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Issue 1.69 | Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Relax, it's summertime

GO FISH: Even an afternoon that's sweltering and hazy, as Wednesday was, is a good one for fishing around the Old Pitt Street Bridge in Mount Pleasant. A local resident reports seeing a manatee last weekend not far from this spot, so boaters in the area should use care. For more on manatees, see today's Currents column.(Photo by Ann Thrash.)

:: Learn about state's new online school


:: Be on the lookout for manatees

:: About Red Shirt Fridays

:: Saving books

:: MUSC Cup promo, CSO singers, more


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Tell us why you like a book
___:: HISTORY: Opera houses
___:: QUOTE: Sassoon on 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


New state-funded online high school looks to the future
Executive director, Provost Academy
Special to

JULY 16, 2009 -- Provost Academy South Carolina is the state's newest online school, which is free to S.C. high school students as a fully accredited and state-funded charter school. PASC is designed to help students succeed in today's technological age by utilizing the latest advancements such as streaming video, podcasts, virtual classrooms, specialized coursework and on-demand tutoring to provide students a complete and tech-savvy education.


We have reached a point, with dropout rates near 70 percent, where we can no longer allow students in South Carolina to fail. We must ensure that they have the opportunity to obtain a diploma and pursue a future based on choice, not limitations. By offering students another educational avenue, we increase their chances to succeed and pursue opportunities that may not have been available to them otherwise.

Provost Academy's mission is to offer a first-class education to all high school students in South Carolina. By using the latest technologies, customized curriculum and a focus on science and mathematics, we offer a gateway to overall student success. Provost Academy individualizes the learning experience for its students and prepares them for the next level, whether the 21st-century workforce or higher education.

PASC helps students succeed by making sure they are supported by a team of certified and specialized instructors as well as academic advisors who work with the students to ensure they are setting goals, meeting performance expectations and staying on their individualized tracks.

Prior to the first day of classes, Provost students take an assessment test, and the students, along with their parents/guardians, can meet with academic advisers to help create a customized learning plan that that best fits each student's needs and interests.

After the enrollment process is complete, Provost will supply students with a computer, printer/scanner and an Internet stipend, free of charge, that will allow them to attend classes online and at a location and time that works with their schedule. Students, parents and guardians can easily arrange a face-to-face meeting with their advisors, who will work to ensure that the student's learning process is progressing smoothly.

As a state-funded school, PASC has core classes that each student must complete. The academy also offers advanced curricula, such as technology, art and foreign language classes. Grading scales at Provost follow those of other public schools, with the school year starting and ending on a similar schedule, but flexible to accommodate individual needs. After students have completed their four years at PASC, they will be able to participate in a graduation ceremony held by PASC and will receive a high school diploma that is the same as they would receive from a brick-and-mortar school.

Students and parents interested in learning more or applying to Provost Academy South Carolina can log on at or call 1-877-919-PASC (7272). An enrollment quota/cap of 1,000 is currently in place with more than 800 students already enrolled. Along with South Carolina, there are 38 other states that currently offer online courses for high school students.

Each and every opportunity to provide students with the most engaging educational experience must be pursued. Whether in a traditional classroom or an online setting, if we expect our students to succeed, we cannot fail them.

Dr. Darrell Johnson is executive director of Provost Academy.

Be on the lookout for manatees while boating

By ANN THRASH, editor
Special to

JULY 16, 2009 -- A friend who took his boat out for a little fishing near the Old Pitt Street Bridge last weekend saw a manatee - his first - and it left quite an impression on him. He described it to me as looking "almost like a mistake" - big and whisker-faced, gray with hairs all over its body, and about 6 feet long.


With (at least) one of these endangered animals hanging around the harbor, it's a good time to share some guidelines about manatees from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources - including how you can avoid a collision with one while boating and how you can help ensure their survival.

The DNR says the first reports of manatees started coming into their offices in mid-May this year. Each spring, manatees migrate up from Florida as our water temperatures get into the upper 60s. In the summer, they live in tidal rivers, estuaries and marine waters near shore, not only in South Carolina but in Georgia as well. When our water temps begin cooling down again in September and October, the manatees are on the move once more, heading back to Florida for the winter.

Manatees can be hard to see in our often cloudy waters; they're usually grayish in color, often with barnacles or algae on their bodies, and sometimes propeller scars if they've been hit by a boat. Their bodies are shaped like seals, and they have paired flippers and a round tail shaped like a paddle. And, as my friend Matt noted, they've got very prominent whiskers and coarse hairs on their bodies.

