4.38 | Monday, July 23, 2012
:: FEEDBACK: Thanks on Porgy notice
:: SPOTLIGHT: Charleston Riverdogs
:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
:: THE LIST: In case you missed it
:: QUOTE: On common sense
WHERE IS IT?
JULY 23, 2012 -- About 10 years ago working on an education project as a writer for the Post and Courier, I spent a lot of time pondering the educational challenges plaguing the classroom-the intellectual disconnect between academic disciplines, the gaping chasm between classroom learning and real life, and the devastating boredom.
One night while making a pasta sauce and watching the acid red juices of the tomatoes and the dark viscous olive oil surround each other suspiciously, I was electrified by a fun thought: Why not use food as a vehicle to teach children everything? Writing pads and poster paper quickly verified the idea's potential, and I spent weeks mapping concepts and curriculum strands. I named the concept the Terra (earth) model with the motto "thinking through food" and sometime later sent it off into the world through friends.
I was lucky to find a wonderfully generous man whose wealthy family decided to fund my idea for three years in the form of a summer program on a farm outside Asheville, N.C., where he lived. We built a building. I designed a summer program curriculum, hired staff, wrote a Web site, recruited kids and launched Terra Summer. Though absolutely new, Terra was a resounding and soulful success. And though it ended last summer when the seed funds ran out, it existed long enough to show me that it is not only an effective model of teaching academics and ideas, but it is tangibly relevant to our world, engrossing and edifying for kids, and replicable.
How does Terra work? Say one week we focus on rice. We study the geography of its provenance; the economics, geography, and people of its trade - hence slavery and colonization; the biology of its plant and growth; the makeup of its molecular structure, raw and cooking; its nutritional value and impact on the body; and the history of its cultivation and of the nations whose wealth have depended on it. We draw it, read about it, grow it, cook it and eat it in many different cultural renditions. On top of that, we study the contemporary social and social justice issues related to this commodity: how it is traded; how it is grown and with what effect on the environment and people; what its growth and trade entail and cause. At Terra, we use food to teach about social and economic disparity, food-based wars, migrations, and famines, child and migrant labor, animal rights, the impact of our choices on all beings and the environment, water and food scarcity, and the depletion of resources. We reflect upon large philosophical and moral issues, such as compassion and greed. By the time we have explored all the topics that can be drawn to a single simple ancient food, we have woven a web of topics that would suffice for a full university semester.
So while complex and different, the Terra model of "thinking through food" is practical and versatile - - it can be tailored to summer learning, after school and weekends, integrated or not with what kids are doing in school. It lends itself to the education of children of all demographics.
Since the Terra program in Asheville ended, I have been trying to find the resources to launch a similar program in Charleston, my town for 20 years. It is the perfect city because food has much relevance here and deep roots in the city's culture, history and ethnicity. And there are grave educational needs here. In Charleston, I envision a Terra hub that would encompass programs after school hours and during summers, evenings and weekends, as well as intergenerational and family programs. These can teach everything from food budgets to the greater repercussions of our food choices. One thing Terra cannot do is go into a school for an hour to make pancakes. It is not a cooking program or a gardening program, though it is both. It demands a smart, sophisticated-thinking staff, something that is not cheap.
Terra at its core sets out to address problems that our society laments all the time, from the First Lady down: Child obesity, academic failure, academic boredom, disengagement from nature and social skills, and our vast sea of social and environmental issues. Yet we continue to invest in our old tired ways that do not produce a meaningful change in the way kids think or see themselves and the world from early on.
We would love to be able to bring Terra to Charleston. We need a building and an angel investor. We welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Thank you for your interest. Please write us at Sybil@terrasummer.org.
JULY 23, 2012 -- Maybe high-profile supporters of extending Interstate 526 think if they continue to say a majority of people in the county support the road, then it will be so.
But what's the evidence that such an assertion is even true? There aren't any public polls. There hasn't been a referendum. About all that has been done is proponents holding public events to push the hot air that most people want the road finished.
It just may not be true. A year ago when campaigning for a city council seat, I knocked on more than 1,100 doors in West Ashley and James Island. There was no clear consensus on connecting 526 from Savannah Highway to the end of the James Island Expressway. About the only generalization I drew from talking to hundreds of folks was that younger voters tended to not want the road completed for environmental reasons, while older ones thought it needed to be finished so the government would keep a decades-old promise.
But times and conditions change. Other alternatives may make more sense. First, as highlighted by the Coastal Conservation League and others, upgrades to existing roadways can be made to ease congestion without huge environmental impacts. Second, the existing I-526 is a nightmare at rush hour as vehicles hurl along at unsafe, excessive speeds. If you lengthen the road without first widening it to accommodate more traffic, the highway is going to become more of a killer.
