5.17 | Monday, Feb. 25, 2013
is way more than children's story time
FEB. 25, 2013 -- I was dead wrong. I didn't hear anyone mention Winnie the Pooh or Cat in the Hat.
It was a year ago when I first experienced the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tenn. Instead of groups of young children sitting in a circle and listening to stories about Tigger and Piglet, I found thousands of people who traveled from all over the country. There was a palpable feeling of camaraderie and excitement as these strangers came together for a powerful, shared experience. This wasn't a children's story time. This was storytelling.
Our culture, our ideas, our dreams, our values - they live because of storytelling. In Charleston, we celebrate our history and our tradition. Whether it is the conditions faced by Charleston's founders or the language and art of the Gullah-Geechee communities, these significant historical moments survive because one person shared a story with another.
Now, Charleston is celebrating the art of storytelling. The Charleston County Public Library is hosting the inaugural Charleston Tells Storytelling Festival on March 8 to March 9 at Wragg Square. This shared community experience is different from anything offered locally.
Some of the best national and local storytellers will entertain with performances that reminisce about the carefree days of childhood, showcase humorous moments from life and relive significant events in history. Each performance will take the audience on a journey that often feels like an emotional rollercoaster. At times, the crowd will be stilled with anticipation for the next word. At other times, audiences will erupt with laughter or be silenced as they try to hold back tears.
But, storytelling isn't limited to history books. It's part of our daily lives, just as it was for our ancestors. It's conversations around the dinner table. It's funny slice of life moments that bring us to tears when retelling them to a friend. It's poignant times with an elderly parent or grandparent as they tell stories about "the good old days," and the after-school conversations when children share their playground adventures.
Sitting in the audience at the National Storytelling Festival, I realized the critical role storytelling plays and how we are losing our skills to technology. Instead of talking face-to-face, we communicate through text messages, emails, blogs and social media. We start relationships on dating web sites, and end friendships on Facebook. There is no eye contact, no chance to read a person's body language or no ability to interpret the inflection in someone's voice. It's impossible to tell stories in 140 characters with hashtags.
Although we used emails, blogs, social media and the web to share news and promote the upcoming festival, the focus of Charleston Tells is solely on the words and stories of an amazing group of performers.
The weekend starts Friday night, March 8, with performances from the four featured national tellers -- Syd Lieberman, Donna Washington, Barbara McBride-Smith and Ed Stivender. On Saturday, there are three stages will concurrent performances throughout the day featuring national and local tellers. During the day Saturday, one tent will have activities and programs the whole family can enjoy. Saturday night, there are two concurrent performances, including an evening of ghost stories under the oaks.
In addition to the national tellers, the festival includes local tellers Sharon Cooper-Murray, Julian Gooding, Hawk Hurst, Minerva King and Tim Lowry plus puppeteer Becky Becker from Becky's Box of Puppets. Four musical groups are set to perform - The Magnolia Singers, the V-Tones, the Hungry Monks and Cattle in the Cane.
customer service still abounds
FEB. 25, 2013 -- Every now and then, people do something that just plain surprises you.
Sometime last fall, an enterprising raccoon or opossum got into a crawl space under our house and squeezed through a small space between the square cut in the flooring for a tub drain and the circular drain pipe. The critter then proceeded to chew through a gray wire that controlled the whirlpool feature on the tub. He apparently got the shock of his life, but not enough to kill him and smell up the house.
When the tub and an outside fountain on the same circuit stopped working, it took a little detective work to find the culprit, a gnawed wire. When it appeared to be a bit more than a quick fix, we finally made a call to the tub manufacturer, MTI Baths.
The company, based in Gwinnett County, Ga., got started in 1988 by J.C. Henry, a family friend who was affectionately known as "Mr. Tubs." That, in fact, was what he first called his company. When he retired in 2002, he wanted the company to continue its commitment to quality and service. After declining several offers, he sold it to 25 employees who scraped together the cash to keep it as one of the industry's leading whirlpool manufacturers. They renamed the company, first as MTI Whirlpools and then to MTI Baths.
Company CEO Kathy Adams referred us to Jennifer Wiggs, ahelpful technician who helped to identify the problem wire. It seemed the fix would be a little more that replacing the wire. While one end easily clicks into the whirlpool controller, the other is hard-wired into a timer. So the whole box has to be replaced. Jennifer sent us an order form to buy the $112 part.
