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Issue 2.02 | Thursday, Nov. 5, 2009 | Meet our new nonprofit partner

BRIDGE BACK IN TIME: Recognize this Lowcountry bridge from days gone by? It was the Charleston and Savannah Railroad bridge over the Ashley River back in 1893. The photo comes from "Art Work of Charleston," published by W.H. Parish, and is part of the fascinating Margaretta Childs Archives at the Historic Charleston Foundation Web site. Check it out!

:: Closing a workplace gap


:: On improving voter turnout

:: Send in your thoughts

:: Five weather-watcher needs

:: Education partners, Goodwill, more


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next

___:: REVIEW: Send us a review

___:: HISTORY: Laing School

___:: QUOTE: Orwell on being good

___:: 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


Closing the 'generation gap' in the workplace
Chairperson, Charleston Young Professionals
Special to

NOV. 5, 2009 -- For the first time in history, four distinct generations - Generation Y, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists - are working side by side in the workforce. The members who make up each of the four generations have distinct characteristics. Traditionalists, though most are retired, account for less than 5 percent of the total workforce. Baby Boomers are defined as those individuals born between 1945 and 1960-64 and account for about 43 percent of the current workforce.


Generation Xers are defined as those who were born between 1961-64 and 1981, and they account for about 42 percent of the current workforce. Gen Xers are increasingly reluctant to trust the major corporation model, due to the fact that many saw their parents get laid off from the companies that they were loyal to for years. This generation, often referred to as the first latchkey kids, was mostly raised in a nontraditional family setting for the first time in America, which has given the members of this group characteristics such as adaptability.

Generation Yers are those who were born between 1982 and 1993, and they account for more than 10 percent of the workforce. They are just beginning to penetrate the workforce and are optimistic and self-confident.

The days when employees stay at companies forever are gone. While Boomers spend most of their work life in the same job or industry, Gen Xers' average "work lifespan" is approximately 3.8 years per job. That number drops to 1.7 years per job for Gen Yers.

Each generation has its own defining characteristics and varying expectations within the workforce. Because of the generational shift, employers have to attempt to understand these generations and compete for talent.

As a Gen Xer who has been part of the professional world for eight years, I realize I am no longer new to the workplace and am no longer part of the new generation. Unlike many Boomers and Traditionalists, I don't feel out of touch with this younger generation. Between full-time employees, part-time employees and interns, our office spans between Gen X and Gen Y, and those of us that are part of the older generation embrace the knowledge, skills and behaviors that come along with the younger generation.

To ensure that our companies and communities remain sustainable, we (the members of the older generations) have the responsibility to motivate, train and engage the younger generation of leaders and employees. Unfortunately, more times than not, the generational lines are not explained or understood in the workplace, which often causes a generation gap and communication barriers between generations.

In order to better understand the characteristics, work and technology behaviors of these different generations, the Charleston Young Professionals organization is hosting a luncheon titled "Closing the Generation Gap" on Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Cooper River Room at the Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park. Panelists include Mac Burdette, administrator for the town of Mount Pleasant; Chris Fraser, president and managing principal, Grubb & Ellis|Barkley Fraser; and Amanda Ruth McSwain, professor at the College of Charleston.

Participants will learn how to adapt and understand these generational differences and how each can add value to an organization and positively affect cohesion and performance in the workplace.

The cost of the luncheon is $15 for CYP members, or $25 for nonmembers. Advance registration is required because seating is limited. If you would like to register or get more information, go to

In addition to serving as chairperson of the Charleston Young Professionals, Allison McCutcheon is creative executive for Obviouslee Marketing.

Bill might be a way to help poor voter turnout
By ANN THRASH, editor

NOV. 5, 2009 -- A congressman from Minnesota introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives last month that would allow people to register to vote at the polls on Election Day, rather than having to register a few weeks or more in advance. After seeing the turnout levels in our local elections earlier this week, same-day registration sounds like a good idea to us.


In Charleston County, turnout for Tuesday's vote was about 22.4 percent, according to the Board of Elections and Voter Registration. That might not sound too bad for off-year municipal elections with no governor's race or controversial ballot questions to lure more people to the polls. But when you look more closely at what the numbers mean, it's eye-opening.

Take the Mount Pleasant mayoral race, which Billy Swails won after a hard-fought contest. It was a winner-take-all vote, as were the Town Council races - there will be no runoffs, and no candidate had to get more than 50 percent of the vote to win. Swails won the job with 5,935 votes. But there are 44,607 registered voters in the town - so that means that just a little over 13 percent of registered voters decided who the town's next mayor is going to be.

Looking at the percentage of residents - as opposed to registered voters - who voted for Swails, and it works out that only about 9 percent of Mount Pleasant residents voted for the new leader of the town.

