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Issue 2.09 | Thursday, Dec. 3, 2009 | Splish, splash ...

The city of Charleston will mark Arbor Day on Friday with a tree-planting ceremony in front of 75 Calhoun St. Mayor Joseph P. Riley
Jr. will join second-graders from Buist Academy at 1 p.m. beside a deciduous
elm tree decorated with green ribbons containing messages from students
explaining why trees are important. Riley is shown here (at right) with
another group of youngsters at a past Arbor Day. (Photo provided by the City
of Charleston)

:: On the Latin American Business Expo


:: Check out these shopping locales

:: Thanks for Scouting notice

:: Free parking downtown

:: Singers, T-shirt, ornament, more


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

___:: REVIEW: Send us a review

___:: HISTORY: Elliott Society

___:: QUOTE: Lehman on power

___:: 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


Expo to look at purchasing power of Charleston-area Latinos
Co-chair, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Latin American Business Expo
Special to

DEC. 3, 2009 -- Charleston area businesses are just starting to realize the purchasing power of the growing Latino demographic. According to a recent report from the Immigration Policy Center, businesses owned by Latinos and Asians in the state of South Carolina had combined revenues of $2.8 billion and provided over 20,000 jobs throughout the state in 2008. The Center also reported that Latinos and Asians living in South Carolina had a combined purchasing power of $5.2 billion. In 2007, immigrants made up 5.4 percent of the workforce in South Carolina.

De Armas

With this in mind, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce will host a Latin American Business Expo on Thursday, Dec. 10, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 10 Storehouse Row. The expo's goal is to educate attendees on the economic impact that Latin Americans and their businesses have on our region, and to offer an opportunity to exhibit to this community.

This year's Expo is an absolute must for area business owners and service providers trying to reach the 27,000-34,000 Latinos living in the Charleston metro area. (The range in the numbers reflects the difference between U.S. Census available data and more actual state surveys.) Attendees will be able to get the tools and invaluable information they need to effectively market to this growing demographic and find out what services are still needed. In addition, they will be able to get insight into topics such as the economic impact of Latinos and understanding cultural barriers.

The event will also provide Latin American and traditional business owners with an opportunity to network with industry experts during roundtable discussions to learn about expanding their market reach, financial and funding resources, outsourcing labor, and government contracting. The Expo will also offer the chance to learn more about the immense and rich multicultural community of business owners and entrepreneurs in our region who are looking for opportunities to expand their businesses and partnerships.

The topics and speakers include "The Economic Impact of Immigration," with speaker David Hughes of Clemson University, and "Cultural Barriers," with speaker Eileen Chepenik of Trident Literacy. The Small Business Resource Panel and Round Table Discussions include:

  • 2010 Census - Diana Salazar, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Entrepreneurial Opportunities - Mary Dickerson, FastTracSC, and Ram Dachepalli, SCORE.
  • Expanding Your Reach: Marketing to Latin American and Traditional Businesses - Lisa De Armas, El Informador Spanish Language Newspaper.
  • I-9 Compliance - Bridgette Beasley, The Citadel.
  • Outsourcing Labor - Michael Lalich, Lowcountry Labor.
  • Small Business Resource Network and Funding - Tom Lauria, Small Business Development Center, and Cindi Rourk, Charleston Citywide Local Development Corporation.

The Latin American Business Expo only happens one time a year, so don't miss this priceless opportunity to network with Charleston area Latino business leaders and service providers. Many local businesses (even the U.S. Census Bureau) rely on community events such as this one and Charleston's Spanish newspaper, El Informador, as a resource to new business opportunities.

The cost to attend the event is $15 for chamber members, $30 for nonmembers. To register, visit this Web page. To learn more about the Expo or the Latin American Business Council, please contact Emily Brown at 805-3042 or

Lisa De Armas also is president and a director of El Informador newspaper.

Psst! Check out these places you haven't thought to shop…

By ANN THRASH, editor

DEC. 3, 2009 -- This is "Buy Local Week," a campaign sponsored by Lowcountry Local First to encourage us to shop at locally owned and operated business during the holiday season. We want to do our part here at, so we've been stashing away some ideas of unusual local places to shop that support the "Buy Local" idea - not only this week, but throughout December and on into what we hope will be an economically sunnier 2010.


Check out these suggestions - among them, a couple of special events that we haven't seen mentioned anywhere else, which means your gift recipients will be not only surprised by your wonderful gift, but amazed at your resourcefulness.

And if you have a distinctively local, secret shopping spot or gift suggestion for Christmas and Hanukkah, send an e-mail to me at and let me know the details. We'll check out what we can and publish some of your ideas between now and the end of the month.

