Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Victims of National Heritage Areas?

As regular readers remember, various organizations identifying themselves as tourism promotion and marketing groups have stepped forward to "help" Southwestern Virginia market what we have to offer to the rest of the world. Many people of good will have taken advantage of these offers..or tried to. When people in Scott County think of groups like The Crooked Road, Round the Mountain, Heartwood, etc., most of us think of cute logos on signs and a nice advertising web site that...er-well...didn't exactly move a lot of merchandise.

At least two members of The Crooked Road whose work this web site respected died before they had the chance to conclude, along with most of the real local artisans and entrepreneurs in the organization, that The Crooked Road was just one more nice, ineffectual advertising scheme, and should be allowed to die in peace. And maybe that is all it was originally meant to be.

However, the organization seems to be taking a "crooked road" toward converting Scott County into another National Heritage Area, literally steamrollering the rights of the people who live here in order to "preserve" our land for...whom, exactly? The Crooked Road doesn't have the world's greatest record on helping tourists enjoy our attractions...and could that be because they're not about tourism, at all, or at least have been hijacked by people who aren't interested in tourism?

Local contacts who don't want to be identified on the Internet have mentioned to me that some of those claiming to be "planning" for Scott County admitted they want to "get rid of three-quarters of the people in the county." Oh, we've all had our moments of feeling, emotionally, that if a good plague just happened to thin out the population, and especially if it happened to involve the store that sold the tin of beans with the roach in it, or the brand of beer favored by the beer-swilling welfare cheat who owes us money, or the poacher who killed that doe I found mangled in the road during the first week of January, or whomever, while somehow not affecting our friends and relatives, that would be just wonderful. But are people seriously planning to force any of us to leave our homes and land?

Check out Catherine Turner's web site:

http://www.websmithnet.com/nhar1_13.pdf

I can't give it very good marks as a web site, but you need to check out the facts, if your computer can handle that messy PDF format at all.

If you prefer democratically elected government to government by a largely self-appointed "planning committee," your local elected officials need to know about it. In addition to your state legislators, whom you can find at lis.virginia.gov, here are links you can use to find your county officials:

Scott County: http://www.scottcountyva.com/bos.htm

Wise County (scroll down for contact information): http://www.wisecounty.org/BOS/bos.html

Lee County: http://leecova.org/BoardOfSupervisors.html

Washington County: http://www.washcova.com/government/board-of-supervisors

Smyth County: http://www.smythcounty.org/board_of_supervisors/bos.htm

Wythe County: http://www.wytheco.org/index.php/departments/board-of-supervisors/board-members.html

If your county isn't on this list, in Virginia typing  "__ county board of supervisors" into a search engine should bring up the appropriate web page. Today, however, this was not working for Russell County.