Five star heart

Recently the Ronald McDonald House of Charleston was transformed into a five star hotel. It began early in the morning as chefs, concierge, housekeeping, etc., arrived at our 27-bedroom home on Gadsden Street.

This is the fifth year that Kiawah Island Sanctuary and Resort staff have dedicated a day of excellence to the Ronald McDonald House; a day we call the “Five Star Day.”

Each family at the Ronald McDonald House has a seriously ill child in the hospital and all are going through the toughest and darkest of times.

On this morning, they were greeted with a breakfast made by top chefs and served by a staff that provides the best in customer service.

The stellar service continued throughout the day with lunch, outdoor activities and cleaning. The grand finale was an amazing dinner lavishly presented in our dining room with tablecloths, cloth napkins and piano music.

The families’ worries were not gone; their children are still very sick. But on this day, pampering took the edge off the worries as only loving comfort can do.

The magical transformation happens not just because of a good meal. It comes from the hearts of the employees of Kiawah Sanctuary and Resort.

These employees are the best at what they do. There is nothing more magical than becoming the best and then giving that best to others.

The Sanctuary is a five star hotel; they are also a five heart hotel.

We are all grateful and honored to have spent a day in their company.

Barbara A. Bond

Executive Director and CEO

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charleston Inc.

Gadsden Street

Charleston

Build I-526

While I respect the “nix 526” views of my friends, I can’t help but think back to late ’80s when Robert Barber was a member of the House of Representatives from James Island.

The traffic to and from James Island to downtown moved at a snail’s pace. I remember how hard he worked for solutions, even getting a temporary extra lane providing much needed relief. It wasn’t easy, but his persistence paid off.

Finally, the James Island connector was built and today traffic from James Island to downtown is served by both Folly Road and the connector. Imagine what traffic would be like if the connector had not been built.

In addition, the opening of I-526 from North Charleston to West Ashley allowed a route other than just the North Bridge. The highway also connected East Cooper to North Charleston, eliminating the need for traffic to go through Mount Pleasant to get to I-26. Again, imagine the nightmare were it not for this project.

I believe these examples are improvements, not only to traffic, but the quality of life for our community.

I moved to West Ashley in 2001 and I have seen increased traffic and backups on Savannah Highway. It is my understanding growth in the West Ashley area is expected to increase by as much as 50 percent in the next several decades.

I travel to Wadmalaw very frequently, and the increase in traffic on Maybank Highway and Main Road is startling for someone like me who lived on Johns Island in the late 1950s and ’60s.

I believe the completion of I-526 is as important to our community as those listed above. Mayor Joe Riley understands this and has offered to assume the responsibility. I think that is a wonderful option.

As a former elected official, I understand what members of County Council are experiencing from various groups. My advice is to block out the sounds and get the job done.

Jimmy Bailey

Carriage Lane

Charleston

School traffic

Traffic problems at the Academic Magnet High School of the Arts in North Charleston need a solution. I suggest driver’s ed.

Once the turn is made off North Rhett Avenue onto Braddock Avenue, the race is on as if it were the final lap of a NASCAR race.

Traffic between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. on any school day is nonstop. Do not try to back out of your driveway. It is virtually impossible.

I welcome anyone from the school board or my councilman to sit in my driveway and see what I see every morning.

These drivers will be oblivious to you. The only thing that slows them down is the presence of law enforcement, and they cannot be there every day.

Sharon H. Kinard

Braddock Avenue

North Charleston

Inflation scores

A month ago I sent a letter pointing out that columnist R. L. Schreadley was wrong in saying that if you believe inflation is under control, you haven’t been using gasoline or food and energy, which government does not take into account when computing the cost of living.

Obviously the editorial writers believe it, too. A Nov. 25 editorial, “The cost of living also rises,” started with, “Among the many disconcerting leaps of logic taken by the federal government is the omission of food and fuel prices from its measures of the consumer price index [CPI].”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the CPI. Their web site (http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpifaq) says this about what is included:

“Food and Beverages: (breakfast cereal, milk, coffee, chicken, wine, full service meals, snacks); Housing: (rent of primary residence, owners’ equivalent rent, fuel oil, bedroom furniture); Transportation: (new vehicles, airline fares, gasoline, motor vehicle insurance).”

A careful reader will note the representative selection of food, fuel oil and gasoline, contrary to Schreadley and the editorialists.

There is something called the core rate of inflation that the Fed uses to analyze trends. It does not include food and energy; they’re too volatile. But that’s not the CPI. The editorialists and Schreadley both have conflated the two, probably because they don’t understand the subject they’re pontificating on; a common occurrence.

