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Issue 2.17 | Thursday, Jan. 7, 2010 | Forward us to a friend

Oysters and cold weather go together hand in (oyster) glove, and you can count on plenty of both for Saturday's annual Charleston Museum oyster roast at the Dill Sanctuary on James Island. In addition to oysters and barbecue, the festivities include a nature walk, live bluegrass and time to explore the wildlife habitats at the sanctuary. See today's calendar for details and ticket info. (Photo provided by Charleston Museum)

:: Chamber's legislative agenda


:: "Henry Perry," new books

:: Seeing The Pig, feeling at home

:: New at SEWE

:: Restaurant week, Market rehab, Lure

:: New feature on business debuts


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Send us a review
___:: HISTORY: Marine Hospital Charleston
___:: QUOTE: Thoreau on wealth
___:: 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


Chamber's legislative agenda: Community needs and beyond
Senior vice president of public policy/regional advancement
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Special to

JAN. 7, 2010 -- As the voice of business, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce works on behalf of our members and the local business community to advocate policies and legislation that help businesses grow and our community prosper.


The issues in our 2010 Legislative Agenda are based on surveys and input from chamber members, including our annual survey of the membership and the work and recommendation of various volunteer committees.

While the Legislative Agenda is developed each year so that it is released prior to the S.C. General Assembly session in Columbia, this year's agenda also has a big focus on federal issues as well, including:

  • Health care reform
  • Expansion of international trade and commerce
  • Funding for two new facilities on Charleston Air Force Base (new to this year's federal agenda)
  • Cap and trade
  • Greenhouse gas emission regulations and other quality regulations
  • Employee Free Choice Act

On the state agenda, new issues of focus include:

  • Urging legislators to further study harbor and channel deepening needs and costs before moving forward with the joint Georgia/South Carolina port in Jasper County
  • Funding for an S.C. Department of Transportation study for high-speed rail along the coast
  • Giving higher education institutions that receive state funding more flexibility in spending
  • Changes to the regulations on dissolved oxygen levels which impact water and sewer providers in the region
  • Continued push for comprehensive tax reform

Once again on the state agenda are issues such as funding of 4K public education, increasing the state's cigarette tax and changing the formula used for funding public education.

Meet your lawmakers

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Legislative Reception at the South Carolina Aquarium from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 14. The chamber will present its Legislative Agenda for 2010 and make a special presentation to the lawmakers who helped secure the Boeing expansion. The event also offers Lowcountry residents a chance for informal networking with local town council members, mayors, state legislators and federal lawmakers. Tickets are $45 for chamber members, $65 for nonmembers. To register, visit this page online.

Locally, one of the chamber's key initiatives in 2010 is to push for adoption of the chamber's Sustainable Growth Ethic. The Growth Ethic has been adopted by the chamber board of directors and also endorsed by the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors and the S.C. Coastal Conservation League. The Sustainable Growth Ethic is based upon the principals of choice, balance and stewardship, and that growth of the region is needed but also needs to be managed in order to balance growth with quality of life.

How the agenda is established: In May 2009, the chamber board of directors took all the research and information gathered from member surveys and set the priorities for the chamber through the development of the annual Program of Work. Based upon a four-year Strategic Plan, the Program of Work outlines the focus of the chamber's programs for the coming 12 months. By identifying the key issues of the membership and reviewing the overall strategic goals, the board helps the Public Policy Committee of the chamber begin focusing on issues.

In late summer the Public Policy Committee began its work for the new program year, often with briefings on various issues followed by discussion as to which issues to add to the annual agenda. The committee is composed of representatives of various committees, task forces and sectors of the chamber's membership in an effort to ensure all types, sizes and business interests are involved in the public policy process.

The chamber's board of directors adopted the agenda in November, empowering the Public Policy Committee and chamber staff to communicate these priority issues to local, state and federal officials.

For a copy of the chamber's Legislative Agenda, visit


'Henry Perry Gets a Job,' and more, in new books
By ANN THRASH, editor

JAN. 7, 2010 -- The last time you interviewed for a job or spoke to a potential customer about your business, chances are you didn't give much thought to what your handshake was like. You knew to take a shower that day. And you knew what to wear - if there was any indecision, it probably concerned a detail like which necktie or earrings would look best.


