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Issue 1.78 | Monday, Aug. 17, 2009 | Rev it up for school

Thousands of school kids, parents, volunteers and vendors turned out for Sunday's First Day Festival, sponsored by the city of Charleston and the Charleston County School District to help students get ready to go back to school. The event, held at Liberty Square, featured free school supplies, food, entertainment, aquarium tours, boat rides and more. (Photo by Ann Thrash)

:: Use of social media in life and death


:: Remembering a quirky clunker

:: Send us comments on local issues

:: Back to school

:: Inc. notice, Band battle, Making It Grow


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Tell us why you like a book
___:: HISTORY: Carolina I-house
___:: QUOTE: Newton on tact
___:: 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


The uses of social media -- in life and in death
Step Ahead PR, Social Media and Internet Marketing
Special to

Editor's note: We recently spotted this interesting perspective on social media -- Facebook, Twitter and the like- - on a blog at the Web site of Step Ahead PR, Social Media and Internet Marketing. Author Holly Fisher, an account executive with Step Ahead, kindly agreed to let us share it with you.

AUG. 17, 2009 -- My first real foray into the land of Web 2.0 was a blog I started in fall 2005. It was mainly a way to record and share the moments in my life with friends and family. Since then, I've jumped on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I feel immersed in the world of social media and its capabilities as a personal and business tool.


But earlier this month, I discovered an entirely new use for social media and the Internet when a professional colleague and friend passed away after a battle with brain cancer. Terry Harper was the executive director of the Society of Professional Journalists, an organization with more than 8,000 members. I served on the SPJ national board of directors for six years so had worked with Terry during my board service.

When we found out about his cancer, members of the organization rallied their thoughts and prayers and put full support behind Terry and his family for many months. But a few weeks ago, we found ourselves coming together again, this time to pay our respects to our colleague and friend.

What struck me as most interesting was the method for our collective sadness. With SPJ members scattered about the country, the majority of us couldn't physically attend the memorial service or other events that would honor Terry's memory. So we pulled together online. We posted messages on Terry's Facebook page as well as a special group page that had been created to support Terry's fight with cancer. We tweeted our grief on Twitter. We posted hundreds of comments on Terry's blog, Thumping My Melon. SPJ created a memorial page on its Web site where members and friends of the society could post comments, donate to a memorial fund or simply remember Terry in pictures.

I couldn't help but think about how social media has changed the way we do everything, including celebrate lost loved ones and friends. In the past, we could only send a card of condolence, make a phone call or give a memorial donation to a particular charity. And while those are all still quite appropriate and important, now we have a chance to create a living, breathing memorial, a place where a person's friends and family can read the many touching and inspiring comments as long as they like and friends can continue to post their thoughts.

Terry wrote a final blog post that his wife posted the day of his death. At last check, that post had 241 comments. Many of the comments are from people who knew Terry well; other comments are from people who didn't know him at all - just another example of the far-reaching power of the Internet.

Housed online, these blogs and Facebook pages live on forever, a touching reminder of a person's contributions here on Earth. And, I have to admit, I've been thinking: What would my final blog post say?

Remembering an old friend, cranky about health care debate
By ANDY BRACK, publisher

AUG. 17, 2009 - Saturday was spent cleaning out our old 1999 Ford Explorer, which has been replaced by a new vehicle, thanks to the federal Cash for Clunkers program.


As I found lost coins, pens and paperclips under seats, I remembered how this was the truck that ferried my wife to Roper St. Francis hospital for the delivery of our two daughters. It took me back and forth to Columbia for five years to cover the legislature for S.C. Statehouse Report. It transported us on long trips to visit the in-laws in Louisiana (before Katrina) and to meet with former governors and top leaders in every Southern state.

If even possible, the vehicle has an eccentric personality - not quite spunky, but eager to do whatever job it is called to do. It seemed to delight in the beaches at Okracoke, Pawleys Island and places along the Gulf Coast in Florida. It weaved with abandon through the windy mountain roads of northeast Georgia and North Carolina. It hummed in traffic - literally hummed when at rest due to some odd configuration of the air conditioning system. Randomly, windshield wipers would sweep its front glass once, twice, maybe thrice, for no reason at all.

