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Water article was well-done


Just wanted to compliment you on the nicely balanced article "Growing Thirst," by Jim Morekis, about what continues to be into the foreseeable future an intractable problem on the need for ever more water in this region.

I think the article provides a nice summation of the enormous amount of creative effort (and often frustrating work) started long, long ago in the Chatham Environmental Forum and other formal groups of interested individuals and professionals.

Groundwater science is answering more and more of the questions raised, not only through the Sound Science Initiative but also the modeling effort going as I write, pertaining to whether Harbor Expansion may or may not adversely impact the integrity of the Upper Floridan Aquifer.

Permit me to raise a cautionary flag. A lot of talk in the article references ever increasing use of surfacewater, such as weaning industry off the aquifer and onto surfacewater.

Well and good. But surfacewater is not an unlimited resource.

Inflow of fresh water helps maintain the integrity of the expansive salt marsh, the cradle of much of estuarine and marine life. The salt marsh over the millennia is self-adjusted to the vagaries of high and low river and stream freshwater flows. Removing millions of gallons of surfacewater may result in a negative outcome that we still know little about.

How much surfacewater is removable? I'm reminded of the battle involving the tapping of surfacewater from the multiple-dammed Colorado River. So much is removed by California, Nevada, and Arizona that what remains in its flow into Mexico, who also lays claim to potable Colorado River water, is barely a trickle, and excessively salty at that, brought about by return flow after used to irrigate enormous tracts of farmland in southern California, the lettuce basket of the U.S.

I do not envy the policy makers. I would like not to sit in the chairs of those legislators and other policy makers who soon must make the hard decisions that regulates water use as more effective(?), efficient(?), or environmentally more friendly(?).

Christopher J. Schuberth

Professor of Geology/Science Education

Director, Troops to Teachers

Armstrong Atlantic State University




The 50-cent Solution


Will someone please tell me why politicians, economists and the punditocracy have danced around the simple answer to the problem of Social Security?

Just raise the minimum wage by 50 cents an hour and the so-called "crisis" evaporates. Letís do the math. There are over 127 million people employed in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (not counting the self-employed). The median salary is just under $14 an hour. That means that half, approximately 63 million, make less than $14 an hour.

Assuming that in the first year the lowest paid one-third, roughly 20 million, receive the full 50-cent an hour raise, and that they work the typical 2080 hours per year, theyíd receive an additional $1040 per year. A little over 7 percent of that, about $77, goes to Social Security and employers contribute another $77.

Multiply 20 million times $154 and a total of $3.08 billion additional dollars goes to the Social Security Trust Fund each year. One of the projections shows the Trust Fund running out of $180 billion in Reserves (not "going bankrupt") in 36 years. The 50-cent Solution would bring in an additional $110 billion plus accrued interest. "Crisis" ends.

These calculations are conservative, as it is likely that more than 20 million workers would receive some increase in salary. And while 50 cents an hour is only $20 a week, that small raise helps the lowest paid workers cover some of the recent increases in the costs of gasoline, heating and electricity.

Jack Star

Sale was a success


A big thank you goes to over 200 members of St. Peterís Episcopal Church who worked so hard to produce the Skidaway Island Antiques Show & Sale last month. Every penny raised benefits the at-risk children of Savannah.

The greater Savannah community supported this three-day event with the highest attendance ever. I particularly thank the many underwriters.

Because of the generous gifts of money and time, the antiques show will be donating between $64,000 and $65,000 to Hope House-Peeler Home, Interfaith Hospitality Network, Open Arms Home; Park Place Network and St. Paul Academy for Boys and Girls. We thank everyone who contributed in some way to its success -- another example of the proud Savannah community working together.

Mary Ellen Fox

Chairman, 7th Annual Skidaway Island Antiques Show and Sale