The love and lure of the Lowcountry brings her back
By LAURA DEATON
Director of Operations, Charleston Promise Neighborhood
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
2, 2010 -- "Are you really back for good?" asks the former
board member I bump into at Santi's as he gives me a huge hug. "Come
over for dinner and bring your laundry!" say several of my
old friends who know that I'm camping out in temporary housing until
my moving truck and my husband Mark arrive next week. "Let's
meet for tacos at Voodoo!" invites one of my favorite co-workers
of all time.
2007, my husband Mark and I moved away from Charleston to provide
care for aging parents in Tallahassee, Fla., but now I've been lured
back to the Lowcountry, and for those of you who think that Charlestonians
are persnickety about folks from "off," I stand as a witness
that it's just a bunch of hooey. In fact, this is one of the most
welcoming communities I've ever lived in.
lured me back? An opportunity to join the team at the newly formed
Charleston Promise Neighborhood
and to make sure that everyone here not only feels the same sense
of welcome but has the opportunity to live, work, love and thrive
in this vibrant Lowcountry that I once again call home.
to just over 17,000 residents - - 4,300 of whom are children under
the age of 18 - - the Charleston Promise Neighborhood is a 5.6-mile
area that straddles portions of Charleston and North Charleston,
which is sometimes referred to as "The Neck." Currently
a "hidden" part of Charleston County, it is a neighborhood
marked by under-education, teenage pregnancy, poor healthcare, air
pollution, violent crime, high unemployment and intergenerational
who knows me isn't surprised when I tell them I'm up for the challenge
of transforming the neighborhood and breaking the cycle of poverty
so that, within a single generation, the neighborhood will be socially
and economically indistinguishable from the rest of Charleston County.
My cynical friends have said, "People have been trying to do
that for years, and it's a lost cause
things will never change."
My answer is "This time, they will. I promise."
not the only one who has made that promise. For the first time,
the cities of Charleston and North Charleston, the County of Charleston
and the Charleston County School District have banded together and
pledged to create change. But, this isn't actually a governmental
initiative. It is a partnership that includes a multitude of nonprofits,
faith-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions
to create a seamless system of wrap-around services that will provide
each child in the neighborhood with the supports they need to thrive.
And, because CPN is also modeled after the highly successful Harlem
Children's Zone, we've already got a running start at designing
our system of supports based on what we know will -- and won't --
work. We're determined to reach our goals, committed to innovation
and dedicated to measuring our progress.
As I sit tucked away in our somewhat hidden new office at 975 Morrison
Drive (located in the Neighborhood just behind Coleman Marine),
I realize that I'm both thrilled to be back in Charleston, and already
intensely passionate about the work that drew me here.
we break the cycle of poverty? Yes.
we create a community where every child has the opportunity to
learn and grow and achieve his or her full potential? Yes.
we design a model community where the only areas that are "hidden"
are gems? Yes.
we catalyze real community change? Yes.
can, we will, and we've already started to do so. Come join us.
Deaton is a nationally-recognized leader and consultant with a reputation
as a nonprofit capacity-builder. Before she left Charleston for
Florida, she worked with many different nonprofits in Charleston,
including the YWCA, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and the Charleston
Turkish cherry juice to remembering a local trailblazer
By ANDY BRACK, publisher
2, 2010 - Of all of the interesting, neat things in Turkey - - the
history, people, food, exotic culture, rugs and pottery - - the
one thing I miss is the sour cherry juice.
that's right. Sour. Cherry. Juice.
can find it everywhere - - at down-and-out roadside stands, in metropolitan
newspaper kiosks, in tourist bazaars and, of course, on menus from
fast food pita eateries to restaurants.
something about it - - a tartness and fresh super-cherriness - -
that beats anything you can get in American grocery stories. (This
stuff rates a 10 of 10, compared to a 2 out of 10 for Juicy Juice.)
a recent trip to Turkey, we were prepped to be ready for great food
after reading the three great cuisines of the world were French,
Chinese and Turkish.
the food was delightful. Breakfasts in hotels featured lavish spreads
of breads, olives, feta cheese, other white cheeses, watermelon
(the Turks are devoted fiends about watermelon), sour yogurt and
eggs that were scrambled or hard-boiled. There was very strong tea
and even stronger coffee. And then there was an assortment of juices-
- orange (that kind of tasted like Tang), apple and sour cherry.