What's most surprising about the new ruckus over the road is how some Republicans -- yes Republicans -- and Democrats want to impose even more taxes to pay for something that may not be in the best interest of a lot of people on Johns Island (although Kiawah and Seabrook islanders are hopeful for a way to cut their road time.)
In Charleston, sales taxes are a burden. With another half cent for transportation, sales taxes would reach 11 cents on the dollar at restaurants, 9 cents elsewhere. [Currently for every dollar of goods and some services, Charleston residents pay 6 cents to the state, 2 cents on prepared foods, 1 cent for school buildings, 1 cent for local options and a half cent for transportation.]
The whole mess is far from over because of all of the municipal, county and state jurisdictions involved. Perhaps the best thing now is for voters to cast ballots to share their views on whether they want more taxes to generate more than a billion dollars for roads. There's still time if county council wants to get such a referendum on the 2012 ballot, according to one council member. Council's deadline: August 15.
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WITH THE TRAGIC, DEADLY SHOOTING in Colorado on early Friday, a new debate is sure to get going in earnest about guns. Quite frankly, nobody really knows what to do. There are just too many guns in the United States (upwards of 270 million, according to a 2007 study) to get rid of them completely. And many like me believe sportsmen should be able to use shotguns and rifles to hunt.
But for the record, the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution doesn't guarantee everyone an assault rifle or handgun, weapons made for killing people, not game. Most people who trot out the amendment when arguing for guns forget the amendment's context. It doesn't say Americans simply have the "right to bear arms." Instead, the founding fathers wrote: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." In other words, the "right" is predicated upon the need for a "well regulated militia." Thanks to the National Guard, reserves and active-duty forces, the national need for a militia has gone the way of the horse and buggy.
So what's your solution to reducing violence in the country? Don't just yell at me because I believe something should be done about assault rifles and handguns. Offer a good idea by sending your reaction to: email@example.com.
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IF YOU'D LIKE TO READ about how Charleston can use more software engineers now to beef up a growing technology economy, take a look at Friday's column that prods the state and tech businesses to train more techies in South Carolina.
To the editor:
Thanks so much for including the upcoming performance of Porgy at the Dock Street. Wow, what an opportunity.
I jumped on it, and because of your early notification got front row balcony seats -- thanks to Currents.
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.
JULY 23, 2012 -- Here are a few "did you know?" items to consider:
County's Zoning and Planning Department is boosting efforts to curb "visual
clutter" from impromptu signs that litter roadways in unincorporated
goal is to decrease deliberate litter violations that appear in the form
of illegal dumping and especially the proliferation of prohibited signs
in public rights of way," said Brandon White, a planner and code
enforcement officer with the County's Zoning and Planning Department.
to Charleston County sign regulations, putting signs on utility poles,
trees or along public rights of way in the unincorporated areas of the
County is prohibited.
might consider putting signs up along the road a convenient means of providing
information, but the proliferation of snipe signs along local roadways
creates a dangerous level of visual clutter for motorists, and it eventually
becomes scenes of discarded litter both on and along local roadways,"
White said. "Unfortunately, whether it's the accumulation of prohibited
signs or garbage, littering tends to attract more littering and we have
to change that pattern."
In weeks ahead, the county plans more targeted code enforcement starting this week, talking with community associations and groups, and boosting public awareness about litter regulations via the media.
for littering in Charleston County are: court-ordered community service,
a maximum fine of $500, and/or a maximum of 30 days in jail.
rescue project set for Aug. 4
not be able to drink wine on Folly Beach these days, but a wine company
is sponsoring a beach clean-up project on the afternoon of August 4.
Wine and the Surfrider Foundation will hold a public cleanup starting
at 2:30 p.m. called the "Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project."
Now in its sixth year, the project calls on community volunteers to participate
in local cleanups, helping to keep Folly Beach "barefoot friendly"
for all to enjoy.
the cleanup, participants who are 21 or older can celebrate their efforts
at the Pelican Watch Shelter on Folly Beach, with Barefoot Wine &
Bubbly, tasty beach treats and a live performance by musician Joshua Radin.
Fiery Ron's makes pet-friendly list
Ron's Home Team Barbecue has been named the nation's sixth most pet-friendly
restaurant, according to Petside.com.
with its great food, Home Team BBQ is also known for being accommodating
to pets," according to the Web
restaurant is dog-friendly, and features two outside patios where patrons
are allowed to dine with their furry friend in peace. As long as your
pets aren't aggressive and they are leashed, you are all set for a great
dinner date. Story even has it that one patron of Fiery Ron's brings their
pet squirrel on a leash! (We weren't kidding when we say they are very
in Alexandria, Va., Pat Troy's Ireland's Own, took the top rating because
of its unique dog menu available on the outdoor patio.
compiling this list, we were looking for restaurants which promised that
a dog's bite was as welcome as their bark," said Petside.com assistant
editor Ryan Karpusiewicz.
in ranking "Top 10 Pet-Friendly Restaurants" included professional
and diner restaurant reviews, the establishment's dedication to animal
and human service, as well as the restaurant's overall environment and
Fiery Ron's has locations in West Ashley and Sullivan's Island.
