Military benefits

Unbelievable. The Department of Defense is considering cutting military benefits: commissaries, hazard duty pay, regular pay and no telling what else. This to save money.

Why start with the only part of government doing its job and doing it as the best military in the world? Why not start with the ones who are not doing their jobs? Start with the president and all of his czars, the vice president, the Senate, House and all of their gofers. Cut their pay and benefits.

Then cut foreign aid to countries that hate us and want us dead.

We are paying $174,000 and benefits to senators who "pass the bill" and probably never read it. It's a no-brainer where to start.

Leave our military and their families alone. They deserve the best of everything.

Dennis B. Way Jr.

Westervelt Road

Meggett

Gibbes delivers

Recently, I have had the privilege of getting to know the Gibbes Museum collection and staff. A member for the last two decades, I have enjoyed attending superb exhibitions at the museum, but was not as familiar with its permanent collection.

While researching artwork for a book project, I gained a new appreciation for the extent and depth of the Gibbes collection and its easy availability to the public.

A visit to the Gibbes' website affords the layperson immediate access to nearly the entire collection, the depth of which is breathtaking.

Delve into the Charleston Renaissance artists and study Alice Smith's black-and-white photographs, or Anna Heyward Taylor's watercolors of Mexico, or Alfred Hutty's nudes. See how others saw Charleston during that time through the works of Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell.

The Gibbes is recognized as a leading repository for the art of Charleston, the Lowcountry and the South. All of it is available at the touch of a button or by crossing the threshold at 135 Meeting Street.

My research is focused on Lowcountry landscape and land use from the colonial period to the present, and the museum's expert and gracious curators have steered me to countless works that beautifully illustrate my subject.

In addition, the staff has assisted me in finding artwork from other collections in the United States.

The outstanding reputation of the Gibbes is evident when curators are eager to help when they hear you have been referred by the museum.

Indeed, enormous benefits accrue to Charleston as a result of the deep respect and longstanding relationships that Executive Director Angela Mack and her staff have cultivated among their peers.

A recent study of thousands of school children visiting the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art revealed heightened awareness, empathy and tolerance among the young museum goers, as well as a desire to visit again.

Places with rich cultural institutions like the Gibbes foster such habits and cultivate entrepreneurial, community-spirited citizens. This dynamic and enlightened institution deserves our support.

Virginia C. Beach

Gibbes Street

Charleston

Bills to increase

Believe SCE&G when it says your bill will increase with the end of its 15-year formula for billing, and if that doesn't do it, their new solar farm will certainly give a new reason to do the same.

In 2010, SCE&G initiated a 15-year, weather-related factor that no one seemed to understand, but it did help in some cases. Most customers believed they were paying for the energy they used. Now we are told by SCE&G that our bills will be higher. An investigation of their billing practices may be in order.

The real problem lies with the Public Service Commission and the state Legislature. The Public Service Commission should be a body elected by voters, instead of a spoils appointment by elected officials.

As long as we elect representatives who are more concerned about the utility than their own citizens, we have only ourselves to blame.

I believe this situation calls for a grass-roots movement to demand a change in the state's priorities. If there's a reader with the know-how to get one started, please step forward.

Eleanor Horres

Bank Street

Mount Pleasant

Justly honored

Kudos to attorney Lad Howell, president of the Charleston Bar Association, and the Bar for awarding Judge Richard E. Fields the James Louis Petigru Award, the highest honor the Bar Association grants. Fields is only the third person to receive this award, given for his commitment to the practice of law and his service to the community.

Judge Fields is one of South Carolina's fairest and finest judges. If judges and lawyers followed Fields' example of fair and equal justice, police would not be needed in our courtrooms.

Ronnie F. Judy

Sandridge Road

Dorchester

Man's best friend

On behalf of American Belgian Malinois Rescue (ABMR), I wish to thank Pilots N Paws and pilot Ryan Fiorini of Charleston for helping reunite Inca, a retiring military working dog, with her former handler, Joe Bane.

Inca, a Belgian Malinois who served in Afghanistan, is being adopted by her former handler, who had been injured and returned home a couple of years prior to Inca's retirement.

Though Inca did not come through our rescue (fortunately she already had a home waiting for her), ABMR is well acquainted with the wonderful service that Pilot N Paws provides, helping dogs all over the country get transport from shelters to rescue organizations to foster homes to adoptive homes. When they help out a Malinois, we are doubly appreciative.

Pilot Fiorini flew Inca from Charleston to North Carolina where she was reunited with the handler she had not seen in two years. The reunion was heartwarming to be sure.

Anyone who has worked with a Malinois understands the unique bond between working dog and K9 handler. Few bonds are as strong. As Joe Bane said, Inca saved his life many times.

Thanks to Joe Bane and Inca for their service, and welcome home. And thank you, Pilots N Paws and Ryan Fiorini, for helping Inca reunite with Joe, where she belongs.

Janet McSwain

ABMR, S.C. Coordinator

Highway 162

Hollywood

It's not the trees

A Dec. 5 article tells most of the story, but it was written about the New York train wreck. "Highway hypnosis" or "white line fever" is real and was well known in the early 1950s when I studied highway design in college. Our instructor drummed it into our heads - never design a road without fairly frequent curves or hills and valleys; preferably a flowing combination of both.

If you have a very long tangent, break it up. Drivers are lulled into a semi-trance state. The problem is compounded in several areas where the berm beyond the shoulder is very narrow followed by a "tank trap" ditch. The driver that errs has no room to recover.

Trees are not to blame for these design errors. So what's the fix?

Eliminate the "tank trap" ditch or move its top 12 feet away from the shoulder edge with a four-inch slope to bottom.

Relieve monotony. Modify the view in some manner so the driver has different things to see - even something like a string of Burma Shave signs would help.

Have a good landscape designer modify the median and both edges of the right of way to create pockets of interest. Some trees will need to be removed, but indiscriminate slaughter is illogical. Be creative.

Poor design can be corrected. Yes, it costs more, but make I-26 an example and something of which South Carolina can be proud.

SCDOT, accept the challenge.

Roberts W. Smithem

Bellerive Lane

Summerville