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Issue 3.01 | Monday, Nov. 1, 2010 | Happy Birthday to us!

Sunday was the perfect day for a sail in Shem Creek, with afternoon temperatures hovering in the 80s and the sun glistening off the water. For more effects of autumn in the Lowcounry, see the Lagniappe submitted below by Michael Kaynard. Photo by Marsha Guerard.

:: Red Cross offers more than blood


:: "Invest" isn't a dirty word

:: Five for your face

:: Goodwill, Operation Home, schools

:: Send us your thoughts


___:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
___:: REVIEW: Send us your reviews
___:: HISTORY: ACE Basin
___:: LAGNIAPPE: Fungi
___:: QUOTE: On Puritanism
___:: SPOTLIGHT: Meet an underwriter


ABOUT US offers insightful community comment and good news on events twice each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer insight and news on the best of what's happening locally. What readers say


TODAY'S FOCUS | permalink
The American Red Cross -- more than just blood

Special to

NOV. 1, 2010 - When you see the Red Cross symbol what comes to mind? Blood drives!


It's true; blood drives are an important part of what the Red Cross does. You may also know that the Carolina Lowcountry Chapter of the American Red Cross aids and comforts local families in times of need. In the event of fires, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, they are there when we need them. But the Red Cross also offers a wide range of services that are not as widely known, such as services to the Armed Forces, veterans, and an abundance of International Services.

My involvement with the Red Cross started with the most unlikely of circumstances. Charleston architect and artist Tieu Phi Tran, a political refugee from Vietnam and one of many Boat People who fled the aftermath of the Vietnam War, approached me about chronicling his escape from that country in the form of a book. After several interviews, his harrowing story unfolded. His sisters were abducted by pirates in the Gulf of Thailand. He never saw them again. His story wasn't unique; many of the boat people from Vietnam experienced similar fates but suffered in silence, distrustful of government officials.

I understood that writing his story might bring the type of awareness he was looking for but I wanted to do something to help bring closure. What had become of his sisters? Despite this desire, the looming elephant in the room was that nearly 30 years had passed since the incident happened halfway around the world. What could we do now that so much time had passed?

A little snooping on the Web turned up information about family tracing services offered by the Red Cross for families separated from their loved ones due to armed conflict or natural disaster. A little more digging at the local chapter website and Tieu and I found ourselves in an orientation class for volunteers taught by Eileen Hadbavny, the local chapter's International Services Chairperson.

After the class, we discussed the case with Eileen. Despite the time that had passed, she assured us that the Red Cross would take the case. In fact, the RC is still taking cases from World War II. The American Red Cross Holocaust and War Victims Tracing Center is dedicated to helping reunite families separated due to the Holocaust. (I have had the pleasure of assisting a Holocaust family as a case worker here in Charleston.) September 23rd marked twenty years of Red Cross assistance to family members of Holocaust victims separated over 60 years ago.

Suddenly, Tieu had hope. The case was accepted and messages were sent to the Thailand and Vietnam Red Cross chapters requesting assistance with the search. Regretfully, we received word back that they had exhausted their efforts to discover the fate of his sisters. Yet, it is still a comfort to Tieu that the case is permanently on file should something turn up.

Now, over a year later I serve as the vice chairman on the International Services Committee. In addition to performing family tracing services for others, we are working on a host of other services, such as The Measles Initiative and our current campaign to Vaccinate a Village. For those of us in the United States, it is hard to imagine that over 450 children die each day due to complications from a disease that is totally preventable.

The great news is that it only costs the Red Cross $1 to vaccinate one child. For more information, about International Services in the Lowcountry, please visit our Web site.

CURRENTS| permalink
"Invest" isn't a dirty word
By ANDY BRACK, publisher

OCT. 29, 2010 – It’s amazing how one little word can have two vastly different meanings.


The word? “Invest.”

