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What this bus has "transformed" is traffic along Spring Street. This CARTA bus traveled in both lanes from MUSC to King Street one evening last week. Not only was the bus just plain rude, but cars backed up behind the bus all along the street. Note to CARTA: Get your drivers to stay in one lane! If the street is too narrow, change the route. (Photo by Andy Brack.)

Issue 4.46 | Monday, Sept. 17, 2012
Don't forget: Another primary today!

:: On childhood cancer research

:: Beware of cakes, Mark Clark survey

:: About pressure cookers

:: MOJA coming, film to premiere here

:: Tuberculosis


:: FEEDBACK: More road funding needed

:: SPOTLIGHT: Charleston Green Commercial

:: BROADUS: Big check

:: CALENDAR: This week ... and next

:: THE LIST: One long swim

:: QUOTE: About backbones


ABOUT US offers insightful community comment and good news on events each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer the best of what's happening locally. What readers say



Group raises money, awareness for childhood cancer research
Chase After a Cure
Special to

Erica, Whitney and Chase Ringler of Summerville.
(Photos provided)

SEPT. 17, 2012 -- Although cancer is the No. 1 cause of disease-related death among children, it is still rarer than adult cancers. That means funding for childhood cancer research is limited. In particular, neuroblastoma - which has one of the lowest survival rates -- receives very little attention because the population base with this form of cancer isn't profitable enough for pharmaceutical companies to develop new treatments.

But when my son, Chase, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma our lives were impacted greatly. It didn't matter that childhood cancer incidence rates are less than 1 percent of all new cancer diagnoses. We were 100 percent affected.

Chase was given a 30 percent chance of survival after being diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. We were lucky. Chase is now 8 years old and doing great. But many families are finding a way to deal with the loss of a child too soon - a loss that could be prevented with additional research and more treatment options.

So that's why in 2009 my family and I started Chase After a Cure to support families of childhood cancer patients, raises awareness about childhood cancer and generate funds for childhood cancer research at the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital. While we focus on neuroblastoma, our aim is to chase away all childhood cancer.

Since our founding, we've raised about $275,000 for childhood cancer research at MUSC. We work closely with Dr. Jacqueline Kraveka, a pediatric oncologist. Her research laboratory, housed in the Darby Children's Research Institute, is the only laboratory in the state of South Carolina dedicated to translational pediatric cancer research. Her work focuses on neuroblastoma and developing novel treatments for this deadly disease.

But our work has only just begun. Childhood cancers receive little federal funding compared to other cancers. For example, childhood cancer may receive just $30 million while breast cancer research receives more than $800 million of federal funding. Certainly research for breast cancer and other adult cancers is critical but just because childhood cancer is rare doesn't mean it's not equally as important. It still impacts young lives, families and futures.

Imagine if tomorrow someone told you your baby girl or boy had a 30 percent chance to grow up to ride the school bus, play on the soccer team or graduate with honors. You would be ready to fight. Won't you help us in our fight to chase after a cure?

How you can support Chase After a Cure during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month:

  • Chase After a Cure Golf Tournament presented by Smoak & Associates -- Sept. 24 at Patriots Point Links in Mount Pleasant. Registration opens at 11:30 a.m. and lunch will be provided by 17 North Roadside Kitchen.

  • Hole Lot of Fun (pictured above) presented by Reagin Orthodontics -- 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 30 at Blackbeard's Cove, 3255 Highway 17 North in Mount Pleasant. Bring the whole family for unlimited golf, go-karts, jump castles, a climbing wall and arcade games. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.

    Whitney Ringler of Summerville is the founder of Chase After a Cure. For more information, visit

Be careful about questions on chocolate cake, road extensions
By ANDY BRACK, publisher

SEPT. 17, 2012 -- If you got a letter in the mail or a call on the phone from someone who asked whether you "favor or oppose receiving a chocolate cake," there's a high degree of likelihood that you'd say, "I'd favor it." Why? Because chocolate cake tastes good.


