Letters to the Editor

Kudos to VDOT on completed roundabout
Congratulations to the Virginia Department of Transportation for its completion of the new traffic roundabout at the intersection of Routes 15 and 53. After the recent completion of this project, traffic is flowing smoothly. Previous bottlenecks at the intersection, especially after completion of the new high school with added bus traffic, appear to be a thing of the past.
As a nearby neighbor in this area we probably pass through this intersection at least once daily. Of course there were some delays during its year-long construction, but these were minimized by careful rerouting of lanes and good traffic control. On days when I did not have to go this way I often rode by just to check on the day’s progress.
To the undersigned, this seemingly everyday type project was fascinating to watch because of the precision required to lay out the lanes and to achieve the proper heights. Final success was obviously reliant on close attention to numerous details, including landscaping, lighting and protection of the surrounding environment. Construction workers additionally had to deal with frequent bad weather and days when work was halted due to rain or snow. As a citizen whom this project benefits I applaud the work of all involved in its fruition.

Gerald “Joe” Blythe

Vote to prevent climate catastrophe

For those of us concerned that the race to completely destroy the Earth’s biosphere might be behind schedule, not to worry. This year’s worldwide forest fires, heat waves, droughts and historic-level hurricanes could prove to break all records. According to the National Fire Information Center as of Sept. 15,  the total number of active large fires (which includes full suppression and resource-managed fires) is 66 and fires nationwide have consumed 8,036,858 acres – about 12,557 square miles, larger than the size of Maryland. Along the French Mediterranean coast wildfires forced the evacuation of 12,000 people. Hurricanes Harvey and Irma’s devastation to Texas and Florida’s coasts are unprecedented for a single year and a new Category 6 Hurricane level may be required in the future. (The monetary cost to humans in terms of billions of dollars in lost jobs, housing and infrastructure, agriculture and resorts may not be determined for months.)
And guess what? There’s another reason not to worry. According to Fortune, Trump has bolstered Big Oil’s 40-year quest to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR): “There’s a simple reason for their persistence: ANWR is ‘the largest unexplored, potentially productive geologic onshore basin in the United States,’ the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported in 2000. It’s also one of the rare pieces of unspoiled wilderness left in the world – home to polar bear dens and caribou calving grounds – and remains much the same as it was 10,000 years ago.”
Seriously, I assume we have not forgotten that stern warning from Smokey the Bear: “Only you can prevent forest fires!”  I certainly hope Smokey’s cousin, a polar bear, also has a warning: “Only you can prevent climate catastrophes!” This could also serve as a reminder to vote in November for candidates that care about our planet and are willing to take action and support policies that will protect our air, our forests and our tributaries and bay from pollution and pipelines.

Julius Neelley
Lake Monticello

Vote Andrew Pullen for School Board
I’ve known Andrew, and his family, since he was a child. I taught him in school, coached him on the field, volunteered with him on the fire department, we go to church together, we hunt together; I know Andrew as well as anyone. He’s developed innovative plans to deliver better service while saving hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars as the fire chief in Kents Store all while growing the department to reflect the community it serves. As a leader in our community and a parent, Andrew understands the important role that the School Board has in developing and educating the next generation of Flucos. I know that no one will work harder than Andrew to ensure that students are first and I am excited to see his ideas for how to address our rising healthcare costs for faculty, expansion of STEM and CTE education and focus on preparing our children for success in the workforce or admission to college. Please join me in supporting Andrew Pullen to represent the Columbia District on the Fluvanna County School Board.

Mike Sheridan
Columbia District

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