. I wanted a club that especially encourages blacks to learn and be more involved in their own unique history and culture.

     Many students appreciated me establishing this club and they took it seriously. There weren’t clubs that appealed to most African American students at JF. I had a lot of support from many friends and other students.

    The first year was a success. However, after the first year students seemed immature and lacked respect for the club. I will always remember that I was the first black girl to organize an African American History Club for my school and I’m proud to say that the club is now back, hopefully to stay.

Denay Carter


Our moral responsibility

    Have we as a species, or a society among the species, totally abdicated our moral responsibility and our duty, or is it a result of ignorance and lack or lapse, of conscience?

    I’ve been checking the county pound (Animal Shelter) regularly – of recent months. Often, I come upon similar circumstances.

    For instance, early the past week I was told, “We had a good day, today. We adopted out two dogs and three cats.” Then, before I leave – around 4 p.m., a young man sadly (as though someone else forced him to do so) brings in a crate of five kittens. That is followed by a grown cat being brought in.

    I walked down the aisles I looked – a nice black and white Bassett Hound (or mix) is imprisoned, and a couple of sweet black lab mixes, and a sweet Border Collie and a brown setter type mix (female) found wandering on Peakswood Drive off 460 west toward Thaxton. Also, there was a very sweet, brown with some black, older female German Shepherd with an injured left rear leg, who was found as a stray. None of those poor, sweet dogs had collars to identify where they came from! Then, there were , and have been others, sweet, gentle dogs who were “turned in by owner.”

    When we take a living, loving being into our hearts and homes, it is our duty, our responsibility, our purpose as stewards, to love it in return and to care for it and protect it from harm.  ...

    Everyone out there should get collars and I.D. tags for their dogs, and  - when they are lost, check the county “Animal Shelter” 586-7690, regularly, and your local veterinarian’s offices, and look in the paper and advertise, put out fliers, etc. Hundreds of sweet, loving creatures are “put-to-sleep”every year, even in rural counties such as Bedford, because humans were neglectful, irresponsible, ignorant or simply had no conscience.

    Those people at the animal shelter work hard to try to care for them and find them homes. Get collars and tags! Don’t get a living being and then say, “I don’t want you anymore, so I’ll take you to this place to die.” And , if you have a lost dog or cat, be a moral, dutiful, responsible human and look for him or her.  ...

Samuel Edmond Coffey


Food Drive


    A tremendous thank you goes to everyone who participated in the food drive sponsored by Bentley Commons at Lynchburg, a new senior community. 

    The generosity of groups, individuals and community residents as well as partnerships established with local childcare programs provided much needed food during the holiday season.  Together, the wisdom of seniors coupled with the youthful spirit from Blue Ridge Montessori School, Five Star Childcare, Mary Bethune Academy, The Sunshine House and Teaching Little Christians collected 430 pounds of non perishable food which was delivered to the food bank in December. 

    The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank was established in 1981 to help feed hungry people throughout Virginia and expects to distribute more than 14 million meals this year.  The Lynchburg area branch serves the cities of Lynchburg and Bedford as well as the counties of Amherst, Bedford, Campbell and Nelson.  Donations are crucial for many Lynchburg residents and it is most definitely appreciated that this community recognizes the need to help their neighbors.   

Kristi West

Branch Manager

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank

An economic perspective

    I have learned through the years that I need to look through the smoke and mirrors of the political machines, beyond the spins they put out, and look at the facts. This is the only way one can really see what the impacts of political policies have on us and our economy.

    In the first three months of the fiscal 2010 budget year, we see the federal deficit rise an astonishing $56.3 billion (16.8 percent increase) from the first three months of fiscal 2009. At first blush it would seem that the federal government is spending more and more money from this point last year. However, a closer look at the numbers reveal we are actually spending less than we did last year at this point - $16 billion less.

    The deficit is apparently coming from the loss of revenues received. More and more Americans are out of work, meaning there are fewer people to pay income taxes. Couple this with the fact retail sales are and have been down, and we see that the deficit is being caused by the lack of revenue.

    We need to balance this situation between spending and revenues. Stimulus spending hasn’t worked. In fact, history tells us that stimulus spending rarely, if ever works. It prolonged the Great Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment ran as high as 25 percent. John Maynard Keynes’ model of what the actions of a government should do during a recession may sound good, perhaps even feel good to the policy-makers, but falls well short in terms of effectiveness.

