4.45 | Monday, Sept. 10, 2012
:: FEEDBACK: Two about anti-South book
:: SPOTLIGHT: Maybank Industries
:: BROADUS: Day of Caring
:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next
:: THE LIST: Fun facts about water
:: QUOTE: Labor Day traffic jams
WHERE IS IT?
2012 -- When I talk to a group of kids or adults about water, I start
by asking if they know where their tap water comes from. I get things
like "the ocean", "the sky", "a river"
and a lot of puzzled looks.
ways, this is a good thing. Most people don't know much about their water
because they don't need to. Turn on the tap and clean water comes out.
much more to it and knowing a little bit about your water supply can make
you a more informed consumer. Here are three things to know about Charleston's
It's as good as
(or better than) bottled water
source to treatment plant to your tap, our drinking water is continually
monitored and quality tested. It meets, and for many parameters, exceeds
state and federal regulations for drinking water quality. (Learn more
by checking out our annual
water quality report).
asked how tap water compares to bottled water. The short answer is both
are clean and safe, but they vary in taste and cost. Water's taste is
affected by many things, including the source (surface or ground water
and geographic location), temperature, mineral content, environmental
factors, treatment methods, etc. The taste of bottled water varies among
brands, and tap water tastes different from city to city.
tasting water, try putting a pitcher in the refrigerator. Like beer, water
tastes best ice cold. You can also try using a basic carbon filter to
remove any remaining taste, but that's generally not necessary.
the biggest difference between tap and bottled water. You'll pay a fraction
of penny to fill a 16-oz bottle with tap water, compared to a dollar or
more for bottled water. Consider the cost of dealing with all the plastic
bottle waste, and tap water is not only a bargain, it's also a lot less
pay your water bill, you're not only paying for the water you use, but
also for the availability of water-for the infrastructure in place to
provide it on demand 24/7-for your daily use and for fire protection.
Public water systems
provide fire protection
the most important functions of a public water system is to provide a
ready supply of water for firefighting. Charleston Water System's infrastructure
supports thirteen fire departments across our service area.
flow requirements are a key factor in water infrastructure design and
influence everything from water main sizing to storage tank and fire hydrant
placement. The volume of water a fire hydrant can flow-about 1,000 gallons
a minute-is much higher than typical residential demands, and we must
be able to meet that demand at a moment's notice while continuing to serve
are surprised to learn that Charleston Water System owns and maintains
the fire hydrants in our service area-all 8,500 of them. They stand ready
to aid firefighters and protect homes and businesses.
next time you turn on the tap, consider how much it supports your day-to-day
quality of life. It protects public health, supports our economy, and
stands ready to fight fire.
where our water comes from? The Bushy Park Reservoir and the Edisto River.
SEPT. 10, 2012 -- If you've run across a pothole anytime lately, the reason why isn't surprising: South Carolina doesn't have enough money to maintain its highways.
Of the approximately 66,000 miles of public highways in South Carolina, almost two thirds -- some 41,429 miles of roads -- are owned and maintained by the state, according to the state Department of Transportation (SCDOT). By comparison, the national average for state road maintenance is 19 percent of its public highways, versus 63 percent in S.C.
South Carolina has "the fourth largest state-maintained system in the nation," said the SCDOT's Michael Covington. "This takes a load off of local government, but it places a heavy responsibility on state government."
Bridges along these highways are in a mess too. The state road system has 8,383 bridges of which 1,675 are substandard because of structural or design problems, Covington said. Some 424 bridges had load restrictions, meaning that heavy vehicles can't use them, and seven bridges are flat-out closed.
Why is all of this happening? Because South Carolina's network of roads is too big for the money it has to maintain them. And they appear to be getting increasingly worse. A new study says South Carolina's highways are the most dangerous in the nation, based on an amalgamation of several safety reports that ranked states on drivers who don't wear seatbelts, traffic deaths and federal funding.
While the study by CarInsuranceComparison.com might have some flaws in how it gives equal weights to six different rankings done by others, it is indicative of our road problems. The study noted South Carolina was "the only state in our top ten to rank in the bottom half of every single category. It wasn't even close! South Carolina finished a full 37 points ahead of second-place Florida in total score."
If we accept our roads have problems, which we can feel when driving, then it's common sense to turn to thoughts about funding. The root of the problem is the amount South Carolinians pay in gas taxes -- 16.75 cents per gallon, 16 cents of which goes to the DOT for roads. Our neighbors pay a lot more. Georgians pay about 28.6 cents in state gas taxes per gallon; in North Carolina, the rate is 37.8 cents per gallon.
