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Letters: May 15, 2014

City should think twice about race fees


There is an old saying about stepping on a quarter while the dollar blows away. I’m afraid that is just what the city of Charleston is doing if it implements its planned fee structure for local races.

I’ve been an avid runner for the past two years. As a working father of three it is something that I have found is both very cost and time efficient as a way to get exercise. I try to run one local race per month as a way to motivate myself to keep running while giving to worthwhile local charities at the same time.

Usually when I run my wife and kids, sometimes my parents too, come to cheer me on. Afterward we typically eat at a local restaurant and/or enjoy whatever the local scene has to offer, especially if the race ends at the levy or Capitol. When you factor in my individual race entrance fee, parking, eating out for five to seven people, my family typically spends a decent amount of money in downtown Charleston on race day.

If the city council implements the race fee many races will have to relocate. The smaller ones like the Childhood Language Center’s July 4 run and the Junior League’s Pumpkins in the Park races will have to relocate (or worse yet cease) to places like Kanawha State Forest or Coonskin Park. While both are nice places there is little chance people will spend money locally like they would at the downtown races.

Charleston should realize what a tremendous asset we have that there are so many races. Last year’s Komen Race brought in more than 6,000 runners, and the Charleston Distance Run brings at least that many if not more. When you count the number of spectators and family members that’s a lot of money being spent in Charleston on meals, hotel rooms, etc. It would be a shame to lose that economic impact which I’m sure is more substantial than what it cost the city to close the streets for the race.

Finally, races’ impacts are not just economic. Charleston has unfortunately been listed as the Most Miserable City in America by a recent Gallup Poll. Two of the six factors that led to this were physical health and healthy behaviors. Charleston should be embracing something like running that is obviously gaining in popularity substantially and not hinder its growth. Before any decisions are made there should be some public studies as to what the true economic impact of these races is and what other cities have done with similar situations. Races are not “problems;” they are solutions.

Taylor W. Raab


Vet showed affection for family, pet


If you have ever loved and lost a pet, you understand the intensity of the pain and grief you feel once they are no longer with us. We rescued our Ms. Taylor eight years ago from the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association Animal Shelter and were devastated when she was diagnosed in September with an inoperable brain tumor.

We write this letter with the greatest degree of admiration and appreciation of Dr. Julie Starcher and the staff at the Cross Lanes Veterinary Hospital. After Ms. Taylor was diagnosed, Dr. Julie and Andrea called biweekly from September to April to check on her condition and to see if we had questions or needed to be seen. They made us feel as if we were the only family going through this ordeal and shared every bit of grief we were experiencing. Dr. Julie showed us so much compassion and was with us throughout and even up to the end.

Dr. Julie is truly blessed with a gift of sincere love and affection for animals and the people who love them, which is the perfect match for the profession she has chosen. We will be forever grateful,

Chuck and Minnie Jones


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