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CharlestonCurrents.com offers insightful community comment and good news on events twice each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer the best of what's happening locally. What readers say
AUG. 22, 2011 - A recent trip to Asheville demonstrated what the future of the local movement in Charleston could be. The signs in the windows of the nearly all local-independent businesses that reside in the booming downtown, say "Local, it's the new black." This partnered with the "Love Asheville, Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is" shows the loyalty and commitment of a community to local independent businesses.
While the support of local independent businesses has greatly increased with the Buy Local movement initiated by Lowcountry Local First in Charleston, we still have room for improvement. The idea of purchasing food from local farmers has become more than a trend but a way of life for many. When LLF first started almost 5 years ago there were no Community Supported Agriculture programs in the area. We now have over 14 farmers and fishermen participating in CSAs and over 3,000 members of our community now receiving the direct benefits of their labor.
How do we translate the same connections with growers in our area to other local businesses? We support area farmers and fishermen because we want to know who grew our food; the fresh products taste better and we want to play a part in the preservation of our farmland and seafood industry. These same desires can be translated to supporting local independent businesses: We typically receive better service, we can meet the shop or business owner, and we want to keep our area unique.
The benefits of supporting these local businesses are 3 times that of supporting a national chain. Local business owners live here, pay taxes, support our schools, parks and arts, and are engaged in the community. According to a study done by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, nonprofits receive an average 350% more support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses.
So, I believe we have a great opportunity here to stop chasing the elephant that so many in our communities see as the answer to economic recovery. The idea that the huge corporation is going to come into the area and solve all of our economic woes is dated to say the least. But I often have to remind myself of the Buckminster Fuller quote, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." The existing model is obsolete and we as a community have the opportunity to create the new model by investing in the people who already are invested in our community.
Charleston's rich history, natural beauty and understandable pride can be enhanced by being a little more like our friends in Asheville. The recognition Charleston receives as a Top Destination city in the country is not because we have national retailers on King Street, but because of the wonderful dining and shopping experiences that visitors and locals alike have when seeking out the those truly special experiences.
Lowcountry Local First is now over 400 members strong and our network of local business owners and community members is growing at a rapid rate. We continue to develop programs and ideas that ease the process of supporting our local independent businesses by offering discounts and promotions through the Buy Local card, establishing a new website with a more robust searchable directory, our 5th Buy Local campaign coming this holiday season and more.
The great thing about this movement is that it is one that everyone can get behind. It falls neither on the left or the right of the political line and establishes the new model that will sustain us for the long haul!
Metro Charleston can help lead the next economy
By ANDY BRACK, publisher
AUG. 22, 2011 -- With an overflow crowd set to meet Tuesday [See Good News below] to learn more about the tri-county area's new regional plan, let's recall some lessons offered by a Brookings Institution senior fellow less than a month ago.
Amy Liu, co-director of the think tank's Metropolitan Policy Program, gave a fact-filled presentation here July 28 in which she argued that the next American economy would be fueled by metropolitan areas like Charleston. [You can see and read her full presentation here.] Some of the major points:
Last year, I met Amy Liu when moderating a panel on the future of the Gulf region. She offered smart insights then about the recovery of the Gulf states and New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil disaster. Now in Charleston, we need to listen to her advice on how to grow more -- and higher-paying -- jobs here.
SPEAKING OF THE GREEN ECONOMY, a recent science story in The New York Times educated us about the array of new bulbs available for lights throughout the home. Not only are power-saving fluorescent bulbs more affordable -- and dimmable -- but an array of LED bulbs now on the market will last a lifetime without changing. While the LED bulbs are expensive -- $40 for one interior spotlight -- the heat they produce is minimal. Over the weekend, we changed eight incandescent interior floods in our great room with eight fluorescents (about $9 each) and are amazed at how the new bulbs generate far less heat than what we had before.
* * *
MOVE OVER SUMMER. You can tell that fall is on the way as the end of August is knocking the edge off of the high heat and humidity that we've experienced this year. One indicator is in our garden, which has started producing eggplants again. Six weeks ago, the heat seemed to have triggered the "off" button on the plants, but lately, they're growing again.
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FREEDOM INDEX. In the most recent issue of Statehouse Report, there's a commentary on how South Carolina ranks on a Freedom Index produced by a right-leaning think tank in Virginia. You might find the results to be pretty interesting -- and instructive for the future.
