Repave our roads

I have lived in Berkeley County nearly my entire life. I have watched the area flourish and grow. I realize that such development comes at a cost, but I will not vote for an extension of the penny sales tax.

An April 27 article indicated that $72 million had been collected over the past six years, and I cannot help but question whether those funds have been optimized to obtain the greatest results.

I live in an older neighborhood not covered by municipal road maintenance. It seems our neighborhood has fallen off of the radar, despite numerous calls we have made for assistance. Our roads are pitted with holes. Where they are not, they are hastily repaired with random pilings of asphalt. I am tired of driving through my neighborhood to find orange cones sitting in gaping potholes. Our roads desperately need repaving. Not repair. Repaving.

Growth can be a wonderful thing. But until I see more efforts towards sustainment in older communities, I will not support the extension of the 1-cent sales tax for another seven years.

Dawn Wilson

Wessex Drive

Goose Creek

He's No. 1

Nothing could be finer than to be a Carolina fan. Congratulations are certainly due to USC's Jadeveon Clowney for being the No. 1 NFL draft pick.

Thank you, Clowney, for your memorable, thrilling, extraordinary and awesome plays while at USC (we will always remember "The Hit"), and we look forward to more of the same at Houston.

You have made us proud in South Carolina. It's great to be a Gamecock.

Barbara E. Boylston

Yeadon Avenue

Charleston

Faith and science

The viewpoint in a May 8 letter that creationism should be taught as science not only employs bad science, it also undermines the unfolding truth and beauty of religious faith. The writer cites how Galileo was discredited by religionists until the evidence of the Earth's place in a heliocentric model became incontrovertible. And yet by his logic a terra-centric view of the earth, in fact a flat Earth, should be taught as science along with all the wonders of the universe that have been revealed since Galileo's time.

The truth is that, while Darwin's theory of evolution may well be refined and improved on by further discoveries, it has been proven by every standard of critical, scientific thinking. For our students to acquire the scientific skills they and our country desperately need to keep up with a world that's passing us by, they need to be taught science as science, not dogma.

Like the letter writer, I choose to believe that he and I and in fact the entire universe were created by the divine being we call God. This is a matter of faith, not science. I find it easy and uplifting to reconcile my belief with scientific discoveries that are being made every day.

I worship a God who is revealed in all the breadth and depth of creation as well as in Scripture and in our hearts.

I also believe the biblical accounts of creation, both of them, while contradicting each other, together add to my appreciation of the wonderful, evolving story of God and God's people reaching out to and finding each other.

I also believe our appreciation of Scripture is ignorantly constrained when the Bible is read as literal, scientific truth and its symbolism, allegory, poetry and metaphor are thoughtlessly trashed.

The Rev. John Fisher

Crooked Creek Lane

Edisto Island

Obamacare mess

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care does not bother to explain the intriguing details concerning this program. I had to apply for insurance for my family before the March 31 deadline. At times I would spend three and four hours on the phone getting my family's information on the application.

Once the process was complete, which took about three months, I was informed I had insurance. My son had to go through Medicaid and my husband, being Native American, would take a little longer on his process. Mind you now we had to meet the March 31 deadline and I started this process in October. Recently a physician who I had gone to see called me concerned that my claim had not been paid and that I needed to take care of it because the insurance had denied paying.

She then expressed concern about the courts receiving this information. I said, "Don't you mean the collections office?"

Well, to make matters even worse she explained that the insurance companies under Obamacare will not turn accounts over for collection, but will in fact turn these accounts over to the courts where a smalls claims court order will be filed on you.

Are you serious? A claim is denied and you are taken to small claims court for not paying the bill? How can you penalize someone for not having insurance on time, then not pay the claims? Then want to threaten small claims court? Our system has done nothing but punish the hard-working Americans who have paid into the system for years with this joke of coverage.

I have since been blessed with state coverage and thank my heavenly father every day that I do not have to go back through this nightmare again.

Brenda Sweat

Alabama Avenue

North Charleston

Elizabeth Harrigan

The Gibbes Museum of Art is saddened to note the passing of Elizabeth R. Harrigan. As the first woman to serve as president of the Carolina Art Association, she has a prominent place in our history. During her tenure a new executive director, William C. Coleman, was hired, and plans for the 1978 expansion and renewal were completed, made possible by a major appropriation from the City of Charleston.

Ms. Harrigan was an ardent advocate for the arts and philanthropy in our community. She challenged her board, museum members, and her community to support the arts with their time and treasure:

"We must all work together to develop a strong development endowment fund. Charlestonians must learn to give and leave more money to public institutions.

"Our public buildings are some of the most beautiful in this country because our forefathers believed in the importance of the arts."

