Share your story, help support library in challenging times
By CYNTHIA BLEDSOE
Acting executive director, Charleston County Public Library
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
library is one of the best services provided in Charleston.
The services and resources (the library) provides are vital in
keeping a well-informed and educated community. Especially in
these hard economic times, the library provides access to resources
that many would not otherwise have. Over the past two years, I've
noticed increased use in these services." --
Lori Kothera, West Ashley resident and library patron
1, 2010 -- Mrs. Kothera is right.
Charleston County Public Library's 16 locations serve as much more
than just community and educational hubs, they increasingly are
becoming a lifeline for many struggling county residents.
layoffs, furloughs and personal economic setbacks, Charleston County
residents come to the library desperately needing help to find job
openings, to write resumes, to gain computer and Internet access,
to submit online employment applications and to receive computer
training. Additionally, a record number of residents are checking
out DVDs or CDs. More books are being checked out and more families
are utilizing our resources to help save money, further their education
and enrich their lives.
dramatic double-digit increases in the demand for services, the
library's budget has been cut in the past two years by nearly $700,000
by the county and state, both facing their own economy-driven financial
shortfalls prompted a hiring freeze, cuts in spending for new library
materials and reductions in operating expenses, but that hasn't
been enough. In February, the library's board of trustees made a
tough decision to cut hours to compensate for the 16 percent vacancy
rate and the inability to properly staff branches for the nearly
750 hours they are currently open each week. Beginning April 1,
the larger, regional libraries will close on Sundays, and the Main
Library will close an hour earlier - at 8 p.m. - on Mondays through
Thursdays. The Main Library will remain open on Sundays from 2 p.m.
to 5 p.m.
as we face increased public demand with less money, CCPL is committed
to ensuring that the services provided to patrons aren't compromised.
Libraries are in a unique position in most communities because they
are accessible, free to the public and available to anyone, regardless
of where they live, their education or their income.
people agree libraries are vital to a thriving community, but a
recent state study quantified the library's value by using a national-
and state-approved formula to calculate the retail cost patrons
would have paid for services received, materials lent or classes
and programs attended. In Charleston County, every dollar of county
tax money used for library operations in Fiscal Year 2008 returned
$7.80 worth of services to county residents, or a 780 percent return
just last year, "Library Journal" magazine named CCPL
one of the best libraries in the country, placing it in the top
3 percent of the 7,115 library systems surveyed nationally. That
recognition is a testament to this community's support of CCPL.
part of an initiative by the S.C. Association of Public Library
Administrators, residents statewide are being asked how libraries
have impacted and enriched their lives. Please tell us what you
think by going to the library's Web site- - www.ccpl.org
-- and clicking on the "Library Bucks" banner. We want
to hear from you. And, if you haven't visited a library recently,
please stop by. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised by what
Bledsoe, acting executive director of Charleston County Public Library,
has worked in the library field for more than 30 years. She joined
CCPL in 1999 and, before that, worked for library systems in Florida,
Tennessee and South Carolina. She, her husband and two cats live
in West Ashley.
out the cutting: Budget from perspective of state's poor
ANDY BRACK, publisher
1, 2010 - Maybe state lawmakers should think about how their budget
proposals look to someone who doesn't earn much.
House Ways and Means Committee last week approved a $5.1 billion
budget recommendation that will be the focus of legislative debate
starting next week. Due to the tepid economy, state revenues aren't
robust. In fact, the budget is $5.1 billion - more than a billion
less than just a couple of years back. What's worse is that budget
writers started out $98 million behind coming into this year because
they have to make up an end-of-year shortfall from last year.
that's just the tip of the iceberg. For 2010-11, there's about $200
million in lower revenues because people are buying less, among
other things. Additionally, budget writers have to find another
$266 million to get balanced because they have to pay for required
reserve funds, debt, homestead exemptions for seniors, employee
health insurance increases, inflation and more.
proposed solution by the House Ways and Means Committee is relatively
simple: Deep cuts, including $84 million to public K-12 education;
$87 million to colleges; and $77 million for mental health and disability
services. Most state agencies will suffer 15 percent to 20 percent
cuts - and this is after recent tough years, layoffs and more.
a poor person's perspective, state government is cutting programs
and services that will hurt them disproportionately, compared to
people with means. Lawmakers are considering slicing school textbooks,
kindergarten, health care for poor children and prescription drugs
for poor seniors.
not happening, in the larger scheme of things, are cuts that would
impact people with means. About the only thing that will happen
to rich families is they may have to pay higher college tuition
- but compared to the poor, they can afford it.
state lawmakers want to be responsible in how they budget for everyone
in South Carolina, they need to do more than just cut. They should
consider making life a little tougher for people with means, too.
They could get rid of the car sales tax cap so rich people who buy
luxury cars pay more than $300 in sales tax. They could add a high
income tax bracket to make the income tax more progressive. They
could alter homestead exemptions for all seniors by providing for
the tax break based on people's income. And they could get rid of
some of the $2.5 billion in sales tax exemptions for special interests.
isn't the only tactic in the legislature's arsenal. Lawmakers need
to remember that in the coming weeks.
LAWMAKERS are gung-ho about banning drivers from sending text
messages while driving. From a political standpoint, it's a way
to, ahem, send the message that it is unsafe to drive and text at
the same time.
problem, according to recent experience, is that such a ban doesn't
work in real life. According to Newsweek, the ban isn't working
in Missouri. State troopers have only written 11 tickets over five
months for texting offenders. Why? Because "law enforcement
often can't tell the difference between illegal phone jockeying
and someone rooting around for change."
than likely, our lawmakers will ban driving while texting. But be
leery of politicians making a big thing of it. Because it will mostly
be hot air. Then again, what's new?
ELECTION DAY just eight months away, the most interesting news
from Winthrop University's recent poll was how most people weren't
familiar with the eight people who want to be governor. Of the candidates
in the race, 70 percent of those polled were not familiar with any
of the four Democrats and two of the four Republicans. Just over
half weren't familiar with Attorney General Henry McMaster. And
30 percent didn't know of Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who also posted
the highest unfavorable ratings at 27 percent.
line: Candidates need to spend a lot of money on ads to let people
know who they are; the candidate with the most money will have a
better chance of getting better known.
Brack is also publisher of Statehouse
Report, where this commentary first was published. He can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
us your letters, opinions
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today, good barbecue or something about your community's government,
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Please send no more than 200 words and include contact information
(phone number, hometown) so we can get in touch with you.
Remodeling & Construction
support of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents
to you at no cost. In this issue, we recognize Classic Remodeling
& Construction, Inc. Founded by Bob Fleming in 1989, the
company specializes in designing and building environmentally-sound
residential remodeling and restoration projects including additions,
kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor spaces. Classic Remodeling has an
unmatched reputation for quality craftsmanship, customer satisfaction
and a love for blending aesthetics with functionality. Whether it's
remodeling your bathroom, replacing your outdated kitchen, or adding
a patio, Classic Remodeling will turn your home into the living
space of your dreams. Learn more online at: http://www.classicremodeling.com.
earns state award for workforce housing efforts
town of Mount Pleasant has won the S.C. Housing Achievement Award
from the State Housing Finance and Development Authority for its
efforts in workforce housing. It's the second time in less than
a year that the town has been recognized for its accomplishments
in workforce housing; in August, it earned the Municipal Association
of South Carolina's Municipal Achievement Award.
Pleasant is well deserving of the Palmetto Housing Achievement Award
for their work to implement creative strategic planning tools to
ensure diverse housing options for its citizens," said Lowcountry
Housing Trust Executive Director Tammie Hoy. "In a time where
affordably priced housing is needed now more than ever, Mount Pleasant
staff and its leadership continue to be proactive in planning for
its future by promoting mixed-income mix-use development opportunities
that will provide housing options for individuals and families of
housing is a relatively new term embraced nationally by planners,
government administrators, housing activists and some developers.
It refers to homes providing affordable housing opportunities for
gainfully employed essential workers such as police officers, firemen,
teachers, nurses, office workers and medical technicians.
order to qualify for a workforce housing unit in a neighborhood
developed under the town's Planned Development/Workforce Housing
zoning district, a family of four must not make more than $72,350
(or 120 percent of the median family income). Their monthly mortgage
payments cannot exceed 35% of their gross monthly income. Two developers
are set to move forward with 10 workforce housing units near Whitehall
Terrace and 15 workforce housing units near Chadbury Village on
Six Mile Road.
to collect birthday gifts for kids during 'Cat in the Hat'
Charleston Ballet Theatre's production of "The Cat in the Hat"
opens this weekend, audiences will have the chance to spread some
birthday cheer to kids in need through a ballet company partnership
with the Birthday
Presence Foundation . It aims to enrich the lives of impoverished
children by offering them lasting birthday memories.
drop-off box will be in the lobby of the Black Box Theatre, 477
King St., during the full run of the Dr. Seuss classic. Audience
members are asked to bring inexpensive gifts for boys and girls
ages 10 to 14. Educational gifts such as books and supplies are
of "The Cat in the Hat" are set for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
March 6 and March 13; a 3 p.m. show on March 7 is already sold out.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children. Buy tickets by
calling 723-7334 or clicking
tournament will benefit summer camp program
pro/am tennis tournament at the I'On Club this month will support
the HALOS Summer Camp Program for abused and neglected kids in Charleston
County. The second annual "Hits for HALOS" tournament
takes place March 20 and March 21 at the club. Admission is free.
tennis tournament will couple 28 amateur players with a rotation
of 14 pros from around the Southeast for ten round-robin sets followed
by a playoff. The festivities on March 20 will include a wine tasting,
silent auction, and spectator party where soft drinks, beer, and
Firefly Vodka will be served. The event will also feature live music
by the local band Chewbacca.
addition to silent auction donations, financial contributions supporting
the cause are welcome.
HALOS Summer Camp Program sends at least 80 children annual to local
summer camps - typically a public recreation, arts, sports, or music
day camp. Children may also attend Youth Summer Leadership Programs
or visit colleges. All of the participating children have histories
of maltreatment and are involved with the Charleston County Department
of Social Services.
additional information, silent auction item donations, sponsorship
or contribution opportunities, go to http://www.charlestonhalos.org.
of Fortune' to hold local auditions March 13, 14
popular game show "Wheel of Fortune," co-hosted by Myrtle
Beach's own Vanna White, is bringing its Wheelmobile to Citadel
Mall for a contestant search this month. The Wheelmobile is a 39-foot
Winnebago that tours nationwide in search of contestants for the
show, which is the top-ranking game show on TV.
contestant searches will take place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. March
13 and March 14 inside the mall in front of Dillard's. Applications
will be handed out near the center court area adjacent to the event
space beginning one hour before each show begins. Shows will begin
at 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. According to information from the
show, "There is no need to arrive hours in advance of the event.
Everyone who attends the event will be able to submit an application.
We will select participants to come to the stage and audition via
a random draw."
will be put in a drum and pulled out at random. Five contestants
at a time will compete in a version of the show's "Speed-Up
Round." Each person who comes up to the stage will be evaluated
as a potential contestant. Final auditions will be held at a later
date. The show will also reserve some slots in the final auditions
for people who attended the event but did not make it up to the
more on the contestant search and requirements, click
us your reviews
If you have a review or recommendation 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.
Michaux was born on March 7, 1746, at Satory, France, son of the
farmer André Michaux and Marie-Charlotte Barbet. Interested
in plants from an early age, Michaux in 1785 was commissioned as
royal botanist with the mission of finding useful plants for France
in America. Originally landing in New York, he arrived in Charleston
on September 21, 1786. The city became his base of operations as
he ranged over North America as far south as Florida and as far
north as Hudson Bay.
Carolina mountains were among his favorite areas for botanizing.
South Carolina plants first described or collected by Michaux include
the Oconee bell, the big leaf magnolia, native cane, blue-eyed grass,
and the Carolina willow. In all, Michaux was the authority for 188
species native to the Carolinas. In 1790 Michaux was trapped in
Charleston by the French Revolution and the freezing of his funding.
However, he bore no grudge against the French Republic, becoming
a strong supporter of the revolution. A member of the Agricultural
Society of South Carolina, Michaux also worked to acclimate foreign
plants, mostly Asian, in America. Notable examples include the camellia,
the mimosa from Persia, the gingko tree from China, and the crape
myrtle from India. Michaux's 111-acre botanical garden near Charleston
became a popular visiting spot for city residents.
to France in 1796, Michaux wrote the first systematic botanical
description of eastern North America, Flora Boreali-Americana (1803).
Based on Michaux's personal observations, it includes descriptions
of many South Carolina plants. Michaux died on Madagascar in November
1802 while accompanying a French expedition to the South Seas.
Michaux was born on August 16, 1770, the son of André Michaux
and Cécile Claye. As a young man, François accompanied
his father on many of his early explorations. As an adult, he returned
to Charleston, arriving on October 9, 1801, in the midst of a yellow
fever epidemic. He caught the disease but survived. While in Charleston,
Michaux arranged the liquidation of his father's botanical garden,
sending plants and seeds back to France and transferring the land
and remaining plants to the Agricultural Society of South Carolina,
of which he, like his father, was a member.
to France, Michaux visited Charleston again while engaged in a project
from 1806 to 1808 to find North American trees with useful lumber
that could be acclimated in France.
Michaux died on October
23, 1855, at his home in Vaureal, France, and was buried on its
Excerpted from the entry by William E. Burns. To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
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Charleston Foundation's upcoming Festival
of Houses and Gardens includes a neat program called "Eat
& Run" Luncheon Lectures. These lively talks feature a
variety of speakers along with a light lunch and a brief tour or
hands-on experience related to the day's topic. Here are five Eat
& Run programs that offer great opportunities to learn more
about our city and its history. All begin at 11:30 a.m. at the historic
Capt. James Missroon House, 40 East Bay St., overlooking the harbor.
The cost is $45. For reservations (required), click
here or call 722-3405.
-- Jan MacDougal, author of "Charleston in Bloom," will
identify indigenous flora in Charleston, as well as plants with
a local provenance.
-- "What's Cooking in the Lowcountry?" Staff from Charleston
Cooks! will share insights into local cuisine.
-- One of the iconic elements in a Charleston garden is its ironwork,
as local garden guide Ann Andrus explains in "Charleston's
Ironwork: An Art Form All Its Own."
-- Jim Martin, director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy, presents
"What Makes a Charleston Garden So Special?"
-- Local cookbook author Catherine H. Forrester shares the best
of her grandmother's secrets in "Entertaining at Home, Charleston
else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error."
Kenneth Galbraith, U.S. economist (1908-2006)
launched a new Twitter account and suspended our old blogfeed so
we could provide fun information in between publication dates. We
encourage you to follow us through Twitter @chascurrents.
If you've been
keeping up with us through RSS, we suggest you change your settings
to get info through our Twitter
Boil": Various dates and times, March 4 through
March 27, PURE Theatre, Upper Lance Hall, 150 Meeting St.,
downtown (on the grounds of the Circular Congregational Church).
Writer/director R.W. Smith describes "Lowcountry Boil"
as "part 'Pulp Fiction,' part 'Clerks' and all Charleston."
It's a sequel to "Horse Tranqs & Carriage People,"
but PURE says you don't have to have seen that show to enjoy this
one. The March 4 show is a Pay What You Can Preview; March 5 show
includes a complimentary beer tasting with Charleston Beer Exchange.
Tickets range in price from $20-$30 and are available
online or by calling 811-4111.
Politics: 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. March 3 and 1:45 p.m.
to 3:30 p.m. March 5, The Citadel. Author and former Alabama
congressman Glen Browder will speak on race and Southern politics.
The March 3 event is an author presentation and book signing; Browder
is the author of "Stealth Reconstruction: An Untold Story of
Racial Politics in Recent Southern History" and "The South's
New Racial Politics." The March 5 event is a panel discussion
during the Symposium on Southern Politics, an examination of the
2008 elections. More
Bekker and Friends: 7 p.m. March 5, Christ Episcopal
Church, Mount Pleasant, and 4 p.m. March 7, St. John the
Beloved, Summerville. "Orchestral Section Highlights"
is an intimate, musician-led performance that takes the audience
through each section of the orchestra. The program will showcase
the wind, brass and string sections individually, as the entire
orchestra as well. Tickets: $15 adults, $5 students. Purchase
online, at the Gaillard Auditorium Box Office, or any Ticketmaster
Stew Festival: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. March 7, Magnolia Plantation
and Gardens. Lowcountry Animal Rescue sponsors the festival, which
includes a silent auction, prizes, a pet fashion show, dog training
and grooming demos and more. Tickets include hors d'oeuvres, Frogmore
stew and desserts along with admission to the plantation and gardens.
Cost: adults $17 ($20 at the gate); $10 for ages 6-12; $5 for ages
3-5; free for age 3 and under. Well-behaved, leashed pets get in
free. Buy tickets at local All is Well locations (Summerville, Mount
Pleasant, West Ashley, James Island) or by calling 343-8063.
Brothers Book Signing: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. March 7, Blue
Bicycle Books, 420 King St., downtown. Celebrated Southern food
pros Matt and Ted Lee will sign copies of their latest book, "Simple
Fresh Southern," which features recipes with Deep South flavor
and healthy, everyday ingredients (easy ambrosia; cherry tomato
and soybean salad; Caesar salad with catfish "croutons,"
etc.). Peanuts will be boiled and beer will be served. Free and
open to the public. More info: 722-2666.
Women": 3 p.m. March 7, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135
Meeting St., downtown. The Charleston Chamber Opera and the Gibbes
will present an afternoon of opera in the rotunda, the setting for
the "Whistler's Travels" special exhibition. Soprano Patrice
Tiedemann, mezzo soprano Lara Wilson and baritone Paul Soper will
explore the life and loves of artist James McNeill Whistler (who
was married but had several lovers, one of whom bore him several
children and another of whom raised his son by yet another woman).
The clever mix of art song, opera and theatrical flair will include
the music of Debussy, Saint-Saens, Mahler, Gilbert & Sullivan
and others. Tickets: $10 museum members and students; $20 nonmembers.
online, at the museum store or by calling 722-2706, ext. 18.
ONGOING AND SOON
the Bull": 7:30 p.m. March 12, 3 p.m. March 13
and March 14, Sottile Theatre, 44 George St., downtown. Charleston
Stage will present a bilingual version of the funny, family-oriented
musical about a bull who doesn't want to fight and butt heads like
all the other bulls - he just wants to take care of his beloved
flowers. Charleston Stage says, " 'Ferdinand the Bull' is an
exuberant romp about being yourself and refusing to be bullied into
acting like someone you're not. Kids and adults will love the clever
wordplay, comical characters and lively music." Tickets: $19
adults, $15 students. Available
online or by phone at 577-7183.
Stampede: 10 a.m. March 13, Houston Northcutt Boulevard,
Mount Pleasant. An offbeat 100-yard dash in which contestants must
wear 3-inch heels (both male and female). The top male and female
finishers get $5,000 from Gwynn's of Mount Pleasant, and Charleston
Magazine will give $1,000 to the runner with the best costume. Post-race
food and entertainment offered in the Whole Foods parking lot. Proceeds
from the run benefit MUSC Children's Hospital. Race fee: $30. Entry
for the Parks: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 13, Ashley Avenue
overlooking Colonial Lake, downtown. "Amusement on the Avenue,"
sponsored by the Charleston Parks Conservancy, will feature live
music from the Flatt City bluegrass band, the Plainfield Project
and DJ Trailmix along with roller skaters, breakdancers, jugglers
and hip hop dancers. Food provided by Oak, Muse, the Bagel Shop,
Queen Street Grocery, Taco Boy, Closed for Business and La Fourchette;
there will also be a cappuccino bar by Royal Cup and a tasting for
a new vodka from Firefly. Event is open only to those age 21 or
older. Tickets: $55 in advance, $75 at the event. More
House Furniture Tours: 4 p.m. March 18 and March 19,
and 10 a.m. March 20, Heyward-Washington House, 87 Church
St. downtown. The Charleston Museum's Heyward-Washington House will
host furniture-focused tours with special information on the significant
18th-century English and Charleston-made furniture collection housed
there. Visitors can learn about Charleston cabinetmakers, locally
harvested and imported wood, and the influence of Thomas Chippendale.
Reservations not required. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (free
for museum members). More info: 722-2996, ext. 235, or visit
Outlook Conference: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 24, Charleston
Area Convention Center. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce's
annual Economic Outlook Conference will feature an 18- to 24-month
look ahead at the region's key economic sectors. Keynote speaker
is Matt Martin, senior vice president and Charlotte regional executive
for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Cost: $95 chamber members,
$150 nonmembers. Registration/more
7 p.m. March 25, Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St., downtown.
Charleston Symphony Orchestra presents a concert titled "Beyond
Belief," which will include classical and contemporary pieces
all tied to Greek mythology. The show is casual, interactive and
intimate and will last about an hour. Tickets: $25 adults, $5 students
with valid student ID. Available at the door the day of the show
beginning at 5 p.m. or online.
Street Reopening: 6 p.m. April 1, Dock Street Theatre.
Gala concert planned by Spoleto Festival USA for the reopening of
the theatre after three years of renovations. Performances include
a sneak peek of the Spoleto opera "Flora," which was first
performed at the Dock Street in 1736. Events include champagne reception,
performance and seated dinner. Tickets range from $250 to $1,000.
Call 579-3100 or buy
Ladies Easter Promenade: 11 a.m. April 3, Meeting Street
between Broad and South Battery, downtown. Members of the Hat Ladies
and their families will take their annual elegant stroll down one
of the city's most recognizable streets in honor of hat-wearing
traditions. Free. More
info online or call 762-6679.
Art and House Tour: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. April 9, Kiawah
Island. The 10th annual tour, sponsored by the volunteer group Gibbes,
etc., benefits the Gibbes Museum of Art. Tour features six homes
that have distinctive art collections and dramatic views of the
salt marsh, creeks, ocean and woodlands. Tickets: $55 per person
(includes tour, light refreshments throughout the afternoon at the
Cassique clubhouse, and an admission pass to the Gibbes Museum of
Art valid through Dec. 30. Buy at the Gibbes Museum Store, online,
or by calling 722-2706, ext. 21.
& Garden Tours: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 9 and April
10, downtown Charleston. The Garden Club of Charleston offers
its 75th annual walking tour of private homes and gardens in the
Historic District. Homes also feature flowers arranged by garden
club members, and refreshments will be served in one of the gardens.
All proceeds benefit the garden club's year-round maintenance of
several public gardens, including those at the Manigault House,
the Heyward-Washington House, the Gateway Walk and the Healing Garden
at MUSC. Tickets: $35. Details: Online
by Christo: 5:30 p.m. April 13, Memminger Auditorium,
56 Beaufain St., downtown. Internationally known artist Christo
will visit talk about his work in a slide presentation and lecture
sponsored by the Gibbes Museum of Art. Christo and his late wife,
Jeanne-Claude, have collaborated throughout the world on large-scale
art projects using fabric, including wrapping the Pont-Neuf bridge
in Paris, the 24½-mile-long Running Fence in Sonoma and Marin
counties in California, and The Gates in New York's Central Park.
Tickets (in advance only): $25 for museum members, $35 for nonmembers,
and $15 for students (with ID); available at the Gibbes Museum Store,
by calling 722-2706, ext. 22, or online
through April 6.
Picky Eaters Group
On Jim Fisher
Rural Mission's needs
Fish to buy
guide book for kids
looks at success
all of the cuts
look at summer camps
should get out
at White House
on working with Boeing
library text questions
for King Day