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Letters

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The chopping block

    I would like to address the article in this past week’s paper. In reading about the school budget I could not help but notice that no one from the school board office is on the chopping block.

    I am a parent concerned about the cutting teachers from schools that already have overcrowding issues. Students cannot learn in environments that are being brought about with this budget proposal.

    In comparing a teacher’s salary with that of those in the main office, there could be far less in the unemployment offices. In looking at the Bedford County School’s site I notice that we have a Human Resource Director, Assistant Resource Director then three secretaries: a textbook clerk, Director of Instruction, Literacy Development Specialist, Social Studies Consultant, Evaluation/Assessment Coordinator, Data Analysis and Professional Development, Student Data Manager, four Network Coordinators, and then each zone has a technician for each level of education. Some of these positions sound made up while others could be clumped and handled by one person.

    I think it is time to look in places other than the classroom when making cuts that will most definitely affect our children. How can we expect SOL/AYP to be met while cutting the most critical part of our school system?

Peter Manias

Bedford

Disappointed

    As a taxpayer, I am very disappointed with the city road maintenance department.

    I, and three other people that I know of, have complained about a section on South street above Overstreet’s Repair Shop that is in need of repairing. There is at least a three to four inch deep drop on each side. The only thing that has been done is gravel has been in it. Soon after that, the gravel has worn down yet again.

    It needs to be paved!

 

Lisa Draper

Bedford

Biosolids safe

    The Expert Panel created by the Virginia General Assembly has concluded that the application of biosolids to farmland and forests in the Commonwealth represents little risk to human health or the environment and that biosolids should be viewed as a “resource,” rather than a waste product.

    While the Panel observed that more research is always desirable, it said that during its 18-month study it had “uncovered no evidence or literature verifying a causal link between biosolids and illness.”

    The Panel was created by the 2007 General Assembly and asked to answer a series of questions relating to biosolids, health and the environment.  Its members, appointed by the Secretary of Natural Resources and the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, included physicians, public health educators, university researchers, sanitation professionals, environmental and public health officials, and private citizens.

Biosolids are a by-product of wastewater treatment and contain valuable nutrients and soil amendments that are recycled on Virginia farms and forests under a program administered by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).  Biosolids must undergo extensive treatment, testing and monitoring processes approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and DEQ.

    The Panel heard testimony about the benefits of biosolids, whether they are used as a soil amendment and fertilizer replacement on Virginia’s farms or in an emerging role as a potential source of renewable energy.  The Panel observed that many of “Virginia’s farmers depend on biosolids to provide nutrients and organic matter that enhance soil and crop production, while reducing their fertilizer costs and ensuring the sustainability of their farming operations.  Identifying alternatives to landfilling biosolids not only extends the life of landfill facilities, but with today’s economic issues and the high cost of fossil fuels and fertilizer, it is sensible to take advantage of the benefits of a product that is ever present and must be managed.”

    The Panel concluded that biosolids should “be viewed as a resource rather than a waste that uses landfill space, while minimizing health and environmental risk.”

    Chris Peot, biosolids manager for the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, served on the Panel and said its volunteer members took their assignment seriously and considered all viewpoints in reaching their conclusions.  “Like other members,” he said, “I certainly don’t agree with every detail of this report, but I think it represents a comprehensive review of the issues regarding biosolids and provides the guidance that the General Assembly was seeking.  To reach consensus, we had to ask ourselves: What is the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence and what verifiable facts do we have about land application in Virginia, as currently regulated by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency?”

“As a result,” said Peot, “I believe the citizens of Virginia can have confidence that the Virginia biosolids program is protective of public health and the environment.”

    The Panel, which concluded its work in December and filed its report to the General Assembly in January, reviewed scientific studies on biosolids and their potential effects on human and animal health, on water and air quality and on property values.  It also received testimony from individual citizens in support of and in opposition to biosolids, and from a number of outside experts, including researchers and state and federal environmental officials.

    While the Panel heard from a number of individuals who claimed to have been adversely affected by biosolids, the Panel’s report observed that none of these claims were supported by evidence that health symptoms were related to biosolids.  The report also cited an exhaustive survey by three epidemiologists of the available research on biosolids and health.  The report, which was commissioned by the Virginia Department of Health, was cited as follows in the Panel report:

    “Although much still needs to be learned about the content, bioavailability and fate of chemicals and pathogens in biosolids and their health effects, there does not seem to be strong evidence of serious health risks when biosolids are managed and monitored appropriately. Human health allegations associated with biosolids usually lack evidence of biological absorption, medically determined human health effects, and/or do not meet the biological plausibility test.”

    While finding no cause-effect link between biosolids and health, the Panel did recommend additional procedures for the Virginia biosolids program to respond to individuals who have health concerns.  It recommended that all parties work  “in a cooperative and consultative manner to seek reasonable accommodations to the concerns of neighbors…while balancing the legitimate interests of all parties and ensuring the orderly and efficient management of the program.”