If you talk to just about any financial adviser and ask about a tried-and-true, conservative strategy for planning for your retirement, it won’t be long before you hear: “Invest early and invest often.”

But the politician who touts the exactly same conservative strategy – that states, like individuals, need to invest early to reap bigger, good rewards over the longer term – is lambasted as a liberal of the worst sort who wants to tax and spend you to death.

Where’s the sense in that? The guy who conservatively invests his own money for a long-term personal reward isn’t trying to do anything different if he tries to get the state to invest now so it can have a big payoff down the road.

South Carolina politicians – Democrats and Republicans – need to stop drinking the Kool-aid that the only thing they can do in the face of withering state dollars is to cut more and more of state government. In fact, they can restructure the state’s antiquated tax system to make it fairer, raise some taxes and lower others to generate a larger revenue stream. In the short term, it might hurt your wallet a little, but if the state wisely uses the revenue to invest in education, research, infrastructure and business development, it will reap huge rewards in just a few years.

If you don’t believe that, just look to the example of South Carolina’s sister state – Queensland in Australia.

Former Premier Peter Beattie recently has been making a series of lectures in the Palmetto State about how Queensland was able to transform itself in less than two decades from a relatively non-diverse economy that suffered huge educational challenges to a vibrant “Smart State” on the leading edge of science and business across the world.

“The capital of the Smart State was once a large sleepy country town with a wonderful outdoor lifestyle but a narrow political climate stymieing creativity and a lack of opportunities saw a mass exodus of talent interstate and overseas,” he said last week in Charleston at a speech at MUSC. “That is now a thing of the past.”

Sound familiar? How did Queensland, which mirrors South Carolina’s population at 4.4 million people, turn the corner?

Through strategic investment. Over nine years, the state of Queensland invested more than $3 billion in world-class research and facilities that stressed global collaboration with the best minds around. Queensland’s investment generated 10 medical research institutes that are benchmarked against the world. They have global alliances that have spawned remarkable scientific discoveries that have been commercialized into money and jobs.

And boy, has Queensland’s investment paid off. Today, Beattie said the Australian state’s life sciences sector employs almost 20,000 people in high-paying jobs, more than two thirds of which are in the private sector handling the fruit of the research that the state invested in. Furthermore, the total income across Queensland’s life science industry was estimated to be $5 billion in 2009 – almost $2 billion more than in 2007.

In other words, incomes grew almost $2 billion over two years as the state invested $3 billion over nine years. Talk about a stellar return. And think about how the people who got new jobs from the $2 billion in income now are paying taxes. In turn, that fuels the state to make smarter investments – and potentially lower tax rates over time because of additional government revenues now being generated.

“The commercialization of brain power and innovation will drive the world’s economic future,” Beattie concluded. “But it will require the support of government, the private sector and our research universities in long-term strategic planning and investment.”

Memo to South Carolina politicians: Learn from the “Smart State,” our sister state. And add the conservative word “invest” to your vocabulary so that it isn’t a dirty word, but the foundation of our state’s future.

Andy Brack is publisher of Charleston Currents and Statehouse Report, where this first appeared. He can be reached at:


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Blue Water Benefits

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

GOOD NEWS | permalink
Demand increases for Goodwill's veterans services

In just one day last week, Goodwill Industries served 1,156 people and provided more than $40,000 in clothing vouchers to the area's homeless.

In the 11 years that Goodwill and the Veterans Administration have sponsored their Stand Down for Homelessness event, more than 17,000 homeless veterans and other local homeless people have received more than $600,000 in clothing vouchers as well as medical, dental and employment services, not to mention a hot meal, a sleeping bag and new undergarments.

"While Goodwill and the VA partner to put on the Stand Down each year, Goodwill's commitment to our veterans does not end there," said Robert Smith, President and CEO of Goodwill Industries. "We provide ongoing employment services and clothing assistance throughout the year."

