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Issue 1.71 | Thursday, July 23, 2009 | Take a deep breath

EVER WONDER? The way that a yellow butterfly becomes an orange one is to drink nectar from pink or red flowers. Right? Nah ... but this photo of summer highlights some beauty found in gardens around town. (Photo by Andy Brack)

:: More women in office needed


:: True confession of a journalist

:: City needs to do more for animals

:: Cash for consignment: 5 tips

:: Preventing drownings, Gibbes, more


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Tell us why you like a book
___:: HISTORY: Intracoastal Waterway
___:: QUOTE: Pascal on clear thinking
___:: 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


Why South Carolina needs more women elected
Marketing coordinator, Center for Women
Special to

JULY 23, 2009 -- Once again our beautiful Palmetto state is dead last on a measurement of national importance. South Carolina has the unfortunate distinction of having the fewest number of women in elected political office of any state in the union. We send no women to Washington, D.C., to serve in Congress. We have only 17 women in our state House of Representatives and none in the state Senate.


While the average state legislature in the United States is about one-quarter women, our state legislature is only 10 percent women. Ten state legislatures are represented with 30 percent or more women, the highest being Colorado with 39 percent. In South Carolina, no woman holds a statewide elected executive position (such as state treasurer or secretary of education) compared to the U.S. average of 24 percent. And, there is no woman mayor of the dozen or so South Carolina cities with a population of 30,000 or more.

Why does the lack of women elected officials matter? Why should we all be concerned? To every job we engage in, whether paid or not, we bring our unique set of skills and sensibilities. To truly reflect our culture and society, any large organization needs to be represented by both sexes, be racially inclusive and have a range of ages. A legislative body in a democratic government should especially be representative of its people.

Former 1st District congressional candidate Linda Ketner laughs it up at a June campaign training event for women.

When women are seated at the table, issues such as education, health care, housing, quality child care and domestic violence receive greater attention. This is certainly not to suggest that men don't care about these issues. It's that each of us prioritizes somewhat differently based on our past experiences and the primary roles we have filled in life. We bring our knowledge, insight and "gut level" feelings to the discussion. A wider net is cast for the betterment of all.

It has also been shown time and time again that women and men have different communication styles. Women tend to seek common ground and look for consensus while men tend to promote their opinions and achievements. A healthy mix produces the best end result. If the goal of legislatures and government is to work on behalf of all the people, the best results will be produced when issues are prioritized and solutions developed by both men and women.

The South Carolina State Legislature has 170 representatives, 17 of whom are women. Think about an organization you belong to or are familiar with that has 170 members - maybe where you work or your church. Now picture that organization if there were only 17 women. It wouldn't be the same place, would it? Could it even function smoothly? Until we elect more women in South Carolina, we can't expect our Legislature to, either.

Ginger Rosenberg handles marketing for the Center for Women and is running for Charleston City Council this fall for the West Ashley District 10 seat. The Center for Women is a nonprofit partner of

True confession: Words can come back to haunt you

By ANN THRASH, editor
Special to

JULY 23, 2009 -- Between the death of esteemed newsman Walter Cronkite and the recent story about some supposedly objective reporters offering Gov. Mark Sanford a "friendly" place to talk about the mess involving his affair, the media's integrity has been in the news lately. That brings back an incident when I found myself using one of a reporter's most valuable tools - the ability to choose words precisely - in a way that wasn't completely honest. It wasn't anything nearly as consequential as reporters offering to cut the governor a little slack on a matter of public concern, but it's something that, almost 25 years later, I still think about sometimes.


In 1985 I was a rookie reporter, just out of college and working at a small six-day-a-week newspaper in North Carolina. We'd been hearing rumors that Steven Spielberg's new movie, "The Color Purple," was going to be filmed in our county. The problem was, we couldn't get anyone in a position of authority to confirm the rumors so we could reliably publish a story. But then we got a break.

One of my beats was the local school board, and a woman on the board told me one day that she and her husband had been invited to a private meeting about the movie. Her husband owned a funeral home on a street where much of the filming would be done, and the production company was hosting a meeting the following night so business owners could hear about the movie plans. She and her husband offered to let me go to the meeting with them.