The same goes for a caller who wanted to know whether you wanted to receive a sports car, a trip to Bermuda, or, say, the construction of the Mark Clark Expressway along a particular route.

But if you were told that the chocolate cake would cost you $50, would you still be in favor of getting it?

Probably not.

This is just the kind of logic used in the recently announced survey results regarding extension of the Mark Clark Expressway. A survey backed by the state Department of Transportation (SCDOT) asked a simple question but left out a key component -- that the roadwork would cost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

So it's not surprising that 72 percent of respondents in a "random sample" of 5,000 households from West Ashley and Ravenel to the islands -- James, Johns, Kiawah, Seabrook and Wadmalaw -- said they'd be for extension of the highway. The hypothetical question they were asked was loaded to favor a positive answer!

The folks at the University of South Carolina who conducted the survey for the SCDOT provided a 19-page report on the methodology on why it is a good survey. But quite simply, it is flawed because it didn't ask any substantive follow-up questions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that:

  • The two-page survey opened with a color map and a detailed 15-line description of the project's proposed route. Would it have been so hard to add one line that it is expected to cost $558 million? You don't, for example, see news stories about the proposed highway that fail to mention the cost. Shouldn't a survey do the same?

  • There should have been more than one question asked to provide more insight into the answer of the first question. Certainly there was space. More than likely if people had been able to respond to a question that the road would actually cost them money, the number of positive responses would have plummeted like a duck shot from the sky.

  • In the dark ages when I took graduate-level statistics, mail surveys generally were thought to be imperfect tools for public opinion because a good response rate was considered to be 5 percent of surveys mailed. In the survey for the SCDOT, researchers got a 39.8 percent return rate, which was boosted to 44.2 percent after they followed up with phone calls to people who wouldn't fill out the paper survey. The response rate alone should be a clue that the survey is suspect.

This survey falls into the category of the kind of document that purports to apply science to a matter of public opinion. But the foundations of the whole survey aren't worth the paper on which it's printed. Sure, the math works out and the 19 pages of logic and results sound good at first glance. But when you check under the hood, there's more than enough to worry about.

Is this a case of elected officials pressuring for a simple survey to get the results they wanted? Why didn't the survey ask enough questions to get to the root of how people really feel about the proposed extension?

We'll probably never know. For now, be careful about assuming the results of this survey are an accurate snapshot of what people where the road may be built really think.


VOTERS TO LOSE. In Friday's column for Statehouse Report, we broached the subject of November's election, poised to make voters the biggest losers because of confusion caused by the photo voter identification law and snafus after the courts kick off more than 250 candidates from ballots in the primaries.

An excerpt:

"Thanks to a two-headed hydra of election law confusion, it's unlikely most voters for state House and Senate candidates will hear much about real issues that could impact their lives. Why? Because they're either trying to figure out who to vote for or they have few real choices to express increasing frustration with the Statehouse that is found in all corners of the state.

"Quite frankly, it's a pitiful set of circumstances. With real leadership, all of this could have been avoided."

Andy Brack is publisher of Charleston Currents and Statehouse Report, where part of this column first appeared. He can be reached at:

Gas tax money needs to be dedicated to preservation

To Charleston Currents:

I absolutely agree [column, 9/10/12] that S.C. must generate additional funding to preserve our poor highway/bridge infrastructure. However, unless the Legislature specifically sets aside the funding for preservation in a "Preservation Trust Fund" which I have proposed - the gas tax funds will continue to be subject to the political powers of a very powerful few and will not go to repair our roads and bridges. This has been the problem all along -- the battle of political interests.

The recent articles about the State Infrastructure Bank and, of course the I-73 project as well as the Mark Clark Expressway Project, are but two big examples of this problem, and I can cite others where preservation funds were transferred in local projects. The Secretary of Transportation cannot stop the SCDOT Commission from using gas tax in a political way, except in limited areas. You see, it's not "sexy", from a political standpoint, to resurface bad roads and fix bad bridges - but it is "sexy" to build new roads and bridges. It's called "ribbon-cutting" votes.

