Important lesson

Since retiring this year, after 36 years of teaching in the public schools system, I have visited some of our local high schools and have found a very disturbing element. The use of profanity is prolific among our young people.

I am not placing blame on the school system, because it should not be expected to cure all of society's ills. Parents must step up and do their part.

I hear young African Americans using the "N" word and justify the practice by stating that an "a" instead of an "er" at the end of the word makes it OK.

This is unbelievable and totally unacceptable.

I am entreating all African American parents to please speak with your children, and tell them of the struggles and sacrifices made by their ancestors to eradicate any form of the "N" word from our written and spoken vocabulary.

I then entreat all parents, regardless of ethnicity, to speak with their children about the disrespectful and demeaning aspects of profanity.

I know that much of what our young people repeat is the product of what comes out of the entertainment industry, but as consumers, we have a powerful voice, and we must use that voice to demand decency. We must take a stand.

It was once stated that only people with small minds and a small vocabulary use profanity. I am in no way trying to infringe on anyone's First Amendment rights, but the use of profane and indecent language has no place or function in a civilized society and should not be tolerated.

Angela C. Simmons

South Live Oak Drive

Moncks Corner

Minimum wage

When I was 12 years of age, I was busy trying to earn spending money. This included caddying, $1.50 for 18 holes, leading ponies around a 1/6-mile circle for $1.85 a day, and a morning newspaper route.

At the ripe old age of 16, I was able to acquire my working papers (I suppose that was a child protection law requirement) assuring prospective employers that it was safe to hire me.

I had the opportunity to be interviewed by two prosperous gentlemen who owned a small chain of stores.

One of the owners asked me how much I expected to get paid working in their warehouse.

I responded that I was worth a penny a minute and guaranteed I would work diligently for that amount.

After several minutes, the gentleman said, "Young man, I like the way you handle yourself. We are going to start you off at 75 cents an hour."

I was elated.

About two weeks later, I found out that the minimum wage was 75 cents per hour. I worked there, and received raises until I graduated from high school several years later. I learned a lot.

Minimum wage is a way to make it until you pull yourself up by your bootstraps, become an achiever, and proud that you earned your measly pay on the way up.

It is not meant to be a career, just a starting point, a short rung on the ladder of life. Climb the ladder.

If you remain on the bottom rung, so be it. It's your choice.

T.P. Lawson

Tacky Point Road

Wadmalaw Island

Ellen J. Lightfoot

Recently a great Southern lady named Ellen Jean Lightfoot passed away.

The first wish completed by the Make A Wish Foundation of S.C. was to take a family to Disney World. Jean was there.

On a later different wish trip the sheriff of Charleston at the time, Chuck Dawley, passed away while visiting the Miami Dolphins football team. Jean was there.

Our car club, Street Rods Unlimited, built a car and sold raffle tickets for 10 days at the Ladson fairgrounds. Jean was there.

When you get to Heaven, Jean Lightfoot will be there.

Lenny Branch

Past President

Make A Wish Foundation

of South Carolina

Northcutt Boulevard

Mount Pleasant

A chilling risk

My wife and I traveled I-26 this past weekend. I noticed many fallen tree limbs and a lot of trees leaning over the interstate.

If a future ice storm is a little more intense, or when we have another hurricane close to the strength of Hugo, I-26 will be closed for days if not weeks. A lot of the trees appear to be damaged from the storm, but most of them seem to be scrub pines.

It would be a good idea to clean out the damaged trees, especially ones in danger of falling across the interstate.

I can only imagine the injuries or deaths that could occur should one of the leaning trees fall across the highway.

Charlie E. Ledford

North Edgewater Drive

Charleston

Cainhoy concerns

I read with great interest the op-ed commentary written by Abbot Gumula of Mepkin Abbey regarding the future of Cainhoy Plantation.

Abbott Gumula's voice has the ring of truth about it as he asks us to pause, slow down the approval process, and reconvene the Cooper River Forum for the purpose of a broad-based discussion about its wisest uses.

We now understand that Phase 1 of the Master Plan can proceed while these discussions are had.

I live near Cainhoy and as an environmentalist I am personally familiar with its rich and abundant wildlife. We can only imagine what the dire cost would be were this land to be given over entirely to commercial and residential development.

We are all being asked to be thoughtful stewards of this land, whether or not we own it, but especially if we do. As Father Gumula so rightly wrote, "for good or for bad, we are all connected."

And we will all have to live with the consequences of the decisions made for its use. May it be for the good. This is after all about values, the valuing of place. It is about the importance of the place called Cainhoy Plantation, here now, among us.

May the collective voice that has spoken for those values be heard and be counted in time.

Helen Moorefield

Hopetown Road

Mount Pleasant

Bird killing

It was predictable that some groups and individuals would oppose the killing of double crested cormorants on Lakes Marion and Moultrie. A recent letter writer did not acknowledge all of the facts.

I and many other hunters and fishermen appreciate the same fauna and flora the writer does. We are not wanton killers, but we believe that natural resources were put here for our use and enjoyment. In turn, we humans have an obligation to protect and, if necessary, manage those resources. That includes birds and fish.

Cormorants are very proficient consumers of shad and herring, the primary forage fish for bass and striped bass in Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie. Cormorants often kill other fish such as bream and crappie too large for them to eat.

I am not aware of any formal study performed by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to determine the extent they compete with game fish. It just makes sense that every shad a cormorant eats is not there for a bass to eat.

As the writer states, cormorants occur here naturally (although they are primarily coastal birds) like anhingas, coots and great blue herons. They would not be here by the thousands, however, if not for the large man-made lakes.

Nor would there be land-locked striped bass, flat-head catfish or blue catfish. In other words, we have created an artificial - not natural - environment, and when any facet of this environment gets out of hand, it behooves us to control the culprit as best we can.

SCDNR has listened to the people who are on the lake every day.

That is a good thing. They have formulated a plan to reduce the cormorant numbers, and it will be very closely monitored by them and, I suspect, the Audubon Society. Let's hope the plan works, and will not need to be repeated.

And, by the way, any South Carolinians who have not seen Audubon's Beidler Forest have missed a great opportunity.

T.F. Coffey

Hickory Ridge Circle

Manning