The hitch, of course, was that the producers weren't going to want a reporter there (even one who'd been invited by a legitimate participant in the meeting). How was I going to get in, get the story and not be discovered?

My editors and I had a long discussion, and they decided that since I'd been invited by a legitimate attendee, I should attempt to go to the meeting and see what happened. But my executive editor made one thing very clear: "If they get suspicious and ask if you're a reporter, you cannot lie." I was nervous the rest of the day about what was going to happen, but I wanted to get the story. I figured I'd be safe if I just sat quietly in the meeting and listened. None of the invitees would have to say anything, I thought -- they were just there to hear the plans.

The meeting was in the early evening at a bank. I pulled into the parking lot at the same time as my school board acquaintance and her husband, and we walked in together. We took seats together at one end of a "U"-shaped arrangement of chairs: Mr. Morgan, then Mrs. Morgan, then me. I was sure everyone in the room could hear my heart pounding.

A man walked to the front of the room, introduced himself as part of the production company, then said, "Let's go around the room and everyone can say their name and who they're with." Then he looked at Mr. Morgan -- two seats away from me -- and said, "Let's start with you."

This was my worst nightmare. I didn't dream we'd be asked to go around the room like a group of school kids and identify ourselves. How could I say my name and who I was with without lying? I didn't want to get myself in trouble, or the Morgans, either. But there I sat, two people and about 10 seconds away from being busted. There was nowhere to run.

Mr. Morgan said his name, and that he was from Morgan & Son Funeral Home. Then Mrs. Morgan said, "Ginny Morgan, Morgan & Son." Then it was my turn. "My name is Ann," I said, "and I'm with the Morgans."

It was technically true -- I was "with the Morgans." In fact I had come in the door "with the Morgans." But I was not "with" Morgan & Son Funeral Home in the way that I'd implied. I hadn't done anything wrong, though, had I? No one had asked me if I was a reporter, so I hadn't lied about that. The movie guy hadn't asked us to say the "business" we were with. He asked us to say "who" we were with. But I knew very well what he had meant.

After a split second that felt like an eon, the movie guy said, "OK, next?" and moved on down the line. And while he spoke to the group and officially confirmed all the rumors we'd heard, I sat there with my heart in my throat. My editors said not to lie, and I hadn't, exactly. But I felt like I hadn't told the truth, either. I couldn't tell whether the knot in the pit of my stomach was because I hadn't been honest, or because I knew I was about to get the biggest story in town.

When the movie guy invited everyone to wander up and look at some drawings on a table in the middle of the room, I knew I'd pushed my luck enough. I pretended to wander off in search of a restroom but I headed for the door. When I got outside, I jumped in my car, sped down the road to a McDonald's, pulled into a parking space and grabbed the notebook and pen that I'd stashed in the glove compartment. I furiously wrote down everything I could remember while it was fresh in my mind. The story was on our front page the next day.

The movie became the talk of the town, and I was proud that my small paper had gotten the story first -- but I've always felt funny that I told a half-truth to get it. As I said, I know it's a matter of no consequence in the grand scheme of things. But when I read about reporters getting manipulative with words, I think about how I did the same thing to get that story. Now that I've owned up, I feel a little better. I think.

Ann Thrash, editor of, can be reached at:

Article should spur city to take action to help animals

To the editor:

You rock, Andy! A great article. Thank you for shedding light on this important issue and for helping to put pressure on council to do the right thing. Our city is super slack when it comes to basic animal rights - not just for horses but for dogs as well. Last year they wouldn't even pass a law to prohibit dogs riding in the backs of pick-ups going over 35 mph. They have no chain-time-limit laws either, which is basic in many cities. And, of course, there are no licensing requirements for dogs, which is one of the No. 1 ways you can prevent pet overpopulation (unaltered dogs cost more to license). All this is why we kill more than 6,000 animals in Charleston every year. That's about 16 a day!

-- Robin Welch, James Island

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.

