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Issue 1.68 | Monday, July 13, 2009 | Enjoy the coolish weather

LOCAL ROOTS: Sweetgrass blooms alongside the Sweetgrass Pavilion at the new Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant on Sunday. The facility offers educational displays and gives basketmakers a place to sell their work. Sweetgrass is just one of many heat-hardy plants that grace the park grounds. For more, see The List. (Photo by Ann Thrash.)

:: Advice on protecting your skin


:: An economic thaw starting?

:: Vent -- send us your thoughts

:: Hot plants

:: Trackster, concert, shagging


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Tell us why you like a book
___:: HISTORY: Old railroad
___:: QUOTE: Kipling on hard work
___:: BOOKSHELF: Interesting reading
___:: SPOTLIGHT: Meet an underwriter


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 | Reader testimonials


Expert advice on protecting skin in summer and year-round
Chairman, MUSC Department of Dermatology
Special to

JULY 13, 2009 -- Summer is officially here, and anyone who is regularly exposed to the sun should know the basics of skin protection.


Why? Because the summer sun produces a high UV index, which puts your skin at risk for melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

Skin cancer

  • Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States.

  • There are several types of skin cancer, including squamous cell (flat cells that form the surface of the skin), basal cell (small, round cells in the base of the outer layer of the skin) and melanoma (skin cells that make pigment).

  • Most of the 1 million new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are sun-related.

  • Skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body, but it is most common in skin that is often exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, hands, and arms.

  • The incidence of melanoma continues to rise significantly, at a rate faster than that of any of the seven most common cancers (source:

  • More than 20 Americans die each day from skin cancer, primarily melanoma (source:

  • The survival rate for patients whose melanoma is detected early, before the tumor has penetrated the epidermis, is about 99%. The survival rate falls to 15% for those with advanced disease (source:

Melanoma risk factors

  • Any change on the skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, freckle or spot, or a new growth.

  • Scaliness, oozing, bleeding or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule.

  • The spread of pigmentation beyond its border such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark.

  • A change in sensation, itchiness, tenderness or pain.

  • Fair skin, light eyes, many freckles.

  • Severe, blistering sunburns as a child or adult.

  • Family history of melanoma.

  • Having had melanoma in the past.

  • More than 50 moles on the skin.

  • A weakened immune system.

  • Exposure to UV radiation from the sun or artificial sources.

Protecting your skin

The best way to lower the risk of skin cancer is to limit time in the sun. You can exercise and enjoy the outdoors while practicing sun safety. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Cover areas exposed to the sun (hat and long sleeves and pants) and use plenty of sunscreen SPF 15 or higher (remember your hands and ears).

  • Wear sunglasses with 90 percent-100 percent UV absorption.

  • Avoid sun lamps and tanning beds.

    Schedule an annual full-body skin check with a dermatologist.

I Will Reflect

The Medical University of South Carolina has partnered again this year with the Spa at Charleston Place to educate the public about melanoma. "I Will Reflect" (IWR) is a program that aims to remind individuals to "reflect" on the need to protect their skin. There are several ways to "reflect."

  • Wear an "I Will Reflect" bracelet, which glows purple when the wearer's skin is exposed to dangerous sun rays. They are on sale at the Spa at Charleston Place for $3. All bracelets sales will be donated to the MUSC Foundation's Department of Dermatology. You can also share the message of skin protection with family and friends by wearing an "I Will Reflect" bracelet.

  • Pamper yourself with a luxury "I Will Reflect" treatment and The Spa at Charleston Place will donate 10 percent of the cost to MUSC. These treatments combine an indulgent facial or massage with sun safety tips, skin checks and sunscreen gifts.

  • Enjoy a 25 percent discount on a specialty sun care treatment when wearing an "I Will Reflect" bracelet.

Bruce Thiers, M.D., is the chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the Medical University of South Carolina

There's a thaw in the air

By ANDY BRACK, publisher
Special to

JULY 13, 2009 – Slog through this month's South Carolina business headlines and you might reach a surprising conclusion – that there's an economic thaw going on.


