4.15 | Monday, Feb. 13, 2012
:: FEEDBACK: Two letters
:: SPOTLIGHT: Maybank Industries
:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
:: QUOTE: Keys to the city
:: BROADUS: ONE campaign here
FEB. 13, 2012 -- This is a red flag about "tea party" thinking on transportation spending. The last thing our own red state roads need right now is more red-state thinking. Times may be tough, but scarcity of dollars is no excuse.
Take the thinking of U.S . Rep. Tim Scott (R-1st District), for instance. Replying to constituents' pleas that he re-consider elimination of funding for non-automotive forms of transportation, he said:
In other words, "no" to spending on alternative forms of transportation like bicycling and walking, as if these are frivolous "extras." Charleston Moves and other bicycle/pedestrian advocacy groups argue just the opposite -- that beginning now to invest in bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure is actually the fiscally responsible, practical thing to do.
Mr. Scott is thinking inside same old transportation box. Lopsided cars-and-trucks-only spending means getting around only by cars and trucks because we haven't made it safe to walk or ride a bike -- even for the shortest trips. Forcing everyone into cars means more cars, more pavement, more high-cost road maintenance fees for the long-term, not to mention more costly congestion -- congestion on our roads as well as in our own veins and arteries. One reliable estimate pegs the time lost in traffic for some drivers at as high as 40 hours per year, a full work week, with 3 billion gallons of gas wasted at a price of $78 billion spent idling. Meanwhile, a mere 3 percent reduction in cars on the road results in 30 percent less congestion.
Don't look now, Mr. Scott, but red-state thinking about streets and roads has a huge price-tag. Without safe sidewalks and paths to walk or bike to school, American kids are ahead of kids around the world in obesity rates. They are falling further and further behind in academic achievement (study after study shows that physical activity has a direct, positive correlation to cognitive performance). Hopping in your car to go a few blocks for a loaf of bread directly impacts health care costs, not to mention pollution, reliance on foreign oil, even overall community health and happiness, what used to be called "the commonweal."
If Mr. Scott and his congressional colleagues are serious about curbing the high costs of Medicaid, a good start would be investing in preventative measures such as inexpensive bicycle and walking trails. Health savings resulting from increased physical activity, according to 10 different studies, range up to $1,175 per person per year. And just think about personal liberty: the freedom to choose your own mode of transportation.
Beginning now, as we repair our roads and bridges, we must incorporate sidewalks and bike lanes. It's cheaper if we do it now. It isn't mere "likeability and safety" as Rep. Scott dismissively refers to it. Rather, it is about how transportation infrastructure impacts our communities and our lives. It is also about fairness and equity, about serving the varied transportation needs of all citizens.
Many of Mr. Scott's constituents can't afford to drive cars. Folks we all see riding bikes to their jobs pay taxes, too. Some must. They can't afford cars. Others simply sometimes choose not to drive. (Reasons? Fresh air, exercise, pollution and traffic avoidance.) All those non-motorists deserve our thanks. The fewer folks behind the wheel of a car, the less severe our traffic jams. The more people walk or bike, the less likely they are to clog hospital emergency rooms. It benefits everyone's pocketbook.
This broader perspective isn't "tea party," liberal, conservative, Republican or Democratic. It is smart planning for a healthier, more sustainable future. In California, for the cost of repaving 3 miles of interstate, CalTrans could create 1,250 miles of bike lanes on existing roadways -- and this holds true across the country. One car parking space costs between $3,000 to $5,000 dollars (in a parking deck, one space costs tens of thousands); meanwhile 50 bicycles can be parked in the space needed for only four cars. From a cost-benefit analysis, paving the way for more bicycle access is cheap, prudent and forward-thinking transportation policy.
Economic doldrums may limit our budgets, but we can't afford to limit our thinking. A smaller transportation funding pie is no excuse not to give transportation choice -- bicycling and walking -- a fair slice. Far from "frills," it's an extremely smart investment.
2012 -- Helen Hill, obviously proud of how Charleston last year became
the top travel city by readers of Conde Naste Traveler magazine, offered
a rosy tourism picture in a speech to local Rotarians last week.
Head of the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau for 25 years, Hill extolled the increasing professionalism of Charleston's tourism outreach efforts and showed a great video commercial seen in other parts of the country. Its message: "Thanks, y'all" for visiting Charleston. To see the video that features Mike Lata of Fig restaurant, Mariana Hay of Croghan's Jewel Box and Havin Turner of Market Pavilion Hotel, go here.
"Our industry is thriving," Hill said, noting how a new report said more than 70 percent of Charleston's hotel rooms were occupied in 2010 and revenues were up 6 percent.
Among the reasons Charleston won the top spot in the readers' survey over San Francisco (which had won 18 years in a row) and other communities was Charleston's friendliness. It also didn't hurt that San Francisco's homeless population apparently annoyed those voting in the study, which helped knock it off the top of the list.
