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Tony the Peanut Man will tell you that the only way to eat ballpark peanuts is boiled, not roasted. The latter are what he calls "Yankee peanuts." Take a look below at an end-of-the-season photographic tribute to the Charleston RiverDogs by columnist Leigh Sabine of Mount Pleasant. Thanks for the great winning season, guys! Photos courtesy of PluffMudKids.com.



PHOTO ESSAY: Last RiverDogs' home game of the season

Special to Charleston Currents | permalink

EDITOR'S NOTE: Charleston Currents' columnist Leigh Sabine of PluffMudKids.com took these photos Thursday at the last regular season home game of the Charleston RiverDogs, who have been having fun at Riley Park since April. The team, which has an overall winning record for the third-straight season has its final game today in Augusts.

A great panoramic view of the field.

Charlie T. RiverDog does his schtick with the fans.

Getting ready for some action at third.

Last sunset of the season at Riley Stadium.

Follow-up: Ohm Radio has new fund-raising campaign

As a footnote to last week's Focus piece by Virginia Friedman and Will Moredock on a new radio station coming to Charleston is news that Ohm Radio 96.3 FM is launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise money through Indiegogo.

The station, which could launch before the end of the year, plans to air music by local, independent and legendary artists as well as showcase community enhancement information about local entrepreneurs, nonprofits and social groups.

How to find a topic for a weekly column

Editor and publisher
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SEPT. 1, 2014 -- People often ask how it is possible to write a new column every single week.

On some weeks, like last week when state news has been excruciatingly slow, it's not easy.

Over the last few years, I've written about 700 columns, the equivalent of 8 books. (And yes, I know newspaper readers have thrown them away every single week for 13 years!)

Generally, it's not tough to find a commentary subject. Because I focus a lot on Statehouse policy and politics, I monitor more than 30 state and national publications with an eye peeled for particular subjects: poverty, politics, the state's economy and budget, education, environmental conflicts, health care and statistics that compare the Palmetto State to the rest of the country.

In particular, I look for intriguing stories or trends that may have a nugget of information that needs more inquiry. Often, a headline will be enough for me to think, "Well, that's a good idea" or "That's really stupid" and then poke around a little more.

This week, for example, it seemed really dumb that members of the S.C. House returned to Columbia -- at a cost of more than $30,000 -- to consider two relatively minor vetoes by Gov. Nikki Haley. One bill called for libraries to be able to throw out unruly patrons, which seemed like an issue that might not actually require time and attention by the state legislature. Perhaps if libraries with the problem had proper rules and procedures in place, they could get rid of people for disturbances without having to get the legislature involved.

The other bill sought to allow a tax hike to pay for firefighting in the Murrells Inlet area. While it may be needed, this again seems like something that could have been done locally -- or at least put off a few months to be passed next year without having to spend the $30,000 for a special session.

Maybe there was something else going on in Columbia -- a favor or paying back a political debt -- that merited the special session. Who knows? More than anything, the one-day, three-hour session seemed like an interesting story to comment on as being dumb and a waste of time, but it didn't have enough power for a full column. It only merited (count them) three paragraphs.

Then comes the story last week that House Speaker Bobby Harrell, pummeled for months with negative stories about possible ethical improprieties, appointed a special 10-member House panel to look into ways to toughen the state's domestic violence laws. This action followed a powerful five-part series by The Post and Courier about the state's too-high rate of women killed by men and the legislature's convenient neglect of the issue for years.

While the domestic violence issue, which I've written about several times, has merit, this week's developments smelled more like an embattled House speaker desperately looking for good headlines than an issue driving the story. So again, that issue (two paragraphs) was out.

Other possibilities for this week's column and why they were rejected:

  • How the Carolinas resolved a border dispute (too arcane);

  • State Supreme Court to hear case over video poker losses (not a big fan of video poker);

  • Zais tells group that 4-year degree doesn't guarantee success (tired of the lame duck state superintendent);

  • College of Charleston to try to build diversity in admissions (interesting, but doesn't have enough zing);

  • Tourism officials fear impact of offshore drilling (this is a little better, but this isn't a particularly new subject);

  • Rubio, Rand Paul visit state (the presidential candidates are already coming this much? Tired of them already).