“All of the indicators are certainly that the recession is losing its steam,” said Ken Goldstein, an economist in New York with The Conference Board. But, he added, it's going to be a “long, slow, tough slog.”

While the state economy may remain tough for retail and this year's tourism numbers remain unclear, just look at what's going on in other major business areas:

  • Boeing announced it would pay $580 million for a fuselage plant in North Charleston, which could mean opening of a second production line and more jobs to get the 787 Dreamliner jet back on schedule.

  • A Korean company is looking at South Carolina and four other states to be the plant location to build a low-speed electric vehicle – an investment that could bring 2,500 jobs over five years. (Since BMW picked South Carolina in the 1990s, the state hasn't landed a car plant as other states have upped the incentive ante; now with state budgets in the toilet due to the recession, South Carolina may be in a better competitive position because other states don't have money to throw around, Goldstein said.)

  • An Australian fabric production plant is consolidating operations to its sister plant in St. Stephens.

  • Michelin, which has its North American headquarters in Greenville, has started a $1 million loan program to help small companies stay out of trouble.

  • In Bamberg, a company is investing $800,000 in a textile plant; in Summerville, a metal fabricating company is investing $2.3 million. Both mean more jobs for the area.

  • Other expansions are underway by Zaxby's and Dunkin' Donuts in the Columbia area and Fluor in Greenville.

On the down side, the old Georgetown steel mill finally appears to be closing after several years of see-saw existence.

But the point is that after months of a tentative business environment in which companies have downsized, consolidated and held onto their money, something more positive appears to be in the offing.

“We had a lot of announcements that were put on the shelf until the economy picked up,” said S.C. Chamber President Otis Rawl in an interview. “Maybe we're seeing some of those come off the shelf now.”

He added the big winners from the economic downturn likely would be companies that had little debt before things started going south. Now, he said, they're loosening the belt to do some additions and make changes when it's comparatively less expensive to build or buy inventory than it was 18 months ago.

Frank Knapp, who runs the S.C. Small Business Chamber, agreed, noting there was a sense anecdotally that the state's economy had hit rock bottom.

“I get the feeling now that people just are ready to get back to business,” he said. “Everybody was cautious; nobody wanted to do anything. I think the hunkering down part has gone out.”

Perhaps a silver lining for our part of the country is that it may emerge quicker from the recession than in the past. Through the years, South Carolina was slower to get in – and get out – of recessions because its economy was supported, in part, by a strong military presence, Rawl said. But now with a more diverse economy, it may be get back to a better business climate more quickly.

Goldstein said he thought the business environments of the Colorado-Nevada mountain region and the Carolinas-Georgia region were the two places that likely would start growing out of the recession earlier than the rest of the country.

Our region, he said, had advantages because of its support for building industries due to forest products (lumber) and furniture.

So while unemployment remains high in the state with one out of every eight South Carolinians out of work – and joblessness may stay high for awhile before it starts to go down – the silver lining appears to be a thaw that's starting to melt the freeze that's impacted just about everyone. Let's hope we get back to normal quickly.

Andy Brack, publisher of, can be reached at: This commentary first appeared in

Send your comments

Got something to say about leadership in South Carolina, the state of baseball today, good barbecue or something about your community's government, drop us a line to: Please send no more than 200 words and include contact information (phone number, hometown) so we can get in touch with you.


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

Charleston youth to represent state at national track event

Charleston's own DeAndre Burnell has been selected to represent South Carolina at the North American Final track and field competition, the last contest in a series of events in the Hershey's Track and Field Games. DeAndre, a student at the St. Andrews School of Math and Science, is one of only five South Carolina youngsters who qualified for the meet, which will be held July 30-Aug. 2 in Hershey, Pa.

In the Hershey's Track and Field Games, athletes ages 9 to 14 compete in local qualifiers, with the top two finishers in each event advancing to district finals. The top two qualifiers from the district finals then compete in statewide competitions. The times and distances of first-place winners at the state finals are then compared to those statistics from other winners in their region. South Carolina is in the Southeast region, which also includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission has coordinated the South Carolina district games for almost 10 years.