Goodwill previously participated in a grant-funded initiative to help homeless veterans back into the workforce. When the grant was not renewed in 2009, Goodwill decided that the need was too great to discontinue the program and committed $200,000 in direct funding. Two years ago, Goodwill partnered with Low Country Harley to host a Motorcycle Rally that collects new undergarments that are distributed during the two-day Stand Down event, held last Thursday and Friday.

"During the 11-year history of the Stand Down, other partner agencies along with Goodwill and the VA have been instrumental in providing outreach to our veterans," Smith said. "Each year the partnerships grow and we could not do this without the support of businesses such as Howard Barber and Styling College, who provides haircuts, and agencies such as the Social Security Commission, S.C. Legal Services, Good Neighbor Center, Crisis Ministries, Tri-county Family Ministries, Elk Lodge, Red Cross, NAMI, Veteran Advocates, S.C. Veteran Affairs, TTC Upward Bound program, Friendship Baptist Church who provides services, and the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, who provides hot meals during the event."

As troops return from serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Goodwill expects to see the need for services increase, Smith said. "The goal is to help transition our returning Veterans back into the workforce so we won't see them at the Stand Down."

Go online for more information about Goodwill Industries or for employment services for veterans, or call 843-566-0072.

Auction raises record-breaking sum for Operation Home

Operation Home's 2010 Drum-It-Up Auction, held Oct. 24, broke records and raised more than $126,000.

Business owners and individuals donated more than 60 auction items for a capacity crowd of bidders at Mount Pleasant's Red Drum Restaurant.

"We are more than thrilled with the success of this year's auction," said Anna Hamilton, executive director of Operation Home. "We couldn't do our work without the support of the community, and it is clear that the greater Lowcountry community cares passionately about helping us provide a safe, accessible home for every person. We can't wait to get to work helping more families, and $126,000 will allow us to help more families than we've ever been able to before."

Founded in 1997, Operation Home will use the money to support its critical home repair program, which is on track to serve 50 families this year. A total of 230 families are on the waiting list to be served.

Past county school board chairmen endorse referendum

New at a press conference

Past chairmen of the Charleston County School Board last week announced full support of the School Improvement Referendum that will appear on county voters' ballots Tuesday.

Past chairs included in the endorsement include Brian Moody, Robert New, Liz Alston, Nancy Cook, Gregg Meyers, and Toya Hampton Green.

If passed, the referendum will provide funding to alleviate overcrowding, improve classrooms and upgrade technology in 13 district schools. In addition, four downtown Charleston schools categorized as seismically hazardous will be rebuilt from funding. In total, the School Improvement Referendum will provide $450 million for the 17 area schools.

Construction of new Daniel Island park to begin

Charleston city officials will break ground at 2:30 p.m. today for the new Governors Park on Daniel Island.

The 40-acre Park is along the Wando River, and will include a grand lawn with multi-purpose athletic fields, baseball and softball fields, a dog park, picnic areas and walking trails, among other amenities.

Free workshop offered for small business owners

Owners of small businesses will have the chance to meet one-on-one for 10 minutes each with representatives of 12 large businesses from the Lowcountry at the Women in Defense speed networking and small business workshop from 1:15 to 4 p.m. Nov. 18.

The workshop will follow the 2010 Charleston Defense Contractor Association's C5ISR conference. The workshop will provide insight into the defense contracting process. Elizabeth Nettles, president of Women in Defense, said the forum is free, open to the public, and pre-registration is required. It will be held at the Charleston Area Convention Center, North Charleston.

Speakers include Bob Meddick, deputy for small business (SSC LANT) and his Assistant Deputy for Small Business, Ron Kennedy. Donna Murphy, deputy director of contracts, will speak on the best approach for small business to participate as well as other topics of direct interest to the contracting community. Attendees will also have an opportunity to network with various contracting personnel.

In addition to awareness of the overall relationship between large and small businesses, Linda Blanton of the Small Business Development Center and Kenneth Silvia, special assistant to the Area III Director of the Small Business Administration's Office of Government Contracting, will be on hand to provide an overview and answer questions.

