Help veterans

As a country we honor our veterans on Memorial Day and Veterans Day. We do this with parades along with ceremonies of all types.

As you go through the holiday season getting ready for your own family celebrations, please take time to remember the people who sacrificed in order for you have these freedoms.

Many of our veterans are spending their holidays in nursing homes and adult care facilities with no one other than the staff to wish them a happy holiday. Many have families too far away to visit, or they have no one at all.

A visit with a vet can be a rewarding experience. As a disabled veteran myself and a vet-to-vet hospice volunteer, I have had the privilege of meeting and visiting with some of these veterans. Some are highly decorated.

I recently was visiting a veteran who no longer has any family. He was one of many thousands of soldiers who took part in the invasion of Europe and landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.

He was awarded the Silver Star during World War II. I informed his nurse that she was taking care of a bona fide hero. You could see this veteran sit up a little straighter, and puff out his chest as the nurse told us how she did not realize she was caring for a real hero. I told that same nurse there were 37 more heroes in that facility alone.

Perhaps you or your family could “adopt” one of these heroes by sending a Christmas card, bake some cookies, or better yet, stop by for a visit. A warm shirt, slippers or cozy blanket is always a nice gift. However, the greatest gift you can give would be visiting one of these heroes.

I have never been turned away, when I have walked into a room for the first time, introduced myself, and asked the veteran if he or she would like some company, by allowing me the honor of visiting with them awhile.

Will Burns

West Park Lane

Summerville

All aboard

I cannot see how CSX can have any realistic reservations over the proposed relocation of the Amtrak station from its current site on Gaynor Avenue to an inspired new grand “InterModal Center” (IMC) in the wedge of unused land bounded by Dorchester Road, Montague Avenue, and the Mark Clark Expressway.

The recent report in The Post and Courier contained statements of concern about the track being blocked at the entrance to Bennett Yard.

But at the site of the IMC, there are three existing sets of tracks. There is no space to build a siding or spur without also having to completely rebuild the overpasses of Dorchester Road and I-526, and the “left track” would be blocked no more frequently — nor for any longer — than the “right track” is currently blocked at the existing Amtrak station.

And as it would appear, the “left track” is the “through lane” where there is no direct impact or interference with the switching operations of Bennett Yard.

Perhaps if there is not already a series of switches, CSX could place new switches to the south and west of the IMC location to allow for cargo traffic to pass around the IMC during those times. It appears that only four trains stop daily in Charleston. So it would seem to this untrained observer that there would be no real impact to the “safety and efficiency” of CSX at all with the new IMC location.

It sounds to me like CSX is making excuses for something that should be no real concern at all.

A. Thomas Price

Sully Street

Goose Creek

Vote down I-526

At its core, the debate about I-526 ultimately comes down to the right of a community to decide its own fate.

The people on James and Johns islands do not want I-526.

It is interesting to note that almost none of the leaders who want I-526 extended actually live on the Sea Islands.

They would not be directly affected. They would not lose their homes. They would not lose access to the land via over-development. To them Johns Island is simply a prize. It is a means to increase their tax base and reward developers.

Many people on James Island, Johns Island, and Wadmalaw still live off the land. They farm, hunt, and fish to sustain their families. They rely on clean water and access to the rivers.

Charleston County’s own study, the Mark Clark Community Impact Assessment, shows that by 2030 development on Johns Island would be 20-40 percent higher with I-526 than without it.

It also explains that this increased development would cause property taxes to rise, threatening long-time residents who are “land rich but cash poor.”

For these reasons and many more, we beg County Council to vote I-526 down quickly and decisively on Dec. 13.

Robin Welch

Nix526.org

Stone Post Road

James Island

Fracking hazard

In the next few decades our country anticipates being a net exporter of fossil fuels. A significant component of this energy independence involves yields of oil and gas released from dense shale rock by hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

This process involves drilling wells around two miles deep, then injecting a toxic cocktail of water and chemicals to break open the trapped gas and oil.

About one third of this toxic water resurfaces, and is then trucked away for burial in empty wells.

There are 35,000 wells in the U.S., alarmingly using tens of billions of gallons of increasingly scarce fresh water each year. The resurfaced fracking water is so toxic that it cannot be processed by treatment plants, used in agriculture, or dumped in rivers.

This resurfaced water must be rendered reusable. This will reduce fresh water depletion and avoid thousands of truckload dumps elsewhere underground, where it can seep into fresh water wells, relied on by millions of homes for their water supply.

Fresh water is becoming increasingly scarcer with climate change.

Shale formations are ubiquitous, so fracking operations can crop up anywhere in our rural countryside, permanently scarring and changing the bucolic quality of life and environment.

Other fracking side effects include induced earthquakes as this liquid concoction lubricates dormant fault lines.

So the ultimate price we pay for fossil fuel usage is high, even if we wean ourselves of import dependency.

All this underlines the need for conservation through increased vehicle consumption efficiency, reusable energy, and rigorous legislation to ensure the oil and gas industry is obligated to leave the smallest possible environmental scar from their lucrative explorations.

David J. Waldron

Bridgetown Pass

Mount Pleasant

Quitting time

In breaking news Thursday we heard that our own Sen. Jim DeMint has quit the job the citizens of South Carolina pay him to do. Following a trail blazed by the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, Jim has decided that when the going gets tough, the tough find easier work to do that does not involve explaining to the people who voted for you why nothing is getting done.

I am hoping to see much more of this in the House and Senate so that we can finally get rid of the excuse-makers and find some real leaders who wish to do the right things for all Americans.

I am sure that Jim will find plenty of like minds at the Heritage Foundation, and no doubt he will have plenty of time to delight us with new musings on the real meanings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Chris Doyle

Sunnyside Way

Summerville

A GOP myth

The greatest falsehood presented by Republican politicians during the past several years, and repeated in this paper and elsewhere ad nauseum, is that allowing tax rates on the wealthy to return to Clinton era levels will cost jobs.

If that were true, there would have been a net job gain after Cheney/Bush lowered taxes in ’03. That did not happen. In fact, there was a net job loss over that period.

Someone in the Republican party should do a little research before passing on such falsehoods.

David Stevens

Suncatcher Drive

Hanahan