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Issue 1.09 | Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008 | Forward to your friends!

Ebenezer Scrooge (center) is surrounded by ghosts from past and future Christmases in Charleston Stage's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol." See Good News for details. (Photo provided.)

:: Rural Mission knows struggle, survival

:: Museums offer great holiday insights

:: Send your thoughts

:: Chris Lamb's best veep quotes

:: Scrooge, symphony, green houses, more


___:: CALENDAR: Coming events
___:: REVIEW: Send us your review
___:: HISTORY: Sullivan's Island
___:: QUOTE: On success
___:: BOOKSHELF: Interesting reading


ABOUT US is a new online twice-weekly publication that offers insightful community comment and good news on events. It cuts through the information clutter to offer insight and news on the best of what's happening locally. More.


Rural Mission, like its clients, knows struggle, survival
Director of Program Development, Rural Mission Inc.
Special to

DEC. 4, 2008 -- The Rural Mission Inc. is used to seeing and enduring hard times. We see them every day in the lives and hardships of the underserved rural poor we seek to help. They live on the rural coastal Sea Islands and neighboring communities - Johns, Wadmalaw, Edisto and Yonges islands as well as the communities of Hollywood, Ravenel and Meggett. These very low income families, migrants and elderly residents are largely unseen and unheard in their rural communities. The help they do receive is so greatly appreciated.


The Rural Mission itself also knows what it means to survive on very little and to endure shortfalls and difficulties. The mission has faithfully served those in need since 1969, often without certainty of where the donations and gifts were coming from. Through His grace, they have come. However, this year is much more difficult than most.

The news each day carries stories of charities and nonprofits struggling to keep their doors open and to meet the growing needs of those they serve. When the economy slows and unemployment rises, those who have the least are the first to feel the pain and hardship. Their struggles last longer, and they are the last to see a recovery, if at all.

The mission has seen a dramatic increase in requests for help. Many come from the elderly residents of the region who survive on minimal Social Security income. With the cold onset of winter, their hardships will only deepen without help.

Rural Mission volunteers team up to repair a substandard home. (Photo provided)

The Rural Mission is an ecumenical Christian ministry that is vital to the very poor in this rural part of Charleston County. The region it serves is a beautiful setting of woods, fields, marshes and waterways with large oaks shading its roadways.

Life here is different. These rural communities still revolve around family and church. People help each other. They enjoy a distinctly different culture and heritage that makes the Sea Islands inviting. These islands are a home that brings many back after years of living elsewhere. These islands are also a place of limited opportunities, widespread substandard housing and few services. The wealth of the resort islands nearby is in sharp contrast to the poverty of the rural areas.

The Rural Mission and the churches and organizations that support this ministry work hard to meet these needs in four primary ways, dependent upon the generosity of those who can give.

  • The mission provides care, education and nurturing to the preschool children of migrant families who come to the Sea Islands during the agricultural season. With two centers on Johns Island, the mission has now extended its care into Colleton County with a new facility near Lodge.

  • The mission also assists low-income residents in times of hardship and crisis. It provides a helping hand that allows them to overcome emergencies and to help themselves. These requests may be for an emergency repair, a utility bill, food, medicine or transportation.

  • Rural Mission volunteers work to repair a Sea Islands home. (Photo provided)
    The mission provides hope and strengthens families by working to improve substandard and unsafe/unhealthy housing. In a year's time, the mission will repair and rehab up to 50 low-income, owner-occupied homes in severely substandard condition for homeowners with no resources to do this work. New homes are also built to replace those lost to fire or found to be beyond repair.
  • This gift of grace is the work of the mission's fourth primary area of ministry: hosting and training volunteers. The mission has been blessed with hundreds of volunteers each year who come to the mission to embrace discipleship by giving to others. They may be young people from high schools, church groups or colleges, or retirees or adults giving back to their communities. They all leave with a new perspective on life and a deeper faith and appreciation gained through helping and working alongside of those who are very needy.

The mission needs help to be able to continue this ministry. We are making a difference and changing lives. A decent place to live provides hope to residents and their communities. Being a part of this change brings a lifetime of purpose to those who made this possible.

All of us are tightening our belts and feeling uneasy about the months ahead. Please consider those who are far less fortunate as you consider your giving. They will be depending upon others to brighten their holiday season. Please also consider getting directly involved through volunteering. There is work to be done each day.

Learn more by visiting or calling 768-1720. Donations are greatly appreciated and can be mailed and made payable to Rural Mission, Inc., P.O. Box 235, Johns Island, SC, 29457.