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. Today we shine our spotlight on a company familiar to many across the Lowcountry: Force Protection, Inc. Since its founding in 1996 in Charleston, S.C., Force Protection has emerged as a leading manufacturer of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that are deployed in support of armed forces and security personnel serving in theaters of operation around the globe. With a mission of bringing our heroes home safely, Force Protection is continually researching, developing and delivering leading-edge, life-saving solutions designed to counter roadside bomb threats, including IEDs and EFPs. For the complete profile, visit www.forceprotection.net.
2011 - It's been a heckuva summer for Charleston restaurants and chefs
in the national media, highlighted by last week's designation of Husk
as Bon Appetit
magazine's Best New Restaurant in America). Now it looks like the
acclaim train is going to keep on rolling into the fall with the news
that local chef Robert Carter of Peninsula Grill fame will appear on "Iron
Chef America" on the Food Network on Sept. 4.
The BCD Council of Governments reports that response to its Aug. 23 Regional Forum has been tremendous.
"It has been wonderful to see how many citizens care about the future of our region and want to provide input in crafting a preferred growth scenario," Council of Governments Senior Planner Kathryn Basha said.
To accommodate the citizens interested in the regional forum, BCDCOG has increased the size of the meeting space at Trident Technical College's Complex for Economic Development. Satellite locations also have been added in each county. Even with the increase in capacity, there is a waiting list for the 5:30 to 9 p.m. forum at Trident Tech's Rivers Avenue facility.
"Adding the satellite locations not only allows us to accommodate overflow from the live event, they also offer a closer option for those who live on the outer edges of our large tri-county region," Basha said.
Satellite locations for the 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. regional forum on Tuesday, include:
Satellite locations will provide a simultaneous webcast of the forum presentations and materials to participate in the exercises. Satellite location participants will be able to communicate questions and comments with forum leaders at the Trident Tech Complex for Economic Development via WebEx while the forum is occurring. While keypad polling capabilities will not be available to provide real time input at the satellite locations, input received at every location will be incorporated into the development of the preferred scenario.
The program at the satellite locations begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. Persons interested in participating who have not yet registered can register for one of the satellite locations via an email to email@example.com.
Being prepared: Red Cross pushes disaster readiness
Red Cross and community officials encouraged area residents to be ready for disasters during an Aug. 17 news conference.
"Being prepared and supporting each other is essential" said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
The Red Cross has pre-positioned a 53-foot Red Cross tractor-trailer filled with emergency supplies to assure the community that Red Cross staff and volunteers will have the tools they need to effectively respond to a local disaster.
"Only 7 percent of Americans are considered Red Cross Ready for disasters. We want, and need everyone, to be prepared," said Louise Welch William, CEO of the Charleston region of the American Red Cross.
Families and businesses should have a disaster plan in place, she added.
"If community organizations or businesses need help making their plan, please call us and we will be happy to give you a 20-minute preparedness presentation."
Trident Tech offers course on Civil War in Charleston
Life on the homefront during the Civil War is the focus of Charleston History and Inspiration, a continuing education course offered by Trident Technical College.
This course will meet 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, Sept. 13-Oct. 4, at the Culinary Institute of Charleston at Palmer Campus, 66 Columbus St. The cost is $125. Course topics include:
Charleston History and Inspiration is approved as a recertification course for tour guides by the city of Charleston Tourism Commission.
Hanahan business to be honored today for job creation
administrator of the federal Small Business Administration, Cassius Butts,
is scheduled to visit Hanahan firm UEC Electronics today to recognize
its record of job creation and tour its 48,000-square-foot production
Twenty years ago, filmmaker Julie Dash broke through racial and gender boundaries to become the first African-American woman to debut a film with wide release across the country.
"Daughters of the Dust" is a highly artistic film that introduced many Americans to the history, opulence, and complexity of the South Carolina Gullah-Geechee culture and contextualized it within wider discourses on race, class, gender, and skin-color at the turn of last century.
On Sept. 16 and 17, The College of Charleston's Avery Research Center, Carolina Low Country and Atlantic World Program, and African American Studies Program, The International African American Museum and the South Carolina Historical Society plan to examine the lessons learned from "Daughters of the Dust" and its influence in the academy and society.
The two-day symposium will feature lectures, discussions and the screening of the film in Hampton Park.
