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Issue 1.87 | Monday, Sept. 21, 2009 | Whew, 20 years later

Artist Doyle Cloyd designed the winning poster, "Rejoice," for the 2009 MOJA Arts Festival, which celebrates its 26th season beginning this week. Meet Cloyd at a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Charleston Museum. To learn more about MOJA, read Today's Focus below. (Provided by the MOJA Festival.)

:: MOJA lives up to its mission


:: Experience calm of Caw Caw park

:: What are your thoughts, reactions?

:: One word: Hugo

:: BarCamp, diver's hours, Huck Finn


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Send us a review
___:: HISTORY: Earthquake rods
___:: QUOTE: Aesop on courage
___:: 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


MOJA living up to its mission: building bridges
Mayor of Charleston, and Director of Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs
Special to

SEPT. 21, 2009 -- The 2009 MOJA Festival, Charleston's annual celebration of African-American and Caribbean arts and culture presented by the city of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs in collaboration with the MOJA Festival Planning Committee, will presents its 26th season Sept. 24 through Oct. 4.

Riley and Dressler-Moryl

Since its inception, the mission of MOJA has been to highlight and celebrate the rich contributions to local, regional, national, and world culture made by African-American and Caribbean artists, writers and performers. This year's program is filled with wonderful examples of such contributions, in addition to many important arts educational outreach activities that benefit our children and youth. All in all, MOJA once again lives up to its mission of building bridges of understanding and friendship through its myriad cultural offerings. MOJA, a Swahili word meaning "one," inspires all who come to the festival and allows us to celebrate the strong bonds of our culture, our heritage and our organic connection as one human family.

This year's festival highlights include R&B artists the O'Jays; Lalah Hathaway in "An Evening of Jazz Under the Stars"; Ballethnic Dance Company of Atlanta, Ga.; Art Forms and Theatre Concepts' production of "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show"; and "Classical Encounter," featuring cellist Kenneth Law and pianist Stephen Buck in the City Gallery at Waterfront Park. Also at the City Gallery, the exhibit "Jonathan Green and Protégés" showcases original works by the famed artist from Beaufort along with four very special rising stars in the visual arts world for which Green has served as teacher and mentor.

It would not be possible to produce MOJA without the dedicated work of several key individuals. To Saundra W. Purvis, chair of the MOJA Planning Committee, and to the Office of Cultural Affairs staff, especially MOJA Program Coordinator Elease Amos-Goodwin, we extend our heartfelt thanks. We are deeply grateful to the MOJA Advisory Board, chaired by the Honorable James E. Clyburn, and to members of Charleston City Council for their ongoing support. These visionary community leaders help us assemble the necessary resources and serve as goodwill ambassadors and advocates for the festival year-round.

Finally, we thank the individual donors, foundations, government agencies and corporate sponsors who provide funding, grants and in-kind services to help make the MOJA Festival materialize.

We invite you to bring your family and friends to enjoy this year's MOJA Arts Festival. Let the beauty and joy of the arts touch your minds and hearts through this vibrant and exciting cultural celebration! For a full schedule of events and ticket information, please visit

Don't miss calming beauty at Caw Caw park in Ravenel

By ANDY BRACK, publisher

SEPT. 21, 2009 - When the great blue heron took to the air Saturday afternoon at Ravenel Caw Caw Interpretive Center, its six-foot wingspan was enough to make two little girls hush.


We saw the great bird by the marsh during a hike on some elevated boardwalks and through some of the six miles of trails in the county park. We crept toward it and stopped about 25 yards away. Suddenly it sprang into flight and soared away. Both girls, one 6 and another coming up on 3, gasped a quiet, "Wow." Perhaps it is appropriate that the place on the center's map where we saw the bird is listed as "Brackish marsh."

You can see marvels every day at the park, some 650 acres of former rice fields and habitat managed for water fowl, songbirds, otters, deer and more. On Saturday, we spotted an immature bald eagle, egrets, dragonflies with stunning blue wings, lizards, squirrels and what we thought was a tern.

We didn't, to the slight despair of the girls, see an alligator. (But that was OK with their dad.)

It was all fascinating and relaxing - and in our community backyard for just $2. There's a great interpretive center and helpful people on hand to answer questions. And an adjacent classroom offers a place for activities and educational programs for everyone from kindergartners to college students.

Bird-watching is extremely popular at the park with species that are spotted being listed on the Center's Web site weekly. Bird walks are held 8:30 a.m. to noon every Wednesday and Saturday. They yield great results, as highlighted with what was seen September 5:

"53 species were seen and/or heard on a coolish, partly cloudy, breezy, turn muggy, hot day. The most interesting were 1 Black-crowned Night heron, 1 Osprey, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, 3 Yellow-billed Cuckoos, 100 Chimney Swifts, 25 White-eyed Vireos, 8 Red-eyed Vireos, 100 Barn Swallows,6 White-breasted Nuthatches, 10 Northern Parula Warblers, 2 Yellow Warblers, 5 Pine Warblers, 6 Black-and-white Warblers, 3 American Redstarts, 1 Prothonotary Warbler, 15 Northern Waterthrushes, 1 Summer Tanager, 4 Indigo Buntings, 20 Painted Buntings, and 200 Bobolinks."