House museums offer look at a simpler holiday season
By ANN THRASH, editor

DEC. 4, 2008 -- The trappings of the holidays seem to appear earlier each year. Motion-detecting Santas started rockin' around the plastic Christmas trees in some stores before all the Halloween candy was sold. School kids were selling wrapping paper right around Labor Day. And Christmas music has been on the radio for months - well, OK, weeks. It only seems like months.


Need a break from the mass-produced fuss that seeps into the modern holiday season? We found a great answer earlier this week: a visit to see the historic Aiken-Rhett House all decked out for Christmas. It's one of several local house museums offering a taste of the days when magnolia leaves, pine swags and fresh fruit were the staples of decorating in a Lowcountry December.

The Aiken-Rhett House, a property of the Historic Charleston Foundation, has been decorated to reflect life among privileged Charlestonians on the eve of the Civil War.

It was interesting to notice, in the display in the elegant dining room, how many of the items on the menu were the same foods we put on our holiday tables today: turkey, venison, quail, oysters, sweet potatoes, field peas and pecan pies, to name a few familiar favorites.

The Aiken-Rhett House on Elizabeth Street is decorated with pine garlands. (Photo by Ann Thrash)

There were also several small, tabletop displays in the outbuildings, where some of the family's slaves lived and worked, to explain their holiday traditions. This is the first year for those displays at the house; here's hoping they'll continue to grow in size and scope in the years ahead.

Another HCF house museum, the Nathaniel Russell House, is decorated as it would have been in 1808, the year the Federal-era mansion was completed, with natural greenery and a holiday table set for a party.

Here's a brief look at some of the holiday activities at the Lowcountry's house museums, along with Web sites to check out for the particulars on price, hours, directions, etc. Visiting any of these places will remind you of what's often at the heart of the happiest holiday memories: home and loved ones. And you'll be reminded of how lucky we are that our shared "home," Charleston, is an extraordinary city that makes it a priority to preserve and share its history.

  • Christmases of Yesterday: Historic Charleston Foundation house museums at the Aiken-Rhett House, 48 Elizabeth St., and the Nathaniel Russell House, 51 Meeting St. Details: 724-8481 or

  • Heyward-Washington House: 87 Church St., Charleston. Special 18th-century "Wining & Dining" tours on Thursdays in December before Christmas. Tours begin at 4 p.m.; reservations not required. Details: 722-2996, ext. 235, or

  • The dining room at the Aiken-Rhett House is ready for an antebellum holiday dinner. (Historic Charleston Foundation photo)
    Magnolia Plantation and Gardens' Camellia Christmas: Dec. 4-31. America's most extensive outdoor camellia display will be in full bloom, and the plantation house is decorated for the season. Details: 571-1266 or click here to view online.

  • Christmas 1860, A Candlelight Tour: Edmondston-Alston House, 21 E. Battery, Charleston. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 5 and Dec. 12, candlelight tours feature costumed interpreters sharing Christmas traditions of the 1860s. Details: 722-7171 or through this Web site.

  • Joseph Manigault House: Beginning Dec. 6, the house, located at 350 Meeting St., will feature arrangements by the Garden Club of Charleston using only live plant materials that would have been available in the Lowcountry during the early 1800s. Details:

Ann Thrash is editor of You can reach her by email at:

Send us your thoughts

Our policy: We encourage readers to submit feedback or letters to the editor. Send your thoughts to editor Ann Thrash. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. One submission allowed per month. Make sure to include your name and phone number. Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint. Please keep your comment to 250 words or less.


The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Southeastern Galleries, a family-owned store that offers the best in upscale furniture in one of the largest showrooms in the state. The store's highly-trained professional interior designers offer complimentary design assistance for customers, including space planning, furniture and fabric selection, window treatments, wall coverings, carpeting and rugs. Design services involve working from architectural plans for new construction and in-home consultations for existing homes. To learn more about the outstanding furniture offerings and design help from Southeastern Galleries, visit the company online at:, or stop by its West Ashley location at 1885 Ashley River road in Charleston. Phone: 556-4663.

  • To learn more about all of our underwriters and nonprofit partners, click here.

Charleston Stage to present high-flying A Christmas Carol

Charleston Stage's adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" is sure to reach new heights this year -- literally-- because the theater company has brought in experts from Flying by Foy, the original special-effects team that gave Peter Pan a lift, flying him over Broadway.

Soaring spirits, apparitions and a fog-shrouded set (thanks to hundreds of pounds of dry ice) will add a haunting feel to the production, and a new score will feature bright new carols and a band of onstage musicians.

