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Liberty, a rescued bald eagle at the South Carolina Aquarium, sports a majestic look from her second-floor perch. Found with an injured wing that had to be amputated, she's been at the Aquarium since 2008. Photo by Andy Brack.

Issue 5.22 | Monday, April 1, 2013
Remember to vote Tuesday
(If you live in the First Congressional District and
didn't vote in the Democratic primary; more)

FOCUS Swimming with manatees
BRACK When no vision, people perish
GOOD NEWS Avery exhibit, Turner award, more
HISTORY Havilah Babcock
SPOTLIGHT Croghan's Jewel Box
FEEDBACK Send us your letters
THE LIST Vacation ID tips
QUOTE On fools
CALENDAR This week ... and next

Georgia woman tells about swimming with manatees
Republished with permission

EDITOR'S NOTE: This column came out last week in our sister publication, GwinnettForum. We thought you'd enjoy it.

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- Two weeks ago, I experienced something somewhat foreign. I went snorkeling with manatees, along with my friend, Rebecca Gardner, and her family. We will never forget it.


Arriving at American Pro Diving Center at Crystal River, Fla. at 8:30 a.m., we saw a video on how to swim with manatees. Soon 25 of us boarded pontoon boats. As our boat glided through the water, our captain went over the guidelines with us again. We were told to remain calm, not to splash excessively, nor make loud noises, which can scare the manatees.

But mostly, we were asked to have fun. He also reminded us not to pursue the manatees, to give them space, and allow them to come to us. I could see the excitement beginning flow through everyone on the boat.

We spotted our first manatees within minutes of leaving shore. Everyone was looking over the side of the boat. Seeing the gentle giants up close made me ready to swim. We passed two large roped off areas, sanctuaries or designated areas for the manatees to rest. It is off limits to swimmers and a space just for observing.

Our captain anchored. One by one we all put our goggles and flippers on and calmly slipped into the 72 degree water. The water was a shock! It took everyone a few minutes to adjust to the coldness. When all were in the water, we slowly made our way to the spring's entrance, pausing for a moment to observe the manatees in the sanctuaries. We swam through a narrow passage before the spring opened up to large area where manatees could be seen all along the bottom. The sun, reflecting through the water, made the manatees look like giant rocks, slowly floating up to take a breath, before sinking down into the water.

Photo by Karen Gardner

Every time I turned around I encountered a manatee. I often jumped, for I was surprised when I would turn my head and I was suddenly in the path of manatees. My nerves soon settled and I calmly swam around. Then I saw mother manatees with their babies. Listening very carefully I could hear little squeaks. I later learned those squeaks were the babies, chatting with mom.

People all around me were reaching out and touching the manatees. My curiosity got the best of me. The opportunity soon presented itself. Before long a small manatee approached two of us. The manatee, like a dog, rolled over onto its side, showing us he wanted to be patted on his tummy. We both reached out and stroked him. I was surprised to find that his skin was a little rough, like a scab when healing. The roughness of the manatee's skin was also mixed with a slimy feel, which I realized was algae.

The swim with the manatees lasted a little over an hour, which for me was not long enough. I lost count on how many manatees I saw and touched. I was just happy to have the chance to be with and observe them in their natural habitat.

All of the manatees had scars. One particular manatee I saw had nothing but a stump for a tail. Manatees are gentle and curious creatures that don't deserve to be scarred and, even worse, killed. These snorkeling tours are a fabulous idea to get people more aware and involved in protecting these endangered animals. I hope to someday soon do it again.


Where there is no vision, the people perish
By ANDY BRACK, publisher

MARCH 29, 2013 -- A psychiatrist would have a field day if the state of South Carolina were to get on a couch for a diagnosis.

Maybe state government and her leaders have Cluster A disorders, which according to the American Psychiatric Association include odd or eccentric behaviors such as the fear of social relation:

  • Paranoia, or irrational suspicions and mistrust of others, perhaps such as the state's fear that more federal government money to expand Medicaid to help hundreds of thousands of poor South Carolinians get health care is a bad thing.

  • Schizoid personality disorder, which involves the lack of interest in social relationships or sharing time with others. Maybe this would explain the state's seemingly continuing desire to secede based on an overzealous interpretation of the notion of individual liberty.

  • Schizotypal personality disorder, which is behavior or thinking that is just odd, such as lawmakers' proposals to allow people to carry concealed guns in schools, college campuses or, of all things, bars.

Perhaps, though, the state could better be classified as having Cluster B disorders for dramatic, emotional or erratic behavior:

  • Antisocial disorder, a diagnosis that features disregard for the rights of others and lack of empathy. Although often associated with criminals, might it not also be associated with politicians who want to tell people on food stamps what they can and can't eat?

