- Last Updated on 08:10 AM 02/27/13
- BY The Gazette-Virginian
What an honor
To the editor:
On behalf of The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region, I would like to share our story of great service by Maj. Gen. Carroll Thackston.
“Carroll,” as he told us to call him, served on The Community Foundation’s board and its distribution committee. When he first joined our board, the foundation was just starting to expand our region to include Halifax County beyond our initial territory of Danville, Pittsylvania and Caswell, N.C. counties.
Carroll was our first Halifax County representative on the board — and what a great first choice he proved to be.
Carroll spent hours and hours reviewing grant applications and hundreds of scholarship applications – with none of the money available at that time for Halifax County.
We laughed at his many jokes and stories - once his grandchild asked him if our large stack of scholarship applications was the “Stimulus Package” that he had heard about.
We tried to assign him organizations to review that had regional implications or that were similar to Halifax County agencies, but we dreamed together of one day having funds for an open grant application process dedicated to Halifax County.
On April 23, 2010, Carroll Thackston made the first donation to open the Fund for Halifax County – a designated fund to benefit a variety of charitable organizations in Halifax County.
With the help of a large gift from The Chastain Foundation and other donations, the Fund for Halifax County is now permanently endowed with The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region. After the first open call for applications, grants were awarded in the fall of 2012 to the South Boston - Halifax County Museum and the Southern Virginia Botanical Gardens.
A local advisory committee is helping to grow The Fund for Halifax County and review the annual grant applications – Ryan Garrett, Bill Kelehar, Dolly Fallen and Logan Young (now a member of The Community Foundation’s Board of Directors).
What an honor it was to have the Fund for Halifax County suggested as one of the places to receive gifts in Carroll’s memory. This fund will help his great legacy of unselfish service to his community, the region and the state live on and touch lives for generations and generations.
Debra L. Dodson
The Community Foundation of the Dan River Region
Guns and abortions kill
To the editor:
The shooting of 20 precious children and six adults in Newtown, Conn. was a terrible thing. People were saying what a shame; look what guns have done.
Few people realized that on the same day, the lives of more than 3,000 babies came to an end, but not by guns. These 3,000 or more babies lost their lives by abortion; some by suction method; others by forcibly removing them with forceps. These abortions were gruesome.
No guns were used, yet they are just as dead as the ones killed by guns.
These were all precious in the sight of God. Some will say that they were not born yet. God said He knew us before we were formed in our mother’s womb.
With all of these abortions, no one was charged with murder. If the woman has the baby and then kills it, she would be charged with murder. God help us.
We are living in America, a country founded on religious freedom. Our forefathers fought and died for this freedom. Today we are putting God out of everything: schools, public meetings, Congress, Senate and the White House.
If we as Christians don’t start standing up for our belief in God, we will soon lose all of our Christian rights. We are letting it be taken away little by little because we are not standing up for God and country.
No gun laws will keep crazy people from killing. They will get a gun one way or another. Just remember people kill with guns. Abortion kills without guns. That seems to be okay with our leaders. Abortion for birth control is wrong; for health reasons or rape is a different story.
Christian friends, I am asking that we all pray for our leaders. Pray that God will open their eyes before it is too late.
God’s Word tells us in II Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 14; “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray; and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Let’s pray that it is not too late.
God bless America.
No respecter of persons
To the editor:
This is February 2013, the month we celebrate Black History.
We all need to love one another regardless of race, creed, religion etc.
We all need to be treated equal no matter where, jobs, schools, offices, etc.
In the sight of God, we all are His children. God is no respecter of persons.
We need to continue to pray for better conditions in this world for we are truly blessed when we see and hear of so much terror all over the world.
Killing, tornadoes, storms, floods, fires — the world is in a state of unrest.
No matter what, God is the answer. He is still in control. We need to continue to pray for each other and love one another for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
Susan C. Wyche
God’s beloved animals
To the editor:
On Thursday afternoon, Feb. 21, around 5:15 p.m. in front of Glenwood Methodist Church on Philpott Road, one of God’s animals was run over by an automobile.
With no respect, the driver did not stop to find out to whom the animal belonged, and he or she took it upon himself or herself to keep on going. We were outside when we heard a noise, and I looked across the highway. My worst fears came into my thoughts. I walked across Philpott Road, looked down in the highway, and my worst fears were realized.
In a pool of blood, torn in two pieces and laying helpless, I bent over to pick him up and carry the animal back across the highway. After being soaked in blood from my coat to my arms and hands, I buried him and gave him the name, “Born Free,” because of the Classic movie in 1968. He was born in this world and was running free as the mighty wind.
He may have been a stray, but at least he should have had someone to love him, instead of someone running him down like that.
Now to all the other animal lovers who care about their pets, I would like for you to know he has crossed over to the “Rainbow Bridge.” He is now in a special place where dogs, cats and other pets go when they pass away. He is in lush green pastures where he can run and play and is young once again waiting for the master’s return never to be separated again.
If we do come back again after death, I believe some people might be in trouble if they come back as animals. What you do wrong in life will come back on you, and believe me, I would not want to suffer like some of these animals have.
