Letters to the Editor

Voice of the People - June 22, 2008

Respect fosters better schools

Many letters have been published in the Herald concerning the behavior at recent local high school graduations. Six were in favor of the stated rules for proper behavior and two were opposed to the rules. Also, Andrew Dys covered this topic on the front page of the June 14 Herald, and he was also opposed to the rules.

A letter was written by a lady from Clover, and she reported that the crowd behavior was excellent at the Clover High graduation. It is interesting that Clover has the highest SAT scores in the area and a respectful and dignified graduation. Not based on this small amount of data, but one would think that there is a correlation between the behavior of parents and the success of their children in the classroom.

It makes sense that if a school has a high number of parents who think that it is OK to challenge the authority of the school system by acting out at a commencement ceremony and completely ignoring written instructions, then it stands to reason that their children would also be more disrespectful and less disciplined. Poor behavior reflects on the schools and the community.

Over the years I have heard people brag about dignified graduations, but I have never heard anybody express pride in a disruptive one.Our local schools need our support and respect.

Charlie McDow

Rock Hill

Roddey will be a communicator

I am the proud wife of William “Bump” Roddey. I am the proud mother of our children. I have know Bump for half of my life.

We have supported each other through many trials and tribulations in our lives. Now I am still standing by him during this election to be the voice, communicator and leader of York County Council District 4.

I am someone who wants to know who my county councilman is. I am someone who wants my county councilman to speak out for me. I am someone who wants to see my county councilman successfully and confidently perform his duties and gain achievements.

So go out to the polls on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and vote for William “Bump” Roddey to be our next District 4 county councilman.

Jarilyn M. Sims-Roddey

Rock Hill

Please watch out for motorcyclists

Recently, I was traveling down Lesslie Highway in route to a Charlotte hospital to see a family member, I came to the intersection of Springdale and Lesslie Highway, and there was a terrible wreck. There were three bodies in the road, and the emergency personnel were working frantically to save these people (thank God for our paramedics and EMTs and firemen and police officers).

I did not know any of the people involved in this accident, but as I stood there watching, tears ran down my face. A truck had hit two motorcycles. I made sure to stay back out of the way but I silently prayed for these three people hurt so badly in this wreck. I felt so bad for everyone involved. There was nothing I could do but it was like I was in shock.

One lady had passed away, and the guy I guess she was on a motorcycle with (I’m not sure)was leaning over her and brushing the hair from her eyes, and you could see his heart was broken. I didn’t know this lady but I stood there and wondered if she had children, and thought to myself that she was someone's daughter.

I was feeling for the parents who was going to be told their daughter was dead or the children who would have to be told their mom was gone.

And then there was this young man, sitting there on the side of the road. I didn’t know at first that he was in the wreck but he was the driver of the truck that hit the motorcycles. He was 19 years old. His mom walked up and looked like she was in shock. I really felt for her. In fact, I was afraid she was going to pass out. And the daddy was just heartbroken. You see, I stopped because my son just bought a motorcycle and has not been wearing a helmet. When I saw the motorcycle and I knew he was on his way to my house to pick up his dad’s truck, my heart sank.

I jumped out of my SUV and my heart was pounding. Thank God it was not my son, but I just hurt so much for these people.

I just want to ask please that people look out for motorcycles. They have just as much a right on the road as anyone else. I have seen so many people run out in front of motorcycles and cut them off, and it’s just not right.

Wanda E. Collins

Rock Hill

Truckers waste fuel with their speeding

Like most Americans, I am concerned over the skyrocketing cost of diesel fuel and all other petroleum-based products.

Farmers are hit hard trying to keep their planting and harvesting equipment running. Their produce is often shipped by trucks to its final destination.

Truckers are being hit hard with diesel approaching and exceeding $5 a gallon. We have all been taught that slowing down even a little saves fuel and increases efficiency.

That being the case, why should I feel sorry for truckers barreling down any interstate when they know even doing the posted speed limit would cut their fuel costs?