    A link to the complete Expert Panel report can be viewed at the following Web address: www.virginiabiosolids.com.

Charles Hooks

Lynchburg

The twisted irony of McLoughlin’s atheism

     David McLoughlin’s Jan. 14 letter to the editor, “Mixing religion and government,” confirms a particular teaching of the religion that he finds most repugnant, Christian theism.  The New Testament predicted that contemptuous mockery like McLoughlin’s is precisely what we should expect between Jesus’ first and second comings (John 15:18—25; 2 Peter 2:10; 3:1—7; Jude 18).  In a strange twist of irony, within the very letter McLoughlin seeks to cast doubt on biblical predictions, he ends up fulfilling some.  It was almost like reading some good Shakespeare.

    Nevertheless, we should carefully consider two closely related points in McLoughlin’s letter.

    First, he rightly interprets as “evils” the various atrocities that have been committed in the name of religion or otherwise.  However, let’s kick against the goads of the real, the right, and the reasonable for a moment and make-believe that McLoughlin’s atheistic, evolutionary Humanism is the correct view of life and the world.

    On the founding myth of evolutionary Humanism, marginalizing and murdering other people groups for ideological reasons, the very things McLoughlin says are repulsive, are actually the way things ought to be.  Because if evolution is the case, then the stronger, higher forms of life arrive on the stages of history by means of culling the weaker ones; that’s just how evolution works, with a little help.  Thus, the maxim is not “war is hell,” but rather war is the way of salvation, or as Darwin framed it in the alternate title to his famous work, The Preservation of the Favored Races.  Recent history has borne this out.

    Nobody has a bloodier, more violent religious heritage than McLoughlin.  Darwin’s evolutionary hypothesis in the 19th century became the very dogma that gave impetuous to the despotic, atheistic political regimes of the 20th century.  All the promises of progressive, evolutionary, scientific education, and the triumph of secular Humanism wound up leading mankind into the most war torn century in world history.  Scientism taught us, above all, how to destroy one another in increasingly sick and sophisticated ways.

    True to evolutionary dogma, the militant atheism of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung are responsible for “separating” and murdering more than 100 million of their own citizens since the early 20th century.  This is more than all—not just “religious”—wars in recorded history.  However, if evolutionary atheism is correct, as these past figures have believed, then how can things like genocide be called “evils” with even a degree of meaningfulness? This especially since Death—death to the weaker—ironically is the hero of the evolutionary story!  Therefore, if McLoughlin’s view is correct, then what he superficially calls “evils” is actually what he should call good, if he’s interested in being self-consistent.

    Secondly and closely related to the foregoing, we commend McLoughlin’s following quote for your special consideration.  “For him,” he says, “Maybe the answer is to finally confront the problem of religious belief as a dangerously divisive poison in our species.”  Please read this again, perhaps a third time, paying close attention to every word.

    The answer, says McLoughlin, is to first recognize religious believers for what they are, a “problem.”  What’s more, one is to identify correctly the nature of religious belief  “As a dangerously divisive poison in our species.”  Once thusly recognized, then “confront...finally.”  Nevertheless, confront how? Through rational debate and dialogue?  Well, is that how we ever confront a dangerous poison, which is affecting our entire “species”?  No, the confrontation must be “final” and fatal, if we are to save our “species.”  We must annihilate the “problem.” 

    Do you know that this is exactly how most of the ethnic and ideological cleansings committed by earlier atheists first began?  The Nazis, for example, couldn’t simply fire-up the ovens and start herding Jews and Gypsies through the chutes.  They had to first condition the masses through propaganda.  They did so through literature and media; characterizing Jews as “rabid swine,” among other things.  Once the people recognized the problem “as” a bunch of dangerous, sick pigs, the only sensible answer seemed to be to confront them finally and fatally, because sick pigs deserve nothing else.  How much more then would McLoughlin have us finally confront our dangerously poisonous problem of “religious belief” in the culture?       

    McLoughlin’s letter is indicative of the rising tide of antichrist rhetoric in popular level writing.  He is simply parroting recent material written by Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris, to name only a few.  Strident with his long, bloodthirsty heritage, McLoughlin is doing his small but important part in creating within the plausibility structure of our culture’s psyche the room for yet another “confrontation.”  Ironically, Christ’s Kingdom flourishes when sprinkled with the blood of martyrs.   Therefore, even when the atheistic Humanists win by brute force, they’re still the losers.   

Kevin Stevenson

Big Island

Avenue of

personal attacks

    I look forward to reading the Bedford Bulletin every week. It keeps me informed on all the new activities in town and much more. I especially love reading the opinion section because it is a place for us in the community to give thanks to those that have helped us and more. I completely support our freedom of speech even when those views completely differ from mine.

