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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Wednesday, Sept. 26

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Time to start speaking up

To the editor: 

I have to wonder how “dumb” does our current school board think their constituents are in Halifax County?  

The last time I checked, a 5 percent raise of $140,000 was $7,000 and not $8,624.  Please tell me what the remaining $1,624 is going toward if is not in Dr. (Merle) Herndon’s pocket.  

Chairman Karen Hopkins stated, “The board voted to cover any unanticipated VRS costs for the superintendent because she was hired after June 30.”   

I have gone back through the archives of a local paper and found she was sworn in on June 28 with Robin Mahan and Dr. Herndon’s brothers and sisters at her side.  So which is it, June 28th or after June 30th?  

I am curious to know what else the board did behind closed doors in relation to Dr. Herndon’s salary?  

I asked a current school board member in July about Dr. Herndon’s salary and was told “She was paid more because we did not give her the same benefit package as Paul (Stapleton).”  

What is her total benefit package including any and all unanticipated expenses now and in the future? 

Let me just remind everyone, she had no experience as a superintendent.

The current school board has had no problems taking away money from the retirees and providing no raises for our hard working, underappreciated and overworked teachers.  

What makes Dr. Herndon so special?  She has not proven anything to us thus far except alienating retirees, current teachers, administrators and parents.  

I think the people of Halifax County should start speaking up to their school board representatives and letting our voices be heard.  

We elected these individuals, and they should be making their decisions on what is best for students, teachers, administrators, parents and not themselves. 

Not once has my representative contacted me.  

Three of the current board members’ terms expire next year, so let’s be prepared to elect new members. 

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa J. Hatcher



‘A world at prayer is a world at peace’

To the editor:

I am writing to support Dr. Russell Lee’s column about “Dragons” in the Sept. 14 edition of the newspaper.

In our Catholic tradition, we recognize that the devil is indeed the ancient dragon of Genesis and the Apocalypse, and the enemy of mankind. The devil and his demons, haters of God and man, actively look to exploit the weaknesses of men and women and bring destruction on the world.

The Catholic Church has always recommended that we make a habit of prayer to orient ourselves to God and strengthen us in grace and virtue. 

One of our primary habitual prayers is the Rosary, a series of meditations on the lives of the Son of God and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Many personal, political and military victories have been attributed to praying the Rosary. 

One of our greatest recent saints, Padre Pio, referred to his Rosary as his sword for spiritual combat. I and many others concur with this.

If a person feels his conscience will not let him pray the Rosary, two other habitual prayers will be very beneficial. One is The Jesus Prayer, made famous by the classic book “The Way of the Pilgrim:” “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” The other is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, calling for God’s mercy upon our sins and those of the whole world.

Every day we experience or see mental fragmentation, economic hardships, illness, injury and death. In all these things, God will open a way for us and make us more than conquerors when we are unified with His Son. 

Remember the words of Fr. Patrick Peyton, “The family that prays together, stays together. A world at prayer is a world at peace.”

Anthony Rago Jr.

South Boston

Register to vote

To the editor:

Election Day is fast approaching, and it is more urgent than before that Virginians make sure they are registered by the Oct. 15 deadline and that their registration is up to date. 

I am the chairperson of the non-partisan non-profit Virginia Organizing, and we are working hard to make sure every eligible voter in the commonwealth is registered and has his or her vote counted. 

Not only is it important for you to check with the local registrar or online at to be sure your registration is active and up to date, you also need to know what ID you have to bring for your vote to be counted. 

There is a list of acceptable IDs on the State Board of Elections’ website, and if you have problems voting, you can call 866-OUR-VOTE and get help. 

Civic engagement is an important part of our political process, and voting is a way you can have your voice heard. 

Sandra A. Cook


Virginia Organizing

I am the 47 percent

To the editor:

Last week, Mitt Romney made some derogatory statements about me.  I’d like to respond to those comments here.  

Mr. Romney, in speaking of those Americans who pay no income tax, stated, “There are 47 percent who…are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims… I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The Republican nominee’s statement is a blanket indictment of every American who does not pay income tax. It includes many elderly Americans, as well as U.S. military personnel serving in combat zones. It also includes me.

I was born with muscular dystrophy. I have been confined to a wheelchair since I was 14. Despite my disability, I earned a college degree and taught at Halifax County High School for 14 ½ years. I was only physically able to work half-days, so my annual salary averaged less than $15,000.

After serving my community for nearly 15 years at a meager salary, my disability forced me to retire. I now receive Social Security disability payments based on the money I paid in while working.  I do not pay income taxes.

When you hear Mitt Romney disparage all those who do not pay income tax, I’d like you to think of me. Ask yourself if I sound like a self-pitying victim without any personal responsibility.  I am the 47 percent.


Aylor Talbott



Disappointed in ‘news’

To the editor:

As a former resident of Halifax County, I look to your online version and more recently, your Facebook posts to keep me informed of news that happens in my hometown.  

I must say that I am disappointed in the “news” that is shared via Facebook or even in the paper.  

Recently, there was an article posted about a principal who was put on administrative leave. The story had absolutely no substance, and in my opinion served no purpose.  

As I commented and read other comments on the story, this story could be more classified as the town gossip, rather than informational.  

While I understand there are parents who should be made aware of these changes, I do not think that the local newspaper is the means in which this information should be shared.  There was no value added by publishing this story.  

I am sure there are constant personnel issues that occur within the Halifax County Public School system.  Why choose this particular incident to create a story about?  

There are some who argue that because this issue was with a principal is the reason it made the paper. I would argue that regardless of position, these issues should be handled the same. No one person is more important than another. Whether it be a janitor or superintendent, if you are going to create a story about personnel issues, you should create these stories across the board.

I would hope that in the future you would carefully consider which stories you choose to publish to avoid looking like a tabloid and losing all credibility. 

Former Halifax County resident,

Kimberly D. Wood

Charlotte, N.C.