But before we could fill it out, Jennifer called to say the company wanted to send us the part for free because of the long-time relationship it has had with our family. When we tried to decline, she assured us that we were not going to win the battle. The next day, the part arrived.
The point of this tale is to highlight one thing: That good old-fashioned customer service is not dead in America. The folks at MTI Baths didn't need to send the free part. They had been extremely cooperative already in helping us to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. But the company took the extra step and it made a difference. You can bet your bottom dollar that you can figure out whose tubs we'll recommend to anyone we know who needs one.
inside sales manager at Ferguson on Rivers Avenue, said MTI Baths was
a good partner for their plumbing supply business across the country.
"We sell a lot of their stuff," he said. "When it comes
to whirlpools, we gravitate to the ones with good representatives, good
service and those that help us with displays -- those who want to help
Look around and you'll find good customer service every day. Our underwriters, for example, are known for going above and beyond the call of duty.
Piggly Wiggly continues to run an advertising campaign based on being local. It goes out of its way to help customers find what they need. So does Croghan's Jewel Box on King Street, a store filled with helpful sales representatives who steer you to the perfect gift. At Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, staff members help visitors enjoy the memorable experience to the oldest public tourist site in the country. And, of course, the Charleston RiverDogs are so cognizant of providing great customer experiences that they're the place where "Fun is Good."
of kindness happen every day. We're thankful to be reminded by the good
folks at MTI Baths about just how good some companies continue to be.
Another letter complaining about church column
To the editor:
As an active member of an Episcopal church in S.C. I wanted to share a perspective from an Episcopal Church member:
I was disappointed in the lack of perspective shared by Mr. Brack [Brack, Feb. 4], as well as his likening of the church's situation to that of the civil war, generating images of prejudice attitudes.
No human is perfect and no particular sin is weighed more heavily than another nor is it the general consensus that a heterosexual church leader is "better" than a homosexual one. However, you cannot have a church leader encouraging people to confess their sin and do their very best to turn away from it, when they themselves are openly supporting a lifestyle that God does not approve of. This subject matter is beyond politics or society's views on gender and sexuality.
The "schism" currently going on in the S.C. Episcopalian Diocese and the legal battles pertaining to church property extend beyond white, upper middle class folks seeking to hang onto money and property. My church also networks with other local churches helping the community as a whole, such as a free medical clinic, regardless of faith or sexual preference. It provides homes to several of the clergy members, many with families and young children. While the church and surrounding property legally belongs to the Diocese, it really belongs to the church members and community. Without the church as the foundation, its members cannot congregate in worship nor help those in need both locally and globally.
Crittenton Programs of SC
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This week, we welcome our nonprofit partner for the coming year, the Florence Crittenton Programs of South Carolina. The organization, which got its start in Charleston in 1897, provides young, at-risk pregnant and parenting women with comprehensive services to help them become self-sufficient and responsible mothers. Its residential program is for pregnant girls and young women from 10 to 21 from anywhere in South Carolina. Its family development program provides home-based support services to at-risk, low-income single parents with children ages 5 and under throughout the Tri-County area. To learn more, visit online at www.FlorenceCrittentonSC.org. To see its wish list, click here.
Is there a better way to
deal with heirs' property?
FEB. 25, 2013 -- I am a cultural preservationist by interest and am currently participating in a "Master Preservationist" class. We are learning mostly about the how and why of building preservation, in particular, and spent one fascinating morning learning about "heirs' property" and the "livability court."
I'll let you find out more about them, but what was fascinating to me is that one of them, the livability court, is paid for out of our local taxes. The heirs' property project, which works hand-in-hand with the livability court, is funded by private donations. Why is that? Both are committed to improving the lot of local property owners. The court focuses on the city, while the Center for Heirs' Property Preservation focuses on six counties.
