SITTING PRETTY. The diaphanous wings of this golden dragonfly perched on the tip of a blade of grass shine in the spring sun. The insect also provided a good lesson: Sometimes, it's important to take a load off and just relax a little. Photo by Andy Brack.
4.29 | Monday, May 21, 2012
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MAY 21, 2012 -- Skin cancers are very common and range from easily-treated basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas to melanomas. In fact, one's lifetime incidence of getting melanoma is now around 1 in 60. How can one effectively protect themselves from skin cancer including deadly melanoma?
It is possible to limit sun exposure without compromising lifestyle. You cannot play golf in the shade, but you don't have to eat lunch in direct sunlight. It is worth noting that daily activities add up to significant sun exposure over time. Over the course of a year, the few minutes spent walking to the mail box will add up to a week spent lying unprotected on a Caribbean beach.
Sunscreens are the first step
The daily use of a sunscreen is important. At least a SPF15 should be used every day as part of one's morning routine and all year, not just in the summer. For times of intentional sun exposure, use a SPF30 or higher..
Seek out and use sunscreens with a critical wavelength of at least 370nm. Critical Wavelength is now the FDA standard to determine if a product provides adequate UVA protection. This is extremely important in that UVA rays cause premature aging and is strongly linked to the development of melanoma. If purchasing a product from a spa or physicians office, ask for the critical wavelength and seek out products with a critical wavelength over 370nm.
Staying out of the sun
Sunscreens need to be part of a broader sun protective strategy that includes sun protective clothing and hats. Broad brimmed hats (brim of 2-3 inches) are very important. Sunscreens are difficult to apply to the ears, around eyes and the scalp. These areas are easy to cover with the shade produced by a hat.
Kids and the sun
There are some facts worth noting about children and sun exposure.
It is very important to apply sunscreens to dry skin at least 10 minutes before going outside. Sunscreens applied to wet skin are not effective. Children are very active, necessitating vigilant reapplication of sunscreen every 1-2 hours. Sun protective swim clothing provides great sun protection for children, and does not need reapplication.
Sun protection and mountain sports
Mountain sports increase sun exposure. Just a 5,000 foot elevation increase will doubles the UVB and UVA exposure. In addition, 85 percent of sunlight is reflected off of fresh snow. In a mountain environment, daily use of sunscreens is critical.
In addition to good sun protective strategies, get to know your dermatologist and get a skin check every year.
MAY 21, 2012 -- Just mention ghosts, a nasty British colonel and alligators and you've got the attention of an elementary class of students.
That's what happened last week as about three dozen students and parents from Charles Towne Montessori School toured historic Middleburg Plantation on the east branch of the Cooper River near Huger.
"This is a place where history comes alive," I told them. "Just look around anywhere -- around here or in Charleston -- and you can spy a clue to our past that will excite you."
What was fun about guiding the students around the private plantation, owned by Jane and Max Hill of Charleston, was to see glow in their eyes when talking about life more than a century ago.
I pointed to a beautiful avenue of oaks that buffers the plantation from the highway. "Who," I asked, "do you think planted them?"
"The owners?" one student suggested.
"Well yes, but do you really think the owners of this big house went and planted the oaks? No, it was probably slaves."
Then I explained about how enslaved Africans were brought to America to do work throughout the agrarian South -- about how that once was seen as acceptable but then as the country grew up was judged to be wrong. We talked about how the nation went to war, in part, over slavery, and how -- despite emancipation -- living conditions changed little in rural areas of the South when the war was over.
On the porch of the house, I pointed to a column where British Col. Banastre Tarleton reportedly jabbed his saber during one of the many nearby skirmishes with colonial forces. And then directing them to look toward an alligator-filled pond near an outbuilding, students learned the likely location of a dozen slave mud cottages covered with palmetto fronds. And they learned how a ghostly orb is said to travel from the front gates to the cottage area on particularly dark nights.
