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Issue 1.80 | Monday, Aug. 24, 2009 | Radish seeds sprout in just 4 days

PIER GROUP: Shaggers, mixers and minglers enjoy a recent Moonlight Mixer at the Folly Beach Fishing Pier. The mixers, which consistently draw a sell-out crowd, are winding down as fall approaches; only two more remain. See today's calendar for details. (Photo provided by Charleston Country Park and Recreation Commission)

:: Outpouring inspires Rural Mission


:: On protecting state's historical gems

:: Let us know what you really think

:: 7 stores, 7 days

:: Tax-friendly, grassroots, storms, more


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Tell us why you like a book
___:: HISTORY: Frank Howard
___:: QUOTE: Johnson on retirement
___:: 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


Despite recession, outpouring of help inspires Rural Mission
Director of program development, Rural Mission Inc.
Special to

AUG. 24, 2009 -- The recession economy has produced many difficult challenges for the Rural Mission during 2009, but God continues to provide! This gives us faith.


The low-income rural families, the elderly, migrant families and the at-risk children and youth we serve are suffering greatly in hardships and poverty. The people with the least are bearing the greatest burdens of this recession. One family at a time, we are continuing to bring them uplifting hope and assistance.

The mission's very difficult financial burdens continue. However, we have been tremendously blessed, encouraged and thankful for the outpouring of volunteers seeking to give of themselves that 2009 has produced. They may not be able to give financially as they may want, but they have dedicated themselves to discipleship. Many have renewed their relationship with the Rural Mission from past years, and many have come for the first time. All denominations are represented.

Not since the outpouring of love in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo have they come to the rural Sea Islands and its needy residents in such numbers. Volunteers know that people are suffering and they want to help. They are walking the walk!

Rural Mission volunteers are working on a new, safe home for Shirley Smiley and her family to replace their dilapidated, dangerous trailer. (Photo provided by Rural Mission)

One wonderful example of such caring and commitment has been the large numbers of volunteers who have worked since the groundbreaking in June on a new, safe and adequate home for Shirley Smiley and her family near Hollywood. Their very old and dilapidated trailer home has not only been falling apart but making them sick. The photo accompanying this column was taken on Aug. 18, and it shows how far we have come.

Shirley and her family have been there, side by side each day, with our volunteers. These memories and bonds of love, friendship and respect will stay with everyone for a lifetime. Volunteers have returned home with the joy and blessings of giving and with Shirley's endearing smile and her sincere expressions of gratitude. She has been ever present with bottles of water and Gatorade and popsicles to make these hot days a little easier.

Help us to repeat this wonderful story for the many still waiting to be helped. The Rural Mission provides a convenient and secure means to donate to our outreach ministry online by going to The "Donate Now" link is right on the homepage. Do this in memory or honor of someone special in your life. Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 235, Johns Island, SC, 29457, or call 768-1720.

Chris Brooks is director of program development at the Rural Mission, Inc.

On protecting SC's historical gems
By ANDY BRACK, publisher

AUG. 24, 2009 - It's not every day one gets to see the original Ordinance of Secession of Dec. 20, 1860.


Or the earliest known copy (1682) of the Fundamental Constitutions, a document that outlined a governmental structure for the colony of South Carolina. Many say it is a foundation of the U.S. Constitution of a century later.

Or signatures on documents by John Locke and Thomas Jefferson. Or a ratified copy of the U.S. Bill of Rights. Or the first petition of the 1949 South Carolina complaint that went on to be part of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education desegregation case.

But it's all there in Columbia, locked in protected, chilly vaults at the S.C. Department of Archives and History. It's all the people's incredibly valuable property.

"Our state archives are a priceless record and historical treasure of South Carolina's heritage of knowing who we are by knowing who we've been and a guide to where we should go," said noted historian Jack Bass of Charleston. "We need to look back, in part, so we can see where we made mistakes in the past and don't repeat them."

Charles Lesser, senior archivist at the department, said the historical documents and records held in the state's three vaults, each the size of half a football field, are "the memory of the state. It tells us who we are."

Important documents, such as the best preserved set of acts of the first U.S. Congress that were signed by Thomas Jefferson, generally are not on public display to protect them from the elements (light, heat and humidity), which can cause them to deteriorate. But they're all microfilmed or digitally preserved to allow people to learn about the state's history close-up.

Unfortunately, the Archives and History department is, like many smaller state agencies, showing signs of its own wear and tear due to the up-and-down, drastic budget cuts of the last few years. For example, in 2001, the agency's state funding was about $5 million and it had 91 state-funded employees. Today, funding is $3.2 million, less than the agency's budget was more than 20 years ago. Today, there are just 51 state-funded staff members, according to new director Eric Emerson, who started just a week ago after serving as head of the private Charleston Library Society.

