On the other side of the west

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 2, 2004

For the second time in 34 years living in the south, my wife and I visited the Virginia Living Museum over in Newport News. No doubt they have spent scads of money preparing trails and a new front entrance, but I can’t agree it’s worth the $10.50 ticket fee. Most of the exhibits could have been plucked from the Suffolk area or the Dismal.Swamp. Your first reaction to the few-penned animals is that each of them appears to be on the verge of insanity. They pace the same path over and over, but the green clad guides insist each of the birds and fur bearing animals have been injured to the extent they can’t return to the wild. I believe we saw the same American Bald Eagle we viewed back in 1970, looking even more forlorn. You best not go on a school day unless you dearly love noisy kids.

Hurricane Isabel cut a devastating swath through the outdoor exhibits and downed limbs and trees are too obvious…many of the manmade trails required extensive repairs. We did bump into a couple we knew from Suffolk who were also taking advantage of the cool weather, proving the museum’s nature theme still works. And watching teachers – not much older than their charges – herd the kids was fun. And I counted 5 deer, 2 bobcats, 4 turkeys, 2 raccoons, 2 red wolves, 2 alligators, 1 skunk, 1 possum, 1 fox, and a partridge in a pear tree. If you want to see those animals actually moving don’t visit on a hot day.

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There appears to be a slight movement in the bushes of a place called Mattanock Town. For a while it appeared there was much dual interest in providing a village up in Lone Star Lakes that would benefit the city, the Indians, and dollar-bearing tourists. In the early days there was appointed a Task Force to consider the many aspects. The last Nansemond Indian powwow generated even more enthusiasm and it seemed the pot was boiling. It eventually became obvious the city’s fervor cooled, Task Force interest waned, and the Indian version of a Business Plan failed to pass muster. It appeared that the idea of a village had been pushed to a back burner and the heat turned off.

But a letter was mailed recently from the City Manager’s office to the Chief of the Tribe. My interpretation of it is as follows: The project still lives, the city with a few new added experts might assist in preparing a proper Business Plan, and the Indians should seriously consider moving the teepees to a site more suitable to city wishes. It even suggested that the Task Force was not yet dead, should be called together to help breathe life back into the plan forthwith, but, again, seriously consider moving the site to one more acceptable and fitting city future plans. There was not even inkling as to what those are.

That is really sad and nearly brings tears to my eyes. John Kerry’s wife is heiress to the H. J. Heinz fortune, but the firm’s board of directors does not support her husband.

The board and the company political action committee support George Bush and the Republican Party. Many in the Democratic point out the terrible amount of Iraqi’s dying because of the war in that country.

But back when Saddam was ruling an average of 5,000 Iraqi children died each month. So in one year of was we have saved 60,000 children. Seems to me we are miles ahead.

The Kerry campaign released 120 pages of his Navy medical records but not those that thoroughly describe the injuries. What we need to see is the account of his very first Purple Heart he &uot;earned&uot; less than a month after going into combat. And do you suppose Kerry’s negative remarks about the war had anything to do with Jay Leno saying, &uot;The U. S. Forces were very busy today…not only fighting but also giving other Coalition troops rides to the airport.&uot;

A few short months ago my column listed the problems in the police department – low pay, shortages, loss of trained patrolmen.

The Chief of Police followed my column with his offsetting news flash suggesting there were no unsolved problems, everything under control, and the City Manager said my column was dumb. But apparently my words were right on target, according to recent News Herald headlines. What will the Chief say now?

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be contacted via e-mail: robert.pocklington@suffolknewsherald.com