Bottom line: There was nothing that really got up my dander. And in calling around and emailing people about what new was happening in the state, there only seemed to be the routine work of government, few meetings on substantive issues and no big headlines that screamed out for a comment.

So what's a guy to do? Write a column about how he writes columns?

Andy Brack is editor and publisher of Charleston Currents and Statehouse Report. If you have a funny quip about a politician, send it along so we can share it. You can reach Brack at: publisher@charlestoncurrents.com.


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Charleston Green Commercial

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on Charleston Green Commercial, a full-service commercial property management company that pays attention to detail, provides exceptional personal service and is committed to adding value to buildings. Offering professional property management, consulting and other services, the company strives to improve clients' bottom lines with superior service, accessibility, reliability and a wealth of knowledge of the Charleston real estate market. By blending use of proven contractors and contacts with environmentally-conscious practices, the company helps clients stay on the leading edge of commercial real estate practices.

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Palmetto Poem
Special to Charleston Currents | permalink

EDITOR'S NOTE: Palmetto Poem is a monthly series that started in June. Each month, S.C. Poet Laureate Marjory Wentworth shares a poem by a South Carolina writer.

While all things are permitted in carbon fluctuations,
who knew the keeper of the Zoo Hypothesis
would permit one dark horse to escape through a clause
in a wormhole? Meanwhile, David Quammen
writes Man is the biggest weed of all.
Overhead ghostcams record farout games
in parallel meadows where a futurehood of shepherds
rolls the knucklebones of sheep over past pastures.
So what my bandwidth is not much longer than a song
on FM, and I see strictly in ROY G. BIV.
Leave it to fruit flies to expose
The Law of Falling Bodies fallacy, let their vertigo
be my lug wrench, my haft, my hive, my lucky queen.
I am bankrolled by unseen forces.
I’m all bluffs and burn cards, sorting
through Dark Matter, Light Matter, No Matter,
the scattered dice of stars, the hitchhiking tumbleweeds.

Barbara G. S. Hagerty is a native of Charleston, S.C., whose poetry publications include two chapbooks -- The Guest House (2009) and Motherfish (2012)--both from Finishing Line Press. Her first full-length book of poems, Twinzilla (a 2013 winner of the Hilary Tham Capital Collection competition) was published by the Word Works in early 2014. Awarded the 2010-2012 Fellowship in Poetry by the South Carolina Arts Commission, she is also the recipient of a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. A member of the Long Table Poets, a biweekly workshop led by Richard Garcia, she is co-coordinator of the Piccolo Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series, which is held early each summer in Charleston. She also serves as a board member and programming co-chair of the Poetry Society of South Carolina.

This month's Palmetto Poem originally was published in Twinzilla.

Hungry? Restaurant Week opens Wednesday perma

More than 140 Charleston-area restaurants from Acme Lowcountry Kitchen to Zero Cafe + Bar will participate in Restaurant Week when it opens Wednesday through Sept. 14. The 12-day event is a great time to try out the tastes of a dining spot you've been dying to visit -- and to get a little break on the price.

Unlike past years, participating restaurants will create their own specially-priced menus for patrons, according to the coordinator, the Charleston Greater Restaurant Association. The new system does away with the tiered menu system in which prix-fixe meals were priced at $20, $30 or $40.

You can see a list of participating restaurants and their menus by going online here or by downloading the free CRA app (search "CRA" in your app store) for your smartphone or tablet.

Seasoned Restaurant Week diners suggest that you call or go online to make your reservations as soon as possible because local eateries fill up quickly.

Riley Institute picks 9th class of Lowcountry diversity fellows

The Riley Institute's Diversity Leaders Initiative has picked 41 Lowcountry leaders to be part of its ninth class to take part in a five-month study program that seeks to deepen knowledge of how to manage and lead in a culture that is becoming increasingly diverse.

