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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: April 17

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School morale hits rock bottom

To the editor:

As a resident and taxpayer of Halifax County I have been very concerned about the way some on the Halifax County School Board and Superintendent Dr. Merle P. Herndon are treating some of the employees in the Halifax County Public Schools.

Every week when I read the newspapers they are telling the employees something different. Now, this past week some are being told they will be put on 10 months, their salaries will be cut and, of course, their vacation time and sick leave will be cut also.
Some of these employees have been working 20-25 years and have not had a pay raise in approximately six years, but they worked hard at their jobs, and this is the thanks they get. 

They are planning to cut secretaries and janitors, who are some of the lowest paid employees in the school system. If the secretaries and janitors are not working, just how will some of these schools be ready for the opening of school in the coming year?

If you have to make these cuts to balance a budget how can you even consider a
2 percent raise? I thought a raise meant an increase in pay and not a decrease in pay for employees.

It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to realize the fairest and best way to handle this money situation in the school system is to cut every employee’s salary in the school system starting with Dr. Herndon, administrators, assistants and everyone straight down the line. This way, hopefully, it will help those who have already been underpaid and taking home less pay since Obama raised taxes. 

This would affect everyone and not just the ones being discriminated against. 

No wonder the morale in the school system has hit rock bottom.

My next question is how were these certain people who were chosen in the first round of cuts and those who are being considered for cuts during a second round chosen, and why? 

They are being discriminated against. 

There are other ways this can be handled. Why should some employees not be affected at all, and these that someone has chosen have to take the brunt of the cuts?

Something is drastically wrong with the way this is being handled. 

Of course, if you are one of the lucky ones making a great salary, with now no cuts of any kind, you are not concerned with low people on the totem pole — it’s not affecting you! Right!

I would like to thank Karen Hopkins, Cheryl Terry and Walter Potts for voting against these cuts. Apparently Dick Stoneman, Phyliss Smith, Fay Satterfield and Roger Long could care less about these employees and the hardship this is going to put on some of these families. They have already been under a lot of stress trying to make ends meet. So you all have really pulled the rug out from under them. They have really been duped for being hard working and faithful employees.

My final question is why did this county school board waste $250,000 on a school efficiency review and curriculum audit? We have accomplished nothing and wasted money which could have benefited the employees and children of the Halifax County Public School System.

Nancy Ramsey

South Boston

 

Pay attention BPOL taxpayers

To the editor:

I was very disappointed in the recent actions of our board of supervisors on the adoption of increased BPOL rates and fees.  For those who don’t know, BPOL stands for “Business Professional and Occupation License.” It is a tax levied by the county on the gross receipts of certain types of businesses.  

To be noted, it is a tax on gross receipts not net profit.  So a business could lose money and still owe a substantial tax bill to the county.  

This tax was introduced in Virginia to fund the war of 1812.  Some 200 years later the tax is still being levied, and it is up to the General Assembly to abolish this tax that they won’t do.  

If I had to guess, I would say we have paid for the war by now.  

For starters, what the county needs to do is tighten its belt and focus on the services that are essential to the operation of county government.  Obviously, this is the most difficult path so it is the one not taken.  

Because of that, revenues need to be raised.  

The fair and equitable thing to do to raise revenue would be a slight increase in real-estate tax rates.  Much like our federal government, fair and equitable is out the window.  Instead, they lay the burden on the ones that are providing the jobs, that are already paying the highest tax rates, and that are actually contributing something to the economy.  

Many more people own property than own a business that is subject to BPOL taxes.  Subsequently, more would share in the burden of raising revenues.  

Oh but wait a minute, that also means more people would be upset and complaining, don’t want to deal with that.  So the easiest path is taken.  

BPOL taxpayers better wake up and contact their supervisors.  Once the bill is in the mail, it is too late.

Eric Arthur Jr.

South Boston

 

Meat and heart disease

To the editor:

The new link between meat consumption and heart disease, discovered by Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, is just the latest evidence linking meat consumption to killer diseases that cripple, then kill, 1.3 million Americans annually. Hazen’s study showed that carnitine, an amino acid contained in all meat products, is a major factor in heart failure.

Similarly, an Oxford University study of nearly 45,000 adults in last January’s American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to be suffer from heart disease than people who ate meat and fish. 

A Harvard University study of 37,698 men and 83,644 women, in last April’s Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that meat consumption raises the risk of total, heart and cancer mortality.

We have sacrificed the lives of 10,000 American personnel and trillions of dollars in waging two wars to avenge the deaths of 2,600 Americans in the 9/11 attacks. 

When will we wage a bloodless, low-cost war on the killer meat-based diet, potentially responsible for as many as 1.3 million American deaths annually?

In the meantime, we have the power to raise our own life expectancy by adopting a meat-free diet. An internet search provides ample resources.

Sincerely,

Garry Veitzmann

Alton