Here are some pointers from DNR about how to avoid collisions with a manatee while boating, along with information on how to report a sighting. If you happen to have a camera with you, try to get a photo - that can be a huge help, as the folks at DNR explain below. And if you do get a photo, send one to me, too!

  • Look around for manatees before cranking your boat's motor. Wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare, making it easier to spot manatees below the surface.

  • Collisions between boaters and manatees are more likely to occur in shallow waters, particularly around docks and at the edge of marshes where manatees feed. When the water is shallow, they cannot dive to get out of harm's way. Follow boater safety regulations ("No Wake," "Slow Speed," etc.) in these areas to reduce the risk of a collision. DNR also says boaters should watch for manatee backs, tails, snouts and "footprints," a series of round swirls on the water's surface caused by a swimming manatee's tail.

  • If your boat accidentally collides with a manatee, stand by in the area and contact the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF Channel 16 or call DNR at 1-800-922-5431. This is the best way you can help not only the animal, which might be hurt, but also biologists who are trying to study and learn more about them.

  • To report a healthy, live manatee, call Nicole Adimey of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (904) 731-3079 or (904) 655-0730. or e-mail her at You can also report a sighting at a DNR Web site devoted to manatees. Note the date, time and place of the sighting, the number of manatees you saw, and the coordinates, if possible. "Photographs of scars on their backs and tails are especially useful because they can often be used to identify previously known manatees," DNR says.

  • If you see an injured or dead manatee, call the DNR Hotline at 1-800-922-5431.

  • If you see a manatee near a dock, don't feed it or try to give it fresh water. This could teach it to approach docks, putting it at greater risk of a boat strike. It should go without saying, but you should also never pursue, harass or play with manatees. Not only are all these actions bad for the manatees, they're illegal.

Ann Thrash, editor of, can be reached at:

Seafood shop will make donations through Red Shirt Fridays

To the editor:

I go to Roper Cardiac Rehab for workouts three times a week, and I have been going for about two years now. Last year, to celebrate one year of health, I started a "Red Shirt Friday" in August. This was in conjunction with American Hearth Month. This year we will do the Red Shirt Fridays again in August. Mount Pleasant Seafood will donate $1 per red shirt worn to Roper Rehab workouts on Fridays in August. Thank you.

-- Rial Fitch, Owner, Mount Pleasant Seafood

Have a comment or want to vent? If you have 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.

Maybank Industries

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Maybank Industries, LLC of Charleston, SC. With broad experience in commercial and government operations, Maybank Industries applies deep-rooted commitment to teamwork, reliability and personal service to provide innovative business solutions for project development, information technology, logistics, vessel design, shipping agency services and marine terminal operations, both locally and internationally. Maybank Industries applies a powerful blend of professional expertise to research, analyze and develop tailored solutions with thorough plans of action, combining a heavy dose of common sense to solve today's needs that can adapt to changing or evolving requirements. More: Maybank Industries and Maybank Systems.

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

Local Day of Caring sees huge increase in project requests

Trident United Way's Day of Caring - the largest in the nation, beating out even cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Atlanta - will be getting even larger this year. The deadline for nonprofit agencies to submit project requests was July 7, and this year 200 projects have been submitted - up from 60 projects last year.

The local Day of Caring, planned for Sept. 11, will mark its 10th anniversary this year. The event is larger than all the other Day of Caring events in the state, according to Trident United Way.

Don Kassing, CEO of JW Aluminum and chairman of the 2009 Day of Caring, says he doesn't expect the final total to triple, but the number of early submissions does suggest that the number of projects will be larger this year than last. "We believe that's partly a function of improved processes using the latest online technology and more volunteer involvement," Kassing says. "We also see ever-increasing enthusiasm for Day of Caring among our agency and corporate partners and their employees."

This year, Trident United Way recruited Project Assessment volunteers to vet projects and help nonprofit organizations determine their volunteer and supply needs. The Project Assessment Team helped agencies identify their projects more quickly. Earlier this year, President Obama proclaimed Sept. 11 as a national day of service and remembrance. Trident United Way hopes that might also spur companies and organizations that have yet to become engaged in Day of Caring to join this year.

For more information, contact the Trident United Way at or call 740-9000.

Gospel Choir, Spiritual Ensemble to hold new member tryouts

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir and its sister group, the CSO Spiritual Ensemble, are looking for new volunteer members, especially singers whose voices are in the lower ranges (tenor and bass).