Remember this, man’s best friend is a dog, and dog spelled backwards is god. There may be something to this, because I do believe it is.
Again, to the person or persons who were involved in this hateful crime, “Thanks for nothing.”
Floyd Daniel Scearce
Member of the A.S.P.C.A.
America, Society to Prevent Cruelty to Animals
To the editor:
In the past couple of months I have written several letters to the editor. I thoroughly enjoy your column and learn a lot about people in what they say and write.
My letters are simply my opinion and my opinion only.
Some of your readers might wonder why I addressed my letters with the words “What If.” It’s because these two little words are so strong and powerful in our world today.
There are so many problems in our lives today.
“What if” we kept God in our lives instead of trying to take Him out of everything.
Take prayer for instance. Prayer is a powerful quality, but yet we won’t even let our school children say it in our schools today. What harm is prayer?
“What if” we didn’t say our prayers and ask God to forgive us of our sins. I don’t even want to live in a world without Christ.
“What if” we didn’t have love in our lives, in our families, in our churches and in our country. There is so much evil in our country today that it would truly take a miracle from God to fix it.
People are so unconcerned that our country continues to fall. No one tries to work together anymore. Instead of turning to God for help and reassurance, there are those who would rather turn to guns and violence. Guns kill people, but God saves people.
Tragedies and death come from the misuse of guns. The saddest thing is that it is not always the bad guy who gets shot but innocent little children who have had their lives taken away before they even begin.
Don’t take what I say about guns the wrong way. As I think about all these little children who didn’t deserve to have their lives taken, I can’t help but cry.
“What if” God didn’t care, but He does care every day of our lives. He died on the cross for you and me, that’s how much He cares.
Just think “what if” everything we do, we do because we love God and lived every day for Him. Ask God to help you keep your families together in a good Christian home. Pray for our country and its leaders. Stop taking prayer out of everything, but most of all stop taking God out of everything.
If our country, our churches, our families and our lives would go back to living the good Christian values that our forefathers believed in and instilled in generations down, we wouldn’t need to ask the “what if.”
Believe me when I say if you don’t believe in God, then all the “what ifs” in the world will not save you.
I love the Lord, I love my family, I love my church, and I love and believe in my country. It is my prayer that all of you out there feel the same. Don’t give up on your life; don’t give up on your family; don’t give up on your church; don’t give up on the good ole U.S.A.; but most of all don’t give up on God.
If what I’ve said can change one person’s life then I’ll be truly blessed. God bless you Editor, and God bless everyone.
Your friend in Christ,
Suspended for paper spitballs
To the editor:
This letter to the editor is about a recent situation at Meadville Elementary School.
Recently my son received a yellow slip and was suspended for a day from school for shooting spitballs on the school bus. My son is 9 years old and in the fourth grade.
On the day of the incident, one of the passengers on a school bus shot a spitball at the bus driver. Some students were even shooting plastic BBs.
According to Principal Barczak, a bus driver was struck by an object and reported the student to Principal Barczak. When called to the office, the student mentioned that many other students were shooting spitballs as well.
My son was reported by another student for shooting paper spitballs. An announcement was made over the intercom system that any student in possession of these hollow pens was to bring them to the office. Some students threw them in the trash, while others chose to take theirs to the office.
Those who obeyed Principal Barczak were written a yellow slip and suspended from school for a day.
From our understanding roughly 16 students (ranging from first grade to fifth grade) were suspended.
I am a father of five, and my wife and I have always tried to raise our children to be honest and respectful. However, we also realize that they are children.
I dare say there isn’t a man today who never shot spitballs as a child at their friends. I thought that was a part of being a kid. When I called Principal Barczak to apologize for my child’s behavior, I also wanted to express my disagreement with the aspect of the children being suspended over this. I believe they should have gotten punished in some way, but being suspended is a little much.
I was told that this could have been written up as being in possession of a weapon in which case the police would have been called. I then called the school board and spoke with (School Superintendent) Dr. Herndon and was essentially told the same thing.
I expressed my disagreement with the decision of suspension for these children.
I have been in law enforcement for about 13 years, and I am well aware that a weapon can be anything used to cause harm or intimidation to another person.
For that matter, a paperclip or a pencil can be considered a weapon. I was outraged when I was told this.
The fact that our school system can say the police could be called on our elementary school children for shooting spitballs is ludicrous. For me it is as extreme as saying that because I wrote you a speeding ticket that your license should be suspended for a year. The punishment does not fit the “crime.”
The only problem we have ever had with him is talking in class or not always focusing, but there again he is a 9-year-old child. My son has been trying to obtain perfect attendance for the year to receive his award at the end of the school year. To me, that is not only a compliment for the school but for a 9-year-old child to set a goal of perfect attendance in school is also a statement in itself.
I love the county we live in, but recently I am having some major concerns in our educational system. The way situations are handled within the schools is getting absurd. From bullying to throwing children’s lunches in the trash and now shooting spitballs.
Do I think the children should be in trouble for shooting spitballs on the bus? Yes, but have them thoroughly clean the bus, or at worst suspend them from the bus for a day or two.
If they were shooting them in school, make the children come to school for a few hours on the weekend and clean the school. Suspending them from school takes them away from their education that is the thing we should be promoting.