She said the community has three challenges to protect its "brand" for visitors.
First, community bickering about cruise ships doesn't look good to people who are considering a visit. Second, the CVB will need to be more creative about its sales effort. Third, the community has to deliver on what it sells.
In the coming year, Hill said she and her team would work harder and smarter to be the "front door of our community." One big advantage: The PGA Championship coming this summer will expose Charleston to hundreds of millions of people across the world. And that can't hurt.
To the editor:
A friend told me about Charlestowne's Import Automotive (CIA) years ago. When I take my car for repair, all I want in a shop is someone who does good work in a timely fashion and is fair and honest.
My son was here one summer and had a list of things his Atlanta shop said needed to be repaired. On my suggestion, he had Chris Henderson look at it. Chris told him much of the suggested work was not necessary at that time. He did fix what needed to be fixed. My son was so impressed he told all of his friends. Most shops don't turn away work. I had found an honest man at an honest shop.
This weekend my car would not start. I had it towed to CIA and Chris just happened to be there. He helped push the car inside to be secure for the weekend. When I checked on Monday, he said the car was ready. A connector near the fuel pump that was changed last May had gone bad. He said they should have found that in May so, no charge.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have asked Chris to check out some noise or to make sure the car was ready for a road trip. Often he says, " No charge." I am so pleased with Chris and CIA that I just want to tell everyone so they can also get an honest to goodness fair shake too.
Captured spirit of Enterprise
To the editor:
Please pass my compliments to Mr. Brack on his wonderfully written article about USS Enterprise. He captures the spirit and special dedication of the young sailors perfectly, and paints just the right picture of those "shining cities on the sea." Nicely done, Andy.
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on Charleston Green Commercial, a full-service commercial property management company that pays attention to detail, provides exceptional personal service and is committed to adding value to buildings. Offering professional property management, consulting and other services, the company strives to improve clients' bottom lines with superior service, accessibility, reliability and a wealth of knowledge of the Charleston real estate market. By blending use of proven contractors and contacts with environmentally-conscious practices, the company helps clients stay on the leading edge of commercial real estate practices. More.
FEB. 13, 2012 -- If you're one of the legion of Glass Onion fans in the Lowcountry, mark next Monday, Feb. 20, on your calendar. At 10 o'clock that night, the Food Network will feature the popular West Ashley restaurant in a segment of "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives."
A blurb at the Food Network's Web site says this of the episode, which is titled "Long Standing Legacies": "This trip, Guy discovers a slice of history all over the country. In Charleston, South Carolina, a couple of fine dining chefs are turnin' out low country classics like crispy chicken legs and the smoked pork loin po boy." (We won't quibble about how they rendered "low country" as two words as long as they make us look good.)
Show host Guy Fieri visited the area last fall and filmed scenes at several spots, and the episodes have just begun airing. First up was Perfectly Franks in Summerville; that show aired in December. Now it's the Glass Onion's time to shine. No word yet on when the other local establishments will make the show, but watch this space and we'll keep you posted.
Tickets still available for Feb. 26 Chefs' Feast
There's not much time left to get tickets for the Lowcountry Food Bank's annual Chefs Feast on Feb. 26. The event raises money for programs that help local children who are touched by hunger and malnutrition - and the Food Bank estimates that one child in four is affected. The Chefs' Feast brings together some of the Lowcountry's best chefs to serve up tasting portions of their favorite dishes. Proceeds go to the Food Bank's Kids Café and BackPack Buddies programs. Kids Café is an after-school program that provides hot, healthy meals and academic support, and BackPack Buddies tackles the issue of weekend hunger. The local programs reach nearly 3,000 children each week, the Food Bank says.
Among the restaurants that will be featured at the Chefs' Feast are Hank's Seafood, Peninsula Grill, Circa 1886, Tristan, Magnolias, Wild Olive, Charleston Grill, Husk, McCrady's, Lana, the Fat Hen, the Art Institute of Charleston, the Culinary Institute of Charleston, the Boathouse at Breach Inlet, Wild Flour Pastry, Poogan's Porch, O-ku, Hall's Chophouse, Sea Island Grill at Wild Dunes, Slightly North of Broad, Oak, Langdon's, Opal, and Cru Café and Catering. Tickets are $175 and can be purchased here.
Some 35,000 people are expected this weekend in Charleston as the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition gets underway for its 30th year. Widely considered the kick-off to Charleston's tourism season,
The Friday-to-Sunday event that celebrates excellence in wildlife art and the sporting life -- the largest of its kind in the nation -- will showcase the work of 120 artists in Charleston Place's grand ballroom as well as several other venues around town:
There's a lot more that you can look at by visiting the SEWE Web site. Tickets are $10 to $20 per day or $40 for all three days. Free shuttles available.
