Letters to the Editor

Voting ‘yes’ on Beaufort County school bond referendum is the first step | Letters

A file photo of Okatie Elementary School first-graders.
A file photo of Okatie Elementary School first-graders.

As a parent and volunteer, I spend a lot of time talking to people in the community about schools and the Beaufort County School District bond referendum on the ballot Nov. 5. In these conversations, it is clear people are invested in the success of our schools. Yet, too often I read negative opinions and misleading, incorrect statements on social and print media. I would like to provide a counter-point to that criticism.

One of the biggest complaints is mistrust of the “superintendent,” referring to Jeff Moss on an issue that occurred in 2015. Those who follow the school district and the Beaufort County Board of Education know that we have hired two superintendents since Moss resigned.

Another criticism is of the school board. Many fail to realize, or willfully neglect to mention, that nine of the 11 seats on the school board have changed hands since 2015, with five new members sworn in this January.

Critics will continue to criticize. In the meantime, our students go to school in overcrowded, dilapidated buildings, with insufficient security. This must change.

We haven’t fully funded the capital needs of our schools for over 11 years because some choose to listen to a small group of critics who live in the past.

Eleven years is an academic lifetime for a student. Our district, our school board, and our community are ready to move on.

Voting “yes” on the school bond referendum is the first step.

Jodie Srutek

Bluffton

Good news on Alzheimer’s

Thank you to U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham for becoming a cosponsor of the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Act, H.R. 1903. I appreciate the attention that he and his staff have given to this important issue.

My father recently passed after his long journey with Alzheimer’s. He was diagnosed in his 50s … I am 44. The Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Act would help my family tremendously if I follow in my dad’s footsteps and they need to care for me.

There are currently 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s. Of those, 200,000 are under the age of 65. Because of their young age, people living with younger-onset Alzheimer’s are not eligible for most support programs available to older Americans.

The Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Act would allow those under the age of 60 with a dementia diagnosis to access support services through the Older Americans Act. Just last week, key provisions of the Younger Onset Alzheimer’s Act were passed by the House Labor and Education Committee as part of the Dignity in Aging Act of 2019.

My thanks to both Sen. Tim Scott and Cunningham for backing this bipartisan bill that will help so many individuals facing this dreaded disease at a young age.

Finally, I invite you to get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s. Join us for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Bluffton on Oct. 26. Learn more and register at alz.org/walk.

Amanda Phillips

Hilton Head Island

Put the focus on the bridges to Hilton Head

It is amazing that none of the letters or the article on Hilton Head Island reactions to the six new options for the U.S. 278 corridor speak to the necessity of having safe, dependable bridges for the people of Hilton Head to use to come to or to leave the island. There is an estimated 39,000 people living on the island, plus thousands of tourists who come each year, plus the number of workers who come to and leave the island each day.

We deserve to have a safe and dependable way to access the mainland. There are thousands more here than there were when the first bridge was built over 60 years ago. Water may be rising, and there may be more hurricanes or storms. I would not want to be here if a good, strong bridge or bridges were not available so that over the next 50 or more we could always depend on our ability to come or go from our beautiful island.

We all should want that not only for ourselves, but for future generations.

As citizens of Hilton Head, we should speak to our state and local representatives to encourage them to do whatever is necessary to see that Hilton Head gets the bridge or bridges it deserves.

Becky Cederholm

Hilton Head Island

Don’t weaken the strengths of Hilton Head

In the September issue of Departures magazine, there is an article entitled “Hilton Head Island: America’s Favorite Island.”

Within the article there was a litany of activities to do while vacationing here. To name a few: fishing, waterskiing, kayaking, paddle boarding, dolphin-watching; and those were the ones on our waterways. Others included bird-watching, zip line tours, walking, biking and hiking along miles of public pathways – all of which are available because of our natural environment.

Very little of these activities are improved by man-made features. We should not waste our two main treasures – natural space and money – on projects that can be built anywhere. Go-kart tracks should be left to areas that have little to offer. We are not one of those places.

Finally, our beaches provide more opportunities for family fun and togetherness than commercial activities. Ask any child with a sand bucket and shovel.

Marina Tiano

Hilton Head Island

Beaufort County does not need a tornado siren

“Stupid is as stupid does.” So says the Lowcountry’s favorite fictional adopted son, Forrest Gump.

After reading your article, “County installing tornado siren system,” Mr. Gump’s words came to mind. This system can only be used to warn of a possible tornado. We, the taxpayers, are going to spend about $1 million on it: $678,000 from the federal government and the remainder from our county.

According to the Tornado History Project, 56 tornadoes have been recorded in South Carolina since 1956, causing one death and five injuries. The death and four of the five injuries occurred during one incident. Compare those numbers to the state of Ohio. During the same timeframe, Ohio has been struck by 1,095 tornadoes, causing 642 deaths and 5,320 injuries.

Folks in Ohio and many other states have good reason to establish the best early warning system available. We in Beaufort County, because of the infrequency of tornado strikes, should be able to fare just as well with radio, TV and cell phone notifications and spend our $1 million on more pressing issues. Spending smart is better than spending stupid.

Donna P. Bryant

Bluffton

The flip side of socialism

Recently there was an excellent letter entitled, “Socialism not a failed system.” Depending on how you define socialism, the writer is correct.

My wife and I recently returned from a cruise on the Baltic Sea, where we first visited Copenhagen, Denmark. One might define it as a socialist country. They have free public schooling and subsidized college. Everyone has a job, even if it has to be created. They have good and free medical care and, best of all, the people seem genuinely happy.

People are moving there to such an extent that they are adding land to build more homes and apartments. Eighty percent of Copenhagen electrical power is generated by wind mills (in the sea), and solar and will be 100% in five years. There is little crime, no litter, clean waterways and mostly an honest society. Immigrants are welcome, so long as they follow Danish law.

However, to be part of this society there are some tradeoffs. The average tax rate is 50%. The VAT (value added tax) on all purchases is 25%. The tax on an automobile is 180%, meaning that a $20,000 car costs $56,000. While there is no interest on a home mortgage, a 1,200-square-foot apartment in a nice neighborhood is about a million dollars. With a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, that’s a payment of $2,777 per month.

Denmark has a very small military. They don’t fight wars so they don’t need a big one.

Be sure to tell candidate Bernie Sanders. He might move there!

Tom Hatfield

Hilton Head Island

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