To register, go online or email for more details.

Send us your thoughts about books, dining

HAVE A REVIEW? 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 Marsha Guerard. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.

ACE Basin refuge offers habitat for endangered species

Established in 1990, the Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge is part of the federal system of refuges managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge represents the federal role in the larger ACE Basin Project
with two units, one on the Combahee River and the other on the Edisto River.

An osprey, one of the endangered species found in the refuge.

The headquarters for the NWR is located at the Grove, a rice plantation begun in 1825 on the Edisto River. The plantation house dates from 1828 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The Nature Conservancy purchased the Grove in 1991 and sold it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service the following year.

With a total of nearly twelve thousand acres, the ACE Basin NWR is managed for wildlife with careful attention given to habitat preservation. The estuary is home to a wide variety of birds, fish, and game, including such endangered and threatened species as wood storks, osprey, bald eagles, and shortnose sturgeon. Limited public fishing and hunting for deer and waterfowl are permitted. With the completion of additional purchases, the future size of the refuge may reach eighteen thousand acres.

The refuge contains canals and dikes from the days when the land was home to large rice plantations. Through control of water levels, the former rice fields are used to encourage habitats for waterfowl and other bird species. Additionally, the NWR uses controlled burning as a tool for creating and maintaining habitat for turkey, quail, and songbirds.

-- Excerpted from the entry by James H. Tuten. 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.)


After last week's brief monsoon, Charleston resident Michael Kaynard found an interesting growth popped up at the base of his oak tree.


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How about a little gift for us?

Publication of today's issue marks the beginning of our third year of offering good news twice a week to people across the Lowcountry. We enjoy providing you with neat information that is hard to find elsewhere in our community.

Now, how about a little gift to us by encouraging your friends to subscribe for free to our publication? Now, we're off to sing the song ...

THE LIST | permalink
Five for your skin


Although it's not consistently chilly yet, we can feel the winter coming on in the Lowcountry. With the change in the seasons comes the need to change up your skin care routine.

We asked Dr. Marguerite Germain of Germain Dermatology to give us five ways to winterize our skin.

  • Wash in cool water. Hot water can deplete the oils from your skin.

  • Don't use a washcloth. They are too harsh to use on your delicate skin.

  • Use a soap-free cleanser. Try a glycolic acid-based cleanser that can help turn the skin over without drying it out.

  • Moisturize within 3 minutes after showering or bathing to lock in moisture.

  • Be sure to use sunscreens that contain physical blocks such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Sunscreens should be used all year long.

Dr. Marguerite Germain is a board-certified dermatologist with a practice in Mount Pleasant. For more information, visit

Happiness is a cold Puritan

"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

-- H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)


Customers for Keeps workshop: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Nov. 3, at The Lowcountry Innovation Center, located at the former Navy Yard, 1535 Hobby St., North Charleston. The first of a three-part series. Workshop sponsored by Lowcountry Local First will deal with business first impressions, communication, handling difficult situations and learning how to "wow" customers, along with real world solutions to customer service challenges. Cost: $25 for LLF Members and $30 for non-members. Includes morning coffee and lunch. Register online.

(NEW) The fragrance of colors: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 3, Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St. This is the first of a series of three lectures on the first Wednesdays in November on Women in Art. Scholar Richard Stamelman will explore the impact of perfume on history, culture, art and attitudes in France from the eighteenth century to the present. A reception will follow with a book signing of "Perfume: Joy, Obsession, Scandal, Sin; A Cultural History of Fragrance from 1750 to the Present" by Dr. Stamelman. Cost is $25 for the three lectures for members of the Gibbes or the Center for Women, and $55 for non-members; or $10 for the individual lecture for members and $20 for non-members. Purchase tickets online.

