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Issue 2.13 | Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009 | Visit for gift ideas.

SONGS OF THE SEASON: The Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church Children's Choir serenades a holiday crowd on Saturday outside the Gibbes Museum of Art as part of the Junior League of Charleston's Community Day. More than 385 people took advantage of free admission to the Gibbes, along with holiday-themed arts activities such as making gift bags and door banners. (Photo by Rebecca Williams)

:: Picking up pledges for Polar Plunge


:: New cookbook and CD for holiday

:: Send us your thoughts

:: Four from Festival of Lights

:: Food drive, Whistler, new parks


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

___:: REVIEW: Send us your reviews

___:: HISTORY: Pines

___:: QUOTE: Kelly on attention

___:: 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


Polar Plunge p-p-participants now picking up p-p-p-pledges
Running coach, Special Olympics South Carolina
Special to

DEC. 17, 2009 -- Partygoers, daredevils, big-money donors and surfers: This New Year's Day, consider making a little splash for a big cause. Join Dunleavy's Pub of Sullivan's Island and Special Olympics South Carolina for heartwarming and bone-chilling extremes during the annual Polar Plunge on Jan. 1, 2010. With hundreds of your oldest (and newest) friends, lend a flipper, flaying arm or shivering hand and help raise money for Special Olympics South Carolina by plunging into the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean.


Keeping it simple, participation for the event is free, but prior to the event we coaches and athletes are asking that swimmers collect "plunging pledges" and donations in honor of Special Olympics. All of the money raised prior to and during the event will benefit South Carolina Special Olympics athletes in their everyday practices and in regional, state, national and world games. A large portion of the proceeds will directly benefit the upcoming Special Olympics Mid-Winter State Games, which will occur March 5-March 7 at The Citadel.

As a Special Olympics coach, I urge you to consider warming your hearts with this cold adventure. Your generosity enables people with intellectual disabilities in South Carolina to experience the power of sports. In doing so, you are helping change society's perceptions and treatment of people with intellectual disabilities - and creating a better world for us all.

Here are a few simple ways to support Special Olympics during the Polar Plunge:

  • Sign up to participate in the Polar Plunge. Collect those pledges from friends, family members and co-workers, and then bring them to the Plunge.

  • If you're more of an Internet junkie, use the Special Olympics First Giving Web site to collect contributions through e-mail and Facebook.
    " Rather bring your dollars straight to the Plunge? That's good, too. Look for a Special Olympics athlete with a bucket and drop in your donation. All the rest of the details can be found online at Dunleavy's Pub.

  • Event goers and participants, suit up. Consider freezin' for a reason and join in with costume-clad jumpers with outfits from body paint to wedding dresses. It's an energetic New Year's Day celebration that will warm your hearts for Special Olympics.

In addition to serving as a running coach for Special Olympics South Carolina, Elizabeth Bender is the marketing and public relations coordinator for the South Carolina Aquarium.

Last-minute and local: Add cookbook, CD to your shopping list

By ANN THRASH, editor

DEC. 17, 2009 -- Finished all your shopping for the holidays? Neither have we, and the clock is ticking. Here are two last-minute, Lowcountry-oriented ideas that might help you close out your list.


New Charleston Cookbook: Charleston has needed a cookbook devoted to its great restaurants for a long time, and now we've got one - and it's a winner. Holly Herrick's new book, "The Charleston Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the Heart of the Old South" (Three Forks Press, $24.95), has just hit local shelves in the past few weeks, and it would be a great gift for any cook or food lover on your list.

The book has approximately 70 recipes, a nice variety ranging from readily approachable to more challenging, and the restaurants run the gamut - some down-home, some high-end, some old standbys and some new favorites. Already on my list of dishes to try are Anson's Grits with Shrimp and Braised Bacon, Bowen's Island's Frogmore Stew, the Glass Onion's Roasted Chicken Salad, Alluette's Lima Bean Soup, Slightly North of Broad's Grilled Maverick Beef Tenderloin with Deviled Crab Cake, and the hot dogs and blue cheese slaw from Jack's Cosmic Dogs.

The recipes are enticing, and the photographs and local-history notes round the book out into a pretty package that would be perfectly at home on the coffee table if you didn't need it in the kitchen. But what appeals to me most is that this is more than just a recipe book. It's a book about the city, its flavors and how blessed we all are to be able to live and eat here.