Pluff Mud Connect

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. In this issue, we highlight Pluff Mud Connect, a new Web service that connects Lowcountry nonprofits and the businesses that serve them. Nonprofit organizations register for free, and can search across more than 100 categories or fill out a simple form to request multiple quotes from local businesses. Lowcountry sole proprietors, small businesses and corporations pay a low annual fee to market directly to nonprofit organizations and receive requests for bids via email. Pluff Mud Connect -- helping Lowcountry nonprofits and businesses thrive. Click here to send a message or visit online at:

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

BB&T to team with Red Cross in effort to prevent drownings

In response to several recent drownings in the Lowcountry, BB&T will partner with the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the American Red Cross to support the agency's WHALE Tales Swimming and Water Safety Program. WHALE stands for Water Habits Are Learned Early, and through the new partnership, more than 80 BB&T employees will train to become certified WHALE Tales instructors who will teach safe swimming behavior in and around the water to Lowcountry children.

The partnership is part the BB&T Lighthouse Project, a companywide community service initiative during August and September. The philanthropic effort is the largest in BB&T's 137-year history. "Our employees take seriously the protection of children where water hazards are concerned," says Frank Bullard, president of BB&T's Charleston-based Coastal Region. "We feel compelled to help families in our community, and the BB&T Lighthouse Project shines a light on our ongoing commitment to make a real difference in the Lowcountry."

Drowning is a leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children under 14. Simply knowing how to swim is not enough, considering that thousands of children are admitted to hospital emergency rooms every year with water-related injuries. WHALE Tales instructors teach children about water safety in a classroom session using colorful posters, activities and a video that features "Longfellow," an animated whale. Kids who complete the course earn a scholarship for free swimming lessons hosted by the American Red Cross.

"We are appreciative of BB&T Bank and its employees," says Louise Welch, regional executive director of the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the Red Cross. "Because of their generosity, we will be better positioned to educate families and prevent water-related injuries and deaths in the Lowcountry."

For class information, go to or call 764-2323, ext. 355. Classes are offered throughout Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester, Colleton, Jasper, Hampton and Beaufort counties.

BB&T is an underwriter for

Work of self-taught black artists to open July 31 at Gibbes

"Ancestry & Innovation: African American Art from the American Folk Art Museum" will be on display at the Gibbes Museum of Art from July 31 through Oct. 11, featuring the artistic work of self-taught black artists. A traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian, "Ancestry & Innovation" includes complex and vibrant quilts, paintings, works on paper, and sculpture, mostly by contemporary African American artists from the rural South and urban North.

The exhibit also includes paintings by an elder generation of creators, such as David Butler, Sam Doyle, Bessie Harvey and Clementine Hunter; works by contemporary masters, such as Thornton Dial Sr.; and provocative pieces by emerging artists such as Kevin Sampson and Willie LeRoy Elliot.

Stacy C. Hollander, senior curator and director of exhibitions at the American Folk Art Museum, and Brooke Davis Anderson, director and curator of The Contemporary Center at the museum, are the curators of the exhibition. "The unique presentation of vibrant quilts in conjunction with sculpture and painting enriches the viewer's appreciation for the complexity and vitality of African American expression," Hollander says.

For more information on the exhibit or on the Gibbes, go to

Firehouse Subs gives town grant for cardiac-arrest device

The Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has awarded a $16,000 grant to the Mount Pleasant Fire Department that will provide for a device that can be used in cases of sudden cardiac arrest, also called SCA. The device, called an AutoPulse, is an automated, portable piece of equipment that squeezes the entire chest, improving blood flow to the heart and brain during SCA. Fire Chief Herb Williams said the award was secured through the grant-writing efforts of Capt. Rob Wronski.

Representatives of Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation made the presentation to town fire officials on Tuesday at the Firehouse Subs shop on Johnnie Dodds Blvd. There were also demonstrations of how the device works. "(It) moves more blood, more consistently than is possible with human hands," says Wronski. "It allows rescuers to provide compressions while performing other lifesaving activities, or while transporting a victim down the stairs or in the back of a moving ambulance."

Williams says the town already has a device in service on Engine Five at Park West and is working to secure funding for additional devices, with the goal of having an AutoPulse with every Mount Pleasant fire engine company. All fire department personnel have been trained in how to use the device, he says.

