It's time to
put the 'cool' back in 'carpool'
By NELSON OHL
Director, Carolina Commuter Solutions, Inc.
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
2, 2009 -- The 1973 U.S. oil embargo was an indelible event in American
history, and my own history, that spawned an era of innovation in
transportation. I was only 12 at the time, too young to grasp the
extent of the hardships endured by commuters in and around the Washington,
D.C./Baltimore, Md., corridor who were starved of their means of
getting to and from work.
year, South Carolina's near $4 per gallon spike in fuel prices was
in many respects every bit as dramatic as the events of the early
1970s. This time, though, I was profoundly aware of the impact the
price of fuel was having on my life and that of my family. My monthly
fuel costs essentially doubled, rising from $150 per month to over
$300 per month. Similar to many other Lowcountry commuters, I was
challenged to redirect earnings to transportation costs - earnings
that previously were targeted toward retirement savings, home improvements,
continuing education, children's necessities and quality-of-life
dynamic rise and fall of the cost of fuel over the last couple of
years is ushering in a new era of innovation. South Carolina Lowcountry
commuters are entertaining alternative modes of personal transportation,
alternative fuels, adjustments in urban-planning thinking such as
the possible inclusion of high-occupancy-vehicle lanes on I-26,
and greater acceptance of telework. Media headlines are bulging
with announcements of "green" strategies throughout the
state. People everywhere are looking to industry and government
to create cleaner transportation opportunities.
Missing from most conversations surrounding this most recent, immensely
commercial green revolution is the significant impact individual
commuters can make, now, by simply turning to their colleagues at
work and their neighbors in nearby communities to organize carpools.
"The best kind of energy, the cheapest kind of energy, the
energy that addresses energy independence, energy security, and
also global warming is energy not used," says Richard A. Muller,
professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley,
and author of the popular book titled "Physics for Future Presidents:
The Science Behind the Headlines."
time to put the cool back in the carpool. Social networking Web
sites such as Facebook and Twitter, regional commuter-oriented Web
sites such as the locally based CarolinaCommuter.com
and many others, have made it very easy to reach out to fellow commuters.
Personally, I think South Carolinians would be best served by adopting
a single-brand carpooling initiative such as the Carolina Commuter
brand, but I'm delighted to see both municipalities and businesses
alike embracing carpooling.
number of motor vehicles traveling in and out of the Charleston
metro area on a daily basis on I-26 is a staggering - 140,000 vehicles
per day, according to an August 2008 editorial in The Post and Courier.
If each one of those vehicles, on average, spends $5 per day on
fuel, that's equal to $700,000 per day being funneled through commuter
tailpipes. Addressing the benefits and successes of carpooling in
South Carolina last December, in another Post and Courier editorial
titled "Carpooling for fun and profit," it was written
that, according to the statistical database StateMaster, 10.7 percent
of workers in the state get to their jobs by carpooling.
Lowcountry commuters can measurably reduce road congestion and the
concentration of invisible pollutants fouling air quality, today,
by carpooling and using mass transit when possible. The faltering
economy and the surprisingly low cost of fuel at the pumps (certain
to be only a temporary condition) is no excuse for not taking action
now to contribute to a cleaner and "greener" South Carolina.
to exercising, consistency in ride-sharing is what pays in the long
run. When setting up carpools, it's important to set realistic expectations.
Trying a couple of days a week at first may be best. Commuters can
start by asking questions such as: How many days per week am I able
to carpool? If there are multiple drivers, who will do the driving,
and how often should the driving responsibilities be alternated?
How will driving costs be shared? Will eating or smoking be tolerated?
carpooling is my way of reminding commuters that they have the authority
- and the obligation - to contribute to changing our region's approach
to transportation for the better. Carpooling and mass transportation
alike deserve serious consideration as viable elements within a
broad strategy to improve South Carolina's energy independence.
Ohl, a Folly Beach resident, is director of Carolina Commuter Solutions,
Inc., a nonprofit organization that promotes carpooling.
news stresses state's real needs
ANDY BRACK, publisher
2, 2009 -- Don't get me wrong about Boeing's big announcement that
it will bring thousands of jobs to South Carolina. It's absolutely
outstanding news - even "transformational," as state Sen.