Catch "A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas" at the College of Charleston's Sottile Theatre, 44 George St., downtown Charleston. Tonight is opening night. Other performances are planned for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Dec. 6, Dec. 12, Dec. 13 and Dec. 20; 5 p.m. Dec. 7; and 3 p.m. Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.

Tickets range from $10 to $41 and are available online. To order by phone, call 577-7183 from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday of show weeks.

On Dec. 11, there will be a "Pay What You Will" show at 7:30 p.m. Patrons can pay whatever they like for admission, but tickets are available for purchase only on the day of the performance. Those tickets can be purchased online starting at midnight that day, or at the Sottile Theatre box office, which opens one hour before curtain time.

CSO gets matching-pledge challenge, could gain $150,000

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra, facing dire financial straits stemming from the economic downturn, has received an anonymous challenge matching pledge of up to $75,000 for gifts of $1,000 or more that the CSO receives between Dec. 1 and Jan. 31.
The challenge holds out the possibility that the symphony could double its donation revenues within those parameters.

"This most generous pledge by several steadfast CSO supporters who wish to remain anonymous means that contributions of $1,000 or more will be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to $75,000," said CSO Executive Director Jan Newcomb in a press release on Wednesday. "Thus, if we are successful in raising $75,000 in gifts greater than $1,000 by January 31, the CSO will receive a total of $150,000 which will help ensure the symphony can meet its financial obligations through January."

Go to to learn about donor benefits or contribute online. Contributions can also be mailed to: Charleston Symphony Orchestra, 145 King St., Suite 311, Charleston, SC 29401.

rehava to list new 'green' community on James Island

The rehava ~ Real Estate Store, a full-service real estate broker that offers a 50 percent buyer's commission rebate at closing, will be the listing real estate broker for a new sustainable "green" building project, Battery Island Row, on James Island. The community's flagship home, the 2009 Green Idea Home, will be finished and open to the public in summer 2009, with proceeds from an open house to be donated to charity.

Battery Island Row is Charleston's first entire LEED for Homes community. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally accepted benchmark for new and remodeled construction that promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes. A green home uses fewer resources while providing comfort, energy-efficiency and durability through skilled craftsmanship and thoughtful design.

The 2009 Green Idea Home is scheduled to host a 30-day open house starting in July. "Our goal is to guide over 50,000 visitors through the home during the open house event. We want to introduce green yet affordable solutions to potential home buyers, and get Charleston's communities involved," says Brandon Call, project manager and rehava's Realtor.

The project will feature local suppliers, vendors, contractors, consultants and designers who want to showcase their talents in sustainable and green construction. Developers are looking for sponsors, through Jan. 5, to partner with them on the Green Idea Home. For details, call 747-4762. For more on rehava, go to

Drayton Hall Museum Shop offers no-sales-tax weekend

The Museum Shop at Drayton Hall plantation will offer a 20 percent discount and no sales tax for shoppers on Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, along with hot cider and other perks to attract a holiday crowd. The shop has an expanded artisan-inspired collection of original artwork, photography, pencil sketches, art glass, linens, pottery, jewelry, accessories, walking sticks, decorative items for the home and garden, holiday ornaments and more.

The all-day open house receptions will also include appetizers, desserts and prize drawings. Proceeds from items sold will go toward preservation efforts and architectural research at the house, as well as educational programs that reach more than 12,000 students annually.

The Museum Shop is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is also an online shop.


HAVE A REVIEW? If you have a review of a book, movie, restaurant or local arts endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Ann Thrash. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.

Sullivan's Island: Our first resort

Sullivan's Island was discovered in 1666 by Captain Robert Sandford and named for Captain Florence O'Sullivan, a former Irish soldier and one of South Carolina's first colonists. On May 30, 1674, O'Sullivan was given the responsibility of manning the signal cannon on the island at the entrance to Charleston harbor. Thus began the island's relationship with military defense as well as the name "O'Sullivan's Island." Throughout the history of Sullivan's Island, military defense and summer recreation would be the two most important factors in its economic development.

A quarantine station was built on Sullivan's Island in 1707 and served as the primary line of defense against infectious disease reaching Charleston via newly arriving immigrants, primarily African slaves. On June 28, 1776, the first major defeat suffered by the British forces in the Revolutionary War took place at the Battle of Sullivan's Island, where the American fort on the island forced the withdrawal of British warships threatening the city.

Beginning in 1791, private citizens "who thought it beneficial to their health" began spending summers on the island, making Sullivan's perhaps the state's original seaside resort. In 1817 the incorporation of the town of Moultrieville reflected the increase in summer and year-round residents. From 1827 to 1828 the resident Edgar Allan Poe, then a young army recruit, was stationed at Fort Moultrie. Years later Poe's story "The Gold Bug" drew on his time spent on Sullivan's Island.