Moments later near old rice fields, I showed them a hard clay area where no grass grows to this day. It's where slaves, and later black tenant farmers, threshed rice.
It's a place where history really does come alive for me. What may seem like a long time ago -- there are pictures of people beating rice in that area around 1900 -- isn't really that long ago in "earth time." The earth still shows evidence of what man did.
At this area -- to highlight how much work that slaves did along our coast -- I read from "Uncommon Ground," a 1992 book of Southern archeology and early African Americans by Leland Ferguson, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of South Carolina. He's discussing the miles of earthen dikes built by slaves in the 1700s along the river:
A lot of work went into making South Carolina what it is. As I told the students, we need to remember who did it as we better understand how history can come alive just by looking around.
We welcome your posts and letters. You can win tickets to a RiverDogs' game for your letters. From now until August, the best signed letter of the month will win four box seat tickets to a baseball game featuring our own RiverDogs. Just drop us a line and you're automatically entered into our ticket giveaway. So, what's on your mind? So drop us a line and tell us what's on your mind or what's bothering you? Or send us other thoughts. 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!
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is the Charleston RiverDogs. The Lowcountrys leader in sports entertainment, Charleston RiverDogs baseball is an attractive, affordable medium for your group or business. The RiverDogs develop the next major league stars for the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees at one of the finest ballparks in Minor League Baseball -- Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Three short words sum up the every day approach taken by the Charleston RiverDogs front office. The brainchild of club President Mike Veeck, the nine-letter phrase Fun Is Good is meant to be a guideline and daily reminder of how employees should approach their jobs and in turn capture the imagination of the fans to turn them into repeat customers. The season is underway! Call them today at (843) 723-7241 or visit online at: www.RiverDogs.com.
MAY 21, 2012 -- The new season of "Food Network Star" on (where else?) the Food Network has a contestant with Charleston ties. Personal chef Malcolm Mitchell mentioned in the show's debut episode May 13 that the shrimp and grits he was preparing for the Food Network judges was a dish he learned from his mother, and that she was born in Charleston. His food won praise from Food Network experts, especially the sauce, which Mitchell described as a tomato-based sauce that included lobster stock as well.
While Mitchell's self-described "simple and soulful" approach to cooking got the thumbs up, his energy level when presenting and describing his dish left the judges slightly underwhelmed. "Kind of sent me to sleep," said Robert Irvine, the British-born chef who hosts "Restaurant Impossible." Still, Mitchell survived the first cut and, as of last night's show, is still hanging tough in the competition.
According to his bio at the show's Web site, the 41-year-old Mitchell was born in the Bronx and lives in Washington, D.C. He works as a private chef with a celebrity clientele that has included singer Mary J. Blige, actor/comedian Chris Tucker and several NBA players. In the show's new team approach to the competition, he is one of five chefs that Bobby Flay chose for his team.
"Malcolm began cooking alongside his mother and credits her for teaching him how to create great meals on a budget," says his bio at the Food Network site. "After his time in the military (four years in the U.S. Navy), he realized that he could turn his passion for cooking and entertaining into a career. He is now a personal chef and caterer for sports teams, politicians and entertainers." To see a video of Mitchell or to catch up on any show episodes you've missed, go here. New episodes air on Sundays at 9 p.m.
New chef relishes warm welcome (back) to the South
The new chef at the Old Village Post House has traveled the extremes from one Mount Pleasant to the other -- literally. Chef de Cuisine Forrest Parker has settled in at the Mount Pleasant (South Carolina) restaurant after having worked for several years in another Mount Pleasant -- the one in Michigan. At a recent luncheon, Parker had a funny description of the contrast. He mentioned that old shtick of frying an egg on the sidewalk -- a staple of Southern TV newscasters trying to show how hot it is here in the summer - and then noted that the Mount Pleasant, Michigan, version of the trick is to go outside in winter and sling water out of a pot into the frigid air -- and watch it crystallize and disappear. Yes, he's been there, done that.
