|Issue 1.12 | Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 | Forward to your friends!|
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DEC. 15, 2008 -- As the voice of business, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce works on behalf of our members and the local business community to advocate policies and legislation that help businesses grow and our community prosper.
The chamber's board of directors adopted the 2009 legislative agenda in November, empowering the Public Policy Committee and Chamber staff to communicate these priority issues to local, state and federal officials. We know with the current economic challenges that this is not the year to focus on issues that are going to require new revenue. However, we have a number of issues that we believe we can help push through.
Among those are an increase in the state's cigarette tax, changing the way funds are allocated for public education and modifications of some of the things changed in the 2006 property tax law - specifically, changes that are negatively impacting the sale of real estate.
On the federal level, the chamber will focus on funding for roads and infrastructure, the development of a comprehensive energy policy that includes nuclear power, exploration of offshore drilling and other ways to lesson dependency on foreign oil and reduce impacts to the environment.
Another key issue for the chamber is to keep legislation that takes away workers' rights to secret ballot elections from passing. The chamber, along with chambers of commerce across the country, the S.C. Chamber and U.S. Chamber, are doing everything possible to keep the federal legislation, called the Employee Free Choice Act, from passing. This act is not just bad for business, but it's also bad for workers. We oppose it because of the negative impact it will have on businesses, and because we support the rights of workers to organize through the secret ballot process.
Locally, one of the chamber's key initiatives in 2009 is to launch a green initiative. We know that the majority of our members are small business and they have told us they want to do what they can to reduce their carbon footprint, but they just don't know how. We want to start an effort to help educate and show them that no matter what their size, there are specific things we can all do to become more green.
The issues in our legislative agenda are based on surveys and input from chamber members from our annual survey of the membership, as well as the work and recommendations of various volunteer committees and task forces. Each May, the board of directors takes all the research and information gathered and set the priorities for the chamber through the development of the annual Program of Work. Based upon the four-year Strategic Plan, the Program of Work outlines the focus of the chamber's programs for the coming 12 months. By identifying the key issues of the membership and reviewing the overall strategic goals, the board helps the Public Policy Committee to begin to focus on issues.
In late summer, the Public Policy Committee begins its work for the new program year, often with briefings on various issues followed by discussion as to which issues to add to the annual agenda. The Public Policy Committee is composed of representatives of various committees, task forces and sectors of the chamber's membership in an effort to ensure all types, sizes and business interests are involved in the public policy process.
For a copy of the chamber's legislative agenda, visit www.charlestonchamber.net.
a partner with Clawson and Staubbes LLC, chairs the Public Policy Committee
of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.
HAMBURG, Germany, Dec. 13, 2008 -- When I left Charleston last week for a business trip to Germany, the spirit of Christmas seemed far away, lost somewhere between the economic gloom and doom that fogged the state for months.
The atmosphere couldn't have been different in Berlin, Potsdam, Hamburg and Husum, a small town on the North Sea. In meetings with federal government officials, corporate bigwigs and nonprofit officials, Germans were keen and upbeat about their work and economy, the world's third largest. A BMW representative touted his company's hydrogen-powered luxury car. One solar panel manufacturer in Berlin admitted that a 40 percent drop in the company's stock value had done little to impact the company's excitement for growth. A shipping company said revenues were down some, but growth remained positive. A manufacturer of modern-day windmills continues to expand.
The story was the same on the streets. Amid grilling bratwursts and a sweet-and-sour mulled wine sold at special outdoor Christmas markets across the city-state of Hamburg, Germans shopped and caroused with glee. An oompa band played "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" from a third-floor balcony in freezing weather outside a major department store. Kids ate candied apples. Christmas trees topped cranes at the port, straddled busy streets, and filled hotels and businesses.
But it wasn't Germans just being enthusiastic about Germany and how they are doing well. Day after day, Germans wanted to know more about what was happening now in America that Barack Obama was set soon to become president. They showed a remarkable hope that he would help America get back on track soon - almost as if it were a fait accompli.
So the lesson of all of this German enthusiasm for Germany and America is that we are headed for more than a season of giving to our friends and family. As a nation, we seem to be headed for a season of renewal. Yes, we'll have ups and downs. Yes, a lot of people are hurting.
But it took a trip to another country to remind me what we all know -- that the goodness and strength of South Carolina and the nation's other 49 states will pull us together so we can pull the country together. It will get better. Let's keep that in mind as our holiday wish and make our holiday commitment to work for a better, brighter future.
Andy Brack is publisher of CharlestonCurrents.com. You can reach him by email at: email@example.com.
To the editor:
Everyone knows that fried chicken or country fried steak should be our state meat. We don't want to be like our Georgia or North Carolina neighbors.
The public spiritedness of our underwriters and nonprofit partners allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents.com to you at no cost. This issue's featured nonprofit partner is the Center for Women, the only comprehensive women's development center in South Carolina. The Center for Women is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to make personal and professional success an everyday event for Lowcountry women. The Center, honored in 2006 by Oprah's Angel Network with a $25,000 grant, has reached more than 70,000 women since it started in 1990. Not only has it connected thousands of women to professional sources for practical help, support, counseling and referrals, but it continues to provide outstanding educational programs to help women in their careers and businesses. Learn more: http://www.c4women.org.
A citywide celebration of Chanukah will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 21, the first night of the holiday known as the Festival of Lights, in Marion Square Park.
Festivities will include the lighting of the first candle in the city menorah, live music, a performance by the Jewish Choral Society, and craft tables for children and adults where participants can make their own dreidel, menorah and even donuts. A jump castle and face painting are also part of the fun.
