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LETTER: Vaccinating kids ages 5 to 11 is good for them, the community

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LETTER: A letterbox with the inscription Letter to the editor

Many parents and children are feeling a great sense of relief at the recent ruling from the FDA granting emergency authorization for COVID vaccines for children 5 to 11 years old. 

I imagine many of you are thinking, “But healthy children are very unlikely to be severely sick or die. How many children in Fauquier have co-morbidities?” 

First, I ask you if those children who are immunocompromised or have underlying risk are inherently less valuable than healthy children? Can you imagine if your child made it through chemo, survived cancer and then died from a preventable disease while in remission because their immune system was compromised?

That happens during measles outbreaks – outbreaks which, like COVID-19, are fueled by the unvaccinated.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, at least 1.8 million children in the U.S. between the ages of 5 and 12 have been diagnosed with COVID-19. More than 8,600 children have been sick enough to be hospitalized; one third of those were healthy children with no obvious risks.

About one in eight infected children suffer “long COVID,” which may lead to devastating health problems years from now, including severe heart or lung damage requiring transplants.

Children can suffer neurological complications – the “COVID fog” – and researchers fear a link to increased risk of early Alzheimer’s. In August and September of this year, COVID-19 was the sixth leading cause of death in children ages 5 to 15 nationwide. 

The commonwealth has had 13 juvenile deaths from COVID-19, 12 of them this year. In Suffolk in early October, a previously healthy 10-year-old came home from school with a headache and died five days later. Pediatricians blame the increase in child deaths on the more contagious Delta variant, and who knows what variant is coming next. COVID-19 is definitely not a disease that any parent should treat lightly.

Vaccinating children will help speed the return of normal activities for all our kids, allowing them the freedoms they have been missing.

Vaccination is not mandatory, but the evidence suggests it is a reasonable and safe choice to make for our kids, grandkids, and community.

For those who argue that “less than 1% of kids die from this disease,” please consider that your 1% may be another family’s 100%.

Heather MacMahon

Midland, Va.

Candland can’t leave his constituents without a voice – or a vote – on the rural crescent 

Prince William County Supervisor Pete Candland's Gainesville neighborhood is next to the proposed “digital gateway” area and inside the 2,000 acres being considered for data centers under the county’s planned expansion of its data center overlay district.  

Prince William County resident and developer Mary Ann Ghadban's initial request to consider 600 acres along Pageland Lane for future data centers has exploded to a review of 2,000 acres in the rural crescent. The area includes Candland's neighborhood, Catharpin Farm Estates, which has filed a comprehensive plan amendment to destroy their homes and community to allow industry to come in and plow down their lives because they don't want to live next to industry or the proposed Bi-County Parkway that might come with it.  

There is no public water or sewer in this region, and new power lines might have to be built!  Pete's community doesn't want to be pushed out and have their land taken for the Bi-County Parkway and industrial expansion.  

Families move to the rural crescent for a country road life, and this board of supervisors is hell bent on destroying their dreams and forcing residents to relocate because of their ill-thought-out visions that only a handful of people want!  

The existing overlay covers around 8,700 acres. By comparison, in Loudoun County—the largest data center market in the world—data centers currently occupy about 2,000 acres, according to the Piedmont Environmental Council.

Supervisor Candland needs to resign. He has recused himself from any vote on the rural crescent. He has NO vote and NO voice and cannot represent his community!   

It is a sad situation that Board of County Supervisors Chair Ann Wheeler and those in favor of the destruction of the watershed – which provides public water to 2 million residents – as well as the environment, air quality and quality of life, support the Bi-County Parkway, which would bring traffic like that on Interstate 66 to Va. 234 all the way to Interstate 95. They have put Supervisor Candland in this predicament!   

Thank you for your service, Pete, but do the right thing! All citizens need a voice and vote! 

Lori Fenn 

Coles District

No data centers in the rural crescent

I want to voice my opposition to rezoning the rural crescent for data centers. There is absolutely no necessity to do this. Just a few years ago, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors had the wisdom and foresight to designate an appropriate area of ample size for data center use.  That ordinance states: “The Data Center Opportunity Zone Overlay District was created for the purpose of promoting development of data centers within areas of the county where there is existing infrastructure that could adequately support the proposed use. This district continues the county's efforts to attract and advance high-tech industrial development while limiting negative impacts to communities.”

Are the supervisors no longer interested in “limiting negative impacts to communities”?  Why would the BOCS advocate desecrating the rural crescent when data centers could easily be located within the overlay district without public outcry? Is it to placate a small minority of landowners who hope to reap a windfall by selling out their neighbors? Is it to show we are “business friendly” to wealthy corporations that will contribute little to remedy the inevitable environmental and infrastructure liabilities they create?

Supposedly, the BOCS is just “studying” the issue. How would they feel if powerful interests were “studying” how to ruin their community? 

Our own Supervisor Pete Candland recently demonstrated how he believes these “studies” will turn out. He reluctantly agreed to sell his home in the area and is now “studying” somewhere else to live. His surrender leaves our area without representation on this most consequential issue. He must resign and make way for someone who can take up the fight.

I implore our elected representatives to act responsibly and serve the public interest. Allowing data centers within the rural crescent is an awful idea with irrevocable consequences. Oppose!

Bill Wright

Gainesville

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