Taking part in the opening shots of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, Confederate gunners at Fort Moultrie and three other batteries on Sullivan's Island participated in the bombardment of Fort Sumter.

In 1906 the General Assembly revoked the charter for the town of Moultrieville, replacing it with a township government and creating the town of Sullivan's Island. Fort Moultrie was deactivated in 1947 and turned over to the National Park Service. A navigation beacon or lighthouse is the only remaining defensive fixture on Sullivan's Island from the days of Florence O'Sullivan.

-- Excerpted entry by Catherine Fitzgerald. 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.)

CREDITS is provided to you twice a week by:

  • Editor: Ann Thrash, 843.494.4468
  • Publisher: Andy Brack, 843.670.3996
  • Address: P.O. Box. 22261 | Charleston, SC 29413

© 2008, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.

Lamb's top veep quotes

From Chris Lamb, a professor of communication at the College of Charleston and the author of "I'll Be Sober in the Morning: Great Comebacks, Putdowns, and Ripostes":

During the 2008 presidential campaign, a third-grade student asked Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin what the vice president did. Palin responded that the vice president was in charge of the U.S. Senate.

As a lot of third graders probably knew, Palin was wrong; the vice president presides over the Senate but, otherwise, has little authority. According to the U.S. Constitution, the vice president's duties are limited to voting only when there is a tie in the Senate, and succeeding the president if he or she can no longer serve.

Steve Tally, author of "Bland Ambition: From Adams to Quayle - The Cranks, Criminals, Tax Cheats, and Golfers Who Made it to Vice President," wrote, with tongue-in-cheek, that the greatest achievement by a vice president came from Thomas Marshall, who served from 1913 to1921 and uttered the words: "What this country needs is a really good five-cent cigar!"

Here are the five best things ever said about the vice presidency - from vice presidents or those who were considered for the office.

  • "My country has, in its wisdom, contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived." - John Adams, America's first vice president.

  • U.S. Sen. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, when offered the vice presidency in 1828, indignantly replied, "I do not propose to be buried until I am dead."

  • "A great man may be vice president, but he can't be a great vice president because the office itself is unimportant." - Thomas Marshall, America's 28th vice president.

  • "Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea, the other was elected vice president, and neither of them was heard from again." - Also from Thomas Marshall, America's 28th vice president.

  • "The vice presidency isn't worth a warm bucket of spit." - John Nance Garner, America's 32nd vice president.


"Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue ... as the unintended side-effect of one's personal dedication to a course greater than oneself."

-- Viktor Frankl, "Man's Search For Meaning"


(NEW) Local Book Signings: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 4, Preservation Society of Charleston's Book and Gift Shop, corner of King and Queen streets, Charleston. Popular Charleston authors signing copies of their books. Appetizers and refreshments served. More info: 722-4630 or

Vienna Boys' Choir: 8 p.m. Dec. 4, Gaillard Auditorium, 77 Calhoun St., Charleston. Sponsored by the Charleston Concert Association. Holiday-themed performance by the world-famous choir whose traditions date back more than 500 years. Tickets $60-$15. Purchase at the Gaillard, through Ticketmaster at 554-6060, or at More info: or 571-7755.

'A Christmas Carol': Dec. 4-21, College of Charleston Sottile Theatre, 44 George St., Charleston. Charleston Stage production of Charles Dickens' classic novel of the season. Tickets: $41-$10. To see showtimes and buy tickets, click here. See Good News for details.

Gary Smith Talk: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., Charleston. Smith, a local resident and Sports Illustrated writer who has won more National Magazine Awards (four) than any other writer, will talk about his work and sign copies of his book, "Going Deep: 20 Classic Sports Stories." Click here for a book review.

(NEW) Breakfast With The Grinch: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Dec. 6, St. Andrews Parks Gym, 1095 Playground Road. Registration deadline is today (Dec. 4). Have breakfast with the Grinch, get photos taken with him and watch the classic "How The Grinch Stole Christmas." Santa might make a special appearance, too. Cost: $6 per child; $3 for parents if eating breakfast. More info: 763-4360.

Reindeer Run: 9 a.m. Dec. 6, starting at East Bay and Queen streets, Charleston. Festive 5K run and walk to benefit the MUSC Children's Hospital and other local charities. Registration: Run, $25 adults, $20 children; walk, $23 adults, $18 kids. Fees $5 more on race day. More info: or click here to register online.