Needless to say, Parker, a native of Anderson in the Upstate, is happy to be back in the South, and if you're a fan of inspired local cooking, you'll be happy he's here, too. The chef has worked with two legends of Lowcountry cuisine - Louis Osteen (formerly of Louis's Charleston Grill) and Frank Lee (vice president of culinary development for Maverick Southern Kitchens, which owns the Post House, Slightly North of Broad, and High Cotton) -- and their influences show. Parker stuffs Boone Hall squash blossoms with shrimp mousse and drizzles them with a tomato tarragon vinaigrette for a delicious small bite, and the crab and avocado salad with arugula and pea shoots gets a distinctively sensational twist from a benne seed vinaigrette. The pan-seared group fillet I had was perfect -- moist and tender -- and the corn custard served alongside it was a show-stopper: creamy and airy, sweet and savory, rich and light, all at the same time.
Check out more of Parker's menu here or look for him next time you're at the Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market, where he's doing occasional demos.
Local restaurant love from Men's Health
The June issue of Men's Health magazine is "The Guy Food Issue," and Charleston got some love in an article titled "Southern Food Rises Again." Writer Matt Goulding and Charleston chef Sean Brock (Husk and McCrady's) went on a weeklong tour of the South to get a look at the state of Southern cuisine today. The Holy City was the first stop (followed by Athens and Atlanta, Georgia; Birmingham, Alabama; and New Orleans). Goulding perhaps summed up many people's misconceptions about Southern food in this comment about a spread at McCrady's: "In nine courses, I eat nothing fried, nothing beige, and no meat to speak of." It's the vegetables that opened his eyes, and rightly so.
find the article at the Men's Health Web site, so if you want to
read it, you'll have to do it the old-school way: buy a copy of the magazine.
After a month of online balloting, the Palmetto Project won a $25,000 check from Starbucks for putting new ideas to work in South Carolina.
The organization was one of four selected by the company in March to participate in an online contest to allow its customers to pick their favorite South Carolina non-profit with a community commitment most like their own. The company opened voting throughout April.
"Starbucks' customers liked that we are innovative and work on issues where South Carolina ranks poorly," said Steve Skardon, executive director of the 28-year-old Palmetto Project. "We're a think-and-do tank, and they really like the doing part."
The Palmetto Project got 44 percent of votes cast, followed by Growing Home Southeast, Donors Choose and Opportunity Finance Network. More info.
Wiggly teams with Mueller's Pasta for education
Wiggly Carolina Co. announced May 16 that it will host a two-week, in-store
promotion to benefit S.C. Future Minds, an organization that works to
connect private donors with public schools.
May 29, every Piggly Wiggly Carolina Co. store will sell Mueller's Pasta
at the special price of 99 cents per box to help support public education
in South Carolina. Twenty-five cents from the sale of every box will go
directly to the organization (up to $10,000).
Piggly Wiggly has donated hotel rooms for teachers attending the state
Teacher of the Year Celebration. By the end of the year, Mueller's will
have given more than eight tons or pasta to 160 public schools to help
them host "Spaghetti Night" fundraisers.
"Piggly Wiggly is proud to forge this partnership with Mueller's Pasta," said Piggly Wiggly spokesman Christopher Ibsen. "It represents local companies banding together to support an important local cause like S.C. Future Minds that will enhance education for students throughout the state. It's opportunities like these that make us all proud to be Employee Owners and part of the Piggly Wiggly family."
Get set for a book lover's delight
It's about to be that special time of the year for book lovers.
The Charleston Friends of the Library will present "That Summer Book Sale" at the main public library branch on Calhoun Street from June 15 to June 17.
Books, DVDs, and CDs, will be available with prices starting at $1 for paperbacks and $3 for hardback books. Items include mysteries, romances, classics, children's books, local histories, cookbooks and a variety of non-fiction topics.
Admission is free for the three-day event, which opens at 9 a.m. on June 15 and 16. On June 17, the event is open with special pricing for two hours only starting at 2 p.m.