    Ludwig Von Mises, the Austrian economist, has probably the best model for governments when dealing with recessions. Von Mises’ model shows that when taxes are cut, there is a greater amount of disposable income available to the individual. People tend to spend some extra cash, thereby creating greater opportunities for vendors and merchants to sell more wares, and greater opportunities for those people who work to supply those merchants. A classic trickle down effect.

    The problem we have in Washington is that we have far too many policy-makers who believe taxation is a static equation – that is an increase in taxes equals a proportionate increase in revenues. Arthur Laffer demonstrated this effect in his paper from 1978 that there is an optimum tax level. Exceed that level and revenues will decline, even though the tax rates go up. This effect is called the Laffer curve. Laffer calculated the optimum tax rate for maximum tax rates/revenues to be in the 22 percent neighborhood. Exceed that rate and revenues will not keep pace with the expected tax returns.

    Lawmakers in Washington need to get a grasp of how macro-economics work. First the spending needs to be cut. We need to prioritize the levels of services our tax dollars need to go to. Of course top priority is given to the defense budget. But each and every federal program needs to be examined, assessed and determined which we need to have and those which we would like to have. Non-essential and non-vital services need to be cut to match the drop in revenues. We can begin with the IRS if we simplify the tax codes and baseline the federal tax rates.

    Tax rates need to be leveled out and the idea of a “progressive” tax, which has its roots in the Karl Marx doctrines, needs to be scrubbed. Federal revenues will increase as spending decreases. It is not complicated if we can turn our heads away from those agenda-driven politicians and apply what has been proven to be cold, hard truths. Christina Romer, selected by President Obama to serve on his Economic Advisory Council and professor of Economics at Berkley, states that “tax increases are highly contradictory and that tax cuts are highly expansionary.” Furthermore, Romer has stated that 1 percent tax cut will raise the GDP by 3 percent. Her findings as documented through the Brookings Institute, are contradictory to the current policies of the White House and most of Congress.

    Romer, a Keynesian economist, supports my position on the tax base and revenues. It is time to focus on the overall good of the American people and not buy into the smoke and mirrors of a political party and their misguided policies. Perhaps it is time for the White House to listen to the hand-selected advisors and not to the special interests groups. Do this and Obama may yet save his presidency. Do this, and we will turn our economy around.

Bradford C. Archer


Wages of sin

    Some say sin is ugly rebellion against God.  I believe sin is much more.  Romans 6:23 states, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”   I believe the “death” is also the physical death of disease, death, destruction and poverty.  There may be disease, death, destruction and poverty without sin, but I believe there definitely is disease, death and destruction and poverty with sin.

    Sin should be avoided because it is an ugly rebellion against God and because it leads to disease, death, destruction and poverty.  Any newspaper, TV show, etc proves sin leads to disease, death, destruction and poverty.

    There is an Atheist/Socialist movement that would blame poverty/sin on oppression of the poor, thus they say the solution is not to deal with sin but to redistribute wealth because the rich got rich by stealing from the poor.

    These Atheists/Socialists say Civil Law should not enforce morality (opposition to sin).  I would agree that from the standpoint of “ugly rebellion against God,” but Civil Law has a responsibility to deal with those things that lead to disease, death, destruction and poverty.

    The Church has a responsibility to rebuke sin/evil as an obligation to God, and the State has a responsibility to rebuke/execute evil/sin because of health, economic and safety issues.

    Civil Law use to deal with those things that lead to disease, death, destruction and poverty, but as Atheists came out of the closet and gained political power, Civil Law has been used to encourage evil by things by the legalization of pornography, abortion and homosexuality.

    Some would say they do not participate in sin so they will avoid the disease, death, destruction and poverty, but all are affected by sin through taxes and insurance when the government tries to take care of the devastation of evil/sin through Socialistic Programs of health care/welfare.

    Even worse than the sin is the people that advocate evil/sin and in many case make a profit from evil/sin.   The Atheistic Liberal News and Entertainment industry will present shows that show the temporary pleasures of sin, but will not show the devastation of sin.  Showing the pleasures of sin without showing the consequences of sin is pornography.

    Romans 6:23 both states the problem (wages of sin is death), and the solution (eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord).

    Some would say eternal life is only Heaven, but I believe when a person accepts Jesus Christ as Lord/Savior and commit to following the commandments/doctrines of the Bible, they can avoid the sins that lead to disease, death, destruction and poverty, thus the best possible life on earth.

    Through the commandments/doctrines of the Bible, God has defined a set of rules/Laws that produce the most environmentally friendly, socially responsible lifestyle that can exist on earth.

    The attitude of America toward evil/sin is determined by which political party controls the government.

Clifford D. Russell