- Last Updated on 08:06 AM 10/17/12
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
We can’t afford uranium
To the editor:
At a recent meeting where uranium mining was discussed, I expressed my view strictly from my perspective as a business owner of a local real estate company.
I was later asked to write a letter to the editor sharing those thoughts. This is my first ever such letter which is indicative of how strongly I feel about this issue.
It is my personal opinion that if the uranium mining ban is removed, there will be a major negative impact on our future property values and on our real estate market in general.
Here’s why. The first thing I need to do before I even attempt to sell a property to prospective buyers considering our area is to sell them on our community. My husband, Jim, and I relocated here over 20 years ago, and we fell in love with Halifax County. I have always enjoyed showing out of town buyers around while telling them why this is such a wonderful place to live. It’s fun to watch their surprised faces after they realize how many things we have here in our “little corner of the world.”
Most people who “shop our area” are retirees, people in the health care business, teachers or business and industry professionals. They are looking for a location that will best suit their needs and those of their families.
The “world is their oyster,” and they can be very choosey because lots of communities would absolutely love to have them. The competition is brutal.
Unfortunately, on numerous occasions over the past year, I have encountered a new and unpleasant challenge. When I have been driving just such prospects around pointing out the many assets we have to offer, they have either seen the no uranium mining signs or have heard people discussing fears about the possibility of a lift of the ban on uranium mining in Virginia.
They have looked at me and asked if there is even a possibility of a uranium mine nearby. At that point, even though I then talked until I was “blue in the face” explaining all the efforts afoot to prevent the lifting of the ban, I could just see it in their eyes. I was afraid I had lost them.
Just the perception of uranium mining can be a game changer for us as a selection for relocation when there are plenty of other choices in areas that have no uranium mining issues.
We simply cannot afford to lose this pool of buyers.
Historically our market place has always had a healthy balance of both in-area and out-of-area purchasers. If we lose this fragile balance of supply and demand, in my opinion, our property values will suffer a devastating blow.
Rebecca ‘Honey” Davis
The Davis Company
‘Feeding the community’
To the editor:
We are inviting you to join Missionary United in feeding the community.
We will host this project at the Halifax County High School on Wednesday, Nov. 21, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m.
We are asking you to take part in helping to stop hunger in Halifax County and South Boston.
Missionary United welcomes and needs assistance in all areas. If interested in delivering plates to the sick and shut-in of the community, or you would like to help in any other way, call 579-4208.
Our menu consists of turkey, ham, chicken (wings and legs), greens, string beans, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, yams, corn pudding, stuffing, rolls and drinks (sodas).
We look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Jean Harris
To the editor:
Thank you so much for your support and work with the articles in the newspaper. I’m so grateful for that.
I’d like to share with you the results of the yard sale that raised money for Abolition International to help fight human trafficking. We raised $1,265. God really blessed the event.
To the editor:
As a Halifax County resident and taxpayer, I am bothered by the school administration and school board’s lack of public response to recent issues and questions. Therefore, I am asking for public responses to the following questions:
• Much discussion and information has surrounded the recent Local Option Retirement Plan (LORP) termination decision. I would like a simple yes or no answer from each school Board member, the superintendent and the director of finance to the following question: With what you know now, did LORP save the Halifax School system money?
• What was the reason(s) LORP was terminated?
• Terminating LORP supposedly saved $1.4 million. Where did that money go?
• $360, 000 was allocated to rehire the school LAN managers that wasn’t included in the budget. Where did that money come from?
• There was a $1.1 million “unanticipated expense” in increased health care insurance costs that was given as part of the rationale for the termination of LORP. Later it was said that the administration “found” $900,000 plus to cover that expense. Where and how was it “found?” Where was that money originally included in the budget? Where did the other $200,000 for the insurance come from?
• Is there anything being done to determine if there are other unallocated monies in the budget or school system to be “found?”
• It appears that the budget is being largely ignored. Certainly many of the expenditures are not in line with it. What are both the school administration’s and the school board’s responsibilities with regards to operation within the approved budget?
I’m looking forward to your responses. Thank you.
David P. Strom
Thanks for gift
To the editor:
I would like to thank the coaches, parents, friends and players of the Tiger football team for the wonderful gift given to me in memory of my son, Donyea Edmonds.
Thanks very much,
Pearl Edmonds Petty
Keep the ban
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was written to Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisor Chairman Tim Barber and sent to all other members of that board. It is reprinted here upon request.)
Dear Mr. Barber:
My name is Tommy Roberson. I am the Mayor of the Town of Williamston, and I also chair the Roanoke River Mayors Association which has membership from 11 communities along the river in North Carolina. Williamston is situated beside this wonderful river.
The purpose of my letter to you is to express my deep and sincere concern about the possibility of permitting uranium mining in your county, which has great potential of severely and permanently damaging the Roanoke River and many communities and citizens that depend on this river.
Several years ago, a phosphate mine was located in eastern North Carolina. They made a promise to those in authority that it would bring jobs and economic development to our region along with promising that “best practices “would be used to protect our drinking water, which we currently draw from the aquifer they impact to mine the phosphate.
Today, our water table has been drawn down severely by that activity, and the water level is so low that the state has mandated we reduce our intake from that aquifer by 75 percent. That has left us no recourse but to build a new regional Surface Water Treatment Plant on the Roanoke River to supply current and future water needs for our community and surrounding area.
Because of this mandate and strict requirements by the State of North Carolina on such an operation, the cost to develop this regional water treatment facility will exceed $23 million dollars ($23,000,000),
Along with that cost of building this new facility, our community must modify our delivery system to be able to use this new facility, which will exceed $1 million dollars ($1,000,000). These costs are being paid for by the citizens in an area that has the dubious distinction of being the fourth poorest area in the United States.