Every day I am blown off the road and tailgated by truckers doing in excess of the posted speed limit. One day, as passenger, my driver was doing 80 mph in a 60 mph zone and was passed by a convoy of four trucks doing well over 90 mph as we tried to match their speed and realized it was stupid and dangerous.

Truckers consistently speed well in excess of the posted limits, but how many are ticketed or even stopped by the authorities? When was the last time you saw a truck doing the speed limit in the correct lane? Granted, not all truckers are at fault but I say loudly that the majority are. The very ones complaining are using the dwindling resources we have, and no one seems to care. How about some laws pertaining to the trucking industry and slapping the offenders with stiff enough fines that $5 a gallon for diesel seems cheap!

It's coming to the point where we either eat what's grown in our own location or backyard or go hungry.

Don't let truckers pass their bad habits onto us with middle-man markups for fuel! Congress and local law enforcement, do your jobs right here in York County and make speeding hurt until the abuse of laws and posted speed limits is the rule, not the exception. Convict the guilty.

Wanda Epley

Rock Hill

Voters have long memories

The pundits are wrong; voters do have a long memory.

Jeff Updike of York County District 1 was defeated in the Republican primary. Voters remembered he held secret meetings with Piedmont Hospital before it was picked to be built in York County.

Stuart Moskovitz

Fort Mill

City doesn't help with All-Star uniforms

My son was selected to the Rock Hill All-Stars baseball team, and we a very proud of him for this! And I know he is very happy himself. But as I was at the team meeting, I learned that the city of Rock Hill does not pay one penny toward the uniforms or any out-of-town expenses if the team advances that far. The city says it is not in the budget.

It is a very big deal for your child to make all-stars, but at the same time, it is a big let down that all expenses comes out of the parents' pockets. It is putting a big burden on us parents who are working their tails off to make ends meet and have this kind of a surprise after being so proud of our children for their accomplishment.

Why does it have to be Rock Hill All-Stars on the uniforms if Rock Hill does not help in any way whatsoever? You cannot find a sponsor if their name will not be seen on the uniforms!

Steve Lewis

Rock Hill

Don't extend airport runway

The Rock Hill Airport does not need to be extended. It is surrounded by many homes and schools. This airport was placed in a bad location. My neighborhood was started before the airport. When we bought our home in the 1970s, a farm was next to our lot. The owner of this farm was forced to sell out at a much lower price than it was worth. Now, the airport fence is less then 300 feet from our lot line. This was done without ever informing any of the neighbors. Now this neighborhood is full of senior citizens, living on fixed incomes. While no one can take a hit on their home values, older people will be hit even harder.

With my condition slowly deteriorating, our split-level home will not work with walkers or wheelchairs. We must have the value in our home to get another home. We are looking for another acre lot, but it will take time.

To spend over $35 million tax dollars to extend a runway, just so a certain plane can take off with a full load of fuel on hot days and fly to the West Coast without refueling, is a waste of our taxes. Skytech and the city and county will receive lots of money for this deal, and the taxpayers will never get any benefit from extending the runway. We are all taxpayers, but we don't own corporate jets!

This airport is not making any money. The taxpayers are footing the expenses. We need to have our council members who will support the people, not the airport. The airport did not elect them.

With our lot being one of the closest to the airport, where planes will be taking off, why aren't the two schools that are less than a mile from our home included in the noise overlay? Students going to Mount Gallant or Dutchman Creek will be very near to the highest noise levels. Other schools in this area will also be subject to flyover or noise levels. Takeoffs and landings are the highest times when they can crash. There have been crashes near Old Pointe and Lakewood Baptist Church in the past.

As you can see, extending this airport will ruin a lot of people, plus mess up a lot of school children.

Rebecca D. Hughes

Rock Hill

No record of deceased sister

Where is my sister?

I am writing to you because my mother ( Mary Rousey) and I would like to know if anyone else has had this problem.