often was a lentil soup starter and a flat bread followed by a chopped
green salad with diced tomatoes and lemon dressing. Then came the
entrée, generally some kind of kebab - - lamb, beef, chicken
or an assortment - - with rice and a vegetable like spiced green
beans. With a small piece of baklava arrived the ubiquitous melon,
strong tea or coffee.
was similar. Occasionally there was hummus, chickpea cakes and other
"mezes," or small appetizer dishes.
cuisine was remarkably similar to Greek cuisine, which makes sense
as the nearby Greeks ruled Turkey (and vice versus) through the
centuries. Perhaps this third great cuisine is better named "Mediterranean,"
with its focus on grilled meats, fresh vegetables, grains and olive
was interesting throughout the trip was the relative rarity of other
cuisines. I can't remember seeing a Chinese, French, Italian or
Indian restaurant. Infrequently spotted were McDonald's, Burger
King and Popeye's Fried Chicken. We heard Arby's was planning to
open 100 locations across Turkey. While we avoided these American
places in Turkey, we were glad to get back to more variety, especially
Mexican and Southern, when we got home.
* * * *
bike painted completely white is a downtown roadside memorial to
the late cycling advocate and planner Edwin Gardner, who died July
23 after a bicycle collision with a Jeep two days earlier.
than 450 riders turned out Saturday for a "Ride for Edwin"
to honor Gardner. Decked in street clothes and helmets, they passed
the memorial near the intersection of Montagu Street and Lockwood
Boulevard where Gardner was first injured.
signed the so-called "ghost" bike, draped and bordered
by chrysanthemums, sunflowers and impatiens, as if were a big condolence
card. On the handlebars: "We love Edwin, Whitney & Olive.
Peace to you always." On the frame: "True beauty."
On the front tire: "No one like Edwin," "Thank you
for all you've done," and "We so miss you."
like "sad" and "tragic" don't convey the loss
of an upbeat trailblazer like Gardner, a community planner with
his hands on dozens of betterment projects. His death should remind
drivers to slow down and be careful when encountering cyclists on
Charleston's narrow and crowded downtown streets.
we hope Charleston council members will now take a more serious
look at how to better integrate cycling routes into the busy grid
of Charleston streets. One idea - dedicate a few specific "biking
boulevards" to coexist with cars on some streets and encourage
more cars to use other routes exclusively.
to the Edwin Gardner Fund can be made through the Coastal
Sumner Gardner V, rest in peace.
We love getting input from you. If you have an opinion you'd like
to share (150 words or less), send your letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to hearing from you!
public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents
to you at no cost. This issue's featured nonprofit partner is Rural
Mission on John's Island. The organization is many things to
man people: a hand up in times of crisis and need
service and faith volunteer experience for the young and older
a caregiver and advocate for young migrant children and a support
system for migrant families
a provider of a warm, comfortable
home in winter and
a greatly appreciated giver of desperately
needed home repairs to make low income homes safe, healthy and decent.
For all, Rural Mission is a source of hope for low- and very low-income
residents, the elderly and families living in the rural underserved
Sea Islands of Charleston County, from Johns Island to Wadmalaw
to Edisto and Yonges Islands. To learn more about this extraordinary
Rural Mission online. To talk to someone about giving your time
or money to help, phone: 843.768-1720.
return from Special Olympics National Games
Fourteen area Special
Olympics athletes returned to the Lowcountry last week with
medals around their necks after competing against 3,000 other Special
Olympics athletes in the
2010 USA National Games in Lincoln, Neb.
competitors won gold medals in bowling, tennis and team basketball,
as well as recognition in aquatics, and track and field. The area's
athletes were measured on their individual and team skills compared
to athletes of similar abilities, with every athlete being recognized
for their performance.
Medals awarded to athletes attending Special Olympics National Games
Tim McBride, 46, of Charleston - two Silver medals (25 Free and
Dangerfield, 44, of Charleston, 44 years old - two Gold medals.
Darryl Malone, 25, of Charleston - Gold medal (Tennis Skills);
Casea Stevers, 24, of Charleston - Bronze medal (Doubles) and
4th Place (Singles).
- Gold team medal. All team members were from Summerville: Robert
Bazzel , 47; Kevin Clark , 36; Justin Dorch, 23; Justin Duey,
21; Carolyn Mack, 35; Stephanie Miller, 34; Shawn Moultrie, 29;
Charles Smith, 24; Bruce Walters , 15.
