Letters 02/09/2011

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Thank You

    We wanted to take the time to say two simple words that mean so much more…from the Peaks of Otter to you….Thank You! 
    It is through the efforts of this and surrounding communities, guests, and others that have given us the opportunity to remain open Friday, Saturday & Sunday through March 31, 2011.  Full operations of the Peaks of Otter Lodge & Restaurant  will begin April 1 through November 2011.
    The Peaks of Otter Lodge has been called a “jewel" of the Parkway featuring many hiking trails, excellent lodge, wonderful restaurant, and unique gift shop with caring staff.  It’s a timeless vacation spot.  We too believe it is a jewel with a greater meaning.  Whether it is to continue a tradition to be the destination for Christmas, after church Sunday dinner, a marriage proposal location or another generation experiencing a parent or grandparent’s special childhood memory …we understand the meaning and appreciate the opportunity to be a part of these very special occasions.
    Thank you for helping us continue the history, the family traditions and to create new memories that last a lifetime.

Ron Stull
Peaks of Otter Lodge Family

Opposed to change

    The Bedford County School Board voted 4-3 to stagger school start times, and  to have elementary students start school at 7:55 a.m.
    Public comments at the meeting were overwhelmingly opposed to this change,  and to the idea of sending eighth graders to the high schools.  The board  voted against the will of the people, and in favor of “studies” as they  called them.
    As a parent of a 2nd, 5th and 7th grader, I too am very much opposed to these  changes.  I also have four other children who have graduated from Bedford  County Schools beginning in 2004.  High school students do not want to be at  school later in the afternoon.  Many of them have jobs to go to, while others  play sports.  As a former coach at Liberty High School these changes will  have a negative impact on after-school activities.  Practices will be later,  and students will miss more class time on game days.  Getting to away games  will also be affected, since JV and B team games start at 4:30 and 5 p.m.   Most high schoolers want to get to school and get out as soon as possible.
    For the younger children it will be even worse.  My 7-year-old is not all  bubbly at 6:30 a.m., how will she be at 6 a.m. or earlier?  The safety of  children waiting for a bus is also very a big concern.
    The effect on parents of school age children will be drastic.  The board said  that they talked to the YMCA, and no after school program would be affected  by the changes.  The problem is that a majority of kids are not in just the Y  program.  Many parents will have to change work schedules to pick up  children, while others will have to change private sitter arrangements. Many  families rely on the older high school children to take care of the younger  children until mom or dad get home.  This will not be possible with these  changes voted in by the board.  The parents concerns went unheard to the  board.
    Most disturbing about all of this is that this was the starting point of  budget cuts.  There has been no discussion of other ways to begin making up  for the more than $5 million shortfall in the school budget.  Instead  of starting cuts at the top down, the board vote to start cutting at the  students expense first.  Ideas such as eliminating school board cars and  going to using personal cars have not even been touched.  The out-sourcing of  services such as cafeteria, maintenance and custodial work have been  mentioned by the public to the board in the past, but never looked into.   Many companies are facing similar short falls in budgets and have turned to  many of these same solutions to cut cost.
    Actions that affect the students directly should be the last items looked at  by the board to cut cost.  The move to stagger start times was an easy way  for the school board to save money, without having to make any real difficult  choices in the budget.  They saw an opportunity and took it without regards  to the parents or students.
    My wife and I are now seriously considering sending our children to private school next year.  It will cost an arm and a leg for three children to do  this, but Bedford County schools may not be in the best interest of our  children.
    I encourage all Bedford County parents to let the school board know how they  feel. They were voted in by the people, and should represent the people.

Eric D. Thompson

Speaking out

    Is the population of Bedford totally asleep? Across the country masses of citizens are supporting the Tea Party movement. The November election revealed the strength of ordinary people taking action against socialism being forced upon us.
    This is no time to allow the Tea Party movement to evaporate. Every day a new outrage is proposed against our families, businesses, rights. Keep the pressure on.
    Organization of the Bedford Tea Party is getting of to a slow start. This is neither Democrat nor Republican. You have a forum to “speak your piece” or “peace” when there is no peace. Your opinions are valuable. You must stay watchful of propaganda especially government at all levels. There is power in numbers of informed Americans standing together.
    The next Tea Party is Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Main Library in Bedford. As a new movement your participation is important. This is an opportunity to be effective against subtle control and tyranny. Are you the next Patrick Henry or Nathan Hale? They were outspoken citizens before they were famous.

Joyce L. Pedigo

Taking issue

    I wish to take issue with one sentence in Robin Edward Reed’s article in the Jan. 26, 2011 issue. His statement “There would not have been a D-Day without this political component.” (the latter apparently referring to Stalin’s alleged influence in urging the Allies to invade western Europe) is absurd.
    The invasion of western Europe always was/had to be a primary Allied strategy in order to secure victory in World War II, the only question being its timing. To be sure, Stalin had long been advocating  for the Allies to open up a front in western Europe but only for reasons of self-interest. Obviously in so doing, German forces might have needed to be re-positioned from their eastern front facing the Soviet Union in order to face the attacking Allied force in the west, thereby easing the pressure on the Red Army, which was Stalin’s goal all along. To even suggest, which I believe Mr. Reed has, that there would not have been a D-Day without Stalin’s calling for it is an argument which has no merit whatsoever in my opinion.
    I will leave it to others to continue the debate on the appropriateness of displaying Stalin’s bust at the Memorial. However, I could not let stand unchallenged the absurdity of the one statement cited above.
Edward Krikorian