"The average state depends on fuel tax revenues for only 35 percent of state-source highway funding," Covington said, adding that South Carolina's highway fund depends 92 percent on funding from the state.
Many states -- not South Carolina -- index their gas tax to inflation. If South Carolina had done this in 1987 when GOP Gov. Carroll Campbell signed the last tax increase into law, the state would be collecting a little more than 32 cents per gallon today, based on average inflation of 2.9 percent. In terms of real dollars, that means the SCDOT this year would have had about $540 million to spend on maintaining and building roads. That amount of money would resurface an extra 2,200 miles of existing roads!
It's time for South Carolina legislators to modernize and update the amount of money we're paying for roads. That's why the S.C. Chamber of Commerce lists road infrastructure improvements as one of the six main planks of its 2012 Competitiveness Agenda. The Chamber is backing an effort to "support an infrastructure plan that allocates General Fund revenues and surpluses to be dedicated to the Highway Fund, and examine other revenue sources for maintaining existing infrastructure."
In other words, good roads are integral for a state that wants to remain competitive economically. Without world-class infrastructure, competitiveness will go down. And that means jobs.
Rick Todd, head of the S.C. Trucking Association, said raising the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon would help the state's road network tremendously with about $350 million more per year for maintenance.
"We don't need to take a look at it," he said. We just need to flat out do it.
"When you look at our sister states, which are at the pump about twice what our rate is on the fuel tax, it really doesn't make sense. Our fuel tax is ridiculously low."
The ball is in your court. Pick it up and bounce it around. Don't keep
To Charleston Currents:
What an embarrassment [9/3 column about anti-South book]. My family and I lived in Charleston-Summerville for 12 happy and educational years. We are originally from the Pacific Northwest. My sons were both born in Portland.
Mr. Thompson is not atypical of the city-bred know-it-alls that plague the world. His parents obviously did not teach him manners--nor drag him into the wilderness or out on the open water for nature to remind him of his mortal puniness. (That is my personal favorite parenting technique.)
Please accept our humble apologies. Our time in South Carolina has educated most of our immediate family and many friends to the amiable and historic traditions of the South. One of my sons graduated from The Citadel. Both survived Parris Island. My daughter graduated from the Governor's School of Science and Math. All three are plotting their permanent return to "the better part of the country."
Thank you for Charleston Currents. It was invaluable as I adjusted to Southern life. Given decent employment, we just may come back to y'all.
Anti-South bias gets old
To Charleston Currents:
column about the
anti-South book]: Gets old don't it?! Andy, I have breakfast with
some retired folks from up North once a week. Talk about attitude. And
some of them think we are not aware of their bigoted and snide comments.
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Maybank Industries, LLC of Charleston, S.C. With broad experience in commercial and government operations, Maybank Industries applies deep-rooted commitment to teamwork, reliability and personal service to provide innovative business solutions for project development, information technology, logistics, vessel design, vessel construction, shipping agency services and marine terminal operations, both locally and internationally. Maybank Industries applies a powerful blend of professional expertise to research, analyze and develop tailored solutions with thorough plans of action, combining a heavy dose of common sense to solve today's needs that can adapt to changing or evolving requirements. More: Maybank Industries and Maybank Systems.
The Charleston County Board of Elections and Voter Registration needs 300 more poll managers to staff voting precincts during the Nov. 6 elections.
"Poll managers have a unique opportunity to serve the community, meet their neighbors and become involved in the democratic process," said Joseph Debney, executive director of the agency.
Seasoned observers add that this year's election may face complications if the state implements a controversial photo voter identification law, which is under court review now. More poll workers, they say, will facilitate the voting process.
Election Day duties include: processing of voters, ballot distribution, activation of the voting system machines, compliance with election law and procedures and general voter assistance. Poll managers are paid $120 for two days of work -- training and working election day, but must work on election day to be paid for training.
Applicants must be registered voters or students ages 16 and 17. They must attend the two- to three-hour training session and pass a written certification test. On election day, they must work from 6 a.m. to about 7:30 p.m. And they must be non-partisan and neutral while working.
Houston's mayor to speak to AFFA
Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, will address a special meeting of members of the Alliance for Full Acceptance on Sept. 21 at the Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting Street.
"Mayor Parker is an extraordinary public servant and has moved Houston (fourth largest U.S. city) forward in responsible, lasting, and visionary ways," an AFFA press release said. "Mayor Parker will share her inspiring story and commitment to public service as an openly gay elected public official."
Anyone is welcome to attend. A cocktail reception will start at 5:30 p.m., followed by Parker's address 30 minutes later.