I also have concerns about raising the gas tax, which so heavily impacts low-income employees trying to get to work in their older, less fuel-efficient cars. Plus the fact that S.C.'s 30 percent population growth over the past two decades has not made much change in the gas tax. Many people drive more fuel efficient cars, therefore the increase in fuel efficiency standards reduces the amount of money that is collected in fuel tax, yet our roads and bridges are being hammered exponentially by the population increase.

It is important for me to say that I understand the capacity needs of a system in a state with the population growth we have, and I am not saying those needs should be ignored. Rather, I am saying there must be an increased emphasis on preservation of the existing system to counteract decades of neglect, particularly in the secondary road system. The Interstate and U.S. routes are in fair shape, but the remaining roads and bridges are suffering. And, no road is any better than its worst bridge.

I have written papers discussing this, and believe, rather, that an increase in infrastructure preservation funds should be allocated from the General Revenues of the State, and that other, less critical and non-core government funding should be reduced.

Or, should some type of "user" fee be considered? Other infrastructure entities, i.e., telecommunications industry, and electric and water, have a base "user fee" in their bills. Even if you do not use a single kilowatt of electricity, you pay a base price for just have "access" to the electric grid. Same with water and telecomm.

The idea is that EVERYONE benefits from highway infrastructure whether they drive a car or not. This would spread the cost to ALL users.

-- Sarah Nuckles, Rock Hill, S.C.

NOTE: Ms. Nuckles represented District 5 on the state Department of Transportation Commission until earlier this year when her term expired.

  • What's on your mind? 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: We look forward to hearing from you!

Charleston Green Commercial

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In this issue, we turn the spotlight on Charleston Green Commercial, a full-service commercial property management company that pays attention to detail, provides exceptional personal service and is committed to adding value to buildings. Offering professional property management, consulting and other services, the company strives to improve clients' bottom lines with superior service, accessibility, reliability and a wealth of knowledge of the Charleston real estate market. By blending use of proven contractors and contacts with environmentally-conscious practices, the company helps clients stay on the leading edge of commercial real estate practices. More.

Under pressure: Blowing the lid off an intimidating appliance
By ANN THRASH, contributing editor

The text from Charleston Currents publisher Andy Brack swooshed onto my cell phone about two months ago: "Call me about pressure cookers." What I know about pressure cookers would fit into half a Tweet, so instead of calling Andy, I texted back: "Sorry…don't have one, never used one."

Then the phone rang. It was Andy. Turns out he didn't want to ask my advice about using a pressure cooker -- instead, he had one that he'd never used, and he wanted to know if I'd like to have it. It was a beautiful, top-of-the-line Kuhn Rikon model, so I said yes.

If you were around in the pressure cooker's heyday in the 1960s and '70s, you will probably understand what I did with the pressure cooker, and why. What I did was exactly nothing. I mean, who hadn't heard the horror stories about the cookers exploding, blowing their lids off and projectile-launching beans or chili or a pork roast all over the ceiling? Like many people, I was a little intimidated by them. But I'd also heard good things about how quickly pressure cookers can develop flavor, and how tender and juicy they can make less-expensive cuts of meat in a fraction of the time that braising or slow roasting would take.

I asked various friends if they'd ever used a pressure cooker, and the universal response was, "Nah…I've heard they're a lot safer now, but…." I felt a little better about my own nerves when, shortly after getting the cooker from Andy, I saw a chef using one on an "Iron Chef" rerun on the Food Network and heard host Alton Brown praise the man and say, "You'd be surprised how many chefs don't know how to use a pressure cooker." At least I had a lot of company.