Santa in the Swamp: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6, Cypress Gardens, 3030 Cypress Gardens Road, Moncks Corner. Kids can greet Santa as he arrives in the swamp by flat-bottom boat. Holiday festivities include musical performances, a jump castle and free take-home crafts activities for kids. Handmade gift items will be available from local vendors, and a special "Santa Shop" for kids will feature gifts for less than $5. More info: 553-0515 or

Pearls for the Holidays: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 6 and Dec. 7, Amenities Center at The Tides Condominiums, 115 Cooper River Drive, Mount Pleasant. See beautiful pearl and gemstone jewelry by Larkin Hill ( ) and enjoy a glass of champagne. See Good News for details.

29th Annual Parade of Boats: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 6, Charleston Harbor. Lighted boats decorated for the holiday season parade through Charleston Harbor, followed by a fireworks display. View the procession along the waterfront or decorate your own boat and join the fun. Parade begins on the Mount Pleasant side of the harbor; viewing from the peninsula begins at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks at approximately 6:45 p.m. More info: 724-7305.

CSO Gospel Christmas: 8 p.m. Dec. 6, Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, 77 Calhoun St. Charleston Symphony Orchestra musicians and the CSO Gospel Choir sing songs of the season under the direction of guest conductor Vincent Danner. Soloist: Jennifer Bynum. Tickets: $30. To purchase, click here.


Holiday Festival of Lights: Through Jan. 4, James Island County Park, 871 Riverland Drive, James Island. Millions of sparkling lights and hundreds of imaginative displays line a 3-mile drive through the park. Also includes marshmallow-roasting and activities for kids, gift shop and walking trail through Winter Wonderland. More info. Also see more here.

State of the Region Address: 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Dec. 10, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Charleston Area Convention Center, Ballroom A. The chamber's Joint Area Business Council looks at the state of the tri-county area with the chairmen of Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties. Topics include the latest projects, laws, news and outlooks for the coming year. To register:

Rural Mission Fund-Raiser: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 11, Mad River Bar & Grill, 32 Market St., Charleston. Fun and entertainment to raise money to support local families in need. Donation of $5 provides food and beverages. Chance to win dinner at some of the area's best restaurants. More on Rural Mission.

Fort Johnson Anniversary: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11, Charleston County Library Main Branch Auditorium, 68 Calhoun St., Charleston. The Charleston Archive and the Mayor's Walled City Task Force sponsor a free, illustrated talk by Dr. Nic Butler, manager of the archive and the historian for the task force, to mark the 300th anniversary of the building of the fort. Archaeologist Carl Steen will discuss his recent investigations at the site. More info: 805-6968 or

Growing Up Gifted: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 13, Rooms 117 and 118, School of Education, Health and Human Performance at the College of Charleston Alumni Center, 86 Wentworth St. Educational session for parents of gifted children; speakers include local and state experts and advocates for programs for exceptional children. Reservations: Stacey Lindbergh, 437-1751 or


In this section, we offer a list of good reads that you might want to consider reading:

  • A Short History of a Small Place, T.R. Pearson
  • A Turn in the South, V.S. Naipaul
  • The Book of Marie, Terry Kay
  • Charleston Jazz, Jack McCray
  • Going Deep: 20 Classic Sports Stories, Gary Smith (review)
  • I'll Be Sober in the Morning: Great Comebacks, Putdowns, and Ripostes, Chris Lamb (List)
  • Suggest a book to us


12/1: Lively: Classes give job edge
Maybank: Great wines
Nelson: Manageable health goals
Husser: Hard times, knowing selves
Sandstrom: Festival of Lights
Hill: CVB and holiday successes
Alterman: Center for Women
: Kapeluck: Election turnout


11/20: Helping with books
Secret great dining place unveiled
Slaughterhouses part of city's past
: Meet


12/1: Depression was far worse than now
Time for CSO to answer questions
Recycling more than you think
Election reflections


12/1: Stahl's top holiday tunes
Five Charleston firsts
Gibbes' newest acquisitions
CCPL's top DVDs
MUSC's top procedures
Bertauski: 5 winter shrubs
Dupree: Thanksgiving prep
: McCray: Charleston Jazz


We encourage you to check out our sister publications:

SC Statehouse Report -- a weekly legislative forecast that keeps you a step ahead of what happens at the Statehouse. It's free.

SC Clips -- a daily news compilation of South Carolina news from media sources across the state. Delivered by email about the time you get to work every business day. Saves you a lot of money and time. Sign up for a free trial subscription today.

Georgia Clips offers a similar daily news compilation for the scores of newspapers in Georgia's 159 counties.

GwinnettForum -- an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.





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