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Issue 1.85 | Monday, Sept. 14, 2009 | Make your voice heard


CRUNCH ON THE CREEK:
It was a busy Sunday afternoon on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant as boats of many shapes and sizes navigated the waterway. With days not too hot and late afternoons feeling a touch like fall, September always brings steady traffic to local waters. (Photo by Ann Thrash)


TODAY'S FOCUS
:: First Museum Mile weekend

CURRENTS

:: Better debris policy needed

FEEDBACK
:: Let us know what you really think

THE LIST
:: Shrimp-baiting time

GOOD NEWS
:: Library, luncheon, festival

ALSO INSIDE

___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Send us a review
___:: HISTORY: Dixie Hummingbirds
___:: QUOTE: Adams on words, more
___:: SPOTLIGHT: Meet an underwriter


UNDERWRITERS AND PARTNERS




ABOUT US

CharlestonCurrents.com 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

   

TODAY'S FOCUS
First Museum Mile Weekend will open doors to history
By RACHEL CHESSER
Events chairperson, Charleston's Museum Mile
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com

SEPT. 14, 2009 – Visit five museums, six historic buildings and a powder magazine – all for just $20! Charleston’s Museum Mile on Meeting Street will offer its first Museum Mile Weekend on Sept. 26-27. A single pass will get visitors into 12 sites along the Mile.


Chesser

Launched in 2008 as a cooperative marketing effort among nonprofit organizations, the 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 museums, nationally important historic houses, scenic parks and a Revolutionary War powder magazine. Essentially, the Mile is a group of cultural sites in a distinct area that have banded together to strategically use limited marketing resources to drive visitation. In 2008, the Mile sites, as a group, saw a 5 percent increase in attendance, despite a decline in overall visitation to the Charleston area.

All proceeds from the Museum Mile Weekend will support the group’s efforts to get the word out about Charleston’s Museum Mile.

Sites participating in the Museum Mile Weekend are the Aiken-Rhett House, the Charleston Museum, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, the Joseph Manigault House, the Confederate Museum, the Powder Magazine, the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Old Slave Mart Museum, the South Carolina Historical Society, the Heyward-Washington House, the Nathaniel Russell House and the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.

Museum Mile Weekend

When: Sept. 26-27.

Where: Charleston’s Museum Mile downtown.

Cost: $20 for adults, $10 for ages 12 and younger (free for those younger than 1 year old).

Get Tickets: Buy online, at the downtown or Mount Pleasant Visitor Centers or by calling 722-2996, ext. 235.

Schedule details: Visit the Web site.

Many of the Museum Mile Weekend sites are offering special hours and programming for the weekend. Activities range from cupcake decorating at the Children’s Museum to living-history programming at the Powder Magazine. Go on a docent-led tour at the Gibbes Museum or explore various areas of the collection with curators at the Charleston Museum. Take advantage of the rare opportunity to tour the Fireproof Building and view the “Women in South Carolina” exhibit at the South Carolina Historical Society. Learn more about World War II history at the Joseph Manigault House or culinary traditions at the Heyward-Washington House.

Buying tickets is easy! You can buy them online before Sept. 23 or purchase passes in person at the downtown or Mount Pleasant Visitor Centers now through the end of the Museum Mile Weekend. You can even call me at 722-2996, ext. 235, and I would be happy to help you with an order over the phone.

On behalf of Charleston’s Museum Mile events committee, I hope you will join us for a beautiful fall weekend along the Mile. If you do participate, please let us hear from you. Our goal is to make this an annual event, and we would love to have your input. Please contact us at charlestonsmuseummile@gmail.com.

Rachel Chesser is events chairperson for Charleston’s Museum Mile and the public relations and events coordinator for the Charleston Museum.

CURRENTS
City of Charleston needs better neighborhood debris policy

By ANDY BRACK, publisher
CharlestonCurrents.com

SEPT. 14, 2009 – There are some people in West Ashley who still pretty ticked off at the City of Charleston and its Code Enforcement office for some unfriendly, impractical policies.


Brack

Seems that a Code Enforcement officer was riding around the Wappoo Shores neighborhood on Sept. 1 and spotted some debris piles and unmowed grass. Yes, the world was falling apart. (At this time of year, grass grows alarmingly fast as it matures to the seed stage.)

Several homeowners around the neighborhood got a ticket-looking Livability Notice on Sept. 3 that said they had 10 days to remove debris, get rid of weeds and cut grass. An attached letter informed them that if they didnt' do so, they faced possible sanctions of up to 30 days in jail or a fine of more than $1,000.

For the record, our yard was one of those cited. Also for the record, we have a yard service that cuts grass every two weeks, just as do a lot of people in the neighborhood.