Quirky and, yes, certainly clunky, the Ford has been faithful for just over 200,000 miles. But it was time for it to retire and go to truck heaven. And while we'll get better gas mileage in the next few years, we'll miss the old gold Explorer, recall its idiosyncrasies and vividly remember its faithful service.

* * *

By the time you read this, South Carolina's own stick-in-the-mud U.S. senator, Jim DeMint, would have finished a much-heralded morning semi-open forum on health care on Daniel Island.

Here's a prediction -- either he or some wingnut in the audience will say something so outrageous that it will bring the national cameras or Jon Stewart to South Carolina yet again to portray the state in an unflattering way. DeMint's deep-seeded opposition to the Obama health care plan so borders on the obsessive that it's hard to believe he'll do nothing on this day manufactured not for constituents, but for the media.

DeMint's Senate press folks and volunteers have been drum-beating about the event for weeks (it's even been on our calendar). Perhaps the cleverest thing about the whole made-for-media event is how they're chilling real openness by charging admission. According to The Post and Courier: "Space will be limited. DeMint is scheduled to be at a Daniel Island Neighborhood Association meeting, where priority will be given to those who pay the group's $12.50 attendance and breakfast cost."

Instead of an old-fashioned poll tax, maybe what we now have for a so-called public forum is a debate tax to chill opposition. More frustrations with the whole health care debate were fodder for the past week's commentary in S.C. Statehouse Report. More: Click here.

Andy Brack, publisherof, can be reached at:

Send us your comments on local issues

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.

Joye Law Firm

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. In this issue, we highlight the Joye Law Firm. Committed to fighting for the rights of the wrongly injured in South Carolina for more than 40 years, the experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyers of the Joye Law Firm want to help you get every dollar you truly deserve for the injuries you've suffered. Whether you've been injured in an auto accident, by a defective product, in a nursing home, or on the job, we may be able to help you. For more information, contact Joye Law Firm at 843.554.3100 or visit online at:

Entrepreneurial magazine recognizes local companies, the online arm of Inc. magazine, recently named seven Charleston-area companies to its Fastest-Growing Private Companies list. The magazine and Web site annually rank the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the country. "The list is the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy - America's independent-minded entrepreneurs," the magazine said in a press release.

The seven Lowcountry companies that made the list were TrySports in Mount Pleasant (ranked 890th), Terry Environmental Services in Summerville (2,268th), JSJ Pharmaceuticals in Charleston (3,086th), Low Country Case & Millwork in Ladson (3,200th), Call Experts in Charleston (4,088th), Urban Nirvana in Charleston (4,160th) and Hire Quest in North Charleston (4,368th). Overall, 31 South Carolina companies made the list.

The highest-ranking company in the state was Greenville-based Customer Effective, which ranked 541st.

The full list, as well as company profiles and a list of the fastest-growing companies that can be sorted by industry and region, are available online at

Battle of the Bands to benefit United Way projects

Trident United Way will host the fourth annual Battle of the Bands beginning at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 20 at the Music Farm, located at 32 Ann St. downtown.

Thirteen bands composed of local professionals will perform until 11 p.m. The cost of admission is a $10 donation to the United Way, along with a business card, and that provides for all you can eat and drink as well.

In addition to showcasing some of the Lowcountry's most talented artists and musicians, the Battle of the Bands raises awareness about the work of Trident United Way and its nonprofit partners within the tri-county area. As a requirement to compete in the Battle of the Bands, each band had to take part in a volunteer project with one of Trident United Way's funded partners this summer.

The local businesses that helped make the Battle of the Bands possible are Roper St. Francis Healthcare, W. Scott Palmer Law Firm, Prime Ticket Inc., Tidelands Bank, Brown Construction, Charleston Regional Business Journal, Catcon, Grubb & Ellis Barkley Fraser, Bluefish Fitness Club, Crew Carolina, Crazystix Productions, Firefly Vodka, Gil Shuler Graphic Design, Henry J. Lee Distributors, Irvin House Vineyards, Mackenzie Image Consulting, Magwood Seafood, Morrison's Cafeteria, Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co., South Carolina Embroidery, The Body Shop, TBonz Restaurant Group and Awendaw Green.