Herrick will be signing books from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 19 at Whole Foods in Mount Pleasant. You can find out about other upcoming signings at via Facebook or contact the author at

The 3 Dudes: Now this is the kind of boy band that everybody can love - especially grownups. The 3 Dudes are a Sullivan's-Island-based trio that recorded a CD called "All in a Day," to help raise money for their school, Charleston Collegiate. My friend Meredith Nelson gave me a copy of the CD, and although it's short - with just four songs - it's pretty rockin' stuff. The dudes are three brothers - 10-year-old Sam Ploch and 8-year-old twins Jack and Roger Ploch. They sing about things every kid that age can relate to, such as the ongoing battle with parents over what the boys call "Screentime" - the amount of time they're allowed to watch TV or be on the computer.

The group has played at a couple of events around town, including a recent oyster-roast fundraiser for Charleston Collegiate and "Art from the Heart," an event that the band helped organize to raise money for a local businessman who was battling cancer. The event brought in more than $5,000.

The 3 Dudes not only make great music, but also offer a living, breathing example of how all of us - even those who seem pretty young - can make a difference and change their community for the better. If you want to get a CD, it's $10 online from the band's Web site or you can buy it at either the West Ashley or Mount Pleasant Wonder Works stores.

If you want to check them out in person, they'll be performing at 7 p.m. Dec. 22 for Family Night at the Windjammer on the Isle of Palms.

Ann Thrash is editor of You can reach her 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.


The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Horne/Guest, a local employee benefits consulting firm that's home to Charleston's best workforce engineers. Horne/Guest is poised to fill this demand by offering greater flexibility, service and expertise. Innovative employee benefit plan design ideas, state-of-the-art employee benefit plan communication techniques and up-to-date compliance information is what makes us unique. Horne/Guest is sensitive to every opportunity in which we can help our clients improve their employee benefit plans. To learn more about Horne/Guest and its Applied Wisdom Advantage™ , visit the company online at:

C of C students collect 7,852 cans of food for local families

The College of Charleston's AXE Gamma Delta Fraternity collected 7,852 cans of food earlier this month for Tri-County Family Ministries in North Charleston. The total is more than trip the 2,500 cans collected in a similar drive last year.

The cans were collected during a two-week competition between biology and chemistry classes at the college. Twenty-five professors and classes took part. AXE is a professional organization for chemistry students.

Get a peek at new county parks at Edisto, McClellanville

The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission is planning preview tours of two new county park sites in the coming weeks. On Jan. 16, a PRC naturalist and a historic specialist will lead a tour of Two Pines, an 812-acre site near McClellanville that the PRC describes as covered with pine flatlands and bottomland hardwoods. On Feb. 13, guests can tour Prospect Hill, a forested, 476-acre former Sea Island cotton plantation at Edisto.

Both tours run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and are open to ages 12 and up; a registered, paid chaperone is required for participants younger than 15. The cost per tour is $12 for Charleston County residents or $15 for nonresidents. For more information, go to or call 795-4FUN (4386).

Chamber honored as one of America's "Well Workplaces"

The Wellness Council of America has bestowed a "Well Workplace" Award on the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce for its commitment to providing a healthy workplace. Only 59 U.S. companies earned the award this year. The chamber won in the small-business category.

The chamber was saluted for developing a program that not only benefits those staff members who are currently proactive about wellness, but also encourage those who aren't currently active to get on the right track. The wellness plan includes reimbursement for gym memberships, fitness classes and weight management programs.

The chamber offers time off for fitness and has recently added a work/life balance option with a flexible work plan. "In our effort to promote wellness in the region, the Chamber has made aware for the business community and Chamber members the many resources available and helped them recognize that an investment in promoting wellness within their own business can result in a rewarding return on investment," said Charles Van Rysselberge, president and CEO, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce. "Simple changes can help reduce healthcare costs and the overall productivity of the employees."

Art museum to feature works by Whistler beginning in January

Works by renowned American artist James McNeill Whistler will be featured at the Gibbes Museum of Art beginning in January. The exhibition "Whistler's Travels" will be in the spotlight in the museum's Rotunda Galleries from Jan. 22 through May16. It features 21 etchings and three lithographs from the Gibbes' permanent collection and a local private collection. The etchings and lithographs were executed during Whistler's excursions to the English countryside, France, Holland and Italy.