We called the Code Enforcement office three times before we finally got in touch with the officer who gave us the notice. (Our neighbors apparently were vocal and also made calls). It was clear from the conversation that the officer didn't have a clear idea why our yard was cited. To this day, the only thing we can figure is that we had a small pile of some trimmed oak branches next to the curb, just like most families who stack clippings, leaves and other debris for the city to take it away.

The problem, apparently, is that the city only allows debris to be piled by the road 48 hours before the trash is picked up. So for us and hundreds of others who put things by the road on the weekends – because that's when most people do yardwork – we apparrently were in violation of a city ordinance againt junk being by the road for more than 48 hours.

In other words, residents of Charleston, deemed one of the most polite cities in the country, unwittingly find themselves to be likely code violators any time they do yardwork more than 48 hours ahead of debris pickup. The ironic thing is that most of the people who do yardwork are doing it to IMPROVE their yards.

Perhaps you can see where I'm going: Here is another dumb law – an ordinance that requires nastygrams to be sent to people who more than likely cleaning up their yards. For sure, this isn't something that will win the city more awards for politeness.

So here's a suggestion we've discussed with city officials. Instead of residents getting nasty-looking Livability Notices and threatening letters as a first warning, perhaps the Code Enforcement people could give written warnings (marked “Warning') and let people know about the law. Education about the meat of ordinances is a much better tactic for long-term compliance than instilling fear in little old ladies and big old men.

As an alternative, maybe this particular law needs to be changed from a two-day window for leaving leaf piles and debris on the side of the road to five days. Here's the reasoning: If someone puts out waste on Saturday, the Code Enforcement people won't see it until Monday. Then, they could start a five-day counter at that point for a property. After the five days, they could drive by again (which they do anyway when a Notice is given) and, if they find the problem remains, then they could send the nasty Notice. Fortunately, most of the “violations” likely are taken care of by mere circumstance as the debris-removal folks come by before Friday. So when the Code Enforcement people drive by to check the second time, most of the problems would have automatically taken care of themselves. If not, then they could send the nasty notice and letter.

Bottom line: There's got to be a better way to ensure neighborhoods are tidy. Politeness and pragmatism should be the city's guides, not strongarm tactics.

Andy Brack, publisher of CharlestonCurrents.com, no longer has a trash pile next to his driveway. He can be reached at: publisher@charlestoncurrents.com.

FEEDBACK
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: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Please send no more than 200 words and include contact information (phone number, hometown) so we can get in touch with you.

SPOTLIGHT
Maybank Industries

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

GOOD NEWS
Library to help patrons while branch temporarily closes

The Charleston County Public Library’s West Ashley branch in South Windermere will be closed for repairs this week, and during that time the library will take extra steps to keep patrons from being too inconvenienced.

The branch will be closed beginning Sept. 14 so the heating and air-conditioning system can be replaced. It will reopen at 10 a.m. Sept. 21. To help accommodate patrons, an additional book drop will be added in front of the library, and late fees for overdue items at the branch will be waived for the days the facility is closed. Patrons who get a notice that a requested item is on hold will have until Sept. 26 to pick it up.

For questions or more information, call 805-6930 or go to http://www.ccpl.org.

Quarterly luncheons planned for young professionals

The Charleston Young Professionals group has launched a new series of quarterly luncheons with topics designed to appeal to young business people living and working in the Charleston region.

The first luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Tate Center on the College of Charleston campus. Attendees can park at either the George Street garage or the Wentworth Street garage. 

The program will focus on career navigation and creating a path to success. Information will be available from local schools that offer graduate programs, including the Charleston School of Law, the Art Institutes of Charleston, Trident Technical College, College of Charleston Graduate School, Charleston Southern Graduate School, Citadel Graduate College and the Lowcountry Graduate Center.

Dr. John Clarkin of the Tate Center for Entrepreneurship will speak, as will Ivie Parker and Adrian Sims Truluck of Parker-Sims Interiors. Parker and Truluck, who own an interior design business, will share their insights into starting your own company. In addition, the College of Charleston Career Center, FastTrac entrepreneurial program and job counselor Jane Perdue, CEO of the Braithewaite Group, will give advice on jump-starting a career or business.
 
The event costs $15 for CYP members or $25 for nonmembers. To register or for more information, visit http://www.charleston-yp.com.

Wine + Food Festival announces signature local charities

Louie’s Kids and Slow Food Charleston will be the signature charities for the fifth annual BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival, scheduled for March 4-7.

“This year the signature charity process was open to local nonprofits through an application process, and we received requests from some great organizations,” said Angel Postell, the festival’s executive director. “We are excited to have chosen two organizations that are doing so much for the Charleston community.”

Louie’s Kids raises money and offers programs to fight childhood obesity. Slow Food Charleston advocates for a food system based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental sustainability and social justice.

