Issue 6.19 | Monday, March 10, 2014
Time for a nice cup of tea
you should attend Charleston Tells festival this weekend
MARCH 10, 2014 -- I've been hooked on storytelling ever since I went to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, over 30 years ago.
It was a weekend unlike any I had experienced before, filled with laughter, camaraderie, a few tears, and hours of great stories and amazing storytellers. I was thrilled to see and hear such talented performers and heartened to be among hundreds of adults who would sit, listen and appreciate stories. I fell in love with storytelling. I wanted to hear more stories and I wanted to be part of sharing stories and storytelling.
Many years and many stories later, I am in the wonderful position of being part of the Charleston County Public Library's second annual Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival this weekend, March 14 to 15. Our inaugural festival was a tremendous success, but storytelling festivals are still unknown to so many people.
Why come to a storytelling festival? Charleston has so many festivals, but Charleston Tells is the only local festival that promotes and showcases the art of storytelling. At a time when so many of us worry that technology is weakening personal connections and communication, storytelling cultivates face-to-face communication. It is intimate and personal. Stories are how we share our family histories, our cultures, our past and our dreams for the future.
take the audience on a shared trip through a world created through the
power of a voice, language, facial expression and the imagination of the
teller and the audience. Storyteller Bobby Norfolk says, "Storytelling
is an art form that transcends age, race and culture. It goes right to
the heart of the human experience."
has educational benefits too. People are familiar with stories for children
that as a way to build vocabulary, teach comprehension skills, develop
a love of language and share values. As educator Mary Ellen Chase wrote,
"Real teachers teach hearts and minds, not mere, subjects."
But stories are for adults too. We read novels, watch reality TV and go
to movies because we crave stories.
And this year's festival has stories for everyone. You will hear tales of other times and cultures, ghost stories and stories based on memories not unlike your own, told with humor and a flair that celebrate the small moments of life that we often overlook. We have an amazing lineup of nationally and internationally known performers, local and regional tellers, puppetry and music.
We want Charleston Tells to bring you that same experience that I had so many years ago. Come join us, be moved and touched, share a good laugh and feel the magic of storytelling.
Charleston Tells tickets available online at www.ccpl.org/charlestontells through March 12 and onsite at the festival. Tickets may be purchased for the Friday concert, the Saturday sessions, the Saturday night concert or ghost stories, or a full Festival weekend.
adequate" isn't good enough
2014 -- If there's one thing that permeates our culture, it's that we
want the best -- the winning sports team, the best doctor to treat cancer,
the best tax rate, the best choices at the store. Just name the product
or service and we want the best.
Let's not continue to accept a minimally-adequate educational system. Let state leaders have the courage -- especially with budget talks starting on the House floor -- to do something about it instead of continuing to lollygag.
rave, send your feedback
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Charleston RiverDogs: Time to buy season tickets
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is the Charleston RiverDogs. The Lowcountrys leader in sports entertainment, Charleston RiverDogs baseball is an attractive, affordable medium for your group or business. The RiverDogs develop the next major league stars for the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees at one of the finest ballparks in Minor League Baseball -- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.
words sum up the every day approach taken by the Charleston RiverDogs
front office. The brainchild of club President Mike Veeck, the nine-letter
phrase Fun Is Good is meant to be a guideline and daily reminder
of how employees should approach their jobs and in turn capture the imagination
of the fans to turn them into repeat customers.
Local arts group sponsors writing workshops, readings
The Lowcountry Initiative for the Literary Arts (LILA) will offer series of readings and writing workshops through its new Write Charleston! program, which will be held at the Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting Street, Charleston.
Workshops, for which pre-registration is required, will cost $20 or $30 and are for members, students and seniors. Readings, which will be only $5, will be in the church sanctuary periodically with signings and a reception afterward, according to LILA president Marjory Wentworth.
Some coming events:
Local Walk for Water scheduled for March 22
The 8th annual Charleston Walk for Water is scheduled for March 22 at Cannon Park in downtown Charleston. A creative take on the traditional fundraising walk, the Walk for Water encourages participants to carry buckets along a 3.5 mile route to simulate the daily trek that millions of women and children make daily to collect water in developing countries.
This year, the goal is to raise $225,000 with 2,250 walkers. Last year, more than 2,000 people participated and raised $200,000 to help provide safe water access to tens of thousands of people around the world, according to Water Missions International.
"Water Missions International was built from the ground up with the help, support and commitment of Charleston area residents. So whether you've walked every year, or never walked before, this is a great time to learn how you can make a difference around the world," said Kyle Whitcroft, WMI's special events coordinator. "Think about it this way, if we get just 100 more people to sign up-we can literally bring safe water to 100 more thirsty people around the world."
Economic forecast shows continued expansion
The Charleston region's economy will continue to expand this year and in 2015 as it "gains recognition as a globally competitive economy," according to the 2014-15 Economic Outlook Forecast recently released by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Job growth should be conservative for 18 months, but increase to a rate that's 50 percent faster than the U.S. average over the next five years, the report said. Fueling the growth will be several industries, including the port, aerospace, real estate, construction, tourism and information technology.
But there's also some worrisome news in the Chamber's report: "A disturbing trend indicates difficulty for employers to fill jobs from the local workforce and talent pool," said Mary Graham, senior vice president of the Chamber's business advocacy division. "Skilled, educated professionals with graduate degrees are needed, and many of the region's jobs are filled by recruiting outside our region." A workforce and education strategy will be released in June, including recommendations to address gaps that impact projected job growth.
