Letters to the Editor

Stop the assault on the Okatie River | Letters

See how Jasper County’s trash mountain has grown in four years’ time

Take a quick tour of the Materials Recovery Center construction debris recycling facility on Schinger Avenue, off of S.C. 170 in Okatie.
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Take a quick tour of the Materials Recovery Center construction debris recycling facility on Schinger Avenue, off of S.C. 170 in Okatie.

Your recent articles concerning the runoff from the “trash mountain” fire flowing into the Okatie River watershed makes me want to weep.

This beautiful, small tidal river, the Okatie, which means “Quiet Waters,” was named by the Okatie Indians and was vital to the tribe’s way of life for food and transportation. It has moved in and out for centuries, but only as far as nature’s elements allow. Therefore, it takes a long time to flush itself to cleanliness when polluted.

In my lifetime, occasional wayward oyster bateaus, sailboats, row boats, small yachts and timber lighters would float slowly in and out, sometimes for weeks, until reclaimed, but with no damage to the river. Then the ’40s storm created a brackish Okatie, and it took months, if not years, for the river to return to its pristine status.

Later, thousands of monkeys brought in for polio research caused catastrophic damage to the Okatie, with their poop turning Mellon Hole into a deep volatile brown soup. I’m told it took thousands and thousands of tides for the Okatie to “look” healthy again.

And finally, unscrupulous boaters, roaming cattle, and users of indoor toilets, all producing raw sewage, were the last to throw polluting assaults on the Okatie River.

And now we have yet another assault on one of nature’s best sealife nurseries. Now is the time for county, state and national leaders to do something promptly. Just don’t visit the site and report what you find. Begin by naming individual cheaters and hold them to account.

I don’t know of another small river that has been assaulted more over the years than the Okatie. Yet this small, beautiful, historic waterway is working daily as hard as it can to clean itself while shedding its own “Trail of Tears,” much like the Okatie Indians, who were forced to leave so many years ago.

Dorothy P. Gnann

Beaufort

Arts slipping in Beaufort County schools

As a music educator for 25 years in the Beaufort County School District, I am sad to note the decline in the arts education over the past several years.

At one time, Beaufort was recognized for its emphasis on arts and for infusing the arts with the study of academics to ensure each student’s success — not only in school, but in utilizing life skills.

Educational opportunities are not the same, are not standard, for every child in our district. Several schools do not offer music in any form, such as general music, chorus, band, or strings. Music is revered as the “universal language.” The adage “music is math” is just as relevant today as when the ancient Greek scholars Pythagoras and Plato coined the phrase based on their scientific discoveries.

I encourage parents in our county to demand equality in regard to their child’s education. If your child is missing this vital music component, please refer to www.musicationadventure.com to provide a complete education.

Cindy McKain

Beaufort

Time to ban gas golf carts

I was delighted to see the recent letter to the editor that emphasized the importance of having electric-only cars at the proposed Hilton Head Island go-kart track.

The air and noise pollution from gas-powered golf carts detracts greatly to those who wish to appreciate the natural environment of the Lowcounty. Bicyclists and walkers are particularly harmed by fumes from gas golf cart, and eco-tourists who want to appreciate the beauty and wildlife of our islands are offended by the loud noise.

As a longtime resident of Fripp Island, which has a policy of allowing gas-powered golf carts, I can testify to the ways they are offensive. One homeowner on our major street has said it sounds like a World War II air strip at the height of tourist season. Others have told me they have to stop walking or biking when a gas cart passes until the air clears because they spew such unpleasant fumes.

Dataw and Callawassie islands and Sea Pines on Hilton Head, to name a few communities, have protected their residents and guests from this sensory onslaught by requiring that all golf carts be battery powered. My hope is that Fripp Island and other communities will follow their lead and begin to gradually phase out gas-powered carts.

It is time to move into the 21 st century by ridding our communities from these health-destroying vehicles.

Page Miller

Fripp Island

Keep traditional Hilton Head land uses intact

There is a term in real estate called “highest and best use,” which is established for all property. That’s why we have a Land Management Ordinance on Hilton Head Island. These uses are specifically designated to protect the environment and the very nature of our community.

What would prompt the town appeals board to make a major change in land use in the case of a go-kart track? Is it cronyism, peer pressure, or just poor judgment? I can’t imagine, since a go-kart track is such a wide deviation from the original zoning of the parcel in question.

Approving a go-kart track on Hilton Head shows a callous disregard for the families who will be affected by the noise, traffic and nighttime lights. I would guess that most board members live miles away from the “attraction” so their lifestyles won’t be affected.

The mayor and Town Council were elected to protect the interests of all residents. Their mission is to maintain “a high quality community that exceeds expectations of residents and visitors.” Evidently, they didn’t feel confident enough to stand their ground and defend the “quality and lifestyle” of the people of the Marshland Road corridor.

Why is this happening? What are they thinking?

Valerie Ford

Hilton Head Island

No simple gun solution

The recent mass shootings are beyond description and horrible.

As a gun owner, a supporter of the Second Amendment, and a holder of a concealed weapon permit, I wish I had a simple solution to the issue, but there isn’t one and never will be.

Yes, we could ban all citizens from owning guns, but believe me, we don’t really want to do that. History has proven that is not the way to go. Individuals with criminal intent will still manage to obtain weapons.

One recent writer mentioned that we have thousands of gun laws on the books and that has not stopped abhorrent crimes from occurring. Some of the cities that have the strictest gun laws — New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago — have some of the highest rates of crimes committed with guns.

If the thousands of gun laws, including background checks, that already exist were routinely applied; if individuals who committed any crime with a gun faced a long prison sentence; if certain types of weapons and ammunition were off-limits except to law enforcement and military; if mentally-ill individuals who have shown a propensity for violence were more closely monitored and prevented from purchasing guns; if all these things were done, we might see a decrease in gun violence.

Notice I say “might” because human nature being what it is, I know an individual set on a certain path will seemingly find a way around all the obstacles. That doesn’t make it right, of course, but it is what it is.

Sunni Bond

Hilton Head Island

US spending out of control

Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, reported in 2011 that for every dollar spent by the federal government, 43 cents was borrowed. What that number is today, I do not know. But whatever the number is, we the taxpayers are spending money we do not have.

In 2011, Janett Yellen, chairman of the Fed, stated that the government was spending money at an “unsustainable” rate. That was 2011! Where are we now? What are the ramifications?

Gordon A. Jaecks

Beaufort

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