Coastal Community Foundation offers lots of scholarships
High school seniors in the tri-county area who are in the hunt for a college scholarship have just over a month left to apply for any of the awards of $500 to $10,000 made from the 28 scholarship funds administered by the Coastal Community Foundation.
The deadline for applying to the Foundation for scholarships, made possible through the generosity of donors, is March 19, 2012. In submitting one application, students become candidates for all awards for which they qualify.
Coastal Community Foundation has made applying for scholarships easier for students by offering the applications online through the Web-based program, Scholar Select. Before students create an online account, the foundation requests that they review the scholarship descriptions to determine their eligibility. The service will allow students to make online requests for recommendation letters from faculty, mentors, etc. who will submit the letters electronically.
Chapter seeks area's best and brightest
The South Carolina chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is looking for the Lowcountry's best and brightest young professionals to honor in September for their success in the community, philanthropy and industry.
are being accepted now through March 16, 2012. To nominate someone, click
"Best & Brightest" is a 16-week campaign that will start with an honoree kick-off reception on May 24 to introduce the 2012 honorees, their nominators and special guests. Social events for honorees will also be held in June, July and August. On Sept. 13, 2012, the chapter will hold a celebration party and awards presentation.
billion with a "B": SCRA powers knowledge economy
applied research and commercialization services company with a big Charleston
office, made $1.4 billion in 2011 in annual contributions to drive South
Carolina's technology-based economy, according to a new study by the University
of South Carolina's Moore School of Business. Over 28 years, the organization
has contributed $14 billion to the state's economy.
continues to have a major impact on South Carolina's economy," said
Douglas Woodward, USC Division of Research director who led the study.
"The numbers in the study indicate that SCRA supports over 15,000
technology jobs in the state with an average wage between $55,000 and
$75,000. These jobs are not only high-paying, but highly technical and
dramatically improve South Carolina's economy while making our state more
the current Moore School study with prior surveys, SCRA's cumulative economic
output represents a contribution of over $14 billion to South Carolina's
economy. Over the last six years, SCRA has more than doubled revenues,
growing from $74 million to $195 million. In keeping with that growth,
the company's economic contributions also doubled in the time period.
In the last year alone, revenues increased by $23 million, a 13 percent
rise. In the same time frame, SCRA's annual South Carolina economic output,
as measured by the Moore School, grew from just over $1 billion to $1.45
mission is to be a global leader in applied research and technology while
developing the Knowledge Economy and creating jobs in South Carolina,"
said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney. "We continue to fulfill our mission by
competitively winning and delivering programs for our federal and corporate
clients and supporting emerging, high-tech companies in the state through
our flagship SC Launch program."
The ACE Basin consists of around 350,000 acres in the watershed of the Ashepoo, Combahee and Edisto Rivers in the South Carolina Lowcountry, which drains one-fifth of the state. The ACE Basin encompasses a range of ecosystem types from forested uplands to tidal marsh (salt, brackish and fresh water). The basin is home for more than 260 permanent and seasonal bird species and seventeen rare or endangered species, including the wood stork and the loggerhead turtle.
History, as much as geography, unites the three rivers. By the 1750s the rivers were lined with plantations dedicated to rice production and using African slaves for the arduous labor required. Most plantations controlled tidal flows by a series of floodgates (rice trunks), dikes, and canals to grow vast amounts of rice. The Civil War and emancipation, along with an increase in both foreign and domestic competition, led to the eventual collapse of rice culture. Through the twentieth century, the ACE Basin experienced almost no industrial development, which kept the landscape largely intact as forest and estuary.
In 1988 Ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources joined forces to create the ACE Basin Project to preserve the landscape and wildlife habitat. The combined federal, state and private conservation groups used purchases of public land, conservation easements and other methods to preserve 135,980 acres of land by 2000.
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© 2008-2012, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. Charleston Currents is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
Since 2007, researcher, tour guide and author Mark R. Jones has owned and operated Black Cat Walking Tours, which specializes in the darker history of Charleston and its murders, ghosts and scandals. Author of the Wicked Charleston series, Jones offers this intriguing list of novels about Charleston that he says you've probably never read (and may not have heard of). In alphabetical order:
"Carrion Comfort," by Dan Simmons (1989). The War and Peace of the horror genre and the winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel. There are a small number of humans born with the Ability, which gives them the power to control other human's minds and bodies. In December 1980 a small circle of psychic vampires gathers in Charleston for a reunion. Two of the vampires are killed and a world-wide struggle for power among them begins. One of the most evil creatures in modern literature is 'sweet little old Charleston lady,' Melanie Fuller.
