What great news that one of the frivolous lawsuits pertaining to the cruise ship terminal has been thrown out. The foolish pile-driving decision also needs to be vacated.

I wonder where the Coastal Conservation League and Preservation Society were when upwards of six dozen piles were being driven directly across the street from my house in the historic district? I guess the East Side is less important than Ansonborough, but now they are worried about five or six piles? On an industrial site? Hundreds of yards from any historic structures?

Remember the Ports Authority merely wants to move the dockage of the cruise ships about two ship lengths to the north along an existing pier and rehabilitate a rusting, eyesore of a warehouse into a state-of-the-art passenger terminal.

For the life of me, I can't understand the opposition to this project nor the ugly flags that have popped up in protest of it nor the fixation on how ships are powered whilst in port. Is it not clear that as a thriving port city we have a lot of ships that come here and run their engines as they are loaded?

Dave Brumbaugh

Nassau Street

Charleston

In a recent letter to the editor the author was very articulate in stating that South Carolina should pass a law to support prayer in public schools.

As a retired teacher and administrator in the public schools of South Carolina for over 45 years I can assure the author that prayer in the public schools of South Carolina is still allowed.

Each morning students hear the national anthem and say the pledge of allegiance. This is followed by a moment of silence. During that moment of silence one can pray to the deity he chooses.

For the S.C. Legislature to pass a law for mandatory prayer in the public schools would be a violation of the separation of church and state.

It is not the federal, state or local government's job to mandate prayer. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.

If we mandate prayer in the public schools, whose prayer is it going to be?

Will it be a Baptist, Episcopalian, Catholic, Methodist or one of many other sects?

We live in a democracy, not a theocracy, and that's the way our Founding Fathers planned it. I recommend anyone who would like to live in a theocracy to try the Middle East.

Freedom of religion means the individual makes his/her choice as to the god he worships.

As for me, it is Christ.

As long as we have testing, we will have prayer.

Brooks P. Moore

Blue House Road

Ladson

I cannot understand the concept of a hospitality fee, aka tax. This tax, as I understand it, is supposed to be linked to local tourist accommodations. Therefore, communities with no tourist attractions should not impose this tax on citizens. I believe it is unlawful to levy a hospitality tax that is not tourism-related - particularly the 2 percent tax on food and beverages purchased at grocery and convenience stores, fast-food and sit-down restaurants and bars, and mobile kitchens. The tax is applied to purchases of containers of fruit cubes, popcorn chicken and birthday cakes. I question whether the ordinance is being monitored and applied equitably.

Grocery store delis, bakeries, meat and produce departments are affected. The sale of any food and/or beverage, inclusive of alcoholic beverages, prepared or modified by an establishment that at the time of sale is ready for consumption by members of the public, regardless of quantity, presentation or packaging is affected by an ordinance that became effective Jan. 1, 2014, where I live.

This tax is to be kept separate from local sales taxes and fees. It is supposed to provide money for construction and upkeep of facilities that are tourism related. It is not to be used to pay for things local citizens primarily use.

I feel it is the responsibility of local government to include recreational equipment, parks and playgrounds in its normal planning and budgeting process. Additionally, I want you to know that a Big 9 pack of beef sticks at Walmart does not qualify for the hospitality fee. But locally a cup of orange juice at McDonald's is taxed at 10 percent (8 percent sales tax plus 2 percent ordinance fee).

Larry E. Hearn

Foxborough Road

Goose Creek

The decision makers at Patriots Point do not perceive the importance of preserving the last remaining Guppy III submarine in the United States. This is a most unusual attitude for museum officials.

They are willing to scrap one third of their exhibits, in effect destroying a vital part of the museum that would both immeasurably enrich the education of future generations and draw tourists.

Museum officials have also apparently snubbed the offer of submarine veterans to maintain the Clamagore. If museum officials were to look at the outstanding example of the World War II Liberty Ship John Brown, they would see plenty of older veterans maintaining the Brown as if she were a 2014 sports coupe.

The Clamagore should be properly cared for because of her ties to our Navy Yard, also. Many of the young men in the greatest generation who fought in WWII returned to shipyard jobs.

My father, who retired a foreman welder, was one of them. He was in charge of one of the Clamagore's overhauls.

The modesty of my father's generation stands in stark contrast to the tacky bragging of today.

