4.46 | Monday, Sept. 17, 2012
:: 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
WHERE IS IT?
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:
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?
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
Civil War documentary to premier Thursday at 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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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.
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.
bike corral is first in the state
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.
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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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:
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
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.
CALENDAR: ONGOING AND SOON
(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: www.MojaFestival.com.
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.
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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Saucy new book
12/3: 1-526 hoodwinking
12/3: Great kid gifts
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