Heirs' property is an issue for virtually all older African American families, while court seems to have a very high amount of out-of-state owners to deal with. I am not saying the current way doesn't make sense, but I wonder if the city has considered what a good use of its tax dollars might be for all by clearing up land ownership?
can learn about classics in neat summer program
and middle school students in the Lowcountry will have a chance this summer
to carpe diem (seize the day) just as the Romans did.
of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs. and the Department of Classics
at the College of Charleston have teamed with Ascanius: The Youth Classics
Institute to offer a LatinSummer camp to local students.
the oldest and largest program of its type in the nation, will introduce
students in 2013 for a second summer to the language and culture of ancient
Rome. LatinSummer Charleston will run on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30
p.m. daily from July 15 to July 16. It is open to any student currently
enrolled in grades one through seven. Registration fees range from $50
to $275 depending on financial need. No prior knowledge of Latin or Classics
the LatinSummer Charleston program, students will participate in exciting
classes in mythology, various aspects of Roman culture and even the Latin
language. Students will engage in a wide range of fun, hands-on activities
such as carving inscriptions, building models, playing language games,
and creating Roman clothing. As the students learn about Latin and the
Classics, they will also enhance their knowledge of other subject areas
and explore how the ancient Roman world has shaped our modern world. The
classes will be taught by creative, enthusiastic college and high school
Latin students under the supervision of experienced teachers.
Island to offer Coastal Living's 2013 Showhouse
Island will be the site of Coastal Living magazine's 2013 Showhouse, an
annual home design project that showcases the best of coastal home innovation,
decor and construction.
Coastal Living Showhouse is the perfect way to bring the brand to life,"
said Nicole Hendrick, associate homes director for the magazine. "The
2013 location, Daniel Island, is an idyllic, Lowcountry island town. Its
natural beauty, welcoming neighbors and endless array of amenities and
conveniences make it a coveted coastal destination and a spectacular location
for this year's house."
all-star design team behind the 2013 Coastal Living Showhouse on Daniel
Island includes developer and builder Jamison Howard of Max G. Crosby
Construction Co. Inc; interior designer Ginger Brewton of Ginger Brewton
Interiors; and Our Town Plans, provider of the architectural design. The
project specialists have broken ground on the house and expect completion
in early June.
Coastal Living Showhouse on Daniel Island will host weekly tours Wednesday
through Sunday from June 28 to August 18, and Friday through Sunday from
August 23 to October 20. The showhouse is expected to draw as many as
10,000 visitors from across the nation. Tickets are $15 per person with
a portion of proceeds benefiting a local charity. Tickets are available
for purchase on-site and online.
thrilled to be the location of this year's Coastal Living Showhouse. We've
enjoyed a long-time partnership with Coastal Living and feel that the
nature of our small island town community makes for the perfect setting
for this annual showcase of coastal living," said Carolyn Lancaster,
vice president of marketing for the Daniel Island Company.
County expands use of social media
County is getting hipper to social media. With an established Twitter
account and a few departments already managing their own Facebook pages,
Charleston County government is now spreading the word about its new main
County Facebook page, the Consolidated 9-1-1 Center's Public Education
Program Facebook page and its developing You Tube account.
are pleased about expanding the County's means of communicating with the
public," said Charleston County Administrator W. Kurt Taylor. "Until
recently, government entities had to rely on costly direct mail or the
media to get information out to constituents. Today, social media is rapidly
developing as a fast and free way to share news and information, and the
County has embraced this ability to directly communicate with our citizens."
who likes the County's main
Facebook page will see all news releases (also posted on the County's
website and sent via Twitter)
and will be able to see additional photos and video links to County programs
and events. The new Consolidated
9-1-1 Center's Public Education Program Facebook page shares news
and photos and includes video examples of 9-1-1 calls to help teach people
the proper way to call for help during an emergency.
Management Department's Facebook page, which was previously announced,
will play a key role in disseminating information to citizens in the event
of a hurricane or other natural or manmade disaster situation. And so
will Twitter, which will be an easy way for citizens to directly receive
accurate information as soon as details are confirmed and sent out by
the upcoming 2013 Hurricane Season, now is a good time for people to like
or follow us, and to consider this part of their regular preparedness
process," said Jason Patno, director of Charleston County's Emergency
Have your say about local transportation needs
You can let the state Department of Transportation know what you think about current transportation services offered in the Palmetto State by completing a new survey that's open until March 4.
