Water quality affected by litter
I was shocked by the photo in Friday's paper of the garbage accumulating along the water at the city's downtown park. With private entities and tax-supported agencies charged with protecting the health and beauty of our waterways, clearly someone somewhere is responsible. But aside from that, I do believe that a lot of people are not aware of the many ways in which our water quality can be affected, and that they perhaps might be having a hand in its degradation. For example, I was waiting at a traffic light on Sumter Street one morning, and I observed a city worker with a leaf blower blowing all of the litter from the sidewalk, along the gutter and into the storm drain. I'm sure he didn't realize the error of what he was doing.
People need to be educated to the fact that anything that goes down a storm drain goes directly into the river. That's without passing through a processing plant for cleaning and sanitizing first. And when it rains, any trash on the streets - and there seems to be an awful lot of it these days - will be washed directly into the river. This is why I believe fines for littering should be swift and punitive, but that's another story.
With the availability of enough clean water for everyone becoming more of an issue every day, we all need to educate ourselves about the ways we can help -or at least not harm.
'Socialized' medicine works at Dorn
Want to get a better picture of what so-called "socialized medicine" is all about? I'm an ex-GI who has been in and out of the VA facility in Columbia for a number of years and want to thank the staff for their expertise.
So what does it cost for an aging ex-GI to get treatment there? Whatever he can afford. (A patient's financial records are carefully checked.) Biggest problem? Making sure you can wait for the necessary appointment set for you. Emergency? You'll be seen right on the spot.
The setup takes my breath away. The service is professional. The staff keen and energetic. They even replaced my reading glasses. Sure, the VA is a form of this so-called socialized medicine, where the government handles costs.
I'll be 80 in a couple of years, and I couldn't function without Dorn. I have peace of mind knowing I'm safe as a member of this health system.
If we want the politicians in Washington to supervise our nation's health care, best they spend time hanging out at Dorn, here in Columbia, chatting with its vet patients. They'll tell it like it is.
JOHN J. YOUNG
Veterans Day parade was missed
Veterans get one day - and most don't even ask for that. And the city of Columbia felt it necessary to cancel that one day due to "inclement weather"? Inclement weather never factored into soldiers' decisions to risk their life every day, through every battle, in every war.
This city, which typically boasts one of the largest Veterans Day parades in the country, should be ashamed.
Hundreds of people managed, in the inclement weather, to go out for lunch on Veterans Day, pick up their dry cleaning, take advantage of a paid holiday. But how many remembered the veterans responsible for that freedom?
Event brings veterans together
I want to thank the folks at Applebee's for the free meal and great hospitality at their Lexington location on Veterans Day.
My wife and I are both veterans, and we thoroughly enjoyed the food. But the best part was the opportunity to see and talk to so many other veterans from many different eras and branches of service. It was a great experience, and we are grateful for it.
WALDO MEDLIN JR.
Graham should note benefits of natural gas
Natural gas reserves in the United States have seen dramatic increases in the past few years due to technologies of horizontal drilling and fracturing. A number of estimates put the United States natural gas reserves at more than 100 years.
Natural gas contains much less carbon and is therefore a significantly cleaner fuel. Indeed the "Pickens Plan" highlights our opportunity to decrease dollars to the Mideast by a few hundred billion dollars a year, reduce pollution and increase jobs in the United States by increasing our use of natural gas.
Yet in a recent article on energy and the environment, Sen. Lindsey Graham never mentions natural gas.
I hope our senator will take some time to understand this enormous opportunity and help move the United States in this direction.
Isle of Palms