Rucker to give benefit concert to collect school supplies

Hometown (and nationwide) musical favorite Darius Rucker will offer a special concert in Charleston again this year to help bring in donations of school supplies for needy local students. The concert is planned for Aug. 13 at the Family Circle Tennis Center on Daniel Island.

Rucker and his band, Hootie and the Blowfish (which also features Mark Bryan, Dean Felber and Jim "Soni" Sonefeld), began offering the "Homegrown Concerts" to support local schools in 2003. This year, Darius Rucker will perform solo, featuring tracks from his gold-certified debut country album, "Learn to Live."

"With Dean's surgery and the break in Hootie for the year for my solo country album, we all agreed it was important to continue the benefit concert efforts, but with a country twist this year," Rucker said. "It will be a great night, and we look forward to returning for the 'Homegrown Concert' as Hootie in the coming years."

Country music star Dierks Bentley has signed on to perform with Rucker this year, and organizers say another special guest will be announced in coming weeks.

Tickets are on sale via Ticketmaster (), at Ticketmaster Charge-By-Phone (1-800-745-3000), at local Publix outlets and at the Family Circle Tennis Center ticket office (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to noon Friday). Reserved seats cost $40 for floor or first-tier tickets, or $32 for second-tier tickets. General-admission, third-tier tickets are $25.

The concert series encourages fans to bring school supplies to the show as a donation. The first year the concert was held, fans filled a 55-seat Charleston County school bus from top to bottom with supplies. The band then decided to expand the concert into other markets. In the years since, the band and its fans have gathered enough school supplies to pack more than 60 buses (seven in Charleston County alone) with approximately $300,000 worth of school supplies.

'Shaggin' on the Cooper' comes to new Mt. Pleasant pier

With the opening of the Mount Pleasant Pier at the town's new Memorial Waterfront Park, the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission is offering Shaggin' on the Cooper, a series of moonlight dances on the harbor.

Shaggin' on the Cooper makes its debut on July 25 at the pier, located at the base of the Arthur Ravenel Bridge near Patriots Point, with live music from The Sneakers, a four-piece party band that plays beach, jazz, funk and blues. Beverages will be available for purchase at the event; no outside alcohol or coolers will be allowed.

The gates open at 7:30 p.m., and the music starts at 8:30 p.m. Only 800 tickets will be sold, and they are available at the gate only. Admission is $8 for ages 3 and up.

Additional Shaggin' on the Cooper dates are Aug. 8, Sept. 19 and Oct. 24. For more information, go to or call 795-4FUN.

Good restaurant, book? Let us know

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.

Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston Rail Road Co.

This railroad represented the most ambitious dreams of the antebellum Charleston business community: a transportation connection to the markets of the Midwest that would return their city to national prominence. Agitation for such a route began early; an 1832 proposal to survey a route from Columbia to Knoxville failed when North Carolina and Tennessee refused to put forth any money.

In 1835 a committee of citizens headed by Robert Y. Hayne proposed surveying a route to Cincinnati, Ohio; that same year the group convinced the South Carolina General Assembly to spend $10,000 to cover the surveys. The company was chartered on December 19, 1835, to connect Charleston and Cincinnati. Louisville was added two months later to appease a Kentucky legislature reluctant to support any project that would benefit only Cincinnati.

In 1837 the company purchased stock in the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road Company in an effort to secure a source of revenue. That same year the company began constructing a sixty-mile line from Branchville to Columbia - the only track it ever built. Its charter was later amended by the General Assembly to grant banking privileges in an effort to finance the project. The company in turn organized the South Western Rail Road Bank, but efforts to secure a charter for the bank in the other states along the route proved fruitless.