While the Clamagore was not the veteran of some famous battle, this sub personifies the constant strength the greatest generation continued to quietly muster each day as they kept our military ready to defend us at a moment's notice.

Scrapping the Clamagore is disrespectful to the Greatest Generation, the submariners who served and the Navy Yard workers everywhere who kept her outfitted, updated and running smoothly.

Perhaps even worse, scrapping her throws away a vital educational experience for our children. A rare, tangible part of history, the Clamagore could impact our students just as strongly as any other museum exhibit at Patriots Point. As time goes on, this becomes increasingly important as the world of our children shrinks to the pitiful size of a computer screen.

Suzanne Flowers

June Street

North Charleston

"New bridges for local folks built by local folks" is the slogan posted near the Folly Creek bridge. The replacement Folly Creek bridge was supposed to be concluded by the summer of 2014, but according to the "local folks" building the bridge, the completion date is now June 2015.

Same completion date for the Folly River replacement bridge.

The Ravenel Bridge was built in three years by an international consortium. I cannot imagine how long it would have taken if our "local folks" had been in charge. I also remember that the Ellis Creek replacement bridge was built much faster.

What is with the Folly bridges?

Are the constructors entitled to delay the work as much as they want?

Does that mean cost overruns?

Does the contract have a completion date and penalties if the completion date is not observed?

It certainly does not give a positive image about our "local folks" in charge of the construction and about the oversight of construction projects by state agencies.

Gabriel Virella

Spearfish Circle

Charleston

President Obama once promised to cut the federal budget deficit in half. Well, let's look at how things stand for all 317 million of us in America.

In 2008 the debt was $10 trillion. It is now $17 trillion It increases $2.5 billion per day. That means that each citizen, including children, owes the government $54,428 and each household owes the government $140,674.

So far during his time in the White House he has increased the debt $7 trillion. And he has three more years to go.

I saw a picture on the Internet of a little girl about five years old standing by a doll house.

She is saying, "I owe the government $54,428, and all I own is this doll house."

Warren Harris

Waterlily Way

Summerville

I sympathize with those bar and restaurant owners who don't want loaded guns on persons in their places of business.

That is scary.

And I agree there is no way they would know who is or isn't carrying.

Well, not exactly. The persons who are legally carrying (CCP holders) will not be drinking.

OK, maybe a few, but they are taking a huge chance at losing the license to carry if caught.

And that is a hard-earned right.

What concerns me even more, though, are those patrons who are carrying loaded guns and who are not licensed, trained, and disciplined in the laws of legal carry.

If you think there aren't patrons who are armed illegally in these establishments (sign forbidding it or not on the door), I've got some great land to sell you in the desert.

They are there, and it would give me a great deal of comfort to know there may be CCP holders there as well, adding balance to the situation.

Take Florida, for instance. When it became legal for a CCP holder to carry there, crime went down, as it has in state after state. Criminals aren't so sure they have the upper hand then.

A CCP holder could very well save your life in a bad situation.

Stopping this proposed change to allow legally licensed CCP holders to carry in restaurants or bars will have absolutely no effect on keeping the "criminal element" or untrained persons from bringing concealed, loaded guns inside your establishment.

Russell Dowdy

Ceva Drive

Hollywood

The Jan. 26 article "Inked in S.C." accurately detailed the booming popularity of the tattoo industry in our state.

What was once a body adornment largely sported by a select few is now considered mainstream and all too popular with our younger citizens.

Any discussion of tattooing must also review the additional risks of the procedure. Published studies have shown very significantly elevated rates of Hepatitis C, a potentially lethal viral infection, in tattooed patients.

I have also seen allergic reactions to the injected substances requiring surgical removal of the tattoo and significant scarring.

Moreover, as a physician daily treating "tattoo regret," I can tell you that few patients understand the complexity and expense involved in removing an unwanted tattoo.

What looks attractive to the teenager or college student may well prove to be an expensive and unwanted problem years later.

Joel Cook, M.D.

Professor of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery, MUSC

Rutledge Avenue

Charleston

It seems to me that a good solution to the problem of coyotes on Sullivan's Island would be to release a few cheetahs or leopards on the island.

It would not be long before the island would be coyote free.

There is a down side, however.

You would also be dog free and cat free - and possibly a few people free.

Edward Ball

Eastlake Road

Mount Pleasant