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Let patrons fund Prizery

To the editor:

Regarding the article by Paula Bryant on the front page of your newspaper edition on March 6, 2013 entitled “DEEP CUTS Balance Budget.” 

The Prizery has never received annual funding from the County of Halifax. The county did donate $900,000 to the Prizery with $500,000 from the Town of South Boston in order to allow the organization to obtain matching grants and other funding to begin operation. 

Both the town and the county are currently still repaying these amounts borrowed to fund The Prizery with the county’s liability being $69,420 per year. 

The Prizery is a privately owned charitable organization and has no connection to either the Halifax County government or that of the Town of South Boston.

At the Sept. 4, 2012 meeting of the Halifax County Board of Supervisors, Mr. Matt Leonard,
Prizery board director, requested the county donate the amount of $60,000 to The Prizery since The Prizery was unable to make the payment for its New Market Tax Credit Obligation loan (even though the due date of the payment and the amount had been known since the inception of the loan). 

Supervisor Wayne Conner noted the board had made a policy not to pass on such proposals until the next board meeting.

At the Oct. 1, 2012 meeting of the board, I proposed that the county loan The Prizery $60,000 with the following conditions: 1. That the funds would only be used to pay the note, 2. This would be a one time loan and repaid on the date due, 3. There would be no more requests for funds in the future, and 4. A member of the Halifax Board of Supervisors would be appointed to the board of directors of The Prizery to represent the county and the board of supervisors to insure that the loan was repaid. All of these conditions were agreed to by Mr. Leonard and The Prizery board of directors as indicated in a Letter of Memorandum.

The funds were used to repay the loan, and a member of the board of supervisors (whose objective was to protect the county’s interests in having the loan repaid) was appointed to The Prizery board.

However, The Prizery has indicated that it does not wish to live up to the two remaining and critical conditions which Mr. Leonard assured the board of supervisors would be honored: 1. That the Prizery would repay the loan and 2. that no additional requests for funding would be made by The Prizery board. 

The Prizery board violated these two guarantees by asking for forgiveness of the loan and
requesting additional funding for the coming year as noted in the Proposed FY 2014 Budget.

This action for loan forgiveness and additional funding by the board of The Prizery comes even as The Prizery is able to find funds to purchase a $100,000 piano, spend the funds required to deliver the piano and have it set up and to continue to fund money losing entertainment.

If The Prizery is of such importance to the future of Halifax County as is contended by its supporters, and if The Prizery has the support of over 3,100 patrons, then these supporter/patrons should be willing to donate the required funds to continue the operations of The Prizery. 

The citizens of Halifax County should not be asked to fund any private organization no matter how beneficial to the county it is said to be by its sponsors. No elected official who truly represents their constituents should vote to give away any such funds regardless of the financial conditions of the county entity.

Barry Bank

5th District Supervisor

South Boston


Reverse Robin Hood act

To the editor:

The county board of supervisors are cutting money from the people who protect everyone in the county. These people put their lives on the line everyday to make it safe for all of us. 

When we call E911 for help, we get the dispatcher who then calls the fire department, rescue squad or sheriff’s office. 

Now the board wants to cut money from them, the ones who face danger because that’s what they are hired or volunteer to do. 

What about all these vacant buildings that sit still. Why hasn’t the board tried to get them occupied to draw a source of tax and revenue instead of robbing the citizens of the money we struggle to make now days. 

It’s a reverse Robin Hood act.   

Thank you

Charles Tidwell

South Boston


Double standard?

To the editor:

According to reports published recently in the local media, two public school employees were suspended for three days, and one employee was suspended for five days, but their names and work sites were not published.

In September of 2012, a local principal was suspended, and her name, picture and work site were published in the local media?

Why the double standard?


Lealand D. Luck

South Boston


Do we pet horses or eat them? 

To the editor:

Last week, food safety officials in United Kingdom, France and Sweden found traces of horse meat in ground beef sold across Europe.  Massive recalls and lawsuits are ensuing.

Can it happen here?  Horse slaughter for human consumption was banned in the U.S. between 2007 and 2011.  But now, a New Mexico slaughterhouse is getting approved by U.S. authorities to slaughter horses for human consumption, and a Philadelphia restaurant has already announced plans to serve horse meat.

I marvel at our hypocrisy of rejecting the notion of horse or dog meat on our dinner plates, while condemning cows, pigs and chickens to the same fate.  

Obviously, we have established special relationships with horses and dogs as our companions, protectors and sports protagonists, rather than as food.  

But where is the ethical and logical distinction, given that all these animals are endowed by individuality, sentience and an ability to experience the same feelings of joy, affection, sadness and fear that we do?

Fortunately, our health food industry has spared us from having to choose which animals to pet and which ones to eat.  Their delicious soy and grain-based meat alternatives are available in every supermarket.


Garry Veitzmann



Working for a cure

To the editor:

I was born and raised here in Halifax County, and I have actively joined the movement to end multiple sclerosis.

Every hour someone is diagnosed with MS, a chronic and unpredictable disease of the central nervous system for which there is no cure.  

Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body and stops people from moving…therefore, interrupting their lives.  Many have trouble imagining what their lives would be without the ability to move, but I know the effects of MS.

A little over two years ago, I was diagnosed with the disease, and my youngest son, Evan, was diagnosed four years ago at the age of 19.  

National MS Awareness Week takes place March 11 – 17. I encourage people to join the movement to end MS and help people with MS move their lives forward. It’s easy to get involved.  It only takes a few minutes to make a difference in the lives of the millions of people worldwide who live with this disease and its effects.  

During the week of March 11- 15, Halifax County Middle School, where I teach seventh and eighth grade English, will observe MS Awareness Week with daily activities sponsored by the school’s SCA.

Tuesday, March 12, was Hat Day.  Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to wear their favorite hats for a $1 donation to the Central Virginia MS Walk.

Wednesday, March 13, is “Hunting for a Cure” Day.  Students, faculty and staff will be encouraged to wear camouflage.  Orange wristbands will be sold at lunch with all money raised going to Central Virginia MS Walk.

On Thursday, March 14, students and staff at HCMS are going to wear the school colors of blue and orange with the emphasis on orange in observance of National Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Day.  Why don’t you wear orange as well?  And tell people why! 

Friday, March 15, teachers will be encouraged to, once again, wear orange, and they will be allowed to wear jeans for a donation to the Central Virginia MS Walk.

In addition to these activities, daily announcements will be made sharing facts about Multiple Sclerosis.  Awareness is imperative. 

There are some simple things you can do, too:

Visit to learn more about MS.

Tell 10 people that MS Awareness Week is March 11 -18 and ask them to tell 10 people they know.

And most importantly, my husband, Paul, and Evan, our son, will be walking in Walk MS:  Richmond 2013 on March 23.  This year, due to school responsibilities, I will be a “virtual walker.” 

If you would like to sponsor us, it would be greatly appreciated.  We will walk not only for me and our son but for the countless others battling this disease.  Every donation, big or small, will go directly to the Central Virginia MS chapter to help fund research and provide for the needs of MS patients.

Research is vital in finding a cure for MS.  Please become involved in MS Awareness Week and help move us closer to a world free of MS.

Thank you,

Karen Shelton Smith