The statewide program, which is put on by the Riley Institute at Furman University, also has classes in Greenville and Columbia. The combined program has more than 1,300 graduates who are picked by nomination and application. Among the area leaders who will be in the program's new class are:

  • Sean Alford, assistant superintendent, Dorchester School District Two
  • State Sen. Sean Bennett, R-Summerville
  • Dr. Christine Carter-Kent, MUSC
  • State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg
  • Sam Cook, Heirs' Property Preservation, Charleston
  • G.P. Diminich, attorney, Charleston
  • Amy Downing, Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation, Pawleys Island
  • Rich Fletcher, SCANA, Charleston
  • Ray Funnye, Georgetown County
  • John Gardner, Charleston Housing Authority
  • Suzanne Hardie, Charleston
  • Rachel Hutchisson, Blackbaud, Charleston
  • Glenn Jeffries, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston
  • Barbara Kelley Duncan, Carolina Youth Development Center, North Charleston
  • Victor Kliossis, accounting executive, Charleston
  • Catherine LaFond, attorney, Charleston
  • Timothy Macon, SCRA, North Charleston
  • Jessica Martin, banker, Charleston
  • Brian Piedfort, SCRA, North Charleston
  • John Read, Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative, Charleston
  • Michael Renault, banker, Charleston
  • Jorge Roig, law professor, Charleston
  • Ravi Sanyal, attorney, Charleston
  • Susan Taylor, Charleston
  • Alec Taylor, Charleston
  • John Tecklenburg, commercial Realtor, Charleston
  • Brian Tucker, Georgetown County
  • Peggy Urbanic, attorney, Charleston
  • Alice Walton, Beaufort County School District, Beaufort
  • Scott Watson, City of Charleston
  • Charles Williams, artist, Charleston
  • Adam Witty, Advantage Media Group, Charleston
  • Erica Wright, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce

Women Painting Women juried show opens Friday

Some 86 paintings by 73 artists from around the world will be part of the Women Painting Women juried art show that opens Sept. 5 at the Principle Gallery: Charleston, located at 125 Meeting Street.

The show, which has 743 international submissions this year, got its start five years ago by the Women Painting Women blog that highlighted female artists actively portraying female subjects.

According to a press release, "Instead of asking: 'Why haven't there been more great women artists in history?' the existence of Women Painting Women asks: 'Why haven't more women been considered great artists throughout history?'

"WPW was created, not only to share work, but to create a dynamic forum which enables contemporary female painters to change the course of art history and educate viewers and artists alike on the validity of the feminine perspective."

The show lasts through the end of the month.


Leading with Questions:
How Leaders Find the Right Solutions by Knowing What to Ask
By Michael J. Marquant

Early in this work, Marquardt states, "Telling creates resistance, whereas asking creates relationships." This, indeed, is the principle expounded upon throughout the entire book. Drawing on interviews with more than 30 leaders of successful businesses and organizations from across the globe, Marquardt demonstrates how asking the right questions can foster communication without casting blame, encourage teamwork instead of isolating underachievers, and build relationships while seeking solutions. Specific techniques for choosing the right questions and actively listening for responses are detailed.

In particular, Marquardt proposes that questions like "Where should we be placing our energy?" "What can we learn from this?" "How can I improve my communication with you?" and "Do you have all the information you need?" can incite healthy, goal-oriented conversations that empower others to think through their own solutions and set the tone for an organization.

While some of the examples become repetitive, this is a wonderful source for leaders and managers who are seeking a better leadership style, or for those who wish to foster more meaningful communication among their subordinates and supporters.

-- Jennifer Lively, Main Library, Charleston

Find this and similar titles from Charleston County Public Library. This item is available as a book, audio book and downloadable eBook. To learn more or to place a hold, visit www.ccpl.org or call 843-805-6930.

An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us a short paragraph review of why you liked a recent visit to a restaurant or a book that you recently read. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com

Remember those "red dots?"

A phenomenon piques the curiosity of both visitors and lifelong residents: why do South Carolina liquor stores display red dots? The answer lies in a heated battle between drys and wets that developed when liquor sales became legal again in 1935 after Prohibition. During the ensuing decade those selling booze, diehard Prohibitionists, and the State Tax Commission (given the task of regulating this revived trade) wrangled constantly over on-site advertising.

