A better marketIf you haven’t been to the Farmers’ Market on Marion Square this year you should go. There are some positive changes in terms of layout and traffic flow. The performance stage has been turned 180 degrees to face onto the grass in Marion Square. Tables and chairs have been set out in this open area to accommodate diners (breakfasters) and audience members.

The “bounce castles” have been relocated to the southeast corner of the square (Calhoun and Meeting streets) and the food vendors’ area at King Street and Calhoun Street has been expanded into that vacated space. There’s a lot more space for lines and additional vendors.

The layout is quite a bit more efficient. There are still choke points where walkways are blocked by lines and shoppers, but generally speaking the changes make for a much more pleasant experience. I think there will need to be provision made to shade the audience/diners as we get into the summer heat, but it’s a good start.

Still, what is the one complaint I hear from just about every kid at Marion Square? “Where’s the doughnut man?” With changes in the layout, there seems to be more than enough room to accommodate Coco’s Donuts even if they are from Orangeburg.

Dave BrumbaughNassau Street

CharlestonCruel CalCal Thomas is one of the slickest snake-oil salesmen out there. His Horatio Alger fables are not going to help the disadvantaged who lack education or are in poor health.

With so many people out of work, it is cruel of Mr. Thomas to imply that they are lazy or morally inferior.

His admiration of Rick Santorum is not convincing. Sen. Santorum is acting on religious principles when he insists that rape victims be denied contraceptives. So is the Taliban fighter who throws acid in a schoolgirl’s face.

Cal Thomas is the cockroach in the Leiber Prison stale bologna sandwich that is right-wing political opinion.

Louis M. Smith Russell Drive

Mount Pleasant Neighbors share

I love a good contradiction. Hampton Park caters to cars; however, the city is endorsing a “complete streets policy” accepted nationwide that would allow everyone to share Hampton Park. The contradiction: Some people want to drive through Hampton Park and deny people the use of the park for any other purpose. Restriping will convert the inside lane for use by bicyclists and pedestrians. The outside lane will be for drivers to circle at 20 mph.

Each entrance to Hampton Park will now have a stop sign. Sidewalks will be completed into Hampton Park. Pedestrians will be able to enter Hampton Park using pedestrian crosswalks at each entrance. Wagener Terrace is acutely affected by changes in Hampton Park; we support restriping to provide lanes for cars, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Not mentioned are the people who use walkers, wheelchairs and electric scooters and who will have access to a public city park. Wagener Terrace, about 3,000 residents, accommodates Hampton Park closures graciously as the price of living beside the best park in Charleston.

The ultimate solution to the Hampton Park issue is to extend Elmwood from Moultrie to 10th Avenue along The Citadel’s chain link fence to 10th Avenue, creating a “complete street” with sidewalks, bike lanes and bus stops. Wagener Terrace residents must walk through the mud to get downtown. Never mind the car vs. pedestrian fight in Hampton Park; we must reunite Wagener Terrace to the city.

F.X. Clasby IIIPresidentWagener Terrace

Neighborhood AssociationRiverside Drive

CharlestonStall superBeing a parent of a special needs student in his first year at R.B. Stall High School, I want to make sure that Stall knows they are doing a wonderful job. They get an A plus, plus. This year has been a wonderful transition, which is sometimes much harder for special education students and their families.

We were saddened to lose one of our children this school year. Not only did the faculty reach out to students and families, but they held a memorial service in the special education class. It featured a wonderful flute duet, a beautiful poem, a magnolia tree dedication, and a video of Ronald’s life.

How wonderful is it when the administration allows important events like this to take place? The administration and faculty keep amazing me.

We are proud to be part of the R.B. Stall family.

Lillian DavisRed Birch Circle

North CharlestonBravo for Pops

The April 14 Charleston Symphony Orchestra Pops concert, under the direction of guest conductor Morihiko Nakahara, ended with a standing ovation.

The first reason for the ovation was, of course, the excellent performance by the musicians for the very popular works of John Williams.

The second reason must be attributed to Mr. Nakahara. He did an excellent job of interacting with the audience. He even wore a Darth Vader mask and dueled with light sabers with Yurri Bekker. His manner was reminiscent of how David Stahl interacted with audiences.

I have attended most of the Masterworks and Pops concerts this season, and Mr. Nakahara was the only one who had such interactive contact with the audience. This is a very appealing feature for the CSO audience. I hope future guest conductors are screened for this ability to interact with the audience in addition to their musical skills.

The venue was relatively full. More important, the audience was mostly younger people who will be future CSO members. I am sure all had a positive experience.

Gerry KatzWofford Road Charleston

A lot of green I was excited to read in the newspaper that America’s new light bulb is about to make its debut at Home Depot and Lowes. Talk about savings, I raced through the house counting the number of bulbs I would need to replace in order to reap the full benefit of energy savings. The magic number? Twenty-six.

So our government paid a Dutch firm $10 million to develop a light bulb and it’s going to retail for around $50.

For a mere $1,300 I can go green. I bet one would have to camp out in front of the store, as they do when a new Ipod comes online, in order to buy them before they sell out.

Perhaps I will wait and see if the government declares it a health issue like the pill, and demands the company provide them free. It would certainly be hazardous if you did not have appropriate light in your home after nightfall.

Larry LarkinsSouthwold Circle

Goose CreekA special placeI read daily about significant negative issues affecting life in the Charleston metropolitan area. I tend to reflect on the things that are so glorious in the Lowcountry, things that are known to be the best in the nation. Why is the place I live so rewarding?

Elise Testone. She’s our very own American Idol, a product of Coastal Carolina University now teaching our youth music in Mount Pleasant. Please keep voting, Charleston. Mayors of the area, take note — she deserves a proclamation when she returns home.

Other American Idols:Boeing, David Boatwright, the Family Circle Cup, the Ravenel Bridge; Mayor Joe Riley, Fort Sumter, Philip Simmons, the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, Robert Mills, the Angel Oak, Fritz Hollings, American Classic Tea, Darius Rucker, MUSC, Drayton Hall, Spoleto USA.

Charlestonians are blessed. Count your blessings daily. Take time to plant a tree. Vote. Pick up a piece of trash. Support our youth. Observe your surroundings. Thank someone daily. Get involved in the community. Take pride. Be an ambassador of your region. Recycle. Support a nearby business. Make Charleston a better place.

Go Charleston.Eric ShultzWestminister Road

Charleston