Boy, how great it would be to see the colorful tanagers and buntings. We'll be back to enjoy the park's relaxing beauty - and in different seasons to experience how it changes throughout the year.

Andy Brack, publisher of, can be reached at:

Send us a letter

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 Green Commercial

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. In this issue, we welcome Charleston Green Commercial, a full-service commercial property management company that pays attention to detail, provides exceptional personal service and is committed to adding value to buildings. Offering professional property management, consulting and other services, the company strives to improve clients' bottom lines with superior service, accessibility, reliability and a wealth of knowledge of the Charleston real estate market. By blending use of proven contractors and contacts with environmentally-conscious practices, the company helps clients stay on the leading edge of commercial real estate practices. More.

Free creativity/technology event coming to N. Charleston

The Lowcountry will experience its first "un-conference" next month when BarCamp Charleston comes to the Lowcountry Innovation Center at 1535 Hobby St. in North Charleston. Local volunteers, all of whom have been active in multiple creative and tech-based groups, announced last week that they had secured the location for the Oct. 24 event.

"BarCamps have become wildly popular events in cities around the world over the past four years, but one common complaint is that the venues often aren't ideal," said event co-organizer Calvin Webster. "Getting the Lowcountry Innovation Center for our first event is a tremendous stroke of good fortune. We really couldn't have asked for a better event host." The LIC was established to provide the digital infrastructure and business incubator office space required by the region's expanding "knowledge-based industries" sector.

The BarCamp movement began in 2005 in response to an annual invitation-only technology conference called FooCamp. The name BarCamp refers to FooCamp as a play on the hacker term "fubar." As "un-conferences," participants pick the topics and lead the sessions.

Though often associated with its tech-industry roots, the focus at hundreds of affiliated BarCamps around the world has broadened to whatever topics interest participants. "The Lowcountry loves good food, so I suppose it really shouldn't be a surprise that the most popular session topic in the early voting has been a butcher talking about bacon," said Webster. "So, yes, there's still a strong technology component. We want to help people acquire the skills to do the things they want to do. But we also want to put on an event that anyone could enjoy."

BarCampCHS is planned for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 24. Registration is free and open to anyone, but will be capped at the first 200 who sign up at

Aquarium honors diver for 5,000 hours of volunteer service

The South Carolina Aquarium recently honored Ted Churchill for giving 5,000 hours of volunteer service to the facility. Churchill, a Johns Island resident, began volunteering at the aquarium in December 2000 as a diver in the Great Ocean Tank, and has since given 5,366.77 hours of service to the aquarium, of which 1,286 hours have been spent underwater. He holds the record at the aquarium or the most hours of volunteer service.

Aquarium officials said Churchill's service is equivalent to working at a paying job for 134 forty-hour work weeks, or two-and-a-half years.

Churchill typically dives three times a week and leads a team of up to five aquarium volunteers every Friday as they clean exhibits, feed animals and provide guests with educational shows and entertainment.

Churchill has lived in the Charleston area for more than 43 years. He served in the Navy for 10 years and retired from the civil service in 1993. He and his wife, Linda, an artist, own the frame studio Artworks.

Take a kid fishing Huck Finn style at city festival

The annual Huck Finn Children's Fishing Festival, hosted by the city
of Charleston's Department of Recreation, is a chance to get kids ages 4-12 to fall hook, line and sinker for one of the Lowcountry's favorite pastimes: fishing. The festival is planned for Sept. 26 at Colonial Lake downtown, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m.

"This is a great opportunity for kids to experience the fun of fishing and spend quality outdoor time with their families," Department of Recreation Environment Education Coordinator Matt Olson said. "Fishing opportunities are abundant in Charleston, and parents can use the Huck Finn event to introduce the sport to their kids."

More than 100 youngsters took part last year.

Fishing will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Participants must bring their own fishing equipment. The cost is $3 per child. Awards will go to the top finishers in each age group (4-6, 7-9 and 10-12). A raffle for other prizes will be held at the festival's conclusion.

For more information, call 965-4002 or go to

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.

Earthquake rods

Earthquake rods are long pieces of iron several inches in diameter that are inserted through the walls of buildings to reinforce them. These rods are screwed into turnbuckles or toggles and are secured at the outside ends with large washers and nuts. Repairmen ran these rods through the walls of hundreds of buildings injured by the great Charleston earthquake of 1886 to guard them from further injury. Many of the buildings fitted with this hardware after the earthquake are located in the Charleston region, although buildings as far away as Savannah, Georgia, display them as well.