SCA, an abrupt disruption of the heart's function that causes a lack of blood flow to vital organs, claims more than 325,000 lives each year in the United States. It is the leading cause of unexpected death in the world and strikes without warning. Currently, only about 5 percent of victims survive.


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.

Intracoastal Waterway

From the earliest times, South Carolina's coastal creeks, rivers, and bays have been used for commerce and communication, providing a transportation route far safer than plying the open ocean. Native Americans in dugout canoes were replaced by white settlers and black slaves using larger craft propelled by oars, poles, paddles, and sails. The advent of steam navigation in the early nineteenth century enhanced the value of inland waterways, and increased efforts were made even before the Civil War to dig "cuts" to connect natural watercourses.

In 1808, amid a heated congressional debate over the constitutionality of using federal funds for internal improvements, Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin offered a report of the country's transportation needs. One of his recommendations called for the building of canals to connect the natural waterways of the Atlantic seaboard to form a continuous route protected from the ocean. While state and local interests began working on local canal projects as early as the 1790s, Gallatin's vision of a continuous waterway was not attained until 1909, when Congress authorized the first surveys of the Intracoastal Waterway. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began to make systematic improvements to connect coastal waterways. Congress consolidated these projects in 1917, completing them with the opening of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW) in 1936.

The 740-mile-long channel of the AIWW runs from Norfolk, Virginia, to Fernandina Beach, Florida, with shallower extensions running south to Key West and north to Boston. The South Carolina portion of the waterway extends for 203 miles and is dredged to an average depth of between nine and eleven feet. While recreational users of the Intracoastal Waterway abound, the route also carries a substantial amount of commercial cargo traffic. In 2000 intracoastal waters in the South Carolina section carried 378,000 tons of cargo, which accounted for twelve percent of the total cargo carried by the entire AIWW. Approximately seventy percent of this cargo was petroleum or pulp and paper products.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Allan D. Charles. 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.)


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.

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

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Address: P.O. Box. 22261 | Charleston, SC 29413

© 2008-2009, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.

Cash for consignments


Consignment shops have long been a secret of smart shoppers, but today the word is out: They can help you clean out your closet and make money doing it. Here are five consignment tips from Amanda Rosen, owner of three high-end women's consignment stores: Butterfly and Victoria's, both located in Mount Pleasant, and the new Butterfly, which just opened on Monday at 482 King St. downtown.

  • Do your homework and research the store to find out if it's the right place to consign the items you have (high-end vs. vintage, clothes vs. furniture, etc.). The best way to do this is visiting the store.

  • Make sure the clothes are clean, pressed and on a hanger. Expect to earn about one-third of the retail price on items consigned. Also, items with the tags still on get higher prices.

  • Don't be discouraged if your item is not accepted. Stores only accept what they know will sell.

  • Know the terms of the consignment agreement. Most stores donate unsold items (typically after 60 days). If you want an item back, know the terms of the agreement.

  • Sign up for the store's contact list for special seller and buyer promotions and sales.

On clear thinking


"Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves."

- Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and physicist (1623-1662)


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.


(NEW) "The Tryal of Major Stede Bonnet": 4:30 p.m. Saturdays through Sept. 26, Old Powder Magazine, 79 Cumberland St., downtown. A one-of-a-kind interactive theatrical event that brings to life the story of "gentleman pirate" Stede Bonnet, who plied his trade in the waters off Charleston in the early 1700s. The 40-minute show was written and is performed by Rodney Lee Rogers of PURE Theatre. Cost: $8 and $12. Tickets/info: 534-6169 or online here.

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).

Gospel Choir Auditions: 5:30 p.m. July 30 and Aug. 4, Citadel Square Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 342 Meeting St. Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir will hold voice-assessment auditions for new volunteer members; singers whose voices are in the lower ranges (tenor and bass) are especially needed. Candidates should come prepared to sing a solo of their own choosing and also to vocalize in a choral setting. More info.

Spiritual Ensemble Auditions: 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Aug. 8, Citadel Square Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 342 Meeting St. Charleston Symphony Orchestra's Spiritual Ensemble will hold voice-assessment auditions for new volunteer members; singers whose voices are in the lower ranges (tenor and bass) are especially needed. More info.

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.

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.

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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