Cotter to speak on foreign policy challenges
Interested in foreign policy but don't have anybody to talk with about it? Take a look at the Charleston Foreign Affairs Forum, a group that offers six distinguished speakers a year from governments, academia and the business community.
The first meeting for the 2012-13 season will be 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at Holliday Alumni Center on Hagood Avenue across from The Citadel's football stadium. The speaker is former U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan, Michael W. Cotter. His speech is titled, "Just over the Horizon: The Five Top Foreign Policy Challenges facing the New Administration."
Currently publisher of the widely-read online journal American Diplomacy, Cotter had a long career in the State Department with assignments in Vietnam, Latin America, Africa and Turkey. A resident of Durham, N.C., he has taught international politics at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The Forum, a membership organization, also sponsors a Great Decisions group that meet from February through May to provide more intimate discussions of foreign policy using materials prepared by the Foreign Policy Association.
Hats off to the RiverDogs for top promotional award
Use an aircraft carrier for an All-Star home run derby? Sound a little different? Such creativity led to the Charleston RiverDogs winning one of the most coveted awards in the baseball business.
The team won the Best Promotion of 2012 from Ballpark Digest. It also didn't hurt that veteran comedian and part-owner Bill Murray took some swings at pitches during the derby on the deck of the USS Yorktown.
"Other teams have spruced up home run derbies in recent years, but no one has had the audacity to move it from the ballpark to an aircraft carrier," said Kevin Reichard, publisher of Ballpark Digest. "More than that, the derby became a true event, complete with high-profile sponsors and community involvement.
"Combining a high-profile event with a quality sponsor and asking for community involvement is a winning strategy," Reichard said. "The Charleston RiverDogs really set a high bar for All-Star Game events in the future. It's clearly the best promotion of the year."
The home run derby was a two-day event with 10 competitors starting the derby on the flight deck of the Yorktown, a primary tourist attraction in one of American's most historic cities. An inflatable batting cage was set up so that the sluggers could belt balls in to Charleston Harbor where staffers awaited on jet skis to collect the balls while protecting the environment.
10 competitors finished launching their homers off local high school coaches,
the always fun-seeking Murray, wearing fatigues and a hat that was close
to the one that he wore in "Caddyshack," stepped up for a few
cuts. Following Murray's swings, fans were able to make a charitable donation
to the IAVA to hit balls in to the harbor themselves and to meet Murray.
a plant that produces a blue dye, was an important part of South Carolina's
eighteenth-century economy. It was grown commercially from 1747 to 1800
and was second only to rice in export value. Carolina indigo was the fifth
most valuable commodity exported by Britain's mainland colonies and was
England's primary source of blue dye in the late-colonial era.
South Carolina experimented with indigo production as early as the 1670s but could not compete with superior dyes produced in the West Indies. Cultivating and processing the plant was complex, and planters found other commodities more reliable and easier to produce.
was reintroduced in the 1740s during King George's War (1739-1748), which
disrupted the established rice trade by inflating insurance and shipping
charges and also cut off Britain's supply of indigo from the French West
Indies. In South Carolina, Eliza Lucas Pinckney and Andrew Deveaux experimented
with cultivation in the 1730s and 1740s. Pinckney's husband, Charles,
printed articles in the Charleston Gazette promoting indigo. In
London colonial agent James Crokatt persuaded Parliament in 1749 to subsidize
Carolina indigo production by placing a bounty of six pence per pound
on the dye.
to economic motives, indigo production also succeeded because it fit within
the existing agricultural economy. The crop could be grown on land not
suited for rice and tended by slaves, so planters and farmers already
committed to plantation agriculture did not have to reconfigure their
land and labor. In 1747, 138,300 pounds of dye, worth 16,803 pounds sterling,
was exported to England. The amount and value of indigo exports increased
in subsequent years, peaking in 1775 with a total of 1,122,200 pounds,
valued at 242,395 pounds sterling. England received almost all Carolina
indigo exports, although by the 1760s a small percentage was being shipped
to northern colonies.
indigo was grown in a variety of locations and in a number of ways. In
the parishes south of Charleston, most indigo planters grew the weed in
combination with rice, as a "second staple." Planters growing
indigo closer to the city were split, with roughly half growing rice and
indigo and half growing only indigo. North of Charleston, most planters
focused solely on indigo. By the 1760s production expanded from the Lowcountry
to the interior. Indigo was especially important in Williamsburg Township,
where the soil was ideal and the crop was an important part of the local
economy. By the 1770s, some indigo was also produced in Orangeburg and
The Revolutionary War disrupted production, although the Continental army used Carolina indigo to dye some of its uniforms. Production appeared to recover after the war, as 907,258 pounds of dye were exported in 1787. But indigo exports declined sharply in the 1790s. No longer part of the British Empire, South Carolina indigo growers lost their bounty and market as England turned to India to supply its indigo demand. Carolina planters soon after turned their attention to cotton, another crop that fit neatly into the plantation economy.
was produced and used locally throughout the nineteenth century, but by
1802 it was no longer listed among Carolina's exports.
