4.41 | Monday, Aug. 13, 2012
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WHERE IS IT?
AUG. 13, 2012 -- The founding fathers of the United States and of South Carolina established the Society of the Cincinnati in 1783. As one of the original societies, the South Carolina Society has some distinctions -- occasionally ironic ones -- that appealed to me as a student of American history.
The S.C. Society was the only Southern one of the original fourteen societies (the first 13 states and France) that has an unbroken history. That meant, ironically, it was active during the Civil War, a conflict begun in the Palmetto State that aimed to shatter the American Republic.
South Carolina had not only the most loyal Cincinnati but also some of the Societys most determined opponents. Immediately after the defeat of the Confederacy, only one S.C. Cincinnati resigned because he could not reconcile with his northern brethren. A year after Appomattox, the General Society (the national organization) invited S.C. Cincinnati to attend the national meeting in Trenton, N.J. Such has been the power of the Cincinnati since 1783 to heal drastic divisions within the state, and between the state and the nation. For nearly 250 years, Society principles have fostered justifiable state pride and allegiance to the Union.
The notion that a tightly-knit heritage organization could keep all that together for so long and even in todays overheated partisan political climate appealed to my interest as a student of consensus in history and to timorous optimism about the future of the American Republic. Certainly the Societys motto, Omnia relinquit servare Rempublicam linked the history of the Roman Republic to the victorious American nation and the emerging state of South Carolina.
George Washington and his fellow Continental officers who were the Society Original Members consciously emulated (emulate: to strive to equal or rival a person, his achievements or qualities; or to copy or imitate with the object of equaling or excelling) Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, the Roman soldier-citizen who rejected supreme power to return to his farm.
The founders and successive generations were historians as well as citizen-soldiers. Their self-effacement and scholar-like definitions of duty and patriotism captured my attention. I welcomed the opportunity to investigate how the Societys principles of patriotism, fraternity and human liberty and the driving force of emulation had fared over two and a half centuries. I have concluded that they have fared well even to the present day.
One of my overriding goals as a student-scholar is to promote knowledge of South Carolinas colonial and revolutionary history. Those epochs were eventful and were also incubators of interesting developments in South Carolina political thought and of enduring cultural institutions.
Those eras encompassed the lives of some fascinating personalities, many of whom were Cincinnati members. I am convinced that South Carolinians should devote more attention to those times and perhaps less attention to the states Civil War history. To do so might have the good effect of lowering the volume on some of todays divisive rhetoric about state rights, the evils of the federal government, and maybe even some of the pernicious race and class talk that afflicts public discourse.
The Cincinnati motto remains a call to active citizenship, not simply showing up at the voting booth and sporting yard signs. The call goes much farther, challenging all South Carolinians to seek distinction as citizens, not merely taxpayers, and to exercise the duties of antique citizenship to promote the public good instead of modern blind self-interest.
AUG. 13, 2012 The good folks at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce and Trident United Way last week brought in a nationally-recognized speaker to make the business case that South Carolina needs more investment in early childhood education.
To be more specific: The state educational apparatus needs to channel more resources into pre-kindergarten efforts to ensure tomorrow's workforce is up to the demands and skills needed for the jobs of the future. It's a wise strategy for businesses in South Carolina and the United States if they want to remain economic leaders because overall success won't happen without a strong, educated workforce.
Right now, we've got a long way to go. According to recent state figures, one in four South Carolina students are not proficient in reading, math and writing by third grade. Around 40 percent drop out before finishing high school.
In fact, children from high-risk backgrounds can be 18 months behind from the time they enter the kindergarten door, said Sara Watson, director of ReadyNation, a business partnership for early childhood and economic success.
A big way to reduce the achievement gap, she told about 200 people at the Charleston Marriott last Wednesday, is to start earlier with high-quality education programs. Currently, South Carolina offers access to public kindergarten to 5-year-olds, but only about half of 4-year-olds get some kind of public education delivered through a complicated maze of unrelated programs.
Good pre-school programs set them up to be good students who can function in the classroom, Watson said. They learn how to learn through early childhood education programs. In fact, she said, if a child in third grade is reading at a third-grade level, he or she is more likely to graduate from high school. According to a fact sheet from KidsDriveOurFuture.org, early education alone increases graduation rates up to 16 percent and college attendance by more than 50 percent.
And that's increasingly important, Watson said, because by 2018, two in three jobs will require a college education. Now in South Carolina, only 18 of every 100 ninth graders are expected to finish college.
Bottom line: Investing now in earlier childhood education is more than doing what's right for South Carolina's children. It's an all-encompassing economic issue to ensure that businesses like Boeing, Blackbaud, BMW and the corner drug store have the kinds of trained workforce they'll need to be able to continue to be successful.
