4.30 | Tuesday, May 29, 2012
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:: SPOTLIGHT: Piggly Wiggly
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:: BROADUS: Wiley and the Hairy Man
WHERE IS IT?
MAY 29, 2012 -- High school graduation season has arrived, just as the general election for president kicks off. If either candidate visited our community and attended an inner-city commencement, we would encourage them to focus not only on the proud graduates, but also on those missing young people - the kids who dropped out along the way.
A 2010 report by Schott ranked South Carolina among the 10 lowest performing states for black males. More specifically, Charleston County ranks among the 10 lowest performing large districts in the nation for black males. Nationally, 47 percent of black males graduate from high school; in Charleston, we graduate 24 percent. All of those statistics are appalling.
There is a growing body of evidence that giving elementary school kids a rich, textured after school curriculum focused on social and emotional learning can have a profound impact on their desire to stay in school. That's right: what happens after school can make a kid want to stay in school.
As CEO of WINGS for kids, an area nonprofit that introduces Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) to at-risk elementary students, I see the impact after school programs can have.
Every school day, WINGS leaders (bright, enthusiastic college students) work with small groups of kids who have been referred to us by teachers, parents or social workers.
These kids face extraordinary circumstances that can only kindly be termed "challenging." Without WINGS, these first through sixth grade students would leave school (where days are often spent struggling to learn or being disciplined) and head home to a fractured mosaic of problems, among them poverty, hunger, violence, drug and alcohol dependency, and neglect. Buffeted by an academic world they could scarcely navigate, and a home that children are not prepared to comprehend, these kids cry out for a safe place to learn, and to feel.
WINGS' focus on Social and Emotional Learning provides a cognitive and psychosocial bridge between the rational life of school and the irrational life of home. We focus on helping children understand, articulate and manage their feelings. We focus on relationship skills, self-control, and self esteem.
Our kids work hard to model good behaviors, and to earn the respect of their leaders and their peers. And they stay in school. Research shows that immersing kids in SEL in elementary school leads to a 40 percent higher high school graduation rate, when compared to their peers. WINGS is the only U.S. organization focused solely on delivering SEL after school.
But should it be? We don't think so. We believe introducing SEL to at-risk elementary children nationwide could be as impactful as Head Start and other early education programs. They prepare students to learn. WINGS prepares kids to thrive.
We serve children who, by every national measure, occupy the absolute depths of poverty and despair. Our kids are predominantly from low-income, African-American families-a population that research shows carries an alarming rate of high school dropouts. Yet WINGS kids achieve that 40% higher graduation rate.
This graduation season, we will cheer as WINGS kids walk (and sometimes float) across stages to collect diplomas. Many will go on to college to fulfilling careers.
So as people in Washington seek to stop teens from dropping out, we invite them to look not at the school day, but at after school in the primary grades. We ask them to consider how tomorrow's workforce could be strengthened by young, bright people armed with the ability to perceive AND to achieve.
And as two well-educated men vie for president, we invite them to consider how to give every child the skills they need to soar.
MAY 29, 2012 -- Nate DaPore is a local boy made good locally. The Bishop England graduate has a great story to tell about his company, PeopleMatter, which makes software to help human resources professionals better manage hourly workers.
Energetic and engaging, DaPore has created a vibrant tech company that has gone through three rounds of funding by raising $28.2 million in venture capital. Formally launched in September 2010 at the beginning of the busy retail holiday season, PeopleMatter took off in January 2011 and hasn't looked back since. Now with about 80 employees, most of whom are in its North Charleston headquarters, the company expects to be 200 strong by next year and move its main office to upper King Street near the Charleston School of Law.
DaPore said he stumbled into creating PeopleMatter while taking some time off after working eight years and spending more than 200 days a year on the road for local software benefits company BenefitFocus. While on a long rest, he said he discovered that restaurants, retail, convenience stores and hospitality companies had a similar need -- an easy-to-use system to do "talent management," or hire, train, schedule and evaluate hourly workers. By conducting better screening and training using tech tools to monitor workers, companies can reduce turnover and improve employee experiences, he says.
So far, it seems to be working. One company has reported saving 2,200 hours in hiring. Another has saved $124,800 in "onboarding management processes." Another has reduced turnover by 35 percent.
In the months ahead as PeopleMatter moves downtown, keep your eyes on what DaPore and his team are doing -- and proving how local tech companies can compete in the national marketplace.
