Edisto Island (copy)

The South Carolina Department of Transportation sprayed plants, bushes and trees along S.C. Highway 174 on Edisto Island to suppress growth. Residents worry that it's damaging native plants and sending nasty chemicals into stormwater. Brad Nettles/Staff

SCDOT chemical sprays leave corridors of dead plants around Edisto and Charleston area

Five years ago, I called to complain about herbicide spraying done by the S.C. Department of Transportation.

I was informed that spraying chemicals was less expensive than trimming foliage. DOT officials claimed that the chemicals were “completely safe.” In recent years, it appears that DOT is using a higher concentration and/or a greater quantity of the chemicals.

I have both health and esthetic concerns:

First, anyone who has ever developed or taken a therapeutic or pain-reducing drug knows that no chemical is “completely safe.”

Second, humans and marine life are exposed to these chemicals as they flow in huge quantities into ditches, waterways and lakes. But testing for potential toxicity cannot compare with the rigorous testing required for medicine. The herbicide Roundup, now designated as a potential human carcinogen, is detectable in the Great Lakes.

Third, many who live in the Lowcountry’s maze of tidal creeks have noticed that salt marshes are dying. But water quality testing in our waterways is only for bacterial content, not chemical toxins.

Consequently, there is only circumstantial evidence that herbicides may be contributing to the marsh damage.

Finally, our state prides itself on its beauty and thrives on tourism income. This beauty is seriously marred by dark brown, torched-looking foliage along the roads.

If potentially toxic chemical herbicides must be used to make roads safe, they should be used more sparingly.

JOHANNA ALLSTON

Retired pharmaceutical executive

Tom Point Road

Yonges Island

Firefighter’s help

My 80-year-old mother was in the CVS on University Boulevard in North Charleston when it started pouring rain. She had an umbrella but, unfortunately, it was in her car. It kept raining so she decided to make a run for her car and just get soaked.

That’s when she heard a man say, “Wait a minute, ma’am.”

She turned to see who was talking, and it was a firefighter. He went to his firetruck and returned with a firefighter’s coat, placed it over my mother and escorted her to her car.

When my mom told me about the firefighter’s kindness, I asked if she got his name. She said, “No, I wish I did, but all I know is that he is with the North Charleston Fire Department, and he is young and handsome.”

I messaged the NCFD and found out that his name is Matthew Dandridge with Engine 209B.

I am grateful he was there and took the time to help. He is truly an asset to the NCFD and a true gentleman.

CATHY KINCER

Crooked Stick Court

Summerville

Sea wall funding

The State Transportation Infrastructure Bank funds and builds transportation infrastructure.

The 2019-20 funding sources are truck fees (35%), motor vehicle fees (20%), DOT contributions/loans (16%), motor fuel fees (13%), matching funds by affected communities (Horry County, 11%; Charleston County, 1%), and electric power (2%).

Hicks column: Raise high the Low Battery, City Council ... and do it quickly

Many years ago, I lived in West Ashley and rode my bicycle to work at MUSC.

I complained to my supervisor that DOT should build safe bike paths to and from the Charleston peninsula.

He replied that bicycles don’t fund DOT projects and if I wanted a bike path, I should pay for one. If the city of Charleston and South of Broad residents want a Low Battery sea wall, they should pay for it.

JACK FANNING

Sebastian Court

North Charleston

Weapons checks

When the Founding Fathers added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, it was a good decision at the time. It was necessary for law-abiding citizens to have a gun to protect themselves and their families from outlaws. Today, we have an entirely different situation.

Editorial: Start with gun reforms, but don't stop there

If the Founding Fathers knew criminals and the mentally ill were buying semiautomatic weapons almost as easily as buying a cup of coffee, I am sure they would be regretting their decision.

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After the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Donald Trump said we have to enact sensible background checks so semiautomatic weapons don’t fall into the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

I would also like to ask Mr. Trump what about those who become criminals or mentally ill after buying guns?

The answer to this problem that plagues America today is to close all factories making semiautomatic weapons and to confiscate every one from the market. No one needs a rapid-fire gun. Law-abiding citizens have more than enough options for protecting their families and property.

G.A. MONOCRUSOS

Savannah Highway

Charleston

Nuclear project

I’m sure almost everyone is aware of the laughable refund checks arriving in the mailboxes of former SCANA customers.

While the amount on the checks doesn’t bring real relief to customers, it’s kind of shocking to think that Santee Cooper customers like me still have about $4 billion to pay for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project that we’ll never benefit from.

SCANA customers have been paying heavily for years. Rates increased right away to start paying down the V.C. Summer debt. But Santee Cooper customers haven’t seen the worst yet.

Sure, we’ve seen slight increases in our power bills, but they are a drop in the bucket to what’s coming.

Santee Cooper executives admitted in a state Senate hearing last spring that power bills would go up by about 15% to cover the nuclear debt. The kicker? That 15% hasn’t been added to our bills yet.

SCANA customers saw no real relief, but it doesn’t have to be that way for Santee Cooper customers.

The Legislature will soon consider selling Santee Cooper, keeping it as a state-owned utility or turning its management over to a third party. But there is only one option that removes the burden of debt, and that is selling it. That sounds like real relief to me.

LEE PADGETT

King Street

Georgetown

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