Callis, Yarbrough win Charleston
Southern University has named Keith Callis to serve as dean of humanities
and social sciences and English professor Scott Yarbrough as assistant
to the vice president of academic affairs for accreditation compliance,
assessment and student retention.
who holds a doctorate from Vanderbilt University, comes to the university
from Louisiana Baptist College, where he had extensive teaching and administrative
Callis is a proven Christian academic leader who will be invaluable to
CSU in our faith integration efforts," said President Jairy C. Hunter
said he planned to work deliberately and methodically to integrate faith
and learning. "I plan to give professors the freedom to work in their
strengths and with creativity," he said.
who has a doctorate from the University of Alabama, will continue to serve
as chair of the English department and coordinate all matters for the
university related to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
"Scott is a seasoned academic administrator and dedicated professor who will provide invaluable leadership in these crucial areas," Hunter said.
When I read there was a new Vonnegut book out, I did a quick mental double-take. Then I understood the new book was "The Trust," a thriller by Norb Vonnegut, a Charleston native who attended Bishop England School. He's also a cousin to famous late author Kurt.
Like Kurt's work, Norb Vonnegut offers crisp, descriptive writing. He tells the story of a rich Charleston developer who plowed his money into a community foundation. But things go awry when his body washes ashore, the victim of an apparent drowning. It soon becomes clear, however, that more menacing forces are aloof.
Norb Vonnegut's third novel offers insights into his world of high finance and Wall Street as well as an interesting take on his hometown of Charleston. You can meet Vonnegut at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Charleston Library Society for a reading. To RSVP or learn more, send an email here. Or you can go to a Barnes and Noble book-signing July 30 in West Ashley.
Francis Marion (ca. 1732 - 1795), of Huguenot descent, was born in St. Johns Berkeley Parish, the youngest of six children born to Gabriel Marion and Esther Cordes. A planter, Marion in 1773 built his home, Pond Bluff, about four miles south of Eutaw Springs, a site now beneath the waters of Lake Marion. He commenced his military career in the parish militia in 1756 and joined the campaigns against the Cherokees (17591761), rising to the rank of first lieutenant.
Having served in local offices, he was elected in 1775 to the First Provincial Congress. Commissioned a captain in the states Second Regiment in June, he participated in the capture of Fort Johnson in September. As a major, Marion distinguished himself at the Battle of Sullivans Island (June 1776), after which he was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the Continental army. Marion commanded the Second Regiment at the disastrous Franco-American attack on Savannah in autumn 1779. Away on sick leave due to an accident, he eluded capture when Charleston fell to the British in May 1780. Escaping to North Carolina, he and a small party linked up with Horatio Gatess army preparing for an invasion of South Carolina. Detailed to destroy enemy communication lines, Marion was not present for Gatess defeat at Camden in August.
With a militia commission as brigadier general, Marion organized a partisan force in the Pee Dee region. Between August and December 1780, in an otherwise dismal period for America, Marion gained national recognition for his actions at Great Savannah (August 20), Blue Savannah (September 4), Black Mingo (September 29), Tearcoat Swamp (October 26), Georgetown (November 15), and Halfway Swamp (December 1213). While some counts place the number of Marions Men at more than two thousand, his band generally consisted of considerably fewer than that and included Continentals. Marions nickname, the Swamp Fox, reportedly came from the infamous British officer Banastre Tarleton, who, unable to snare Marion, called him a damned old fox and swore that the devil himself could not catch him.
Marions small-scale hit-and-run tactics disrupted supply lines, intercepted communications, and hampered the enemy considerably. In December 1780 he established a camp on Snows Island between the Pee Dee and Lynches Rivers and Clarks Creek. Conditions improved by the spring of 1781, when Marion became a vital part of General Nathanael Greenes combined operations in South Carolina. In 1781 Marions troops participated in the battles at Fort Watson (April 23), Fort Motte (May 12), Quinby Bridge (July 17), Parkers Ferry (August 13), and Eutaw Springs (September 8).
His numerous command problems included Greenes distrust of the militia, his need for Marions essential horses, an ongoing conflict over rank and command with General Thomas Sumter, and a feud between his subordinates Peter Horry and Hezekiah Maham. This latter feud came to a head while Marion was serving as a senator in the General Assembly at Jacksonborough and resulted in a defeat at the hands of the British at Wambaw Bridge in February 1782. Returning to command, Marions brigade saw its last engagement at Wadboo Creek in the summer of 1782. Throughout the war, which in South Carolina was a brutally vicious civil conflict, Marion was said to be humain and Mercifull but was also known as a severe disciplinarian. Although small in stature, with knees and ankles badly formed, Marion inspired great loyalty in his ill-clothed, ill-fed, and ill-equipped band.