All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel
If you enjoyed Fannie Flagg's Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café, you won't be disappointed by her latest installment, The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion: A Novel. Threaded through both are prevailing themes of women being empowered, mysteries being unfolded, and southerners being downright quirky. They share a common style, too - that of a story within a story.
At the beginning of the novel, we meet Sookie Poole from Point Clear, Alabama. She has a dentist husband, three married daughters, and one opinion-giving, curb-hopping, gossip-loving, genealogy-boasting mother named Lenore. Although she leads a comfortable life, caring for her family and tending to the birds that visit her yard, Sookie often feels discontent and out of place. Everything changes, though, when a certified letter arrives from Texas. What's revealed leaves Sookie reeling, and searching for answers.
Her quest takes us back to the 1940s and introduces Fritzi, the oldest daughter of immigrant parents who settled in Pulaski, Wisconsin. During the early days of war, Fritzi and her sisters manage the family's filling station. Although it's small, the filling station quickly gains a reputation for good service and pretty attendants. Fritzi is eager to use her pilot skills to aid the war effort, however, so she sets off for an adventure of her own.
Enjoy a fun romp through the pages as the stories progress and the plot thickens. Through humor and sincerity, witness two women from different generations seek truth, reevaluate their place, and gain inspiration from the journey.
Charleston Tea Plantation
Charleston Tea Plantation produces the only tea grown in the United States on Wadmalaw Island, thirty miles south of Charleston. The plantation is operated by William Barclay Hall, a third-generation tea-taster, and Mack Fleming, the horticulturist who developed the company's mechanical harvester for Lipton, the original developer of the land. It is planted with more than 125 acres of tea, Camellia sinensis.
Tea and camellias have celebrated histories in South Carolina. Although Boston's Tea Party is more renowned, Charleston officials also confiscated British tea in the city's harbor. However, rather than destroying it, they hid it in the Old Exchange Building before secretly selling it to sympathizers of independence to fund the Revolutionary War effort. Ornamental camellias first arrived in America at Middleton Plantation near Charleston in 1799 with the French botanist André Michaux. Their popularity spread throughout the Republic, but South Carolina is the only state ever to have produced Camellia sinensis commercially.
Dr. Junius Smith first attempted tea cultivation in Greenville in 1848. He was successful at propagating the plants, but the operation ceased after his death in 1853. Dr. Alexis Forster was successful in Georgetown from 1874 to 1879, but his tea plants were similarly abandoned when he died.
In 1888 Dr. Charles Shepard established the Pinehurst Tea Plantation in Summerville and gained fame for his oolong tea, which is partially oxidized. Thousands of plants were propagated from Shepard's cuttings and were planted near Rantowles, just south of Charleston, in 1903, but family disputes resulted in the dissolution of that venture in 1907.
The present Charleston Tea Plantation was begun in 1963 by Thomas J. Lipton, scion of the tea magnate. Charleston Tea Plantation produces black tea, which is totally oxidized before being dried. In 2003 Bigelow Tea purchased the plantation, with plans to rename the operation Charleston Tea Gardens. Tea, the drink steeped from the leaves, is second in worldwide popularity after water.
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Encouraging very early reading
A new documentary by veteran Columbia filmmaker Bud Ferillo will debut this month and may change the debate about early literacy and learning in South Carolina just like his 2005 film "Corridor of Shame" refocused the public policy debate about funding for poor schools. The new film, "When the Bough Breaks," will debut later this month. It stresses reading to children as early as possible to expand their vocabulary so they're ready to learn when they get to school.
In Charleston County, parents who need books for their children can enroll their children in Dolly Parton's Imagination Library, which will deliver free books monthly based on need through its local affiliate, Begin with Books. Click here to learn more.
cuppa-la facts about tea
A Sunday trip to the Charleston Tea Plantation left us more educated about tea that we ever thought was possible. Some neat stuff:
The other, please
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee.'
-- Abraham Lincoln
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Earth Day Festival contest: Students from kindergarten through 6th grade are being asked to submit artwork for the 2014 Charleston County Earth Day Festival, which will be April 26. Artwork on this year's theme, "Earth to Charleston," is due by 4 p.m. March 28. To learn more about rules and entry specifications, visit here.
Principled Leadership: March 13-14, The Citadel. War correspondent Rick Atkinson and Paralympic ski-racer Bonnie St. John will speak at this two-day conference. More.
Charleston Tells: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. March 14; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., March 15, at Wragg Square, 342 Meeting Street. The second year of this outstanding storytelling festival portends to be great. Tickets are $15 to $45. More.
Free park admission: March 16. Charleston County residents and visitors can enjoy all of the county's parks during Customer Appreciation Day. More.
Carolina Yard Gardening School: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March 22, Carolina Exchange Park, Ladson. Clemson Extension and the Tri-County Master Gardens offer this one day event with hands-on gardening workshops and lecturers. Joining this year will be Amanda McNulty, host of SCETV's "Making It Grow." Registration is $75, including lunch. More.
(NEW) Come Get the Message: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., March 27, Lighthouse on Shem Creek, 100 Church Street, Mount Pleasant. The Center for Women are hosting this party to rededicate the organization to its mission and unveil new changes in its work to enhance economic growth , encourage success and offer personal development to women in the area. Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and live music. Tickets are $45. More.
(NEW) Lowcountry Cajun Festival: Noon to 6 p.m., April 6, James Island County Park, James Island. The 23rd annual festival will be full of Zydeco music, Cajun and Creole foods, fun for the kids and lots of entertainment. Admission is $10. 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.
great outings for limited times