Book and Author

I look forward so much to the April 5 Book and Authors luncheon because Linda Greenlaw will be our guest. Her “Lobster Chronicles” is such informative nonfiction about her experience as a lobster woman. Her many years as a swordfish captain were the subject of her first work, “The Hungry Ocean.” And her role in warning the fishermen was depicted in “The Perfect Storm” movie.

Linda’s way with words and her Colby College English major allow her to bring to life her independent spirit and interesting choices.

I was impressed that she moved back to the Isle d’Haut to help care for her parents. Her dad was working on lobster traps hanging from trees when a tourist asked, “Is that where they catch them?” He replied something like, “No, but we will move them to other trees for better luck.”

Our Elms retirement community book group read some of her works and then ate lunch at the local Red Lobster.

Linda’s new book, out soon, will be full of humor and candor. She has written a few novels, which were also exciting, but I find her nonfiction most informative.

After all her “Fishermen’s Lies” told at the watering hole in Portland, Maine, she remains at home on the island. Brave woman!

Martha F. Barkley

Shadowcreek Circle

Charleston

Education threat

The recent announcement of a local presence of StudentsFirst, a national educational advocacy organization, is concerning to those of us who work for meaningful educational change in Charleston.

Despite the organization’s name, StudentsFirst will not benefit CCSD students. On the contrary, StudentsFirst supports an agenda that will jeopardize meaningful changes that have taken place over the last decade in the Charleston County School District.

While it is fashionable to describe local public schools as failing, it belies the facts. The CCSD has made significant gains in nearly all areas, including community schools, choice schools and magnet schools.

Five years ago, 15 CCSD schools were considered at-risk by the state of South Carolina. This year, only eight schools are.

The district is not ignoring schools and communities with the most intractable problems, but has committed and recommitted financial and organizational resources towards improvement.

While South Carolina has a corridor of shame, Charleston most certainly does not.

Most importantly, CCSD’s path has been thoughtful and deliberate.

The district has a solid record of building facilities, supporting teachers and administrators, and creating a culture of professionalism and high expectations.

Conversely, StudentsFirst employs a confrontational approach to educational reform that devalues incremental change.

Michelle Rhee, StudentsFirst’s controversial founder and director, is well known for firing school district personnel who cannot show immediate results.

The appeal of organizations like StudentsFirst is obvious — it offers the false promise of a quick fix and a bullhorn to those who want ever more charter schools.

We do not need organizations like StudentsFirst to show us the way.

We already have a school system in Charleston County that is showing dramatic improvement, and a superintendent who understands how to implement meaningful, systemic change.

The CCSD is not perfect — inefficiencies exist and some schools have performed poorly despite myriad programs and personnel changes. These challenges, however, should not obscure the fact that the CCSD has been putting students first, and getting legitimate results, for the past 10 years.

ANDREW HaLEVI, Ph.D.

Wesson Avenue

Charleston

Andrew HaLevi is founder of the Charleston Teacher Alliance

Valuable trees

The S.C. Department of Transportation, in its myopia, wants to squander $5 million to remove trees and install barriers on I-26 to reduce fatalities. The trees are of inestimable value to the environment, not to mention their intrinsic value.

The goal of reducing fatalities can be accomplished less expensively by simply lowering the speed limit to 60 mph and strictly enforcing it for a few months until the traveling public gets the message.

Studies to the contrary, such as one by the University of California Transportation Center in 1993, are based on system-wide, i.e., national, effects of increased speed limits and do not necessarily apply to local situations.

Such studies correctly attribute the lower number of deaths (not fatality rates — another potential flaw) in part to reallocation of patrols from more dangerous roads to safer interstate highways where speed limits were increased. In the local case of the stretch of I-26 from I-95 to Summerville, reallocation of patrols would have a more dramatic effect.

Save the money. Lower the speed limit.

It’s guaranteed to reduce fatalities.

A. L. Ivester

Palmetto Drive

Isle of Palms

Wise investment

I’m not sure what point the March 18 article with the headline “Spotlight: Riley among 10 city workers paid $100,000 or more” was trying to make.

My point is Mayor Joe Riley is worth every penny of his salary and probably deserves more.

Charles Thompson Jr.

Country Club Drive

Charleston

No place for trees

If you really need to take a leisurely drive to ooh and aah at pine trees try the Francis Marion Forest. It has thousands for your viewing pleasure.

Have you not seen enough traffic backed up for hours and miles on I-26 when a car hydroplanes and slams into a monster pine tree that should never have been allowed to grow in that median?