    I always find it interesting when I come across one of Mr. McLoughlin’s articles which is titled to entice us to read. Nine times out of ten though, the article has little to do with the title, but is just an avenue of personal attack on Christians. I think for the first time he included Jews and Muslims in his last article. I was starting to feel extra special with the attack against my faith and the faith of most Americans.

    I am sure like most participating Christians when we read his articles we get fired up, but I have to remind myself, that is his intent. He is a modern day pharisee or St. Paul to be exact. We can only pray he lives up to Paul’s legacy. He has gifts for certain. He has a justice gift among others, they are just working for another team.

    I am not writing to argue against what he believes. It is pointless to argue with a pharisee. Their hearts are hardened. It would be pointless to try to explain that Christians do not want to kill for our faith if so they are misguided. I just think of missionaries among other selfless Christian’s who give their lives to help the least of these all for Jesus.

     Men war for countless reasons, but people who love Christ are not always to blame. People have fought in the name of faith, but I am sure people like Hitler who claimed to be Christian and other leaders of faith, really knew Jesus’ heart. The bible says you will know lovers of Jesus by the fruit they produced. There are many false prophets in the past and today. I am ashamed of the damage they have done to us. It keeps His children from coming to Him and seeing His face.

     Our sins have repercussions on the world. Mr. McLoughlin is an example of where we have screwed up. We have assisted on giving him cause to harden himself. I would like to say to him, Jesus does not want us to sin the way we do, I am sorry for how you have been turned away from our actions.     We are not puppets. He cannot make us love Him, obey him, or be like Him. He gave us free will. He gave us responsibility on earth and yes most of the time we screw it up. Us Christians screw it up a lot. I am not afraid to admit that. We have an obedience problem and a listening problem. To our credit, we and everyone else have a  crafty deceiver working against us. But thank God for the Holy Spirit who lives in us and when we chose to listen to  Him, we see and do the best for the world. We shine a light of hope.

    Again, I cannot change Mr. McLoughlin’s beliefs, but I would like to say to him, we get it. You do not have to keep writing about how much you think we are crazy for believing like we do. I am not silencing you, I am just saying, we get it. No need for further explanation.

    I do pray that one day your veil will be lifted and we can call you our modern day Paul of Forest.

Mrs. Blake Wright

Bedford

My support

    Obama will have my support if he will:

     a) Accept that his #1 job is the defense of this country and the constitution as written against all enemies, both foreign and domestic and that he will use any and all means necessary to do so.

    b) Oppose any foreign organization composed of more enemies than friends of individual freedoms. 

     c) Do whatever he can to keep the federal government out of American citizens’ lives and trust Americans to manage themselves.

     d) Take all possible steps to encourage private charitable organizations to assist those in need without interference from the federal government.

 

Bob Terry      

Bedford

Appreciate

printing

    Thank you for publication “2008 Payne Family Reunion held in August.” I would like to thank everyone who participated. This was our 63rd Payne Family Reunion. Everyone enjoyed reading and seeing their picture in our hometown paper “Bedford Bulletin.” We all thank you very much for “2008 Payne Family Reunion held in August.” We are all pleased.

Delores Payne Davis

Moneta

The key to

success

    In these hard economic times, education is the key to success. 

    However, it is pretty costly for one to receive their bachelor’s or master’s degree.    There have been several reports of college tuition rates rising, just when many displaced workers need to be retrained or seek to further their education to open up more career prospects.  However, there is hope for people who live in Southside, Virginia who wish to pursue their bachelor’s eegree and master’s degree, and I am a living example of the validity of this program. 

    This program is the Southside Virginia Tobacco Loan Forgiveness Program, made possible through the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission and administered by the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center.  Through this program, residents of the counties of Amelia, Appomattox, Bedford, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charlotte, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Franklin, Greensville/Emporia, Halifax, Henry, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Prince Edward and Sussex, along with the cities of Bedford, Danville, and Martinsville can receive up to $3,750 for four years (that is $15,000 total) to pay for their bachelor’s or master’s degree, in any field.  If they come back to one of the above mentioned counties/cities and work in any field for five years their loan will be completely forgiven. 

    It was because of this program, I was able to receive my master’s degree without paying anything out of pocket.  I want more people to know about this program, so that they may be able to benefit from it as much as I have.  The applications for the 2009-2010 school year will be made available on March 1, 2009, at http://www.tic.virginia.gov , currently one can go to that Web site to read about the stipulations and requirements for the program.  Additionally, I am available to answer any questions or to speak at school events or civic organizations about this program and can be reached at 434-572-5484 or by email pfarrar@swcenter.edu. 

    The program administrator Nancy Breeding is also available for questions at 276-619-4376 or by email at tobacco@swcenter.edu.

    This program has been around for nine years and has no age limit.  I hope everyone will take advantage of this program.

Paul A. Farrar II

Coordinator Southside Virginia Tobacco Loan Forgiveness Program

South Boston