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Issue 1.73 | Thursday, July 30, 2009 | Try something new today

THE ROAD AHEAD: Construction is moving right along on improvements at the Remount Road/Interstate 26 intersection. Remount Road will be closed between South Aviation and Rivers avenues until mid-November while interchange construction takes place, according to the prime contractor, U.S. Group. Traffic alerts and construction updates are available online here. (Photo by Red Zeppelin Aerial Photography)

:: On Charleston's singles scene


:: Tags -- you're it!

:: Winner of our photo contest

:: Fall plantings ahead

:: New idea contest, Museum Mile


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Tell us why you like a book
___:: HISTORY: J.G. Coogler, bad poet
___:: QUOTE: Dana on opinions
___:: 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


Making the most of life as a single in Charleston
Founder, Charleston Singles Club
Special to

JULY 30, 2009 – When I moved to Charleston in August 2008, I was amazed with this incredible town, fantastic lifestyle and the wonderful environment for singles. What I didn’t know was that almost one year later I would be starting an organization that brings together all the best elements of single life in Charleston.


As a single transplant in Charleston wanting to make friends, I turned to business networking groups, fraternal organizations and other organizations to meet people. I quickly learned that there are differences in lifestyle and ideology between single and married people. Although I met some incredible individuals with whom I still have strong and lasting friendships, I saw that there was a gap in the ability to connect with, and develop camaraderie among, successful single young professionals. I knew there had to be a way to unite the large number of single young professionals in Charleston. So, the idea for Charleston Singles Club began to take form.

I learned that Charleston has a higher proportion of singles than most parts of the country: 60.1 percent of the peninsula and 48.4 percent of the metro area’s population are single as compared to the rest of the nation’s average of 41.7 percent. In the Charleston area, singles have a mean income of $44,063, and 23.6 percent of them hold a four-year college degree. Clearly, Charleston’s single population is an educated group with the means to enjoy life.

Six months ago, Charleston Singles Club began a teaser campaign to test the market for an organization like ours. That small campaign has led to a following on Charleston Singles Club’s Facebook page of greater than 1,100 members, with fans joining daily, as well as more than 1,700 people asking to join our e-mail list even before our formal unveiling.

Now, one year from when I first moved to Charleston, young professional singles have a new option when it comes to making friends and connecting with those who have similar life interests and hobbies.

On Thursday, Aug. 6, Charleston Singles Club (CSC) is holding its first event. The club is the only Charleston organization to bring local, successful, fun and vibrant singles together, not for the purpose of matching up, but to make the most of life as a single in Charleston, S.C. Our first event will be held at Social Wine Bar.

The other aspect of Charleston Singles Club is our social networking Web site, which was engineered by Terrabyte Hosting. The site launches Aug. 1. Not just a regular Web site, is a social networking Web site with all the functionality of MySpace or Facebook. It provides a venue for local singles to chat about interests, happenings and, of course, bi-weekly CSC events. The site will also include activity groups where members can find other singles with similar interests. From there, special interest groups can plan meet-ups. Members of receive exclusive discounts at single-friendly businesses such as Social Wine Bar, Halls Chophouse, Top Shape Fitness, and many more.

The launch of Charleston Singles Club on Aug. 6 includes a full-out red carpet experience, DJ Moo Moo lighting up the dance floor, and a four-night, five-day Bahamas cruise giveaway courtesy of our sponsor SC Travel Network. The night is guaranteed to be a sparkling evening in the company of singles who are local, successful, young professionals. We can’t wait to see you there and we look forward to forever changing the single experience in this wonderful town, Charleston, S.C. Love the single life!

For more information on Charleston Singles Club events and to become a member, visit

Tags, you’re it: DNR wants vote on new license plates

By ANN THRASH, editor

JULY 30, 2009 – Don’t you love it when the state asks our opinion about something and appears ready to hear us? I do, even if it’s on a matter as non-earth-shattering as new specialty license plates for our vehicles. (Hey, we’ll take what we can get some days, right?)


Recent legislation has paved the way for DNR to issue a series of wildlife-themed plates. The agency has posted a survey online (click here to take it) to find out which plates people like and would buy. The tags will cost $30, in addition to the regular vehicle license fee, and proceeds will go toward wildlife conservation and the preservation of natural habitats in the Palmetto State.

