Piece of cake Happy Trails!

So sorry to hear about POINT's impending demise after all these years, and with so many stories still needing to be told. Will you be maintaining a presence on the web?

Because you made a difference, many prosperous and complacent citizens of the state will rejoice at the news. Henchmen will be relieved to know that they no longer have to perform search and destroy operations at your distribution points to ensure that a minimum of readers are exposed to an alternative voice.

While I didn't always agree with you, POINT has been a gadfly and a catalyst, and you who published it and wrote for it, and otherwise spread ink in search of truths, have served South Carolina well. You will be missed by independent thinkers all over the state. Thank you for the labor of love that was POINT.

Jeff Koob, Columbia

Ed. -- POINT will maintain its archives on the Web (www.scpronet.com/point/) and may occasionally post new stories.

I was DEEPLY disheartened to read that the last bastion of published liberalism in South Carolina is going away. "Please say it ain't so!" Guess I'll have to keep up the good fight on my own down here in Aiken County, the home of way too many right-wing, goose-stepping, Bible-thumping, Stars and Bars waving, environment-raping, racist, homophobic, narrow-minded, hate-mongering, election rigging, snobby, bigoted, gated-community, ultraconservative Republicans. (Hell, for that matter, SOME of my fellow Dems are not that far from that either!)

You guys WILL be missed!

Kent Brown, Aiken

I was sad to read about the imminent putting-to-bed of POINT. It was uniquely intelligent among all the papers I have seen so far in South Carolina, and the only one with a progressive view. It is a sad commentary on our state that there is not enough demand (as there is more than enough need) to make a paper like it thrive.

Chris Jueschke, Columbia

Dr. tRuth, a typical reader of and occasional contributor to POINT, doesn't like to cook. Particularly if it means donning hypothetical oven mitts and dealing with stuff that could burn precious wage-earning fingertips. Dr. tRuth also doesn't like cleaning up after cooking.

So, who now will mash the hot potatoes for us?

POINT has been consistently cooked without the obnoxious plugs for religion and righteousness, usually debating preservation of a way of life that the bulk of the country has determined is no longer healthy—you question the status quo, you laugh at stupidities elsewhere presented as solemn truths and you always provoke a reaction regardless of the audience. And occasionally you stir Dr. tRuth's dormant conscience (at least to the point where dialogue with the complacent can become controversial), providing a point of view with character and vitality long missing from our daily menu of media pap. You add meat and roughage to an otherwise bland meal.

Without POINT, Dr. tRuth will accept in ignorance the propaganda espoused by this peculiar (but somehow endearing) state in dire need of the spice with which you whet our appetites for insight.

Who now will provide that inner voice, the balance to madness and the concerned response? Who will stir the pot? In this hotter-than-a-microwave state, those damn potatoes could explode. Don't close the POINT kitchen, please. You have served us too well.

Dr. tRuth, Columbia

The end of POINT is sad, but you have a lot to be proud of. Not only did you publish a liberal, independent newspaper, but you did it in this state. You can brag to your grandchildren about that. Thanks for making room for me in the past two issues—that meant a lot to me. We Dixie subversives gotta' stick together.

Ken Gillespie, Greenville

I loved your Web site! Please tell me that I read wrong and that the next issue will not be the last. I just stumbled across your site and found it so refreshing, we need more exhilarating articles like these. I am so sick of South Carolina rating at the bottom of every category in the nation. We need more of this kind of thinking to get out of the bottom. How can we improve without alternative ideas in print? We do have so much to improve and change.

Gin Beery, Columbia

I am saddened to learn, just as I stumble onto this trove of thoughtful writing, that the next issue will be the last. While I'm sure that the staff had their reasons for making this decision, I feel suddenly bereft. Odd, when one considers that before tonight I had no idea that POINT even existed. The world has too few voices giving illumination to a corner of the U.S. that many of us find as remote and alien as "deepest darkest Africa."

Thank you for what's there for viewing now.

Kat Tanaka, California

DJJ leaves girls in the cold

I want to talk about the wonderful job that I have, or maybe I should phrase it; I want to talk about the wonderful job that I once had and is now non-existent. I work for Alternative Youth Adventures-Camp Winding Stairs in Walhalla. This camp is a therapeutic wilderness camp for female youth offenders aged 13–17. We are capable of housing up to 24 girls. Our students' stay is dependent upon their progress in the program, but averages six months.

I have worked for Camp Winding Stairs for a year and had planned on working for at least six more months. However, my plans were utterly crushed when our administrators were notified on 13 June that the camp was to be shut down, effective immediately. The Department of Juvenile Justice had always reassured our program that we would not be affected by the budget cuts. Rather than stick to their word and keep our facility running, our program was the first one to be closed.

Never once in my entire year of working at Camp Winding Stairs have I seen any of the "higher ups" for the "great" state of South Carolina visit the camp and talk with our girls. In fact, no one has visited in the entire three years that the camp has been running! None of these "suits" have any idea how a girl changes during a stay at Camp Winding Stairs. At AYA, the girls experience women's health education, group therapy and support groups, independent living training, substance abuse education, community service projects and anger management.

AYA is not some boot camp or group home or any other ordinary facility in which the girls can be verbally, mentally or sexually abused. It is a place where female juvenile offenders can feel loved, cared for and, most importantly, safe.

I only wish that those people who made the decision to terminate our program could have been in the room when our girls were told that Camp Winding Stairs was shutting down. Every single girl at AYA expressed tears of sadness, anger, confusion and fear. Why? Because the staff at Camp Winding Stairs has made an impact in their lives and helped them change their old behaviors.

None of our students were quite ready to graduate our program. We were not given a few months to gradually phase out the program, only a few weeks to find placement for our students. Is this how we want to treat the children of South Carolina? Is this how we teach them that we care?

Our program was the first one to be cut by DJJ; not any of the boot camps or group homes. Did anyone look at the recommittal rate and see that ours was by far better than any of these other facilities? How can anyone claim that boot camps, group homes or alternative schools really work when the majority of our students come from those facilities?

I am outraged by the decision to terminate Camp Winding Stairs not because I'm losing my job but because of what is going to happen to the girls. Our graduates that still contact AYA for support will have nowhere to turn once the gate is closed. Our current students are being deprived of the same great program that has helped over 100 other girls.

It seems the attitude is that they are just criminals and don't really deserve a program like ours. They aren't just criminals, they're kids. They are kids that made wrong decisions and mistakes. They are kids that are capable of learning from those mistakes, turning their lives around and making something great of themselves.

What kind of example are we setting? That the world is ruled by money and numbers and that the actual people that populate this world don't matter to those that are in charge of the money.

Sara A. Jones, Easley


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Last modified 7/8/2001