This past weekend, though, I finally summoned up my nerve and decided to give it a go. The model Andy gave me was a 4-quart size. When I initially started looking online for recipes, including at the manufacturer's Web site, most of the recipes required larger models. I didn't really feel comfortable experimenting and juggling quantities the first time out, so I kept looking. When I saw a super-simple pot roast recipe designed for 4-quart pots (at another manufacturer's website, actually), I figured that would be a good first effort.

Aside from a few tense moments -- like the moment when I took off the lid after the pot had cooled down -- everything went great. The pot roast turned out very juicy and tender after 45 minutes, and with a little seasoning and doctoring, the cooking liquid turned into a nice gravy. With the evenings being a little cooler, I've got my eye on some soup and chili recipes to try next. If you've got any pressure cooker advice or recipes for me, please let me know! I'd love to hear your experience.

'Top Chef' fan favorite coming to town

If you're a fan of Bravo's "Top Chef" franchise, you'll want to know that a fan favorite from the recent Las Vegas season is coming to Charleston next month to promote his first cookbook. Chef Kevin Gillespie will be signing copies of his Southern-inspired book "Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking" (Andrews McMeel, $40) at Heirloom Book Company, 123 King St. downtown, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. October 10.

Gillespie, 29, is executive chef at Atlanta's Woodfire Grill, which focuses local, seasonal, organic and sustainable foods. While the new book includes a few recipes from the restaurant, that's not the overall thrust of the book, according to a press release. "The philosophy behind Gillespie's cooking and the one that informs 'Fire in My Belly' is that when the season changes, the menu changes. Therefore, most of the recipes in the book are original, created from scratch and developed with home cooks in mind."

The 120 recipes fall into chapters such as "Foods You Thought You Hated," "Some Like It Hot," "My Version of Southern Food," "World Classics Made Better," and "Junk Food -- The Best Worst Food You've Ever Had." Recipes are written in "a chef's casual shorthand, listing the ingredient first (as opposed to quantity), in an attempt to get home cooks to think like a chef -- with the ingredient playing the starring and inspiring role. And rather than just writing a list of cooking instructions, Gillespie tries to inform as to why he does things a certain way, explanations that help home cooks to become better cooks."

  • For more info on the signing at Heirloom Books, click here.

Cooking class spotlight: Gingerbread houses

'Tis not the season, yet, but since the holiday gingerbread house classes at the Culinary Institute of Charleston always sell out in a flash, it 'tis the season to sign up. Pastry Chef David Vagasky leads this super-fun class, which is designed for an adult and an elementary-school-age child to take together. You and your youngster will get to make and decorate a gingerbread house and take it home with you for the holidays. There will be three classes, all on Sunday, Nov. 18; the times are 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., noon to 1:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The $59 fee covers one adult and one child.

  • To register or learn more, click here -- or call 574-6152.

Mount Pleasant writer and editor Ann Thrash can be reached at:

Graves to headline evening during 12-day MOJA festival

Opera superstar Denyce Graves will perform Sept. 30 in Charleston as part of the 12-day MOJA Arts Festival, an annual celebration of African-American and Caribbean arts.


The festival, which starts Sept. 27, will offer a stunning variety of arts and cultural programs including theatre, dance, literary, visual arts, jazz, gospel, reggae, chamber music as well as many free, family-friendly events.
Among the highlights of this year's festival:

  • "A Classical Encounter with Denyce Graves," in cooperation with Opera Charleston, will be 7 p.m. Sept. 30 at the Dock Street Theatre. The festival is expected to provide the perfect context for the performance by the critically-acclaimed Graves, a critically-acclaimed international and Metropolitan Opera singing sensation. Tickets are $65 to $80 and available online at

  • Will Downing: The nationally-known jazz recording artist will perform 8 p.m. Sept. 29 at the Family Circle Stadium. Oscar Rivers Jazz Quintet will open.

  • Seth Gilliard. The violinist, a Furman graduate seen as a rising star, will perform 6 p.m. Oct. 4 at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park. The program, "From Classical to Contemporary," will include everything from Bach to recent music.