Despite initial fanfare, the Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston Rail Road soon foundered because of the inability of the various states to agree on the level of necessary financial commitment, the difficult economic climate following the Panic of 1837, competition from neighboring projects, and the death in 1839 of Hayne, the project's most vigorous supporter. Consolidation with the South Carolina Canal and Rail Road was considered as early as 1840, and in 1843 the two companies were joined to form the South Carolina Rail Road Company. While Charlestonians would still dream of western trade, the search for a single route connecting their city and the Ohio Valley was effectively over.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Aaron W. Marrs. 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.)


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Hot plants


There's lots of shade at the new Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant, thanks to the Ravenel Bridge overhead, but there's also a lot of hot Lowcountry sun, so park planners choose plants that could weather our weather. Here are five local favorites you'll see at the park.

1) Oleander: The popular plants thrive in our hot, humid, often dry summers and won't wilt in the face of salt winds off the water.

2) Lantana: A low-maintenance, dry-weather lover. Lantana spreads easily (some would say too easily) and comes in lots of hot tropical color combinations.

3) Vinca: Durable, abundant flowers come in everything from white to baby pink to fuchsia and lavender, adding welcome color that sticks around even in the hottest summer weather.

4) Loropetalum: Sometimes called "Chinese fringe," this is a great plant for year-round interest. Tiny flowers appear off and on throughout the growing season and range from pale pink to deep fuchsia, and the foliage is red-bronze when new, maturing to deep purple-green shades.

5) Sweetgrass: What would the Sweetgrass Pavilion be without it? Sweetgrass (Muhlenbergia) fares well in a variety of soils, even dry, sandy onees. The plants looks delicate and thin now, but just wait until they flowers in the fall.

On hard work


"Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade."

-- Author Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)


Wine Dinner: 6:30 p.m. July 13, Crave Kitchen & Cocktails, 1968 Riviera Drive, Unit O, Mount Pleasant. Summer fare paired with California wines in a five-course dinner, with local wine experts offering tasting notes. Cost: $54 plus tax and service charge. Reservations (required) or more info: 884-1177 or online.

People of the Land Exhibit: Through July 15, Charleston County Main Library, 68 Calhoun St. The work of Lowcountry native and documentary photographer Vennie Deas Moore will be featured. Moore has devoted much of her career to exploring the vanishing traditions along the S.C. coast, and her photographs show the connections between cultures, the value of work and the symbiotic relationship between the black and white communities. On June 28 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Moore will discuss her photographs and her new book, "Home: Portraits from the Carolina Coast." More info: 805-6930.

Preparing Your Nonprofit for a Crisis: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 16, Charleston County Library Main Branch, 68 Calhoun St. Learn from experts how to prepare your organization for a crisis and how to handle the potential of a media and public firestorm. More info: 805-6930.

Networking Night for Entrepreneurs: 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 16, Charleston County Library Main Branch, 68 Calhoun St. Bring your business cards and meet other entrepreneurs at this event, which is held monthly. More info: 805-6930.

Palette and Palate Stroll: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. July 17, downtown Charleston. The Charleston Fine Art Dealers Association's Fourth Annual Palette and Palate Stroll features art and food "pairings" at 13 downtown galleries. Tickets: $30 per person; reservations required. Call 819-8006 or go online.

Reggae Nights: 8:30 p.m. July 18, James Island County Park. Join the Eclectic Roots Ensemble at the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission’s Reggae Nights Summer Concert Series. In addition to the music, there will be Caribbean fare, pizza, Lowcountry favorites and crafts. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. Cost: $8 or 5 books of Greenbax; free for children 12 and under. Annual Gold Passes will be honored. More info online.

Free Skin Cancer Screenings: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 18, Isle of Palms County Park, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 8, Splash Zone at James Island County Park. Dermatologists from MUSC will bring the MUSC Mobile Health Unit – a fully equipped doctor’s office on wheels – to the county parks to offer free skin cancer screenings. More info: MUSC Health Connection, 792-1414. 