Humanists, freethinkers, atheists to gather in November
first time, humanists, freethinkers, atheists and members of other secular
groups across North and South Carolina are coming together to plan important
initiatives for 2012 and beyond.
few years have seen a strong and steady growth in the number Carolinas
residents openly moving away from religion. They are adding rapidly to
the numbers of lifelong humanists and atheists who make up almost 20 percent
of American society, but go largely unrecognized in many regions of the
The keynote banquet speaker will be Dr. Darrel Ray, author of "The God Virus,"on the subject of "Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion?" based on his recent study of over 10,000 survey submissions on sex lives across all faiths.
Painter Louis Rémy Mignot was born in Charleston on Feb. 3, 1831, into a French-Catholic family. At the age of 17 he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts at The Hague, where he remained for five years. He became a student of Andreas Schelfhout, a highly regarded Dutch landscape painter.
In 1854 he returned to the United States and became actively involved in the New York art world. In the manner of the Hudson River school painters, he went on sketching forays in the Catskill Mountains. He specialized in landscape painting and on several occasions provided the backgrounds to ambitious figure groups, as in Washington and Lafayette at Mount Vernon, a collaboration with Thomas P. Rossiter in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mignot's landscapes were exhibited at the prestigious Century Association and the National Academy of Design, where he was elected to the status of associate academician in 1858.
Mignot was one of the first tenants of the Tenth Street Studio Building, the earliest American facility designed specifically for artists. One of his fellow tenants was Frederic Edwin Church, a leading exponent of the second generation of Hudson River school painters. In 1857 Church and Mignot made an expedition to Central and South America, traveling to Guayaquil and Quito, Ecuador; trekking along the "Avenue of Volcanoes" and taking in such Andean landmarks as Cotopaxi, Cayambe, and Chimborazo. From sketches obtained on this expedition Mignot developed some of his most acclaimed canvases.
On January 11, 1860, Mignot married Zairah Harries of Baltimore. The couple had one son. During the Civil War, Mignot remained in New York until 1862, when he departed for England.
Because his career was relatively short and his works scattered, Mignot has suffered from comparison to his better-known friend Church. While the scholar Katherine Manthorne maintains that "Mignot was arguably the most accomplished southern-born painter of his generation," she also recognizes a fundamental dilemma, namely, "the degree to which he should be classified as a southern artist." Mignot never seems to have painted scenes of his native region. However, during his lifetime critics saluted Mignot's singular ability at rendering humid atmosphere, which they viewed as a direct result of his youth in South Carolina. This was the judgment of the noted art connoisseur Henry Tuckerman, who wrote in 1867, "Quite diverse from the exactitude and vivid forest tints of our Eastern painters, are the southern effects so remarkably rendered by Louis R. Mignot, whose nativity, temperament, and taste combine to make him the efficient delineator of tropical atmosphere and vegetation."
Major paintings by Mignot are in the collections of Greenville County Museum of Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Bowdoin College Museum of Art. On September 22, 1870, Mignot died of smallpox in Brighton, England, and was buried at Brighton Cemetery, Woodvale.
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Easing back into school
Here are six tips from Eileen Wacker, mother of four and author of the award-winning Fujimini Adventure Series, for helping to distress the first weeks back at school for your children:
For additional information
on the Fujimini Adventure Series, please visit www.oncekids.com.
"I might repeat
to myself slowly and soothingly, a list of quotations beautiful from minds
profound -- if I can remember any of the damn things."
Auditions for Youth Plays: 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., Aug. 22, South of Broadway Theatre Company (a non-profit organization), 1080 E. Montague Ave.,North Charleston. Ages 13-18: Power Play, remounting last year's popular production, with additional school performances in discussion. Ages 9-13: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, a creepy musical experience. Power Play performance dates: Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow performance dates: Nov. 12 at 7 p.m., Nov. 13 at 3 p.m.
(NEW) RiverDogs At Home: 7:05 p.m., Aug 22, 23, 24, 25. The RiverDogs have a four-game homestand against the Greenville Drive, with fun themed events each night. For information and tickets, go online or call the box office at 843-577-3647.
