2013-05-29 / Opinions


Citizen input supports bowhunting

In response to your [story on the] Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission’s decision to postpone a final decision on bowhunting [May 8]: There are several statements [in the article] that need to be brought to task and the truth be known.

Wanda Crockett says, “For the county to endorse this is sends an awful message.” My question is to whom, Ms Crockett? The many bowhunters in the county? Those who benefit from the Hunters for Hungry program? Farmers who rent out their land so the crop- eating deer can be removed? The many merchants that make a living from this sport? Please tell us who this sends an “awful message” to.

A letter from Laura Simmons of the Humane Society of the United States, a decidedly anti-hunting organization cited dozens of published studies that show “unacceptably high cripple rates, even when the most modern bowhunting methods are used.” The HSUS cites these studies every time [it] addresses an agency. It has yet to produce these studies so they can be looked at and studied by others. So they are called into doubt by most hunters. Maybe someday they will produce all these studies from reputable sources so that all can see them.

Truman Tench asks, “Why are we looking into this?” Apparently, he has not been following this item for very long. As it so happens, a good solid sportsman asked if there were any laws against hunting on public property. He asked before he hunted and was told there were none. It was then decided to investigate the issue and see if hunting could be permitted on public property.

He also states, “The county should set a standard. We shouldn’t just say, ‘Well, some people want to shoot deer, so let’s do it.’” Mr. Tench, that is what PRAC is doing. Setting the standard based on citizen input. So far, the input seems to favor allowing it on a limited basis. Also, guess what Mr. Tench? Hunters are “butchering deer” in many places in the county already and these deer come off public property. So you might want to again learn more about the issue.

I think some fear that allowing the test program at Dutch Gap will again prove all their protestations against it [wrong], and the doom and gloom scenarios they talk about will not happen. .... Why not try the test program at Dutch Gap, then revisit it in a few years. After all, if it becomes such a big problem, it can be halted at any time, couldn’t it? After all, at the public meeting for citizen input it was obvious what the citizens wanted.

Jerry Frawley

Prayer at board meetings

In response to a letter from Ruth Castro of Midlothian about Jerry Stroud’s published letter of April 17 regarding the right of individuals at the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors meetings, I wanted to write and challenge a statement made regarding the U.S. Constitution.

Ms. Castro wrote, “Separating religious faith from government was important to our Founding Fathers, which is evident in our Constitution.”

It is interesting to note that 53 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were Christian men; the Constitutional Convention was marked by daily prayer to the God of the Bible.

Now, I know that the Constitutional Convention and the BOS meeting are not equivalent in either form or function, but to say that the Founding Fathers were adamant toward the separation of the church and state is unsupported.

As for her statement that the separation of religious faith from government being evident in the Constitution: Well, read the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights: Amendment I: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

Ms. Castro has the right not to believe in a creator God, and she has the right not to pray, if she wishes. But she does not have the right to keep other citizens from exercising their rights, supported by the Constitution, to practice their religious beliefs, whether it be within the walls of their homes, their churches, their schools or their government assemblies. To rewrite history and call it fact, that right is simply wrong.

Mal Donohue

Senior center is needed

I write in response to Clayton Rhoades’ letter [April 24]. He wrote that he was “intrigued” with the idea that a new senior center was being considered for Chesterfield County, so he “explored” to learn what programs were “of critical need to our seniors” that his tax money was going to support.

He took issue with several leisure activities these programs provided, saying “I have performed many of these same leisure activities as a child and as an adult in my own yard or den, including with friends. Why don’t seniors consider the same approach and save all taxpayers money?”

As children, most of us have the energy, health and friendships that allow for leisure activities. As seniors we often lose companionship through the death of our spouses and/ or friends. We become more isolated, health may be challenged, and depression may set in. One answer to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is to take classes and form new relationships.

To do that, we must have a gathering place. Then we can make the friends with whom we can “play.” Classes such as yoga, dancing, aerobics, and chair exercises help us stay healthy.

Classes in the arts, computer, language, cooking, etc. teach us new skills and help keep our minds sharp. Those who can afford to pay for these programs do. Those who cannot are awarded scholarships and/or are assessed a sliding scale fee so Chesterfield County is not absorbing all the costs. In some cases teachers teach for free at the Lifelong Learning Institute.

Persons who take advantage of provided classes are not usually in the group Mr. Rhoades mentioned as “having generally accumulated more wealth than younger citizens and have often paid off a house and have minimal overall expenses.” Many are on fixed incomes, some strictly on social security. Some live in less than desirable housing in order to make ends meet. These persons may also require expensive medications that cost them hundreds of dollars per month. These are the people who benefit from the classes offered.

Mr. Rhoades asks, “In these tough economic times, must all county citizens pay higher taxes to subsidize the recreational and leisure needs of one segment of society?” I ask, why should senior citizens pay for educating children or for after-school programs? Why should we pay for any of the programs that our population as a group doesn’t use?

Mr. Rhoades asks what we’re supposed to tell children about why we have less money to pay for things for them when senior citizens are wealthy and demanding unreasonable services.

What we should be telling children is that there is a sector of society that is able to provide for their needs without help, but a large part of the population doesn’t fall into that category. We should tell them that being a U.S. citizen is a privilege that requires paying taxes, some of which we don’t agree with and/or don’t apply to our current life circumstances. Children deserve the truth.

Mary Lou Paulett

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