VA responds

At the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center we are committed to providing the highest quality of care to all veteran patients throughout the Lowcountry. As our veteran patient population continues to grow, a need for more parking spaces arises. Parking has been our number one patient issue for several years.

One way we have implemented to improve parking is a valet parking contractor, a veteran-owned business, Congaree Group and Ambassadors Plus. Since June 1, they have received very high customer service marks and positive comments from veterans and visitors alike.

This new valet parking contractor has greatly improved access and patient flow in our clinics and allows patients to get to their appointments more rapidly. On average they are parking 500-plus cars a week and returning those vehicles to the patient or visitor within nine minutes. Valets park cars off-site to allow more on-campus patient parking for those who do not use valet.

We have been approved for a parking garage to be built on-site. This will allow us to offer the maximum number of parking spaces possible for veterans, visitors and employees. Bids have been received and are being evaluated based on the “best value to the government” criteria.

Once the design has been approved, ground breaking for the garage is anticipated to begin early in 2014. While the garage is under construction we plan to lease off-site parking and provide shuttle service for veterans and staff.

There have also been concerns regarding employees parking in patient designated parking areas. Employees working evening and third shift are authorized to park near the well-lit emergency room entrance for safety reasons. You may see these employees returning to their vehicles during daytime hours, as they are ending their shift.

We provide the very best health care at this facility for our nation’s heroes, and it is important that they have the parking they need to get to their appointments and that our staff has ample parking to provide that care for them.

Carolyn Adams

Director

Ralph H. Johnson

VA Medical Center

Bee Street

Charleston

A proven leader

A front-page article in the Sept. 12 Post and Courier reported on the College of Charleston’s search for a new president and opposition by some of the faculty to considering “politicians” as opposed to academicians.

The late Ted Stern became president of the college 45 years ago and transformed a small, local institution of less than 500 students to a nationally recognized school of about 11,000. His contributions to the college, the City of Charleston, and to the greater community are legendary. He was universally respected. Charleston. His background was that of a career naval officer with superior management skills, a knack for surrounding himself with high-caliber personnel, unequaled drive and an endearing demeanor.

President Stern is widely considered one of the finest, if not the finest, presidents in the school’s 243-year history. He was not an academician.

Glenn McConnell is not an academician. He is a lawyer who worked with the Neighborhood Legal Assistance Program, the Charleston Naval Shipyard and a highly regarded private practice, and who ultimately achieved success as an entrepreneur.

Now serving as our lieutenant governor, McConnell is respected throughout the state for his wisdom, energy and ability to work closely even with those with whom he disagrees. Lt. Gov. McConnell graduated from the college before attending law school at the University of South Carolina and has always exhibited a strong passion for the traditions, growth and welfare of the institution.

I personally cannot think of any better candidate to fill the position of president. His passion for the college is obvious, and his leadership skills unquestioned.

David H. Jaffee

Class of 1973

Ripplemoor Lane

Charleston

Bumbling Obama

In view of the recent confrontation with Syria and, by extension, Iran, Russia and China, it should be painfully clear even to Obama supporters that he has no business on the international stage.

To mix metaphors, the red line has painted Mr. Obama in the corner — a corner from which he has no dignified way out. The last-minute lateral to Congress, seeking support for a limited war, further eroded his position.

The American people have awakened from a summer of TV re-runs to voice disapproval of the United States entering yet another war in the Middle East. And who can blame them? Aside from a half-hearted “aye” from France and Turkey, Mr. Obama is alone. Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are gung-ho about it. But have they ever said “no” to invading another country?

Whom are we supporting here, the al-Qaida backed rebels burning Christian churches? Or the despot Assad, who is said to be using chemical weapons on his people? The United States has no friends here. The outcome can only be lose-lose.

If there was ever a situation that called for clear thinking and restraint this is it.

Tim Carswell

Ptarmigan Street

James Island

Pick your poison

In a Sept. 7 letter responding to the Aug. 30 article “Trio of tax hikes coming your way?” the writer quoted assorted figures from the website taxfoundation.org and reasons that South Carolina has the highest combined tax rate in the country.

Unfortunately, he apparently neglected to factor property taxes and corporate income taxes into his conclusion, because, according to the same website, South Carolina’s overall 2010 state and local tax burden ranked 10th lowest of the 50 states.

The website tax-rates.org confirms that only five states and the District of Columbia have a lower median property tax rate than South Carolina.

More proof, I suppose, that you can make statistics say just about anything you want them to say.

If the letter writer wants lower income and sales taxes, is he willing to pay higher property taxes to make up the difference?

We’d all like lower taxes in all categories, but the money for government services ultimately must come from one tax revenue source or another.

Take your pick, and choose your state of residency accordingly.

Nancie Willett

Palmetto Hall Boulevard

Mount Pleasant

Uneven tracks

So “NASCAR seeks to restore credibility” (Sept. 15).

NASCAR is to automobile racing what the WWE is to wrestling.

Anyone who thinks that NASCAR competition is on the level probably believes in the tooth fairy as well.

Deane Kemper

Tradition Circle

Mount Pleasant

Take a walk

The Alzheimer’s Association’s annual “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” is Sept. 21 at the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina. My family walks in memory of my grandmother, who lived with Alzheimer’s for nine years before it claimed her life.

Charleston is also privileged to have the MUSC Alzheimer’s Research and Clinical Trials Program.

Those suffering from Alz-heimer’s can apply to the program and be a part of therapies being researched to better manage the symptoms of the disease and to one day find a cure.

There are numerous respite programs (the ARC and Respite Care Charleston) as well as support groups available to family care-givers.

There is also support from Trident Area Agency on Aging and the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Any family member or citizen looking to learn more about Alzheimer’s and how to provide care for a loved one living with this terrible disease, can visit www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com for more information.

We are so lucky to live in an area that provides so many resources and opportunities for families living with this disease.

Debbie Byrd

Professional Trainer

Home Instead Senior Care

Marshside Drive

Summerville