David D. Peterson

Mariners Court

Port Royal

Costly flight delay

I was one of the passengers on Nov. 15 who was impacted by radar issues at the Charleston International Airport (CHS).

The Post and Courier article failed to describe the negative effects on the passengers and spun the story to the benefit of the airport.

Casual readers came away thinking it was no big deal and perhaps worth a chuckle that the radar was blocked by construction trucks parked too close to the beacon.

The fact that it took CHS until the following afternoon to figure it out is laughable. I guess.

But let’s get the math straight. You cited “about a dozen” flights were cancelled and that “the hiccup caused delays for several passengers.”

Several? I believe there were more than a dozen flights impacted, but let’s go with that number.

The Delta plane I typically fly on seats about 200 passengers (40 rows, 5 seat across) and is generally full. Twelve planes of that size delayed equal 2,400 passengers delayed.

I would say 2,400 passengers is a lot more than “several” passengers.

My story is similar to Mayor Joe Riley’s in my efforts to get back to Charleston. I had the option of spending the night (at my expense as the airline said it wasn’t their fault), then renting a car the following day as the flights were still delayed.

Total cost to me was $350 plus essentially a missed day of work.

If my experience was typical of other passengers, we are talking about 2,400 passengers incurring an additional expense of $350 each for a total of $840,000.

Not to mention the additional cost to the airlines of diverting flights to Savannah and Columbia. Let’s round it up to $1 million, give or take $100,000 — all because trucks were parked too close to a radar beacon and nobody at CHS picked up on it.

Also irritating to me was that airport spokesperson Becky Beaman did not apologize or admit that there was any failure on their part. She described what happened, but no culpability was mentioned.

We have one of the most expensive airports in the country for passengers to fly out of. I would expect airport standards to match the expense.

I also hope The Post and Courier will in the future provide a more balanced view of the impact to consumers of gaffes at CHS.

Rich Gonzales

Bowline Drive

Mount Pleasant

New hospital

On Sept. 26, John D. McLeod, judge of the S.C. Administrative Law Court in Columbia, ruled that two hospitals in Berkeley County are needed and both hospitals in Berkeley County could be financially successful. He issued a certificate of need for both.

In October 2012, Todd Gallati, president and CEO of Trident Health, said he would once again appeal, effectively blocking the start of construction at either facility.

I live in a 55-plus retirement community of Cane Bay called Del Webb. There are four other new communities and three new schools in Cane Bay.

The nearest hospital is 17.6 miles away with a 26-minute travel time.

The new hospital would be seven miles away with a 10-minute travel time. With all these young students and older adults in Cane Bay an emergency situation could happen at any time.

We have 900 residents in Del Webb today who range in age from 55 to 98. We need Trident to think about the needs of the residents and let us have a hospital.

Did they ever think that by stopping the appeal, they might save a life or two? With our aging population, every precious minute getting to a hospital could mean the difference between life and death.

My wife and I worry whether, if we have a heart attack, an accident or some other emergency, we will make it to the nearest hospital on time. Those 20 extra minutes to get to a hospital today just might not be enough.

We need a hospital now, not later.

I am asking Todd Gallati and Trident to stop wasting money on lawyers and legal fees and think about the needs of the people who live in Berkeley County. Roper St. Francis owns the 66 acres at Carnes Crossroads and is ready to start construction. Let that hospital, which has already been approved, be built.

J.R. Van Vechten

Schooner Bend Avenue

Summerville

Amendment vote

S.C. House members have a golden opportunity to prove to their constituents that they care about what they think.

The recent vote on the constitutional amendment gives them that opportunity. While the measure passed with less than 56 percent of the vote, it passed in the House without opposition. That should say something. It says that there were at least some voters who read past the first sentence of the amendment.

If they read the rest of the amendment, then looked at the “explanation” provided, they would have found an attempt to bamboozle the voter.

The explanation indicates that if the way the lieutenant governor is elected is altered, his job would also have to be altered.

While a huge majority of voters would probably like to see the lieutenant governor and governor elected on the same ticket, they might not like the change in his role in the Senate.

The third step in changing the state’s constitution requires the Legislature to pass the amendment again. I say kill this version now.

Since they did not want to put this into place until 2018, we would have another chance to vote on how we elect the lieutenant governor in the 2014 election.

They can even put the change of his role on the ballot; just list it as a separate question.

Larry Richardson

Tapscott Street

Myrtle Beach