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Issue 2.05 | Monday, Nov. 16, 2009 | Damned mosquitoes are still around

When is being a space cadet a good thing? When you're the first Citadel cadet in space. Marine Lt. Col. Randy Bresnik (far right) is part of the space shuttle Atlantis crew scheduled to lift off 2:28 p.m. today in Florida. A 1989 graduate of The Citadel, Bresnik, a mission specialist, is scheduled to take part in two space walks. See Good News for more. (NASA Photo provided by The Citadel)

:: Right questions on reverse mortgages


:: Good news from CRDA luncheon

:: You have to have an opinion ...

:: Growing your business

:: Citadel to space, Mt. P., Blackbaud


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

___:: REVIEW: Send us a review

___:: HISTORY: Marshall Tucker Band

___:: QUOTE: Switzer on triples

___:: 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


It's important to ask right questions about reverse mortgages
President and CEO, Franklin Funding, Inc.
Special to

NOV. 16, 2009 -- In light of last year's financial meltdown, it makes sense that many are skeptical of any kind of mortgage loan. Reverse mortgages, which service the often vulnerable senior population, are being met with a great deal of skepticism and concern.


Any time your finances are involved, there's no question you should proceed with caution. But reverse mortgages can be quite helpful for many older adults, and if you know what to look for in a lender, you can make an educated decision as to whether it's right for you.

Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners age 62 and older. It's a way for homeowners to convert a portion of the equity in their homes to tax-free cash - the opposite of a "forward" mortgage in which debt decreases and equity rises. In many instances a reverse mortgage can be used to help older adults pay off an existing mortgage, help with medical expenses, or simply improve their quality of life.

The senior population is growing. Seniors - even those who have a low monthly income - often own their homes outright. As with any emerging market, the attraction of unethical individuals is bound to happen. It is the actions of few that tarnish the image of many, so don't immediately discredit reverse mortgages and assume all lenders are scam artists. Simply use caution.

Here are some things to look for in a reverse mortgage lender:

  • The lender should be FHA approved. Because 95 percent of reverse mortgages are FHA insured, it's best to work with an approved lender.

  • Is the lender a member of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, which indicates a commitment to the industry and a code of ethics? (Check online at

  • How many reverse mortgages has the lender closed? Reverse mortgages are very different from traditional forward mortgages and require a level of expertise and specialization. Also, is the lender skilled in working with the senior population so he understands seniors' needs and concerns?

  • Can you meet with the lender face to face? While many lenders prefer to do business over the telephone, it's best to meet in person to ask questions and be reassured about the process and your decision.

  • Don't work with a lender who pressures you or doesn't answer your questions. If you don't feel comfortable with the financial agreement, don't go any further. If the lender tries to pressure you into signing an agreement, walk away and find a lender who has your best interests in mind.

  • A reputable and honest lender won't mind if you bring your adult children, a trusted friend or your attorney to your meetings. Be wary of a lender who wants to meet with just you alone and isn't open to questions from your friends and family.

Franklin Funding is a Charleston-based financial services company that helps older adults throughout the state of South Carolina with financial solutions tied to home equity. For more information, visit

Alliance luncheon yields good news for area
By ANDY BRACK, publisher

NOV. 16, 2009 -- By the time keynote speaker David Sanger waxed about his new book, the Obama administration's performance, Afghanistan and nuclear proliferation, it was hard to see how he would connect Charleston into the talk at Thursday's 2009 annual lunch of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance.


But he did. And that's probably why he's the chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times.

Sanger outlined how in today's global economy, the United States may be the remaining superpower, but other economies are rising -- and having big influences here because of the money they lend to prop up our way of life. These days, for example, the Chinese want to know details about the public option in the U.S. health care debate. Why? Because they may end up loaning us the money to fuel health care for all.

Such international inquiry and influence into what once would have been a domestic issue will continue, Sanger said. And therefore Boeing -- and by extension Charleston - will experience more international forays by other powers that may impact business here.


Here's how: If China and the U.S.- - or Korea and the U.S, or some other country and us -- get into a tiff about something completely unrelated to airplanes, the people who make plane orders with Boeing might decide to stop business with the American company -- or to curtail involvement briefly, which could hurt jobs here and Seattle. So Boeing, a plane maker, kind of has to have its own foreign policy to turn back business threats, Sanger explained.

Bottom line: Other countries, like China, are going to have more leverage with trade issues beyond mere trade agreements. And now that Charleston is on a front line of the trade game thanks to Boeing's increased presence, businesses here are "going to have a front row view into how the global political game is played," Sanger said.

Beyond what Sanger told hundreds about the global economy was a completely different message by the CRDA that rang loud and clear at the luncheon: With the increasing sophistication of global trade in the Charleston market, the leadership offered by the CRDA is a key to the area's future successes.