Storefront ads so infuriated upcountry drys that in 1938 authorities decreed that only a discreet "Retail Liquor Dealer" sign could be displayed. Seven years later, with creation of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board (ABC), they decided to reduce any such sign to letters only a few inches high placed in the lower right-hand corner of a display window or on the front door. Liquor stores of that era had no back door.

Under these circumstances, Jesse J. Fabian, a successful Charleston liquor dealer, hired "Doc" Wansley to create a legal sign for one of his shops. When it was completed, Wansley realized that few would notice such minuscule lettering and, inspired by a design then found on every pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes, drew a bright red circle around his masterpiece. Thus was born South Carolina's famous red dot.

These now-familiar circles grew and prospered until January 1968, when the ABC suddenly ruled that these constituted advertising and should be banished from the landscape. The General Assembly voted instead to save the dot, although members agreed that on each exterior wall of a store there could be only one dot, not to exceed thirty-six inches in diameter. These subsequent rules have been relaxed somewhat, but into the twenty-first century the red dot remained a faithful beacon for those seeking liquor, as well as a warning sign for those determined to avoid it.

-- Excerpted from the entry by John H. Moore. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)


Four in a row

This photo illustrates what visitors see as they come into Charleston on Meeting Street just after they pass the headquarters of the city of Charleston's Housing Authority office. These four single houses on Jackson Street, have black boards over windows -- which helps their appearance some -- but the rusty and rotting roofs give away that they've been empty for quite some time. Photo by Andy Brack.

More photos: If you want to see a neat photo of the rural South, sign up to receive photo emails at: www.SouthernCrescent.org. And tell your friends too!


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Issue 6.45 | Monday, Sept. 1, 2014
Happy Labor Day!

Photo essay of last home game

Figuring out a column to write

Restaurant Week, DLI, art show

Those red dots


Charleston Green Commercial

Twinzilla Wormhole

Get it off your chest

Leading with Questions


About Labor Day


On fanatics


This week ... and next

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About Labor Day

For the anti-union crowd in South Carolina, we hope you enjoy your day off -- brought to you by the labor movement. The annual tribute, created by labor in 1894, is an annual national tribute to the contributions of workers to the strength and well-being of the nation.

Here are some facts about Labor Day, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor:

  • The first Labor Day holiday in the United States was celebrated in New York on Sept. 5, 1882. Canadians apparently first celebrated Labor Day in 1872, according to Forbes.

  • Who invented Labor Day? You'll be pretty accurate if you say, "McGuire." But the founder could have been Peter J. McGuire, a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, or a machinist name Matthew Maguire. Sound the same, but different folks.

  • Which state first made Labor Day a holiday? Oregon, in 1887.

  • Labor Days originally were celebrated with parades, especially in large industrial centers. but over the years with logistics problems, today's celebrations tend to be more media-based with picnics in areas like Charleston.

If you're mad about the fact that we even have a day celebrating the contributions of labor, drop your beer and hot dog. And get back to work.


On fanatics

"A fanatic is a person who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his original aim."

-- Mystery writer John MacDonald



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(NEW) Charleston Watersports Week: Sept. 5 to Sept. 14. From a fishing tournament and Dog Day Afternoon to paddleboarding and Shaggin' on the Cooper, there's a lot to do in this celebration of water-based activities. Read last week's story here | More info.

Be Fit Charleston: 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 6, Old Towne Creek County Park, Charleston. There will be a fall fitness festival, farmers market, fun-run, water slides, boot camp and more at this activity-filled day. Cost: $10.

2nd Monday concert: 7:30 p.m., Sept. 8, Recital Hill, Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip St., College of Charleston. The Second Monday Series at the College of Charleston will open with baritone David Templeton and pianist Robin Zemp offering music from Schumann, Ravel and Verdi. Tickets: $15 for adults; $10 for students.

Book signing: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sept. 18, Blue Bicycle Books, King Street, Charleston. Author Andra Watkins will sign copies of her 2014 novel, "To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis." More: AndraWatkins.com

Autumn on the Ashley: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sept. 19-21, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Charleston. More than 50 vendors are expected to exhibit wood carvings, paintings, textiles, pottery, jewelry and more at this crafts fair, held in the past in October. More.

