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Supervisors made bad decision

Speaking for myself, as a minister who has served this community for 13 years I am shocked by the story ("Supervisors Deny Townhouse Request", March 12) of a company being denied a permit to build townhouses for its seasonal workers, apparently because the seasonal workers were Hispanic.

Although I have not spoken directly to anyone involved with anyone involved the story as written is shocking on several levels.

First of all this is shocking because it seems to be another example of the county telling someone what they may or may not do with their own property. We are just beginning to resolve the issue the issue of whether a person can allow public worship services on their property. Now people are being told they cannot build housing for their employees on their property.

Certainly if the housing were substandard the county would have the right to demand it be up to code before issuing a permit, but that does not seem to be the case here. Many homes in the county are valued at less than $115,000, have parking that is not in front of the home, and are serviced by private roads. Indeed some entire developments are serviced by private roads. And if these homes were high end properties for upper middle class families would there be the same objections to providing sewer service?

No, the main problem and my main objection to this decision is that it appears that Gary Lowry's comment that it was based on the race of the proposed tenants is correct.

If so this is a bad decision on many levels.

Discrimination in housing based on race is illegal. I hope taxpayer money does not wind up being spent defending the county in a suit.

Discrimination in housing based on race is bad for business. This decision is saying to businesses that if they want to locate in Bedford County they had better be careful of whom they hire because some of their employees might not find housing because of their race. That could mean the loss of jobs and tax revenue for the county.

Discrimination in housing based on race is un-American. Ours is an immigrant nation where people from other lands have come for centuries to pursue the American dream of a better life for their families. My son in law who owns rental property in Roanoke tells me Hispanics are his best tenants. They work hard, stay out of trouble, pay their bills, and try to save enough to sponsor others to come here. We do our D-Day veterans and all veterans in our county a great disservice if we attempt to limit what immigrants from what countries are welcome.

Most of all discrimination in housing based on race is wrong in the eyes of God. As a Christian I believe the Bible teachers God created all men and women in his own image. I find nothing in scripture that says there is any difference between Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Whites. I find the same thing in my own experience. When I taught in Spanish Harlem I found Hispanics to have good people, not so good people, hard workers, lazy people- the same mixture you find everywhere else.

This decision was a bad decision; I hope it will be reversed.

Rev. Geoff Hubbard


How to solve a speed problem

I agree with Mr. Terry’s letter on March 12 concerning speeds on City roads. This problem occurs on Blue Ridge Avenue.

Issues/possible solutions:

1. Parking a patrol car in plain view during off peak traffic hours only slows violators into compliance when police are present. Park out of plain view during peak hours to catch the violators in the act.

2. The 50 mph speed limit sign at the entrance to 460 West on Blue Ridge Avenue is inappropriately marked and placed. The 50 mph sign should be made smaller and moved to the top of the hill once on 460 West (bypass) and the 35 and 25 mph signs made bigger.

I would like to thank the City Police for receiving my telephone calls and e-mails, however, it has been ineffectual and the problem is seemingly unaffected.

The majority of residents on Blue Ridge Avenue, Oakcrest Street subdivision and the various apartment buildings along Blue Ridge Avenue are either elderly or families that have children. Mr. Terry wondered “How far might (my) childeetravel through the air if hitee” The same specific and frequently seen semi-tractor-trailers, concrete/dump trucks, and private vehicles routinely speed up and down Blue Ridge Avenue.

Perhaps a child trying to cross the road, or elderly parent, or a young adult who just received his/her license, or a resident exiting their driveway would be hit. I hope this never happens.

One of the duties of any Police Department is to “keep the peace.” It is clear that the same violators routinely speed along Blue Ridge Avenue. Perhaps it is time to “keep the peace” of residents who respect the City speed laws.

Todd A. Roberts


Where did our tax dollars go?

I read with interest the article in <*I>The News & Advance<*P> on Sunday, March 24, 2008, about 40 percent cut in funds for unpaved secondary roads in Bedford County. Where did our tax dollars go? What happened to the funding? It amazes me when articles like this are published it is as if the money - our tax dollars - just vanished. The writer of the article did not say what actually happened to our money.

With this drastic cut in highway funding will VDOT wages be frozen? Will there be a freeze in hiring with VDOT in Bedford County? Would the highest ranking VDOT administrator in Bedford be willing to take a pay cut? Governor Kaine took a pay cut as did Governor Warner because of the financial situation of the state.

Everyone needs to remember it is our tax dollars that fund the road projects.

Ed Saunders


Give highway workers a brake

When you're on the highway, one glance at the kids in the backseat, a grab at the cell phone, or even changing the radio station could cost a life - possibly your own.