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the years, we've routinely taken a slap at state lawmakers for failing
to do anything about the $3.1 billion in revenue that the state gives
up every year due to special interest sales tax exemptions. But a recent
commentary highlights that's not the only place special interests have
taken root. Just take a look at the $469.4 million in individual income
tax credits -- more tax breaks -- allowed in 2010.
of the bigger ones make sense -- a child care income tax credit to help
working parents (113,267 credits issued worth $19.6 million in 2010 in
lost revenue to the state); a credit to earners who make money in other
states but live in South Carolina so theyre not double-taxed (79,664
credits issued worth $180 million in lost revenue); a credit for nonresident
retirement contributions, again to avoid double taxation (78,181 credits
worth $175.7 million) and a credit for families with two wage earners
(361,817 credits worth $46 million).
there is the page full of things that your lawmaker might find hard to
explain, such as the biodiesel motor fuel credit that three people in
the state took in 2010, which cost the state $31,582 in income taxes. Or
the motion picture credit that one person took to save $800. Then
theres the sprinkler system credit used by four tax filers to save
$2,959, the biomass resource credit used by one person to save $36,057,
and the Venison for Charity credit claimed by 56 tax filers
for $9,985 in tax savings.
about these credits used by those in the know is how theyre
so obviously tailored to help just a few people -- things that most South
Carolinians cant qualify for. Its almost as if the people
who get these odd credits have their own lobbyist or buddy at the Statehouse
who pushes something through in the fine print of the thick budget. Yes,
the information about the credits is public and available. Yes, they
were voted upon. But they seem wrong and unfair.
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, please), send your letters to: email@example.com. 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 Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, founded in 1676 by the Drayton family. It has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870. Open 365 days a year, Magnolia offers its visitors splendid tours of nature and history and the role African-Americans played in the development of its award-winning Romantic-style gardens. Visit www.magnoliaplantation.com to learn how you can experience a complete plantation experience.
AUG. 13, 2012 The Bank on Charleston movement is gathering steam.
The community effort, based on the similarly-named Bank on Savannah organization, is an effort to educate and get people who don't have bank accounts the so-called unbanked to open accounts so they don't have to spend huge sums of money to move money though payday lenders and other expensive and predatory services.
as well as some city leaders, have been leading local efforts. Last month,
a group of local community development organizations met with a number
of local banks who have expressed interest in getting this going here
in Charleston. More to come hopefully this fall. To learn
more, check out Bank
on Savannah's outreach efforts.
Some might warn: Be careful about what you ask for.
Less than a month ago, Charleston Currents was the first in the area to editorial that the best way to learn what the community should do about controversial proposals to complete Interstate 526 was to put it on the November ballot to people could share their views on whether they want more taxes to generate more than a billion dollars for roads.
The deadline for making a decision is Aug. 15. Guess what's on county council's Aug. 14 agenda: whether to put an advisory referendum on the ballot the says:
Council is set to consider the question, offered by council member Vic Rawl, on Tuesday at its 5 p.m. meeting -- if it is approved by the finance committee earlier in the afternoon.
Late fine goes up by a nickel at local libraries
Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) on Aug. 6 raised the daily fine for late materials by a nickel to 20 cents per day. The maximum fine per late item, however, remains at $5.
to the library's Web site, With the change, the library's per day
late fine remains the same charged to residents returning late books at
a number of county public libraries across the state, including Dorchester,
Richland, Beaufort, Lexington, Aiken, Edgefield, Hampton and others. Some
libraries charge up to $1 per day for late DVDs, CDs and videos, but CCPL's
late fine is 20 cents per day for all items. As part of CCPL's continuing
effort to encourage reading by the area's youth, the library is continuing
to waive late fees for childrens materials checked out on a children's
The library reminds patrons that they can avoid late fines by renewing items online through their account, but they'll have to have a PIN number to do so. To get a PIN number, residents should contact their local branch library. Residents also can receive reminders before an items due date through a free online service, Library Elf. Once registered, customers can get emails or text messages to track the status of hold requests and receive reminder alerts about due dates.
New exhibit to explore Charleston's militia and the Civil War
The Charleston Museum will present Brethren: Charleston's Militia and the Civil War from Sept. 14 , 2012, through June 3, 2013.
exhibition, which continues the museum's commemoration of the sesquicentennial
of the Civil War, examines artifacts associated with militia units which
served in and around Charleston during the Civil War. Men in militia units,
because they were drawn from the same geographic area, were already part
of close-knit social networks, and the regiments often included cousins,
brothers, fathers and sons.
The Brethren exhibit draws from the museum's weapons, archival and textiles collections to offer a variety of perspectives on local militias. Featured is an officer's sword, c. 1845, with ivory grips that belonged to Captain Carsten Nohrden, a member of the Columbia Battery of the German Artillery. Nohrden died of hemorrhagic fever in July 1861 while stationed on Morris Island. Also included in the display is a Sumter Guards uniform coat worn by Captain D. Huger Bacot in the 1870s, and perhaps earlier, since the coat may be Civil War manufacture. The collar and cuffs represent the infantry as specified by the system of branch color developed during the Civil War. The final highlight is a cotton militia flag, c. 1861, likely that of the Palmetto Guard. The green palmetto tree and blue star are wool appliqués. Bloodstains on the flag suggest that it was carried in battle.