And, the result of all this is we now must rely completely on the Roanoke River for our drinking water. Should the Roanoke River become contaminated, we would have no options for our drinking water.
I have followed closely the uranium mining debate you are embroiled in currently. I am aware of the scientific data that clearly spells out the risk of undertaking uranium mining in a hurricane zone, with frequent tropical rainfalls, tornadoes and proximity to a fault line that has produced two earthquakes in one year. One of which was felt here in Williamstort.
I also recall that your county was overrun by Hurricane Camille in 1965.
I have also followed in the Washington Post the allegations of “vote buying” by the Canadian mining company, including trips to Paris and Canada for elected officials and their spouses, campaign contributions, and payment in kind donations to George Mason University and Virginia Tech for favorable reports from those institutions.
Although from afar I can only learn from those hopefully reliable reports, I hope that such tactics, if true, raise great concern to anyone burdened with making a decision that could negatively impact many thousand citizens and raise a red flag to any approval.
For anyone to disregard the risk of the uranium mine to our water supply in the face of the scientific and independent studies, done by credible sources such as the NAS and others seems unwise and does not make sense; especially when the future of so many lives can be impacted by ignoring such data.
A primary purpose of the Roanoke River is supplying drinking water to seven counties in North Carolina and 1 million residents in the Hampton Roads region in Virginia. This statement does not disregard the initial purpose of this river, which is to maintain the eco-system that flourishes in and around the river.
Secondary uses include power generation at the Gaston Dam, and a robust housing market along the lakes for retirees from your state and ours, second homes for people from your state and ours, and recreation for the world to enjoy in one of the cleanest rivers in the country. Entire economies both in Virginia and North Carolina are supported locally by these “primacy” uses of the River.
Worth additional consideration of this issue is the Bi-State Commission established by our governors to advise on policy issues related to the Roanoke River, whose waters we both share. We urge you to and argue that you must not ignore that even in these political times of deep division in our country, this Bi-State Commission voted unanimously (five Democrats and five Republicans) to advise the Governor of Virginia and the Virginia General Assembly to keep the uranium mining ban in place.
As I understand, one representative, who traveled to Paris and lives “upstream” from the threat at Smith Mountain Lake predictably abstained from the vote. This unanimous affirmation of keeping the ban in place marks the first time in recent memory that members of both parties agree on an issue, to protect our water from radioactive contamination, which would last forever.
As a fellow elected official, I am asking you to do the moral and sensible thing for your county, which overwhelmingly opposes this mining operation, and remember that your decision is not just for Pittsylvania County, but for all the counties downstream and the communities who draw water from the Roanoke for those multiple uses I have mentioned including life’s necessity, drinking water.
I hope with this letter that I have reminded you of the bigger picture of the impact of your decision.
I am asking you to vote to keep the uranium mining ban in place, not only for all of us but for our children and grandchildren.
I hope you agree that the slightest chance of permanently contaminating the Roanoke River and the long term negative impacts that such contamination would cause far outweighs any temporary mining jobs and economic activity that may come from allowing this to occur.
Please affirm and maintain the value of the ban on uranium mining, for all of us.
My sincerest regards,
Tommy Roberson, Mayor
What America would look like under Obamacare
To the editor:
Unlike most members of Congress, C.L. Gray, M.D., an author, physician and founder of PhysiciansforReform.org has studied the entire Obamacare law in detail.
Recently, he was a guest on the CBN network to give insight into his findings. As time has gone by, we are finding out more and more as to what’s in store for us under the new health care bill.
You may say that you are healthy, or you only take one or two prescription medications. But, what’s to say that one day, you, your spouse, your parent, your child or your unborn child or grandchild will need lifesaving medicine or care, such as insulin or heart medicine or need an organ transplant.
These services will be based not only on the cost of these services but on your value to society. You say that won’t happen, but it already has, according to Gray.
Take for instance the case of a 64-year-old Oregon woman. Under her state government run health program she was denied chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer that was recommended by her physician. She appealed twice and was denied both times.
Do you think Obamacare will be any different when it comes down to the costs involved? “Whoever pays holds the power to choose,” says Gray. “The government has limited resources.”
In addition, Dr. Gray talks about the post-modern view revaluing human beings… infants born with disabilities and seniors are given less worth. The Nazis referred to them as the “useless eaters.” Then you may say well that won’t happen to a young person.
Then take for instance a 3-year-old girl denied a kidney transplant due to her mental disability. Shouldn’t her parents be able to decide what the value of her life is?
Are you going to trust the government will have the money to provide whatever care you need? Are you going to let the government decide the value of your life?
They haven’t done so well with our dollars with regards to the Social Security funds. As it stands now, a lot of us will not ever see the funds we and our employers put into our Social Security fund because the retirement age has been raised to levels we will not live to see. So what do you do when there is no Social Security funds and no health care funds to support you?
Do we really trust the funds will be there to give us the health care we need. Currently, if you want a treatment, you can pretty much get that treatment. If you don’t have insurance, most hospitals already have financial assistance available to you, and in some cases patients are receiving free care.
Your doctor will no longer work for you, but he will be controlled by government regulation. He will be told what care he can provide for you based on what will be reimbursed by the government.
Are you prepared to give up your right to the doctor you want and the care you can receive?
According to what I’ve learned about the health care law, Section 3403, the IPAB (the Independent Payment Advisory Board) will be comprised of 15 independent “experts” whose purpose is to reduce the per capita rate of growth per Medicare spending by limiting access to care for seniors. They are given legislative authority above congress, appointed by the president for six years, with no oversight by congress, no oversight by the supreme court, no oversight by the president, and there’s no appealing their decision concerning your health care.
What fate will they determine for you?