In 1956, my mother gave birth to her second child at Chester Hospital in Chester. Seventeen hours after birth, my sister died of complications, and my mother was given a shot to calm her down and to sleep. My grandmother took care of the arrangements and named my sister Shirley Jean. She was buried by Wrights Funeral Home at Evergreen Cemetery, both in Chester.

When my mother got out of the hospital, she visited the grave. Shorty after that, she and I moved to Connecticut. Now, 47 years later, we have come back home and she wants to be here when she dies to be buried alongside her mother at the same cemetery. Our problem is now that so many years have gone by and the cemetery has gotten so much bigger, we weren't able to locate my sister's plot.We have contacted the funeral home and, with new management, they can't find the records. The hospital says they only have records for the past 30 years.

We sent away for her birth and death records, and the state officials returned a letter to us stating that they have no record of either one. They checked records for 10 years. My grandmother has since passed away also, and my father wasn't in the area at the time and he doesn't know either.

So, where do we go from here? I thought that to bury someone, you would need a death certificate. How can no one know where she was laid to rest. I know that the cemetery has a map to locate where people are buried. So, why can't they find my sister, or do they even care? Who do they answer to for their record keeping?

Mary Ann Johnson

Chester

Progress made on mental health

It is gratifying to know how far the mental health profession has come in York County, and it was brought home to me by a passage in my journal dated Feb. 2, 1960. I had attended a directors' meeting of the fledgling Mental Health Association, and I had written, "We had high hopes of getting a mental health clinic started this year, but plans did not look so good tonight."

Sandy Howie

York

Smith will be a good sheriff

June 10 was a big day for the citizens of our town and county. We voted for a new sheriff. That may seem tiny and unimportant to a lot of you living in large communities and cities, but to us here in Chester County it is a big deal.

We live in a very small town. It had its problems when we first moved here. A town of only 800 then, it was riddled with drugs, gangs and people who were not great for our community.

We hired a police chief named Richard Smith. He is a Christian man with great values and a good lawman.

He served his country in Iraq and Afghanistan, and I am happy to call him a friend.

A few years ago, we had a bad fire in one of the mills in Chester County. My husband is a firefighter and was then on the Fort Lawn Fire Department. I did what I could to help, answering phones at the command center, helping deliver food, etc. One person always made an effort to stop and see how we all were doing in the station, and that was Richard Smith. Coming to give hugs, make sure we were OK, asking if we needed anything.

That is the kind of person he is. Driving through your neighborhood, stopping in your driveway to say hello and ask if everything is OK.

Richard Smith was elected sheriff by a huge margin. We are very proud of him here in Fort Lawn, and I am sure Chester County will be very proud of him, too.

Congratulations, Richard Smith. Fort Lawn loves you and will miss your face every day! Do us proud!

Michelle Mayes

Fort Lawn

Event helps battle 'orphan disease'

On May 24, 500 people came out to the Winthrop Coliseum to participate in the second annual Izzy's Legacy 5K Run/Walk. Thanks to the support of our sponsors, runners, walkers and many volunteers, this event was a huge success. A total of $21,000 was raised to go toward family assistance for those affected by Sanfilippo Syndrome, a rare progressive and fatal genetic disease.

In the past year and a half, the Isabel Jurado Foundation has been able to award $42,000 in family assistance grants to provide such things as handicapped accessible bathrooms, transportation to medical facilities, and down payments on handicapped-equipped vans. Our goal is to be able to award research grants by 2009. Rare diseases are often referred to as "orphan diseases" and are usually the last to be funded for research by pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, it is up to small foundations like ours working together to provide this funding.

In addition to raising money, the race helped spread awareness of a disease that most people have never heard of. Those in attendance had the opportunity to meet 10 families and their affected children and to see first-hand the devastating effects of Sanfilippo Syndrome. Sadly, one those beautiful children passed away two weeks after the race and was the second South Carolina child to die from this disorder in six weeks.

