Library cuts

The Charleston County Public Library is proposing to close its James Island branch on Camp Road and its branch at South Windermere. These are among the oldest and most beloved branches in the system, and their closures would likely meet with intense opposition.

The closures come as part of a proposed tax hike for library "improvements." The library is hosting 10 meetings around the county, in theory to gather input from taxpayers and residents who would be affected.

What I find odd is that the meetings for James Island and South Windermere are both scheduled for Sundays. All others are on weeknights. It is hard to imagine a day that would be less conducive to community input than Sunday when people traditionally spend time at church and/or with family and friends. It is also hard to imagine that this was not the intent.

I hope that the library system will schedule an additional meeting at each of these two branches during more appropriate times. Otherwise its leaders will be hard pressed to claim, with any honesty, that they adequately sought public opinion.

In the meantime, James Island's meeting will be this Sunday at 4 p.m. South Windermere's will be the following Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m. Both are at their respective branches.

ROBIN WELCH

Stone Post Road

James Island

American invaders

I see our president is condemning Russia for "invading" Crimea. The United States doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to condemning someone else for invading another nation.

We must remember when we invaded Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Grenada, Vietnam, Libya and Bosnia. And that is just a few of them. Regardless if you think the invasions were justified, it doesn't change the fact that we did it.

What will we do next when Scotland wants to leave England, or Quebec leaves Canada, or Venice leaves Italy?

Give it a rest, Mr. President. Let free people do what they want. Or is that too hard a concept?

Mike Miller

Hillcreek Boulevard

Charleston

Statewide focus

There has been a plethora of media reports citing individuals or groups voicing their approval or disapproval of the selection process for a new president of the College of Charleston and the proposed merger of the College of Charleston and MUSC.

All of this could possibly have been avoided if this state were to actually become part of the 21st century and create a single educational statewide governing board.

The statewide approach has an advantage over the system in South Carolina where each of its 33 public higher education schools are governed by its own board of trustees.

Some of South Carolina's obvious disadvantages aside from a needless expenditure of taxes are: a lack of statewide vision, focus by local trustees on parochial goals, trustee emphasis on provincial aspirations rather than statewide needs, insufficient course transfer agreements, varying residency requirements by each school to earn a degree, and incentives for institutions to replicate programs that often overlap programs at other schools.

Finally, in today's economic milieu with all of the technological advances and limited state resources, there should be a reverberating call by the state's residents to remove this obligatory, inept, politically driven educational system, and establish a single educational statewide governing board.

Arthur Harper, Ed.D.

Crab Walk

Charleston

Character counts

Recently, about 2,000 employees of Charleston area businesses gathered to watch an eight-minute discussion on the science of "character," how it's built, and why it matters.

It was all part of the global Character Day celebration, during which more than 1,000 organizations worldwide focused on what it means to be a person of character at work, home, school and play.

For our organization, this just might represent a tipping point in which the popular culture has caught up to what WINGS for kids and other organizations have long preached.

It's been our contention for 17 years that social intelligence and emotional literacy are key to success in life. Those who lack the ability to control and express their emotions appropriately are challenged to fully realize their potential.

So what is character? Character derives from understanding one's innate strengths and making them even stronger. It's represented in one's approach to failure. It's a combination of optimism, gratitude, social intelligence, curiosity, self-control, enthusiasm and perseverance.

Character is about living intentionally and making choices that elevate oneself and others. At WINGS, these are the things we teach hundreds of kids every school day. And at some Lowcountry businesses, it's clearly resonating.

What's the takeaway here for us all? Perhaps it's this simple question, which is worth asking before undertaking any important task: "Is what I'm about to do a reflection of who I am and who I want to be?"

If we all resolve to ask that question of ourselves, when confronting challenging situations, we can make every day Character Day.

Eleanor Smythe

S. C. Executive Director

WINGS for kids

Meeting Street

Charleston

Reduce obesity

Obesity is a disease, not a choice. Obesity causes or contributes to the development of a number of life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.

Reducing our obesity rate starts with education, which should start with our state leaders. They bemoan the fact that South Carolina has a high obesity rate, but the state health plan does not cover bariatric services.

I am proud to be a member of the bariatric team here at Roper St. Francis. It gives me great joy to see the physical, mental and emotional changes in our patients.

They know that bariatric surgery is not a silver bullet; it is a commitment to a change in lifestyle and an opportunity toward a healthier life.

I recently received a call from a man who planned to go to Mexico to have bariatric surgery because his insurance does not cover it and it is cheaper (and more dangerous) in Third World countries.

Insurance companies wouldn't stop someone from having heart surgery or treating his cancer. Why are they allowing people to die of obesity and its associated health problems?

It takes an insurance company approximately two years to recoup its investment in a patient's surgery by no longer having to treat the co-morbidities and their complications for a lifetime.

The insurance companies that do cover bariatric surgery often have so many restrictions that patients drop out while going through the clearance process.

The patients who commit to compliance after bariatric surgery and use their "tool" appropriately go on to live happier, healthier lives.

Gwen Stritch

Bariatric Program Specialist

RSF Bariatric

& Metabolic Services

Henry Tecklenburg Drive

Charleston

Uplift education

In response to the March 31 letter titled "The public dole," I would like to say that regardless of one's color or financial circumstance we are all our brother's keepers.

Do you really expect us as a country to try and reduce out-of-wedlock births by cutting off support once they are born?

This country needs to provide better schools, education and teachers for all our children. Education is the only way out of poverty and off the so-called "public dole." Instead we turn our backs and try to walk away from the problem, making it worse.

We could easily pay for better education by taking the upper 20 percent of income earners off of the government "dole" in the form of unending subsidies.

Government subsidies in the form of lower taxes and deductions that favor the well-off far outweigh what we should spend to help educate and lift the poor out of poverty.

I come from a family that was on the "dole," and I can tell you receiving decent educations was what made the difference for us.

Kevin O'Connell

West Indian Avenue

Folly Beach