The Charleston Friends of the Library is a non-profit volunteer organization that raises money through book sales to help fund library services, equipment, training, materials and public programming. The Friends collect and sort donated books for resale to raise money.
Lots of fun summer events coming at county parks
From mixers and fishing tournaments to "yappy" hours and movies, there are a lot of events for June at Charleston County parks. A sampling:
more about other events, including shagging with the Cruiseomatics (June
16), a triathlon (June 17) and a June 30 reggae show, visit the parks
commission's Web site.
have a review or recommendation of a book, movie, restaurant or local
arts endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Andy
Brack. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
By May 1862, Confederate General Pemberton accepted that it was only a matter of time before the Union army and navy made their attempt to capture Charleston. On May 5, Pemberton issued General Order No. 11, effective at noon on May 13, which affirmed martial law in Charleston and in the country up to ten miles of the city limits.
Colonel Johnson Hagood, First South Carolina Volunteers, was appointed as provost marshal. Hagood was instructed to establish a military police force and terminate "all sales of spirituous liquors." In a proclamation, Hagood announced the immediate closure of "all barrooms and liquor saloons and places where liquors are retailed."
Pemberton had previously announced the evacuation of the Confederate batteries on Coles and Battery islands. On May 13, the steamship Planter was sent to Coles Island to retrieve the four guns. Returning to Charleston in the evening, Captain Relyea decided to dock the ship at the Southern Wharf and offload the guns the next day. Defying orders of the day, the captain and white crew left the ship in the hands of a slave crew overnight, commanded by Robert Smalls, a "trusted" slave. Smalls's plan was to steal the Planter and turn the ship and the guns over to the Union blockade, seeking asylum for himself, his crew and his family.
Smalls later wrote:
Smalls picked up his family at the Atlantic Dock and, at 3:30 a.m. on the morning of May 14, steamed the steam toward Fort Sumter. By 4 a.m., the Planter turned past Fort Sumter and set a course for the Union ships blockading the outer harbor. Smalls presented the Planter to Captain Nichols, commanding officer of the USS Onward.
A Union crew was placed on the ship and steamed for Port Royal, where Smalls was taken to Flag Officer Francis Du Pont for debriefing. The Union gunboats Pembina and Ottawa were dispatched to the Stono River and confirmed the evacuation of the islands at the mouth of the river.
With the intelligence gained from Robert Smalls, Du Pont and Major General David Hunter agreed to a joint army-navy operation on James Island by moving up the Stono River. The general plan formulated by Captain Quincy Gillmore for Brigadier General Thomas Sherman was adopted to place a significant force on James Island and march across the island to take Fort Johnson. The capture of Fort Johnson would isolate Forts Sumter and Moultrie, effectively giving the Union command control of the inner harbor.
South Carolina Governor Francis Pickens asserted to Pemberton that the coming Federal attack would surely be by water, since by late May, the malaria season was arriving. He assured Pemberton, "It is too late in the season for the enemy to send any land forces to invest Charleston regularly." The governor, however, would later prove to be wrong.
In mid-May, Brigadier General States Rights Gist, commander of Confederate troops on James Island, ordered the full evacuation of the island. Plantation owners were required to leave any sheep or cattle for the use by the army.
Shortly thereafter, Union gunboats were spotted at the mouth of the Stono River. By the end of May, the Union navy had six gunboats in place that were making daily patrols up the Stono River.
The James Island defensive lines, constructed in 1860-61, were the main line of defense to face a Union attack from the Stono River. The lines were a series of redans for artillery connected by rifle pits and breastworks stretching from the Mellichamp House on the eastern shore to the Royall House on New Town Creek, the western end of James Island Creek. The lines then turned parallel to the Stono River, reaching Fort Pemberton, located on the north side of the island near Wappoo Creek. At Secessionville, the Tower Battery was constructed on a peninsula formed by a creek from the Folly River.