My son is still being punished by losing some privileges at home as well as writing apology letters to his bus driver as well as to his principal. I just feel a knee-jerk reaction to this situation caused Principal Barczak as well as Dr. Herndon to make a poor decision.
Part of being a good leader is being a proper disciplinarian, and “group punishment” is never right. We have a wonderful bus driver, and she would make us aware if any concerns arose with our children.
Am I the only person who feels this way?
Aaron C. Fisher
To the editor:
Obama had been silent on gun control until now, after the election. Why?
Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, was ready to sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty last July, but Obama wanted to wait until after the election to avoid the predictable voter backlash.
This treaty would allow our gun control laws to be written by the United Nations, and it would undermine the sovereignty of the U.S.
The next round of the U.N. Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty will be held a month from now — March 18-28. This time it will be John Kerry, our new Secretary of State, finalizing the document, and Obama won’t have to worry about another election, so he’ll sign it, too.
What happens next?
A treaty requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Knowing that’s not likely to happen, Harry Reid won’t even bring it up for a vote. Problem solved? Not quite.
The president may go ahead to implement the treaty’s provisions anyway saying the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties allows him to do so - “States must not do things to stop a treaty from taking force or effect, while they wait for the right body of government to ratify it.”
Now, all this will go on forever because the Senate has never approved that particular Vienna treaty either.
You can expect the gun control debate to last a very long time.
Rash rush to judgment
To the editor:
I felt compelled to write a letter to state my concerns about recent actions taken at Meadville Elementary by Principal Marliss Barczak.
On Thursday, Feb. 21, at 9:46 a.m., we were contacted via telephone by the principal telling us our child was being suspended from school for one day because our child allegedly shot a plastic pellet on the bus.
Our initial reaction was total disbelief and confusion because our child has never received any type of behavior warning or discipline while attending Meadville Elementary.
We inquired where did our child get such an object, when did the alleged incident take place, etc. I am an involved parent who puts my child on the bus every morning and packs the book bag. Our child never had any access to such materials. We were told another child passed them out on the bus.
Upon speaking with Ms. Barczak, several questions received few answers. The principal was not sure what day the alleged incident took place, exactly what action she was suspending my child for, nor could she answer where the alleged incident took place. Her response for many of the questions started with, “I believe” and “I think.” She stated another student learned how to make these plastic pellets off of YouTube and was passing them out to the children on the bus, as well as, possibly selling them on the playground.
I spoke to Ms. Barczak several times throughout the day trying to gain information pertaining to my child and this alleged incident. I asked the principal if this alleged incident took place on the bus, did she take the time to view the videotape footage from the bus?
She replied, “I did not.”
I immediately asked her how she could suspend my child from school for an action she did not take time to thoroughly investigate or verify. I also inquired how my child was brought into this situation since this was not initially reported by the bus driver and why our child was being suspended from school and not from the bus?
She stated that a total of 14 students were being suspended from school for possession of these plastic pellets.
We did not get a chance to speak to our child until after school to hear what happened at school and on the bus. Our child was pulled out of class because our child’s name was given by another child and questioned by the principal.
Our child stated the principal was told over and over that he/she did not ever shoot the pellet but only accepted one from the older child that had possession and was distributing them among the riders.
I believe the principal suspended my child without obtaining all the facts. We told her we believed the discipline does not fit the action nor was she taking into consideration how the students came to have the plastic pellet or their individual behavior history.
We feel the first action from the principal should have been a thorough investigation of the alleged incidents. Upon gaining knowledge that over a dozen students or more could possibly be involved, she then could have conducted an assembly to let students know what these plastic pellets are, her concerns regarding them, while communicating to all students these pellets, etc. are not allowed.
She should have then sent home a letter to parents making them aware of this concern (issue) and communicating these items are not allowed on buses or school grounds and that disciplinary actions could take place if not followed. None of this happened.
Instead, in my opinion the principal made a rash rush to judgment.
State law requires that school discipline be administered in a progressive fashion, meaning it should be imposed in proportion to a student’s misbehavior, a student’s discipline history and other important and relevant factors.
An elementary and high school public education is a constitutionally-protected property right. So, a student must be given what’s called due process before a suspension takes place.
Due process means the suspension must be done in a fair and even-handed manner.
We feel Ms. Barczak has failed these students and has failed the parents who entrusted her to deliver on the Principal’s Welcome posted on the Meadville Elementary School website. It states, “We believe in a close relationship with families, communities, and the world around us. Working together, parents, students and staff can achieve anything. It is kids first at Meadville Elementary School.”
Never walked in my shoes
To the editor:
Washington and the local government are broken. It is time they realize they cannot have their cake and eat it too.
They come to the idea that the motor companies should build more fuel efficient cars. As soon as they come out with the hybrid and cars getting 35-45 miles per gallon, they realized the government was missing too much money at the gas pumps.
The government in Washington and Richmond don’t know what they want or what is best for the country. Get some fifth graders they will have answers.
What happened to common sense?
They tell you on T.V., I feel your pain I know what you all are going through. They have no idea because they have never walked in my shoes.