There are five colorful tags to choose from, featuring a painted bunting, a ruby-throated hummingbird, a bald eagle with the outline of the South Carolina and American flags, an outline of a deer, and an illustration of a deer at dusk. Take a look, then cast your ballot. You’ll be asked to rank the plates from 1 (least favorite) to 5 (most favorite), then rate how likely you would be to buy one. There are also optional questions on demographics and favorite outdoor activities.

I’ll share my vote: My favorite was the design depicting the painted bunting, a tiny, bizarrely colorful bird that looks like a preschooler painted it with every watercolor available in the Junior Artist Kit. My least favorite? The outline of the deer. Bo-ring.

There are currently more than 100 specialty license plates available for South Carolina vehicles. The choices run from A to Z – literally, as in Allen University (the first listed alphabetically) to Zeta Phi Beta sorority, one of the newest entries.

Earlier this week, five new plates were announced, and they’re already included in the plate gallery at the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles’ Web site. The plates feature the Boykin spaniel (our state dog), the Beaufort Water Festival, EarthEcho International (an organization that protects wild dolphins; money from tag sales will be used for research about dolphins in state waters), Zeta Phi Beta sorority, and the Prince Hall Masons.

Glancing at the long list of specialty plates naturally raises the question of how the process works and who, exactly, is eligible for one. State law says that specialty license plates can be produced in two ways: One, a nonprofit organization that meets the requirements of the law can apply directly for a plate without prior legislative approval; and two, organizations that are not nonprofit must obtain specific authorizing legislation before a plate can be designed or produced.

Take a look at the specialty tags and you might be surprised at all the groups and causes that have their own plates. You might even be inspired to start wearing your heart on your bumper.

Ann Trash, editor of, can be reached at:

And the winner is …

Cheryl Smithem of Summerville was the winner of our first guess-where-this-is photo contest. In Monday’s issue, we posted a close-up photo of some of the detail work at a well-known Charleston building and asked you to e-mail us the location. Many of you knew the answer – Charleston City Hall near Washington Square Park, seen through the lens of photographer Elana Navon – but Cheryl rang in first and won tickets to this weekend’s Charleston RiverDogs games. Congratulations, Cheryl!

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.

Charleston RiverDogs

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is the Charleston RiverDogs. The Lowcountry’s leader in sports entertainment, Charleston RiverDogs baseball is an attractive, affordable medium for your group or business. The RiverDogs develop the next major league stars for the 26-time World Champion New York Yankees at one of the finest ballparks in Minor League Baseball -- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Three short words sum up the every day approach taken by the Charleston RiverDogs front office. The brainchild of club President Mike Veeck, the nine-letter phrase “Fun Is Good” is meant to be a guideline and daily reminder of how employees should approach their jobs and in turn capture the imagination of the fans to turn them into repeat customers. Call them today at (843) 723-7241 or visit online at: Next home series: Friday through Monday against Lexington.

Contest seeks new business ideas, offers $5,000 prize

South Carolina residents can win $5,000 cash for the best business idea through the New Ideas SC Competition, which kicked off July 27 with the goal of promoting entrepreneurism in South Carolina.

Participants can enter their idea at through Sept. 21. The grand-prize winner gets $5,000 in seed money for his or her idea, along with a scholarship to a FastTrac entrepreneurial training program, tickets to the Small Business Innovation Summit and Expo, and a “dream team of mentors” to help the cultivate the winning plan. 

Five first-place prizes of $2,500 will be awarded in the categories of Bio-Science, Software/Information Technology, Engineering, Environmental Sustainability, and Wild Card. Each winner earns a scholarship to FastTrac and tickets to the Small Business Innovation Summit and Expo. There will be five $1,000 honorable-mention prizes distributed as well as in each category.

Winners will be chosen based on the idea’s viability, innovation/vision and profit/revenue potential, and will be announced at the Small Business Innovation Summit and Expo in Charleston on Nov. 4.

“This is the fifth time we have put on the New Ideas SC Contest due to the gracious support of SC Launch!, New Carolina, FastTracSC, OrangeCoat, SCRA and ThinkTEC,” says Mary Dickerson, the contest coordinator. “We are looking for those business ideas that can bring new jobs, new energy, new talents, new life and new wealth to South Carolina.”