Often called "earthquake bolts," these iron reinforcement rods commonly were incorporated into buildings in Charleston and elsewhere before the great earthquake. Their initial purpose, however, usually was to safeguard against gales and hurricanes rather than to protect from the rending and wrenching of earthquakes.

Owners who objected to seeing unadorned rod ends on the exteriors of their buildings covered them with stucco or capped them with cast-iron decorations depicting such objects as stars, concentric circles, long rectangular bars, lion heads, butterflies, diamonds, and crosses. While the rod portions of earthquake rods are seldom visible, in some buildings no effort has been made to conceal them, such as in St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Summerville.

Tourists often are fascinated with earthquake rod caps, and they have become a standard decorative element in much of Charleston's architecture. Tour guides point them out, and some hotels and bed and breakfasts that have them advertise the fact in their promotional literature. Some modern buildings, such as the Omni Hotel at Charleston Place, even feature faux earthquake rod caps on their exterior walls.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Kenneth E. Peters. 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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One word: Hugo

As you've probably seen on TV or in the newspaper, today is the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo. The National Weather Service Charleston has a Q&A with Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley and some interesting facts and stats about the storm at its Web site. Here are five that caught our attention.

  • The S.C. Emergency Management Division estimates that if a storm with a similar track and intensity to Hugo's struck today, there would be $8 billion in damage in the state and more than 21,000 homes destroyed.

  • Logging operations in the Francis Marion National Forest were permanently ended because of the storm, which brought down more than 1 billion board-feet of lumber (approximately 70 percent of the lumber-quality trees in the forest).

  • Wind gusts hit 137 mph at the Naval Station and 108 mph downtown at the Customhouse.

  • Storm tides were 19.8 feet at Bulls Bay, 15 feet at the Isle of Palms and 13 feet on Sullivan's Island.

  • Hugo produced the highest storm tide heights ever recorded along the U.S. East Coast.

On courage


"It is easy to be brave from a safe distance."

-- Aesop, Greek slave and author of fables (620 B.C. - 560 B.C.)


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.

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 .

'Quick Connect' Webinar: 8:30 a.m. Sept. 23. Pluff Mud Connect will host a free online webinar detailing five reasons that successful for-profit businesses benefit from nonprofit customers. Laura Deaton, a nationally renowned nonprofit expert and founder of Pluff Mud Connect, will lead the webinar, which will last less than 20 minutes. To join the discussion, register in advance online. Pluff Mud Connect is an underwriter for

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:

(NEW) See a Wish, Make a Wish: 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 24, Plum Elements, 161-1/2 King St. Closing reception for mixed-media and assemblage artist Tina Hirsig and the interactive exhibition "Wish" (exhibit closes Sept. 26). Art reviewer Nick Smith has written, "Hirsig's wish for open-minded teachers and administrators won't always be fulfilled. At best, she'll encourage others to dream and question the status quo of our school system." More info: 727-3747 or

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 or by calling 723-1748; at the door, if available, tickets are $50.

(NEW) Gibbes' Community Day: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 26, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St. The Gibbes, with support from the Junior League of Charleston, will offer free admission and family activities for Folk Art Community Day. Events include art-making activities for children, a ballet performance by Once Upon a Ballet, and beverages from Rising High Cafe. More info online.

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

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) Solar Energy Workshop: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 30, Quadrangle Shopping Center (Weight Watchers building), Highway 17 west of the Ashley. Free program sponsored by the S.C. Solar Council and the Sustainability Institute. SCSC Chairman Bruce Wood will lead the program, and local solar vendors will be on hand to offer information. Registration not required. More info online.

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.

(NEW) Fashion 4 Paws: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 1, The Landing on Shem Creek (former site of The Trawler). Fashion show featuring local retailers to benefit the Charleston Animal Society. The finale will be a pet parade featuring animals for adoption. Door prizes, freebies, food and cash bar. Go online to see a list of items that the animal society is requesting as donations. Admission: $5 at the door; tickets also available in advance from Lowcountry Plastic Surgery Center at 971-2860.

(NEW) Solar Tour: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 3. As part of the National Solar Tour organized by the American Solar Energy Society, the S.C. Solar Council is organizing a solar tour in Charleston to showcase local homes and businesses that have decided to use solar energy. For more information about the sites and locations, learn more online.


11/19: Barnette: Nutcracker
Franklin: Reverse mortgages
Wutzdorff: Be a principal
Haley: Buying local
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


11/19: LowCANtry holiday
Hawks vs. doves
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


11/16: Alliance's good news
SC's hidden gems
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?


11/19: Being a tourist here
Growing your business
Electronics recycling
Beyond the lights
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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