First petition in Briggs v. Elliott case, 1949. See more.

A slideshow on the department's Web site highlights the benefits that South Carolina receives from historic preservation. People, it seems, tend to trust historical sites and museums more than anyplace else as places to learn about history - more than personal accounts, witnesses and teachers.

According to the Travel Industry Association of America, four in five of the 146 million Americans who travel include historical and cultural activities in their trips. And that means money. In 2003, for example, some 1.6 million people visited South Carolina's historic attractions and spent more than $438 million.

So it makes sense to preserve our history - its documents, its locations and more -- for financial reasons, especially with tourism being such a big part of our state's economy.

But it's not hard to feel the impact of budget cuts or imagine how more cuts to small agencies could cause them to decline to the point that they're not able to fulfill their missions in the way required by state law.

At small state agencies like Archives and History, there's not an available supply of pork or fat that can be cut. That was sliced years ago. Legislators need to realize that more budget cuts will have detrimental impacts beyond causing people to lose their jobs. They will threaten the foundations of our society, such as the very documents that served as policy foundations for what we are today.

Mold, mildew, humidity, temperature and the like destroy historical records. Let's make sure in the days to come that the financial equivalent doesn't destroy our past and its lessons for the future.

Andy Brack, publisher of, can be reached at: This commentary first appears in SC Statehouse Report.

Send us your opinions on public 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.


The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter BB&T, a regional bank that has built on a tradition of excellence in community banking since 1872. BB&T is a mission-driven organization with a clearly defined set of business principals and values. It encourages employees to have a strong sense of purpose, a high level of self-esteem and the capacity to think clearly and logically. BB&T offers clients a complete range of financial services including banking, lending, insurance, trust and wealth management solutions. To learn more, visit BB&T online or drop in to talk with its professionals at the main branch office at 151 Meeting Street, Charleston. Phone: (843)720-5168.

Kiplinger says state among 'most tax-friendly' for retirees, the online presence of the Kiplinger personal-finance newsletter and magazine, recently launched an interactive map that names South Carolina as one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees.

"Federal taxes will be about the same no matter where you live, but state and local tax burdens can vary greatly, especially if you're retired," Kiplinger states. The map points out "Retiree Tax Heavens (and Hells) 2009-2010)."

The details about the Palmetto State have this introduction: "South Carolina extends its Southern hospitality to retirees: The Palmetto State does not tax Social Security benefits, and it allows residents 65 and older to deduct up to $15,000 per person ($30,000 per couple) of qualified retirement income when calculating their state income tax. Retired military personnel 65 and older may deduct up to $10,000 of military retirement benefits. Property taxes are very low and are based on 4 percent of fair market value; homeowners 65 and older qualify for a homestead exemption that excludes the first $40,000 of the home's value." More details about state tax policies follow.

To see the map and read the details, go to at

Chamber seeks businesses' ideas for lawmakers

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and S.C. Chamber of Commerce will host a Coastal Grassroots Meeting on Sept. 1 to identify issues concerning the business community and discuss the upcoming agenda for the 2010 legislative session.

The Coastal Grassroots Meeting is held every fall and is the first step in developing the Competitiveness Agenda, the annual list of the business community's legislative priorities. The business community gives input on the issues that affect businesses and what legislative priorities they would like to see the General Assembly address in January.

In addition, leaders from the state chamber will present legislative priorities for businesses across the state and discuss which issues are likely to be a focus. The state group is hosting nine other meetings around the state with a similar format.

The meeting is planned for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sept. 1 at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2750 Speissegger Drive, North Charleston. It's free and open to the public, but those who want to attend are asked to register by e-mailing or calling Julie Scott at 1-800-799-4601.

"The Coastal Grassroots meeting helps our Public Policy Committee in prioritizing the many issues for the 2010 Legislative Agenda," said Scott Woods, chairman of the Charleston Metro Chamber's Public Policy Committee. "We are able to hear from our members about their key issues and then compare those to other chambers across the state."

Footlight Players reviving kids' theater program

The Footlight Players once had a year-round theater education program that worked with budding stars such as comedian Stephen Colbert and actor Thomas Gibson when they were children growing up in the Lowcountry. Now, for the first time in nearly 15 years, the program is being revived.

