Two years ago, United States District Court Judge Richard Gergel handed the cruise terminal opponents their first victory, tossing the SPA’s federal permit to build a proposed $35 million terminal at Union Pier and blasting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to adequately review the project’s effects on the area.

‘Pluff Mud Chronicles’ got it right

Dear Editor:

Thank you and David for your recent column. These last few years, I’ve had to turn off the news for all the ridiculous selling of propaganda that has led to more racial divide and hate than my teen years of the 70s. Poor Dr. King.

This amazingly ignorant but highly overpaid Caucasian liberal PC group has brought to fruition the adage of Orson Wells: “Everyone is equal except those who are special.”

It is sad to see the hate that has been laid at our feet in six years. Visiting a health club before renewing mine, my friend and I visited one in Mt. Pleasant where the T-shirts read, “We are a nonjudgmental gym.” It never would have crossed my mind that a gym would have a need or be inclined to “judge” its clients.

The paranoia reminds me of some of the crazy tactics that worked for Hitler, but let’s not go there. Your article was one that put my equilibrium back to normal, and I am glad to know we still have a thinking public versus the sheep of media who adhere to the lies of propaganda. The sad part is: There is real news and really hurting people in this country, including human trafficking and so much more that is just overshadowed with this political rhetoric.

Keep your eyes on the ball. 

V. Maguire

Charleston, S.C.


Remembering Judy Vane

Dear Editor:

Someone once described Judith (Judy) Vane, a founder and legendary supporter of the Spoleto Festival USA, as “a marvelous mix of grit and glamour.” This exceedingly accurate comment leapt into my mind the moment I heard that on April 4, that Judy had departed this life that she so lovingly embraced, leaving her trademark dazzling smile and famous throaty laugh to appear only in our memories.

However, this arts-loving, charming, but tough, woman left in her wake a powerful living legacy, one that utilizes the arts to change lives by encouraging people to break out of their self-concocted cocoons and view the world through diverse prisms.

Years before Gian Carlo Menotti selected Charleston as the site of an international performing arts festival, Judy was considered an exceptionally dedicated and talented actress who starred in and supported numerous Footlight Players’ productions at the Dock Street Theatre. However, I had never seen Judy on stage when, as almost newly-weds, my husband, Dr. Franklin Ashley and I met Judy and Jack Vane at a Count Basie concert at the Charleston Naval Base Officers Club in 1968.

By happenstance, we were assigned to the same table for dinner as the Vanes, and when Basie’s band began to swing, we four got up and began to dance, and then so did every one else. We talked and danced until midnight, but, not wanting the party to end, Judy and Jack followed us to our townhouse, where we sipped daiquiris and talked about theater and music until 2 a.m., when Judy suddenly remembered that a baby sitter was waiting at their home with their two very young boys, Adam and Jay and they immediately dashed off.

Upon hearing of Judy’s death, Spoleto General Director Nigel Redden, in a phone call from his Lincoln Center office in New York, said, “Certainly, we will miss Judy, just horribly! She was a mainstay of the festival, and I can’t imagine it without her, as Judy and Jack always made their beautiful home available, not only for Spoleto parties, but also welcomed visitors to stay with them.

At Judy’s funeral, Adam Vane remarked, “Mother and Dad treated everyone the same. They were as comfortable conversing with (actor) Anthony Hopkins at a party given for him, as they were talking with the man cleaning up after the party.”

It’s no secret that Judy lobbied unrelentingly for the Spoleto Festival USA to be bought to Charleston rather than to other cities being considered. The late Theodore Stern, former chairman of the festival, once revealed to me: “Judy helped to charm Menotti into choosing Charleston, certainly with her vast knowledge of the theater, but most of all with her ability to generously open her home to strangers from another country — that was a rare gift!”

Redden then related an incident that occurred when Celeste and Charles Patrick hosted a festival late-night, after-party out by their swimming pool.

“The party had just begun when Judy arrived, all dressed up, and immediately began an animated conversation while standing with her back to the pool,” Redden recalled. “Suddenly, I happened to glance toward Judy, in time to see her take a step backward and fall directly into the pool!

“Well, naturally, everyone dashed to her rescue. But after drying off with a towel, she went straight in her car, drove herself home, dried her hair, changed clothes, and immediately returned to the party, where she laughed and joked about her ‘accident’ late into the evening.”

Many who knew Judy might agree that this funny tale of never accepting defeat could not only serve as how Judy Vane might like to be remembered, but also could be considered a valuable life lesson for us all.

Dottie Ashley

Mount Pleasant, S.C.


High cost of litigating TEC

Dear Editor:

In light of your diocesan litigation with The Episcopal Church, we thought this letter might be of interest to your readers. This is what we sent March 5 to the deputies of the 2015 General Convention.

Changes at the Gibbes

Dear Editor:

The Gibbes Museum of Art has embarked on a much-needed renovation of the front and rear garden spaces concurrent with the massive restoration and renovation of the Gibbes building. After earlier attempts to prolong the life of the magnolia trees in the rear garden (one of which was just large enough to be classified as a grand tree) the decision was made to review designs that did not include the five existing trees. Other institutions, including St. Philip’s Church, have experienced similar issues with magnolias that have reached their life expectancy.