Again, thanks to all of you from within our church and community and to those who traveled here for helping to make this event a success. We ask for your continued prayers and support in our effort to improve the quality of life of children with Sanfilippo and to one day stamp out this horrendous disease.

Cathy Abernathy

Isabel Jurado Foundation

Rock Hill

Foster children rely on Guardians ad Litem

Recent events regarding the 419 children removed from the compound in Eldorado, Texas, have raised questions about what happens to children who enter the foster care system. This tragic situation has helped raised national awareness of the problems that children face when they are removed from their families and thrust into overburdened court and child-protection systems. But our nation truly has a heart to help those in need.

While this incident has prompted nationwide media coverage, we should not forget the scope of the problem in our own backyard. As of June 30, 2007, there were 5,423 South Carolina children living in foster care. Like the children in Texas, these children have been removed from their families and now must rely on the Family Court to decide their fate.

While the Texas court system uses volunteers to be the voice of the children, in South Carolina, child advocates are known as volunteer Guardians ad Litem. The South Carolina Volunteer Guardian ad Litem Program is a member of National Children's Advocacy Association, and adheres to its high standards of child advocacy. Every day, people like you and me are trained to help children find safe, permanent homes where they can grow and thrive. We work one-on-one with the children to learn what they want for their future, and then help to make that happen. We follow their school progress, listen to their problems and talk to them about their hopes and fears. We are there in Family Court hearings, speaking up and working towards solutions that are in the best interest of the children. We are the link between where they are, and where they want to be.

In York and Union County, there were 223 children in foster care as of June 30, 2007. These children will experience many changes during their time in foster care. They may move to different foster homes and foster parents, go to new schools, change case workers, and often lose contact with their friends and extended family members. The volunteer Guardian ad Litem stays with the child throughout the case, and is often the only person who has remained a constant in the child's life.

According to the South Carolina Guardian ad Litem office, 125 York and Union County volunteers advocated for 265 abused children in 2007. Unfortunately, there are not enough volunteers to serve all the children within the system, and 105 children in 2007 were turned away from the program.

Individuals can and do make a difference in these children's lives every day. While our hearts go out to the children in Texas, let us not forget the children in our own county who need a special person to be their voice.

Mary Hoppmann

York

Is substation plan good for the county?

Regarding fire substations, I agree with York County's providing coverage for its citizens outside of five miles from a current fire station. The problem with this plan is one of the reported sub-stations is actually a totally new department, and with that comes some questions. This new department will be created just west of the city of York in an area that is now protected by the York Fire Department.

When the new department is formed, the citizens will, unless their house is on fire, only get the response of the new departments' volunteer firefighters. I don't have a problem with that, as I am a volunteer myself, but with this change also will come an increase in response time, due to what is called "reflex" time. This is the time it takes someone who is not at the station to respond. Yes, at times there will be members at the station, but the service with York Fire is a combination of paid and volunteer members. This, at a minimum, is one paid person available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The county's citizens will be paying more and getting less service.

York County Councilman Joe Cox stated the county would probably have to end up paying firefighters in the near future. If you look at the contract we have with York Fire, at a minimum you get three paid staff during the week, and one person 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If the county wanted to equal that, it will have to hire five people, three who will work 24 hours at work, 48 hours off, and two who will work 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and at the minimum base firefighter salary of just over $24,000 dollars, the total would be $120,000, not including the cost of their benefits package or any overtime. That sounds expensive to me.

When this study was being done, there was a fire substation that was supposed to be for the eastern part of the Smyrna Fire District. This was removed in the last "executive" meeting of this committee. Was this substation too close to the new department that Cox says we must have?

Why does the county not hire a consultant to evaluate fire service needs? When the last study was done, the consultant advised that the county was getting a good deal in the contract with York Fire.

Charles G. Mitchell

Deputy Chief

Smyrna Fire Dept.