The CSO Gospel Choir will hold voice-assessment auditions at 5:30 p.m. July 30 and Aug. 4 at Citadel Square Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 342 Meeting St., downtown. Candidates should come prepared to sing a solo of their own choosing and also to vocalize in a choral setting. The choir, under the direction of Sandra Barnhardt, has 110 members who perform gospels and spirituals around the Lowcountry.

The group will be preparing this season for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra's Sept. 17 opening night gala performance of "Porgy and Bess," as well as the 10th annual Gospel Christmas and Gala on Dec. 5. The group also offers a Palm Sunday concert and Piccolo Spoleto performances. Rehearsals are held Tuesday evenings at Citadel Square Baptist Church and begin on Aug. 18.

The Spiritual Ensemble, directed by Nathan Nelson, is a 35-member vocal group focusing on African-American spirituals. The group will have voice assessments at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Aug. 8 at the Citadel Square fellowship hall. The ensemble performs gospel concerts throughout the tri-county area and will begin rehearsals on Aug. 11 this season.

For more information on the groups, go to or

Hollings Center to be featured on Jersey Mike's cups

The Medical University's Hollings Cancer Center will be featured on beverage cups at Jersey Mike's franchises nationwide this summer. The story is one of 14 that will showcase how Jersey Mike's stores across the country contribute to the communities they serves.

Local Jersey Mike's owners recently organized a fundraiser that brought in several thousand dollars for the cancer center. "Hollings Cancer Center is one of the nation's leading cancer research hospitals," says Jay Yates, Jersey Mike's owner and S.C. area director. "I applaud and thank our local stores for raising funds and awareness for such an important cause."

All 14 designs in the cup series will be in circulation by the end of August, with each story appearing on 325,000 cups (the 22-ounce size). Each cup will feature the words "Making a difference in someone's life."

Jersey Mike's has Lowcountry stores at St. James Plaza in Goose Creek, the Food Lion Plaza on Sycamore Avenue in Charleston, University Boulevard in North Charleston, and three locations in Mount Pleasant: Northcutt Plaza, Highway 17 North near Snee Farm, and Highway 17 North near Park West and Charleston National.

Town to sponsor driver safety courses at senior center

The town of Mount Pleasant offered AARP Driver Safety Courses earlier this year for adults and senior citizens, and the classes were so popular that officials have decided to offer them again this month and next. Drivers over age 50 who successfully complete the classes are often eligible for discounts on their car insurance.

The two-day program will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. July 20 and July 22, as well as Aug. 10 and Aug. 12, at the town's Senior Services Center Thomasena Stokes-Marshall Building. The course is designed to help drivers become aware of and counteract age-related changes that can affect their driving abilities. No driving is required during the course. Gary Jaster, a recreation specialist at the senior center, is the instructor.

The class is open to anyone age 50 or older, and costs $14 per person. Members of AARP receive a discounted rate of $12. For more information or to register, call 856-2166 or stop by the Senior Services Center at 840 Von Kolnitz Road, near the intersection of Von Kolnitz and Mathis Ferry roads.

"The End of Overeating"

Going out for a simple ice cream cone used to be a treat. Now we expect to have several scoops with some mini candy bars mixed into it. In "The End of Overeating," David Kessler talks about how our expectations of food have changed and how the food industry markets to us. His conversations with food researchers are rather alarming as he learns how much of our food really is not made of food, but rather a combination of chemicals and flavors that drive people to eat even more. Not to leave the reader discouraged, he offers suggestions on "reprogramming" the way we think about food and how to beat the marketing messages we receive about foods we really should not be eating at all. Overall, this is a great book for those who know they need a healthier way of eating or who have an interest in the food industry.

-- Tina Arnoldi, Coastal Community Foundation, Charleston

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.

Opera houses

In the period between 1880 and 1920, opera houses flourished in communities across South Carolina. Beginning in the 1880s, as the state recovered from the Civil War, opera houses provided live entertainment for citizens who were able to afford leisure activities. By 1915 there were opera houses in Columbia, Sumter, Greenville, Florence, Newberry, Darlington, Laurens, Marion, Abbeville, and Bishopville, among other communities.

