Hostile drivers

Your Jan. 17 headline story, "Boy, 6, is third pedestrian hit in week," highlights a serious and growing problem in the tri-county area.

I have lived in many cities in the U.S. and Europe, and I have never seen a more callous and hostile attitude by drivers against pedestrians and cyclists than here in the Charleston area.

One explanation, of course, is that drivers are not adjusting to growing congestion due to rapid growth. I see daily incidents of road rage as drivers speed through the back streets of our Summerville Historic District to bypass stop lights, stop signs and congestion on the main traffic corridors.

Drivers do not respect pedestrians trying to cross in the few crosswalks in our town. I have even witnessed Summerville police and Dorchester County sheriffs refusing to respect pedestrians trying to cross in crosswalks.

We have petitioned the Summerville Town Council to take steps to improve pedestrian safety, such as stop signs, crosswalks, sidewalks and better street lighting.

To our astonishment, we have been told that our streets are owned by the state and that our request for stop signs, for example, would likely be denied because vehicle circulation trumps pedestrian safety. By this twisted logic, the number of pedestrian fatalities will only grow as people risk their lives to cross the street.

Peter Gorman

S. Magnolia Street

Summerville

Hefty salary

Brett Gardner, former baseball player for the College of Charleston, just inked a new contract with the Yankees for $5.6 million. A very good outfielder used to be judged on a .300 batting average, 100 RBIs and at least 20-25 home runs. Gardner just had his best year, batting .273, 52 RBIs, and eight home runs.

Pretty fair, but since when did "pretty fair" translate into Hall of Fame type salaries?

I commend Mr. Gardner. He's worth whatever the market will bear.

But I have disdain for the major sports, which have elevated salaries to the point that an average working stiff can't even afford to take his family to a game.

I'd hate to think what Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays would be worth to the Yankees in today's marketplace.

Earl Thacker

Greymarsh Road

Mount Pleasant

Don't hedge

I found it curious that Glenn Smith, in a Jan. 18 article, would refer to what Skip ReVille did to children as "improprieties."

An impropriety is going to a dinner and forgetting to bring a hostess gift or, maybe at worst, winking at your neighbor's wife.

That man committed multiple heinous criminal acts against helpless children. Let's tell it like it is and leave the whitewashing for another article.

Eileen Hoffman

Avondale Avenue

Charleston

Shrub thickets

A recent letter took issue with the terms "rewild" and "maritime forest" being used in reference to the coyote population and accreted land on the southern end of Sullivan's Island.

Perhaps a more accurate term for the area would be maritime shrub thicket.

As described by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, a maritime shrub thicket "naturally occurs near and within interdune swales between maritime forests and Atlantic Ocean beaches."

These thickets consist largely of wax myrtles, yaupon, red bay and greenbriers, and provide habitat for numerous wildlife species, including birds, raccoons, opossums, small rodents, butterflies and spiders.

In addition, small isolated wetlands are frequently found in low-lying areas within maritime thickets. Fresh and brackish wetlands are vital to the maritime ecosystem.

They serve as a source of water for the above mentioned wildlife and are home to amphibians, reptiles and dragonflies, as well as flora, including sedges, pennywort and grasses.

Whether this area is referred to as a maritime forest or maritime shrub thicket, it is a natural, beautiful space that should be preserved and protected for wildlife and humans alike.

In fact, the land is owned by the Town of Sullivan's Island and is protected by a perpetual easement through the Lowcountry Open Land Trust

It is no surprise that coyotes would find this area appealing. Highly adaptable, coyotes have expanded their natural range to include the Lowcountry. Attacks on people, including children, are extremely rare.

If coyotes become habituated to people, they can become a nuisance, and, yes, they may view cats and small dogs as prey. Of course, larger dogs, cars and people also present dangers to small pets when outdoors.

The North Carolina Wildlife Commission offers this advice for co-existing with coyotes: Avoid conflict with them and other wildlife, secure garbage and pets, do not feed or otherwise engage coyotes and avoid leaving pet food outdoors.

It is unfortunate that a few Sullivan's Island residents have taken the myopic stance that the best solution is to destroy the natural ecosystem and exterminate the coyotes, rather than monitor the situation and develop an informed approach.

It seems odd that such people choose to live at the beach, yet desire a sanitized, plastic version of barrier island living.

If you don't like trees, shrubs, animals, birds and insects, then please do us all a favor and move.

Joseph Bearden

Ashley River Road

Charleston