  • "A Gospel Explosion," scheduled for 4 p.m. Sept. 30 at Trinity United Methodist Church, will feature the male choirs of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist, Royal Missionary Baptist, Bethel AME and Greater Zion AME Churches, as well as gospel singer Mario Desaussure.

The festival also will feature free events, such as the Sept. 28 opening Caribbean Street Parade starting in Hampton Park, a Reggae Block Dance after opening ceremonies and an Oct. 7 finale at Hampton Park. A juried art exhibition will run through Oct. 30 at the Avery Research Center for African-American History and Culture at the College of Charleston.

PBS Civil War documentary to premier Thursday at The Citadel

The Citadel School of Humanities will host a special screening of the new PBS documentary series titled "Death and the Civil War," which examines how the loss of life during the four-year struggle changed the physical and emotional landscape of the United States.

The screening is free and open to the public. It begins at 6:30 p.m. Thursday on the Citadel campus in Bond Hall, Room 165.

"The Citadel is very pleased to host the preview of this powerful documentary," said Bo Moore, dean of Humanities and Social Sciences. "It will give audiences a much better understanding of the unprecedented level of pain that the Civil War inflicted on Americans and the ways in which that pain gave rise to a different nation."

The documentary is based on a book written by Harvard University President Gilpin Faust, "This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War." The screening and discussion of "Death and the Civil War" is a free event and open to the public.

The series begins Sept. 18 on PBS.

The preview screening of extended clips from the film also includes a segment about Charleston's involvement in the conflict. The film will be followed by a discussion led by Citadel History Professor Kyle S. Sinisi, two-time recipient of the James A. Grimsley Undergraduate Teaching Award for excellence in the classroom, and by Richard W. Hatcher III, historian at the Fort Sumter National Monument.

Loftis to hold Tuesday session on identity theft

State Treasurer Curtis Loftis will hold four forums in the coming week across South Carolina -- including one in Charleston Tuesday -- to inform people about how to protect themselves against financial fraud and identity theft.

"Technology is an efficient tool for financial transactions but it is vital we understand how to keep our information and accounts secure," said Loftis, who will join co-sponsors AARP and MasterCard.

In 2011, nearly 12 million Americans were victims of identity theft, according to a press release. In South Carolina, identity theft complaints increased 15 percent from 2010 to 2011 -- ranking South Carolina as having the 20th highest per capital complaint rate in the country.

  • Monday: 9 am., Sun City Carolina Lakes, Fort Mill; 4 p.m., USC Moore School of Business, Columbia.

  • Tuesday: 8:30 a.m., Sun City Hilton Head, Bluffton; 12:30 a.m., Wells Fargo Auditorium at the College of Charleston, Charleston. More.

Charleston's bike corral is first in the state

The City of Charleston is installing the state's first bike corral on King Street near shops, restaurants and other destinations frequented by bicyclists downtown. A national trend in accommodating bicyclists, bike corrals are parking spaces for multiple bikes, located on city streets out of the way of pedestrians, visible to motorists and, most importantly, easily spotted by cyclists.

King Street, a street heavily trafficked by bicyclists, is home to the new corral located in the block between John and Hutson street. It provides 10 new public bike parking spaces.

"Bike corrals not only serve the customers of businesses on the greatest shopping and dining streets in the country, they serve as a signal to everyone that bicycling is an important part of our community," said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. "Promoting bicycling downtown and in other parts of the City helps address the problems associated with congested areas."

Three other corrals are planned for the downtown area: one at King and Hasell Streets, one on upper St. Philip Street and one on Concord Street near Waterfront Park.

SCRA wins $45 million contract

SCRA Applied R&D has won a $45 million, three-year contract to support the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Experimentation Center by performing military utility assessments. The assessments will test technologies and processes in realistic military conditions in areas including: military tactics, weapons technologies, humanitarian aid, communications and renewable energy.