Shop a museum store: We've long been fans of buying gifts at museum stores and shops at noteworthy attractions around the Lowcountry. Few people seem to think of shopping there, which makes these gifts even more of a pleasure to give and receive. This year, check out the gift shops at the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Charleston Museum, Boone Hall Plantation, Drayton Hall, Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, and the South Carolina Aquarium, to name just a few. You'll find some unusual items and support "the locals" as well. For example, the Gibbes recently remodeled its 1,000-square-foot store, which now features home-décor items, art-related gifts and books, distinctive jewelry, wool throws, reading glasses, silk scarves and some extraordinary handbags. Many of these shops also feature items that are handmade by local artisans, so shopping at these spots really does have a ripple effect on the Lowcountry economy.

Gift-quality book bargains: The Friends of the Charleston County Library are well-known for "That Big Book Sale" every fall, and this year there's a special edition of that sale with gift-giving in mind. "That Holiday Book Sale" will take place this weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5 and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library, 1133 Mathis Ferry Road. "Books have been picked for quality with gift-giving in mind," says a press release from the library. You can also get CDs, DVDs, art prints, cassettes, videotapes and rare collectibles. Paperbacks start at $1 and hardbacks at $3. Among the art prints available will be works by David Hockney, Edward Hopper, Claude Monet, Georgia O'Keeffe and John James Audubon. The Friends of the Library ask that you help conserve resources by BYOB -- Bringing Your Own Bag - for carrying your purchases. Get more information is online here at or get daily updates on Facebook or Twitter.

Go to the PRC's Outdoor Gear Sale: Got an outdoorsy type on your shopping list? Then you owe it to yourself to check out the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission's Great Outdoor Gear Sale from 9 a.m. to noon on Dec. 12 (next Saturday) at James Island County Park. The PRC says it will have tents, kayaks, mountain bikes, camping accessories and more -- slightly used, or "preowned," as the car dealers say -- at some great prices. All the gear will be sold as is, and prices are nonnegotiable. Call 795-4386 if want more information.

Ann Thrash is editor of You can reach her by email here.

'Good News' indeed to hear about Eagle Scout's contribution

To the editor:

Thanks for the "Good News" story about Eagle Scout Sean Carter. It is always a pleasure to see positive news stories.

-- Legare Clement, Scout Executive, Coastal Carolina Council, Boy Scouts of America, Charleston, South Carolina

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.


The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter BB&T, a regional bank that has built on a tradition of excellence in community banking since 1872. BB&T is a mission-driven organization with a clearly defined set of business principals and values. It encourages employees to have a strong sense of purpose, a high level of self-esteem and the capacity to think clearly and logically. BB&T offers clients a complete range of financial services including banking, lending, insurance, trust and wealth management solutions. To learn more, visit BB&T online or drop in to talk with its professionals at the main branch office at 151 Meeting Street, Charleston. Phone: (843)720-5168.

Spirituals to be performed in unusual setting at Drayton Hall

One of the most unexpected spaces at historic Drayton Hall will be the setting, for the first time, of Drayton Hall's 26th annual holiday spirituals concert. Planned for this weekend, the concerts are one of the longest-running performances of its kind in the Lowcountry.

Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers

The concerts, featuring Ann Caldwell and the Magnolia Singers, will take place at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5 and Dec. 6 and 3 p.m. Dec. 6 in the raised English basement at the main house, which is the oldest unrestored plantation home in America. The area will be staged to take advantage of its striking atmosphere. Part workspace, part kitchen and storage area, and complete with a large brick fireplace, oversized hearth, pantries, and cupboards, the raised English basement (actually the ground floor) of the main house is in an excellent state of preservation. Before the concert begins, a member of the preservation staff will offer information on the area and describe its purpose in more detail.

Concert tickets are $35 for adults and $30 for Friends of Drayton Hall, and include a catered reception and informal tours of the house before the performances. Call 769-2605 for information or reservations. For group rates, call 769-2630.

Artist to sign prints at ornament tea for literacy group

Legendary Lowcountry artist Anne Worsham Richardson will be the special guest at a Trident Literacy Association reception and tea Dec. 4 in recognition of the association's annual Christmas ornament, which is based on one of Richardson's paintings. The tea will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bird's I View Gallery, 119-A Church St., downtown, during the French Quarter Art Walk.

During the tea, which is sponsored by Firefly Vodka, guests can purchase the 2009 Ornament of Hope, which is based on the Richardson watercolor "Pine Grosbeaks." The exclusive interpretation from watercolor to metal is the work of Elizabeth Anne Neiman of The Charleston Mint. The ornament is 24k gold on solid brass with baked enameling.