But for many of the people Betsy Wolff knows, nothing about a job interview can be taken for granted. They're the people who inspired her to write a series of books for adults who are struggling with literacy but working hard to get their lives together - and Wolff says they offered her some job-hunting advice that she never would have thought to include.

Wolff, who lives in Columbia, recently established Readable & Relevant Press to publish a series of short (about 60-page) books with entertaining stories designed to appeal to adults reading at a fourth- or fifth-grade while also offering them news they can use in a practical way. The first book, "Henry Perry Gets a Job," looks at how the title character prepares for and lands his first job.

After more than 25 years providing counseling on health and social-service resources in rural parts of the state, Wolff saw an unmet need for practical, inspiring books that really speak to adults who are struggling to get their feet on the ground - not only with their reading skills, but with their life skills. The men she has worked with over the years, particularly a group she's counseled recently in Columbia, are the inspiration behind the stories.


"I've worked as a counselor for three or four years with a program run by the Sisters of Charity in Columbia for men in their 20s and 30s who are trying to get their lives in order and get a job so they can meet their parenting responsibilities and pay child support," she says. "They needed real basic information about getting a job, like how to dress for an interview, how to shake hands, and how to look people in the eye."

To be sure she was on the right track with Henry Perry, Wolff took the manuscript right to the source. "I took copies to four men who were in an adult literacy program working with a tutor. They all work for the city of Columbia and are reading on a fourth- or fifth-grade level," she said. The men read the book, then Wolff asked them what they thought.

"They all said, 'You've got to put in there about the ballcaps. You have to say that' " - meaning that the men thought readers like themselves needed to know that they shouldn't wear a baseball cap indoors or during an interview. "And you've got to talk about the saggy-baggy pants," the men said - so "Henry Perry Gets a Job" spells it out: "Do not let your pants sag. Wear a belt and your best shoes. Do not wear a hat inside."

The resource section in the back of the book adds job-hunting advice for women, including, "Avoid very high heels that look like party shoes," and "Take Henry Perry's underwear advice - never let your underwear show."

To learn more

Books from Readable & Relevant Press are available through the company's Web site or by calling publisher and writer Betsy Wolff at 803-782-0238. Books are available in both English and Spanish, and most have accompanying CDs and teacher resource materials. The books are suitable for use with middle-school ages and older, as well as for English as a Second Language students, Wolff says.

"Henry Perry Gets a Job" is just the first book in the series. Henry and his dog, Buddy, will be recurring characters. Upcoming titles include "The Devil in Henry Perry's Cousin," which focuses on addiction and its affects on families, and another job-related book that offers advice on how to communicate in the workplace. "That's a real Achilles' heel," Wolff says, "for people who haven't held a job before."

Wolff speaks passionately about her work, noting that during her career, she has seen one too many hastily Xeroxed flyers offering impersonal, one-size-fits-all advice to the Henry Perrys she has known.

The unspoken message for all those Henrys, perhaps, has been that they aren't worth much more than the copy paper that advice was printed on.

"What I tried to do was put together a book that looked like someone went to some trouble to do something that was culturally relevant to these readers, something that was entertaining and that they could learn from," she says. "I wanted it to be something that, at the end, they might say, 'Wow, I just read a book! I think I might want to read another.' "

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


When you see the Pig, you know you're home

To the editor:

Thanks for the interesting article about Piggly Wiggly. The beginning of the article sounded as if my husband and I wrote it. We make the same statement: When we see the Piggly Wiggly distribution center on I-26, we know we are on the last leg of our trip, wherever it was. Thanks for sharing.

-- Diane M. Beck, John's Island

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.


Charleston Green Commercial

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents to you at no cost. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on Charleston Green Commercial, a full-service commercial property management company that pays attention to detail, provides exceptional personal service and is committed to adding value to buildings. Offering professional property management, consulting and other services, the company strives to improve clients' bottom lines with superior service, accessibility, reliability and a wealth of knowledge of the Charleston real estate market. By blending use of proven contractors and contacts with environmentally-conscious practices, the company helps clients stay on the leading edge of commercial real estate practices. More.


pecial menus part of Restaurant Week Jan. 11-17

More than 30 local restaurants are taking part in South Carolina's first statewide Restaurant Week, being sponsored from Jan. 11 through Jan. 17 by the Hospitality Association of South Carolina.

