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Issue 2.12 | Monday, Dec. 14, 2009 | Sanford not off hook yet.

THE ELF HIMSELF: Santa Claus was definitely the man of the hour at the Mount Pleasant Holiday Farmers Market last Saturday. The Jolly Old Elf, who hitched a ride to the market on a town fire truck, took time out of his busy schedule (making a list, checking it twice, etc.) to visit with kids and find out the latest items on their wish lists. (Photo by Ann Thrash)

:: Mission's Homes for Christmas


:: Sanford mess ain't yet over

:: Send us your thoughts

:: Eco-holiday tips

:: Sounds at the sea, kids' book, more


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

___:: REVIEW: Send us your reviews

___:: HISTORY: Christian-Jewish congress

___:: QUOTE: Lebowitz on phone calls

___:: 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


Mission's goal: Helping families get 'Homes for Christmas'
Director of program development, Rural Mission Inc.
Special to

DEC. 14, 2009 -- Some unexpected Christmas joy has come to two rural Sea Island families thanks to the compassion of several people who saw a compelling need and quickly responded. The families of Mrs. Henrietta Mack on Wadmalaw Island and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Smiley on Old Dixie Plantation Road near Hollywood are simply overwhelmed and appreciative beyond words.


Both families live in very old, dilapidated trailer homes that have little heat and, when it rains, leak badly from one end to the other. Floors, beds and furniture get wet, and they have endured this for some time. A visit inside these homes leaves lasting memories of the difficulties these families face every day. Despite what they don't have, they are very thankful for family and friends.

Early in 2009, the Rural Mission and its donors and volunteers responded to build them new homes. Hundreds of volunteers from many states have helped. The small, two-bedroom, 800-square-foot Mack home is nearly completed. The three-bedroom home for the Smileys has much interior work still to complete. The recession economy has slowed progress greatly, but it has not diminished the dream - Home for Christmas!

Three generous and caring individuals have joined with the Mission in pledging that these families will be in their new warm homes by Christmas or as soon afterwards as possible. The first to become aware of their desperate situations was Carol Etheridge of Charleston Place Hotel. She recruited Mickey Bakst of Charleston Grill and Burrow Hill of Hill Construction Co. Their enthusiasm has made us believe anything is possible! They are fully dedicated to this dream.

An old trailer

An additional $30,000 is required to complete both houses and have everything ready for these families to finally move into their safe and warm homes. Donations are coming in, but much more is needed. We are also seeking good used furniture and household items as well as good appliances. These donations are being accepted at a POD storage unit that has been donated for this use. The POD is located in front of Seacoast Community Christian Church at 2049 Savannah Highway. Please call the Rural Mission at 768-1720 for times of access to the POD.

To learn more about Homes for Christmas, please go to You can also follow the progress being made in completing these homes through articles in the Post and Courier. Donations can be made payable to Rural Mission, Inc. - Homes for Christmas. Mail them to Rural Mission, P.O. Box 235, Johns Island, SC, 29457. Donations can also be made online through Network for Good. All are tax deductible.

Our special request goes out to all area contractors. Burrow Hill of Hill Construction (814-9933) is asking contractors to get involved to complete the electrical, plumbing, Sheetrock, and heating and air-conditioning work for the Smiley home. Given the few days left before Christmas, their time and generosity are needed to make this dream come true. Anderson Mack Jr. of the Rural Mission can also assist with these inquiries. Thank you for helping these families!

Rural Mission Inc. is a nonprofit partner of

Sanford mess ain't over 'til it is over

By ANDY BRACK, publisher

DEC. 14, 2009 -- Anybody who thinks the potential impeachment of Gov. Mark Sanford is over isn’t recalling the words of Yogi Berra.


“It ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” Berra said in 1973 when the come-from-behind New York Mets nabbed the pennant on the final day of the baseball season.

For South Carolina, the state obsession with Sanford’s peccadilloes is far from over, despite some sloppy and misleading reporting by some news outlets. While Sanford certainly dodged a hurdle this week, consider:

Process. Last week, the House impeachment subcommittee voted 6-1 to not recommend impeachment to the full House Judiciary Committee. But just because a subcommittee says one thing, a full committee can say another. The full committee on Wednesday will take up whether to impeach the governor. It’s not often a full committee goes against the recommendation of a subcommittee, but it’s been known to happen. And whenever 25 politicians get in a room over a hot political issue where they’re on the hot seat, well, you can fill in the blank.

House floor. Even if the House Judiciary Committee doesn’t send an impeachment resolution to all 170 members of the House for consideration, something could happen on the floor during the 2010 session to bring the issue up for a vote. (It probably won’t happen, but could.)

S.C. Rep. James Smith, a Richland Democrat on the House subcommittee, voted against impeaching Sanford but said he believed the full House needed to settle the issue. “I’ve always felt this was not a decision for seven members of the House,” he said in a phone interview. “Impeachment is a constitutional prerogative of the full House.”