Desmond Holmes, 24, Charleston - 4th Place (Shot put).
seek help in crafting 2011 legislative agenda
you want to have a say in crafting the Chamber of Commerce's 2011
legislative agenda, there's a meeting tailor-made for your desires
at 4 p.m. Aug. 10 at Trident Technical College.
S.C. Chamber of Commerce and Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
will hold a coastal grassroots meeting to identify issues for its
annual Competitiveness Agenda. During each meeting, attendees are
invited to share their business concerns and provide feedback on
what pro-business legislation needs to be passed to improve South
Carolina's business climate. In addition, leadership from the state
Chamber will present legislative priorities for businesses across
the state and discuss which issues are likely to be a focus.
similar meetings are being hosted across the state this fall. The
cost is free to attend. To register visit www.charlestonchamber.net/orgcalendar
or for more information call 803.799.4601.
participation can help assess regional priorities
Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) has kicked off a
nine-month planning initiative to create a long-term economic development
strategy for the three-county Charleston region.
"Opportunity Next," a key component of the assessment
is for residents to participate in an online survey to provide opinions
about life in the Lowcountry. You can participate by going to the
Next Web site.
Next will guide regional efforts needed to strengthen the economy,
improve wages and fuel job growth in a global economy increasingly
defined by knowledge and innovation, according to a press release.
"The local landscape has changed quite a bit since our last
regional study in 2005, so it's time to take a fresh look at the
region's competitive position and economic opportunities,"
said David Ginn, CRDA president and CEO. "Plus, with the global
economy beginning to recover, we need to be sure our regional efforts
align with what today's businesses need to be successful."
The strategic planning process will be led by a 48-member advisory
board comprising leaders from a diverse range of public sector,
private sector, non-profit and educational organizations. Co-chairing
the advisory board are Jim Hill, vice president of MWV Community
Development Land Management, and Thom Penney, president and CEO
of LS3P Associates, Ltd.
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.
Aiken-Rhett House, located in a block-long lot at 48 Elizabeth
Street, is one of the most historically significant properties in
Charleston. The house and its outbuildings are one of the most complete
and best preserved urban domestic complexes of the antebellum era.
Robinson, a wealthy merchant, began construction of the house in
the suburb of Wraggborough around 1818. By the early 1830s, the
house and lot had become the property of William Aiken, Jr., a congressman,
governor, and one of the wealthiest planters in South Carolina.
Aiken dramatically altered the property, moving the entrance from
Judith Street to Elizabeth Street, adding an eastern wing, enlarging
the kitchen and slave quarters, and building a chicken coop, cowshed,
the 1850s he renovated these structures and added a northwest wing
to house his art collection. With the exception of the cowshed,
all of these additions and outbuildings have not only survived but
also have remained largely unaltered since the 1850s.
the death of Aiken and his wife, the property was inherited by his
daughter and her family, the Rhetts. In 1975 descendants transferred
the site to the Charleston Museum, which operated it as a museum
and planned to restore the house to its antebellum splendor.
Twenty years later, however, the museum sold the site to Historic
Charleston Foundation (HCF) for $600,000. The building's unrestored
and unaltered condition attracted HCF, which saw in it a unique
opportunity to understand and present antebellum urban life and
the African American heritage of Charleston to the public. The foundation
has no plans to restore or furnish the Aiken-Rhett House complex
and instead invites visitors to "marvel at what survives from
the ninetieth century rather than search for what is missing."
Excerpted from the entry by Alexia Jones Helsley. To read more
about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
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people read one book at a time. Publisher Andy Brack dips into several
books at once. Books on his bedside table currently include the
Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron," a biography of the baseball
legend by Howard Bryant.
in a Foreign Language," a memoir of life in Italy by actor
A Portrait of Harper Lee," a biography of the author of "To
Kill a Mockingbird" by Charles J. Shields.
Know-It-All: One man's humble quest to become the smartest person
in the World," by A.J. Jacobs.
the Appalachian Trail," by Larry Luxenberg.
Shack," by William Paul Young.
your bedside table? Send to email@example.com.
is the condiment that gives success its flavor."