(NEW) Brown Bag Lunch: Noon, Nov. 4, Center for Women, 129 Cannon St. Deb Mangolt will share many simple activities to turn your next girlfriends' getaway into a life-changing experience, with more fun to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul. This is free, but registration is required by calling (843) 763-7333 or emailing

(NEW) How to beat the boys at pool: 10 a.m. to noon, Nov. 6, Player's Place Billiards, 1401 Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Whether you want to play a better game of pool, or just look cool at the table, Shari Stauch, WPBA Hall of Fame Player, will show you how to look and play like a pro. Basic game rules, pool hall etiquette, pool player lingo and tips to immediately improve your game, no matter your skill level. Cost is $20 for Center for Women members, $40 for non-members. Registration required online.

(NEW) Fall Festival: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Nov. 6, Charles Towne Montessori, 56 Leinbach Street, West Ashley. Charleston's only internationally-certified Montessori school will have a fall festival filled with games, great food and lots of fun for children and adults. More online here.

Capital BookFest Charleston: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nov. 6, at the Charleston County Public Library on Calhoun Street, Blue Bicycle Books on King Street and the College of Charleston. More than 60 writers, poets and children's authors will congregate in Charleston for a free, lively and informative day of storytelling, readings and panel discussions during the inaugural Capital BookFest Charleston, sister festival to the successful Capital BookFest in Washington. Headliners include Nikki Giovanni, Mary Alice Monroe, E. B. Lewis, Tananarive Due, Josephine Humphreys, Michelle Singletary, Victoria Rowell, Gary Smith, Sonia Sanchez and Margot Theis Raven. For more information, go online.

(NEW) Harvest Festival: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 6, Mullet Hall Equestrian Center at Johns Island County Park. The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission presents live bluegrass music from five local bands, hay rides, a stick pony corral, live animals, pumpkin decorating, penny diving, lasso demonstrations, crafts and feasting on Carolina barbeque, turkey legs, roasted corn on the cob, kettle korn. Admission is $5; free for children 12 and under and Annual Gold Pass holders. As part of the festival, Mullet Hall Equestrian Center offers a Weekend Trail Ride for horse owners Nov. 5-7. Bring your horse, camping gear and supplies for two nights of camping and trail riding on 20 miles of wooded trails. For more information or to register, call 843-795-4FUN or visit


Blessing of the Vine Festival: 1 to 5 p.m., Nov. 13, Irvin-House Vineyard, located at 6775 Bears Bluff Road on Wadmalaw Island. At the 8th Annual Blessing of the Vine Festival, wine lovers can witness the blessing of muscadine grapevines by a priest, and enjoy live music from The Hawkes while taking in the charming setting of Irvin-House Vineyard. The event, which includes a burger-cookng contest, is open to the public, admission is $5 per car. Food will be available for purchase from Taco Boy, Home Team BBQ and Alchemy Coffee Shop. The Blessing ceremony will start at 2 p.m. For more information, call (843) 559-6867.

3rd Annual Rural Mission Oyster Roast: 3-6 p.m., Nov. 14, Bowen's Island Restaurant. Don't miss this terrific November oyster roast that supports the outreach programs of the Rural Mission, which helps those who have the least. Enjoy great roasted oysters, food, drinks, live music and a great sunset view. Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 for children and are available from the Rural Mission at 843-768-1720, or buy at the door or order online.

The art of negotiation workshop: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to noon, Friday, begins Nov. 15, 297 East Bay St. Erica Ariel Fox leads this workshop using the Beyond Yes Method to turn stressful personal or professional relationships into successful ones. Cost: $850. Go online for more information or phone the Sophia Institute, 843-720-8528.


We encourage you to follow us through Twitter @chascurrents.


