Eggs, bacon and good news

Published 9:54 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011


SMITHFIELD—Those attending the annual State of the County Breakfast for Isle of Wight were treated to upbeat news along with scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee.

The Isle of Wight-Smithfield-Windsor Chamber of Commerce hosted the Friday event at Trinity United Methodist Church with Old Point National Bank serving as the major sponsor.

Chamber Board Chairman Russell Parrish described the past 12 months as “a good year.” The rate of ribbon cuttings for new businesses has been “fast and furious.”

Parrish and other speakers emphasized the recent welcome news of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters coming to the Shirley T. Holland Intermodal Park on Route 460. The business is expected to create 800 jobs.

Dr. Paul William Conco, president of Paul D. Camp Community College, spoke of the “diverse learning opportunities” and a record enrollment at the school and other Virginia community colleges. Conco credited the growing number of people wanting to save money instead of going to a four-year university and those seeking workforce training.

Conco noted that 18 percent of the 2,600 full- and-part-time students come from Isle of Wight. There’s a waiting list for the nursing and speech programs.

Windsor Town Manager Michael Stallings said that of the existing 142 businesses, 24 new ones were established in the past year, with six lost. Stallings was also optimistic about two approved housing developments and the sidewalks being established throughout Windsor.

County Board of Supervisor Chairman Thomas Wright said he is “hopeful” about the county’s future, describing Isle of Wight as “a community of choice.”

“In a state of transition, there’s still an excellent quality of life,” Wright said.

Sheriff Charlie Phelps mentioned a new canine unit has added two dogs, with one trained for sniffing out drugs and the other bombs.

Related to that was the new animal shelter, which opened in June. Phelps said inmates help feed and clean animals, and a few expressed an interest in helping there after release.

With the opening of the new courthouse in December, the need for security there resulted in training and certifying volunteers.

School Superintendent Katrise Perera said when it comes to today’s students, “we have to take care of them now or fear them later. They deserve the best education possible.”

Perera explained that if they are not prepared for the world after school, they’ll become fearful and therefore desperate. There’s a 95 percent graduation rate in the county, with 89 percent finishing on time.

“I want to take it to the next level to excellence,” she said. “I believe in Isle of Wight schools.”