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Fun facts about area water
"Not all chemicals are bad. Without chemicals such as hydrogen and oxygen, for example, there would be no way to make water, a vital ingredient in beer."
War of 1812 program:
6:30 p.m., Sept. 12, Charleston County Public Library, main branch,
68 Calhoun Street. Dr. Nic Butler will repeat a recent popular program,
"Charleston during the War of 1812." The discussion will highlight
local military preparations, fortification building and privateering in
Charleston between 1807 and 1815. More.
Free family law clinic: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 13, Dorchester Regional Branch Library, 6325 Dorchester Road, North Charleston. The S.C. Bar Pro Bono Program will offer a free clinic on family law issues -- divorce, custody, support and visitation -- featuring attorney Rita J. Roache. Open to all.
(NEW) Adopt-a-thon: 2 p.m., Sept. 16, Dock Street Theatre, Charleston. Charleston Stage and Pet Helpers are holding a dog-a-thon before the performance of Legally Blonde the Musical. More: CharlestonStage.com.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
(NEW) Sweet Tea Festival: 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 20, downtown Summerville. The newly-formed Summerville Restaurant Association will hold the festival during the community's Third Thursday event with food and drink offerings from 11 area restaurants. More: SummervilleDream.org
CSO Gospel Choir opening: 6 p.m., Sept. 22, Calvary Baptist Church, 620 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston. The choir will open its 2012-13 season with "The Myth -- 40 Acres and a Mule: An Epic Story Chronicling African-American Land Preservation." The performance will be under the direction of artistic director Isaiah McGee as a benefit for the Center for Heirs' Property Preservation. Tickets: $20 advance; $25 at the door. More.
Benefit concert: 1 p.m., Sept. 23, Awendaw Green, 4879 N. Highway 17, Awendaw. Awendaw Green and assorted local artists will conduct a benefit for local guitarist Nick Collins, who was injured in a car accident earlier this month. Performers include Sol Driven Train, Fowler's Mustache, The Reckoning, Ten Toes Up, Danielle Howle with Firework Show, Killer Whales, Stained Glass Wall and Sara Cole and the Hawkes. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at this all-day event. More.
(NEW) Slave trade lecture: 6 p.m., Sept. 26, Old Slave Mart Museum, 6 Chalmers St., Charleston. Donald West, coordinator in Trident Tech's Department of History, Humanities and Political Science, will give a lecture titled "The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade: An Academic and Personal Perspective." West, awarded a Fulbright-Hays Scholarship in 1998 to travel and study in Cameroon, has visited important sites connected to the slave trade through the years. Space is limited. More: 843.958.6467.
Bubbly and Brew: 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sept. 28, Harborside East, Mount Pleasant. My Sister's House will present the 4th annual Bubbly and Brew fundraiser with champagne and lots of tasty food, as well as live music, a silent auction and a live auction. Tickets are $60 in advance, $75 at the door. More.
More shagging: 7 p.m., Sept. 29, Mount Pleasant Pier. Charleston County Parks has added an additional "Shaggin' on the Cooper" concert that will feature Groove Train with its classic R&B, pop and rock favorites. Tickets are $10. More.
(NEW) That BIG Book Sale: Oct. 12 to Oct. 14, Omar Shrine Auditorium, Mount Pleasant. More than 60,000 used books, CDs, DVDs and more will be on sale to benefit the Charleston County Public Library. More.
Free notary public training: 6 p.m., Oct. 22, Building 920 Campus Center, Trident Technical College, 7000 Rivers Ave., North Charleston. The Secretary of State's office will offer a free regional seminar for anyone interested in being a notary. This seminar will address state laws governing the duties and responsibilities of notaries. The unauthorized practice of law will also be addressed in a joint session with a representative from the South Carolina Bar. To register in advance, contact Renee Daggerhart online.
Fiber artist exhibit: Open daily Tuesday through Sunday through Oct. 28, City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston. Curator Cookie Washington has curated "Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore: A Fiber Arts Exhibition." It features the works of more than 50 of the country's premiere African-American fiber artists including internationally-known artists Donna Chambers, Marion Coleman, Arianne King Comer, Michael Cummings, Dr. Deborah Grayson, Dr. Kim Hall and Patricia Montgomery.
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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