All ornaments include a numbered certificate of authenticity. A matted-and-framed version is also available with a copy of the Anne Worsham Richardson print that inspired it. Each ornament is only $15, and the framed prints are $35. Richardson will also be signing prints at the tea.

The Ornament of Hope is an annual fundraiser for Trident Literacy Association. Limited supplies of ornaments from previous years are also available at a discount. To order in advance, or for more information, call 747-2223.

SNOB to mark 16th birthday this month with special deals

One of the area's best-known restaurants, Slightly North of Broad, will be celebrating its 16th anniversary on Dec. 8 with "Sweet 16"-themed food and festivities. The specials include $16 dinner menu items, complimentary birthday cake during lunch, complimentary sweets to take home after dinner, drawings for gift certificates and merchandise, special cocktails, and several "pink" oriented promotions in keeping with the Sweet 16 idea- - including a free glass of pink sparkling wine with dinner for guests who wear pink.

"SNOB" opened its doors at 192 East Bay St. in December of 1993 and has received international recognition and numerous awards, including induction into the Fine Dining Hall of Fame in 2008 by Nations' Restaurant News. Executive Chef Frank Lee and the restaurant's signature "Maverick Southern Cooking" style helped put Charleston on the map as a destination city for lovers of good food. Additionally, owner Dick Elliott, president of Maverick Southern Kitchens, was selected as the 2008 Restaurateur of the Year by the South Carolina Hospitality Association.

For reservations or more information on the promotions, go here online or call 723-3424.

Parks Conservancy T-shirt to get national spotlight

The Charleston Parks Conservancy will be getting plenty of national attention on Dec. 6 when one of the organization's T-shirt is the focus of, a marketing phenomenon in which the company founder wears one business or organization's T-shirt for a full day and promotes the organization online.

Beginning in 2009, company founder Jason Sadler began selling the upper half of his wardrobe. Each day of the year, he promotes the particular business or group with videos, photos, and blog and Twitter posts. This Sunday, Sadler will be promoting the Conservancy, giving the organization and the city of Charleston plenty of publicity.

Since its inception more than two years ago, the Conservancy has been heavily involved in social media with blogs, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as a way to reach Charleston area residents and promote the city's local parks and green spaces. "This was a natural fit for us," Executive Director Jim Martin says. "We are already all over various social media channels, so this was just one more creative way to promote the organization and Charleston's parks."

The Conservancy soon will be launching an online store where visitors can purchase Conservancy T-shirts and other merchandise. For details on the group, go to

Send us a review

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.

Elliott Society of Natural History

Founded in Charleston in November 1853, the Elliott Society of Natural History was established for the purpose of promoting the study of natural history, especially in South Carolina. Named after the city's noted botanist Stephen Elliott, the organization represented the maturation of scientific interests in Charleston, which by then was the center of natural history studies in the South.

Encouraged by the renowned naturalist Louis Agassiz, the Charleston Museum curator Francis Simmons Holmes played a key role in establishing the society. Eager to emulate the highly successful natural history society founded in Philadelphia in 1812 and the one established in Boston in 1830, Charleston scientists joined with Holmes in creating the Elliott Society. Unlike its sister organizations in the North, however, the society was hampered by a comparatively small urban population and scarcity of funds. Nevertheless, although its membership never exceeded eighty during the antebellum period and while monthly attendance was usually low, it succeeded admirably and managed to publish one volume of its proceedings and one issue of a journal prior to the Civil War. Especially supportive of the society were the naturalists John McCrady and Lewis R. Gibbes, the latter of whom served as the society's president for most of its existence.

Inactive during the Civil War, the Elliott Society resumed its activities soon afterward. In an attempt to broaden its appeal, the organization changed its name to the Elliott Society of Science and Arts in 1867. Although it enjoyed brief periods of revival, the society was moribund by 1891, thus ending its notable contributions to the study of natural history in South Carolina.

- Excerpted from the entry by Lester D. Stephens. 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.) 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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Free parking downtown

Whether you're heading to a party, going to a restaurant, taking in a parade or just doing some holiday shopping, almost everyone heads to downtown Charleston on a regular basis during the holidays. This year the City of Charleston, Charleston County and Republic Parking have teamed up to make the trip a little easier on the wallet: They're offering the public two hours of free parking in some of the city's most centrally located garages. The offer is good through Dec. 31. Go here to print out the parking voucher that you'll need to present - and be prepared, if you'll be parked for more than two hours, to pay for the difference. Here's a list of the garages where the vouchers will be honored:

  • S.C. Aquarium garage
  • Camden Exchange garage
  • Concord and Cumberland streets garage
  • 93 Queen St. garage
  • Francis Marion garage
  • East Bay and Prioleau streets garage
  • 34 St. Philip St. garage
  • Majestic Square garage
  • Visitor Center garage
  • Wentworth and St. Philip streets garage
  • County garage at King and Queen streets
  • County garage at Cumberland and Church streets

On power

"Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat."