Enough of Stalin

    Please! No more pictures of the bust of Stalin.
    I’m beginning to believe he might be a relative. This is how Socialism and Communism get the job done, brain washing.
    Unless Stalin is blood kin to Robin Reed, just leave off the picture and in its place just show the plaque. Just a suggestion, find a wall in a bathroom to display it and everyone will have time to read what it says.
    Robin (Reed) cannot take all the blame for Stalin being displayed or pictured. The National D-Day Foundation Board must not have liked studying history in school. That’s OK, just read the plaque, it is sufficient. Hitler and Stalin were “kissing cousins” until Hitler wanted the Old Germany back with one World leader, himself and no family members. No more “brain washing” and I thank you.  

Genny Humphreys

Keep Stalin away
    The problem with one person, President of the D-Day foundation or not, stating the facts as he sees them keeps out one important factor.  The families whose lives were completely altered and/or lost due to this inhuman monster.  They do not want to see him honored in any way, D-Day memorial or elsewhere.  Mr. Reed does not bear the pain and suffering of Eastern Europeans killed or misplaced from their countries.  To us it is the same feelings and wounds opened as the Jewish people have with merely the mention of Hitler.
    My parents fled their country of Latvia because of the communism takeover and wanting to live in freedom.  Because of this I was born in a Displaced Persons Camp in Western Germany under the oversight of the US Army.  It took my parents a five-year wait there to get to the free land of America.  I love my country, especially the Lynchburg area but my parents lived with the loss of their homeland heavy in their hearts all their lives.  My 87-year-old Dad still today sings Happy Birthday in his native tongue.
    So here is a novel idea, why not let the people of Bedford County vote on the bust controversy instead of one man or his hand picked committee making the decision.  Are we afraid of doing it the democratic way?
O.J. Misjuns

Religion: Used for evil?

    Charles Kimball, Professor of Religion at Wake Forest University, in his book When Religion Becomes Evil, writes “that more evil has been perpetuated in the name of religion than any other institutional force.” Further, he raises the question “why does religion so lend itself to being used for evil?” Is this even a useful question in today’s world?
    Humanity has moved beyond childhood and myths.  We no longer need to depend on imaginary friends for company.  If God, or any other transcendent entity affects physical events and human affairs as significantly as many believers think they do, then these effects should be empirically detectable and confirmable by established scientific methods.  But they aren’t!  Many argue that the earth constants are fine tuned to human existence.  This happens because the laws of nature place no limitations on the content of one’s fantasies.
    Victor Stenger in his book, Has Science Found God, says science has assured us that no cognitive data or theories currently require the introduction of either supernatural forces or immaterial substances such as “spirit.”  The universe is not fine-tuned to humanity.  Humanity is fine tuned to the universe.  Anyone who insists that our form of life is the only conceivable one is making a claim based on no evidence and no theory—only conjecture.
    The burden of proof is not on the naturalist or evolutionist to rule out supernatural causes.  Rather it is on the supernaturalist to demonstrate that something from outside nature must be introduced to explain scientific data.  Since the most common concept of God is not falsifiable, there is no way for science to disprove Her.  Science can’t prove a negative.
    As Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, says, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is no design, no purpose, no evil and no good -- nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”  Many see little power in the religion all around us.  The priests comfort the sick, but the doctors cure them.  And when doctors cannot, all that praying and blessing does not change the outcome.
    Most physicists believe that theoretical developments in the basic principles of physics will be shown to follow from a minimal set of assumptions.  In that case, as Einstein suggested,” there may have been nothing for God to do”.
    Andrew Newberg in his book, Why God Won’t Go Away, argues that religious experience arises from a purely internal biological origin.  He writes, “Evidence suggests that the deepest origins of religion are based in mystical experience, and that religions persist because the wiring of the human brain continues to provide believers with a range of unitary experiences that are often interpreted as assurance that God exists.”  He concludes, “God cannot exist as a concept or as reality any place else but in your mind.”
    While religions have many benefits for humanity, could it be that it is all just in our minds?  This doesn’t necessarily degrade religion, but it could make it more realistic.

David McLoughlin

Food for thought for senior

    Let’s put the seniors in jail and the criminals in a nursing home. This way the seniors would have access to showers, hobbies and walks. They would receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs, etc. And they would receive money instead of paying out.
    They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly if they fell or needed assistance.
    Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them.
    A guard would check on them every 30 minutes, and bring their meals and snacks to them. They would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose.
    They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counseling, pool and education. Simple clothing, shoes, P.J.’s and legal aid would be free on request. Private rooms for all and a outdoor exercise yard. Each senior would have a pc, a TV, radio and daily phone calls. There would be a board of director’s to hear complaints and the guards would have a code of conduct to be strictly adhered to.
    The “criminals” would get cold food, be left alone and unsupervised. Lights off at 8 p.m., and showers once a week.
    Live in a tiny room and pay $5,000 a month and have no hope of ever getting out.    
    Justice for all!

Jimmy Cundiff