Big litter cleanup set for Sept. 8
Charleston County Adopt-A-Highway will hold its next litter cleanup on Sept. 8. In case of bad weather, the following Saturday will be the make-up day.
Throughout the county, volunteers will be picking up trash on our roadsides during the cleanup event. Volunteers can pick up supplies on Sept. 5 from 9 a.m. To 3 p.m. at the S.C. Department of Transportations Charleston maintenance facility at 2401 Maintenance Way in North Charleston.
On the cleanup day, drivers are asked to be especially alert and mindful of pedestrians who are working to beautify our surroundings and protect our environment, said Donna Gueldner, chairman of Community Pride, Inc. of Charleston County.
During 2011, more than 2,000 volunteers removed an estimated 50,000 pounds of litter from area primary and secondary roads.
Established on March 16, 1778, All Saints Parish comprised the Waccamaw Neck of what came to be Horry and Georgetown Counties. In 1721 the peninsula became part of Prince George Winyah Parish, but separated from the rest of the parish by the Waccamaw River, it remained isolated and sparsely settled for decades.
Because they could only reach the parish church by water, which was very hazardous in blowing weather, the inhabitants of Waccamaw Neck constructed a chapel of ease on Pawleys Island circa 1736. On May 23, 1767, the Commons House of Assembly created All Saints Parish, granted it two representatives, and the chapel became the new parish church. King George III had recently prohibited the enlargement of colonial legislatures, however, and three years later he disallowed the parish. Shortly after South Carolina declared its independence from Britain, All Saints was reestablished in 1778.
With the introduction of tidal rice culture in the mid-eighteenth century, the Waccamaw River, which had so long been a barrier to the development of the Neck, quickly became its greatest asset. Plantations sprang up along its banks, and by 1810 African slaves made up nearly ninety percent of the parish population.
On the eve of the Civil War, per capita wealth for the free residents of All Saints was among the highest in the nation. With 1,092 slaves, Joshua John Ward, a rice planter and warden of All Saints Church, was one of the largest slaveholders in the entire South.
With the abolition of the parish system in 1865, All Saints Parish became part of Horry and Georgetown Counties.
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Business case for more early childhood education
Here are five facts that might persuade you to do more to get state leaders to invest more in earlier childhood education efforts so the U.S. will have a better-trained workforce that will continue to lead in the 21st century:
Investments in high-quality early education programs have the highest rate of return of any social investment."
Annual port briefing: 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 16. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce will host its annual port briefing and tour with updates on the Navy Base terminal site and Union Pier redevelopment. Cost: $75 for members; $150 for nonmembers. Registration closes Aug. 7. More online.
(NEW) Freelance writing session: 7 p.m., Aug. 16, Seacoast, 750 Long Point Road, Mount Pleasant. Freelance writer and marketer Holly Fisher, owner of HAF Creative, will discuss the many paths to creating a career as a freelance writer during the next Third Thursday talk. Also during the session, blogger Tiffany Pate will answer bloggers' technical questions.
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.
5th annual Bachelor Bid Bash: 7 p.m., Aug. 18, Hippodrome, 360 Concord St., Charleston. The Charleston Jaycees will present this charity bachelor/bachelorette auction to benefit S.C. Jaycee Camp Hope. Live auction begins at 8 p.m., followed by entertainment by the Groove Junkies. Tickets: $25 to $50. More online.
One woman band: 11 a.m., Aug. 19, Kronic Cafe, 915 Folly Road, James Island. Want to see a singer/songwriter who can play four instruments at one time? Check out Laura Thurston when she offers folk music highlighted by guitar, harmonica, foot tambourine and suitcase kick drum. As she strums out delightful melodies, she gives her songs presence and energy with the strength to capture your attention and lift your soul. NOTE: If you miss the Aug. 19 show, Thurston is scheduled to be at Morgan Creek Grill on Aug. 18 and Awendaw Green on Aug. 22. More online.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
Yappy Hour: 4 p.m., Aug. 23, James Island County Dog Park. Rawberry Jam will provide live music as dog lovers meet for fun after a long day of work. You and your pup can mingle with friends until sunset. Beverages will be available for purchase. More online.
(NEW)How To Train Your Dragon: Sunset, Aug. 24, Mount Pleasant Waterfront Park. The Town of Mount Pleasant and Charleston County Park and Recreation present the final free family film on the lawn on a giant inflatable screen. Not only is the film free, but so is parking. Drinks and snacks are available. More online.
(NEW)Book signing: 7 p.m. Aug. 30, Barnes and Noble, Towne Center, Mount Pleasant. Robert Leleux, author of The Living End a Memoir of Forgiving and Forgetting will have a book signing and talk on his January 2012 book on his grandmother's journey through Alzheimer's.
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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