Larry Grooms (R-Berkeley) says.
while construction of a second assembly line will lead to $750 million
in investment and 3,800 jobs for the company to get the state's
$450 million in incentives, many parts of South Carolina won't benefit.
How many people in, say, Hartsville, Dillon or Greenwood will get
jobs because of the expanded plant? Few.
Yes, there will be a lot of spin-off jobs, just as scores of suppliers
for BMW located around Spartanburg after the German company announced
it would open a plant in Spartanburg. Since the 1992 BMW announcement,
the company has invested $4.2 billion and built 1.5 million cars.
Suppliers have invested an additional $2.1 billion, according to
the BMW Web site.
But as Columbia economist Harry Miley says, building a state economic
development strategy on the backbone of landing a huge company every
now and then isn't the smartest way for the state to grow.
"Can we really sit around and wait every 17 years for a big
announcement?" he asks. "I don't think so."
former chair of the state Board of Economic Advisors, stressed how
huge and important the good news about Boeing is for the poor Palmetto
"It boosts our reputation. It makes us look like we know what
we're doing [with economic development.] This is a good industry
because it has a lot of spinoffs.
"But, we have some underlying structural problems in South
Carolina that this is not going to help and there are a lot of areas
of South Carolina that won't ever know who Boeing is," he said.
"We've still got to focus on them."
He's talking about improving worker skills, bettering the state's
low graduation rate and focusing on job creation all over South
S.C. Policy Council President Ashley Landess warned of hidden implications
associated with the tax breaks given to Boeing. In a press release,
the council called the Boeing package short-sighted and "bad
public policy," such as when viewed through the lens that the
state lost 80,000 jobs over the last year. The Boeing plant will
create only 542 jobs each year for the next seven years, it said.
"For the money we're paying Boeing, we could come close to
eliminating corporate taxes for all South Carolina businesses,"
she said. "That kind of economic stimulus benefits the entire
state and has a real impact on unemployment. Legislative leaders
are congratulating themselves for creating jobs. They didn't. Instead,
they increased the cost of government at the expense of already-struggling
citizens, who cannot afford the cost of this subsidy."
Otis Rawl, head of the state Chamber of Commerce, said a big-picture
view had to focus on Boeing's suppliers, many of whom likely would
move to the state to be able to be near to the plant. Those jobs
generally will locate within a 100-mile radius of the North Charleston
plant, which means some job help for rural areas, he said.
"This announcement sends the message that South Carolina has
gotten back in the game of economic development," Rawl said.
"It gives us all a little sense of things getting better."
Perhaps one thing that the Boeing announcement will force, Rawl
added, is a refocused political debate on how to reshape a huge
driver of all economic development - how the state educates its
"We're going to have to take a look at some type of statewide
funding for public education," he said.
Currently, rural areas have high property tax rates, which are disincentives
for business development. But if the state crafted some way to ensure
that rural areas could lower taxes needed to run government, then
rural areas would be more competitive. Additionally, comprehensive
statewide funding of education would likely ensure better educational
quality in rural areas, which also would give economic developers
more tools to attract jobs.
Bottom line: Boeing's announcement is great, but South Carolina
now needs to take the truly transformational step of reworking how
it attracts businesses and grows jobs by focusing on statewide educational
and economic solutions.
commentary first appeared Friday in SC
Statehouse Report. To reach publisher Andy Brack, write to:
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plans Electronics Recycling Day for residents
County's Environmental Management Department will hold its second
annual Electronics Recycling Day Nov. 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
on the Tanger Outlet Boulevard side of the Tanger Outlets parking
lot in North Charleston.
devices often contain valuable resources such as precious metals
(gold or silver), more common metals (aluminum and copper) and engineered
plastics. Electronics recycling helps to recover these valuable
materials while also conserving energy and landfill space.