Ethics Commission. Last week in a statement, Sanford said the Judiciary subcommittee dismissed 32 of 37 ethics allegations against him. In the large scheme of things, that’s a little misleading because it makes it look like those charges are gone. In fact, the governor still faces action by the state Ethics Commission on all 37 violations of state ethics law. What the Judiciary subcommittee did had no impact on those allegations.

Attorney General. The jury still is out also whether Attorney General Henry McMaster will file criminal charges against the governor in relation to the civil ethics violations. While McMaster, a gubernatorial candidate, may have been waiting on the House before sticking his finger in the wind to determine what to do, there is the possibility that the Sanford saga could hit the criminal courts. (With the House moving forward on a censure resolution, this also isn’t likely.)

Rep. Greg Delleney, the Chester Republican who is pushing hard for Sanford’s impeachment, said he’s not giving up.

“I’m not quitting until it’s over,” he said. “As long as I have a breath, I’m going to proceed.” When asked why, he said, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

"Removal by address" is another -- albeit unlikely -- way that Gov. Mark Sanford could be removed from office.

On Wednesday, Delleney introduced a legal opinion into the record that another option existed for legislators who wanted to remove Sanford. It’s a little-known constitutional measure called “removal by address.” It probably has never been used.

According to the opinion by Rutgers University Professor G. Alan Tarr, who runs the Center for State Constitutional Studies, South Carolina is one of the few states that offers “removal by address.” Article XV, Section 3 of the state constitution allows the governor to remove “any executive or judicial officer” for “any willful neglect of duty, or other reasonable cause.” [Download Tarr's opinion]

As Tarr contemplates, it’s unlikely Sanford would remove himself. But if the House and Senate passed a non-impeachment resolution to suspend Sanford from office and replace him with a temporary governor, the temporary governor could, in fact, send Sanford packing through the “removal of address” option.

Yes, this complicated option is as likely as snow in July at Myrtle Beach, but to suggest the whole messy Sanford imbroglio is over just ain’t so.

More than likely Sanford will be around until January 2011 when a new governor takes office. Until then, lawmakers need to deal with Sanford’s embarrassment to the state quickly, start concentrating on South Carolina’s big problems and push the increasingly irrelevant Sanford aside.

Andy Brack is publisher of You can reach him by email here.

Send us your thoughts

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. This issue's featured nonprofit partner is 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, visit Rural Mission online. To talk to someone about giving your time or money to help, phone: 843.768-1720.

CSO, aquarium to offer 'Sounds at the Sea' for families

Two of Charleston's largest nonprofits - the South Carolina Aquarium and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra - are teaming up to present an educational event called Sounds at the Sea that will give families a chance to enjoy music amidst the tranquil setting of the aquarium.

Sounds at the Sea will be held from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 13 at the aquarium. Seven CSO ensembles will offer aquatic melodies at points throughout the aquarium. Attendees will be able to wander through the exhibits of the aquarium, interact with the musicians, learn more about the symphony and savor light hors d'oeuvres and nonalcoholic beverages.

"The symphony is more focused than ever on serving the community through our educational outreach programs," said CSO Interim Executive Director Kathleen Wilson. "This partnership with such a professional organization, the South Carolina Aquarium, is critical to our ability to strengthen our outreach to ensure the entire community has the opportunity to experience the joy of music. We are getting more and more creative in partnering with local organizations to benefit the entire community."

Aquarium President and CEO Kevin Mills said, "We are proud to partner with the symphony to provide our community with a fun and unforgettable evening of musical performance and wildlife education. With Sounds at the Sea, children and adults alike will be able to see wildlife up close and hear the symphony's remarkable interpretations of our amazing animals."

Tickets are $10 for aquarium and CSO members and $20 for nonmembers. To purchase tickets, call 577-FISH (3474) or go to or

Trident Literacy seeking volunteers to help in offices

Trident Literacy Association is seeking volunteers to assist with office work starting Jan. 4. Because of budget cuts, the agency is losing its college interns at all six office locations after the holidays. The sites need help greeting students, handling paperwork and answering telephones. Computer knowledge is helpful but not required.

Volunteers who can donate a few hours once or more a week are asked to contact Mary Ann Olwig ( or 747-2223) before Dec. 18 or after Jan. 4.

Summerville author Davis releases new children's book

Summerville resident Cindy Davis's new children's book, "Sammy's Great Adventures," was recently published by Tate Publishing and Enterprises. The book is a collection of stories that focus on Sammy, Tiffy and their friends as they explore the mysteries of elementary school. Led by Sammy's imagination, the crew learns some fast-paced lessons about life.

A certified preschool teacher and Sunday school teacher, Davis is involved with her church and several local ministries and organizations.

The book is available through bookstores nationwide, from the publisher at, or through online sites. Each copy contains a code redeemable for a free audio version from

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.

Christian-Jewish Congress of South Carolina

The Christian-Jewish Congress of South Carolina was formed in 1976 as the state's first organization to foster dialogue and cooperation between Christians and Jews. It emerged out of conversations between the South Carolina Christian Action Council and the Jewish Welfare Federations in Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville.