  • Borderline personality disorder, which often is defined by thinking about things as one way or the other. In the legislature, this might be characterized by increasing partisanship and how compromise -- thinking about alternatives in the middle -- seems to be dying.

  • Histrionic personality disorder, which often appears as attention-seeking behavior and exaggeration. There are a few politicians who you can probably think of that fit in here.

  • Narcissistic disorder, defined as those who have a pattern of grandiose behavior, lack of empathy and need to be admired. There's no lack of candidates here either.

Other disorders that might be part of the state's diagnosis include obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (abortion politics) and passive-aggressive personality disorder (refusal to deal with growing education funding problems despite generations being lost). Regardless, whatever is wrong with South Carolina may take years of therapy.

More than anything, the Palmetto State seems to be going through an identity crisis. Does it want to be an overzealous nanny and tell people what they can do (what to eat on food stamps) or can't do (get access to health care through Medicaid expansion)? Or does it want to be a Petri dish of government experimentation, such as when rich guys like Howard Rich pump in gazillions of dollars to fuel voucher efforts or U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham talks about how he can sell immigration reform anywhere if he can sell it in South Carolina?

Or does South Carolina want to be a bastion of individual liberty where libertarian philosophy galvanizes what government does to the point of absurdity, such as all of the crazy efforts to try to nullify what the federal government is doing or continue to craft laws to protect gun rights -- even though nobody is really talking about taking away the guns that people have now?

When you think about South Carolina from the perspective of a psychiatrist or from somebody who is on the outside looking in, it's pretty clear what the prescription is for any or all of the disorders above (and no, the answer isn't to put state lawmakers on drugs to calm them down). The answer is engaged leadership -- leadership that will bring people together to form a common vision to improve the state and then work to achieve common goals.

It's time that South Carolina gets off the autopilot of the way we've done things in the past. It's time for us to wake up, put on our big kid underpants and craft a future where children have real opportunity and adults can live in dignity. It's time to stop the politics of "us" and "them," and remember that "we" are in this together.

Yes, it's time for South Carolina to listen attentively to the lesson in Proverbs 29: "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."

Andy Brack is publisher of Charleston Currents and Statehouse Report, where this commentary first was published. He can be reached at: publisher@charlestoncurrents.com.


Send us your thoughts

If you have an opinion you'd like to share (150 words or less, please), send your letters to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Please include your name, address and phone number for verification purposes. We look forward to hearing from you!


Croghan's Jewel Box

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. Today we shine our spotlight on a Charleston institution for more than 100 years: Croghan's Jewel Box at 308 King Street. Founded in an 18th century Charleston single house, it's the oldest family-owned jewelry store in town. Croghan's Jewel Box offers a treasure trove of exciting and unique inventory for Lowcountry shoppers -- from estate and antique finds to gifts for every occasion.

Stop by soon -- Mother's Day is just around the corner! To learn more about Croghan's and its outstanding jewelry offerings, visit online at: www.Croghansjewelbox.com or phone 843.723.3594.


Avery Research Center to host interactive freedom exhibit

The College of Charleston's Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture will host an exhibition April 10 to May 20 entitled, " Color in Freedom Experience: An Interactive Journey Along the Underground Railroad" by Maryland artist Joseph Holston.

A reception is planned for 6 p.m. April 10. Holston will attend.


The exhibition includes 49 of Holston's paintings, etchings and drawings. The art works are divided into four movements that track the flow of events in the lives of the enslaved men, women and children who traveled along the Underground Railroad. The artwork is displayed in the following groups: The Unknown World, Living in Bondage, The Journey of Escape, and Color in Freedom.

The stories of the Underground Railroad are some of the most powerful in American history. Holston created his art to capture the essence of the courage and determination required by slaves to escape; and to enhance understanding of the condition of slavery and the powerful instinct toward freedom. The stories of the Underground Railroad are some of the most powerful in American history.

Holston's cubist abstractionist style has evolved over a fine arts career spanning over thirty-five years. A critically acclaimed artist, he has exhibited at museums across the country and many of his works are in collections in museums including the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery; the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; the Lyndon B. Johnson Library at the University of Texas; the University of Maryland University College, among many others.

This program is sponsored by the National Endowment of Humanities for participation in the College of Charleston's Jubilee project.

Turner to get Aquarium's environmental stewardship award

Media mogul and philanthropist Ted Turner will receive the S.C. Aquarium's 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award during the organization's largest annual fund-raiser, the Oceans Gala. The black-tie event will take place at the aquarium on April 27 and will celebrate the preservation and protection of the beauty of the underwater world.