Set, Enroll: 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Aug. 3, Trident Technical
College, all three campuses. Free event to get information on Trident
Tech programs, financial aid, enrollment, etc. Welcome sessions
will be held at 10 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. The three campus
locations are Main Campus, 7000 Rivers Ave., North Charleston (Building
410/Student Lounge); Palmer Campus, 66 Columbus St., downtown Charleston;
and Berkeley Campus, 1001 S. Live Oak Drive, Moncks Corner. More
info, including a list of suggested documents to bring: 574-6111
Demo: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 4, SieMatic Kitchen
Store, 444 King St., downtown. Slow Food Charleston will host an
"Uncooking" demo with raw-foods chef Helen Greenfield
of Johns Island. Tasting menu includes Raw Sprouted Organic Almond
"Mylkshake," Okra-Eggplant Crackers, Sweet Potato-Pineapple
Cookies, and Fair Trade Cocoa Stuffed Dates. Cost: $10 for Slow
Food Charleston members; $15 nonmembers. Reservations (required):
853-9120 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fashion Show: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Aug. 5. SC Thrift and
Resale will hold a fashion show and have new and pre-owned designer
clothing for sale as low as 49 cents per item at its special Back
To School event. Proceeds will benefit the Center for Women. Location:
1670 Highway 17 North, Mount Pleasant. More
on the Lawn: 7 p.m. Aug. 5, Liberty Square, downtown
Charleston by the South Carolina Aquarium. Watch the all-time classic
shark movie "Jaws" during the aquarium's Shark Week celebration.
Lawn area opens at 7 p.m. and movie starts at dark. Before the movie,
guests can interact with roving educators and watch an aquarium-made
short film on shark myths. Bring your own chair or blanket. Snacks,
sodas and alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase. No
coolers or pets allowed. Donations will be taken at the door to
benefit conservation efforts at the aquarium. More info: 577-FISH
(3474) or online.
Summer Soiree: 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 6, Francis
Marion Hotel, corner of King and Calhoun streets. The Charleston
Young Professionals group will host its "Summer Soiree - the
Black Tie, Blue Jean Event," featuring food, drinks, networking
opportunities, giveaways and music from DJ Doug in the Carolina
Ballroom. Cost: $60 CYP members, $75 nonmembers. Tickets/more
workshop: 9 a.m., Aug. 7. The Charleston Museum will
offer its "Petite Protocol" program with fun, interactive
and engaging activities that remind children aged 6 to 10 how to
be courteous, respectful and confident in the classroom. $20 to
$25. More and to register, call 843.722.2996 (ext. 236) or visit
Reggae Concert Series: 8:30 p.m., Aug. 7. Mystic Vibrations
will perform at Wannamaker County Park in North Charleston as part
of the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission's reggae
series. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $8 for teenagers and
up. Children under 13 are free. More
online or call (843)-795-4FUN (4386).
Week: Daily through Aug. 8, South Carolina Aquarium,
100 Aquarium Wharf. A weeklong event for kids featuring all things
shark, including shark-themed dive shows, interactive activities
such as "Sharkeology" and "Shark Shapes," playing
in the shark cage, trips along Shark Alley, and the chance to get
photos taken in the mouth of a shark. All activities free with general
admission or membership. More info: 577-FISH (3474) or online.
ONGOING AND SOON
Mad Science Saturday: 10 a.m., Aug. 14, The Charleston
Museum will offer this two-hour science time to allow students the
opportunity to examine the stages of matter and experiment with
dry ice. Free for Museum members; free for nonmembers with general
Day Festival, 1 p.m., Aug. 15, Liberty Square, downtown
Charleston. The City of Charleston hosts the 8th First Day Festival
to help students transition back to school. Not only will they be
able to play in a Kids Zone, they'll be able to tour the S.C. Aquarium,
get school supplies and get their face painted. Last year's festival
drew more than 10,000 kids. Learn
2nd Annual Lowcountry Jazz Festival,
Sept. 3-5. The city will come alive as local and international
artists join forces at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center
and other locations around the city. Confirmed artists include legendary
contemporary jazz band Spyro Gyra; saxophone journeyman Euge Groove,
formerly of Tower of Power; Paul "Shilts" Weimar, former
bandleader of Down To The Bone; and noted Charleston jazz musician
Charlton Singleton. All proceeds from the festival will benefit
"Closing The Gap In Healthcare Inc." More
info online or call (704) 534-4228.
Spirituality and writing: 9 a.m., Sept. 11. The Charleston
County library is sponsoring a discussion on spirituality and writing
featuring novelists Denise Hildreth, Beth Webb Hart and Nicole Seitz.
Admission is free to the session, which will be held at the main
library, 68 Calhoun Street, Charleston. More: Phone 843-805-6947.
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