Those with families usually work just as hard as singles

In response to the June 12 article, "In 'family friendly' workplaces, singles feel overlooked": I have a hard time having too much sympathy for feelings of discrimination felt by singles in "family friendly" workplaces. Before I had children, I spent 12 years working long hours and traveling often away from home. But with my ability to make those commitments to work came more responsibility and increased pay.

Once I had children and chose the "family friendly" option of working part-time, I was slipped off the promotion track. Many of the mothers I know have returned to more mundane employment since having children. Most of the fathers I know do not feel they can take advantage of family friendly policies, as that would hamper their careers.

And while parents who do take advantage of these policies may feel more committed to their company, that is probably because they know that they can't easily move to another company. If you have worked for a company for several years and have a good track record, taking advantage of any family friendly policies won't be frowned on by management. But in a new company, you have to work as hard as or harder than your single colleagues to prove your commitment.

I loved my career prechildren, and I love having children, but our society does not yet have a model that allows for competitive career growth while maintaining good and fair working conditions for everyone.
Susie Billings

Stop dredging coastal channels

Regarding the June 7 article, "Ports go deep to dock bigger ships": The ever-deeper navigational channels required for container vessels are causing massive losses of our coastlines and the habitat these sustain. Dredging accelerates and redirects currents, devouring coastal beaches and wetlands. Artificial offshore canyons also deepen near-shore areas, whose shallowness once reduced the energy of storms striking our coastlines. Beach "nourishment" increases this problem. Sea-level rise and increasing storm intensities further hinder the coastlines' natural ability to rebound.

But containers on ships can be handled robotically. The billions of dollars being spent to dredge our coastal channels could be spent to build deep-water offshore transshipments facilities. There, containers could be transferred to smaller coastal vessels. This would allow deep dredging wounds to heal, lessening the erosion they cause. Further, the energy needs of such ports might be supplied by nonpolluting sea currents or wind, while the air pollution caused by boats in port areas would stay well offshore. We are losing our shorelines and must adopt new methods quickly to mitigate this environmental catastrophe.
Jerry Berne
Founder Sustainable Shorelines Inc.
Charlotte, N.C.

America's Pele happens to be a woman

I was shocked by the title of the June 12 article, "US still awaits its Pele, but soccer gains foothold." Perhaps many were too busy watching only the US men's team over the past 16 years to notice that we have had our "Pele." Her name is Mia Hamm. She and the rest of the gold medal and World Cup winning US women's team members did more for popularizing soccer in the US than any men's team. While the US men's team was only qualifying, our women were winning on the field and in the hearts of their fans. Many may not have paid attention while the rest of us enjoyed watching and cheering as the US women's team won – again and again. Our Pele just happens to be a woman.
L.M. Sawyer
Swannanoa, N.C.

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