The festival has already begun raising money for the groups, raising approximately $3,000 at the Sept. 3 Launch + Benefit Party at Charles Towne Landing. Last year’s festival and associated events raised an estimated $77,500 for charities and scholarships.

For more information about the festival, visit online or call 727-9998, ext. 4.

REVIEW
Send us your opinion

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.

HISTORY SPOTLIGHT
Dixie Hummingbirds

Started in 1928 by twelve-year-old James Davis and neighborhood friends Bonnie Gipson Jr., Fred Owens, and Barney Parks, the gospel quartet—and later quintet—influenced scores of gospel, soul, and rock and roll artists. First called the Sterling High School Quartet, named for the high school the young men attended in their hometown of Greenville, the group made the transition from a cappella harmony singing at the Bethel Church of God to electrified music.

The group was singing professionally in churches and on the radio by the mid-1930s, and Davis wanted to name the group the South Carolina Hummingbirds but determined that that would be too long. The Birds, as their fans affectionately came to call them, drove to New York City to record twelve old-time harmony sides for the Decca label in 1938. That same year, with the addition of the thirteen-year-old singer and Spartanburg native Ira Tucker, the group moved toward a more powerful electric sound that served as a precursor to rock music. The group moved to Philadelphia in 1942, and Tucker worked his way from backing tenor into the group’s fiery and flamboyant (for the times and the genre of music) lead singer. By their 1952 recordings on the Peacock label, the Birds were on their way to gospel stardom.

The group is perhaps best known for their re-recording of “Loves Me Like a Rock” with the singer-songwriter Paul Simon in 1973, for which they won a Grammy Award. Artists as prominent as Stevie Wonder credit the Birds as a direct musical influence, drawing on Tucker’s audience interaction and his soaring, pleading vocals. William Bobo, who joined the group after Tucker, is considered to be one of the great bass singers in the history of American popular music. One reviewer wrote that the group claimed “almost universal recognition as the greatest Southern quartet of their generation.”

– Excerpted from the entry by Alan Richard. 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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THE LIST
Shrimp baiting

Shrimp-baiting season opened last Friday and runs until noon on Nov. 10. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources predicts an average year, depending on the weather; tropical storms and heavy rains can cause small shrimp to migrate prematurely. Here are five shrimp-baiting facts from DNR:

  • Sales of shrimp-baiting licenses hit a peak in 1998, when 17,497 licenses were sold.

  • The number of licenses sold has dropped steadily since 1998, with 8,346 licenses purchased last year.

  • DNR has been surveying shrimpers at the end of each season since 1988, and those surveys put recent total catches at less than 1 million pounds per season (heads on). The peak total catch was more than 3.6 million pounds in 1997.

  • Despite the decline in total catch, the average catch per trip has stayed mostly stable at 20-22 quarts per trip since 2001. DNR experts say the stability means that “shrimp abundance” has remained relatively good, and that the lower overall harvest is the result of fewer licenses being issued and the number of shrimping trips being down.

  • The catch limit is 48 quarts of shrimp measured heads-on (29 quarts heads-off) per boat or set of poles per day. Each boat is limited to a set of 10 poles.

QUOTE
On words and actions


Adams

“We have too many high-sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.”

– Abigail Adams, wife of President John Adams (1744 – 1818)

CALENDAR: THIS WEEK

Young Professionals: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 15, Tate Center for Entrepreneurship, College of Charleston. The Charleston Young Professionals are hosting a luncheon that will focus on career navigation and creating your own path to success. Cost: $15 CYP members, $25 nonmembers. More info/registration.

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 stacey.lindbergh@psysolutions.com.

(NEW) Third Thursdays: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 17, downtown Summerville. The Summerville D.R.E.A.M. group (Downtown Restoration, Enhancement and Management) sponsors the event the third Thursday of each month to promote local businesses and community spirit. This month's event features the Cobblestone Jazz Trio playing selections from Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra and other favorites. Businesses will be open for shopping and dining, and artists will display their work on Short Central Avenue as part of the Art Central Art Walk.

ECCO Hurricane Party: 7 p.m. Sept. 18, Omar Shrine Temple, Mount Pleasant. To mark 20 years of service, East Cooper Community Outreach, which was founded in the wake of Hurricane Hugo in 1989, is having a Hurricane Party featuring a an auction, music and dancing to the music of the Mighty Kicks, heavy hors d'oeuvres by Cru Catering and an open bar featuring hurricanes. Tickets: $50 in advance, $60 at the door. More info/tickets: 971-9500 or online.

Lowcountry Spiritual Journey: 7 p.m. Sept. 19, Christ Episcopal Church, 2304 Highway 17 North, Mount Pleasant. The newly formed Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble, under the direction of Nathan L. Nelson, will kick off its first full season with this performance, which is free (donations are accepted) and open to the public. A pre-concert voice recital featuring lyric soprano Shanelle Woods of Charleston Southern University will begin at 5:30 p.m. More info.

CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON

(NEW) ABWA Meeting: 6 p.m. Sept. 21, Wescott Country Club at Wescott Plantation, 5000 Wescott Club Drive, Summerville. Meeting of the Jessamine Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association. All local business women are welcome. Meeting lasts about two hours and includes dinner; the guest speaker is Sue Mac Ridgeway of Divine Creations, speaking on interior design. Networking starts at 6 p.m.; meeting and dinner are at 6:30 p.m. Optional dinner cost: $15 (includes tax and gratuity) payable at the door by cash or check; cash bar will also be available during the networking time. Reservations (required): Send an email to Shirlie Taylor, 873-6769.

(NEW) ECMOW Golf Tournament: Sept. 22, RiverTowne Country Club, Mount Pleasant. The 11th Annual Outback Steakhouse Charity Golf Classic to benefit East Cooper Meals on Wheels will feature a daylong tournament and banquet. More info: 881-9350 or visit here online .

MOJA Festival: Sept. 24 through Oct. 4, various locations. Tickets are now on sale for the annual arts festival, which highlights black artists' contributions to dance, music, literary arts, visual arts, theater and the overall cultural community in Charleston. Schedules, tickets, more info: http://www.mojafestival.com.

SEWE Fall Party: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 25, Charleston Visitor Center, 375 Meeting St. Casual event to unveil featured artist Luke Frazier's official poster for the 2010 Southeastern Wildlife Expo. Includes oysters, barbecue and side from Buck Ridge Plantation, plus live music by Triple Lindy, an open bar, and a silent auction and raffles to benefit Ducks Unlimited. Attendees must be 21 or over. Tickets: $40 in advance through http://www.sewe.com or by calling 723-1748; at the door, if available, tickets are $50.

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 CharlestonCurrents.com.

Concert in the Park: 6 p.m. Sept. 26, Mayflower Court park, next to the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity, 30 Race St., Charleston. The concert is part of the church's year-long centennial celebration. Program will feature Holy Trinity's Centennial Choir performing liturgical music as well as secular selections in both Greek and English; in addition, Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers will perform spirituals. Cost: $15 for adults; $3 ages 17 and under. Tickets available at the Hellenic Center, 30 Race St., or by calling 577-2063 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays before Sept. 25).

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.

(NEW) Pork and Politics in the Park: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. Mix and mingle with candidates for Mount Pleasant mayor and Town Council at this event sponsored by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. Cost: $30; includes food and beverages. Registration.

FOCUS ARCHIVES

9/14: Chesson: Museum Mile
9/10:
Barnette: Chas. Ballet
9/3:
Deaton: Thrive Prize
8/31:
Rawl: Charting courses
8/27:
Jurcova-Spencer: Creatives
8/24:
Brooks: Rural Mission
8/20:
Yarian: New local music CD
8/17:
Fisher: Uses of social media
8/13:
Hall: Time for renovations
8/10:
Morris: Dog days at Drayton
8/6:
Lindbergh: Gifted school
8/3:
Jackson: Insurance tips
7/30:
VanBogart: Singles
7/27:
Stewart: Get it clean
7/23:
Rosenberg: Elect women
7/20:
Nathan: Turtle release
7/16:
Johnson: Online school
7/13:
Thiers: Protect skin
7/9:
Lee: Scoring supplies
7/2:
Shockley: Company wellness

THRASH ARCHIVES

11/19: LowCANtry holiday
11/12:
Hawks vs. doves
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
9/24:
Must-see TV
9/17: Fall leaves
9/3:
Cold comfort, more
8/27:
Being a fan
8/20:
Good, bad, spineless
8/13:
Locals on Runway
8/6:
Cookie contest
7/30:
Vote on car tags
7/23:
True confessions
7/16:
New way of tithing?
7/9:
Lookout for manatees

BRACK ARCHIVES

9/14: Debris policy
9/10:
Mystery solved
8/31:
This and that
8/24:
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?

LIST ARCHIVES

9/14: Shrimp baiting
9/10:
Day of Caring
9/3:
Free legal clinics
8/31: CofC Class of 2013
8/27: Citadel Class of 2013
8/24:
7 stores, 7 days
8/20:
You know you're from...
8/17:
On the school menu
8/13:
Wines for grilling
8/10:
First Day Fest facts
8/6:
Sales tax holiday
8/3:
Twittering tips
7/30:
Fall planting
7/27:
5 for teens
7/23:
Consignments
7/20: Beach reads
7/16:
Save the books
7/13: Hot plants
7/9:
Staying cool
7/2:
Old Exchange 5

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