Smithfield's Olden Days kicks off tonight with oldies favorites by Ocean Breeze from 7 - 9 p.m. on the Gazebo stage on Main Street in downtown Smithfield. Prior to Ocean Breeze, Anthony Snape will perform at 6 p.m. at 115 Main St. The evening culminates with a Ghost Walk, starting at the 1750 Courthouse on Main Street at 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Kids are invited to enter the Kids, Bikes and Pet Parade on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. Line up at the corner of Underwood and Main streets to parade downtown. Prizes awarded at The Smithfield Times Gazebo. The day also includes food, crafts, antique cares and music with Karl Wearne and the Lazar Brothers on the Gazebo stage at 11 a.m., followed by Tootie at 1:30 p.m. The crowd favorite, the Pagan River Raft Race. Watch the race from Smithfield Station or the Cypress Creek bridge beginning at 2:30 p.m.

 

VDOT saying turn lane is needed for safety at the ball fields

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The town of Smithfield had initially expected to be able to open the Joseph Luter Jr. sports complex this year without a turn lane installed at its entrance.

However, the Virginia Department of Transportation has informed the town that it may need to build the turn lane first, which could push the grand opening of the facility back another year, according to Smithfield Mayor Carter Williams.

VDOT said that not having a completed turn lane at its entrance may create a safety issue for drivers, according to Williams.

That was a few months ago, so things may have changed, but Williams said he hasn’t heard otherwise if they have.

“With VDOT, things just don’t work so fast,” said Williams.  

 

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Smithfield Recreation Association to have schedule preference for events

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

The town of Smithfield is gearing up to host and manage its own baseball tournaments at the new Joseph W. Luter Jr. sports complex, a $4 million ball park slated to be completed later this year.

The sporting events will be managed by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department, according to Smithfield Vice Mayor Andrew Gregory, and will run depending on the availability of the fields. Smithfield Recreation Association (SRA), a nonprofit on deck to manage the maintenance of the park, will have first dibs on using the ball fields.

As for exactly how many tournaments the town plans to run in a year, Gregory said “everything’s on the table at this point.”

Parks and Recreation Director Amy Musick said in an email that the town is working with SRA, Isle of Wight County, and Isle of Wight County schools on determining a schedule and the number of tournaments for each organization.

“It will just be a matter of availability, just as booking The Smithfield Center depends on available dates,” Musick said. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Ever since Isle of Wight was included in the 64th House District in 1991, its delegate — at least when initially elected — came from the county*.

Not so this year.

Suffolk business owner Emily Brewer beat Isle of Wight County farmer Rex Alphin for the Republican nomination and Suffolk attorney Rebecca Colaw defeated Carrollton resident John Wandling and Suffolk educator Jerry Cantrell for the Democratic nomination. Either Brewer or Colaw will win the seat in November.

While Wandling was relatively unknown prior to the primary race, Alphin and his family are a recognized name in the county. Alphin currently serves on the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors, and prior to that, on the Planning Commission.

Many were surprised when Alphin did not win, and were doubly so when he failed to win his home county. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Isle of Wight County is headed to the bond market in an attempt to save about $3 million on its debt service burden.

Isle of Wight is ranked seventh in per capita debt among counties in Virginia, according to the fiscal 2016 Comparative Report of Local Government.

Isle of Wight has an outstanding debt load of $219.9 million — or $6,035 for every man, woman and child living here.

The state average among counties is $5,016 per capita. 

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Smithfield’s Olden Days festival kicks off Friday, June 23 with oldies and beach music band Ocean Breeze out of Virginia Beach.

This week’s concert starts a bit earlier, at 7 p.m. and runs to 9 p.m. on the Gazebo stage in downtown Smithfield. Tourism officials set the earlier time so that concert will conclude before the annual Olden Days Ghost Walk.

The concert is free, but bring a chair or blanket for added comfort. Next up is the York River Band.

Women lead the ticket for 64th District seat

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Suffolk business owner Emily Brewer and Suffolk attorney Rebecca Colaw won their party's nominations for the 64th district seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

Republican candidate Brewer easily won the district with nearly 61 percent of the vote over farmer and Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors Chairman Rex Alphin.

Brewer defeated Alphin in his home county, polling 1,910 votes to 1,537 for Alphin — a nearly 10 percent margin in favor of Brewer.

Out of Isle of Wight County’s 14 geographic precincts, Brewer took eight — all located in the northern end of the county — Smithfield, Cypress Creek, Bartlett, Carrollton, Rushmere, Pons, Courthouse and Longview.

Alphin won the southern end in Carrsville, Windsor, Camps Mill, Raynor, Zuni and Walters. 

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Arsonist ordered to pay damages

By Ryan Kushner

Staff writer

SURRY—In the early 1950s, Prince George County resident George Wooden’s father helped build the Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ in Surry County.

In the late 1980s, George took over as the owner and pastor of the predominantly black church.

This past October, it was burned to the ground.

Eric Blevins of Waverly plead guilty in Surry County Circuit Court Wednesday to pouring gasoline around the building, setting it aflame and watching it reduced to ash and rubble before driving away. It was Halloween night. 

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By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

WINDSOR — Efforts to improve Route 460 may not be completely shelved.

Windsor Mayor Rita Richardson, in an intergovernmental meeting June 6 with members of the Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors, said that VDOT was again looking at making some improvements to Route 460 between Suffolk and Windsor.

VDOT plans to host a meeting about Route 460 in July to gather public input, said VDOT spokesperson Paula Miller.

Richardson said she had met with VDOT officials where a discussion was held about what Suffolk and Windsor would want when it comes to improving Route 460.

Richardson said one option was to create a divided four-lane highway through Windsor, which she discouraged. 

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Edna Felts Myers

 

Edna Felts Myers, 96, passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015 in her home. She is preceded in death by her husband, Luther Power Myers. Edna leaves to cherish her memories her son, Robert Hall. A graveside service will be held Friday, Aug. 7, 11 a.m. in St. Luke’s Memorial Park with the Rev. Mike Frank officiating. A special thank you to Marilyn Oliver and Joe Brown for all their love and support. The family request memorial contributions to VFW POST 8545, PO Box 461, Smithfield, VA 23431.

Service arrangements are in the care of Colonial Funeral Home, Carrollton, Smithfield, Isle of Wight and the surrounding communities.  Family and friends are encouraged to share condolences and remembrances at colonialfuneralhomesmithfield.com.

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