"The Devil of Charleston," by Rebel Sinclair (2005). Capt. Royal Ashurst is a brooding sea captain branded the "devil of Charleston" by a powerful merchant, Carter Seymour. Royal is sucked into events out of his control when he becomes an "agent" for the city when the notorious Blackbeard blockades the harbor. Swashbuckling historical romance by a local resident. (NOTE: Ms. Sinclair is Jones's wife.)
"Great Mischief," by Josephine Pinckney (1948). The year is 1895, and Timothy Partridge operates an old-fashioned rundown apothecary shop where he brews fiery potions and his walls are decorated nails bat wings and hummingbird feathers. One stormy night a young woman dashes into the shop with an urgent plea for some solanum (a plant). Tim knows instantly there's something "off" about the girl, but he has no idea that she's actually a witch from hell, who will intertwine herself to his life and change it--forever.
"Settling Accounts: In at the Death," by Harry Turtledove (2007). This is the last novel of the Settling Accounts tetralogy which begins with the Confederate States winning the Civil War in 1862. In this final book, the United State detonates an atomic bomb in Charleston, wiping the city off the map, in retaliation for starting the War Between the States in 1861.
"Werewolf Smackdown," by Mario Acevedo(2010). Felix Gomez, vampire detective, comes to Charleston to stop a Civil War among the werewolf clans of the low country. If you like your mystery stories flavored with some supernatural creepiness and tongue-in-cheek humor, try this oddly entertaining novel.
"Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks."
signing: 5 p.m., Feb. 16, Blue Bicycle Books, 420 King St.,
Charleston. Alabama native Taylor Polites, author of the new book "The
Rebel Wife," will be on hand to sign his debut historical novel that
takes place during the Civil War. More
Homage to Elvis: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Feb. 16, downtown Summerville. February's Third Thursday is going to have a whole lotta shaking going on as we pay homage to Elvis. He'll be all over town with entertainers singing Elvis songs and Elvis giving free rides around downtown in the Charleston Stingrays' FanZam! More info by email or phone, (843) 821-7260.
Last Train to Nibroc:
8 p.m. on Feb. 17, 18, 23-25, and March 1-3; Matinee
at 3 p.m. Feb. 26, at the Charleston Acting Studio, 915 Folly Road,
James Island. Midtown/Sheri
Grace Productions will offer Arlene Hutton's "funny, touching
portrait of two people searching for happiness" in several performances.
are $14 to $18.
Homegrown Shakespeare: 7:30 p.m., Feb. 17 and Feb. 18, College of Charleston Sotille Theatre, 44 George St., Charleston. Holy City Shakespeare will present William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." The company sets this crowd-pleasing comedy in a small American town at the end of World War II. Authentic Southern folk music and a barn dance round out this production of a play about soldiers coming home to family, neighbors, potential mates-and a rumor mill that can bring them together or pull them apart. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for students (25 and under) and seniors (60+).
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
(NEW) Hooper exhibit music: 4 p.m., Feb. 26, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Quintet will perform chamber music by Debussy, Handel and others as a musical response to a current exhibit at the Gibbes Museum, "Jill Hooper: Contemporary Artist." Tickets are $15 for museum members; $25 for others. More: 843.722.2706 or online here.
(NEW) Southern politics symposium: March 1-2, The Citadel, Charleston. The 18th Citadel Symposium on Southern Politics will feature a roundtable discussion of the 2012 presidential election as well as participation by about 100 noted political scientists and students from around the country. Schedule.
Charleston Film Festival: March 1-4, Terrace Theatre, James Island. Partnering with Columbia's Indie Grits Festival, the Charleston festival will offer a $2,500 first-place prize and a week of exhibition at the Terrace. Both festivals will release their line-ups and schedules soon. Click here for more.
(NEW) Otranto Book Sale: Starting at 9 a.m., March 2 and 3, Otranto Regional Branch Library, 2261 Otranto Road, Charleston. Friends of the Library will have their first book sale of the year. More online.
Beautiful bulldog contest: 12:30 p.m., March 17, Johnson Hagood Stadium. The Citadel Football Association is holding its second annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest before the school's spring football game. They're looking for English bulldogs to participate (last year they had 54 dogs). You can visit with dogs and owners starting at 11 a.m. Cost: $5, with proceeds to provide support for The Citadel's bulldog mascots and the school's athletic scholarships. More: On the Web or 864.230.6002.
(NEW) Charleston Jazz: 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., March 24, Charleston Music Hall, 37 John Street, Charleston. Join the Charleston Jazz Orchestra for "Swingin' Soul," a big-band tribute to the golden era of rhythm and blues. Tickets: $30 to $40. More: Jazz Artists of Charleston.
Bird walks: 8:30 a.m. to noon, every Wednesday and Saturday. This is the time of year that a great variety of migrating birds fly through the Lowcountry so what better time to take part in one of the regular early morning bird walks at Caw Caw Interpretive Center in Ravenel. Pre-registration is suggested. Cost is $5. Learn more online.
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