I am a parent of a Belle Hall Elementary fifth grader who is in the Charleston County School District Honors Orchestra. The orchestra, coupled with an excellent summer camp called SMAART Strings, has been a wonderful opportunity for our daughter. Private lessons alone could not have given her this exposure.

In the face of budget cuts and down-sizing, CCSD has managed to make music work, spearheaded by Jonathan DePriest and his team. They deal with hundreds of kids — auditioning, teaching and training — and they are as professional and nice as any parent could ask for.

The CCSD strings orchestra recently had an awesome spring recital at Burke High.

CCSD has a magnificent team of music teachers who teach their hearts out and give their all. Charleston and the whole of South Carolina have to hear about this.

Jovia Ayiku Sweet Garden Court

Mount Pleasant

A recent letter stated that Charleston could “invest” about $20 million in a bike trail, which would generate about $42 million in annual economic benefit. A second letter said Iowa invests $3 million annually for biking and gets over $500 million in economic activity including improved health of citizens.

I think we need to send bicyclists and their financial advisors to Washington, D.C., to help solve our deficit and health care problems. At these rates of return, the country will be debt free and healthy in a very few years.

Why haven’t our politicians and elected leaders capitalized on this gold mine?

Bill o’brien Palmetto Peninsula Drive

Mount Pleasant

Once upon a time a new interstate highway was coming to Mount Pleasant. It was to be a direct link to Ohio, and the benefits to our port operation would be legion.

A small group of narrow-minded but well intentioned tree huggers screamed about a highway through the Francis Marion National Forest, so it was re-routed to Myrtle Beach.

Charleston lost a potential 100 percent increase in highway transportation capacity; an evacuation route; and port business to Savannah, which has easy access to I-95 and I-16. The port-related revenue lost is substantial.

We currently have another group of well intentioned but misguided individuals trying to limit cruise ships docking in Charleston. They claim that the tourists are causing needless automobile traffic on the peninsula and pedestrian traffic in the Old Market and other downtown areas.

The last time I checked, tourism was a major industry in Charleston. It depends on tourists coming to the peninsula, the Old Market and downtown areas. We do not have to provide long-term municipal services to these tourists. They do not come here to commit crimes. They come here with pockets full of money and eagerly give millions per year to our hotels, motels, shops, restaurants and local businesses.

I propose a solution: Have the people wanting to limit cruise ships sign a petition and be counted.

Then have the Chamber of Commerce divide the estimated revenue from cruise passengers among the people on the petition. They would pay their share to stop cruises. Divide the money among local businesses to be preserved as things were in the 1850s.

Jack Becknell Sulgrave Road Charleston

Recycling is now in our neighborhood and doing fine. However, it would be nice if future containers could be designed with a handhold located in the rear center.

It is easier to use one hand and pull the container behind you when on uneven terrain, rather than pushing it forward using two hands. It is unsteady to pull with one hand if the handhold is off center.

Since contracts are probably written for hundreds, the manufacturer would change their plastic mold without a price increase.

This simple fix is also true of future garbage containers. We cannot fix the world, but we can improve locally by a simple stroke of the pen.

Robert Bullwinkel Sr. Campion Hall Road


North Carolina, like South Carolina, has passed by a wide margin a ballot initiative prohibiting marriage between people of the same sex.The results are unsurprising. Majorities seldom vote to protect the rights of minorities.

Many people rely on the Bible to oppose same-sex marriage, just as the Bible had once been cited to justify slavery. The prohibition against same-sex marriage is now firmly embedded in the constitutions of both states, thereby resolving the issue forever. But forever is not as long as it once was.

The last time there was an issue in this country about marriage, the question was whether black people and white people should be allowed to marry.As with the issue of same-sex marriage now, people based their opposition to interracial marriage on the Bible.

National polls showed that more than 70 percent of Americans opposed marriage between the races. But the same polls revealed that younger people were much more likely to approve.

In 1956, consistent with the majority public opinion at the time, the Supreme Court declined to take a case challenging interracial marriage laws. As integration of the races began to take hold in America and the younger generation matured, public opinion on the subject of interracial marriage began to shift.

Experience overcame prejudice. In 1968, the Supreme Court reconsidered and struck down a Virginia law prohibiting marriage between people of different races.

Today, hardly anybody is openly opposed to interracial marriage, and the issue has faded from discussion.

Public opinion on same-sex marriage will surely evolve in a similar way. Recent polls on the subject of same-sex marriage reveal a startling divide between older and younger generations.

In a 2011 Gallup poll, 70 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 34 expressed the opinion that same-sex couples should be free to marry.

If you are under 35, you are more likely to have grown up knowing people who are openly gay or lesbian, and you are much less likely to oppose their having the freedom to marry people of the same sex. Just as public opinion changed with experience on the subject of interracial marriage, support for same-sex marriage will eventually become the majority view. Same-sex marriage is historically inevitable.

In the not-too-distant future, we will have a hard time remembering why people got so excited about gay and lesbian couples marrying, and President Obama’s statement on the subject will seem obvious rather than controversial.

Alex Sanders Water Street Charleston

A recent letter writer used Pascal’s rationale to justify the belief in God vs non-belief. This is another way of stating the mathematical consequences of committing a type one vs. a type two error.

In other words, he is stating that it’s better to have a false positive than a false negative. In religion however this is not the case. Why?

Because believing in a non existent God and his/her religious teachings results in divisiveness within the human population.

Believers are responsible for religious wars, terrorism, bigotry, misogyny, mutilation, torture, isolationism, genocide, repression of civil rights, etc., all in the name of their religion.

Yes, religious organizations do good but are, without a doubt, a major contributor to many of the world’s problems. So, to get back to the thesis, is it better to hedge your bets and believe in a nonexistent God? My answer is no. It is better to be a good human for the sake of humanity not for a possible future reward.

I’ll take my chances practicing humanity and if there is a God, hope he/she judges me on my humanity, or if not, maybe he/she has a good sense of humor.

John Manzi Fairway Drive Hollywood