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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Aug. 25

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For candidates’ consideration

To the editor:

With the board of supervisors’ election looming in November, it is an opportune time to put forth a plan for consideration by the candidates. 

Facts are that Halifax is facing multiple problems such as a declining population, loss of jobs, the tobacco buyout ending, a weak economy, etc. 

The question is “who running for election has developed a plan to deal with the situation?” I would like to suggest a three point objective plan for their consideration to deal with both the short-term and long-term situation facing Halifax County.

First, deal with the declining population problem by attracting new citizens with the financial resources to stimulate the local economy by purchasing real estate, remodeling or building homes and demanding additional professional services, restaurants or service business, etc. 

A part of the funds and facilities that are now used for tourism could be used to attract a small percentage of the estimated 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day by advertising in regional magazines, websites etc. Many of these individuals are not going to retire in the usual sense but will bring new life to clubs, mentoring programs and even may open new business ventures further spurring employment in the county. 

Retired financially secure individuals will not require the county infrastructure that younger or less financially secure individuals would require.

Second, with the purchase of Smithfield Processing, China signaled that their growing population with an increasing standard of living is seeking more and better agricultural products. Other large countries such as India are also beginning to become interested in agricultural products, and Halifax County with 93 percent of its land area zoned agricultural is poised to benefit. 

Recent action by the board of supervisors to look into reopening a livestock slaughter facility and the hiring of an agricultural agent are a move in the right direction. 

Recent approval of improvements to hog production facilities are another indication of the importance the board of supervisors has recently put on agriculture and farming.

Third, instead of the current exercise of spending large sums of money attempting to attract large high tech employers, emphasize the expansion of existing businesses in the county. 

Small businesses have been and will continue to be the economic engines of the country. Instead of utilizing or redirecting funds now misspent on the purchase of land and the building of industrial parks, these funds could be used to grow existing businesses and would be a more efficient and viable way to develop Halifax economically.

Additional areas for consideration for potential members of the board of supervisors are gifts to members that may be offered from time to time by organizations who might be asking the board for assistance and the handling of off-budget items. 

Although the amount of money may not rise to the level of the state of national level, the implications or favoritism can still exist, and given the financial condition of Halifax County such gifts could be viewed as unseemly.

It is current board policy not to vote on off-budget funding requests at the same meeting the request is made. By allowing off-budget items to be voted upon, the board risks spending funds which are not available under the budget and encourages off-budget requests to be made. How would those running for election handle this? 

Barry Bank

ED-5 Supervisor,
Halifax County

 

Too many school fundraisers

To the editor:

Well, we are about one month into a new school year, and already I find myself angered and disappointed in the Halifax County School system. 

Once again our students are not being put first in our schools.

We live in the Cluster Springs Elementary School district. Our first fundraiser (of many I’m sure) has begun. 

I was always under the impression that fundraisers were on a voluntary basis. However, CSES, and perhaps all of the county schools, have decided that if our children are to be rewarded with a very much-hyped program, that each child must sell five fundraiser items minimum, ranging in the price range I believe of $9 to $19. 

The children who do not manage to do this will be singled out and punished by not being allowed to attend this program, which is being held at the school during regular school hours. 

This country’s schools already have a very big problem with bullying, and these actions only encourage this behavior. We’ve also already received a pre-recorded telephone message from our principal, Ms. Long, complaining about lunches being charged by the children. 

Ms. Long also ended last school year with a pre-recorded message stating that if any child did not have all unpaid lunch money in by a scheduled end of year field trip, they would not be allowed to go on the field trip. This is coming from a school that boasted to having $20,000 in the PTO fund. 

I am appalled and sickened by the audacity of this school system, a public school system that receives federal funds from taxes paid by this county’s working people. 

It takes a nerve to ostracize our children in the name of fundraisers and lunch money. What will you do with the PTO funds? I cannot think of a better use than for our children (all children) to enjoy a school program or to have a full belly. 

Did we not address an unpaid lunch problem last year at our high school?

I’m sure that I am not alone in my feelings. More people need to speak out. This is discrimination. This is an unfair practice. 

Our economy is strapped at best, more so in this county than in some others. Fifteen dollars for a container of cookie dough could put a pretty good meal on the table for a family. What do you think would be more important?

For those who want to participate, that’s fine. For those who don’t, that should be fine also. But school should be for learning, not selling. 

There are way too many fundraisers, and they are too expensive. 

Sharon Hereford 

Alton