Letters to the Editor

Blame the Town of Hilton Head Island for tree clear-cutting. They started it | Letters

Jasper firefighters spend an hour to extinguish fire at SC trash debris mountain

Able Contracting's Material Recovery Center ignites as firefighters work to extinguish flames.
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Able Contracting's Material Recovery Center ignites as firefighters work to extinguish flames.

I read the article in The Island Packet about the clear-cutting on Fish Haul with a feeling of disbelief regarding Town Council’s reaction.

Almost every new commercial, residential and town construction project I can think of in the past five years has been clear-cut. There is no honoring the Hilton Head Island “brand” anymore, and I find that Council’s disingenuous attitude about it rings false.

The new housing development on Marshland, clear-cut. The two new housing developments on Spanish Wells, clear-cut. The Sea Turtle Marketplace, clear-cut. The park at Coligny, clear-cut!

No construction project leaves trees when they develop new construction anymore, and it started with the town and Shelter Cove Community Park.

New construction has to be approved by the town. How did no one notice the lack of trees on these plans before photos appeared? Nothing will make up for the old-growth trees that are gone forever.

As a 48-year island resident, I am deeply saddened by this new building trend. Shame on Town Council and the developers for permanently destroying what makes Hilton Head so beautiful and unique.

Shannon Mason Kline

Hilton Head Island

Close down trash mountain in Okatie

Evidently, according to recent articles in the Packet, our state Department of Health and Environmental Control has directed its focus on the airborne particulates given off by the never-ending fires burning deep within the bowels of the Able Contracting Company’s “Mount Trashmore” in Okatie.

Public, be warned. This is a straw man, deliberate misdirection, a feint, a sleight of hand. The level or the concentration range for particulate hazards also includes dust, pollen and mold spores.

The real hazard from burning plastics and other carbon compounds are airborne volatile organics (VOCs) that contain heavy metals, dioxins and an array of other VOCs and free radicals, all of which are mutagens and can cause cancers. These are the airborne poisons being released upon our nearby communities. Of note is that the range of 8-340 ppm VOCs is known to cause cancer. DHEC is recording much higher levels of VOC particulates emanating from this devil’s mount.

Get real, folks. Contact our elected representatives and close this abomination down once and for all.

Don Fortney

Sun City

Reverse mistake on go-kart track for Hilton Head

For the sake of residents and in defense of Hilton Head Island’s tourism reputation, the zoning board’s wrongheaded decision to allow an outdoor go-kart track on Marshland Road must be overturned.

The track would create traffic hazards on a narrow road. Residents of the road’s many neighborhoods would suffer from the track’s presumed use of nighttime lighting and litter, not to mention the noise that an outdoor amusement area would create. Property values and quality of life would suffer.

On a larger scale, the decision to circumvent existing land management ordinances threatens to undermine the nature of Hilton Head. Will this open the door to other waterfront mixed-use developments that injure the character of the island?

Hilton Head sits atop several “best island” rankings because of its tranquil charm, its quiet sophistication, its beaches, its bike paths, and its golf courses. Our reputation is of a family destination second to none. That’s why people live here and why tourists come here. Our future may be eco-tourism; it certainly should not be the mini-carnivals that pollute Myrtle Beach.

How did the zoning board’s decision come about? A cynic might surmise that fast-talking lawyers sweet-talked small-town board members. A conspiracy theorist might suspect that money changed hands.

There’s no rational explanation for a decision that so endangers both the lifestyles and property values of residents and the bucolic nature of the island that fuels our tourism.

Now’s the time to fix the zoning board’s mistake.

Mark Silverman

Hilton Head Island

Leave Hilton Head beach as you found it

A recent letter suggesting beachgoers should, “Look up on the beach,” is great advice except for one problem. It may cause injury.

Unfortunately, our beaches have been an obstacle course. As cars in the Lowcountry must learn to dodge potholes, beach walkers must learn to dodge sand holes.

I refer to holes that can be 3- to 5-feet deep and just as wide. Moreover, abandoned towels are strewn about, large tents and canopies dominate the beach landscape and trash is everywhere. And let’s not forget the McMansion sandcastles (as creative as they may be), with their deep moats. If one does not pay close attention to what lies ahead, one can easily twist an ankle or break a leg. This is not hypothetical; it has already occurred.

As one of more than 350 Turtle Trackers islandwide, I volunteer to go out on the beach to prepare it for both the nighttime arrival of mother sea turtles and the emergence of hatchlings from their nest, who must then scurry to the ocean. These obstacles significantly interfere with the entire nesting process.

We must do our part to protect both turtles and pedestrians.

Prior to leaving the beach, fill your holes (and limit their size), flatten your castles, remove all your personal items and leave only your footprint behind.

And remember, lights out. Turtles dig the dark.

Let’s return our beach to its natural beauty, so beach walkers can indeed look up, out and everywhere, to experience nature at its best.

Joanne Voulelis

Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head tree carnage must be stopped

Thank you, David Lauderdale, for your column about clear-cutting trees on Hilton Head Island.

I’m a tree-hugger from way back, California to be exact, long before I knew enough science to overflow from a redwood spine. All it took was living among big, tall trees and their majesty. Intuitively, I knew we were intrinsically linked, like breathing out and breathing in, an oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange; others around me knew it, too. That’s when I began seeing hugs in some human eyes. In other eyes, I saw dollar signs.

Research demonstrates that trees send signals of distress to each other through their roots; unlike humans, they can’t move.

Clear-cutting is carnage, on a massive scale where every living thing is cleared to the ground. This “carnage creep” began in Bluffton, then, it swam across the waters, rode over bridges, and attended Town Council meetings on Hilton Head.

Tourists come here to see trees and beaches. Most who live in this region are here for the same reasons. Take away the grandeur of trees hiding everything, and you lose the romance and beauty of one of the best-loved beach retreats in the U.S. The butchers of Hilton Head should pay for their carnage.

Listen carefully, and you can still hear the screaming of the trees.

We must stop this from happening again in our area. First, look into the eyes of the members of city councils across Beaufort County. What do you see — hugs or dollar signs?

Susan Baukhages


Quick action by the town helps improve Hilton Head dog park

I would like to take this opportunity to say “thanks” to the Town of Hilton Head Island Facilities Management Department for its response to a few concerns locals had at the Hilton Head Island dog park. The workers fixed a drinking fountain for the dogs (a major relief in the summer) and installed a sign (within the park) to remind pet owners to clean up after their dogs. Kudos to the department for its quick action for positive change.

Now I hope the dogs encourage their humans to read.

Steve Gottfried

and Murray (dog)

Hilton Head Island

Debates are doing no one any good

I hate the debates. The entire process and format is ill-conceived and unworthy when selecting a presidential candidate.

A debate might be worthwhile when there are two or three candidates, but 30- or 60-second soundbites are merely distractions when there are 10 on the stage. The moderators don’t reflect my concerns and they are more focused on pitting the candidates against each other for headlines than on serving the needs of the electorate.

The attention-span of the typical American voter is incapable of drawing anything beyond an emotional reaction in this format. The process is more of a problem than a road to a solution.

Stephen Reisman


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