The department is updating the state's long-range transportation plan, one part of which includes how it deals with roads, bridges, bicycles, pedestrians, ports, railways, buses and trolleys. The Statewide Public Transportation Plan outlines federal transit funding for public transit and human services agencies across the state. Federal transit funding is vital in helping transit agencies operate their services for our residents.
South Carolina Review
The South Carolina Review is a literary miscellany featuring short fiction, poetry, critical essays, interviews, and book reviews. Founded at Furman University in 1968, the Review was edited and published there until June 1973, when it moved to Clemson University under the leadership of Richard J. Calhoun, who became editor.
Other members of Clemson's English department followed him as editor, and selected English department faculty members there served as advisers. For more than three decades The South Carolina Review had maintained its role as a vehicle for fiction writers and poets launching their careers, for critics and scholars desiring to share their insights and discoveries, and for reviewers intent on assessing the achievements of creative writers and outspoken scholars.
Among authors whose stories, poems, and letters have appeared in The South Carolina Review are Joyce Carol Oates, Fred Chappell, Mark Steadman, and Thomas Wolfe. Critical essays and reviews have ranged widely, from such grammatical issues as the spelling of alright / all right to the legacies of Robert Frost and James Dickey. In between, scholarly essays have examined such writers as Samuel Beckett, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Gilmore Simms, and John Milton.
Special issues dedicated to single authors represent the special efforts of the South Carolina Review to promote the exchange of ideas and discoveries. Since its move to Clemson, the magazine has devoted issues to James Dickey, Robert Frost, William Butler Yeats, and Virginia Woolf. Entering the new millennium, a special issue, Ireland in the Arts and Humanities, signaled the journal's aspiration to embrace both national and international literature. Yet the focus of the magazine remains southern and American literature.
Falling in line
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© 2008-2013, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. Charleston Currents is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
What people say about storytelling
With the Charleston Storytelling Festival just around the corner, you might enjoy some quotes about what people say about storytelling, thanks to our friends at the library:
"Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures."
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IN THE WEEK AHEAD
(NEW) Computer Security 101: Starts 9 a.m., Feb. 26, Coastal Community Foundation offices, 635 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston. The S.C. Tech Academy will offer four classes on computer security on successive Tuesdays. Learn more.
Pride and Joy: 5:30 p.m., Feb. 27, American Theater, 456 King Street, Charleston. The Southern Foodways Alliance will feature the documentary "Pride and Joy," Joe York's film of the depth and breadth of Southern food culture. Part of the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, tickets ($100) are online here.
Bach Festival of Charleston: March 1 to 3, First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, 53 Meeting Street, Charleston. The third biennial event offers a Baroque vocal chamber concert at 7:30 p.m. March 1, an organ concertini by candlelight the following night at the same time, and a performance of "Soli Deo Gloria" at 4 p.m. March 3. Free. More info.
Views of the Coast: Through March 3, City Gallery, Waterfront Park. The City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs will offer a show of works by macro-photographer David Batchelder and aerial photographer Yve Assad that was curated by Charles Wyrick. More.
A Woman Called Truth: Through March 3, Dock Street Theatre, Charleston. New York Broadway veteran Danielle Lee Greaves will showcase a production of this play on the story of abolitionist advocate Sojourner Truth. For times and more, contact Charleston Stage.
CONTINUING AND IN THE WEEKS AHEAD
(NEW) Gardening in the air: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March 16, Charleston Exchange Park. The 2013 Carolina Yard Gardening School is open for registration. For $75, participants will enjoy two lectures, two workshops, a great lunch, door prizes and free compost. Register here.
Steel Magnolias: Through March 9, Charleston Acting Studio and Theatre at the corner of Folly and Camp roads on James Island. The performance of the classic play put on by Midtown Productions, features the story of some zany women in the Chinquapin Parish in Louisiana. More.
Free admission to county parks: March 24. The Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission will offer free admission to all county parks on this day as part of Customer Appreciation Day. Visitors also will be able to win waterpark and fishing passes ... and more. More: www.ccprc.com
Hunt & Habit:
Through April 21, Charleston Museum, Meeting Street. The museum
will present an original exhibition of women's and men's riding habits,
hats and accessories from the 19th and early 20th century. More
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. Walks also are conducted on James Island and Folly Beach.Learn more online.
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