Growing pains

After reading the June 15 article on growth and impact fees in the tri-county area I couldn't help but think back to my recent past connection with the area. I was born in Charleston and spent my childhood there, but that is another story.

My wife and I have lived in the Summerville area since 1973, where I worked as a forester for Westvaco and MeadWestvaco until retiring in 2004.

I like trees and country roads. I even have a good working relationship with poison oak, red bugs and snakes. Early morning dew-covered spider webs, not so much.

Now to the point of this letter. In that story, Philip Ford, executive vice president at Charleston Home Builders Association, was quoted as saying, "We all benefit from growth."

So I started making a list of how I have benefited from the horrendously rapid, poorly planned growth in Dorchester County.

Oh yes, more places to shop. But it takes me longer to get to most of these places because of the increased and often gridlocked traffic (from houses that Mr. Ford says "... don't own cars. People do.") And just how many choices of stores do I need when I decide to buy milk or a lawn mower or some nails and lumber?

Bottom line - like many old timers, not in the group that makes money off of development, I liked Summerville a lot better back in the old days of the 1970s, '80s and even the '90s.

Ernest Wehman

Pelzer Drive

Summerville

Save the birds

On May 20, Dr. George Fenwick, president of the American Bird Conservancy, wrote: "At the current estimated mortality rate, the wind industry is killing hundreds of thousands of birds and bats per year and is expected to kill well over one million per year as projects are built to reach the federal goal of 20 percent renewable energy by 2030."

On May 29, John Anderson, director of the Siting Policy, American Wind Energy Association, wrote: "Affordable and reliable wind power represents the smartest way to keep the lights on while preserving our natural environment and all its inhabitants."

Did he say "all its inhabitants"?

That would include birds, correct?

Entire logging regions of the Northwest have been classified as off-limits to save spotted owls; fishing sanctions have been placed on certain creeks, streams and rivers to preserve salmon populations; water reservoirs in California have been partially drained to make sure smelt have enough water to survive en route to the ocean.

But birds (including Golden and Bald Eagles, vultures and migratory birds), because there are so many of them (one may think), let's just keep putting up wind turbines wherever we please and slaughter hundreds of thousands of these magnificent creatures every year.

By the way, Dr. Fenwick also reminded us that killing eagles is still a federal offense. Just Google "bird encounters with wind turbines" (unless you have a squeamish stomach) and you'll see what I mean.

I'm all for alternative sources of energy; however, when it comes to wind turbines, we need to use common sense and readily available scientific research to place them outside of the annual migration corridors or habitats where certain species are known to fly and dwell.

Take the short drive out to Awendaw and visit the Center for Birds of Prey to see some of these incredibly beautiful creatures up close. I guarantee that your experience there will change your perspective on this issue and provide you with a brief educational experience about birds and what wind turbines are doing to them.

At the center these birds receive medical treatment when they are injured or orphaned. They're also protected, well cared for and enjoy a wonderful, safe environment, without any of the several and varied threats that occur in their natural environment, most of which are caused by man.

Yes, Mr. Anderson, let's do all we can to "preserve our natural environment and all its inhabitants," including the birds. They really do need our help.

Bill Christian

Cape May Lane

Mount Pleasant

S.C. State redo

I appreciate the excellent and informative article by Andrew Shain about S.C. State leaders blaming the Legislature for the cash-strapped school's troubles (May 5). It was a bell-ringer.

Instead of confessing their sins and seeking absolution, S.C. State leaders pilloried the Legislature - a rash, crass and impolitic act, especially in view of President Elzey's revised financial projections.

Generally, an institution should avoid antagonizing its benefactor.

The S.C. State off-Broadway, tragic-comedy soap opera must end. There is, however, a simple solution to this Gordian knot of fiscal mismanagement.

1) Convert S.C. State to a satellite campus of USC. No conversion, no financial aid. Period.

2) Honor all student commitments.

3) Assume liability for all lawful indebtedness. The Legislature may appropriate additional funds or authorize lottery funds, according to their preference.

S.C. State may continue to function as a historically black college. But it should promote diversity and inclusiveness to encourage enrollment.