Mike Switzer of Richland County won the grand prize in the last contest with his idea of installing electric wall outlets in new construction and replacement markets that would eliminate wasted energy. Essentially, if an appliance isn’t in use the outlet would shut off.

Museum Mile Weekend will help promote attractions

The cultural sites along Charleston’s Museum Mile have organized the first Museum Mile Weekend on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27, when a single pass will allow visitors free admission to 12 attractions along Meeting Street. Many of the cultural institutions will also offer special programs during the event.

Launched in 2008 as a cooperative marketing effort among nonprofit organizations, Charleston's Museum Mile features the richest concentration of cultural sites open to visitors in downtown Charleston. Along and around the one-mile section of Meeting Street, visitors can discover six museums, five nationally important historic houses, four scenic parks and a Revolutionary War powder magazine.
“The Museum Mile Weekend Pass is a unique opportunity for locals and tourists to see the cultural attractions at a terrific price,” said Charleston Museum Director John Brumgardt. “If purchased separately, adult admission for the participating sites would be close to $100 for adults and $50 for children. The Weekend Pass is only $20 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.”

PPasses will go on sale on Sept. 1 and will be available online here and in person at the Charleston Visitor Center downtown at 375 Meeting Street and the new Mount Pleasant location at 99 Harry Hallman Blvd. (the new Waterfront Memorial Park). Passholders who do not get to see everything they want on the first day of the weekend can return for the rest of the attractions the following day.

Youth teams from across U.S. converge on Mt. Pleasant

The Mount Pleasant Recreation Department and the Diamond Warriors Booster Club hosted 133 teams of youth baseball players on town fields last week for the Global Sports World Series USSSA baseball tournament. Town officials said the influx of players and their families brought revenue into the town through hotel stays, dining and shopping, and also showcased the quality of the town’s recreational facilities.

The tournament, held July 23 through July 26, brought the teams in age groups 9 - 14 to the Charleston area, with some teams playing games in North Charleston and Summerville as well. “Having 164 scheduled games played here in Mount Pleasant at our five venues is a testament not only to the quality facilities that we have here in town, but also to the dedication and effort put forth by staff and volunteers alike to welcome visitors and support our local businesses,” said MPRD Recreation Director Ken Ayoub. “At the same time, the world series offered us the opportunity to provide some good, competitive baseball games for those of us who live here to attend and enjoy.”

The youth teams came from across the country, mostly from the Southeast, including Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. The Mount Pleasant Recreation Department provided fields and some staff to support the numerous volunteers and help run the tournament. Following a highly successful USSSA tournament that the Diamond Warriors hosted at MPRD’s facilities in November 2008, the USSSA selected the department to host the majority of the Global Sports World Series’ games played this past weekend.

What's your favorite?

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.

John Gordon Coogler

J. Gordon Coogler achieved notoriety in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as one of South Carolina’s, and the South’s, most famous and arguably worst poets. He was born on December 3, 1865, in Richland County near the town of Doko (now Blythewood). By the mid-1880s he was living in Columbia and working as a journeyman printer. He printed, at his own expense, his first volume of poetry around this time. He quickly followed it with two more volumes and soon established himself as a poet with appeal to the masses.


Through tireless self-promotion, Coogler and his poetry garnered the attention of readers and reviewers from across the nation, who found his work entertaining if not aesthetic. Facetious reviews and parodies of his work found their way into dozens of newspapers and other periodicals. By 1895 Coogler had opened his own printing shop on Lady Street in Columbia, where he advertised “Poems written while you wait.”

In 1897 Coogler printed a one-volume edition of his complete works, Purely Original Verse, which sold more than five thousand copies, mostly to customers from outside the South. By then, according to Columbia’s State newspaper, he had become “by a freak of fate … the most widely celebrated citizen of Columbia.” He died in Columbia on September 9, 1901, and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery.

Coogler’s verse received tongue-in-cheek praise from literary critics of the day from Atlanta, Washington, D.C., New York, and London. The writer and critic H. L. Mencken secured literary immortality for Coogler in 1916 when he referred to Coogler as “the last bard of Dixie” in his disparaging review of southern literature, “Sahara of the Bozart.” Mencken began the review with the Cooglerian couplet “Alas! For the South, her books have grown fewer — She never was given to literature.” Gradually the term “Cooglerism” entered the language, meaning a solemn absurdity.

