At a railroad crossing

Tempers flared and angry phone calls were made to local government officials as well as to the Northern Virginia Daily when the only way in and out of the Mary’s Shady Lane area of Warren County was closed for several hours recently.

The closing of the Norfolk Southern Railways crossing on Shenandoah Shores took many residents by surprise. Callers to this paper complained they were stuck in traffic under the hot sun for hours. Others told our reporter at the scene that they needed to cross the railroad tracks to go to the store, to work or to a doctor’s appointment.

While our reporter was taking photos of the work being done on the tracks, crews cleared debris to allow a train to pass by. Imagine impatiently sitting in your car and seeing that!

Here’s a suggestion: the next time a crossing has to be closed for several hours, the railroad should mail notices to each resident impacted by the closing as well as post a sign at the crossing a week ahead of the scheduled maintenance.

When you want information

Why is it so difficult at times to obtain information from local government?

Money is one roadblock that’s been thrown up to keep information hidden.

Recently, a local attorney tried to pay the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office more than $6,400 for information he had requested under the Freedom of Information Act about an undercover cigarette smuggling investigation.

The check wasn’t accepted and he was told to file another FOIA request. Now we’re wondering what else will be thrown up to block the flow of this information before the case goes to trial.

Here’s a suggestion: The county should deliver the requested documents and take the attorney’s money. The attorney must believe that information is vital to his case if he is willing to spend thousands of dollars for it. If you were on trial, wouldn’t you want your attorney to have all the information he or she needs in order to defend you?