College of Charleston to be featured on ETV program

The College of Charleston campus will be featured on the Aug. 18 episode of ETV's popular "Making It Grow" gardening program. Monica Scott, the college's vice president for facilities planning, and head groundskeeper John Davis will lead a botanical tour of campus, including the cistern yard and arboretum.

Rowland Alston Jr., the show's host, calls the C of C campus "one big, gigantic garden" as he surveys the cypress, magnolias, buckeyes and other campus trees and shrubs.

The hour-long show airs from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on SCETV; the segment featuring the college is expected to air shortly after 7:30 p.m.

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.

Carolina I-house

"I-house" is a relatively new architectural term. Fred Kniffen first coined it in 1936, when he used it "in the absence of any common term, either folk or architectural," to describe the house type he identified initially in the "I" states of Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. More a description of a house form or shape than a distinct style, "I-house" was not a term used by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century architects and builders. The distinguishing characteristics are a full two-story height, a one-room depth, and a length of two or more rooms.

The I-house conveys a tall, narrow appearance. It is constructed of wood, brick, stone, or log with its entrance on the long side. Kniffen traced the origins of this house form evolving from the English, single-room, end-chimney house to full-blown examples in the Middle Atlantic region of Delaware and the Chesapeake by the late seventeenth century. It was carried southward as part of the great mid-eighteenth-century migration along the Appalachian Mountains into the backcountry of the Carolinas. From there it was carried into the Deep South and by way of the Ohio River into the Midwest. The ubiquitous I-house had become the symbol of economic success in the rural landscape of South Carolina's upcountry by the middle of the nineteenth century and remained so well into the early twentieth century.

Carolina I-house

The early I-house had two rooms on the ground floor. One room, the hall, functioned as the kitchen, workroom, or dining room; the other, the parlor, was used for more formal activities. By the nineteenth century and with increased attention to symmetry, a center hall containing the stairway was present in most floor plans. Examples in Carolina typically have three to five windows across the front on the second story; a chimney on either gable end; a front porch; a back porch, which is often enclosed as a lean-to; and/or a kitchen ell added to the rear. As an occupant's wealth increased, a simpler house form such as a single-story dogtrot could evolve into an I-house with the addition of a second story, conversion of the breezeway into the hall, and covering the whole with weatherboards. Its tall, shallow form with short spans was easy to construct, provided excellent ventilation through the main rooms, and presented an impressive public face to signal the economic status of the owner.

The architectural historian Michael Southern has argued that the durability of this form through time may in part be attributed to its adaptability to receive detailing and ornamentation from the various popular styles of the nineteenth century, such as the Federal, Greek-revival, Italianate, and even Gothic styles. While retaining a traditional floor plan, the occupants were able to dress up their homes outwardly to indicate that they were attuned to the latest architectural trends. Thus, the Carolina I-house established itself as the signature house form of the upland part of the state throughout the nineteenth century.

-- Excerpted from the entry by John C. Larson. 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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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.

The lunch bunch

What's for lunch? With Charleston County schools back in session tomorrow, we thought it would be fun to take a look at what's on the menu for elementary-age kids during this first week back to classes. Anybody hungry?

  • Tuesday: Hamburger with lettuce and tomato, potato wedges and green beans.

  • Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan with noodles and tomato sauce; broccoli.

  • Thursday: Baked chicken; mac and cheese, lima beans, peas and carrots.

  • Friday: Cheese pizza or manager's choice entrée; corn on the cob, tossed salad, fruited gelatin.

  • Every day: Fresh fruit, juice or canned fruit; milk.

On tact


"Tact is the knack of making a point without making an enemy."

-- Mathematician and physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727)


Going Green for the Girls II: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20, Halls Chophouse, 434 King St. Green Drinks Charleston, Carolina's Eco-Unit, and Halls Chophouse are throwing a second cocktail hour to help fund some simple energy-efficiency upgrades and retrofits to the historic building downtown that houses the Center for Women. Donation of $10 (cash or check at door) includes food samples. There will be a cash bar. More info online.