Turner is best known as the founder of the cable news network CNN. In addition, he founded Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and WTBS, which pioneered the superstation concept in cable television. As a philanthropist, he is well known for his $1 billion gift to create the United Nations Foundation, whose purpose is to support the goals and objectives of the United Nations in promoting a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.

In 1990, he created the Turner Foundation, which focuses on philanthropic grants in the areas of environment and population, and the Captain Planet foundation, based on the environmental animated series "Captain Planet and the Planeteers", which educates and empowers children on how to make a positive impact in their communities. Turner's passion for the environment has earned him the distinction of being one of 12 Ocean Elders worldwide, acknowledged for their impact in conservation of the ocean and its wildlife.

"I am deeply honored to receive the 2013 Environmental Stewardship Award from the South Carolina Aquarium," Turner said in a press release. "South Carolina is a very special place for my family, and we strive to be good stewards of the land locally and globally. It's crucial that we work to save everything, from our oceans and wildlife to our rainforests and marshlands. A healthy planet is the most important gift we can give to our children and grandchildren."

Charleston composer's film to screen April 27 at college

"Pencil Point," a South Carolina Film Commission Indie Award-winning short animated film, will screen at the Charleston International Film Festival April 27 at 11 a.m. at Physician's Auditorium, 3 College Way.


"Pencil Point" was written and directed by Charleston-based composer Ayala Asherov-Kalus, who combines animation and music to illustrate how new and exciting endeavors can emerge when two connect.

Asherov-Kalus, an Israeli-born composer and singer/songwriter who now lives in West Ashley, conceived the idea for a film whose story is revealed without dialogue through originally-composed music played by an orchestra and a variety of animation styles. Asherov-Kalus is known throughout Israel for her song "Along the Sea" (Le' Orech Ha Yam), which is one of Israel's most recorded songs. She has written scores for The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel and National Geographic, as well as for many exhibits and documentaries, including the "Carolina Stories" series on SCETV. Her songs are recorded by many well-known Israeli artists.

"Pencil Point" tells the story of two artists, a musician and a painter, each working alone, who chance to meet. The film explores how collaboration can inspire and influence their respective arts. "It's about collaboration between artists in two disciplines and how each benefits the other," says Asherov-Kalus. "It explores what can result if we connect and try to inspire each other."
Asherov-Kalus composed the entire score, which she describes as evoking two moods of the orchestra. "I wanted to write a 'tone poem' which is a piece of music with a narrative. I tried to use all colors of the orchestra," she says. "In certain sections it's big and vivacious, a full orchestral sound, while in others it's more intimate and chamber-like." The College of Charleston Orchestra, led by Yuriy Bekker of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra as conductor, performed the score for the film.

The animation, by Out of Our Mind Studios in Winston Salem, N.C., is shown as originating from the illustrator's pencil, thus the title of the film. The animation takes a mixed media approach, combining CG animation that looks as though it was done by hand, 2D animation actually done by hand, and rotoscoping, a technique where the animators filmed dancers and painted over the images on a computer.

Grigg to outline Southern design secrets at showhouse

Kimberly Grigg, CEO and principal designer for an interior design firm specializing in Southern design, will be a guest speaker 3 p.m. April 18 at the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League's 36th annual Designer Showhouse.


Grigg, who runs Knotting Hill Interiors, will discuss "Secrets of Southern Design" in the showhouse's café at 4 South Adgers Wharf in Charleston. Her talk will be based, in part, on her soon-to-be-published book of the same title.

The topic will include Grigg's insights and tips about interior design for Southern-style interiors; choosing color palettes for rooms, walls and fabrics; infusing traditional styling with modern conveniences; and creating spaces with livable luxury for entertaining friends and family, among other related subject matter. Grigg will also share information about how to choose an interior designer to suit the style and needs of homeowners seeking to do home-design projects. Following the talk, she will conduct a question and answer session for audience members to inquire about interior design topics of interest and gain design advice and ideas that can be applied in their own homes.

The 2013 showhouse once served as a cotton warehouse that was converted into a 4,000 square-foot home in the 1950s. Designed by some of the Lowcountry's most talented interior designers, the residence has now been transformed into a beautiful showcase home in the heart of historic downtown Charleston.


Havilah Babcock

Educator and writer Havilah Babcock was born on March 6, 1898, in Appomattox, Virginia, the son of Homer Curtis Babcock and Rosa Blanche Moore. He earned an A.B. from Elon College in 1918, then pursued graduate studies at Columbia University, the University of Virginia (A.M., 1923), and the University of South Carolina (Ph.D., 1927). On June 3, 1919, he married Alice Hudson Cheatham. He briefly taught high school English in Virginia before joining the faculty at the College of William and Mary in 1921. In 1926, Babcock came to the University of South Carolina (USC) on a year's sabbatical leave. He found the people, school and state so hospitable that he stayed 38 years, joining the English department and becoming a fixture at the university.


