Pay more attention to traffic congestion
The new Walgreen's on Mount Gallant Road and Celanese is close to opening. This will be a welcome addition to Rock Hill.
The opening also has drawbacks, as it will create a giant traffic problem, exacerbating the congestion that already exists while traveling south on Mount Gallant for early-morning commuters.
A traffic study ordered by the City Council in 2003 made suggestions for widening the intersection, which was described then as over capacity. That was five years ago, and still nothing has been done.
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My wife and I have appeared before the Planning Commission and City Council numerous times asking for a right-turn lane to be added before construction started. The council was successful in getting Walgreen's to donate the land to the city for a right-turn lane; however I feel that City Council should have taken this a step further and required Walgreen's to pay for the right-turn lane.
I have also contacted our state representative who initially thought there might be some state money for congestion, but this also fell through.
The Rock Hill Council of Neighborhoods has supported our efforts to build a right-turn lane and sent a letter to council. Homeowners association board members from Bristol Park, Gallant Meadows and Rollingwood also have sent letters, to no avail. It looks like the only glimmer of hope we have is "Pennies for Progress" in 2012.
It has been my observation with the Planning Commission and our elected city leaders that when it comes down to growth vs. traffic congestion, growth wins. Our city leaders need to take a harder look at new developments and their impact on congestion, and require the developer to pay for road improvements before permission to build is granted. You can blame the state or the county, but it was our elected city leaders who voted yes for Walgreen's. If you have a minute, the next time you are sitting in traffic, call Mayor Echols and ask him for that right-turn lane.
Senior meal program is a real bargain
Debate has begun on South Carolina's state budget. Lost amid the billions to fund our schools, our courts and law enforcement, our roads and bridges, lies a relatively small sum: $2.9 million. This pays for home-delivered meals that help 5,400 elderly and frail people remain in their homes.
I'd like to make three points about this $2.9 million and the 5,400 people.
First, from the taxpayers' standpoint this is a bargain. About $500 a year spent bringing meals to a 75-year-old woman living alone really is insurance that adequate nutrition will give her strength so she won't fall. If she does, odds are that she'll be hospitalized, at an average cost of about $25,000.
Second, our elderly population will double over the next few years. That's partly because South Carolina has 1.3 million of the country's 78 million baby boomers. It's also due to three decades of additional life expectancy, which means we now have 775,000 people 65 and older. We are also a magnet for retirees who are often far more affluent than our native population and may never need government sponsorship.
Still, a certain percentage of this demographic will require support at some point in their lives, and if the population doubles, does our state's cost necessarily have to grow at the same rate? Shouldn't we be looking at and creating more $500 programs that address the root causes of far larger expenses?
Third, concentrate on the faces behind these numbers. Often the single social contact they have is the person who brings them this meal. It's more than a meal and a kind word. It's validation that they are valued. In many ways what they have done with their lives has enriched and bettered ours. Think, now, of their future. They gave us ours.
If you see your legislator in the next few days, ask that the $2.9 million and the 5,400 people not be forgotten.
S.C. Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer
Leave smoking rules to restaurant owners
Mr Stewart has missed the point. I would assume that most people, including Stephen Guyton (who wrote the first letter), realize that smoking sections in restaurants aren't 100 percent effective at keeping secondhand smoke away from other patrons.
The problem is, how does the government have the right to tell private property owners that they are not permitted to smoke, or allow smoking, on their own property? I don't smoke, but I do own property. And I have a big problem with the government steadily chipping away at property rights. If "they" want to make smoking altogether illegal, then that's what they should do.
Meanwhile, people who don't smoke, such as myself, have every right to patronize whatever business best meets their needs.
If that means eating only at smoke-free establishments, fine. But it should be up to the restaurant owner to determine which would be best for his or her own clientele.
And I do have a bit of experience with this -- when my now 12-year-old nephew was born, he was on oxygen for about a year, and was therefore not allowed to enter buildings that allowed smoking. We never had a problem finding a place to eat out with him.
Why not focus on current coach?
Gary McCann's recent story about Winthrop winning the Big South seemed strange. Why so much coverage about the former coach? Coach Peele is the current coach and should be given all the credit for the team's success.
Coach Marshall took the big money and left the current players. Coach Marshall should worry about his team after an 11-20 record in the powerful Missouri Valley Conference. Is that really a conference? The Herald should try to cover the current staff and its players. They are the ones who decided to stay; they have had a great year, and good luck in the NCAA tournament!
Fighting natural for gamecocks
Having read all the letters about cockfighting in The Herald, I want to share my opinion and state a couple facts. People who want to say it is such a terrible thing need to visit a farm and just watch. It is breeding time for the cocks, and I have them fighting all day.
I have to break up the fights myself, or one will die. It is natural for them; it's in their genes. Come on, people, get real. Come to my house and bet all you want to, and then you can help me break up the fights so my birds will continue to reproduce and live by the natural instincts in them.