The association says it's taking a page from the playbook of New York's successful Restaurant Week to promote local dining and the culinary community. Restaurant-goers will have a chance to sample special discounted dinner menus at participating establishments. Tickets aren't required, but reservations are advised.

For details and a list of participating restaurants, visit

City Market to be open as usual during renovations

The two-phase restoration of Charleston's City Market is officially under way, with Monday marking the first day of efforts to refresh and improve the historic site. The market will be open for business as usual during the work, city officials say.

Phase 1 of the project includes the restoration of the open sheds (known as Buildings A, B and C) between Church and East Bay streets. Work on Buildings A and B, which are between Church and State streets, is expected to take about two months to complete. Vendors who usually set up shop there have been relocated to Building C and the open-air section of Market Hall at Meeting Street.

When Buildings A and B are completed, merchants will move back and Building C's restoration will begin. Its merchants will be moved to the renovated buildings and to tents set up on South Market Street, which will be closed between Church and State during construction. The renovations to Building C will also take about two months to complete. Reopening is scheduled for early May.

The restoration consists of brick repointing, roof repair and replacement, upgrade of the floors, security cameras, the addition of new restrooms, improved lighting and air circulation, and other improvements. Phase 2, scheduled for later this year, will involve renovations to the enclosed shops in Market Hall (the building between Meeting and Church streets).

City Market Preservation Trust took over the management of the City Market on October 1, 2008. "We have confidence that Hightower Construction Company is uniquely qualified to give the City Market the facelift that it so desperately needs," says Hank Holliday, the trust's principal. "We expect sales to increase as a result of the renovation improvements and our hope is to draw Charlestonians back to the Market and restore a sense of community."

The City Market was established in 1804 as a public market on land donated by the Pinckney family. It is one of the oldest public markets in the country. The existing buildings were built in 1841 and now occupy over 40,000 square feet of covered space, not including the Confederate Museum on the second floor of the Market Hall building. There are 265 active vendors on the City Market tenant list, including 17 enclosed shops, 165 permanent vendors and 86 temporary vendors.

'Lure of the Lowcountry' opens this month at Gibbes

"Lure of the Lowcountry," a new exhibition featuring 16 large-scale mixed-media photographs by artist John Folsom, will open Jan. 22 in the Main Gallery at the Gibbes Museum of Art. The photographs are from a series shot by Folsom around the region, including Palmetto Bluff, Edisto Island, and Georgia's Cumberland Island. To explore the art-historical precedents of Folsom's work, the exhibition will pair his photographs with 14 early Lowcountry landscapes from the Gibbes collection, including late-18th- and early-19th-century paintings by Thomas Coram and Charles Fraser.

Folsom's process begins with a photographic image that is divided into a grid and printed on separate panels. The panels are then attached to a large wooden panel to create a unified image. However, the grid lines remain visible as a reminder that the image is a construction of the artist's making, not an objective representation of nature. Folsom pushes this idea further by working the surface of the image with oil paint and sealing it with a wax medium. The technique gives the surface of Folsom's work a rich patina that suggests the layers of history accumulated in the Lowcountry landscape.

"The Lowcountry has always captivated the imagination of artists who have visited her salt marshes and majestic oaks," says Angela D. Mack, executive director of the Gibbes. "We are delighted to share these images of early landscape painters alongside John Folsom's contemporary mixed-media landscapes. The juxtaposition of these objects reinforces our understanding of the creative process."

"Lure of the Lowcountry" will be on exhibit through April 18. Go to for more information.


Library now offers free text questions
By PETER LUCASH, contributing editor

EDITOR'S NOTE: Today we begin a new business-oriented column by local consultant Peter Lucash. Every two weeks, he'll offer interesting local and regional tidbits of information that may be helpful to the Charleston business community.


JAN. 7, 2009 -- The Charleston County Public Library has announced that you can use SMS messaging to ask a librarian a question: simply text 66746 and begin your question with askccpl.

Librarians will be available whenever the Main Library is open and the Library does not charge for the service. Of course, you can still call them at 843-805-6930, email or Instant Message the library through its Web site. It's your call.

Life Science Boot Camp coming Jan. 20 to MUSC

For entrepreneurs in the life science areas: "What does it take to commercialize a technology?"

This half-day program will focus on what is necessary to take your new technology to the pharmaceutical, bio-tech and medical device industries. Learn about the licensing process, patent protection, company formation and, most importantly, how to get the funding you'll need.

