'Gershwin at Folly'

Based on his book and lively script, Julian Wiles has given Charleston and the nation a royal welcome to Spring, 2014.

"Gershwin at Folly" runs through April 26 has show times Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday matinee at 3 p.m.

It is a triumph of history and a joyous celebration of the collaboration between Dubose Heyward and George and Ira Gershwin, which produced America's first original opera.

Directed by Marybeth Clark and graced with extraordinary scenery and costumes by Jonathan Green, the production was generously underwritten by the Albert Sottile Foundation and Mr. and Mrs. William Hewitt.

From curtain rise to curtain fall, the story of how George Gershwin came from New York, way up past the Custom House, to Folly Beach to research and write "Porgy and Bess" 80 years ago breaks new ground in storytelling.

It also reminds us all just how close are the native cultures of blacks and whites of the Lowcountry and why the music that rises from their lives moves us to this day and can push us even further in the hard work of racial reconciliation we have yet to fully embrace.

Charlestonians and visitors should run, not walk, to see this magnificent production that breathes new life and great beauty into the origins of this national treasure, just in time to welcome another hope-filled summertime where the fish are jumpin' and the cotton is high.

Bud Ferillo

Laurens Street

Columbia

Scary trend

The Russians will invade Ukraine and have no fear of Obama but talk.

The Mexicans invaded the United States and had no fear of Obama, and he didn't talk.

He and all the Democrats welcomed them here to vote for them.

Don't blame this on G.W. Bush.

If you think things are bad now, just wait until Hillary Clinton is elected.

Roy Thornley

Sally Avenue

Ladson

Healthy decision

I am proud of Charleston City Council for voting yes to the pedestrian and bicycle lane on the West Ashley bridge.

A yes vote was a vote for an improved community.

One of the speakers on the night of the City Council vote was Dr. Thaddeus Bell, who spoke about the benefits to healthy living of improved bicycle and pedestrian travel ways.

You cannot dodge some inherited health risks, but you can delay illness for years and improve your health and longevity by exercising more.

We don't all have money to belong to a gym. We don't all live in neighborhoods with parks and sidewalks. At the council meeting, Mayor Joe Riley stated that the mark of a great city is how many things you can do that don't cost anything.

Increasing bicycling and pedestrian paths and roadways, as seen on the Ravenel Bridge and in the proposed Legare Bridge walkway, will help our community enjoy opportunities for improved health.

I envision my dog and me able to navigate sidewalks safely because the St. Andrews bike paths will become meaningful with safe passage downtown.

Right now, the bike paths end at Wesley Drive, so people just continue to ride on the sidewalks, which is not safe.

We will all benefit from the Legare Bridge bike and pedestrian lane, as much as we benefit from the Ravenel Bridge walkway.

Who could have predicted that all kinds of people, all shapes and sizes, all colors, from all walks of life, would use the Ravenel Bridge pedestrian and bike walkway at every hour of the day and night for exercise and commuting?

Thank you, City Council, for your visionary vote to improve life for Charleston citizens.

Jannette Finch

Sheldon Road

Charleston

Teach civics

Judging from letters to the editor, Gov. Nikki Haley would do well to insist that her plan for increased education funding restore the teaching of civics.

As an example of this need, an April 8 letter takes issue with the Koch Bothers and the Tea Party for some perceived deviation from what the writer loftily asserts is "an America that Americans should want."

In fact, the core principles those others stand for reflect the design of the founders for this nation, a design apparently wholly unknown to so many who oppose them and a design that served the nation and the world well for over 200 years. As James Madison (aptly called the Father of the Constitution) conclusively wrote in the Federalist Papers No. 45:

"The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace. ... The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people. ..."

The America the undersigned Americans want is that envisioned by the founders. We realize this concept is wholly alien and threatening to the liberal establishment, and it is no doubt for that reason that it seems to no longer be taught in our schools.

More's the pity.

Elizabeth Vary

George Vary

Black River Drive

Mount Pleasant

An educator's view

I am a taxpayer, a voter and an educator in the Charleston County School District.

I read Sen. Paul Thurmond's op-ed in the April 3 Post and Courier, and I understand his point of view from the aspect of an industry.

However, it also raises questions and makes me think that he does not understand education from the educators' point of view.

He stated that "schools are at the mercy of a union."