At USC, Babcock was an institution about whom truths and legends were freely circulated. He might begin a class with "I'll give twenty-five cents to anyone who can spell Houyhnhnm," and reportedly he greeted students with a broadside of snowballs after a rare southern snowfall. His jovial bond with students made his courses the most sought after at the university, causing students to sign up a year in advance for his English 129 course entitled "I Want a Word." In this vocabulary and semantics course, students learned of the charm and power of words as they listened to Babcock reveal their nuances and connotations.

Babcock was equally at home in the field as at the blackboard. He used the outdoors as a canvas to draw a vast array of colorful characters, becoming a master of the hunting-fishing tale. His stories were replete with references to English and American literature. More than one hundred of his stories found their way into print in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including Field and Stream. Anthologies of his works include My Health Is Better in November (1947), Tales of Quails'n' Such (1951), I Don't Want to Shoot an Elephant (1958), and Jaybirds Go to Hell on Friday, and Other Stories (1964). His writing traveled the literary spectrum with ease. In his novel The Education of Pretty Boy (1960), Babcock wrote of a young boy's gun-shy bird dog because he thought the dog "was too pretty not to be immortal."

Babcock's writings continued their popularity years after his death. A reviewer from the New York Times once compared his writing to "a rare old Bourbon you want to make last as long as possible." A counterpart at Field and Stream applied a similar metaphor: "Like a good wine," Babcock's stories "grow better with age." Babcock died in Columbia on December 10, 1964, and was buried in Appomattox, Virginia.

Excerpted from the entry by Francis Neuffer. 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.)



This rusty nail stuck out just enough on a metal roof of an abandoned shack outside Charleston to share a pine needle. Photo by Michael Kaynard, Kaynard Photography.


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Vacation tips to protect your identity

As you are thinking about some coming vacation time, make sure you protect your identity so somebody doesn't take it while you're away. Some tips from TrustedID.com:

  • Stay thin. Before you leave home, remove unnecessary credit and debit cards, as well as anything displaying personal information. Make copies of important documents in case something happens to them.

  • Stay secure. Hotel computers and unsecure Wi-Fi connections are easy to hack. If you need to check your email, use a secure network.

  • Stay safe. Lock up smartphones, tablets and laptops in hotel or room safes. This way, lots of valuable data will remain yours.

  • Don't stand alone. Stand-alone ATMs are more likely to have skimming devices. Use bank ATMs as much as possible.

  • Don't brag. Don't let the world know that you're away by posting it on Facebook, Twitter or other social media. If you do, thieves will know you're not home.

  • Listen to The List on the radio stream for The Bridge radio, 105.5



"April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four."

-- Mark Twain



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(NEW) Kiawah Island Art and House Tour: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., April 5, Kiawah Island. This benefit for the Gibbes Museum of Art will offer public viewing of five Kiawah Island homes. Put on by the member auxiliary group, Gibbes, etc., the event has generated more than $1.2 million over the past 12 years. Tickets are $55. Learn more about the tour and logistics at: www.GibbesETC.org.

"Anything Goes:" Opens April 5 for a month-long run at the historic Dock Street Theatre. Charleston Stage will offer Cole Porter's classic musical comedy as the grand finale of its 35th anniversary season. Choose from among 15 performances through April 27. Tickets range from $38.50 to $57.50. Available online at: www.CharlestonStage.com

La Dolce Vita Auction: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., April 6, Halsey Gallery, Cato Center, College of Charleston. An auction will benefit Nuovo Cinema Italiano Film Festival, a four-day event held in November to celebrate Italian film and culture. The auction will feature food, wine and music. The cost is $30. More info.

Lowcountry Cajun Festival: Noon to 6 p.m., April 7, James Island County Park. There will be lots of Cajun and Creole food, great music and more at this event that costs just $10 for anyone over 12. More.


Computer Security 101: Starts 9 a.m., April 9, Coastal Community Foundation offices, 635 Rutledge Avenue, Charleston. The S.C. Tech Academy will offer four classes on successive Tuesdays on computer security and how nonprofits can protect their data. Learn more.

(NEW) in!Genius talk: 5:30 p.m., April 9, Sottille Theatre, College of Charleston. Nine of the college's pioneers in art, science and research will speak at an hour-long event that is part storytelling and part creative. It's similar to a free version of TED talks. More.

