To the Editor:

Many people have asked how our Greater Bluffton Chamber is different from other chambers in the Lowcountry. Also, with other chambers in the area, why is there a need for the Greater Bluffton Chamber, and why don’t we partner with other chambers?

The answer is simple: We have very different missions.

Our Chamber is not primarily focused on tourism. It is focused, for the most part, on local for-profit and non-profit enterprises. We want to help them grow by giving them the tools and technology they need to help them build their businesses to better serve the community.

All businesses want tourists coming to spend locally, and we are no exception. We actually do a good job with our events in bringing people to Bluffton. Our second year Taste of Bluffton event was attended by well over 5,000 people, one third of whom came from out of the area.

The Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce events are inclusive of families and are affordable.

Further, we do not use telemarketing to solicit members. Our membership has grown dramatically because local businesses and non-profits see the value of joining a local chamber that works for them.

We believe in a modest administrative staff. The Bluffton Chamber is staffed by only two exceedingly hard-working, dedicated and modestly paid individuals – our seemingly tireless CEO and her very capable executive assistant.

We are a volunteer chamber, made up of members who unselfishly donate their time and expertise to help others. We have no large staff to delegate to. We would rather put our resources into programs, projects and events that will be cherished by the members and the surrounding local community.

Don Brashears

Chairman Of The Board

Greater Bluffton Chamber of Commerce

To the Editor:

Recently a letter by a Bluffton resident was published in your newspaper (June 2, 2015).

He writes he is disappointed with our president because he withdrew troops from Iraq and wishes the late Gen. Patton were alive and serving as our Commander in Chief.

In a similar tone, Senator and presidential candidate Lindsey Graham informed us that, if elected, he will send 100,000 troops to Iraq.

The best general the USA ever had warned “you break it, you own it.” Sadly President Bush ignored the advice. Interestingly, now even his own brother states it was a mistake!

We know of course he did break it and arguably we’ve owned it for far too long, or should I say it has owned us.

Thousands of the very best this nation has to offer sacrificed for too much and for far too long. Many lost their lives. Others lost limbs and peace of mind as they struggle with the after-effects of traumatic injuries.

These men and women did everything they were asked and much more. They gave Iraqis a chance and they trained them during the process. It’s time for Iraq to stand for itself and if necessary fight its own civil war.

President Obama simply followed the timeline laid out by the Bush Administration, and I’m happy he did so.

Since the letter writer and Senator Graham feel so strongly about the situation, they should gather 99,998 other like-minded individuals and go to Iraq.

Maybe they can find those elusive WMD’s while they are there.

Jim Graham


To the Editor:

The quality of life in South Carolina apparently depends on who you speak to.

Kiplinger Magazine (August 2013) reported South Carolina was the top state for retirees. USA Today ranked the state 10th of all 50 states in having the lowest taxes paid per capita.

However, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked South Carolina among the worst states to live in – 44th. Wikipedia ranked us 42nd of the 50 states in education, with just 72 percent of our 9th graders actually graduating from high school.

The following rankings, based on 50 states, from the National Education Association are a cause for concern:

47th rank, lowest high school graduates; 49th, lowest state-local expenditures for education per capita; 38th, lowest teacher’s salary; 11th, highest teenage pregnancy; 9th, highest obesity; 9th, shortest life expectancy; 6th, highest murder and violent crime; 2nd, highest murder of women by men; 13th, highest firearm deaths; 3rd, highest aggravated assault; 43rd, lowest overall health (from the World Health Foundation); 43rd, lowest health expenditures by state; 9th, highest poverty level; 45th, lowest per capita income.

One might conclude that two major factors contribute directly or indirectly to South Carolina’s poor performance.

First, the quality of education in the schools and second, the lack of home family values being taught by the parents.

If we agree that today’s children are tomorrow’s future, then our state and local government and citizens have their work cut out for themselves to significantly improve the quality of life for all South Carolina’s citizens.

Earle Everett

Hilton Head Island