Facebook Seminar: 9 a.m. to noon, Aug. 23, Charleston Digital Corridor Flagship, 475 E. Bay St. (corner of East Bay and Calhoun streets). Step Ahead offers two seminars sharing tips for successfully using Facebook to promote and grow your business. Part 1 will focus on the basics of setting up a Facebook page, behind-the-scenes functions, posting strategy, photos, videos and tagging. The second will explain how to customize your page, strategies for generating results, Facebook apps and Insights (analytics). Each seminar is $65 or register for both and save $10 ($120 for both). For more information or to register, visit here or email here.
Femivore: 6 p.m., Aug. 23, Ashley Hall, 172 Rutledge Ave. The evening will feature food from area female chefs, wine, champagne, snoballs and music, as well as presentations on the local food movement. Tickets, $30, are available online.
Hurricane & Earthquake Expo: 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Aug. 24, at SCRA MUSC Innovation Center, 645 Meeting St. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce hosts a Hurricane and Earthquake Awareness Expo. Get resources on how to prepare for and protect your business from natural and man-made disasters. Also speakers on how Charleston prepares for a disaster, how to protect your employees and more. Cost: $55 Chamber Members, $95 Non-Members. Register online.
Wellness Weekend: Aug. 26 and 27, Woodlands Inn, 125 Parsons
Road, Summerville. Weekend will include facials, manicures, pedicures
and massages, as well as yoga classes, tennis lessons, and heart healthy
meals served in Woodlands' Five Star Dining Room. There will be classes
in cocktail-making and cooking, as well as health screening and seminars.
Rates start at $645 per person, based on double occupancy. Day-only rates
are available upon request. To make a reservation, call 843-308-2106,
e-mail or visit
Women In Defense: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Aug. 26, Carrabba's, 2150 Northwoods Blvd., North Charleston. State of the Organization meeting featuring annual reports from committee chairs, announcements from executive and election boards and future plans. RSVP by email to attend by Aug. 22. $20 member/$25 non-member. Cash only at door. More: visit this site.
Grape Stomping Festival: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Aug. 27, Irvin~House Vineyards, 6775 Bears Bluff Road on Wadmalaw Island. Join in the yearly harvest and stomping of the grapes at Charleston's only winery, Irvin~House Vineyards. Bring lawn chairs or a blanket to picnic on the expansive lawn, but no coolers. The highlight of the Grape Stomping Festival is the Lucy Look-A-Like Contest. For more information, visit www.charlestonwine.com. Admission is $10 per car.
Black Woman Redefined: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Aug. 28, Mount Pleasant Towne Centre Barnes & Noble. Sophia A. Nelson, a national opinion columnist, JET Magazine feature political writer, and MSNBC analyst, will be signing copies of her book, "Black Woman Redefined." Nelson arms black women of this and the next generation with the necessary tools to redefine themselves and overcome destructive notions that black women can't have it all-a career, a love life, and a healthy balance.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
The Rule of Law: 2 p.m., Aug. 31, Charleston County Public Library Main Branch, 68 Calhoun St. Larry Krasnoff, Ph.D., of the College of Charleston, will begin a four-part lecture series based on the book, "Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror," by Benjamin Wittes.
Wine and Beer Festival: 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sept. 4, on the Green at Freshfields Village on Johns Island. The 5th Annual Lowcountry Wine and Beer Festival will benefit the Barrier Islands Free Medical Clinic, Inc. Guests will enjoy an array of wines and beers, Lowcountry cuisine, a silent auction, and live jazz music will be provided by the Cobblestone Quartet. Tickets are $35 in advance, and $40 at the gate. Junior tickets (age 10 to 20) are $20, and children under 10 are free. Tickets may be purchased at Hyams Garden and Accent Store, Paul's Hairstyling, Forsberg's Wine and Spirits, the Johns Island UPS Store, Schoen Ace Hardware, Indigo Books, Freshfields Village Guest Services, Seabrook Island Real Estate and Kiawah Island Town Hall.
(NEW) Girls' Night Out: 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sept. 19, Savory Sushi and Catering at 1956-B Maybank Highway, Terrace Shopping Center. A free Girls Night Out event featuring a wine tasting and pairing with Savory's Gourmet-to-Go selections, a trunk show of Stella and Dot Jewelry, and access to special deals from Go Charleston Deals. The bonus for the first 50 guests will be a Goodie Envelope filled with savings coupons from all event presenters. Space is limited and RSVPs are requested. More: Call 843-762-3338 or go online.
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Aviation hero Moffett
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tech companies move here
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