Readers' Hotline 8/10/11

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Battling beer bottles
I was reading The Gazette a couple weeks ago about the speeders on Epworth Road. I just want to follow up on that. The person that has trouble crossing the road due to speeders, well, we can’t mow our yard for the beer cans and beer bottles. We have to clean the beer cans and beer bottles up before we can even think about mowing on Epworth Road. Looks like we could have some law enforcement.

Not authoritative
I’m calling about the recent letter on Israel and the United Methodist Church. Leaders should not take the writer’s undocumented statements at face value. When I duplicated his suggested search, it returned mostly blogs and discussion boards. Hardly a reliable source of information. Remember that anyone with an Internet connection and an ax to grind can put anything on the Internet.

Students are lacking
An article discussing the option given to parents to transfer children to other schools failed to mention the schools they were given were Fancy Gap, Gladesboro and St. Paul — all schools that are farthest away from Gladeville. The article tried to blame test standards for the failure of the school to meet those standards. Are the students lacking? I don’t think so. The school board needs to look at the leadership. Gladeville is a wonderful school.

Inviting anarchy
This is for the person that wants to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency. You must be ignorant of what the EPA is all about. Do you even know what the letters EPA stand for? The EPA keeps your water and air free from lead and other poisons that can give you cancer and other diseases. Rep. Griffith wants to shut it down because he says it will create jobs. I hope you don’t believe those jobs will be in his district. All that less regulation will do is put more money in the pockets of big business executives. Shutting down the EPA is like shutting down the police and sheriff’s department or the Food and Drug Administration. They are there to keep everyone safe. To shut down agencies that regulate for safety will result in anarchy and a world not fit to live in. Or maybe that is exactly what you want.

Protect Social Security
Have Congress keep talking about they are going to have to adjust our Social Security account. If they would only repay the millions of dollars they have taken from our fund over the years and spent it on other projects, we would have plenty of money to carry our Social Security for many years to come.

No smoking
I find it interesting that they would allow smoking in the laundry mats in Galax and Hillsville. Isn’t that an oxymoron to go to the laundry to get your clothes clean and then wash them in a smoke-filled environment in which you bring them home smelling worse than when they went? Of course I would like to see no smoking policies put up in the laundry mat.

Utility donations
American Electric Power, the parent company of Appalachian Power, announced its second quarter earnings of nearly 6 percent while requesting four more rate increases from the Virginia State Corporation Commission this year. If approved in full, the rate hikes would result in 9.6 rate increase to customers. Del. Ward Armstrong seems to be the lone legislator that has the integrity and fortitude to go up against AEP for the people. He may possibly be the only one who has refused campaign funds from AEP.
Editor’s note: The Roanoke Times reported last month that Armstrong’s opponent pointed to Armstrong’s acceptance of $100,750 in campaign contributions from utilities since 2007. The newspaper cited reports by the Virginia Public Access Project that Dominion Power contributed $81,000 to Armstrong, Appalachian Power gave $5,250, and other utilities and lobbyists associated with them gave $14,500. Armstrong responded that he has donated campaign money from electric utilities to charity with the request it be earmarked to help residents with electric bill payments. FYI: Armstrong, D-Henry County, has represented a portion of Carroll County in the House of Delegates, but is seeking re-election in an area that does not include the Twin Counties, as a result of this year’s redistricting.

A black eye
This religious discrimination lawsuit against Grayson County is giving us all a black eye. The Richmond newspaper said “by Grayson County’s current standards, Thomas Jefferson was a dirty commie.” These so-called Christians should realize Jesus was compassionate and taught us to love others. As a landowner in Grayson, it makes me mad to know that the government could tell me what to do with my property based on religious beliefs, then hide behind safety and welfare.
Editor’s note: The caller refers to a column by A. Barton Hinkle of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, regarding the lawsuit against Grayson County by Laura George because of Grayson’s rejection of her proposed Oracle Institute. Hinkle wrote that there has been a “march toward greater religious freedom” in the U.S. at least since 1990, and that “Jefferson, whose Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom Laura George so copiously quotes, would nod in approval. But then, by the current standards of Grayson County, Jefferson was a dirty commie.”

Make a move
This is for “available.” Although the Hotline is not match.com, you might get to meet that lady if you will be brave and introduce yourself. I might be wrong, but I believe this is your second mention of her in the Hotline. You sound pretty confident in yourself, so why go around hiding behind a newspaper?

Why the delay?
I wonder why Fries hasn’t moved into the new fire station. I haven’t seen anybody working on it in months and I didn’t know why they hadn’t started using it by now. I heard a rumor that they couldn’t use it because the floor wasn’t laid down right and if they were to put the fire trucks in there, that the floor would crumble. Is this true? If you ask me, I think it is in a stupid location anyway, considering Fender’s Curve is right there and the fire trucks are not going to be able to see to get out. Fries should just give up the ambulance services to Galax-Grayson, because any time you call 911, that seems to be the only one that responds.
Editor’s note: Fries Town Manager Brian Reed says that work has been stopped due to some issues between the contractor and architectural firm.  “There are some minor issues we are trying to work out in order to complete the building so it is the fire hall the fire department can be happy with. We are also waiting for additional funding to be available.”