To the Editor:

Does character matter? Character is defined as the moral and mental qualities distinctive to an individual.

Experts generally agree that there are at least six pillars or traits that affect the ethical qualities, good or bad, of our decisions and thus define our character.

Good character traits include: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Bad traits include: not dealing with conflict well, power tripping rather than empowering others, vulnerability, failing to recognize strength in their team, does not accept accountability and does not listen.

Further, how does one’s character differ from one’s personality? Character refers to a set of moral and mental values and beliefs that differentiates one from another, i.e., inner traits hidden from sight. On the other hand, personality is the outer appearance and observed behavior of a person, which might change over time.

An article in Psychology Today (April 11, 2019) identifies a person of good character as “someone to look up to and admire.” Distinguishing between personality and character is trickier. Personality is easier to read: extroverted, energetic, optimistic, confident – or not. Character takes longer to puzzle out; it includes honesty, virtue, kindness, etc. lists four professional character traits of an effective president. They are: honesty, commitment, charisma and cool headedness. Consider these traits next time you go to the polls to vote.

Yes, character does matter. Good character traits including trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship with integrity (my addition), should be everyone’s goals, including yours and mine.

Earle Everett

Moss Creek

To the Editor:

Excessive talk about septic tanks polluting the May River is misguided.

About a decade ago, as part of a grant application, about 500 homes near the May River were reported to have septic tanks. That number has not changed significantly in the past 10 years, in part because most homes constructed since then have been connected to sewer systems rather than septic tanks.

Yet, we have an increasingly damaging problem with pollution entering the May River.

“The clearing of land for sprawling suburban development is directly linked to the impaired waterways because without enough natural land cover left intact to serve its filtering function, stormwater carries sediment and pollutants across impervious surfaces and directly into the rivers.” (Schueller & Holland, 2000).

While efforts to provide sanitary sewers as broadly as possible are encouraging, these efforts can also divert attention from the leading cause of polluted runoff – poor planning and inappropriate development patterns leading to suburban sprawl.

Similarly, the limited focus of current testing is hindering our monitoring efforts. Testing that is infrequent or that is restricted to only fecal coliform provides little information about safety risks and long-term pollution trends. Because of these testing limits, we actually don’t know how safe it is to swim in the headwaters of the May River.

So, while the removal of septic tanks is a small part of the solution, it is not, in and of itself, the total solution. We need to focus on smarter land use. Without correcting our problems with suburban sprawl, we will not succeed.

For more information, visit

Jeff Urell

Hilton Head Island