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A Friday Statehouse Report column on unions ("Unions shouldn't be a bogeyman for SC") brought some criticism that suggested that American labor organizations were socialist.
Wrong. Socialism is a broad economic system characterized by social ownership of an enterprise and the control of the means of production by that enterprise. In America, capitalism drives the country's economic engine. It thrives through private ownership and the private control of the means of production. Unions exist, in part, to provide workers with some negotiating power with private owners and with another big employer, the government.
The point of the article was that South Carolinians shouldn't be scared of organized labor, which comprises less than 4 percent of the work force here. And in one of the nation's strongest right-to-work states, Gov. Nikki Haley should stop her unhealthy obsession in bullying unions (although it hasn't helped that union members recently whacked a piñata with Haley's face as the target.)
Take unions for what they are: organizations that have helped improve America's standard of living and have boosted productivity over the years by pushing for reasonable work weeks, ensuring workers with weekend leisure time, winning battles for hourly wages, ending child labor and improving health care.
Unions have done a lot of damage to themselves over the years and that's why many have a bad taste in their mouths about them. As outlined last week, "To be relevant today, unions need to get smarter about how they present themselves to state lawmakers and show how they can help be good partners with the state for better jobs. At the same time, state lawmakers and businesses need to take off their blinders about unions and realize they're not trying to destroy corporate America, but trying to help more people realize the American dream."
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. Today we shine our spotlight on the most famous Pig in the Lowcountry: Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company.
Founded in 1947 in Charleston, Piggly Wiggly Carolina Company proudly serves customers at more than 100 stores throughout South Carolina and coastal Georgia. Piggly Wiggly offers the finest quality meats, cut to order by skilled, in-store butchers, more local produce than anyone in the state, and freshly prepared deli foods that satisfy the Southern soul. The Piggly Wiggly family provides legendary customer service, delivered every day by the Employee Owners of our 100 percent employee-owned company.
By using their Pig Card, customers earn Greenbax that returns incredible value by offering free gas, free groceries, free gift cards, and many other opportunities to cash in and save. Piggly Wiggly remains deeply committed to investing in the communities we serve by supporting not-for-profit organizations of all missions and sizes to enrich the regions quality of life. Piggly Wigglys roots run deep in the Lowcountry, and Mr. Pig invites Charleston Currents readers to invest in our local economy by shopping The Pig! More: http://www.thepig.net.
The City of Charleston offers eight plug-in vehicle stations downtown thanks to a grant and help from Plug In Carolina. If you have on e of the increasing numbers of plug-in electric vehicles, you can get juiced at:
The Daniel Island Historical Society will honor the legacy of the late master blacksmith Philip Simmons at a special June 7 event featuring renowned Gullah artist Jonathan Green. The 5 p.m. gathering at the Daniel Island Real Estate Sales Center will commemorate Simmons' 100th birthday. Limited edition poster prints featuring Green's painting "Memory Dreams" will be available for purchase at the event, both signed and unsigned.
Born on Daniel Island on June 9, 1912, Simmons is one of the island's most revered former residents. A park named in his honor features an original ironwork design he created especially for Daniel Island.
The Daniel Island Historical Society, which was formed in March 2011, seeks to preserve and promote the island's rich and unique history by sharing the island's "story." This event, the first fundraiser for DIHS, offers an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Simmons' important contributions to the community while raising awareness about DIHS and its mission.
"You simply cannot pass through Daniel Island's downtown district without experiencing Mr. Simmons' artistry,"' said Beth Bush, co-founder of the Daniel Island Historical Society. "We are thrilled to be able to honor Mr. Simmons' legacy by hosting his centennial birthday celebration. Having the esteemed Jonathan Green celebrate with us is just a fitting tribute to Mr. Simmons. We, as a community, owe a great deal to these men, who share stories of Lowcountry history through works of art that are enjoyed by people from all over the world."
Once in a lifetime: Transit of Venus viewing at C of C on June 5
The College of Charleston Department of Physics and Astronomy will host a public viewing of rare event involving the planet Venus and the sun on June 5. On that day, Venus will pass across the face of the sun, producing a silhouette that no one alive today will likely see again. The next "transit of Venus" is not expected until the year 2117.
the event, Venus will be seen from Earth as a small black disk moving
across the face of the sun. The duration of such transits is usually measured
in hours. The college will have telescopes available to view Venus crossing
in front of the Sun. Safe solar filters will be given to the first 50
participants to arrive.
