Mailbag: April 10-16

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 Clarification:
Last week’s story on a Piedmont Virginia Community College degree program for inmates at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women [“Fluvanna inmates practice hope in PVCC program,” April 3] said the prison’s felons aren’t eligible for Pell grants. The story should have noted that people with criminal records can receive federal funding for higher education once they are released.

Bad advice
Your recent “Work” issue [“The Work Issue: 9 to 5 or 24/7, the way we make our living,” March 13] included a short piece titled “Trade Secrets” about Alexandra Gibson. You quote her as touting her leadership skills, business savvy, and business ventures, all of which put her in a position to dispense advice. With respect to Gibson Design Management, one of the corporations she founded, I would like to offer an informed comment.

I loaned money to Gibson Design Management, but the company defaulted when the notes matured. Due to the company’s failure to honor its debts, we ended up in court in February of 2012. Though the warrants in debt were decided in my favor, since then I have received only a few dollars, and that only by garnishing the company’s bank account, as she claims her corporation had virtually no money, assets or prospects for future business. It’s hard to see how a firm with this status is in a position to help other businesses be more “profitable and effective,” a claim she makes regarding Gibson Design Management in your interview with her.

Margaret Nash
Crozet

Open space
For decades McIntire Park East has been a large, but unused and unappreciated swath of green space for most local citizens. The park has been a lightly used golf course, with only 3,143 public golf visits in 2011. While the golfers understandably feel strongly about keeping golf in the park [“McIntire Park planning—any end in sight?” March 20] using such a large and central portion of the park for a game that is only played by a small percentage of the population does not provide the benefit to the community that this park should. A park this size should be used by many more people, and I believe it is not possible to create a park that is a worthwhile destination that has a golf course at its heart. Putting a trail around the perimeter of the golf course will do little to change what it has always been. The city should help the First Tee program find a new home at Pen Park and other local golf courses.
If the city looks at its own data that is has collected, it is clear that most residents want a true, passive recreation park. A 2005 Needs Assessment survey found the top four desires in our parks to be: walking and biking trails, nature trails and a nature center, wildlife habitat and natural areas, and wanting a large community park. This is what McIntire Park East could be—a place for picnicking, napping, strolling, frisbee, or your choice of relaxation. And an arboretum would fit nicely into this plan by adding some formal gardens, but also natural landscapes, a conservatory, a large fountain or whatever fundraising allows to make the park a more beautiful place.

The 2004 Park Master Plan also envisioned removing golf from the park and replacing it with an open park and arboretum with water features. Golf was seventh on the Needs Assessment survey with only 11 percent placing it in their top four choices.

When I think of Darden Towe Park, Pen Park, and McIntire West Park I think of organized sports. It’s time the city had one large park dedicated to passive use recreation. A private-public partnership could be created that would fundraise to turn this little used park into part of the city’s social fabric—a beloved destination by locals and visitors, much like the Downtown Mall or UVA’s Lawn.

Darren Pace
Charlottesville

Faith and football
I am writing to answer the question that was on the front page of C-VILLE Weekly [“God & football: Does locker room Christianity at UVA violate the First Amendment?” March 27]. The question posed was, “Does locker room Christianity at UVA violate the First Amendment?” I am not sure why this question was asked, because the answer is so obvious. The article states that the First Amendment states in part that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is the key part of the First Amendment to address the answer to your question. What does locker room Christianity have to do with Congress making a law? The answer is nothing!

When UVA is having “locker room Christianity,” no law has been made by Congress respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. So the answer to the question on the front page is obvious… No! I believe this area of the First Amendment is too often extended into areas that it does not belong. The article later mentions the Thomas Jefferson letter regarding the wall of separation between church and state. However this letter is not part of the First Amendment to the Constitution. The question on the front page asks if it violates the First Amendment. It does not ask if it violates separation of church and state. So the answer is NO, locker room Christianity at UVA does not violate the First Amendment.

John Pedersen
Fluvanna County

Ungodly locker room
Your March 27 article on “God & football” and locker room Christianity at UVA is an affront to those of us who love reason, logic, and intelligence. UVA’s athletic department and the head football coach, Mike London, are clearly ignoring the historic liberty and constitutional principle of separation between church and state.
I take exception to the opinions expressed by the assistant and head coaches, and would like to tell them, “Please don’t pray in Thomas Jefferson’s school, and we won’t think in your church!” Nothing fails like prayer, and the way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason!
It is indeed tragic to stop the thinking minds of those young athletes by forcing them into locker room prayer and scripture reading, knowing that they do not have much choice. It is refreshing to be reminded—“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day, give him a faith, and he’ll starve to death praying for a fish!”
The players have a right to sue, and the UVA coaches and athletic department will have no prayer! Here’s my advice to Mike London and the athletic department: If you have no legs to stand on, it is best not to kick.

Alan
Charlottesville

Astro love
I have never in my life have liked or looked forward toward reading a horoscope the way I do for C-VILLE’s Rob Brezsny. He is always on point with what is going in my life. He is the most accurate astrologer I have ever read, and it’s free! I don’t read his astrology and then wait for the events or the circumstances to occur, but rather the opposite. They happen and then I read Rob, and it is exactly as he proclaimed or he helps me to make sense of it. I was hoping that the C-VILLE could put a link for him on the website, since I couldn’t find him on there. If he is there, I apologize, but I went to New York and wasn’t able to get the C-VILLE and went online to retrieve the astrology section and nothing. Please thank him for me for his work.

Diane Bitler
Charlottesville

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