the items that will be accepted and recycled are adding machines,
cable boxes, calculators, camcorders, clocks, desktop and laptop
computers (including monitors, keyboards, mousse and hard drives),
copy machines, DVD players, fax machines, microwaves, printers,
scanners, shredders, radios/stereos (including cassette players
and CD players), telephones (including cell phones and cordless
phones), TVs, remote controls, VCRs, and video game consoles and
officials say the event is set up for Charleston County residents
only; businesses and contractors will not be permitted to drop items
off. Volunteers will be on hand to help unload items and direct
more information, contact the Charleston County Environmental Management
Department at 720-7111 or visit http://recycle.charlestoncounty.org.
to offer youth anti-violence forum on Wednesday
the murder of a 15-year-old under a highway overpass during the
summer, youths in the surrounding neighborhoods expressed deep sadness
and great concern that such a violent crime had occurred close to
their homes. Young people who were involved with the Department
of Juvenile Justice and the S.C. Department of Mental Health asked
for a forum to discuss their safety concerns, and now that request
is being answered.
forum - "Youth Speak Out - Let Your Voices Ring Out!"
- will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at the Burke
High School auditorium, 244 President St. School entrances will
be open on the north and south sides, on Sumter Street and Fishburne
Street. Young people will be able to talk about their feelings and
share with community leaders how violence affects their lives, and
community officials will have a chance to respond to those concerns.
panel will feature Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., Charleston
Police Chief Gregory Mullen, Family Court Judge Jocelyn Cate of
the Ninth Circuit, Trident Urban League President and CEO Otha Meadows,
YMCA Director Paul Stoney, Charleston City Councilman Jimmy Gallant,
and Anthony O'Neill Sr., national secretary for 100 Black Men of
free forum is sponsored by the city of Charleston, the Mayor's Youth
Commission, Jack and Jill Inc. of America, the S.C. Department of
Juvenile Justice, Burke Community Education, and the S.C. Department
of Mental Health.
group offers excursion based on Conroy novel
Charleston Walking Tours is now offering a new tour based on landmarks
mentioned in novelist Pat Conroy's latest New York Times best-seller,
"South of Broad." The two-hour walking tour, led by professional
guides, includes stops such as St. Michael's Episcopal Church, Legare
Street, Water Street and the Dock Street Theater.
tour is offered at 11 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, beginning in
the lobby of the Mills House Hotel at 115 Meeting St. and ending
outside the Gibbes Museum of Art at 135 Meeting. The $25-per-person
ticket price includes the walking tour, admission to the Gibbes,
and a choice of one of two signature offerings from Pat Conroy's
favorite Charleston restaurant, Slightly North of Broad: either
"Conroy's S.O.B. Cocktail" or an "S.O.B. Classic"
are required. Call the tour company at 568-0473 or go online to
to the Table' has wonderful local flavor
a look at 'Come to the Table,' by Benita Long. It is a beautiful
book with simple Southern recipes, wonderful interiors and lovely
shots of the Lowcountry. It is very well-priced for the quality
and would make a wonderful gift for the holidays. It is available
on Amazon.com -- read the reviews."
Ann Mitchell, Isle of Palms, SC
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.
Paul Rinaldo Redfern was born on February 24, 1902, in Rochester,
New York, the son of Frederick and Blanche Redfern. The family moved
to Columbia, South Carolina, in 1910 after Paul's father accepted
a teaching position at Benedict College. From an early age the younger
Redfern displayed considerable interest in aviation. In 1916, during
his second year at Columbia High School, Redfern constructed a standard-sized
wooden airplane, lacking only an engine. The following year he worked
for the Army Air Corps as a production inspector at Standard Aircraft
Company's plant in Elizabeth, New Jersey. In February 1919 he returned
to Columbia to complete high school.
several helpers, Redfern assembled an airplane and transported passengers
on day trips around the Carolinas. He became a noted stunt pilot
at air exhibitions held throughout the Southeast. In 1925 Redfern
met Gertrude Hildebrandt in Toledo, Ohio, while working for her
father, and they were married that same year.