Donation will benefit local veterans

The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 34 in Rock Hill wishes to express heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful and compassionate gentleman who gave a generous donation to Precious Pearson on behalf of all veterans at the Memorial Service of York County honoring and remembering veterans on May 25. This donation will benefit our local veterans.

Again, your kindness is greatly appreciated.

Maureen Ellis

President,

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 34

Rock Hill

Devices confusing to many seniors

Let's help our seniors in this new digital era. Many are struggling with some of the most basic items, such as the telephone, television, radios, cameras, etc. The digital items are far too complicated for these people to operate and understand. These folks were raised in a simpler times, and all these new digital items are foreign to them.

We need some manufacturer to realize that not everyone on this planet has the ability to understand these new items on the market. The seniors are being left out because no one seems to realize how difficult it is to learn something new at their age. Why can't some manufacturer design basic phones, TVs, radios, cameras, etc., which can be operated by our seniors, making them feel more independent and sure of themselves?

Why are most of the dials so small and so black? Seniors usually have eyesight problems and cannot see well enough to operate these things without the help of someone else. This society is not thinking that one day they will be in the shoes of these seniors, and how will they feel when they have to ask someone to turn on the TV or dial a phone for them?

Our world will change by the time the younger generation is in their 50s or 60s. Will they know how to operate the newest electronic items? I doubt it, and they will feel just like the seniors of today feel -- frustrated! I am writing this after talking to many seniors with the same concerns. Have a heart, and help our seniors.

J.M. Lieb

York

County Leaguer makes good

Recently six guys -- Whitey Adams, Bob Ramsey, Buddy McCarter, Dickie Adkins, Bobby Dunlap and Cecil Pruette -- from the 1950s who loved baseball went down to the 2008 Induction Ceremony of the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. One of our own, Bob Bolin, was being inducted. Post 34 of the American Legion provided the transportation in honor of a young man who pitched in 1955 and 56 for post 34,

Back in the mid 1950s, a kid from the boondocks outside of Hickory Grove gained notice for his blazing fastball at Hickory Grove High School. Bobby, standing 6 feet 4 inches, was a man among boys and at one stage pitched four straight no-hitters.

During that period of our lives, we had what was called the County League in York County. Every Saturday afternoon, we played baseball in places like Tirzah, Sharon, York, McConnells, Ogden, Oakdale, Catawba and Hickory Grove. For many of us who loved baseball, that was the highlight of the week.

The teams had been pretty even until this lanky plowboy started playing for Hickory Grove. When our team at Tirzah played them, Bobby Bolin was the pitcher and Billy Joe (his brother) was the catcher. Today, we get together and talk about facing Bolin, more than likely it's remembering a foul ball or a walk, not many hits. Of course, Whitey Adams always has a tale about hitting one over the railroad tracks at Tirzah. He is the only one who can remember that.

My brother, Frank Pruette, was an outstanding pitcher during this time also. When Frank and Bolin hooked up, there weren't many hits.

Quite a few of the County League players went on to play professional baseball.

Wallace Boulware, the best catcher I have ever seen in any league, signed with the Yankee farm system. My brother Frank signed with the Cubs. Whitey Adams signed with the Braves. Billy Joe Bolin played several years in the minor leagues and there were several others who signed.

Bob Bolin lived out all our dreams when he made it to the majors with the Giants. When he stood up in front of the S.C. Hall of Fame crowd to accept his honor, he wasn't standing alone. He was standing in that honored position for all of us who played in the County League.

Cecil Pruette

Rock Hill

Bob Pearse will be missed

A recent article stated that Bob Pearse was no longer employed by CN2. I could not believe it. Just about every person I spoke with has brought up the subject about Bob. Several people said he did not quit, that he was fired.

I do not know Bob personally but one thing I do know is that he had a million-dollar smile. He was kind, gentle, one of the friendliest people I have met. I would run into Bob at the gas station or in a restaurant or just around town. I would always say, "There is my favorite news man."