In the summer of 1858, three years after Whistler arrived in Paris to pursue a profession in the arts, he embarked upon a walking tour of France and Germany. Armed with sketch materials and copper plates, Whistler created detailed drawings of the architecture and inhabitants of the small towns he encountered. Many of the works Whistler produced during this journey were published later that year in his first set of etchings, "Twelve Etchings from Nature," often referred to as "the French Set." This successful foray into the graphic arts was the start of a lifelong devotion to the print medium, and the artist went on to establish himself as one of the world's finest etchers.

For more information on the exhibit, go here online or call 722-2706, ext. 18.

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.


Nine native pine species are found within South Carolina. Three species are restricted to the upper Piedmont and mountain regions, three are found nearly throughout the state, and three are found primarily within the coastal plain.

A longleaf pine forest in Georgetown County.

Pines are extremely important economically and ecologically within South Carolina. More than 5,750,000 acres of state forestland contain pine as important or dominant cover. Pines form the basis of the timber industry in South Carolina and make up the number-one cash crop in the state with approximately $900 million in receipts annually and employing more than 35,000 people.

South Carolina pines can be divided into two general groups, white pines and yellow pines. Yellow pines have needles in groups of two or three, while white pines have needles in groups of five. The only member of the white pine group found within South Carolina is the eastern white pine (Pinus strobus). It is restricted to the mountains and upper Piedmont but is planted as an ornamental throughout much of the state.


Last week, the National Wildlife Federation released an interesting and important study on how longleaf pine forests help reduce global warming. Take a look.

Among the yellow pines, the loblolly is the most abundant. This species, along with the similar slash pine (Pinus elliottii), is preferred for use on pine plantations. More than 4 million acres of forest in the state are classified as loblolly pine forest, while 2.4 million acres are in loblolly pine plantation. The loblolly pine was historically found in the lower Piedmont and coastal plain but has spread throughout the state through timber planting. Slash pine is native to the southern portions of the coastal plain but is planted throughout the coastal regions.

Historically, the most abundant species in the coastal plain region was the longleaf pine (Pinus palustris). This species is well known for its extremely long needles and large cones. It requires low-intensity ground fires to persist and has declined dramatically over the last century due to fire suppression and conversion of longleaf pine forest into loblolly pine plantations and agricultural fields. Longleaf pine is a keystone species in the longleaf pine savannas and flat woods that are home to some of the state's most unusual and endangered plant and animal species.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Patrick McMillan. 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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We'll be changing our usual Monday-Thursday publication schedule for the next two weeks because of the holidays. We'll publish one issue on Wednesday of each week, on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30. We'll resume our usual schedule again on Jan. 4.

Four for fun at Festival of Lights

The Holiday Festival of Lights at James Island County Park has been celebrating 20 years of magic this year with a series of special nightly events that began on Dec. 1. Here's a list of the remaining four activities, all of which are free with your usual park admission. While these extra perks end on Dec. 20, never fear - you can still catch the sensational regular light show nightly through Jan. 3.

  • Dec. 17: Grab a chair, a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate to watch the holiday favorite "Polar Express." Show times are 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Winter Wonderland.

  • Dec. 18: Hear the Lowcountry Power Brass toot their own horns from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

  • Dec. 19: The Hungry Monks will play their brand of Renaissance, Medieval, folk, Celtic, jazz, bluegrass and rock from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the park.

  • Dec. 20: Join Mrs. Claus in Santa's Village as she tells Christmas stories from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

On focusing attention

"The only factor becoming scarce in a world of abundance is human attention."

-- Kevin Kelly, editor-at-large, Wired magazine (1952-)


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.

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.

"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.

(NEW) Christmas Parade: 2 p.m. Dec. 20, downtown Summerville. The town's annual Christmas parade was originally scheduled for Dec. 13 but was postponed because of rain. Sponsored by Summerville D.R.E.A.M. and the Summerville Fire Department. More info: 821-7260 or

"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.


"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.

"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.

(NEW) Sounds at the Sea: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 13, South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the aquarium are teaming up to offer aquatic-themed performances throughout the aquarium. Attendees can wander through the exhibits, interact with the musicians, and sample light hors d'oeuvres and nonalcoholic beverages. Tickets: $10 for aquarium and CSO members; $20 for nonmembers. Call 577-FISH (3474) or go to or


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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