Death and human destruction can occur in a split second in that stretch — blown tires, tractor trailer blowouts, driving rain storms night or day, and no way to strike a preventive safety barrier because none exists. People die — children, adults, the deputy and his canine — and you seem to think that is preferable to trying to save lives by interfering with your scenic trip up I-26.

I have to drive that stretch every day, dodging monster trucks that are increasing in numbers.

You better read the paper on the Nexton project now under construction at 17A and I-26. Do you actually think you are not going to see two more lanes built where these pine trees now grow?

This is not a national park, nor a scenic highway. I can almost guarantee none of you protesters was here when Hugo filled the interstate with huge pine trees and limbs from Orangeburg to Charleston.

It took days to get one lane cleared for emergency trucks and supplies to Summerville. That was 23 years ago.

They need to clean out the middle and both sides plus the interchanges. You can have trees, or you can have roads, but you cannot have trees in the road.

Wake up, or the next tree you see may be your last.

Al Foster

W. 5th North Street

Summerville

Losing formula

It just don’t make sense. I don’t consider myself very smart.

I didn’t go to a prestigious college, don’t practice law or know enough to become a politician.

I really don’t know the qualifications necessary to obtain a high-ranking political office, but I would think one of them should be common sense.

It does not make sense to me that President Barack Obama imposed the sequester, which would drastically impact our military strength, while a few days later Secretary of State John Kerry announced giving $250 million in new taxpayers’ aid for Egypt.

Do we not have a deficit that outnumbers the sand on the seashore?

Where is this money going to come fromAnd have we not learned that these hostile militant groups we help obtain weapons later use these same weapons against us? Is this the job of the USA or the United Nations?

I don’t understand why we allow ruling parties to make decisions they don’t have to abide by themselves.

I don’t understand why “for the people, by the people” would depend on if you are a Democrat or Republican.

I don’t understand why man’s rule of governing is better than God’s.

I don’t understand why we put the same people in office term after term to do the same things we are not pleased with.

I just can’t think like that. My common sense is getting in the way.

Roy E. Snipe

Back Pen Road

John’s Island

Rising menace

If there ever existed a threat to the well-being of America more ominous than the screwballs who govern North Korea (plural because no one does so alone) I cannot remember it. I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, but at least we dealt with rational individuals.

I am no hawk, yet I would support a pre-emptive strike, or any other measure designed to cripple the North Korean nuclear threat.

Let’s not overtalk, nor overthink, this matter lest we forfeit innocent lives by delay, and/or inaction.

Bullies, whether human, organizational or nationalistic, must be addressed lest they be encouraged to actually escalate their despicable actions.

Anyone who points a firearm at someone else should expect to be targeted with a justifiable lethal response.

John C. Godfrey

Kracke Street

Charleston

Citadel fumbles

Great front-page news on the Krauses’ $9 million gift to The Citadel in support of the leadership curriculum. An honorable pursuit, indeed.

Seems that the story on page B3 about The Citadel not releasing documents related to the Louis “Skip” ReVille molestation case, and the likely mishandling of the issue by the top brass, suggest the same top brass should sit in the classroom next to the cadets at the Krause Center of Leadership and Ethics.

Jay Karen

Pierce Street

Daniel Island

Save the Spit

I love it out on Capt. Sam’s Spit. It is fun to look at the sea and watch the dolphins feed. Fishermen catch huge fish there. It is also where a rare sandpiper lives. Just the beauty of it is heart stopping.

Clammers can even find their dinner there. The fact that Capt. Sam’s Spit is undeveloped is one of the things that gives it its special “touch.”

If the land is developed, it will destroy many habitats and people wouldn’t get to see it.

Please help me keep this land undeveloped.

Jacob Owens

(Age 10)

Westerly Lane

Charleston

A sweet treat

Having lived here nearly 15 years, I have been to numerous music shows at various venues and bluegrass festivals at Old Santee Canal Park and Cypress Gardens. The March 16 Sweet Grass Festival was the best.

All the bands were outstanding. The local group, Common Ground, had as part of their lineup mandolin great Alan Bibey.

What a pleasant surprise that was.

The weather was perfect and the music memorable. Congratulations to those who put this all together.

And thanks to sweetgrass artisan Ann Simmons. My wife loved the sweetgrass works of art I brought home.

Bill Hausler

Out of Bounds Drive

Summerville

Correction

A March 10 editorial mistakenly reported that Alice Boland lived in Walterboro. She purchased a handgun there.