The Nelson Mullins law firm put this event together. It will be held at MUSC on Jan. 20, 2010. The best part? No charge. To register, contact Mary Dickerson at the Chamber at 843.805.3089 or email her at here. (More: See flyer; there's no info on the time and place on the program other than directions to contact the Chamber.)

Peter Lucash is a Charleston-based businessman who runs Digital CPE, a training, consulting and information media company that works to improve the business management of organizations. You can read and subscribe to the full edition of the Business Indigo blog here.


end us your critique

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.


Marine Hospital Charleston

An act in 1749 to provide a "public hospital for all sick sailors and other transient persons" began the organized care that led to the joint effort by the city of Charleston and the federal government to build the Marine Hospital. In 1830 Congress finally appropriated funds to hire the architect Robert Mills to design a hospital building. After various changes in the proposed location and construction, building began on the Marine Hospital about 1831 and was completed in 1833. The city began its operation in 1834, using federal funds for maintenance.

Charleston's earliest Gothic-revival-style building, the hospital on Franklin Street faced west, with double piazzas for the use of the patients. There were eight wards: three on the first floor for surgical cases and five on the second floor, one for venereal cases and four for medical cases.

At the outbreak of the Civil War the hospital was placed under the direction of the surgeon Alexander N. Talley, medical director of the Confederate forces in South Carolina, but sick seamen still retained the privilege of admission. After a short time the direction of the hospital returned to the municipal authorities, who operated it until the end of the war. Damage from the Union bombardment was so extensive that federal authorities decided the building should be abandoned as a hospital.

From 1866 to 1870 a free school for black children was conducted in the building by the Episcopal Church, staffed by fifteen white Charleston women. In 1895 the Marine Hospital building was occupied by the Jenkins Orphanage, founded for black children in 1891 by the Reverend Daniel J. Jenkins, a black Baptist minister. In 1939 the Housing Authority of Charleston remodeled it as its administrative offices. The two rear wings, weakened by fires, were demolished during the renovation.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Jane McCutcheon Brown. 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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New at SEWE

The Southeastern Wildlife Expo will be back in town before we know it (Feb. 12-Feb. 14, to be exact), and there are several new events this year, according to marketing director Ashley Slane. Here's a quick look at the latest additions to the event calendar. Unless otherwise noted, tickets should be ordered in advance online or the SEWE office at 723-1748.

  • Gourmet Wild Game Dinner: 7:30 p.m. Feb. 10, Halls Chophouse, 434 King St., downtown. Five-course dinner with wine pairings. $115.

  • An Evening with Jack Hanna: 7 p.m. Feb. 12, South Carolina Aquarium, 100 Aquarium Wharf, downtown. Spend an evening with animal expert and SEWE favorite Jack Hanna. Guests will be able to meet Hanna, enjoy hors d'oeuvres and cocktails, and hear stories about his animal adventures around the world. $85 per person ($75 for aquarium members, who can order by calling 723-1748 and giving their member number).

  • Birds of Prey Brunch: 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 13, Francis Marion Hotel. Jim Elliott, executive director of the Center for Birds of Prey, will show off some of his feathered friends. Hearty buffet-style brunch includes coffee, tea, juice, and bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys. $42 per person; tickets may also be purchased at the door.

  • Cooking Classes: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 12, Feb. 13 and Feb. 14, Charleston Cooks, East Bay St. Prepare fish and wild game in fun, hands-on cooking classes, then enjoy the food prepared in class along with a glass of wine. $75 per person.

On true wealth

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone."

-- Henry David Thoreau, American author (1817-1862)


Museum Oyster Roast: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 9, Dill Sanctuary, James Island. The Charleston Museum will mark its 237th birthday with its annual oyster roast and nature walk. Enjoy oysters along the banks of the Stono River, a natural walk led by local naturalist Billy McCord (walk starts at 3 p.m.), bluegrass music by Blue Plantation, and the sights of the sanctuary, including a variety of wildlife habitats, four earthen Confederate batteries, a six-acre pond with three nesting islands, and prehistoric, colonial, antebellum and postbellum archeological sites. Tickets (which include oysters, barbecue, fixings and full bar) are $25 for museum members, $35 for nonmembers. Advance tickets (recommended): 722-2996 or online here.

