Rambling on and on about how things could and will get better

Sometimes you just wonder if it’s just time to retire. Last week, I had the pleasure of covering all bases on the news front since our star editor was on her honeymoon. So, aside from my usual duties of chatting on the phone all day, I had to actually cover meetings and news events. Imagine that, me, who started out in the circulation department (and accounting, news, graphics, classifieds…) and clawed my way to the top the Village News empire actually had to … well, work.

I didn’t have time to check out the national news (shoot paper wads at the TV while Glenn Beck is on), watch the Gulf oil spill streaming live for hours at a time or debate the guitar playing prowess of Django Reinhardt v. B.B. King, but I was able to see, in person, the emotional outpouring of Chesterites during the Chester Middle School “hearing” at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

I wasn’t able to devote a whole lot of time to my civic duties, like tending to ChesterFest vendor applications, but I was able to participate in the Chester Community Association’s (CCA) annual meeting on Thursday. That meeting allowed me to reconnect with Barbara Fassett, who is hammering out the new countywide comprehensive plan. I’ve know Barbara for quite a long time. She was instrumental in creating the current Chester Plan and was also quite an influence on getting the CCA started almost 10 years ago.

As the CCA ages, it could use a little shot in arm. Because a small number of members there do an amazing amount of work, there hasn’t been much of a call for new membership.

Volunteers come out to help with ChesterFest, the CCA’s signature event, but beyond that there is a core group that works to address issues in the community, such as taking a stand on issue like the electronic sign being proposed in the center of Chester.

Recently, the CCA has hosted folks who matter in the world of high-speed rail, organized a forum for local civic groups and will soon initiate a community website to disseminate service organization news and events, installed a bench to at Harrowgate Road and Route 10 to help the Chester Garden Club brighten-up that area and, each week, the group brings you the Chester Farmer’s Market.

The CCA also has plans for the future, such as a community garden, more benches for pedestrians walking the village and a proposal to turn the old Chester Library on Harrowgate Road into a civic center. Those CCA people are always thinking. By way of disclosure, I should tell you that I sit on the CCA board, but I hope that wouldn’t discourage you from joining or participating by volunteering to help out at ChesterFest (www.chesterfest.org), the farmer’s market or on other CCA projects. The CCA meets every fourth Thursday of the month. The next meeting will be July 29. The CCA meets in the Chesterfield Center for the Arts Foundation office on Centre Street, just opposite the Chester Library.

What kind of odds could you get on whether or not Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will return the $55,500 that Bobby Charles Thompson contributed to his campaign? Thompson is president and the only known officer of the U.S. Navy Veterans Association. “Where the Navy Veterans officers are and what happened to all the money the charity collected remain the focus of an investigation by Florida consumer services officials,” according to the St. Petersburg Times. Cuccinelli has said he’s waiting for the results of a Virginia investigation before returning or donating the money. Other Virginia candidates who received contributions from Thompson have donated the funds to charity.

Will the “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” cry continue through this fall’s elections, through next year’s local elections and on to the presidential elections in 2012? 

Sometimes I think that the political anger that we are seeing, at least according to the talking heads, is somehow misplaced. People get whipped up over the economy and taxes mostly, and some sort of weird fear of a government takeover of our personal lives. I wonder if folks would be as angry, that is if they truly are, if they dug in and found out the real reasons our economy is in the shape it’s in. Can you say Iraq and Afghanistan?

To date, the U.S. has spent $1.05 trillion dollars on the two wars. The war in Afghanistan is the longest in U.S. history. The trillion bucks actually could have done a lot of good right here.

But if we can get out of these wars sooner than later, the economic impact could be phenomenal. Paul Poast, a political scientist and author of The Economics of War said that just the psychological impact of the wars being over would have the same effect was experienced after WWII. There was an “overall sense that history had taken a turn for the better.” Worth repeating, I think, “an overall sense that history had taken a turn for the better.” I’m waiting for that to happen.


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