Over the last few months, the organization has retooled to involve private businesses significantly in what once was an economic development agency that trolled for new jobs mostly on behalf of local governments. Thanks to the CRDA's new alliance with about 50 leading area businesses, the organization now is stronger and able to speak with a unified voice to attract growth to the tri-county area.

The news out of the luncheon was outstanding. First, Sanger highlighted how Charleston has become a bigger player in the global economy, which should have spin-off benefits throughout the community. And second, because the CRDA is a more diverse, stronger group of business leaders, we will tell our story in better and new ways that should make us even more successful down the road.

Andy Brack is publisher of

You've got to have an opinion about something ...

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.

Joye Law Firm

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. In this issue, we highlight the Joye Law Firm. Committed to fighting for the rights of the wrongly injured in South Carolina for more than 40 years, the experienced, dedicated personal injury lawyers of the Joye Law Firm want to help you get every dollar you truly deserve for the injuries you've suffered. Whether you've been injured in an auto accident, by a defective product, in a nursing home, or on the job, we may be able to help you. For more information, contact Joye Law Firm at 843.554.3100 or visit online at:

Cadet in space: Citadel grad set to lift off on shuttle today

A 1989 graduate of The Citadel will be on board the space shuttle Atlantis today when NASA begins the official launch countdown for him and five other astronauts. Marine Lt. Col. Randy Bresnik is believed to be the first Citadel graduate to become an astronaut and go on a space mission.


As a part of the mission on the Atlantis, Bresnik and the crew will deliver two express logistics carriers to the International Space Station, take part in three spacewalks - two of which will include Bresnik - and return NASA astronaut Nicole Stott to Earth.

A member of Band Company as a cadet, Bresnik was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps after graduating with a degree in math. As a Marine, he gained wide-ranging experience in complex aircraft, first by attending flight school and being selected to fly jets, then by attending Top Gun and Test Pilot School, flying F/A-18s and various test aircraft and ultimately logging more than 4,500 hours in 79 different aircrafts.

Liftoff is scheduled for 2:28 p.m. and can be viewed live online at NASA TV. The Citadel has its own countdown-to-launch clock and updates and background information about Bresnik at

Town gives $6,000 to group to promote holiday shopping

The Old Mount Pleasant Shopping District organization got an early gift from the town of Mount Pleasant last week: a check for $6,000, which will be used to match the district's advertising dollars for a "Holidays in the Neighborhood" campaign.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails (left) presents a check for $6,000 to Jan Clouse and Jim Ray Cobb of the Old Mount Pleasant Shopping District.

Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails presented the check to the OMPSD president Jan Clouse of Lowcountry Lighting and Jim Ray Cobb or Anchor Line Advertising during a meeting at Campbell's Jewelers. The advertising campaign will promote shopping at member businesses in the district, which starts at the foot of the Ravenel Bridge and goes to Chuck Dawley Boulevard and Bowman Road.

The Old Mount Pleasant Shopping District was established to help boost local businesses in Mount Pleasant's Old Village area.

Blackbaud releases new marketing program for nonprofits

Daniel Island-based Blackbaud, the leading global provider of software and related services designed specifically for nonprofit organizations, is now offering a new version of its popular Web-based e-marketing and event fundraising tools. Blackbaud Sphere Grow is designed to provide nonprofits with "an affordable turn-key solution with a guided implementation and ongoing consulting services," the company says.

"Blackbaud Sphere Grow is a complete online marketing and peer-to-peer fundraising solution that helps nonprofits desiring a greater online presence build engaging Web sites, create effective e-mail campaigns, run peer fundraising events and measure their success," says Steve MacLaughlin, Blackbaud's director of Internet solutions. "The Grow package was designed to guide nonprofits through their strategy - from launch to analysis - to ensure success."

Central to the solution is Blackbaud's Friends Asking Friends technology, which allows users to set up and run 'Thon' style peer-to-peer fundraising events. Friends Asking Friends has built-in integration with social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to help nonprofits extend the reach of their marketing. Blackbaud Sphere Grow also includes an online supporter database that stores all of a nonprofit's Web site and e-mail contacts, greatly reducing the amount of time and money staff must spend on administrative tasks and allowing supporters to provide a customized, targeted online experience with their organization.

The company plans to offer a free Web seminar that will provide an overview of Blackbaud Sphere Grow. To register for the program or learn more, visit

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.

Marshall Tucker Band

Formed in 1971, the Marshall Tucker Band (MTB) laced its rock and roll with doses of country, blues, and jazz, selling millions of albums in the 1970s and 1980s and influencing acts such as Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., Charlie Daniels, and Kid Rock. Named for a blind South Carolinian who tuned pianos, the group kept Spartanburg as a home base, a fact that allowed the upstate town to share the band's limelight.