"We are extremely pleased to have been selected to continue our support of the MARFORPAC mission," said SCRA Applied R&D President Chris Van Metre. "SCRA Applied R&D has an extensive track record delivering high returns on investment to our federal partners and supporting our men and women in uniform through successful execution of essential programs. "

  • An invitation: 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.


In any historic survey of tuberculosis (TB) in the South, two things stand out. First, until about the 1920s, it was one of the region's leading causes of death, mostly brought on by slow destruction of the lungs. Second, it killed-and was allowed to kill-African Americans three times more often than whites. In 1900 in South Carolina, it claimed the lives of 219 blacks per every 100,000 of population, while the white rate was just above 70.

While its immediate cause was the germ Mycobacterium tuberculosis, contributing factors were multiple and generally the same for both races, though all affected blacks much more severely. Malnutrition was one, for the long absence of key vitamins lessened the body's ability to resist infection. But infection's greatest spur was overcrowding: in close quarters one active case could infect many.

The culprit, epidemiologists would discover, was the dried remains of bacteria-laden droplets called "droplet nuclei." Sprayed into the air as a fine mist by cough or sneeze, droplet nuclei could hang in the air for long periods-even after the infected source had departed-and were small enough to be inhaled into terminal air passages where TB could begin. The one predisposing cause unique to blacks was their lack of historic experience with TB. Exposed to it on first encountering whites, usually in New World slave societies, blacks as late as the twentieth century had not had time to acquire whites' immunity level.

A final factor, bearing on both races but putting blacks at special disadvantage during segregation, was insufficient medical care and treatment. Until chemotherapy emerged in the late 1940s, the one fairly sure-if slow-cure for TB was the sanatorium, which offered not medicine but bed rest on open-air porches. Blacks, however, had no access to them until the 1920s, many years after white care began; and even when sanatoriums were built for blacks, they were woefully inadequate. South Carolina was typical: the white facility opened in 1916; blacks had none until 1921, and they had to raise much of its funding themselves. Moreover, the state's blacks had only a fraction of needed beds. The standard was one for every TB death. In 1934, 844 blacks died, but their sanatorium accommodated only 148 patients. The hospital for whites met the standard.

Although TB continued to be a problem for blacks until the 1960s, increased federal funding after 1945 for added beds and TB control (which searched out victims and got them into treatment) helped blacks disproportionately. Then in the 1950s improved chemotherapy offered a sure and speedy cure without hospitalization.

Once black pressure and civil rights law ended medical segregation in the 1960s, blacks gained equal access to such therapy. By 1970 all those factors, plus rising income, finally brought blacks' TB under control. In 1945 their mortality in South Carolina was 56 cases per 100,000; twenty years later it was just over 6. Though that was still three times the rate for whites, in the interval blacks' progress had slightly surpassed whites', and their long struggle against TB was over.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Ed Beardsley. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

Big check

The BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation presented a $51,422 check to Communities In Schools on Friday to fund a teen pregnancy prevention program in five North Charleston-area schools. Pictured from left are: the Rev. Don Flowers, Jane Riley-Gambrell, Harvey Galloway, S.C. Rep. Seth Whipper (D-North Charleston) and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. "As an organization dedicated to keeping students in school, Communities In Schools of the Charleston Area recognizes the tremendous influence teen pregnancy has on the high school dropout rate. We are grateful to the BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation for understanding this very real obstacle to high school completion and for investing in Communities In Schools and comprehensive reproductive health education," said Communities In Schools Executive Director Jane Riley-Gambrell
.(Photo provided.)


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One long swim


Charleston City Council member Kathleen Wilson this month completed a grueling swim across the Molokai Channel in Hawaii. Some facts about the swim:

  • The route from Lolokai's Laau Point to Oahu's Sandy Beach is 26 miles.

  • Wilson became the 25th person to swim across the channel.