Coogler’s poetic couplets preceded the inane greeting-card rhymes of the twentieth century, and as such he was ahead of his time. Coogler died believing the praise to be genuine and had included several of his reviews in his newer editions. … Coogler achieved a poetic revival in 1974 with the reprint of Purely Original Verse by Claude and Irene Neuffer. Literary critics and national columnists of the day enjoyed the revival as much as Mencken had years earlier. Orders for copies were received from across the country and across the world. The conservative editor Robert Tyrrell began honoring the year’s worst book with the J. Gordon Coogler Award. Observing the renewed enthusiasm for the “bard of the Congaree” in the 1980s, the columnist William F. Buckley concluded, “Coogler, tonight, sleeps with the immortals.”

– Excerpted from the entry by Francis Neuffer. 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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Planting a seed


It’s time to start thinking about fall vegetable gardens, even if your summer vegetable garden hasn’t had its last hurrah yet. Here’s a list of five of Charleston’s most popular veggies for seed planting in August. It comes from P.J. Gartin, a Clemson Extension Master Gardener, co-author of “Some Like It Hot: Plants That Thrive in Hot and Humid Weather” and author of “Some Like It Hot: Flowers That Thrive in Hot Humid Weather.”

  • Southern peas – Plant Aug. 1-10.
  • Beets – Plant Aug. 1-20.
  • Collards – Plant Aug. 1-25.
  • Summer and winter squash – Plant Aug. 10-25.
  • Turnips – Plant Aug. 25-Oct. 15.

P.J. adds, “Be sure to leave enough room in your garden for transplanting the following tender plants that are available at most local garden centers:

  • Cabbage – Aug. 1–15.
  • Cauliflower – Aug. 1–20.
  • Broccoli – Aug. 10–Sept. 15

On opinion and truth


“Fight for your opinions, but do not believe that they contain the whole truth, or the only truth.”

– Charles A. Dana, American newspaper editor (1819 – 1897)


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.

(NEW) Take the Bite Out of Sharks: Aug. 2 through Aug. 8, South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, downtown. A weeklong celebration of “all things more dangerous than sharks” during the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. Enter the aquarium through the mouth of a great white shark, then explore the facts about sharks through special displays and activities. Visitors can earn an “O-fishal Investigator” certificate in a Mythbusters Mystery Hunt, enjoy a shark-themed dive show, “adopt” a sand tiger shark and more. More info: online here or 577-FISH (3474).

"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.


(NEW) "Food, Inc." Showing: 7:15 p.m. Aug. 3, Terrace Theater, Maybank Highway, James Island. Lowcountry Local First and Slow Food Charleston, groups that promote the benefits of local, sustainable food, will host a showing of the movie "Food, Inc.," a documentary that looks at surprising information about what we eat, how it's produced and how that affects us as a nation. After the movie (about 9 p.m.), there will be a panel discussion featuring local farmers and producers. Regular Terrace ticket prices apply. More info: 762-4247, Lowcountry Local First or Slow Food Charleston.

(NEW) Marketing Mistakes: 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Aug. 5, Charleston County Library Main Branch, 68 Calhoun St., downtown. “Five Marketing Mistakes That Will Kill Your Business” is a free workshop led by marketing pro Chris Cooper to help businesses and nonprofits extend their brands and reach their goals. Bring a brown-bag lunch. More info: 805-6930.

(NEW) Free Skin Cancer Screening: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 8, Splash Zone Waterpark at James Island County Park, Riverland Drive, Charleston. The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission and dermatologists from the MUSC Mobile Health Unit (a fully equipped doctor's office on wheels) will offer a free skin cancer screenings. More skin cancer info: MUSC Health Connection, 792-1414.

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.

(NEW) Shagging on the Cooper: 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 8, Mount Pleasant Pier at Memorial Park, foot of the Ravenel Bridge in Mount Pleasant. Shag under the stars at the new pier. Music starts at 8:30 p.m., provided by The Coppertones (a formally dressed six-piece ensemble party band that plays classic R&B and beach music). Beverages available for purchase on-site. Tickets: $8; only 800 tickets will be sold and must be purchased at the event (no advance sales). Tickets available in gift shop at pier beginning at 3 p.m. the day of the event. More info: 795-4386.

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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