1926 the U.S. Customs Service in Savannah, Georgia, hired Redfern
to be an aerial scout. However, he was ambitious to gain fame and
fortune by undertaking an international solo air flight. In 1927
a group of prominent businessmen in Brunswick, Georgia, agreed to
underwrite a flight from their city to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In
June 1927 Redfern supervised the construction of a monoplane by
the Stinson Aircraft Corporation of Detroit, Michigan. This aircraft,
known as the Port of Brunswick, was painted primarily green and
yellow-Brazil's national colors.
12:45 p.m. on August 25 Redfern took off from Brunswick. Five hours
later a seaplane spotted him approximately three hundred miles east
of the Bahamas. At 3:30 p.m. on August 26 a Norwegian freighter,
the Christian Krogh, sailing west of Trinidad, encountered Redfern's
aircraft. The pilot dropped a canister into the water containing
a handwritten note, which requested that the crewmen indicate the
direction and the approximate distance to Venezuela's northern coastline.
Subsequently, Redfern was seen by numerous eyewitnesses when the
plane passed over the Orinoco delta in Venezuela.
observers noted a conspicuous trail of black smoke coming from the
aircraft. The last definitive sighting of Redfern was approximately
one hundred miles south of Ciudad Bolivar, only two flying hours
from northern Brazil.
August 29 Redfern had failed to reach any of his proposed destinations
in Brazil. Reports that he had landed at various Brazilian locales
proved false. Rumors circulated for more than two decades that he
was alive and being held prisoner by Indians within a remote locale
along the upper Amazon River. Despite several search-and-rescue
missions, Redfern and his airplane have never been found.
an attempt to capitalize on the public fascination with Redfern,
MGM Studio included his saga as a subplot within the 1938 adventure
movie Too Hot to Handle. A street in Rio de Janeiro was named
in Redfern's honor. Although Redfern failed in his ultimate goal,
he did achieve the first solo flight over the Caribbean. He also
successfully completed the first nonstop air voyage between North
and South America.
Excerpted from the entry by Miles S. Richards. To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
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Ready for some
new ideas for holiday cooking and entertaining? The Culinary Institute
of Charleston at Trident Technical College has an array of classes
designed to provide new ideas, hone your culinary skills and make
you the host or hostess with the mostest. Here are five classes
to try; to get classroom locations and register online, visit
this Web site.
Feast: Take the stress out of entertaining the crowd by becoming
a pro at everything from cooking and carving the turkey to making
your own cranberry sauce. Meets 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 5. Cost:
with Nathalie Dupree: Two days of holiday entertaining classes
with this celebrated Southern foods experts will make your holidays
easy and fun. Get recipes, tips and ways to get organized - from
what to make ahead to how to get the dishes done. Includes wine
and cheese at Nathalie's downtown Charleston home on Nov. 6. Meets
Nov. 6-8. Cost: $599.
Houses for Kids and Adults: Get ahead and save money with a
nonperishable centerpiece that you create and decorate. There's
no bigger wow factor than a gingerbread house! Three classes on
Nov. 22: 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; or 4 p.m. to
5:30 p.m. Cost: $49.
Noel: Learn the art of making the French Christmas yule log,
the best of holiday desserts, complete with marzipan holly and meringue
mushrooms. Meets 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 1. Cost: $59.
Hors d'oeuvres: Expand your repertoire with an assortment of
delicious hot and cold small bites that can be organized ahead of
time and served at the last minute. Meets 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Dec. 3. Cost: $59.
ever discovered the secret of the stars or sailed an uncharted land,
or opened a new doorway for the human spirit."
Keller, educator of the blind and deaf (1880 - 1968)
Business Summit: 7:30 a.m. Nov. 4, College Center at
Trident Technical College. Charleston Metro Chamber's annual Small
Business Innovation Summit and Expo showcases new ideas, technologies
and small businesses in the region. Keynote speaker will be Rieva
Lesonsky, former editorial director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Conference
includes breakout sessions on topics such as business planning,
funding, marketing, social media, branding and technology; an exhibition
hall; networking luncheon; and the presentation of awards in the
New Ideas SC Contest. Registration at 7:30 a.m., program from 8
a.m. to 4 p.m.; awards reception from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Cost: $125
chamber members, $225 nonmembers; includes a continental breakfast,
luncheon and closing reception. More
Workshops: Nov. 7, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St.