12/30: Kiser: Yoga champ
Guerard: Hunger, homeless
Emerson: Ordinance
Meals on Wheels
Joye: Court system vital
Barnette: The Nutcracker
Kaynard: Recycling ideas
Swayne: Health reform
Boisseau: Idea harvested
Hamilton: Operation Home
Humphreys: Being healthier
Dittloff: Saltmarsh
Guerard: Veterans Day
Stanfield: Metanoia invests
Hannah: Immunologix
Clements: Red Cross
Roberts: Road myths
Jones, Patrick: Schools
Spencer: Fine Art Annual
Duncan: 220 years of service
Colbert: Smartphones
Barnette: Ballet season
Bailey: YESCarolina book
Crosland: HeadsUp on injuries
Starland: Visual arts
Vural: Art, essay contest
9/23: Blanchard: House in order
Barry: Going "social"
9/16: Hutchisson: Being green
Schleissman: Wood workshop
9/9: Kirby: Sobering success
Brooks: Great volunteers
9/2: Graul: Lowcountry Loc 1st


12/30: Spiked Ambrosia
Retooling sports gear
Looking for perspective
Experience a gift
Ticket for downtown
11 /11:
Early for Christmas?
On sharpening knives
On voting decisions
Fall color, parties
Squirrel away some pecans
New film on Jews, baseball
Making It Grow
Diving into the Lowcountry
Curbing domestic violence
Shrimp-baiting time
Tail-wagging and -gating
Urban gardening
Nirvana, Class of '14
History is interesting
Robert, Variety Store
Lazy? Boiled peanuts
Purple Toes book
Art opens doors
Lots to do on 4th
Ways to nab skeeters
Dump the Pump, more
Lots to do locally
Dancin' for dollars


12/27: Planning Kansas trip
Remembering Owen
12/13: Inspiring entrepreneurs
Be careful what you ask for
Our linguistic heritage
Shared sacrifice
Media responsibility
11/8: No "new era" for SC
11/1: "Invest" isn't dirty word
10/25: Challenges ahead
10/11: Highway problem
Dupree and Senate
Haley-Sheheen race
Political, energy efficiency
British invasion
Meet Dave the Potter
Gulf pix make impact
Thank a teacher
Pharmacy, juice
Cherry juice, Gardner
Biden on Hollings
About Turkey
Campaign trash
Impatient electorate
Haley's thin record
Daddy-daughter trip
Gulf spill report


10/21: Charleston: good performer
8/19: How many med schools for SC?


10/28: Eggers joins Blackbaud
Restorative Physiology, ArborGen
Finance, accounting class
Busy with meetings
On biz interruptions
Pecha Kucha 7 coming
TwelveSouth again
Tech After 5 hits Chas
TwelveSouth scores praise
Facebook on privacy
Spark Charleston, more
Green Wizard, more
Encouraging biz signs
Biz fair, CED venture
Lowcountry tech hub
Advice on working with Boeing
1/21: Co-working group
1/7: Free library text questions


9/23: Shredding together
Saving money
Energy standards needed
Investing can be tied to ideals
8/5: Trident Tech green grant


12/30: Top lists from 2010
5 tech trends for 2011
5 holiday party tips
12/16: Holiday recycling
12/13: 5 offbeat SC places
12/9: 5 financial sites
12/6: 12 uses of WD-40
12/2: 5 for Web traffic
11/29: 5 on dehydration
11/22: 5 for going back to school
11/18: 5 on foreclosure
11/15: 5 for exercising
11/11: 5 to rid roadblocks
11/8: 5 for keeping warm
11/4: 5 favorite ballets
11/1: 5 for your face
10/28: 5 parenting tips
10/25: 5 on long-term care
10/21: 5 on childhood obesity
10/18: 5 homeless myths
10/14: 5 on breast cancer
10/11: 5 beef cuts
10/7: 5 back helpers
10/4: 5 for recruiting
9/30: 5 kids' books
9/27: 5 for kayaks
9/23: 5 for pets
9/20: 5 at the Gibbes
9/16: 5 date nights
9/13: 5 fall plants
9/9: 5 wine resources
9/6: 5 magical moments
9/2: 5 great preachers

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