-- John Lehman, U.S. Secretary of the Navy from 1981 to 1987


Water the Future: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 3, Eye Level Art Warehouse, 2143 Heriot St. Learn about issues that are threatening local waterways at this event, sponsored by the Charleston Waterkeeper. Includes music from DC-based DJ duo Party on Marz, local food, cold drinks a raffle, aquatic touch tank, inflatable video dome, art installations and more. Tickets: $15 for Charleston Waterkeeper members; $20 nonmembers. Buy at the door or online. More info: 608-WATR or

Citadel Candlelight Service: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, Summerall Chapel, The Citadel. The S.C. Corps of Cadets will present its Christmas Candlelight Service for the Lowcountry. Cadets from the Protestant, Catholic and Gospel choirs, the Chorale, the Women's Ensemble, and members of The Citadel Regimental Band will take part in the annual celebration, which features Scripture lessons and carols (both traditional and international favorites). Free and open to the public. More info: 953-5049.

Santa in the Swamp Food Drive: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 5, Cypress Gardens, Moncks Corner. To benefit a local food bank, visitors to Cypress Gardens who bring a canned good will be admitted at half-price ($5). Children ages 12 and under who bring a canned good will get in free. Santa will arrive by flat-bottom boat at 11:30 a.m., and other activities include music, crafts vendors, children's make-and-take crafts, photos with Santa, a new parrot display, etc. More info or 553-0515.

Holly Days: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5, downtown Summerville. Enjoy an old-fashioned holiday experience in historic Summerville with shopping, caroling, cookies and cider for shoppers and visitors. Sponsored by the merchants of Summerville and Summerville D.R.E.AM. More info: 821-7260 or online.

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.

Wine Under the Oaks: Noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 6, Boone Hall Plantation, 1235 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant. Sponsored by the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the American Red Cross. Sample a variety of wines and gourmet food from local chefs; bid on silent auction items; and shop for holiday gifts. Tickets: $20 in advance or $25 at the gate.

"Buy Local Week" Bash: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 6, The Landing at Shem Creek (former Trawler site). The event, which caps off Lowcountry Local First's "Buy Local Week," will include live music, local beer, FireFly vodka and rum, and a variety of food. tickets. Tickets: in advance, $30 for LLF members, $35 nonmembers; at the door, $35 for LLF members, $40 nonmembers (cash or check only at the door). Purchase online.


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.

Latin American Business Expo: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 10, 10 Storehouse Row, Noisette, North Charleston. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce's Latin American Business Council (LABC) will host a seminar and expo to educate attendees on the economic impact that Latin Americans and their businesses have on our region, and to offer local businesses an opportunity to exhibit to this community. The event will also provide Latin American and traditional business owners with an opportunity to network with industry experts. Cost: $15 chamber members, $30 nonmembers. More info: Email Emily Brown.

Festival of Wreaths: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 10, Palmetto Café, Charleston Place Hotel. Fourth annual festival will feature champagne, hors d'oeuvres, live music from Silver Lining and wreaths from local interior designers being auctioned with all proceeds going to the MUSC Children's Hospital. In addition to the wreaths provided by members of the American Society of Interior Designers, kids from the Youth Center at the Charleston Air Force Base will provide several wreaths as well. Tickets: $10 in advance at the Orient-Express Boutique at Charleston Place or by calling 937-9142; $15 at the door. Guests can get parking-ticket validation for the Charleston Place garage on Hasell Street.

"Beauty, Bliss and Scrooges": 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 10, Omar Shrine Temple, 176 Patriots Point Blvd., Mount Pleasant. Family-oriented event to benefit Windwood Farm features Santa, snow, live performances, the Grinch, Scrooge, shopping from local retailers, carolers, cocktails and more. Tickets: $5; free for kids age 12 and younger. More info: 971-2860.

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

(NEW) Job Search Workshop: 9 a.m. to noon Dec. 11, Center for Women, 129 Cannon St. Experienced job coaches will offer advice to women on resumes, cover letters, developing a job-hunting strategy, preparing for interviews and dealing with changes and transitions. Cost: $20. More info/registration.

Pat Conroy Book Signing: 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Dec. 12, Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St. Conroy will sign copies of his latest novel, "South of Broad". To secure a place in line, customers can get tickets for the signing starting Dec. 11. Tickets are free to customers who purchase a Pat Conroy hardback or have already purchased "South of Broad" from Blue Bicycle Books (please bring your receipt). For a full explanation of the guidelines for the signing or to order a signed copy, go here online or call 722-2666.


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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