Personally, if a decision is made to convert S.C. State to a satellite campus, I will pledge to purchase a minimum of $100 worth of S.C. Education Lottery tickets to support the transition.

But not one cent for the status quo.

To quote Abraham Lincoln, "The bottom is out of the tub."

B.W. Moore

Kennington Drive

Goose Creek

Leftward lurch

Why anyone should be surprised that our respective political parties are cooperating less and less escapes me. All one needs to do is trace the growth of entitlement programs beginning with Social Security and you will quickly see that "compromise" more frequently meant shifting more to the left.

I'm hard pressed to identify any meaningful entitlement benefit that was scaled back to the right except the food stamp program under Bill Clinton, and that was driven by a conservative Congress. For the most part, compromise has historically meant reducing a move to the left from two feet to one.

It was only a matter of time before the nation's more conservative voices would exclaim, "Enough!" With each passing administration since Franklin Roosevelt, our nation has looked more and more European and less and less like the country our Founding Fathers envisioned.

And the growing percentage of U.S. citizens - to just under 50 percent - who are availing themselves of government largesse suggests time is running out to reverse this trend. Maybe one more election cycle. That's all.

N. John Garcia

Seagrass Lane

Isle of Palms

The forgotten vets

For three and a half years, ending last November, I was privileged to work as a prison physician for the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC). I came across an ex-Marine who fought in the jungles of Vietnam for our country. Upon discharge he returned to his home near Spartanburg. Unfortunately, he had a difficult time adjusting to civilian life, continuing with a drug habit he acquired while in the service.

To support his habit he began manufacturing and distributing methamphetamine. This led to his first incarceration and consequently his infection with the hepatitis C virus.

He had gone to the VA prior but received no anti-virus treatment and no mention of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which was not even thought about at that time. By the time I encountered him during his second incarceration he had developed advanced liver cirrhosis with liver failure.

He had not been treated for the viral infection during either of his incarcerations. The ensuing hepatitis leading to his liver failure could have been prevented had he been treated by the VA or SCDC.

His appeal for an early parole was turned down on the basis that he was classified as being violent. This was not true, as he was classified as non-violent.

I appealed to the administration and tried for a medical discharge based upon his obvious terminal condition. This was denied as well. There was no face-to-face interview. The only phone question I received was whether he was ambulatory. Although he was barely so, I answered yes.

I finally appealed to the governor's office, knowing her husband was on tour in Afghanistan. The cost of housing and treating inmates with serious illness is two to three times the cost for an average prisoner.

Despite my passionate plea I never heard an acknowledgement that the letter was received. I would like to believe that my plea never got on the governor's desk.

Incidentally, this was the second Vietnam veteran who died within a year with almost the identical history and the same disease. Chalk this up as another death on the VA`s hands with an assist from SCDC and the state. What a shame.

George Amonitti, M.D.

Queens Folly Road

Hilton Head Island

Beware gangs

Charleston is working on lowering the volume of tourists by limiting the number of events, diminishing the volume of traffic and limiting the number of night clubs that can remain open until 2 a.m.

Good news. Soon Charleston and the surrounding areas will have no worries because no one will be coming to your fine city - not because of the changes you wish to make but because tourists, college students and residents do not wish to die.

What tourists would wish to vacation with their families in an area where shootings take place on a weekly basis? What parents would send their child to a college where crime is at a very high level? What business would want to open where the tourists will not come?

If action to curtail all the killings is not taken quickly, gangs will take over Charleston, North Charleston and other surrounding areas as they did in Detroit.

Detroit did not think it would happen there either, but it did. If the police cannot be outside night clubs and bars, possibly owners of the bars could hire private cops to patrol their parking lots.

The state needs to take action concerning penalties for possession of an unregistered firearm.

Not the "debate and wait" that politicians normally do, but now. Tomorrow will be too late. In New York having an unregistered firearm results in an automatic two years in prison.

Contact the mayors of New York and Detroit and ask them what they had to do. If people believe that this is too radical, ask the parent of a child who has been killed.

If counties in the Lowcountry take small steps to address these serious problems, you can be assured that gangs will be taking giant leaps to take over. If no action is taken and there is one more death, who will be responsible?

Janice LeTourneau Winford Court

Moncks Corner