War of 1812 talk: 6:30 p.m., April 9, Daniel Library, The Citadel. Don Hickey, recently named the Gen. Mark Clark Distinguished Visiting Chair of History at The Citadel, has been called "the dean of 1812 scholarship" by "The New Yorker." Author of scores of articles, he'll give remarks at this free discussion.

(NEW) Opening day: April 11. The Charleston RiverDogs will have its home opener on a Budweiser Thirsty Thursday in a seven-day homestand featuring the Augusta GreenJackets and Rome Braves. Tickets.

Dig South: April 12-14, College of Charleston TD Arena, Charleston Music Hall, The Alley and Redux. The interactive festival explores the intersection of technology, social media, marketing and the arts. More.

(NEW) Charleston International Festival of Choirs: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., April 13, Second Presbyterian Church, 342 Meeting Street, Charleston. The fifth annual event will feature four choirs, including the Spiritual Ensemble and Gospel Choir or the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, and a grand finale with a massed sing. More.

(NEW) Blues by the Sea: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., April 14, Freshfields Village near Kiawah Island. The 9th annual free outdoor music event on the Village Green will feature Billy Boy Arnold and special guest Billy Flynn, Professor Bottleneck & Harmonica Frank and Shelly Waters. More.

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 info.

Where the Wild Things Run: 8:30 a.m., April 27, Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenel. Run through the marshes and woods in this 5K race. Cost is $28 to $34. Online registration is open through April 26. More online at: www.ccprc.com.

(NEW) Shaggin' on the Cooper: Gates open, 7 p.m., April 27, Mount Pleasant Pier. Charleston County Parks and Recreation will kick off its annual dance event series with live music by Groove Train. Other events will be monthly through September. Tickets are $10 per person; available in packages. On Folly Beach, "Moonlight Mixers" will open May 31. More.

Photo contest: Images due by June 6. Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is holding its annual photo contest for photos taken at the attraction between March 1 and May 31. Entry is $25. To enter and look at rules, visit the Lowcountry Photographic Club.

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.


7/1: McGee: Monroe's new book

Williams: Avoiding foreclosure
Dewey: Preventing suicide
Hoover: Clean kitchens
Kulp: On breathalyzers

5/27: May: Hurricane prep lessons
Home converted into gallery
Roper Rehab hosts singer
White, Vinson: Digital library

4/29: Greenberg: Not insurmountable
Harleston: Transportation tax
Heister: How indigo used
Heister: Indigo's history
Angstadt: Manatees

3/25: Benson, Noble: Envision SC
3/18: Hedden: Walking tours
Koroglu: Dervishes
Richards: Teddy Bear Picnic

Thomas: Storytelling event
Logo contest
Anderson: 2-1-1's 10th
Colwell: Teen pregnancy

1/28: Ross: Root of stress
Roberts: SEWE 2013
Begin with Books update
Vail: Jr. Achievement


6/10: "A furious barbarian"
Recovery of Keokuk guns
"Turrets are coming!"
Preparing to attack
Blockade is broken
Stono Rebellion

Charleston Christmas
"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


7/1: Brad Taylor's new thriller

Brookgreen Gardens
New fee bring us closer?
Great new library service
On Robert Ford

5/27: Drum Island's piles
Southern Crescent of Shame
Sanford win, gerrymandering
SC to get more angels

4/29: Pinckney's heroic story
Cleaning up messes
Take expansion money
Sanford tough to beat
With no vision ...

3/25: Candidates spend $2M
Eating on $35/wk
Ads aren't worth much
Scary SC-1 survey

Old-timey customer service
New House Speaker?
Reject Riley tax hike
Episcopal schism

Nullification talk wrong
Tailgaters: Back off!
A lot to be proud of
Myth of big government


6/24: GoodBiz Summit
Getting ready to evacuate
Tax policies
On good policy
Heirs' property
1/28: Two conferences

11/26/12: Consumerism
Can we be a better town
Permaculture, more
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


3/18: Great local parks
What's new in Charleston is old
1/21: Blaze a trail in 2013
12/10: Great holiday adventures


7/1: Mosquito facts

Curbing mosquitoes
Twitter tips
Help for job applicants
Summer projects

5/27: Hurricane tips
Cleaning up rooms
Traveling with friends
5 on melanoma

4/29: 5 on Cinco de Mayo
Best in Charleston
Generous cities
Spring cleaning tips
Vacation ID tips

3/25: Park and play
On the menu
Still no response
No response

2/25: Five on storytelling
Earth Day duties
For the heart
Home energy tips

Cold water boating
On Ted Stern
SMART goals
Dealing with email



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