What union is that? Does it have a name? I would like to know who my representatives are so I can talk to them.

Sen. Thurmond made the statement that, considering the money spent on schools, education is an "industry." He cited companies such as Boeing, Michelin, and Continental "as well as other successful industrial enterprises."

Do airplane engines come to the assembly line hungry? Does tire rubber come with bruises and scars from abusive homes? Do machine parts refuse to cooperate with assembly robots because they are angry, afraid or in need of basic life necessities?

I'm not sure how he can compare education and industry unless he considers human beings to be "widgets" to be produced to exactly the same specifications.

Sen. Thurmond's education bills call for the superintendents of each district to "create a database of all teachers who are put up for non-renewal to ensure that other school districts are informed when these underperforming teachers apply in their district."

Where is the database of underperforming CEOs, CFOs, plant managers and blue-collar workers?

Surely if this works for the education "industry" it would work for those "other successful industrial enterprises."

Furthermore, Sen. Thurmond stated that he told potential voters he is "in the foxhole with them."

Are we in a war? I have been in education for 26 years and have always felt that the community worked together to create the best education possible for all students regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic background.

If we are in a war I need to prepare myself. I would like for Sen. Thurmond to tell me exactly who I am fighting.

Educators understand that there are issues and problems to be addressed in today's public education, but his legislation is not a good fix.

Instead of battling education from the bottom up perhaps we should analyze issues from the top down. Teachers have been, and always will be, the ones who are truly "in the foxhole."

Sarah Fitzgerald

Woodcliff Street

Charleston

Quakes and shakes

When is a size 5.1 actually 125 times bigger than a size 3.0?

The correct answer, of course, is when we're in Charlie Richter's world of earthquake scaling. And thanks to the Earth's moving under our feet on March 19, Summerville residents can now relate to a size 3.0 quake.

We all know something about earthquakes. However, my personal experience is limited, so what I know is mostly from second-hand accounts. By that I mean from quakes that occurred before I visited or after I was long gone from the scenes. Among those earthquakes:

Alaska, on Good Friday of 1964, a 9.2 magnitude (that's 1.58 million times a 3.0): I was a student in Groton, Conn. A few years later, I would encounter the results in the towns of Kodiak and Cordova, Alaska. Kodiak Island had subsided to the extent that the harbor pier was under water at high tide. Cordova was on the receiving end of the uplift forces and its fishing fleet required a totally new pier and mooring basin.

Sylmar, Calif., February 1971, a 6.6 magnitude: This was my home during 1970, but fortunately for me, not 1971. I read all about it.

Burlington, Vt., in autumn of 1988, a low magnitude, stealthy one: A picture over our fireplace wiggled.

And now Summerville, S.C., in 2014, a 3.0: It was the cannon-like crash of our house in whiplash; and the actual jolt that nearly ejected me from my chair. "What was that?"

We picked Summerville as our forever home with the belief that we could run from the hurricanes and hunker down in the cast-iron bathtub for tornados.

The occasional snow or ice storm would be a walk in the park.

We were blissfully ignorant about Fault Line Road in Summerville or the actual fault that lies nearby beneath the Ashley River.

In times past I would have said that a 3.0 on the Richter scale was not "great shakes."

Now I'm wondering what a 5.1 will be like. And really, what can we do differently?

I suppose we can keep the highball glasses farther from the edge of the table.

I mean, this really is our forever home.

Carey R. Brier

Axtell Drive

Summerville

Texting detection

Technology exists that can determine if someone was texting at the time of an auto accident.

Every modern car has a "black box" that records the exact time airbags deploy, and the driver's cell phone records contain the time and extent of the call or text.

All that is needed is a law allowing data to be compared and used in court and insurance settlements.

Some people (not all, of course) might think twice about texting and driving if they knew they would be prosecuted if they caused injury or death as a result of their own decisions.

Any legislation that does not employ the above records investigation will be weaker as a result.

It seems simple to me.

Roger Hart

Riverwood Drive

Mount Pleasant

One too many?

Every year the Easter Bunny would hide two or more dozen eggs in our living room for our four children to find.

Eight years later, he only hid 12 eggs for our fifth child to find.

OMG, the child found 13.

Carol O'Connor

Cypress Pointe Drive

Mount Pleasant