Carolina Green Fair: Noon to 6 p.m., Sept. 21, James Island County Park, James Island. The Carolina Green Fair features conservation education through fun and inventive demonstrations, interactive play and music, and education shared by experts in their field. Come celebrate "being green" while enjoying beer, food, music and artisans from the Lowcountry! Food and beverages will be available for purchase. No coolers, outside food, or beverages permitted. Admission is free, thought it costs $1 per person to get into the park.

(NEW) Play by Euripides: 7:30 p.m., Sept. 25 through Sept. 30, Emmett Robinson Theatre, Simons Center for the Arts, 54 St. Philip Street, Charleston. The College of Charleston's Department of Theatre and Dance will stage a modern interpretation of Euripedes' "The Bacchae" with a 24-person cast. Tickets are $10 to $15. More.


Yappy hour and more. Charleston County Parks will offer dog-friendly, after-work socials at James Island and Palmetto Islands county parks a dozen times over the summer. At James Island, Yappy Hour will be held starting at 4 p.m. with live music on Sept. 18 and Oct. 16. At Palmetto Islands, dogs, owners and musicians will appear with food trucks in Pups, Yups and Food Trucks on Sept. 25 and Oct. 23. More.

Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.


9/1: Sabine: RiverDogs' photo essay

8/25: Friedman, Moredock: New station
8/18: No pets, kids in hot cars
8/11: Ruff: County's greenbelt plan
8/4: Holling: Watkins's book

7/28: Fordham: Literacy program
7/21: Troy: Dolphin's new owner
7/14: Waronsky: Message focus
7/7: Devaney: Winning poster prize
7/1: Dodge: Take 5 campaign

6/16: Pritchard: Anti-cruelty effort
6/9: Wentworth: Palmetto Poem
6/2: Mullins: Play on bishop's murder


8/11: The inhuman threat
7/14: Nearly impregnable
6/9: Prisoners to Charleston
5/12: Change of command
4/14: Charleston capture?
2/10: Attack of the Hunley
1/27/14: Bleak conditions


9/1: On finding column topics

8/25: End of 2nd Reconstruction
8/18: Humor and politics
8/11: Gov's race interesting
8/4: Letters to a camper

7/28: Writer says S.C. like Africa
7/21: Problem with chamber
7/14: On being fair
7/7: Do more on civil rights
7/1: Great trip to Wyoming

6/16: All about chiggers
6/9: Hollywood drama at capitol
6/2: D is for dysfunctional


8/4: There's an app for that
6/2: It takes a virtual village
5/19: Common IRA traps to avoid
4/7: Medication check-up
3/3: Read your deed
2/3/2014: Driving and being older

12/2: On the Personal Property Memo
11/4: Your time: great gift for seniors
10/7: Let's celebrate aging
9/3: Medicaid and your future
8/5: More on estates, wills
7/1: Estate planning myths
6/3: Pensions for wartime vets
5/6: Revocable Living Trusts
3/4: Resources to help seniors cope
2/4: On life estates
1/7: Next step in health care


8/25: S.C. Inland Port
7/28: Your digital assets
7/1: Tax credits, deductions
5/26: Social Security conversation
4/29: Community ag/fisheries
3/24: Let's invest in Charleston
2/24: Getting beyond jitters
1/27/14: Financial independence

12/23: And now there is hope
12/2: The "thanks" of Thanksgiving
10/28: Impact of rising bond market
9/30: What happens when rates rise


8/18: Edisto day trip
7/21: Great reading places
6/16: Picking berries, making jam
5/26: Art and music for kids
4/21: ArtFields for kids
3/17: Spring break ideas in S.C.
2/17: Four great outings for limited times
1/20: Upstate wonders

12/16: More holiday fun
11/18: Winter activities to do
10/14: Four ways to preserve history
9/16: It's harvest time
8/19: Kids giving back

7/15: Childrens' museums
6/17: Interactive adventures
5/20: Birds, bees, butterflies
4/15: Signs of spring abound
3/18: Great local parks
2/18: What's new in Charleston is old
1/21: Blaze a trail in 2013
12/10: Great holiday adventure


8/4: Lamkin: A rose for my mother
7/7: Amaker: Out of breath
6/9: Wentworth: Path to the Beach

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