Flip Flop Ball: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 18, Gold Bug Island, foot of the Ben Sawyer Bridge (Mount Pleasant side). The Fourth Annual Flip Flop Ball will benefit Wings for Kids, a program that helps children who grow up in poverty learn the skills needed to succeed in life. Charleston Bay Gourmet will serving barbecue, and Two 3 Ways will provide music. Open bar and beer kegs available. Tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at the gate. More info/tickets:


Solving Business Challenges: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. July 21, Center for Women, 129 Cannon St., Charleston. The Center for Women’’s Entrepreneurial Woman Series will feature a workshop called “Solving Your Five Biggest Business Challenges.” What are the make-or-break issues you need to identify to keep your business successful? How can you best adjust to a failing economy and still thrive? Find out what resources are available to businesses through the federal stimulus plan and other resources to help entrepreneurs stay afloat during the economic downturn. Cost: $20 CFW members, $40 nonmembers. Registration (required).

Shagging on the Cooper: 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. July 25, Mount Pleasant Pier at Memorial Park, foot of the Ravenel Bridge in Mount Pleasant. Shag under the stars at the new pier. Music provided by The Sneakers (four-piece party band playing beach music, jazz, funk and blues). Beverages available for purchase on-site. Tickets: $8; only 800 tickets will be sold and must be purchased at the event (no advance sales). More info: 795-4386.

Hurricane Preparedness for Businesses: 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. July 30, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2750 Speissegger Drive, North Charleston. The chamber’s Business Continuity Planning Council will host the workshop, which features experts from local governments and utility companies explaining how to write a business continuity plan that works before, during and after a storm. Cost: $25 chamber members, $35 nonmembers. Registration (required).

(NEW) Continuing Education Open House: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 11, Continuing Education Center (Building 910), Trident Technical College Main Campus, 2001 Mabeline Road, North Charleston. The event is designed to familiarize participants with TTC continuing-education courses and they can provide training for a new career or personal enrichment. Talk with course instructors, tour the facilities, register for fall classes, learn about financial options, and enjoy refreshments and prizes. More info: 574-6111.


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
  • The Book of Marie, Terry Kay
  • Charleston Jazz, Jack McCray
  • I'll Be Sober in the Morning: Great Comebacks, Putdowns, and Ripostes, Chris Lamb (List)
  • Plain Speaking: An Oral Biography of Harry S. Truman, Merle Miller

  • Suggest a book to us


10/15: Bender: Special Olympics
Baron: Breast Center
Ginn: Growing prosperity
Buffum: Waterkeeping
Personal branding
Acker: Designer fashion
Spencer: Art galleries
Riley, Moryl: MOJA
Gaither: Green Room
Chesson: Museum Mile
Barnette: Chas. Ballet
Deaton: Thrive Prize
Rawl: Charting courses
Jurcova-Spencer: Creatives
Brooks: Rural Mission
Yarian: New local music CD
Fisher: Uses of social media
Hall: Time for renovations
Morris: Dog days at Drayton
Lindbergh: Gifted school
Jackson: Insurance tips


10/15: Bob's new food show
10/8: Robot ice cream
10/5: Costumes, snarks
Must-see TV
9/17: Fall leaves
Cold comfort, more
Being a fan
Good, bad, spineless
Locals on Runway
Cookie contest
Vote on car tags
True confessions
New way of tithing?
Lookout for manatees


10/12: Renovated Gaillard?
10/1: Napa wine trip
9/28: Anti-crime measures
9/21: Caw Caw park
Debris policy
Mystery solved
This and that
SC's treasures
8/17: RIP to old clunker
8/10: Lots to squeeze in
8/3: On flying Delta
7/27: Conspiracy theories
7/20: Protect carriage animals
7/13: Economic thaw here?


10/15: Giving blood
Top ratings
Major league
Book sale
Citadel football
Taste of Charleston
Feeding the need
History for sale
Shrimp baiting
Day of Caring
Free legal clinics
8/31: CofC Class of 2013
8/27: Citadel Class of 2013
7 stores, 7 days
You know you're from...
On the school menu
Wines for grilling
First Day Fest facts
Sales tax holiday
Twittering tips

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