Newberry Opera House

Especially in the larger towns, opera houses were imposing, architecturally distinctive buildings with elaborate interiors. Newberry's three-story brick opera house, featuring a bell tower, was constructed in 1882. Sumter's 1893 opera house was a three-story, Richardson Romanesque stone structure with a one-hundred-foot clock tower. Columbia's second opera house, built in 1900, was three stories with two towers. It had a large stage, concealed overhead machinery for curtains and scenery, an orchestra pit, spectator boxes, and two galleries. In smaller communities, opera houses were more modest and often located on the second floor of multi-purpose buildings. For example, the opera house in Laurens was situated above the city hall, and Marion's opera house was on the second floor of a building that housed the courtroom, jail, and fire department on the first floor.

"Road shows" that traveled the country provided dramatic productions, musical comedies, operas, minstrel shows, and other live entertainment. Columbia's opera house booked Broadway hits and stars such as Sarah Bernhardt, Ethel Barrymore, Lillian Russell, and Nat Goodwin. Even in a smaller community such as Abbeville, special trains brought theater patrons from nearby towns to see traveling shows such as the "Klansman," "Yankee Drummer," the Ziegfield Follies, or an escape artist. The Marion Opera House featured traveling theatrical companies as well as local talent.

By the 1930s the new sound movies had eclipsed live entertainment, and some of the opera houses converted to motion picture theaters. By 1941 "South Carolina: A Guide to the Palmetto State" reported, "Most of the old opera houses in the State have now been pre-empted for movie theatres." In the decades after 1930 most of the opera houses in the state were demolished. A few survived, however, and in the last decades of the twentieth century several of them were restored, including the Abbeville Opera House, the Sumter Opera House, the Marion Opera House, and the Newberry Opera House.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Mary W. Edmonds. 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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Save the books

The Trident Literacy Association's Lowcountry Book Burning fundraiser (read more) is in full swing, and many local residents have made a donation to the organization in order to save their favorite books from being burned. As part of the project, a number of readathons are under way around the tri-county area, including one today from noon to 2 p.m. at Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St., downtown. The folks at Trident Literacy provided these five facts about which books have been saved so far, who's reading today and more. To learn more or save your own favorites go here online.

  • Most frequently saved book: "To Kill a Mockingbird."

  • Second most frequently saved book: "Good Night Moon."

  • Most frequently saved authors: Mary Alice Monroe and Dorothea Benton Frank (both of whom live in the Lowcountry).

  • Local personalities featured at the readathon today: Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, Post and Courier columnist Ken Burger and "Lowcountry Live" morning show host Ryan Nelson.

  • Number of functionally illiterate adults in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties: One in seven.

The word on work


"The only place where success comes before work is a dictionary."

-- Celebrity salon products guru Vidal Sassoon (1928 - )


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:

(NEW) Little River Band at Boone Hall: 7 p.m. July 19, Boone Hall Plantation, 1235 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant. The popular 1970s and '80s band brings its classic hits ("Lonesome Loser," "Cool Change," "Reminiscing," "Help is on Its Way" and more) to Boone Hall's back lawn. Beer, wine and food from 82 Queen will be on sale. No coolers, pets or parking-lot tailgating. Parking is free. Tickets: general admission, $20 in advance, $25 at the gate; reserved seating up front for $34.50 or $29.50. Tables for eight cost $250 per table. Tickets/info are online.


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).

(NEW) Battery's Habitat Fundraiser: 7:30 p.m. July 24, Blackbaud Stadium, Daniel Island. The Charleston Battery's match with the Carolina Railhawks will be a benefit for local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Tickets are $15 each, and the entire ticket price will be donated to the organization provided that the tickets are bought in advance from Habitat. Call Habitat at 768-0998 to purchase.

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).

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.

(NEW) Darius Rucker Homegrown Concert: 7 p.m. Aug. 13, Family Circle Tennis Center, Daniel Island. Rucker will offer a special concert to help bring in donations of school supplies for needy local students. Country music star Dierks Bentley will be among the special guests. Fans are urged to bring school supplies to the concert to donate. Tickets: $40 for floor or first-tier reserved seats; $32 for reserved second-tier seats; $25 general admission third-tier seats. To purchase: Ticketmaster Charge-By-Phone (1-800-745-3000), local Publix outlets, Family Circle Tennis Center ticket office, or online here.

(NEW) Surf Seining at Sullivan's: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 28, Station 30, Sullivan's Island. The Station 30 area on Sullivan's Island area has been a seining hotspot for generations. Join the experts from Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission to catch and discover a variety of marine critters at the first CCPRC seining program on Sullivan's Island. A registered and paid chaperone is required for participants ages 15 and under, and pre-registration is required. Open to ages 6 and up. Cost: $7 Charleston County residents, $9 nonresidents. Registration/more info, or 795-4FUN.


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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