Yorktown defense

A recent letter writer described the poor condition of the Yorktown and said he was embarrassed to show her to his friends.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. She may be rusty and old, but she’s certainly not disgusting to look at.

She is a floating museum and should not be avoided. Considering her age, I think she is holding up quite well. Yes, she has warts and liver spots, but a makeover is on the horizon.

I am pleased, though, that the writer acknowledged the ship’s great accomplishments and history, and the Medal of Honor museum.

I am very proud to be a volunteer on the Yorktown and hope that the letter writer will find time to judge her by what she offers on the inside.

Mary Ellen Bertkau

Daniel’s Pointe

Mount Pleasant

No symbol of hate

The Confederate flag represented the Southern states, which opposed the Union forces during the Civil War.

This flag was adopted by the Ku Klux Klan — their choice, no one else’s. I cannot for the life of me understand this hatred of that flag because a racist group decided to display it at rallies and recruitments.

It’s time for people who relate this flag to the KKK to realize it was never intended to be a symbol of hate. It represented the Confederate States of America, not the Ku Klux Klan.

Just because a racist group chose to fly that flag does not mean that every citizen who supports it is a racist or is filled with hate. The folks and states who want to remember that Confederate heritage should not be penalized for doing so.

Dennis Ducker

Susan Drive

Charleston

Support CIS

Now that we have begun a new school year, I would like to encourage all members of the Charleston community to consider serving as volunteer tutors or mentors for our students.

As chairman of the board of directors of Communities In Schools of the Charleston Area (CIS), I see and hear personal stories of students that our program serves — students who daily confront a mountain of obstacles to their success. From poverty to lack of parental engagement to other spirit-stifling conditions, these young people can seem doomed to failure before even reaching the third grade.

Knowing that the future well-being of our region depends on improving student outcomes and high school graduation rates, we take heart in recent news about declining dropout rates across the region.

We are also pleased to report that the approximately 1,300 students with whom we work one-on-one to provide life skills training, counseling and other needed services, continue to experience success — last year, 95.5 percent of eligible seniors in our program graduated.

This is a testament to both the strength of our program model and to the great resilience of our students. But we also know that the dropout rate in some of our schools remains perilously high and that there aren’t enough resources on hand to help guide, motivate, instruct, and nurture all of the students who could use some extra help.

As we celebrate our organization’s 25th year of serving Charleston’s young people — having grown from one school in 1989 to 30 schools with 40-plus staff members today — we challenge this community to help us provide students with the basics of success. It will take all of us working together — as staff, teachers, administrators, families, community organizations, businesses and volunteers (especially volunteers) — to guide and encourage these students and make high school graduation a reality for all.

John M. Mitchell

Chairman, Board of Directors

Communities In Schools

Meeting Street

Charleston

DHEC head

In the ongoing public evaluation of S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control Director Catherine Templeton’s performance, I wish to offer the perspective of one who has worked with her directly both at DHEC and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Shortly after her appointment to LLR, the Board of Architectural Examiners was asked to attend a meeting with the new director. Never had any of us — some members with seven or more years of service — met with the LLR director. We walked away with a very positive, refreshing sense of someone intent on improving LLR’s service to the public through improved relations with LLR-regulated individuals and businesses. Much needed changes followed and demonstrated a resolve to make regulatory processes a balanced effort between government regulation and business needs with the goal of protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public.

My second experience working with Ms. Templeton came after her appointment as DHEC director. I contacted her about a permit application that was dragging on inordinately without explanation or, for that matter, legal basis. The permitting process that should have taken three to four months was at nine months, with no indication when the application would move forward. My consultant and I met with Ms. Templeton and new DHEC hire Elizabeth Dieck, special deputy to the director for environmental affairs. We didn’t ask favors and were not given any. Our permit eventually began moving forward and the process was completed in about six weeks.

Ensuing staff changes demonstrated to us that Ms. Templeton’s perspective, to improve the balance between the regulatory purpose of protecting the public and appropriate premitting processes and time frames, was being brought to DHEC.

In my role as an architect for over 30 years, I believe these kinds of changes will be welcomed by both the architecture and engineering communities.

Catherine Templeton is infusing much-needed and appropriate perspective for regulations that balance protecting the public and considering the needs of those doing business in South Carolina.

STEPHEN RUSSELL

Milldenhall Road

Mount Pleasant

Wake-up call

In light of the recent commemorations and celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, how do we account for a 7 percent turnout in the Democratic primary runoff for the District 42 Senate race?

SHELIA L. ANDERSON

Longbranch Drive

Charleston

Double standard

It’s been a bad year for South Carolina farmers. The relentless rain has ruined many of their crops. Now it’s time for action. Thank goodness we have a governor who has the gumption to get the ball rolling and begin the process of finding financial relief for our state. Thank goodness we live in a country that responds to the needs of its citizens when disaster strikes.

But wait. Isn’t this the same Nikki Haley who is supported by the cult within the Republican Party known as the Tea Party? Doesn’t her political base resent everything big government? Don’t citizens of our state who support her want to “shut down the government”?

Isn’t hers the obstructionist party that has held up the farm bill in Congress because it addresses the needs of hungry American children?

Their hypocrisy overwhelms this writer’s sensibilities. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to see relief come to our farmers. I just hope the Tea Party hasn’t damaged our federal institutions too much as they try to hurt other citizens in their times of crisis.

John Childs

Amy Drive

Goose Creek

Say no to Syria

My message to Sens. Graham and Scott: Syria = quagmire. Again.

Please, please, please do not allow the U.S. to get involved in this civil war. We have done more than enough for the people in this region. Let them — Saudis, UAE, etc. — police their own.

If even one American is killed in a Syrian mission, it is one too many. Please vote no to money for Syria in any form.

JIM KLECHA

Long Point Road

Mount Pleasant