The numbers look even worse when you consider the Town Council races. The top vote getter, Linda Page, had 4,393 votes in the unofficial tally. That means about 9.8 percent of registered voters chose her - that's just 6.7 percent of all town residents.

Don't misunderstand: This is not a commentary about the worthiness of either of those candidates or anyone else running for office in Mount Pleasant or elsewhere in the county. It's not a suggestion that the winners don't deserve it after all their hard work. In fact, even Swails himself bemoaned the low turnout in a Wednesday article in The Post and Courier, telling the paper it was a shame that 70 percent of the town's residents didn't come out and cast their ballots.

So back to the Minnesota congressman who's introduced the Same Day Registration Act. Minnesota is one of nine states, plus the District of Columbia, that allow same-day registration, and Rep. Keith Ellison, the congressman who introduced the bill, says that having that law on the books in Minnesota has helped his state consistently lead the nation in turnout, with rates around 70 percent. Looks a little better than the 22 percent turnout in Charleston County, doesn't it?

No doubt, some of those who didn't vote Tuesday had reasons other than the fact that they hadn't registered. But we have to believe that the ease of being able to register and vote all at the same time on Election Day would encourage people to get involved, cast their ballots and participate in one of the most important parts of our collective civic life.

Mount Pleasant native Ann Thrash, editor 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.

Rural Mission

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. With this issue, we welcome a new nonprofit partner, Rural Mission on John's Island. The organization is many things to man people: a hand up in times of crisis and need … a mission, service and faith volunteer experience for the young and older … a caregiver and advocate for young migrant children and a support system for migrant families … a provider of a warm, comfortable home in winter and … a greatly appreciated giver of desperately needed home repairs to make low income homes safe, healthy and decent. For all, Rural Mission is a source of hope for low- and very low-income residents, the elderly and families living in the rural underserved Sea Islands of Charleston County, from Johns Island to Wadmalaw to Edisto and Yonges Islands. To learn more about this extraordinary organization -- and its Nov. 15 benefit at Bowen's Island -- visit Rural Mission online. To talk to someone about giving your time or money to help, phone: 843.768-1720.

Businesses honored for education partnerships

Four businesses making an impact in local public schools were honored at the recent Business Education Summit by the Education Foundation and the College of Charleston School of Business and Economics and School of Education. The annual Business Education Partnership Awards were presented at the summit on Oct. 29.

Tri-county schools had the opportunity to nominate either a business or community group for the award. One winner was chosen for each of the four local school districts -- Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester Two and Dorchester Four. The winners are:

Charleston County: The South Carolina Ports Authority, nominated by West Ashley High School. The SCPA has worked with the high school and its students to develop the first maritime curriculum. The Ports Authority management group has hosted seminars, donated funds and curriculum materials, hosted field trips and provided guest lecturers in class to provide students with "soft skills" for employability in the maritime industries or other industries after high school graduation.

Berkeley County: Hubner Manufacturing Corporation USA, nominated by the Berkeley County School District. Hubner Chief Financial Officer Ron Paquette has spearheaded the company's efforts, which include Work Based Learning opportunities and helping students learn about jobs in manufacturing. Paquette and the company's human-resources staff, plant manager, engineering staff and others have visited Berkeley County schools, interviewed students, and delivered metal scraps, among other contributions.

Dorchester Two: Patterson Printing & Graphics, nominated by Alston Middle School. The company's Mike Patterson not only coaches the Alston Middle School baseball team but also serves as a role model and mentor for students. He demands that the players perform academically and makes certain that they have the "soft skills" that employers desire: Students are urged to be on time, be team players, be courteous, look people in the eye, and be people who keep their word. Patterson has also organized homework sites with business partners and hosted golf tournaments to raise money for educational programs.

Dorchester 4: Showa Denko Carbon, nominated by Harleyville-Ridgeville Elementary School. Company employees have volunteered as roofers, carpenters, painters and all-around handymen; funded projects such as playground equipment installation and classroom mailboxes to promote writing; and tutored students.

The Education Foundation, an initiative of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1995 to build partnerships between the business community and the schools, mobilize resources and advocate for the changes necessary to prepare all students for the careers of the future.

Local Goodwill office earns statewide honor for diversity

Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina won the 2009 Excellence in Workplace Diversity Award for medium-sized companies in a competition sponsored by the S.C. Chamber of Commerce. The awards were presented last week at the Fifth Annual Diversity Appreciation Night in Columbia.

The S.C. Chamber says companies were judged on diversity initiatives, effectiveness and applicability. "Goodwill's positive environment allows individuals to move beyond simple tolerance while embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each of us," says Peggy Smith, vice president of employment services for Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina. "It is important for our success that we bring into our programs and workforce individuals who are open to acceptance of the differences found within the Goodwill family."