County has new economic development Web site
year of work, Charleston County's Economic Development Department has
a new Web site that touts a range of information needs for people interested
in locating here.
am very proud of the statement this Web site makes about Charleston County
as a partner to business," said Charleston County Council Chairman
Teddie E. Pryor Sr. "Our public service leadership in fiscal management,
environmental stewardship, public safety and economic development greatly
enhances the local business climate and quality of life and creates a
unique value proposition for our business community."
Web site can help site locations consultants and corporate executives
who want to relocate to Charleston. It also will be helpful to marketing
efforts by commercial Realtors, existing businesses that want to expand
and businesses that want to do work with other local businesses.
Organized labor reached its peak numerically in the mid-1950s. An element of this was the 1955 organizing victory of the Communications Workers of America at Southern Bell. Generally, however, organized labor has been on the defensive.
its most memorable, or notorious, defeats occurred in 1956 at Darlington,
where Deering, Milliken and Company (now Milliken Company) closed a plant
rather than negotiate with workers who had elected to have union representation.
The legality of the company's actions was a matter of heated controversy.
But the company prevailed in what was part of a statewide trend: marginalizing
organized labor in South Carolina in the workplace and in public life.
A major theme of the state's economic development efforts since World
War II has been to emphasize South Carolina's lower labor costs, a result
in part of its largely non-union workforce.
labor had a prominent place in the headlines in 1968. Charleston hospital
workers struck to protest their low wages and poor working conditions.
The strike developed a coalition of support that combined the civil rights
movement and unions. Eventually the hospitals addressed worker grievances
but refused to negotiate a contract with a hospital workers union. The
hospital strike was also credited with igniting significant growth of
participation by blacks in the life and politics of Charleston.
however, suffered another defeat in the state when, subsequent to the
Charleston strike, the state officially adopted a policy of prohibiting
public employees from unionizing and of prohibiting public officials from
negotiating with public employee unions. However, some associations of
public employees, such as the South Carolina Education Association, have
been considered to be quasi-unions. By the early years of the twenty-first
century, several local governments had breached the barriers against unions
and have, at least informally, negotiated with unionized public employees.
Unionized public employees have also engaged in lobbying and in pressure
group activities on behalf of their interests. Firefighters are the most
unionized local public employees in the state. Local 61, founded in 1918,
is the oldest firefighter local in the state. The local was reorganized
in 1996. South Carolina policy about unions and public employees does
not apply to federal employees in the state, some of whom are unionized,
such as postal workers.
labor has attracted much less attention since the Charleston hospital
strike, a reflection of the small numbers of organized workers in the
state. In 1982 there were almost 68,000 unionized employees in the state,
or about 5.8 percent of South Carolina nonfarm workers. Twenty years later
the number of unionized employees in the state remained about the same,
73,000; the percentage of unionized salaried and workers was 4.9 percent.
South Carolina and North Carolina have the lowest unionization rates in
the United States.
South Carolina AFL-CIO remains a presence in the state. The United Auto
Workers successfully fought state efforts to break the union's contract
with Mack Truck when the company opened a new production facility in Winnsboro
in 1987. Unionizing efforts continue, and the AFL-CIO actively lobbies
for the interests of its members and often for the interests of all employees
in the state. The South Carolina AFL-CIO also has the distinction of being
one of the few state AFL-CIOs that has a female president.
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 Andy Brack. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
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wanted to go to Switzerland to see what the army does with those wee red
(TODAY) 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.
(CONTINUES) Spoleto Festival USA: The 17-day festival runs from May 25 through June 10. Learn more.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
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.
(NEW) Mavis Staples: 5:30 p.m., June 6. Charleston Friends of the Library will host a reception for gospel singer Mavis Staples at Spoleto Festival USA headquarters at 14 George Street before her 7 p.m. concert at the Gaillard Auditorium. Tickets are $60 and include admission to the reception and performance. The reception also will include a special silent auction table with rare books and gift certificates. More: Call 805.6882 by today.
Magnolia's photo 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 info.
(NEW) Free hats: Noon, June 14, Marion Square. The Hat Ladies are giving away free hats as part of the National Hat Day in the Sun which promotes wearing them for sun protection. More. www.hatladies.org.
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
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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of old cans
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