Every seven hours someone in the U.S. is killed in a work zone. Last year in Virginia, crashes in state maintained highway work zones killed 11 people. Just last month, a construction worker was killed in a work zone on Route 419 in Roanoke County. The tragic accident happened just a few miles from my home, and while it did not involve a VDOT project, for me it had both professional and personal impacts. In my neighborhood, at my church, and throughout the community, people were talking about it. It brought attention to the dangers our highway workers face every day.

Every year in the U.S., more highway workers are killed than police and firefighters, combined. These workers put themselves in harm's way for the sake of improving travel for the rest of us. It only takes one inattentive driver to change someone's life forever.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) wants to project you and our highway work crews. This year we will participate in the annual observation of Work Zone Awareness Week in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 7-11. This year's theme is, "Slow for the Cone Zone."

Motorist often forget that it is everyone's job to keep work zone safe. In fact, drivers are four more times likely to be killed in work zone crashes than the employees in the work zone. These three steps can mean the difference between life and death:

• When you see the orange signs, be alert for changing conditions ahead.

• Slow down and expect the unexpected. Pay attention to your surroundings. You may encounter lane shifts, construction vehicles entering and leaving the roadway, or changed speed limits.

• Minimize distractions! Avoid changing radio stations and using mobile phones while driving in a work zone.

We will do our part to keep Virginia moving but we need YOU to "Give us a Brake" and go "Slow for the Cone Zone."

To learn more about how you can keep yourself and highway workers safe in work zones, visit www.VirginiaDOT.org.

Richard Caywood, PE

Salem District Administrator

Virginia Department of Transportation

Sick of rantings

Is it just me, or is anyone else sick of the rantings of Billy Hackworth against Sheriff Mike Brown? Also, is there a rule that you have to print this drivel?

Frank T. West


Consider the contradictions

The Bible did not drop out of heaven fully written, but many use it as if it did. They believe the Bible is inerrant, but consider the contradictions.

First, the earliest written narrative about Abraham was about 920 BCE, some 900 years after he died. So the Christian and Jewish faith stories are less than 4,000 years old on an earth that is 4.5 billion years old and populated by humans who have evolved to their present form within the last 100 to 250 thousand years.

Even if inspired by a God, as many believe, these are brand new stories. The Yahwist narrative was blended with the Elohist narrative and is plainly visible in the two Genesis stories of creation. Their further blending is also visible in the two biblical Noah stories. The blending did not produce an exact fit and the anomalies are clearly visible in each. Which is correct? Did Noah take two of each species or seven pairs of some and one pair of others?

Second, even when Paul writes in II Timothy 3:16 that “all scripture is inspired by God,” a text much beloved by fundamentalists, it does not occur to many Christians that the verse refers to the Hebrew Bible, often insensitively called the “Old” Testament. When Paul wrote that statement, no Christian writings had obtained the status of scripture, and the New Testament did not yet exist, so it clearly didn’t related to the newest books of the Christian Bible.

Third, which set of the 10 commandments do you follow, the Elohist Tradition (Exodus 20) or the Yahwist version (Exodus 34,35)? Or, maybe you favor a third version from chapter 5 of Deuteronomy. Those who support inerrancy must struggle to reconcile these differences, or, at least, to say which is accurate. Which do you choose?

Lastly, what is the Christology that defines Jesus? Paul, writing between 49 and 62 CE, simply proclaimed the presence of God in Jesus. “God was in Christ . . .” (II Cor. 5:19). God had declared Jesus to be God’s son by the Holy Spirit at the moment of resurrection (Rom. 1:4). Mark, writing about 65 CE, provided another answer claiming that God entered Jesus at baptism (Mark 1:10,11). The heavens opened and the Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove and God claimed Jesus as God’s own.

Matthew (1,2) and Luke (1,2) suggest that God and Jesus came into some identification with each other not at his baptism, when Jesus was a man, but at the very moment of conception. He was “Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” John (1:1,14) had a different take relative to the divine Logos: “In the beginning was the word (logos) . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” So the moment God and Jesus came into mutual identity was not at the resurrection as Paul thought, nor at the baptism as Mark thought, nor at conception as Matthew and Luke thought, but was there from the beginning. They cannot all be correct. Jesus’ divinity, of course, wasn’t settled until the Nicean, Chalcedon and other conferences in the fourth and fifth centuries. Then how was it decided—by vote.

If the church cannot agree on the details of Jesus’ divinity in its own sacred book, how can anyone believe in a literal interpretation of anything the book includes? Sanctified ignorance is still ignorance. No biblical author was objective or devoid of an agenda. There are wonderful messages in the Bible, but they were written by men who wanted to tell “their” story, not God’s story. So where is the inerrancy?

David McLoughlin