The organization's motto was "conversation, not conversion," and its objectives focused on education and cooperation. It sought to correct misunderstandings between the faith communities, especially forms of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism that occasionally surfaced in communities across the state. Chapters were established in Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville and met for regular meetings in living rooms or houses of worship. An annual meeting was held in Columbia from 1976 to 1988. Prominent national speakers addressed topics such as the plight of Soviet Jewry, prospects for peace in the Middle East, prayer in the public schools, and black-Jewish relations. The organization was instrumental in co-hosting the Eleventh National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations, held in Charleston in March 1989. One of the major sessions of the national meeting included a Muslim leader, anticipating the more inclusive interfaith dialogues formed in the years following.

After the demise of the statewide organization in the late 1980s, local Jewish-Christian dialogue groups continued to meet in Charleston, Columbia, and other communities. During the 1990s leaders of interfaith dialogue established more inclusive dialogue groups to reflect the growing religious diversity of South Carolina.

- Excerpted from the entry by Carl D. Evans. 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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Holiday green

'Tis the season for creating more trash than usual, thanks to holiday get-togethers, gift wrapping and all those packages, boxes and bags.


Theresa Martin, a marketing specialist for Charleston County's Environmental Management Department, says there are lots of opportunities to be environmentally friendly this time of year. Here are five of her top tips:

  • Give your gifts in reusable bags instead of using wrapping paper. Wrapping paper is not recyclable, while most bags can be reused (particularly for holiday shopping).

  • If you have a real Christmas tree, compost it after the holidays. Bring it to the Bees Ferry Landfill (1344 Bees Ferry Road, West Ashley) between Jan. 2 and Jan. 9 and you'll get a free bag of compost in return for your tree. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

  • Many people give electronics, such as TVs and computers, as gifts over the holidays. If you are replacing old equipment, remember that you can recycle used electronics with Charleston County Recycling.

  • Recycle all cardboard boxes at one of the more than 30 Charleston County Recycling cardboard drop sites.

  • Make a New Year's resolution to compost and recycle everything you can.

On phone calls

"Remember that as a teenager, you are at the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you."

-- Fran Lebowitz, American humorist (1950 - )


Third Thursday: Until 9 p.m. Dec. 17, downtown Summerville. Downtown stores will be open late for holiday shopping, and carolers and other musical entertainment will be featured along with refreshments. Sponsored by the Merchants of Summerville and Summerville D.R.E.A.M. More info: 821-7260 or online.

(NEW) Grand Illumination: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 18, Middleton Place. A new holiday event, the Grand Illumination at Middleton will give visitors a chance to experience the plantation by torchlight, candlelight and starlight. Costumed interpreters will lead tours designed to transport visitors back to Christmas 1782, a joyous holiday season in Charleston because the British had just evacuated Charleston at the end of the Revolutionary War in the South. Guests can walk garden paths, see the house decorated for the holidays, and enjoy music, fires and seasonal refreshments on the Greensward. Tickets: $15 adults; $5 ages 7-15; free for ages 6 and under. Buy online at least 24 hours in advance. Tickets bought at the gate on the night of the event are $20 adults, $5 children.

(NEW) "Unsilent Night": 5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. Dec. 19, downtown Charleston. "Boom-box" holiday caroling starts at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park, 34 Prioleau St., and ends in Marion Square at King and Calhoun streets. No cost to participate. More info online.

"Messiah" Sing-A-Long: 6 p.m. Dec. 20, Citadel Square Baptist Church, 328 Meeting St., downtown. Sing along with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra as the musicians perform all the favorite "Messiah" songs. Admission: $15 adults; $5 children. More info: 723-7528 or visit online.


(NEW) "A Child's Christmas In Wales": 7 p.m. Dec. 22 and Dec. 23, Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., downtown. A dramatic performance of Dylan Thomas' beloved 1950 radio story about an old-fashioned, picture-book Christmas. Clarence Felder of the Actors' Theatre of South Carolina portrays the author and is accompanied by a trio of chamber musicians on flute, cello and violin. Recommended for ages 10 years and above. Tickets: $17. More info: 763-4941 or visit online.

(NEW) "The Night Before Christmas": 1 p.m. Dec. 23, Circular Congregational Church, 150 Meeting St., downtown. A trio of musicians will perform well-loved Christmas songs as actors bring favorite Christmas stories to life. Actors Chris Weatherhead and Michael Easler from the Actors' Theatre of South Carolina join Chamber Music Charleston flutist Regina Helcher Yost, clarinetist Charlie Messersmith and bassoonist Sandra Nikolajevs for the family-oriented concert. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children 3 and above; free for kids under 3. More info: 763-4941, by e-mail or visit online.

Happy New Year, Charleston: 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Dec. 31, Marion Square and surrounding locales, downtown. A family-oriented, alcohol-free event with concerts and activities to mark the beginning of the new year in the Lowcountry. More info online or at 724-7305.


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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