The original MTB included lead guitarist and chief songwriter Toy Caldwell, bass player Tommy Caldwell, lead singer Doug Gray, drummer Paul Riddle, rhythm guitarist George McCorkle, and flutist/saxophone player Jerry Eubanks. Signed to Capricorn Records, MTB released its self-titled debut album in 1973. That album contained a Toy Caldwell composition called "Can't You See," a song that would later be covered by Hank Williams Jr., Waylon Jennings, and others. The band's most successful album was Searchin' for a Rainbow (1975), which included the McCorkle-penned "Fire on the Mountain," a song whose lyrics are displayed at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame. Other notable MTB songs include "Take the Highway," "Long Hard Ride," and the Top-Twenty single "Heard It in a Love Song." Each of the band's six albums with Capricorn sold at least 100,000 copies, with two selling more than one million. A late 1970s shift to Warner Brothers Records proved less fruitful.

Tommy Caldwell died in 1980 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident. Former Toy Factory bassist Franklin Wilkie then joined the band, which soon added keyboardist Ronnie Godfrey. Toy Caldwell, McCorkle, and Riddle left the group in 1984, with Caldwell going on to record a solo album in 1992. Caldwell passed away after a heart attack in 1993 at age forty-five. Gray and Eubanks carried on the MTB name, utilizing various supporting musicians, until Eubanks departed in 1996 and left Gray as MTB's only remaining original member.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Peter Cooper. 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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Growing your business

Rieva Lesonsky has spent many years helping small businesses, formerly as the editorial director of Entrepreneur Magazine and currently as the CEO of GrowBiz Media.


Earlier this month she spoke to more than 200 local business people at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Innovation Summit. Here are 13 quick, practical tips she offered at the conference to help local companies grow and thrive:

  • Start preparing for the recovery by looking at new talent and interns and keeping in touch with past employees you may have laid off.

  • Check with local and state government for tax incentives.

  • Shop small and support local businesses.

  • Speak up and contact government representative to demand small businesses be a part of the recovery plan.

  • Renegotiate with your banker, landlords, etc.

  • Join groups like the Chamber, industry trade associations and college alumni groups.

  • Work your connections.

  • Cash is king, so closely monitor what's coming in and out.

  • Stop trying to be perfect.

  • Update technology. Slow computers can cost you money. Invest in mobile technology.

  • Stop worrying.

  • Be innovative.

  • Join social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.).

On earning it


"Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple."

-- Former football coach Barry Switzer (1937 - )


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.

Entertaining Charleston Style: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, 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.

Third Thursday in Summerville: Nov. 19, downtown Summerville. Enjoy a holiday open house at local stores, with refreshments, strolling carolers, a jazz trio and other entertainment and promotions. Sponsored by Summerville D.R.E.A.M. (Downtown Restoration, Enhancement and Management).

'The Grinch': Nov. 21 and Nov. 22, Charleston Ballet Theatre, 477 King St. The CBT will stage "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," based on the timeless Dr. Seuss classic. The 48-minute show is suitable for the whole family. Times: 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Nov. 14 and Nov. 21; 3 p.m. Nov. 15 and Nov. 22. Tickets: $20 adults, $10 children; call 723-7334 or order online at

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) Candlelight Memorial: 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22, Colonial Lake, downtown. Hospice of Charleston's 21st Annual Candlelight Memorial Ceremony. The lighting of hundreds of memorial luminaries placed around the lake will be followed by a brief ceremony of music and readings and a performance by Ann Caldwell. For details or to order a memorial to a loved one (money raised benefits Hospice), visit this Web page, click here to send an email or call 216-7323.


'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.

(NEW) Holiday Parade of Boats: 5 p.m. Dec. 5, Charleston Harbor. This Lowcountry holiday tradition features festively decorated and lighted boats of all sorts parading through the harbor, following by a fireworks display. View the procession along Charleston's waterfront or decorate your own boat and join the parade. Parade begins in the harbor off Mount Pleasant at 5 p.m.; viewing from the peninsula begins at 6:30 p.m., and fireworks start about 6:45 p.m. More info: 724-7305.

(NEW) Small-Business Lending: 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Dec. 9, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, 2750 Speisseger Drive, Suite 100, North Charleston. The chamber's Charleston Area Business Council will discuss small-business lending and how to obtain financing in today's current lending climate. Cost: $15 chamber members, $30 nonmembers. More info/registration.

(NEW) Kimono Silks Exhibition: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 10, 214 King Street Gallery, 214 King St. Kimono Silks features new works by batik master Mary Edna Fraser. Fraser discovered the vintage narrow silks on a recent Australia trip and has blogged about the experience at A master dyer, Fraser came home with aerial landscapes featuring batiks, monotypes, oils and archival prints. Exhibition on display through Jan. 24; gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. More info: 762-2594 or at


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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