New-York-trained actress Heather Moss-Layman will lead the program, which includes a variety of activities designed to help young actors hone their skills. Classes are available for ages 8-10 and 11-18 and will be held every Tuesday, Sept. 8 through Nov. 10.

The program includes "Acting Up!" for 8- to 10-year-olds from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., focusing on acting "fun"damentals, theater games, improve and character creation. Also featured is T.EX.T., or Teen EXperimental Theatre, in which students age 11 and up spend time from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. creating their own experimental piece of theater. Students will work with theater games, improvisation, acting techniques, scene creation, storytelling, movement and speech.

The program will meet at the Footlight Players Theater, 20 Queen St., downtown. The cost is $160 per student. There will be volunteer activities available for parents to participate in while their student is in class.

To register, call 722-7521 or go online to

County to offer citizens free 'storm spotter' classes

Charleston County's Emergency Preparedness Division is offering free classes in September for residents who want to help warn officials about potentially dangerous changes in local weather conditions.

SKYWARN is a voluntary program developed by the National Weather Service to obtain real-time reports of hail size, wind damage, flash flooding, heavy rain and tornadoes, so that the agency can effectively warn the public. SKYWARN volunteers serve as storm spotters for the NWS and local emergency management programs, becoming the eyes and ears for their communities.

Anyone interested in becoming a SKYWARN weather spotter can attend one of the NWS basic and/or advanced weather spotter training classes, which are hosted by Charleston County personnel. The free classes last about two hours. The Basic Weather Spotter Class is required to become a certified weather spotter and is a prerequisite for the Advanced Weather Spotter Class. The advanced class provides additional information and training to those interested in learning more than is provided in the basic class.

The basic class meets from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Charleston County Public Service Building, third floor, Room 339 (Emergency Operations Center), at 4045 Bridgeview Drive, North Charleston. The advanced class meets from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 29 at the same location.

To register, contact James Tarter, county training coordinator for the Emergency Management Department, at 202-7405 or by e-mail at

New sub shop to open with fundraiser for school

Jersey Mike's Subs will open its first James Island location this week and will sponsor a five-day fundraiser for Murray-LaSaine Elementary School as part of the opening festivities.

The restaurant opens Aug. 26 at 520 Folly Road in the Publix Shopping Center. From Aug. 26 through Aug. 30, anyone who has a fundraising coupon can get a free regular size sub with a $1 donation that will go to Murray-LaSaine's art and music programs. The coupons are being distributed throughout the community and in local newspapers.

The store's hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

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.

Frank Howard

Frank Howard was born in Barlow Bend, Alabama, on March 25, 1909. He graduated from Murphy High School in Mobile and earned a scholarship from the Birmingham News in 1927 to attend the University of Alabama, where he became a member of the varsity football squad. On graduation in 1931 Howard accepted a position as assistant football coach at Clemson University under head coach Jess Neely. When Neely departed for Rice University in 1940, Howard was chosen as his replacement.


As head coach, Howard directed the Clemson football program for the next thirty seasons (1940-1969), achieving a level of success that would not be surpassed at the school until the 1980s. Howard's teams compiled a 165-118-12 record, earned eight conference championships (two Southern, six Atlantic Coast), and appeared in six postseason bowl games, including the Sugar Bowl (1959) and two trips to the Orange Bowl (1951, 1957).

Howard brought attention to the Clemson football program as much with his personality as with victories. Howard's Alabama drawl, rotund shape, and constant tobacco chewing defined his country bumpkin image. On the after-dinner speaking circuit, Howard entertained listeners with colorful stories and wry one-liners. He also gave sportswriters fodder for their columns by carrying on mock feuds with his rival coaches in the southeast, especially Paul Dietzel at the University of South Carolina and D.C. "Peahead" Walker of Wake Forest.

Howard established several traditions that have become a part of the spectacle and pageantry associated with a Clemson football game. The team's traditional entrance into the stadium by running down a hill at the east end zone began simply as the most convenient route to the field from nearby Fike Field House, where the team dressed. Later Clemson teams, who had the benefit of dressing rooms at the west end of the stadium, continued the tradition by boarding buses and riding back to the east end zone just before kickoff in order to make their ceremonial entrance into the stadium greeted by cheers and the school fight song, "Tiger Rag."

Howard also established the tradition of the players rubbing "Howard's Rock" (mounted on a pedestal at the top of the hill) for luck as they entered the stadium. The rock, from Death Valley in California, was given to Howard by a friend after the Clemson Memorial Stadium earned the nickname "Death Valley," especially for opponents such as Presbyterian College and the University of Virginia which Clemson defeated with regularity. Howard never lost to Virginia, referring to them as the "white meat" on the annual football schedule.