Elizabeth Harrigan set a trend as our first woman board president; since her election, fully one third of presidents of the Carolina Art Association have been women. She set a standard for contributions to our community; the Gibbes is proud to continue this legacy through exciting public programming and creative education for school children and adults.

We are very thankful to all those in our community who have stepped up to Ms. Harrigan's challenge to make our community better through support of the arts.

Laura D. Gates

President

The Carolina Art Association

The Gibbes Museum of Art

Angela D. Mack

Executive Director

The Gibbes Museum of Art

Meeting Street

Charleston

More mentoring

Several weeks ago the City of Charleston and Skanska Trident, construction managers for the Gaillard Auditorium renovation, performed a caring act for the ACE Mentor Program of Greater Charleston. The ACE Mentor Program is for high school students who are interested in a career in architecture, construction, or engineering. Skanska Trident coordinated a special construction site visit for the ACE students from two local high schools to visit the Gaillard site to view the construction progress.

We viewed the architectural features of the stone-carved exterior of the building, looked at preliminary plumbing installations, HVAC equipment, electrical rooms, and structure. We stood on the stage, under the fly loft, and viewed the complicated scaffolding that allows the workers to construct the highest levels of the building, high above the "house" section of the theater.

The ACE Mentor Program is made up of volunteers who are professional engineers, architects, and construction managers.

Two of these mentors work for Skanska. These professionals donate their time several hours every other week for an entire school semester. The program consists of a construction/design project that professionals work on with students, teaching them about architecture, various engineering practices, and the construction science that goes along with scheduling, budgeting, and managing a project.

This year we have programs as Stall and St. Johns high schools where we are completing projects such as a custom chicken coop for an owner willing to spend $1,000 for a coop that will encourage hens to produce fresh eggs.

There are many ACE chapters across America that reach approximately 5,000 students a year. This program is very beneficial for our youth and our workforce here in Charleston. These young people might never get exposed to these disciplines and these professionals without ACE.

We are in our third year of programs with the Charleston area schools. We try to give several students a small scholarship at the end of the semester.

Our end of the year banquet will be held on May 30. Interested members of the community are welcome to attend. Please check the website acementors.org/charleston-sc for ticket information.

ACE relies on local professional volunteers to mentor our kids. ACE also relies on donations for scholarships, banquets and project supplies. Tax deductible donations can be made through the website and will stay within the Charleston community.

Rob Turner, P.E.

Vice Chairman of the ACE Mentors of Greater Charleston

Wappoo Creek Drive

Charleston

Putin's dupes

In response to the letter writer who suggests Republicans should nominate Vladimir Putin as their 2016 candidate, I offer a more serious assessment. It was Hillary Clinton who dutifully submitted a reset with Putin before Obama cancelled the missile defense system that would have protected Poland and the Baltic states. Apparently Putin interpreted this reset as an administration-approved permit to steal, as they gobble up surrounding countries by force.

Obama is so afraid of upsetting Putin he won't even send night-vision goggles to the Ukrainians, much less modern small arms. The flexibility Obama promised Putin looks more like submissiveness.

It would be fortunate if Republicans could nominate a presidential candidate who would receive the respect, admiration and cooperation that Obama and liberals afford a socialist dictator. But that will never happen.

The past five years have proven that the current crop of Democrats view conservative Americans who disagree with their policies as more dangerous than thugs such as Putin. That type of unserious thinking has brought us to the sorry state we are in today.

Rob Greer

Stockton Drive

Mount Pleasant

Missed chance

It's a shame that the Isle of Palms connector has turned into a six-lane asphalt-dominated highway. I am not sure how it got that way, but I do know that it could have been a lot better. The recent upgrades to Highway 17 and the Hungryneck Boulevard flyover of Highway 17 provide great examples of how to integrate a context-sensitive driving experience enriched with an abundance of trees, shrubs and ground cover.

Instead, IOP is left with a gateway road needlessly over-widened to accommodate a few weekends of beach traffic.

Imagine what a gateway road would look like in 10 years with a median strip planted with majestic live oaks and Southern magnolias, flanked on both sides of the road by another row of live oaks draped with Spanish moss.

And what if all of the contaminated stormwater from the road were to run off to a bioswale planted with native vegetation to filter the pollutants while also supporting pollinator species?

Now, imagine driving down the road in dappled shade under the canopy of the trees, suddenly emerging onto the bridge with the vast expanse of the marsh in front of you. Instead, we are left with an over-wide paved median strip, relocated oaks a good 100 feet away from the road with no chance of shading, and a highly maintained grass swale that does little to support life or clean contaminated runoff.

We should make every road in Charleston look like Maybank Highway. This is what happens when we let traffic engineers design roadways instead of landscape architects and ecologists.

Come on, Mount Pleasant, rise to the task and demand better.

These are the decisions that will define this community for generations to come.

Keith Bowers

President

Biohabitats

River Landing Drive

Charleston