Health Care Films, Forum: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 20, North Charleston Picture House, 1080 E. Montague Ave., North Charleston. The Greater Park Circle Film Society will offer a forum on health care reform in conjunction with the premiere of two independent films, a documentary called "Charleston Health Care Stories" and a musical comedy called "Damaged Care." Following the films, panelists will react to the movies and discuss issues related to health care reform. Tickets: $2 film society members; $5 nonmembers, available at the box office starting at 6:45 p.m. the night of the event. Seating is limited, and a standing-room-only crowd is expected. More info: Online or 478-3911.

Buy or Burn Book Sale: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 22, Village Square Shopping Center, 1650 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. (formerly The Map Room); sneak preview ($10-per-person admission) from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 21. Event to benefit Trident Literacy Association. Wide variety of books, CDs, DVDs and other electronic media will be priced for quick sale; only cash or check will be accepted. Book donations will be accepted at the sale site from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily Aug. 17 to Aug. 20, or books can be dropped off at any Trident Literacy location. More info online or 747-2223.

RiverDogs Cow Bingo: 6 p.m. Aug. 22, Joe Riley Stadium. The Charleston RiverDogs' inaugural Cow Bingo contest will give participants a chance to win $5,000. The baseball field will be marked off as a grid with 10-foot-squares. Fans can purchase a square for $25, and if a cow "drops a chip" in a purchased square, that square's owner will win the money. There will also be line-dancing, hillbilly horseshoes, "moo'shine," "Ye Haw" contests, food, a dunk tank and more. The $25 fee for a square also includes two tickets to the event. Regular event tickets (square not included) are $5 (free to ages 12 and under). Tickets/more info: Online or 577-DOGS.


Women in IT: 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 27, Tate Center, College of Charleston, Room 207 and Gallery. The forum will explore the challenges and opportunities for women in the IT industry with a panel of local industry leaders and educators. An MIT Enterprise Forum video from Technology Review's EmTech08 Conference will be shown, featuring successful female entrepreneurs in the industry with companies such as ZipCar, GoLoco, and Daily Grommet. Lunch and networking opportunities included. Registration (required): $20 (includes lunch). More info/registration.

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.

Chamber Grassroots Meeting: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 1, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2750 Speissegger Drive, Suite 100, North Charleston. The chamber will join the S.C. Chamber of Commerce and other area chambers in preparing for the 2010 legislative session with the annual Charleston Grassroots Regional Meeting, an open-forum session that's the first step in creating the 2010 Competitiveness Agenda and the business community's annual list of legislative priorities. Free. RSVPs/more info: Julie Scott by email or 803-255-2628.

Wine + Food Launch Party: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 3, Founders Hall, Charles Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Road. Barbecue and beverages will be available, and the latest news about next year's BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival, including the lineup of chefs and authors, will be announced. Entertainment by the Blue Plantation Band. Tickets: $10 per person cash or check at the door, with proceeds benefiting the festival's charitable efforts. Reserve tickets by Aug. 31 by e-mailing or calling 727-9998, ext. 4.

(NEW) Rice Plantation Program: 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 5, Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenel. Investigate daily life and practices on a South Carolina rice plantation in the colonial era. Examine the details of field construction, planting, cultivation and harvest to reveal an endeavor of amazing scope. Advance registration required; a registered and paid chaperone is required for participants age 15 or younger. Open to ages 9 and up. Cost: $7 Charleston County residents, $9 nonresidents. More info: 795-4FUN or click here.

Wednesdays on the Waterfront: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through mid-October, Pier Plaza at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. Free concerts for the community. Beverages available for purchase at pier shop. Bring a chair or use the benches and tables at the site. Upcoming performers include Nick Collins, acoustic guitar, Aug. 12, and Jeff Norwood, Southern Blues revivalist, Aug. 19. More info: Online or 884-8517.


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


11/5: McCutcheon: Work gap
Ohl: On carpooling
Wiedman: Women at Gibbes
10/26: Matouchev: Bear markets
Conover: BarCamp buzz
Wilson: Symphony update
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


11/5: Improving turnout
10/29: Celebrating a year
10/22: Good, bad signs
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


11/2: Boeing highlights needs
No place for prejudice
Have fun at Halloween
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?


11/5: Weather watching
5 cooking classes
Best lists of year
Oyster recycling
Howl-o-ween fun
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

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