After the war, a penniless Marion, whose plantation had been ruined, was awarded a gold medal, a full Continental colonelcy, and command of Fort Johnson in Charleston harbor. He served in the S.C. Senate in 17831786, 1791, and 17921794 and was elected to the 1790 state constitutional convention. He continued as a brigadier general in the militia until his retirement in 1794. His finances improved when he married his cousin Mary Esther Videau on April 20, 1786. The union produced no children, but in less than a decade Marions fortune grew dramatically.
Near the end of his life he owned upward of eighteen hundred acres and seventy-three slaves. He died at Pond Bluff on February 27, 1795, and was buried in the family plot at Belle Isle in St. Stephens Parish. His tomb escaped flooding by the Santee-Cooper project and serves today as a humble monument to the Swamp Fox. His comrade Peter Horry attempted to write a history of Marions brigade, but it was hopelessly mangled by Mason Locke Parson Weems, the first of many to take enormous liberties with Marions legend.
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In case you missed it
Ratings from the new issue of Travel + Leisure magazine features the 2012 World's Best Awards:
More on common sense
"Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen."
Legislative reception: 5 p.m., July 24, Club Level, Johnson Hagood Stadium, The Citadel. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Legislative Appreciation Reception, which will include a special tribute to former state senator and current Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell of Charleston. More info.
(NEW) Taxes, smoking: 7 p.m., July 24, Lonnie Hamilton III Public Services Building, 4045 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston. County Council has a long agenda which ends with a request to approve a smoking ban for unincorporated parts of the county and whether to set up a "Transportation Needs" committee to study, umm, transportation needs. This latter item comes after a council member proposed increasing sales taxes by a half-cent for major transportation projects. Over 25 years, the extra tax would fund an extra $1.35 million in public works. For more, see this agenda and meeting packet.
Parks for Tomorrow: Meetings are scheduled from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at these times and locations: July 24, Charleston (Burke High School media center); July 25, Yonges Island (Baptist Hill High School cafeteria); July 26, McClellanville (St. James Santee Elementary School). These three meetings are left to give public inputon topics including parks, recreation and trails to incorporate into the master plan for the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission. More info.
Global trade luncheon: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., July 25, Montague Terrace, 5001 Coliseum Drive. The World Trade Center Charleston, an initiative of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, will offer a luncheon to allow leaders to connect on global trade growth and discuss international trade. The speaker will be Phillip Poland, director of export control and trade integrity for International Trade and Compliance at DHL Express USA. Also schedule to talk is Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the S.C. Ports Authority. More.
The Loving Story: 6 p.m., July 26, Avery Research Center, 125 Bull Street, Charleston. The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston will present a free screening of the highly-acclaimed HBO documentary "The Loving Story" which details the lives of the high-profile interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving. The story of their marriage, which became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court case, was produced and edited by Elisabeth Haviland James, who will be attending the show and a reception, which starts a half hour before the screening. Free.
Shark Week. The S.C. Aquarium rolls out Shark Week
starting July 27 at 9 a.m. to let you fall in love with all things
shark. There are dive shows, interactive activities, shark stations, cool
photos and more. That night at 7:30 a.m., guests can enjoy a benefit waterfront
concert with a DJ and delicious food from local restaurants. At 7 p.m.
Aug. 2, you can see your favorite shark movie -- "Jaws"
on a big screen with the ocean in the background. More on all of the stuff
during Shark Week
is online here.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
Book signing: July 30, Barnes and Noble, West Ashley. Norb Vonnegut, a Charleston native and cousin to novelist Kurt Vonnegut, is scheduled to sign his new thriller, The Trust. The new book takes place near the corner of Broad and East Bay streets. It is the story of a wealthy Charleston family nobody we know whose philanthropic interests fall prey to a real sicko skilled in international finance.
Softball challenge: 7:05 p.m. Aug. 4, Joe Riley Park, Charleston. Louie's Kids will host its second annual Slim Down the South Celebrity Softball Challenge as two teams of local and national celebrities take the field to raise awareness about and funding for childhood obesity efforts. To meet confirmed celebrities and learn more, go here online.
Homegrown Concert: Aug. 17-18, Family Circle Magazine Stadium, Daniel Island. Hootie & The Blowfish will host the 10th annual HomeGrown Concert to raise back-to-school supplies for the Charleston County School District. Tickets ($31) are on sale at Ticketmaster outlets. More online.
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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