A recent letter to the editor from a Johns Island resident confirmed my suspicion that funding for the Maybank Highway and the Folly and Camp roads projects remains confusing. The work on Folly and Camp roads is long overdue, and the plans are essentially complete.
However, due to unforeseen circumstances the project will now cost considerably more money and it was, in fact, underfunded.
The Maybank Highway project was to be funded by $15 million of county money and $15 million of federal money. That project was modified, which eliminated the need for the federal money, thus allowing those funds to be reallocated to other worthy projects that met the federal guidelines.
This modification came at a fortuitous time, just as we were looking for the additional funds for Camp and Folly roads. Charleston County Council voted to reallocate $6.5 million to the Camp and Folly roads project and the Charleston Area Transportation Study (CHATS) voted last week to approve that request.
There in fact has been no "stripping" of funds from the Maybank Highway project, and I specifically said we would not cannibalize one project for the benefit of another.
The Folly and Camp roads project can now get under way, as can the Maybank Highway project.
And amongst other things, Johns Islanders can finally look forward to another lane off of the Gelegotis bridge as it should have been originally constructed.
Charleston County Council District 9
On the firing line
Two God-fearing, law-abiding, red-blooded American citizens are walking through the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta. They are exercising their right to carry a gun.
While sitting in a passenger lounge, they become embroiled in a heated argument. Soon threats are exchanged.
Later, each one says the other one made the first threat. They also said they were fearful for their lives.
They both stood up and moved away and drew their pistols; each accused the other of drawing first. Later, witnesses could not recall who drew first.
One of the shooters was not hit and the other one received a minor wound.
The bullet that missed its mark hit a young woman sitting at the end of the bar, killing her.
Neither man was charged since they were exercising their "stand your ground" rights.
The woman was eulogized as a martyr in the defense of Georgia gun rights.
This, of course, did not happen. But this Georgia law could promote "a gunfight at the OK Corral" mentality.
Shadow Race Lane
Put them to work
Why not make prisoners work more? Yes, Frank Wooten has a point in his May 1 column, "Chain gangs still an uncool hand," that we should neither coddle nor abuse prisoners.
However, most people think that prisoners already are coddled way too much. They get free room and board, dental care, medical care and usually are in a one-room cell. All this costs taxpayers over $20,000 per inmate, per year.
So, as the Spartanburg sheriff says, have them work. Will it be more costly? Probably in the short term, but in the long term it will be better.
Here are some ideas: If the inmates want cell phones, have them or their family pay for it.
Lock up the cell phones. Inmates can use them for a set time only if they work that day or week. Any prisoner caught with an illegal cell phone has one year added to his sentence. No work, no computer, no TV or no privileges.
Allow only non-violent inmates to work away from the prison and if they sign up, take time off of their sentences. Have the other prisoners work at the prison.
Prisons could grow gardens to help feed the prisoners, maybe get some chickens to lay eggs. The prisoners will feel better when they are more self-sufficient.
The old saying is "If it's not broke, don't fix it."
Well, my friends, everybody agrees our prison system is broken. Let's at least try to fix it.
Stress the positive
I was happy to read the story about John Christoper Wright, the young man in Summerville who recently designed an invention in the Doodle 4 Google competition and won.
I can't help wishing that inspiring stories of this nature will someday make it to the front page of the paper, to celebrate the creativity and initiative in our community.
Lauri Adler Baker
River Breeze Drive
It was a wonderful tribute to Mount Pleasant shrimpers that throngs of spectators turned out for the Blessing of the Fleet.
However, if all those people really want to support our shrimpers they will commit to buying only local shrimp and eating in restaurants that feature locally sourced seafood.
Local shrimp is a healthier, tastier and more environmentally sensitive option than imported shrimp.
Without that type of local support, there soon will be no shrimpers left to show up for the Blessing of the Fleet.
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