The event is free and open to the public.
Cenegenics, LS3P earn awards for interior design
Cenegenics South Carolina, a medical institute located in Charleston, recently won major awards from two of the nation's largest interior-design associations.
The facility's interior, designed by LS3P Image Studio of Charleston, won one of two Merit Awards in the health-care category from the Carolinas chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) also recognized the design with an Honor Award during the recent Carolinas Designworks Awards ceremony in Charlotte. It was the only health-care award that IIDA presented this year.
Cenegenics South Carolina helps patients manage the aging process through a customized regimen of exercise, nutrition and hormone. The chief executive officer is Dr. Mickey Barber, a board-certified anesthesiologist and former assistant professor at Tulane University.
The award-winning space featured an environmentally friendly design using sustainable materials, such as cork flooring and nontoxic paints, and maximizing the flow of natural light throughout the interior.
Blackbaud donates $25,000 to Crisis Ministries
Blackbaud, a Daniel Island-based provider of software and services for nonprofit organizations worldwide, recently donated $25,000 to Crisis Ministries. The Charleston agency serves more than 1,500 hungry and homeless people each year.
two dozen Blackbaud employees have volunteered in the Soup Kitchen, Family
Center and Men's Shelter, according to Crisis Ministries. The agency held
"Blackbaud Day" earlier this month to recognize the company's
Overlooking the Cooper River north of Charleston, Magnolia Cemetery was established in 1850. An excellent example of the rural cemeteries then popular in mid-nineteenth-century America, it followed the example of such cemeteries as Mount Auburn near Boston, Laurel Hill near Philadelphia, and Green-Wood near New York City.
Magnolia Cemetery, described at its dedication as a "spot most precious to the musing hour," was designed by the Charleston architect Edward C. Jones. It features family plots surrounded by stone coping or cast-iron fences; winding streets and paths with cast-iron benches; ornamental trees and shrubs such as magnolias, live oaks, cedars, and hollies; a small lake; and a vista of the marsh and the nearby river. Gravestones include marble or granite tablets, ledgers, box-tombs, tomb-tables, obelisks, and pedestal-tombs, as well as several prominent mausoleums.
Among the most striking monuments are the Elbert P. Jones Monument (1853), designed by the architect Francis D. Lee; the Vanderhorst Mausoleum (1856), an elaborate Egyptian-revival structure; the Colonel William Washington Monument (1858), designed by the architect Edward Brickell White and sculpted by William T. White and featuring a fluted column with a rattlesnake coiled around it; and the Defenders of Charleston Monument (1882), the focal point of the Confederate section.
The cemetery also features many fine examples of work by the White brothers of Charleston - William, Edwin and Robert - perhaps the most prolific and accomplished stonecutters of nineteenth-century South Carolina. Their stones, often cut from imported Italian marble, are notable for their distinctive lettering and remarkably detailed carving.
Some of the prominent South Carolinians buried here include the antebellum industrialist William Gregg, the US senator and secessionist Robert Barnwell Rhett, the author and poet William Gilmore Simms, the merchant and secretary of the Confederate States Treasury George Alfred Trenholm, and Confederate generals James Conner, Micah Jenkins, Arthur M. Manigault, and Roswell S. Ripley. Captain Horace L. Hunley and the second crew of the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley are also interred in Magnolia Cemetery.
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Five C of C class facts
Five facts about the College of Charleston's Class of 2012, whose members are now freshmen at "the College of Knowledge:"
"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom. "
-- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
(NEW) The Grinch is Back: 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 20, and 3 p.m. Dec. 21, Charleston Ballet Theatre, 477 King St., Charleston. Following a successful run in November, the CBT has added extra performances of Dr. Seuss' classic "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." Cost: $20 adults, $10 children. Tickets: 723-7334 or http://www.charlestonballet.org.
(NEW) Holiday Pops: 8 p.m. Dec. 20, Gaillard Municipal Auditorium, 77 Calhoun St. Nearly 200 musicians and singers will be on stage when the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, CSO Chorus and other community organizations celebrate the season. Scott Terrell is the conductor. Beginning at 7 p.m., the Palmetto Bronze Handbell Choir will perform as the audience arrives. Cost: $20-$45 adults; $5 students with ID. Tickets.
Chanukah in the Square: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 21, Marion Square, downtown Charleston. Citywide celebration of the Festival of Lights, marking the first night of Chanukah. Live music, performance by the Jewish Choral Society, craft tables for kids (make your own dreidel or menorah), face-painting and more. Free and open to the public. See Good News.
'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.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
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.
(NEW) Customer Relations Coaching: 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Jan. 7, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2750 Speisegger Drive, North Charleston. Part III of the chamber's "Managing Through an Economic Crisis" series. Session focuses on how to deliver the kind of customer service that wins and retains clients. Cost: $15 for chamber members, $30 for nonmember. Click to register.
MLK Concert: 4 p.m. Jan. 18, Mount Moriah Family Living Center, 7396 Rivers Ave., North Charleston. "Perseverance: Where Do We Go From Here: A Celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.," presented by the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir and the city of North Charleston's Cultural Arts Department, featuring music, historical audio and video footage. Free; donations will be accepted at the door to support the choir's community outreach work. First-come, first-served entry tickets available at the Gaillard Auditorium Box Office in downtown Charleston; Mount Moriah Family Living Center in North Charleston or the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department.
In this section, we offer a list of good reads that you might want to consider reading:
2009 Chamber agenda
scoop on ambrosia
Xmas spirit in Hamburg
of 5 C of C stats
We encourage you to check out our sister publications: