Weeklong celebration fosters pride in Lowcountry parks
By JIM MARTIN
Executive director, Charleston Parks Conservancy
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
4, 2010 -- You'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't appreciate
parks. Even someone who doesn't spend a lot of time in parks can
recognize the way they bring beauty to a community, foster togetherness
and provide a respite from the busyness of life.
spring oh so very close, it's the best time of year to get out and
explore the many parks and green spaces Charleston has to offer
- 120 to be exact. To encourage the use of our local parks, the
Charleston Parks Conservancy is hosting its first Park Week, beginning
this Saturday. The Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated
to further beautifying city of Charleston's parks and green spaces
through community support and pride in the parks.
have daily events planned at different parks around town, providing
a variety of ways for people to connect with their parks. From planting
and tending to flowerbeds, learning about gardening at a free class,
hanging out with your dog at Yappy Hour, doing yoga in the park
or stargazing in the night sky, we feel certain everyone will find
a way to enjoy Park Week.
Week ends with a fundraiser for the Conservancy, a street fair-style
event called Party
for the Parks: Amusement on the Avenue, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
March 13 on Ashley Avenue overlooking Colonial Lake.
hope is that Park Week will continue beyond this one week and into
the spring, summer and fall. The Holy City is known for its historic
homes and buildings, its cobblestone streets and waterfront sunsets.
We hope visitors will be compelled to add parks to their must-see
list and that locals will connect with a new park whenever they
have the chance.
our Park Angels volunteer program, we have a number of ways people
can work with us to beautify and promote our local parks. If you
enjoy digging in the dirt and planting flowers and if you want to
work alongside trained horticulturists, join us for Garden in the
Parks events. If you prefer to keep your hands clean, work at our
Park Angels booth at various events and spread the word of our mission.
Or simply promote the Conservancy to your friends and neighbors.
'Educate You' classes
and Living in a Healthy Garden -- This class meets three
times, beginning at 5:30 p.m. March 18 at Hazel Parker Playground,
70 E. Bay St. Cost: $35. Learn about ecosystems; identifying,
attracting and nurturing beneficial insects; pesticides; diverse
landscapes; and plants that make sense for a Lowcountry garden.
Gardening: Everything a Beginner Needs to Know and a Little
Bit More -- This class is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
March 23 at Hazel Parker Playground, 70 E. Bay St. Cost: $15.
Learn how to choose the right container; what kind of container
garden will work best in your settling; and choosing the right
you love your local parks, you're already a Park Angel. Just sign
up online (it's free) and get your official wings.
of the many benefits of our program is the opportunity to learn
more about gardening in the Lowcountry. Our Web
site has a number of resources and videos that offer tips and
year we launched our Educate You program with a series of gardening
classes (see the box accompanying this article). We invite you to
take what you learn and turn your own backyard or patio into your
own personal park.
you in the park!
a complete list of Park Week events and upcoming classes, visit
the conservancy online.
Martin is the executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy
and a lifelong gardener who has worked in public horticulture for
more than 20 years, including at the Riverbanks Zoo Botanical Garden,
Mepkin Abbey Botanical Garden and Brookgreen Gardens.
mower swap to help gardeners go green, save green
ANN THRASH, editor
4, 2010 -- If you've got a gasoline-powered lawn mower, you're generating
as much air pollution every hour you use it as you would if you
drove a car from Charleston to Greenville.
one of the most eye-opening statistics we've seen in a while, and
it's worth bearing in mind as lawn-mowing season starts to crank
up again. And if you're as dismayed by that statistic as we were
and want to do something about it, here's your chance. It's called
the Tri-County Lawn Mower Exchange.
exchange will be part of the Tri-County Carolina Yard Experience,
planned for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 13 at the fairgrounds in Ladson
(officially known as the Ladson Exchange Park and home of the Coastal
Carolina Fair). Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley county residents
can bring their gasoline-powered mowers to the event and get a discount
on the purchase of a new energy-efficient, cordless electric mower.
Several brands will be offered, as well as reel mowers and electric
and propane-powered yard tools.
last year's event, 135 battery-powered lawn mowers were purchased,
and over 150 gasoline mowers were recycled," said Randy Cook,
an air quality planner with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental
lawn mower exchange is not just about going greener in your backyard;
it's also about promoting healthy air quality in South Carolina.
While cars and trucks are the state's single biggest source of air
pollution, off-road pollution sources such as gasoline-powered lawn
mowers do serious damage to the environment as well. "Using
a gasoline-powered lawn mower for one hour generates the same air
pollution as driving a typical car for 200 miles," according
to the organizers of the mower exchange.
a look at the models and prices (including taxes) for the electric
lawn mowers that will be offered at the exchange. Retailers have
discounted prices between $20 and $100, and a limited number of
additional $40 discounts will be offered first come, first served
- so get out there early.
& Decker CM1937 with 19-inch cutting path: $376.
& Decker CMM1201 with 19-inch cutting path: $296.
60120 with 20-inch cutting path: $340.
CE5 with 14-inch cutting path: $274.
CE6 with 19-inch cutting path: $374.
mower swap, now in its second year, is one of several eco-friendly
aspects of the Yard Experience, which is being held for the first
time. Check this out:
will be set up for people who want to turn in old electronics,
pesticides, paints, or other hazardous household materials that
require careful disposal.
bunch of talks will be offered throughout the day with expert
advice on keeping your yard looking good in an environmentally
your own bucket - did someone say "BYOB"? - and a shovel,
and you can take home as much free compost as you want.
If you bring in your lawn mower blade, you can get it sharpened
can also buy great native plants from the brothers of Mepkin Abbey,
and plants, books and more from the Master Gardeners.
to the sponsors of the lawn mower exchange -- Wilbur Smith, Kapstone
and CSX Transportation-- as well as the sponsors of the Yard Experience:
Clemson Extension Master Gardeners from Charleston, Dorchester and
Berkeley counties; Clemson Cooperative Extension; the Exchange Park;
DHEC; the Ashley Cooper Stormwater Education Consortium; Carolina
Clear; Keep Charleston Beautiful; Lowcountry Earth Force; and the
city of Charleston.
get a detailed schedule of events, including times and details on
Thrash is editor of CharlestonCurrents. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents
to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter BB&T,
a regional bank that has built on a tradition of excellence in community
banking since 1872. BB&T is a mission-driven organization with
a clearly defined set of business principals and values. It encourages
employees to have a strong sense of purpose, a high level of self-esteem
and the capacity to think clearly and logically. BB&T offers
clients a complete range of financial services including banking,
lending, insurance, trust and wealth management solutions. To learn
more, visit BB&T
online or drop in to talk with its professionals at the main
branch office at 151 Meeting Street, Charleston. Phone: (843)720-5168.
promoting Lowcountry as hub for tech companies
PETER LUCASH, contributing editor
4, 2010 -- A group of technology companies, including eThority,
PeopleMatter, Telogical Systems, Life Cycle Engineering, Monolith
Software and Blackbaud, has collaborated with Charleston's Business
Development Office to conceive and launch Charleston Works, a comprehensive
workforce development initiative designed to promote Charleston
as an emerging premium destination for technology professionals.
is an exciting time in Charleston for the technology sector. Given
the growth of eThority, we are very enthusiastic about joining forces
with other thriving companies to attract and retain professional
and technical talent in our community," said Erin Scheffer,
human resources director for eThority. "Charleston Works is
a win-win for everyone."
initial components of Charleston Works include the Web site http://www.charlestonworks.com
to promote Charleston's knowledge economy; promotion of career opportunities
in Charleston at university job fairs; and an employer-only resource
(NOT in Silicon Valley) Startup Tour" launches
resident Bob Cringely (of "I, Cringely") just launched
an interesting project: He is soliciting readers' nominations for
interesting startup companies in six general categories -- biotech,
energy, entertainment, information technology, materials and transportation.
Working with the Kaufman Foundation, he will whittle the number
down to 24, then, come June, Cringely will set off with his family
in their RV to visit all 24. A small camera crew will join them
for a summer of blogging and end with a 13-part TV reality series.
See his blog post
here and nominate
your MacBook in a BookBook
South has introduced BookBook, a distinctive new leather MacBook
case that looks just like a vintage book. BookBook features a hardback
cover and a padded leather spine that keeps your Mac safe and secure
if dropped or bumped - and, as a disguise, it reduces the risk of
theft. BookBook is available at http://twelvesouth.com
for $79.99. BookBook comes in two styles: a classic-looking brown
with a black spine or a more vibrant brown with a red spine.
South makes one-of-a-kind accessories exclusively for the Mac. The
company was formed in 2009 by former executives from the fashion
and consumer electronics industries, and its design team includes
the original designers of landmark products like the Griffin iTrip
and iCurve, and the DLO HomeDock and DLO Relaxed Leather cases.
experts establish PATH to support nonprofits
is no secret that many nonprofit staffs are overworked, while others
operate without any paid staff at all and rely solely on committed
volunteers. Whether there are paid staff or not, many nonprofits
need technology help - and a new local organization hopes to fill
Hub, or PATH was formed "to provide technology support
and resources to the S.C. Lowcountry not-for-profit community."
It was launched by Michael Carnell of Palmettobug
Digital and Tina Arnoldi of the Coastal
Community Foundation with support from others in the technical
says dozens of nonprofits responded to a needs assessment survey
within only a couple of days. "Some of the most pressing needs
are Web site development, Microsoft Office training, learning about
'open source' and maintaining hardware," she says. "Nonprofits
in need are seen across the whole spectrum of geography and field,
from arts groups downtown to human needs organizations in North
Charleston to afterschool programs in rural areas."
says PATH is not asking for money, but for people's time. "Are
you a tech-savvy person? Do you have an hour or so a month to help
out a nonprofit with their computer needs?" she says. "If
so, we invite you to visit the Web site http://www.scpath.org
and fill out a survey with your interest and availability."
Those interested can also e-mail email@example.com,
call 608-8482 or follow
Longborough Cottages receive state housing award
city of Charleston's Cottages of Longborough have earned the Housing
Development Award from the State Housing Finance and Development
Authority for outstanding achievement in the affordable housing
complex consists of 20 two-bedroom/two-bath units and 22 three-bedroom/two-bath
units downtown. Ceiling fans, Energy-Star rated appliances and washer-dryer
connections are offered in each of the condominiums.
of the units are currently available for purchase. Buyers must be
first-time homebuyers (or they must not have owned a home in the
past three years) and must also meet income guidelines, pass a background
check, attend a first-time homebuyer class, and have acceptable
credit to qualify for a mortgage.
Society gets new home, will show movies weekly
Greater Park Circle Film Society's Olde North Charleston Picture
House has a new location at 4820 Jenkins Ave., across from Attaway
Field, and is now showing films every Saturday at 7 p.m.
Picture House is one of just two nonprofit movie theaters in South
Carolina. The Film Society presents independent films, documentaries,
film classics and shorts, with a focus also on educating the public
about the art of film, supporting local filmmakers and fostering
to be shown this month include: March 6, "Barking Water,"
by Native American filmmaker Sterlin Hario; March 13, "The
Real Dirt on Farmer John," shown in collaboration with Local
Lowcountry First and including a discussion after the film led several
local farmers involved with Community Supported Agriculture; March
20, "Rocket Science," a Sundance and Independent Spirit
Award nominated comedy; and March 27, "Rebecca," Alfred
Hitchcock's first U.S. film and part of the film society's Silver
Screen Classics series.
more details on the films or the Greater Park Circle Film Society,
go to http://parkcirclefilms.org
or call 628-5534.
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.
soup is uniquely Charlestonian-a silky seafood chowder with a European
heritage. The dish helped put Charleston on the regional culinary
road map as surely as Philadelphia's cheese steaks or Chicago's
deep-dish pizzas did the same for those locations. Shrimp and grits
are perhaps the only items appearing more often on the menus of
Charleston restaurants than this elegant appetizer. "There's
nothing quite like it on this side of the Atlantic," said John
Martin Taylor (known as "Hoppin' John"), cookbook author
and the notorious arbiter of Lowcountry cuisine.
some Charleston-area restaurateurs bemoan it as nothing more than
a novelty item slurped by the gallon by gullible tourists, Taylor
maintained that the soup is an example of a delightfully distinct
regional cuisine that at times has been bred into mediocrity by
chefs taking shortcuts such as thickening it with flour ("wallpaper
paste," he says with disgust).
historians believe that she-crab soup is based on the Scottish seafood
bisque partan bree, which was brought by settlers to the New World
in the early 1700s and was localized in Charleston with the addition
of boiled and pureed long-grain rice and the roe of blue crabs.
During a 1909 visit to Charleston, President William Howard Taft
supped on she-crab soup at the home of Mayor R. Goodwyn Rhett. The
recipe for the soup calls for the meat of a dozen female crabs,
fish stock, milk, spices, and heavy cream. A blending of the New
and Old Worlds and served hot, she-crab soup's finishing touches
often include a sprinkling of the orange crab eggs across the surface
of the thick soup, followed by a dollop of a fine, dry sherry such
Excerpted from the entry by Dan Huntley. 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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The fifth annual
BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival starts today, and you can
still get tickets to some of the weekend's notable events, including
the five listed here. But click
quickly -- they were available at press time, but they're going
Street Sip 'n' Stroll
- 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, $40. Talk with winemakers, taste gourmet
food and check out the spring merchandise at various shops on
lower King Street.
Morning Culinary Village and Grand Tasting Tents
- 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Marion Square, $75. The Culinary
Village is a great way to pack a lot of the festival into one
ticket. Eat, drink, shop, get a commemorative wine glass, and
see the Art Institute of Charleston's cooking competitions.
- 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Waterfront Memorial Park, Mount Pleasant,
$85. Taste Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Blanc wines from
around the world while enjoying fresh-off-the-boat seafood from
the chefs at Crew Carolina restaurants.
Sunday Culinary Village and Tasting Tents - 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday. Type in your local ZIP code and get tickets for $45 each
(out-of-towners pay $55).
Blues & Brew
- 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Main Tent at Marion Square, $75. Southern
pitmasters and 'cue professional will serve barbecued everything
- whole hogs, brisket, ribs, shoulder, chicken and more - and
local favorite band the Blue Dogs will play the festival out in
true Lowcountry style.
have a genius for psychological alchemy. ... If something intolerable
simply cannot be changed, driven away or shot, they will not only
tolerate it but take pride in it as well."
King, Southern writer (1936 - )
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.
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
of Drayton Hall: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
in March, Drayton Hall Plantation, 3380 Ashley River Road. The
historic site will mark Women's History Month with special programs
focusing on the lives of the women of Drayton Hall, both black and
white, who have distinguished themselves over the past three centuries.
Tour included with regular admission: $15 adults; $8 ages 12-18;
$6 ages 6-11; free for ages 5 and under. Reservations (recommended):
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
on the Cooper: 8 p.m. March 13, Mount Pleasant Pier at
the Memorial Park, 71 Harry Hallman Blvd. (under the Ravenel Bridge).
Dance to live beach music by 17 South on the scenic 1,200-foot-long
Mount Pleasant Pier. First of eight dances at the pier sponsored
by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission from March
through October. Gates open at 7 p.m. and live music begins at 8
p.m. Tickets: $10 per person; only 800 will be sold. Tickets cannot
be purchased prior to March 13, but may be purchased from the Mount
Pleasant Pier shop beginning at 4 p.m. on the day of the event.
More info: 795-4FUN or online.
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.
Cajun Festival: Noon to 6 p.m. March 28, James Island
County Park, 871 Riverland Drive. Featuring music, food, crawfish-eating
contest, children's activities, and more. Performers include Leroy
Thomas and the Zydeco Roadrunners and Nathan and the Zydeco Cha
Chas. No coolers, outside beverages, or dogs permitted. Tickets:
$10 adults; free for Gold Pass holders and children 12 and under.
More information: 795-4FUN 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.
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