Letters to the Editor

Start work now on U.S. 278 at Windmill Harbour

U.S. 278 at Windmill Harbour entrance
U.S. 278 at Windmill Harbour entrance Staff file photo

As a 5-year member of Windmill Harbour’s traffic committee, I have worked with my committee members, Beaufort County officials, Hilton Head Island town officials and many constituents on Jenkins Island to ensure the proposed and fully-funded U.S. 278 safety project be completed.

The origins of this project date back almost a decade. It has been referred to as the No. 1 safety project in all of Beaufort County.

With very supportive efforts of many, but especially former Beaufort County Administrator Gary Kubic and traffic engineer Colin Kinton, we were assured that the last hurdle before the project could commence was the Feb. 20, 2018 resolution by Hilton Head Town Council granting municipal consent and a land grant to SCDOT for these safety improvements.

Shortly after this milestone, Beaufort County traffic engineers informed our committee that the bid package was nearly complete and that construction would begin by June 2018. As the summer approached, we were told that due to tourist season, the project would be delayed until the fall of 2018.

Since then, this very critical project, which affects the safety of everyone transiting the Jenkins Island corridor, has been pushed back three more times: to December 2018, March 2019, and now June 2019. Reading the Packet’s Jan. 31 article on this topic, Beaufort County Council Chairman Stu Rodman now suspects construction will commence next winter.

Accidents happen frequently and it’s only a matter of time before a fatality occurs. Stop deliberating and start construction.

Nick Akers

Hilton Head Island

Medical waits longer here than VA

Recent writings about the state of local medical care are interesting, but do not reach the root cause. The word limit here does not enable clarity.

1. Physician office costs relate to the number of patients in the practice, not the community population.

2. Primary care physicians nationwide receive less compensation from insurers than most specialists, therefore they often see a large number of patients per day.

3. Concierge physicians decide how much to earn, what number of patients they are willing to see, and the cost of the practice then determines what concierge fee is required to meet their goal. Thus, cost and earnings are spread across the number of patients the physician desires to manage.

4. Physicians and hospitals receive much less insurer payment than they “charge.” The unfortunate patients without insurance pay the charge.

5. For-profit health care companies are just that — for profit, for shareholders.

6. Hilton Head is in such a situation.

7. Alternative sources of excellent physician and hospital care are found in Charleston at MUSC, in Savannah, and at Mayo in Jacksonville, etc.

8. The average number of days required to access physicians here is exceptionally long. One hears stories about VA access. But nationally, the VA average wait for primary care is less than 21 days and less than 30 days for specialty care. Not so on Hilton Head Island.

Dr. Robert V. Cummings

Hilton Head Island

Silent movie screens in Beaufort a sad picture

Beaufort’s movie theater history dates back to at least 1927.

The Ritz Theatre, described by The Beaufort Gazette as “one of the most modern and up-to-date picture theatres to be found in this section,” opened with a full house on Sept. 9 of that year.

“The chairs are equal to any found in the city theatres,” the paper said, and “two air cooling machines make it pleasant during the hottest night.”

One of the first offerings was “Moon of Israel,” a biblical epic with “the tumult of a thousand horses” of Pharaoh’s cavalry and the parting of the Red Sea. And although the film was silent, the management assured moviegoers that “order would prevail during all pictures.”

The closing of the Plaza Stadium Theater marks the end of what Ritz Theatre owner W.A. Murphy described over 91 years ago: “… An enjoyable evening for the old as well as the young, … where they can enjoy a very pleasant and profitable evening.”

More’s the pity.

Dennis Adams

(Former projectionist, Breeze Theater, Beaufort)

Beaufort

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