Letters to the editor


Happy New Year to a 106 year-old

Like the rest of us, Charleston’s finest citizens never know when the gray man will come calling. Gone are Jim Edwards, Arthur Wilcox, Margot Freudenberg and Ted Stern among others. No longer young but with lights burning bright are Fritz Hollings, Dorothy Anderson and Craig Bennett to name a few. Herbert V. Nootbaar does not live in Charleston but if he did he would certain be counted among our finest citizens.

Just because it is a cliché to say we are a nation of immigrants does not mean that it isn’t true. On May 20th 2014, Herbert Nootbaar, who celebrated his 106th birthday on November 8th, was awarded both the Ellis Island Humanitarian Award and the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The Ellis Island Medal of Honor was founded in 1986 to honor the contribution made to America by immigrants and the legacy they left behind in the successes of their children and grandchildren.

Approximately 100 medalists are honored each year to “celebrate the diversity of American life honoring not only individuals but the pluralism and democracy that have enabled ancestry groups to maintain their identities while becoming integral parts of the American Way of life.” The diverse group of honorees includes Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Henry Kissinger and Mohammed Ali.

The Nootbaar family came from Holland. They moved to Germany where Max Nootbaar, father of the recipient, graduated from Heidelberg and then moved to America. In 1896 he joined the Chicago police force. He took on the Black Hand, extortionists later replaced by the Mafia. Suffice it to say he was fearless. He retired to California and died in 1939.

His son Herb is one of the most remarkable people we have ever known. Herb had a long career in the grain business and remained president emeritus of the National Grain & Feed Association well into his 90s. He and his lovely wife Elinor, sadly deceased, have been generous in the extreme. They donated wings of hospitals and endowed the Department of Law, Religion and Ethics at Pepperdine University. A loyal graduate of the University of Southern California they donated baseball fields and baseball museum The Hall of Fame Complex.

Close personal friends of Ronald and Nancy Reagan, they donated the garden at the Reagan Library. One of his prized pieces of memorabilia is one the cartridges from the 21-gun salute honoring President Reagan at his funeral.

We met Herb and Elinor when he was 97. A mutual friend called and asked if we would show them around Charleston. When we said we would be delighted, we were informed he had to walk with cane. The previous year, Herb — who could have hired an army of roofers — fell when he was repairing his roof. It would have killed a lesser man, or at least made him an invalid. Not Herb.

The following year we visited southern California. At 10 a.m. one morning Herb and Elinor picked us up. No limousine, no chauffer. Herb was behind the wheel of the family car and took us on a fabulous tour that lasted until around 6 p.m. when they took us to their beautiful home in Laguna Beach for drinks.

True story: When Herb had his 100th birthday he realized that his driver’s license had expired so he hurried on down to the DMV. There he aced the written exam and passed three eye tests without glasses. The examiner high-fived him and said “Come back when you are 105.”

When he reached 105 his family and friends begged him not to drive, so he did not renew his license. He did say modestly “I believe I could have passed the exam.”

Herb’s own recipe for longevity is, he says, simple: “Pick a good wife and then love and respect her and encourage her love of you.”

There are I think two other attributes that have contributed to Herb’s long life. One is an exquisite sense of humor that allows him to laugh at himself. At the end of our long day he told on himself a priceless story of a train trip in the 1940s that he, his father-in-law and A. P. Giannini took from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Herb was struggling to do business with Bank of America and this was supposed to be a way to gain entrée set up by his father-in-law.

Giannini, who was the founder of the Bank of America and voted one of the 100 most important men of the 20th century, had on a new much loved necktie his daughter has just given him. They went to lunch when they reached LA. Everyone ordered oysters on the half shell. Herb put a drop of Tabasco on his oyster. Down it went, hit bottom and up it came — all over Mr. Giannini’s favorite tie. There is more to the story, equally funny. Needless to say, Herb was never able to do business with Mr. Giannini’s bank.

In addition to that sense of humor Herb has without exception the best attitude of anyone we have ever known.

C. Stuart Dawson, Jr.

Charleston, S.C.

Vision for America

Dear Editor:

With loss of the Senate, the Democratic Party’s objective to transform America has suffered a setback. The Senators that lost their elections are the same Senators elected in 2008 that gave Harry Reid and Barack Obama the power to pass unprecedented progressive legislation.

Teddy Turner backs Guerard

Dear Editor:

A vote for Russell Guerard is a vote for needed change in Columbia! Career politicians often forget who elected them, and I believe that has happened in State House District 110.
Russell brings a new perspective and a new commitment to making our state government accountable to us, the voters. His push on ethics reform is essential in helping all citizens feel that our state government is working for us, not mired in political scandal after political scandal.

Mercury newspaper racks are located at the following locations:

The Meeting Street Inn

Clair's Service Station at 334 Folly Rd.

Harris Teeter on Houston-Northcutt Blvd.

The Square Onion in I'On

Mt. Pleasant Library on Mathis Ferry Rd.