DATE: Saturday, July 19, 1997               TAG: 9707180020

SECTION: LOCAL                   PAGE: B6   EDITION: FINAL 

TYPE: Letter 

                                            LENGTH:  135 lines



Beach folks are

the nicest anywhere

We see so many letters critical of Virginia Beach. I am writing to say that having lived all over the United States, nowhere have I encountered so many examples of courtesy, thoughtfulness and sheer loving kindness as in this city.

Take shopping in one of the busy supermarkets at a rush hour and you can't find something: Invariably a clerk will stop to help you, or a customer, perhaps wheeling a grocery cart with kids in it, will say, ``What are you looking for? There down -- the aisle. . . .''

I never questioned a policeman without getting a patient answer. And the bank clerks! ``No problem, dear. Take your time. . . .'' no matter how long the line.

The staffs at the libraries - always willing to find what you need or answer phoned questions. And when I moved into my little house, neighbors not only on either side but across the street went out of the way to help.

But what stands out most is a little incident in a popular Birdneck supermarket. The line laughingly called ``Express'' was jammed. The clerk was handling the evermore impatient customers with her customary cheerfulness - and then she came to me. Swiftly ringing everything up, she told me the total. And I found I had not brought enough money! While the line in back shifted uneasily, and I picked out items to return, this wonderful clerk reached into her pocket and with her own funds made up the difference. Later I repaid her, but the episode has never been forgotten.

Dorothy Worfolk

Virginia Beach, July 3, 1997


Police and Pilot

mishandled Dugan case

I live in the Liberty Ridge neighborhood. I have spoken with several neighbors who saw Bryan Dugan's tragic shooting, all of whom feel it was unjustified. I wonder why your paper never printed their accounts.

Could it be that The Pilot and the Police Department realized they have made mistakes that cannot be corrected?

Your paper stated that Mr. Dugan trashed his townhouse. When did destruction of property constitute a crime punishable by death?

Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Humphrey said that Mr. Dugan had a carving knife. You published his remark without noting that the statement was not correct.

Did the officers really think their lives were in jeopardy from a person holding steak knives? Are the police so inept and poorly trained that three officers could not subdue one man?

The Police Department and The Virginian-Pilot owe the Dugan-Garcia family an apology for the insensitive handling and poor reporting of this entire tragedy. The Police Department will never admit its mistakes. Does The Pilot have enough integrity to admit it did a poor job?

Alverta Elliott

Virginia Beach, June 25, 1997


U.S. quest for revenge

is hard to understand

This message to let you know how disgusted we are every time we think of Joseph O'Dell's case. We understand the victims' families' sorrow and their desire for vengeance; what we definitely cannot understand is the fact that the United States, just like China and many other countries in the world, sentences somebody to death by means of that same law forbidding every man to kill his fellow creatures. A legalized form of revenge, sometimes very useful to gain public consent in view of future elections. Really sad.

The United States, under certain points of view, is a leading country; as far as human rights and respect for life are concerned, though, we think it is still a long, long way to civilization.

Alessandro Gilibini

Marina Fornasari

Milan, Italy, July 15, 1997


Road carnage a grim

July 4th legacy

Over the July 4th weekend, eight people, including three children, were brutally slain in the state's most devastating traffic crash in many years.

Headlines describing the out-of-control minivan made front-page news; children's twisted bodies flung across the highway; a near-retiree with an award-winning driving record killed in his rig during a final haul; a woman and her friend headed for a church weekend mission, one killed and the other severely injured.

Clearly, it is time to wake up Virginia! To date, preliminary DMV figures indicate that traffic fatalities statewide are up 13 percent over last year, killing 459 people before the July 4th weekend crash. This year, 230 people have been killed not wearing a safety belt, an 11 percent increase from last year. Thus far, teen-age traffic fatalities are up 18 percent.

Driving is a privilege and a responsibility. It's up to the citizens of our community, state and nation to take more responsibility for themselves and the lives of their loved ones when they are behind the wheel.

Benjamin T. Hacker

Board of directors

Drive Smart Virginia and

Drive Smart Hampton Roads

Norfolk, July 11, 1997


3rd bridge-tunnel

won't ease bottlenecks

I cannot see how the construction of a third bridge-tunnel between South Hampton Roads and the Peninsula will alleviate tie-ups of traffic moving east or west on I-64.

For traffic moving west, the tie-ups would probably continue to occur on I-64 prior to Mercury Boulevard - particularly if the roads leading from all three tunnels, as well as the James River Bridge converged on I-64 east of Mercury Boulevard. Going east, the main tie-ups would probably occur just west of the Hampton Roads tunnel, as the bulk of the traffic moving east would be heading in the direction of Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and North Carolina via I-64.

It seems to me that the more viable solution is construction of either a second east-west interstate or a bypass around those predictable points where bottlenecks occur. Investing $1.5 billion to $3.3 billion on a third tunnel alone will accomplish absolutely nothing.

John F. Nelson

Suffolk, July 10, 1997


Quit digging for dirt

and plug the loopholes

Probably, most people agree political campaign financing needs serious reform. Also, most people may believe huge campaign contributions by individuals, special interests and lobbyists defeat government ``by the people.''

Is there hope for the legislators on both sides of the aisle to quit digging for past dirt, and go to work to remedy the abuses and loopholes?

Perhaps no individuals or organizations should contribute as much as $100 to a candidate. Perhaps all viable candidates should have equal access for their message regardless of who pays - via public or popular distribution means such as cable media, Internet, postal service and especially airwaves.

Daniel Mckay

Virginia Beach, July 9, 1997

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