    It took her 20 hours and 41 minutes -- from 1 a.m. on a Saturday to 10:41 p.m. that evening.

  • Conditions weren't ideal as there was a south east wind blowing at up to 15 mph.

  • Additionally, the Pacific Ocean was "lumpy and bumpy, according to Open Water Source, with swells of four feet and a shore break of up to six feet.

  • Wilson received more than 20 jellyfish stings at the end of her swim as she was exiting.

Congratulations, Kathleen!

Evidence of a backbone

"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

-- Winston Churchill



THIS WEEK | permalink

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:

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) Houston mayor to speak: 6 p.m. Sept. 21, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting Street, Charleston. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, the first openly gay mayor of a major U.S. city, will speak to members of the Alliance for Full Acceptance. More.

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.

(NEW) MOJA Arts Festival: Sept. 27 through Oct. 7, Charleston. Opera start Denyce Graves will sing 7 p.m., Sept. 30, at the Dock Street Theatre as one of the highlights of this year's MOJA Arts Festival, a multifaceted event that includes visual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, theatre, children's activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food and lots more. Online at:

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) Foreign policy speech by former Ambassador Michael Cotter: 6 p.m., Oct. 3, Holliday Alumni Center, The Citadel. The ambassador, publisher of the American Diplomacy online journal, will speak to the Charleston Foreign Affairs Forum. More.

(NEW) Latin American Festival: Noon to 6 p.m., Oct. 7, Wannamaker County Park. There will be live Salsa and Merengue music for people to enjoy at the 2012 festival that will offer authentic food, crafts, kids' activities and more. $10 park entry fee.

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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12/3: LaFond: Health directives

11/26: Stevens: Thank you letters
McConnell: Retirement plans
Franklin: Long-term care
Middleton: You make the call

10/29: Herrick: Saucy new book
Spencer: Invest in arts
Ferillo: Hope's promise
Brooks: Senior hunger
Belton: Florence Crittenton

Eberle: Hampton Park
Ringler: Child cancer
Craft: Our water
SC Dems: Convention

More of Focus in the archives


11/19: "Satan's Kingdom"
Christening ironclads
Beauregard's return
Second Battle of Manassas
Secessionville aftermath
Battle of Secessionville
Robert Smalls
Preparing for the attach
Yankee in charge?
Lee and Traveller
Stone Fleet


12/3: 1-526 hoodwinking

11/26: Guilty pleasure
Earlier education
Lessons from the election
Battleground state

10/29: 16 days, Gov. Haley?
Our next mayor?
Remembering Peatsy
Haley's options
Reform ethics system

9/24: New TravelOrMove site
Cake and I-526
Raise gas tax
Doby on stamp, book

More Andy Brack in the archives


10/15: Guerrilla cuisine
Lots of cooking help
Pressure cookers
Thanks to Couric
On John Martin Taylor
Mystery of old cans
Eat like a Founding Father
Nuke that corn
Huguenot torte

Local connection for Star
Teaching mom a little
Cooking for crowd
Farmers markets opening

Hank's new cookbook
Enjoy Carter's Kitchen
Glass Onion to be on TV
Guacamole and the Bowl
Restaurant Week
Using leftover bubbly


8/13: Bank on Charleston
Did you know?
Payday lenders hurt economy
Waterkeeper event
GrowFood difference
Earth Day festival
Lorax Project
More gardening tips
Food Waste program
Energy from farms
Turtles that fly
Art from beach trash

Coal ash, more
Boeing's solar farm
More eco-tours
More recycling ahead


12/3: Great kid gifts

11/26: Giving back winners
Tech gift list
S.C.'s top golf courses
We're No. 2!

10/29: Anti-hacking tips
#1 best in world
Earthquake tips
Great U.S. streets
5 tech tips

Be tax-ready
One long swim
Clean water
Going postal


Here's the latest from our sister publication, Statehouse Report.


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