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ABC going after wrong target; SOS an inspiration; Article lives up to reputation; Refreshing perspective

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ABC going after wrong target

It is with great interest that I have been reading your coverage of the Operation Ex-Clubs debacle (news&features, May 8 and May 1). As I read about the statistics concerning the incidents requiring medical intervention due to Ecstasy, heroin and cocaine, I was struck that there was no mention of alcohol and the related medical issues, deaths, domestic violence, overdosing and general mayhem caused by its abuse.

I am downright curious as to why the ABC Board is putting so much manpower into targeting small clubs and restaurants in this investigation. What percentage of Richmond's population goes to these places? If they have the muscle should it not be used instead to see that minors aren't abusing alcohol, educating the public about the link between alcohol abuse and domestic violence, not to mention the facts related to alcohol-related deaths in this state?

I would rather see the DEA and the police deal with the drug problem in this city and have the ABC Board stay out of this arena.

More and more it appears that the public is viewing this whole thing as a witch hunt. And more and more it is looking like the public is correct. ABC has not been fair-minded nor have they proved anything substantial. To punish a few for an investigation that cost them much but produced few meaningful results is wrong. ABC needs to tend to its own garden and leave these small businessmen to tend to theirs.
Mary Mallory

SOS an inspiration

While I congratulate the Richmond SPCA on its new image and headquarters (cover story April 17 and letters, May 29) — and applaud its employees and volunteers for their work with displaced animals — I still wonder where they were all those years when the city shelter functioned as a torture chamber for homeless and abandoned animals.

When I see what Save Our Shelters has done in an amazingly short time with little or no money and no paid staff, I also wonder what this extraordinary group could do with the kind of funding given to the well-connected SPCA. I may not have a million to give, but whatever money I donate will continue to go to SOS. They are an inspiration to animal lovers everywhere.
Barbara Smith

Article lives up to reputation

We want to thank Style Weekly for the cover story on the residents at Brookfield and the program itself (cover story May 8). It was a marvelous piece of reporting by Jason Roop, and the photography by Scott Elmquist was superb. The article lived up to the very fine reputation of your magazine.

We've received calls offering art (painting) classes, a possible video documentary, a choral presentation and numerous calls throughout the day by board members, social workers and friends praising the article.

Thank you so very much for allowing our girls momentarily at least to have a place in the sun. They currently fancy themselves glamour queens. Every teen-age girl needs to experience that.

Thanks for a great story!
Tom D. Williamson
Brookfield Farms


Refreshing perspective

How refreshing it was to read Paul Fleisher's May 15 Back Page on the myth of failing schools! It is bad enough that teachers get low pay or reduced benefits (as in Richmond Public Schools) but it is worse when the whole system is condemned as a failure while untried private school vouchers are hailed as the answer.

Though Fleisher is correct in asserting that our schools are not the failures that voucher pushers say they are, he parrots a dangerous party line with his concern that students will fall behind "in their ability to compete in our global economy."

The more ancient and crucial purpose for education is to equip citizens with the skills necessary to participate intelligently in a democracy and keep freedom alive. This is far more important than competition in the global marketplace. Without genuine freedom, the market has little value except as a distraction from corporate and material servitude.
Lee Carleton
Lee Carleton is a Back Page contributor to Style Weekly.


Hanover claims region's wineries

I wanted to correct and clarify something you wrote about wineries in the Richmond region (street talk, May 29).

First, Windy River Winery has been located in northern Hanover County, near Beaverdam, for the past five years or so. In addition, the James River Winery also is located in Hanover County, although it does have a Glen Allen address, as you noted.

You would be more accurate to note that both of the Richmond area wineries are located in Hanover County. The Board of Supervisors has designated agriculture as one of its targeted industries in the Economic Development Strategic Plan, and these wineries fit clearly into that category. Thank you.
Marc S. Weiss
Director Hanover County Department of Economic Development




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