As part of the new exhibit "Aisle Style:150 Years of Wedding
Fashion," the museum and professional calligrapher Natasha
Lawrence will offer two workshops on calligraphy: Introduction to
Calligraphy (10 a.m. to noon) and Wedding Calligraphy (1 p.m. to
3 p.m.). All materials are included: a calligraphy pen to keep,
a workbook, practice paper and more. Cost: $25 for museum members,
$30 nonmembers, per workshop; $5 discount if taking both workshops.
Registration (required): 722-2996, ext. 235, or online
Music on the Farm: Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 8, Thornhill Farm,
10822 Highway 17 North, McClellanville. Family-friendly event benefits
Adaptive Gardens of the Lowcountry, which enrichs the lives of people
with disabilities by promoting healthy living, social bonding, and
vocational and recreational pursuits through horticultural activities.
Enjoy barbecue and oysters, hayrides, face-painting and a jump castle.
Music by the Holy City Sinners, Skye Paige and the Original Recipe,
the Hungry Monks, French Toast, and the Toasted Beets. Cost: $25
adults, $10 ages 5-15. Tickets
can be found online.
Lake Fall Festival: Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 8, Colonial Lake
Park, Broad Street and Rutledge Avenue. Free "Sunday Funday"
event sponsored by the Charleston Parks Conservancy. Local businesses
and community groups will have displays, the Hank Marley Band will
provide music, and there will be raffles and games, including bocce
ball, a bean bag toss and a shrimp net toss. The public can also
learn more about the conservancy's revitalization plans for Colonial
Lake and Moultrie Playground. Bring a picnic and lawn chairs.
Harvest Dinner: 4 p.m. Nov. 8, Legare Farms. Legare Farms
Education Foundation will hold its annual harvest dinner beginning
with a "meet the farmer" reception at 4 p.m., followed
by dinner at 5 p.m. All the food will be Legare Farms' own and will
be prepared by ten of Charleston's top chefs, with beer from Coast
Brewery and Palmetto Brewery along with wine from Irvin House Vineyards.
Event benefits the foundation. Tickets: $50 per person. Call 559-0788
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
ONGOING AND SOON
Luncheon: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12, Trident Technical
College Complex for Economic Development. The Charleston Regional
Development Alliance's annual luncheon will feature a talk by David
Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times and
the author of "The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and
the Challenges to American Power." Book signing will follow
the luncheon (copies will be available for purchase at the event).
Tickets: $60, available
Trades and Harvest Day: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 14, Charles
Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Road. Costumed interpreters and craftspeople
will interpret what life was like for Charleston's first settlers
as the winter approached. Learn about open-hearth cooking, colonial
foodways, the deerskin trade and colonial medicine. Participants
can also dye an article of clothing with indigo dye and witness
the smoke and thunder of a militia drill. More info: 852-4200 or
Networking: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 16, Holliday Alumni
House at The Citadel, Hagood Ave. Sponsored by the Center for Women's
Entrepreneurial Woman Series, the event is expected to feature more
than 150 local businesswomen. Through "speed networking,"
participants can meet other entrepreneurs quickly and have the chance
to introduce themselves, their business and their interests to everyone
at each table. Light refreshments provided. Cost: $15 for Center
for Women members; $20 for nonmembers. Free parking at Johnson Hagood
Oyster Roast: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 22, Elks Lodge, 1113
Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Oyster roast and a silent auction will benefit
the Outreach Learning Center at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in
Charleston (on King Street across from Marion Square). Oysters,
fish stew, hot dogs, cole slaw, dessert; bring your own beverages.
Live music by Wood & Steel. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at
the door, $10 for children under 12; available at the center, 403
King St., or online
Polar Plunge prep
Homes for Christmas
Enjoy holidays sans lbs.
Instruments of Hope
Armas: Latin biz expo
Be a principal
Women at Gibbes
new food show
on car tags
way of tithing?
over on Sanford
off a little
is time for courage
place for prejudice
fun at Halloween
to old clunker
to squeeze in
on holiday lights
a tourist here
lists of year