By the end of May, both Confederate and Union forces were prepared for the attack on Charleston.
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Happiest seaside towns
Hats off to Kiawah Island for being picked the happiest seaside town in the first-ever ranking by Coastal Living magazine.
Here's what the magazine said: "If heaven had a zip code, it would have to be 29455. This exquisite barrier island is home to 10 miles of unspoiled fine-sand beach; wild-growing palmetto, oak, and magnolia trees; a veritable Noah's ark's worth of mammals and rare birds; and 1,626 lucky residents. With small-town charms and proximity to the gracious urbanity of Charleston, Kiawah makes the ideal possible: a vacation-like lifestyle with easy access to commerce and culture."
The top 10 list of happiest seaside towns:
"There's a fine
line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot."
workshop: 6 p.m., May 24, Charleston JCC, 1645 Raoul Wallenberg
Blvd. Charleston Wise is offering an hour-long session to learn more about
how your home uses energy and how to access rebates. Register.
(NEW) Celebration Banquet for the Rev. Dr. McKinley Washington Jr.: 7:30 p.m., May 25, Baptist Hill High School gymnasium, Yonges Island. Celebrate the 50 years of ministry and public service at this special dinner. More info, contact Gwendolyn Jamison, 843.869.2589.
(NEW) Spoleto Festival USA: The 17-day festival runs from May 25 through June 10. Learn more.
"Remembering 'Her' Time:" Through Aug. 17, Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, College of Charleston. This three-month exhibit of the art of Bernice Mitchell Tate is a material culture, historic, fine craft, and art installation exhibition honoring the collective spirit of female identity and African-American womanhood. The exhibit serves as a personal tribute, a "herstory", recognizing the life and times of Tate's mother, the late Veronica Robinson-Mitchell of Sheldon, South Carolina. Furthermore, it is a celebration of Lowcountry culture and authentic African-American Gullah-Geechee heritage. The grand opening will be 7 p.m. May 17 at the Avery Research Center. More info: 843-953-7609.
Weekend water fun. Splash Zone Waterpark at James Island County Park, Splash Island at Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park, and Whirlin' Waters at Wannamaker County Park will be open on weekends in May. Splash Zone will open daily beginning May 21, Whirlin' Waters and Splash Island open daily beginning May 28. More: www.splashparks.com
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
(NEW) Give and Grill blood drive: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., May 29, Felix Davis Community Center, 4800 Park Circle, North Charleston. Charles and Missee Fox will celebrate their 58th birthday with a party to generate blood donations. Not only will participants receive an American Red Cross tumbler, but they'll be able to feast on barbecue, burgers and veggies by caterer Jamie Westendorff. More info.
Nighttime at the Museum: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., June 1, Charleston Museum. Celebrate the end of the school year with your family at the museum's annual evening tour find out how history comes to life! This year's theme is "What is it?", all about exploring curious and odd things from history. There will be scores of living historians representing many time periods, so a young guest could rub elbows with a colonial herbal woman, a Civil War soldier, a flapper next to her 1928 Model A Ford -- or even a medieval knight! Come as you are or join the fun by dressing in historic costume or as a Lowcountry animal! A light pizza supper is included, plus an ice cream station. Tickets are $10/member adult, $20/non-member adult, $5/member child, $10/non-member child, and under 3 free. Early reservations are strongly encouraged. Register online or call 722- 2996 x233.
Learn how to crab: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., June 5; 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., June 6, at the Daniel Island Waterfront Park Pier, 101 River Landing Road, Daniel Island. The Charleston Parks Conservancy will help people -- including children 5 and up with chaperones -- to learn how to catch crabs. You can even take home your catch of crabs larger than five inches! Pre-registration is a must as the class size is limited. Cost: $20 per person. More info.
contest: Entries due June 6. If you want to submit pictures
to the 2012 photo contest by Magnolia Plantations and Gardens, you can
start taking picture now. Submissions start April 1 for photos
taken between March 5 and May 31. More
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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