Howard married Anna Tribble in 1933 and they had two children. He died on January 26, 1996, and was buried at Cemetery Hill, alongside many former Clemson presidents and faculty. Howard's final resting place on Cemetery Hill overlooks Memorial Stadium and the football field that bears his name.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Bradley S. Sauls. 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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7 stores, 7 days


The new Charleston Singles Club (see the July 30 Today's Focus) has come up with a neat idea to raise funds for Lowcountry AIDS Service and help locally owned businesses at the same time. Through Aug. 29, CSC, founded by Justin VanBogart, is sponsoring "7 Stores, 7 Days," which encourages people to shop at seven different businesses for one week, a different store each day. Each business has pledged a percentage of sales for that day to Lowcountry AIDS Foundation. The event began Aug. 22 and Aug. 23 with the Smoking Lamp and M. Dumas & Sons. Here are the remaining stores and the dates they'll be donating to the foundation:

  • Cupcake, Aug. 24.

  • Butterfly Women's Consignment Boutique, Aug. 25.

  • Charleston Power Yoga, Aug. 26.

  • Merch Underground (Music Farm), Aug. 27.

  • 52.5, Aug. 28.

On Saturday, Aug. 29, there will be a party at O'Malley's at which each business will present a check to the charity. New members will have their first month's membership fee ($19) plus an even match donated to Lowcountry AIDS Foundation. More info.

On retiring


"Don't think of retiring from the world until the world will be sorry that you retire. I hate a fellow whom pride or cowardice or laziness drives into a corner, and who does nothing when he is there but sit and growl. Let him come out as I do, and bark."

-- British author, critic and lexicographer Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784)


(NEW) Arts Community Meeting: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 25, Wachovia Auditorium at the Beatty Center, 5 Liberty St., College of Charleston. The Charleston Arts Coalition, the city of Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs and the College of Charleston will host a town-hall style meeting titled "Nursing Creativity Through the Economic Slump." The meeting is open to anyone in the creative community who is interested in exchanging ideas and raising awareness of how the creative arts help the region thrive. More info.

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.

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. More info: Online or 884-8517.


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) Moonlight Mixer: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 4, Folly Beach Fishing Pier. Next-to-last Shaggin' on the Pier mixer for the year (final event is Sept. 25). DJ Rob Duren will spin oldies and beach music; food and beverages will be available for purchase on-site at Locklear's Beach City Grill and the Gangplank Gift & Tackle Shop. Cost: in advance, $8 for Charleston County residents, $10 for nonresidents, available at Charleston County Park and Recreation headquarters (795-4FUN); at the gate (if available), $10. More info.

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.

(NEW) Barbecue in the Carolinas: 7 p.m. Sept. 10, Bond Hall, Room 165, The Citadel. John Shelton Reed, the 2007 Mark Clark Professor of History at The Citadel and the author of "Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue," will give a talk titled "The Balkans of Barbecue: Pit-Cooked Meat in the Carolinas." Reed, a widely recognized expert on modern Southern identity, is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the American South. Talk is free and open to the public. Reed will be available to sign books.

League of Women Voters Fall Kick-Off: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 16, Renaissance on the Harbor, 100 N. Plaza Court, Mount Pleasant. Two S.C. House members representing Charleston County -- Republican Jenny Horne and Democrat Anne Peterson Hutto -- will talk about their experiences as first-term representatives and their priorities for the upcoming legislative session in January. The Charleston County League of Women Voters will also provide information about its activities. Free. Parking available across the street in the Belvidere lot and next door at the Motley Rice building. More info: 745-5166 or

(NEW) Benefit Fashion Show: Noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 26, Jasmine Porch restaurant, The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island. Fashion show and luncheon will benefit the Center For Women. Models will wear fashions from Eden Boheme and Cose Belle, and jewelry designers will display their work. Three-course lunch includes champagne. Cost: $45 plus tax and gratuity; portion of the proceeds go to the Center for Women. Lunch guests also get complimentary beach access at The Sanctuary for the day. More info/reservations: 768-6253. The Center For Women is a nonprofit partner of

Entertaining Charleston Style: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 30 through Nov. 18, Culinary Institute of Charleston's Palmer Campus, 66 Columbus St., Charleston. A series of short courses celebrating the many facets of entertaining with a focus on Charleston style and traditions. Guest presenters include hosts, event professionals, authors, collectors, stylists and other specialists known for their distinctive contributions to local hospitality and tourism. Light beverage and cocktail samplings will be provided. Cost: $149. More info/registration.


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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