"Spiritual Journey": 3 p.m. Jan. 10, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St., downtown. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble and the Gibbes Museum will present "A Lowcountry Spiritual Journey II" in the Gibbes Rotunda. Performance will coincide with the conclusion of the exhibition "Daufuskie Island: Photographs by Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe," wife of tennis legend Arthur Ashe. Tickets: $7 museum members and students; $15 non-members. Buy online or by calling 722-2706, ext. 18. Advance purchase advised.


(NEW) Small-Business/Nonprofit Lunch: 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Jan. 12, Charleston County Main Library, 68 Calhoun St., downtown. Casual networking lunch for small businesses and nonprofits. Business librarian Amanda Holling will share tips and advice for making the most of one of a business' smallest assets: the business card. Participants are asked to bring a bag lunch. More info: 805-6930.

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

Legislative Reception: 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 14, South Carolina Aquarium. The Charleston Metro Chamber will host the reception to provide the community a chance for informal networking with local town councils, mayors, state legislators and federal legislators. Leaders who helped secure the Boeing facility will offer special presentations. Cost: $54 for chamber members, $65 nonmembers. More.

New Park Tour: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 16, Two Pines Park near McClellanville. A Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission naturalist and historic specialist will lead a preview tour of the new Two Pines county park site, an 812-acre covered with pine flatlands and bottomland hardwoods. Open to ages 12 and up; a registered, paid chaperone is required for participants younger than 15. Cost: $12 Charleston County residents, $15 nonresidents. More info/registration or 795-4FUN (4386).

(NEW)"Beautiful Creatures" Signing: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 21, Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St. Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, authors of the young-adult novel "Beautiful Creatures," which is set near Summerville, will sign books. "Beautiful Creatures" opened at No. 3 on the New York Times best-seller list (Chapter Books), and Warner Brothers has acquired the screen rights. More info: 722-2666.

'The Art of Dueling': 7 p.m. Jan. 21, Charleston Museum. Museum Curator of History Grahame Long will give a presentation titled "Two Pistols, Two Seconds: The Art of Dueling in South Carolina." Discover why it has been argued that Charlestonians participated in more duels than any other community in the United States. Free and open to the public. More info or 722-2996.

(NEW) Oysters for Pets: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 22, Charleston Crab House, 145 Wappoo Creek Drive. Oyster roast to benefit Pet Helpers with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Pet Helpers Adoption Center and Spay/Neuter Clinic. Cost: $20 adults, $10 kids. More info: 795-1110, ext. 16.

(NEW) Lowcountry Oyster Festival: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 31, Boone Hall Plantation, Mount Pleasant. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. for the event, sponsored annually by the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House, Hollings Cancer Center, Travel Council and Charleston County Science Materials Resource Center. Oysters sold by the bucket (three to four dozen) for market value and served with cocktail sauce and crackers. Other food available as well, along with beer and soft drinks. Live local music, oyster-shucking and eating contests, children's area and more. Free parking. Tickets: $10; available online here.


7/1: Shaffer: Picky Eaters Group
6/28: Bender: Fishy Fourth
6/24: Belden: Society 1858
6/21: Stevenson: Summer reading
6/17: Handel: On Jim Fisher
6/14: Reeves: Summer dress
6/10:Martin: Garden tips
6/7: Dubrofsky: Green homes
6/3: McCutcheon: Young pros
McFaddlin: Health benefits
5/27: Ledbetter: Senior riders
5/24: Myers: Microloan's impact
Gadson: Rural Mission's needs
5/17: Bender: Bocce bashing
DeMarco: Homeless help
Spencer: Ending violence
5/6: Westmeyer: Fish to buy
Maas: Spoleto tips


3/4: Green mowers
Get outdoors
Local guide book for kids
Reviewing Jenny's book
MSNBC looks at success
Tell Mt. Pleasant
Winter plant tips
New books


3/1: Cut all of the cuts
A look at summer camps
School district Einsteins
About mules
Bauer should get out
Gibbs at White House
Friend's new show
Rockwell painting
Palmetto Priorities
Piggly Wiggly visit


3/4: Tickets still left
Eat & Run
RiverDogs' auction
Recycling bins
Designer data
SC Olympians
Prohibition cocktails
Tops for Charleston
Sweet treats
Free at SEWE
Artists' gift
Sharks at Aquarium
Church turns 100
3 helping Haiti
Civil War lectures
5 for King Day
New at SEWE
Staying warm

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