I understand there was a recent change in managers at CN2. I know when a new manager comes in, he or she decides to make changes. Well some change is good but some is bad! Letting Bob go was a bad change. They at least could have let Bob say goodbye to his viewers and the community.

I decided to make a change. I will no longer watch CN2 again. How I wish several others would make a change, too.

Thanks, Bob, for the memories during the years you were on CN2. I thank you, our friend.

Veronica Erwin

Rock Hill

Cartoon showed left-wing bias

The liberal, left-wing bias of the Herald is something that, while I do not like it, I have tried to ignore. Unfortunately, the disgusting, demeaning and shameful editorial cartoon in the June 18 paper cannot be ignored. The Herald owes every member of the United States military an abject apology for that piece of tripe.

Sharon Vasher

Tega Cay

Don't forget golfers of past

I always enjoy reading the Opinion section because of all the laughs I can get from reading someone else's opinion. Now you can laugh at mine. This is concerning someone's opinion in the sports page about Tiger Woods and how great he is, calling him the greatest golfer of all time.

This person believes that when Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, just to name a few, were winning so many tournaments, they didn't have any good competition. Well, I'm not a avid golfer, though in the past I've played some golf from time to time, but I grew up when Arnie and Jack were doing all their winning, and I remember all the good ones back then. As for my opinion of Tiger Woods' golf prowess, he is a great golfer, but he doesn't have any more competition than when Arnie or Jack were winning. And 20 years or so from now, there will be another great golfer out there, and Tiger will be put in the same category as Jack and Arnie and all the other great golfers before him. History.

David E, Youmans

Rock Hill

Nation must find energy alternatives

Gas prices are outrageous. You can go down the road and gas can be $3.68, and when you come back five minutes later, it's up to $3.95 a gallon.

Is this gas-price roller coaster we are on ever going to stop? You ask yourself who is to blame, the government or the oil companies. Most of us will put the blame on both, but more blame will be put on the government. It's hard to believe that the government has to pay high gas prices just like the citizens. But is there anything that the government can do to regulate these high prices? What alternative do we have?

We can stop buying the gas, but we need it to get back and forth to work, school, stores, church, etc. So we know that alternative is out! Some people are trying to carpool. That may work in the short run, but what about the long-run effect? You see more people buying motorcycles and scooters to save on gas.

But what good is saving on gas when it's so hot outside? The money they save on gas will be used for medical expenses that they incur from heat exhaustion. Alternative fuels have to be explored and vehicles that run on alternative fuels have to be produced at affordable prices so we are not dependent on foreign oil. Everyone has to take measures to conserve energy at home and at work. Only when we can become independent and not need assistance from other countries for fuel, will the gas prices go down.

Carmenetta Young

York

Obey the rules at graduation

I don't understand the uproar regarding the removal of people from the local high school graduations. We we are told of the consequences of cheering before the end of the ceremony several times in the graduation instructions that were sent home, on the actual tickets, on the jumbotron at the coliseum and again, verbally, by the principal. While the story of the widowed father is sad, he made the choice to violate the instructions knowing he would be removed and "humiliated."

Everyone in that coliseum wants their graduate "recognized," too, but can you imagine what a rowdy, ball-game type atmosphere the graduation would turn into if everyone shouted out for their graduate? We wanted to cheer also but chose not to out of consideration for others, not to mention the embarassment it would cause us and our family to have to be hauled out.

So, in short, we wouldn't even be talking about this if people just did what they were told.

C. K. Gard

Rock HIll

Editorial cartoon was offensive

Never have I been as offended by the attitude of a newspaper as I am of The Herald, and I make reference to the cartoon in June 18 issue. Only someone who has never stood a watch or really served their country would print such a cartoon. It is so totally distorted from reality it is unreal.

The United States is going to implode upon itself; it will not fall to outside influences. What you do not understand is there is no such thing as a nice war. This dream of the Democrats and does not exist.

Wayne Gore

Rock Hill

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