Goodwill's mission is to help people achieve their full potential through the dignity and power of work. The goal of the agency's programs is to train, support and challenge individuals to overcome employment barriers and achieve self-sufficiency through work.

Sign card at Mt. Pleasant library to thank local veterans

To recognize this month's Veterans Day and Thanksgiving holidays, the Mount Pleasant Regional Library on Mathis Ferry Road is offering the community a chance to thank veterans with a written message.

As a show of support for the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration Medical Center, library patrons can pick up a "thank you" card at the Information Desk between now and Nov. 30 to sign or add a note. The library is also collecting items for donation to the center throughout the month.

For details about what items are needed, call the branch at 849-6161.

Tell your view to our readers

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.

Laing School

Laing School in Mount Pleasant had been called by different names since its establishment in an abandoned church in 1866. Cornelia Hancock, a Civil War nurse and Quaker from New Jersey, is credited with founding the school and served as its first principal. The school was named for Henry M. Laing, treasurer of both the Friends Association for the Aid and Elevation of the Freedmen of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, each of which supported the school financially. Its mission was to educate former slaves and inspire them to strive for high ideals and good citizenship and to make worthwhile contributions to society.

The school began with fifty pupils in the remains of the Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church. In October 1867 it moved to a brick mansion provided by the Freedmen's Bureau. In 1868 the bureau built a two-story school building on the corner of King Street and Royall Avenue, on land donated by the town of Mount Pleasant. Enrollment at the coeducational school soon grew to more than two hundred. Known as the Laing Industrial School, the institution grew and offered seven years of schooling along with courses in sewing, cooking, cobbling, and manual training.

An earthquake destroyed the school in 1886, but it was rebuilt on the same site. In 1894 the Pennsylvania Abolition Society became trustee of the school, which it deeded to Charleston County in 1940. It became part of the public school system in 1938 and was the first accredited school for African Americans in South Carolina. The building was condemned and closed in 1953, but a new school, Laing High School, opened that same year on U.S. Highway 17 north of Mount Pleasant.

Since 1974 the institution has operated as Laing Middle School. A South Carolina Highway Marker, which was erected by the Laing High School Alumni Association, stands at the site of the original Laing School.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Dorothy Fludd Richardson. 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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5 weather-watcher needs

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources' State Climatology Office and the National Weather Service are looking for volunteers to measure and report the rain, snow, sleet or hail that falls on their property. "This is a chance for people who have an interest in weather to be part of a project that collects valuable weather and climate data," says state climatologist Hope Mizzell. The project's official name is the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS. Here are DNR's five requirements for being one of its weather watchers.

  • You must have access to the Internet and the ability to browse the CoCoRaHS Web site, where you will enter your daily precipitation data.

  • You need a CoCoRaHS rain gauge, which can be purchased inexpensively at the Web site.

  • There should be a site on your property with good exposure and as few trees and obstructions as possible, where you can place the rain gauge about five feet off the ground.

  • You'll need to take the online CoCoRaHS observer training course.

  • You must be willing to enter your precipitation data on a daily basis between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. through the Web site.

More info: or contact Joe Calderone by email or 744-0303, ext. 422.

On being good


"On the whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time."

-- George Orwell, English novelist and satirist (1903 - 1950)


Calligraphy 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 here.

Local 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.

Colonial 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.

Fall 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

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.


CRDA 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 online.

(NEW) Electronics Recycling Day: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 14, Tanger Outlets parking lot (on the Tanger Outlet Boulevard side), North Charleston. Sponsored by Charleston County's Environmental Management Department, residents can bring electronic items (TVs, computers, phones, fax machines, microwaves, VCRs, etc.) to the event to be safely recycled. Open to county residents only; no businesses or contractors. More info: 720-7111 or see this Web site.

Colonial 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 online here.

Entrepreneurs 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 Stadium. Register here.

Benefit 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 here.

(NEW) 'A Spiritual Christmas': 6 p.m. Nov. 27, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 67 Anson St., Charleston. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble under the direction of Nathan L. Nelson will perform African-American spirituals set to a holiday theme. Tickets: $10 per person at the door.


12/23: Christian: Mannie's story
Bender: Polar Plunge prep
Brooks: Homes for Christmas
Doll: Enjoy holidays sans lbs.
Yarian: Instruments of Hope
De Armas: Latin biz expo
Blevins: Autism
Hutchisson: Giving
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


12/17: Cookbook, shopping
The Pig's wines
Neat shopping
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


12/23: Photographer Meyer
Ain't over on Sanford
Back off a little
Sanford presses on
Now is time for courage
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?


12/23: Blackbaud 5
4 on holiday lights
Five about oysters
Winter finds
Free parking
Holiday parades
Home fire stats
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

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