Freight rail is the way to go

Rah rah for rail

If you were asked how to clean up the environment, reduce dependence on oil, save taxpayers money, and help improve overall quality of life, what would you suggest as a policy to meet these objectives?

In a time of political upheaval and world strife, we often forget about the simple things we can do right at home. There is a policy that accomplishes all of these objectives, and it is within reach: supporting freight railroads [“Train in Vain,” Ask Ace, August, 8]. Freight rail offers all of these public benefits and more. Freight rail is also much safer than highway freight transportation. If you’ve ever seen a major truck accident on route 29 or I-81, you know how dangerous these types of accidents can be.

I encourage citizens to write their elected officials, both in Washington and in Virginia, talking up the benefits of freight rail.
 
Susan C. Stimart
Business Development Facilitator
Community Development Department
County of Albemarle

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Building blitz

Why is it necessary to develop the Granger land [“Developing the Final Fontaine Frontier,” Development News, December 5]? What is the purpose? What is wrong with having trees and land that nothing has been thrown up on? I can remember 50 years ago when we used to, as kids, ride bicycles down Stribling Avenue and around the Granger land where, if we were lucky, we could still see Mrs. Granger’s horses. Now people, especially here in Charlottesville, think it is a sin for 60+ acres not have buildings on them. I was born and raised in this town and used to be so proud to call Charlottesville home, but now the newer generation thinks building is the thing.

Think of all the stores that have closed and moved into Albemarle County because the local government thinks that new things shouldn’t come into town. People were hoping that maybe an Olive Garden, Macy’s or a decent clothing store that is affordable would come into Charlottesville. No, nothing doing!!!! Now there is a Super Wal-Mart coming to Ruckersville—things are spreading so that soon D.C. and Charlottesville will be one long strip.
Whatever happened to the trees? I for one do not like to see new buildings pop up, and they are being thrown up. Stop and smell the roses. Charlottesville has a lot of them.

Judy Birckhead
Charlottesville

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Walk a mile in same-sex shoes

I am an eighth grade student at Buford Middle School, and I have an opinion too. Although Virginia voted to change our State Constitution to prevent homosexuals from getting married [“Virginia Passes Marriage Amendment,” Government News, November 14], I am one who does not agree with this decision. A change of perspective would help some people understand both points of view.

Homosexuals are constantly being discriminated against in our society. What if the tables were turned? Imagine, for a moment, that you are a heterosexual female living in a world where homosexuality is the majority. You are adopted into a family where your parents, brother and sister are all homosexual. They love and support you, and you them. The only thing is, you are always the odd one out. You feel as if you can’t talk to your parents because they won’t understand exactly how you feel. You are completely open to gays and lesbians, but it just seems so awkward sometimes.

Now let’s take a look at life with your friends. You are in the car with a group of friends, driving to a party. Everyone is laughing and having a great time. Then, a song everyone likes comes on the radio and someone turns it up. Listening to the lyrics, you realize that the song is about two men who love each other. Suddenly, you feel disconnected. Your friends ask you what is wrong but of course you can’t tell them so you say, “Nothing.” Why do you have to be so different?

This time, you are in homeroom, and your friends have been talking about a girl who likes you. You try to play along, but then your friends start asking you who you like and you have to make something up to put them off track. You are so afraid of telling them who you really like, how you really feel, because you know they will look down on you and make fun of you because of your sexual orientation.

Hopefully, stepping into this lifestyle has made some more aware of what it feels like to be different—where you would be discriminated against for being straight instead of the other way around. Just remember how you felt. Think about it.

Lucy Thomas
Charlottesville


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