5.27 | Monday, May 6, 2013
Digital Library is leader in national online initiative
MAY 6, 2013 -- The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) launched the public phase of its ambitious effort last month 18 to make cultural and scientific heritage available through a single access portal for the first time.
The initial phase of the DPLA represents more than two years of planning and will feature collections from six state and regional digital libraries and a number of content hubs, such as the National Archives and Records Administration and Harvard University. Here in the Palmetto State, we should be especially proud that this elite group includes the South Carolina Digital Library.
Collectively managed by the College of Charleston, Clemson University, the University of South Carolina, and Georgetown County Library, the South Carolina Digital Library (SCDL) is a collaborative effort that includes South Carolina's schools, libraries, archives, museums and other cultural heritage institutions. SCDL's mission is to encourage its partners to create, maintain and promote digital collections that represent South Carolina's historical and cultural resources while following state-level guidelines that are based on national standards and best practices. SCDL also seeks to enhance the overall education and scholarship of South Carolina's citizens by coordinating free and unlicensed access to these digital collections through a central web presence.
Just a few years ago, South Carolina was falling far behind its peers. As late as 2009, only a handful of libraries, archives and museums had placed content online for public access. Through the dedicated efforts of librarians, archivists and museum professionals from across the state, we have made dramatic improvements in a relatively short time. In just a few short years SCDL has become an indispensable research tool for K-12 students, researchers in higher education and other life-long learners as they visit the SCDL website to study and compare documents concerning South Carolina's history and culture.
Now that SCDL is part of the DPLA, its commitment to public dissemination of South Carolina's history and culture has expanded to a much broader audience. When the DPLA launched on April 18, it included more than 200,000 digitized items from dozens of public and private institutions from every corner of South Carolina. SCDL is now one of the fastest-growing digital libraries in the United States and a proud service hub for the DPLA.
At its core, the national digital library effort (DPLA) has one simple goal: to make knowledge accessible to anyone for free. It is a simple, but challenging mission. Those of us at the South Carolina Digital Library share this goal and are proud to have contributed not only our content, but also our time and effort. We firmly believe that our scientific and cultural heritage should be open and accessible. This not only strengthens our understanding of the world we live in, but it allows us to share that heritage with the world through projects like SCDL and the DPLA.
The S.C. Digital Library has a bright future, which is only strengthened by our contributions to the DPLA project and our commitment to its mission. In the coming months, we will unveil a new and improved SCDL with more content and an improved web interface with enhanced search features. We hope you will take advantage of this unprecedented access to digital collections from South Carolina on the new site and visit our collections and thousands of others in the Digital Public Library of America.
Carolina may get more angels soon
House and Senate this year have approved virtually identical bills that
would provide a 35 percent income tax credit to home-grown investors who
provide capital to support business start-ups. Typically, this "angel
funding" ranges from $100,000 to $500,000 for new businesses that
are more than just a idea and need a nudge in funding to make a proven
product or service successful by focusing on sales, production or marketing.
bill will have two major impacts on South Carolina's economy," said
Gavin M. McCulley, a Charleston investor who is bringing peers together
as a group to take stakes in South Carolina startups. "First, investors
are incentivized to put their capital to work in the start-up business
space and second, businesses are encouraged to start their job-producing,
economy-stimulating, fast-growing companies here in South Carolina.
effort keeps talent and capital right here in South Carolina."
parlance, angel investors are helpful because they encourage development
of "early stage, high-growth, job-creating businesses" that
"expand the economy of this state by enlarging its base of wealth-creating
businesses." In regular guy language, that means by giving tax credits
to wealthier people to invest in new ventures that have some risk, more
South Carolina businesses -- often ignored by Silicon Valley venture capitalists
and big investment -- could grow beyond the concept stage into real job
Senate passed its version [S.
262] of the "High Growth Small Business Job Creation Act"
in March by a 39-4 vote. The House voted 96-10 on April 25 to approve
its version [H.
3505 ]. Both bills now are in each chamber's finance-related committees.
Because they're so similar -- the Senate bill has two extra reporting
requirements on how many investors take the tax credits annually -- it's
very likely they'll pass after being a dream for a few years.
when the House passed an angel investment bill that didn't make its way
through the legislative process, House Speaker Bobby Harrell noted the
critical role played by entrepreneurs to expand and create jobs in the
bill gives South Carolinians an opportunity and incentive to invest in
our state's economy," he said, adding that the proposal was the brainchild
of the late S.C. Rep. Bill Wylie of Greenville. "Adding to our state's
strong pro-business reputation, this measure will make South Carolina
a more attractive destination for the type of innovative private sector
investment our economy needs to grow and prosper."
a former Charleston resident who took a shipping technology business from
startup until it was sold to a larger company, now works as chief financial
analyst with Angel Capital Group. It reviews angel projects and presents
good ones to its new network of investors, each of whom will bet at least
$10,000 each a year on different deals.
you think of the economy as a 'food chain,' the entrepreneurs are the
plankton, or the root, of the food chain. They are consumed by bigger
fish, who are consumed by bigger fish, and so on, ad infinitum. Angels
are the nutrients in the water that give the plankton life.
fund 90 percent of startups," he continued, referring to the 30,000
deals a years in which angels invest. "Without angels, our economy
would collapse. And, some of those startup companies go on to become Google
or Facebook and other companies. This is only possible through angel investors
taking calculated risks for great rewards."
said that to encourage more recovery in the economy, the country -- and
South Carolina -- has to accelerate the rate of business startups to create
more future jobs. Yes, some will fail. But without entrepreneurs having
capital to take the risk, no new jobs will be created.
"Angel groups simultaneously provide the accelerant for small businesses to grow and create wealth for the entrepreneurs and angels. Angel capital is consistently one of the best performing asset classes in the market, regularly outperforming the S&P 500 by a factor of two to three times."
Thanks for what you do
To the editor:
I just wanted to let you know what a delight it is to read your publication. Keep up the great work. Thank you.
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Revocable Living Trusts versus wills
MAY 6, 2013 -- I often have estate planning clients ask me whether a Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is worth the additional expense (usually $1,500-$2,500 more than a simple Last Will and Testament). In what has become my almost perfunctory response after 15+ years of practicing law, I say that it depends on the circumstances. Let's explore some of the considerations.
Estate taxes: Although most of my clients list estate taxes as a major concern on my estate planning questionnaire, the current estate tax exemption of $5.25 million after inflation indexing under the American Taxpayer Relief Act ("ATRA") makes estate taxes essentially irrelevant for most. Additionally, ATRA made the portability of the unused exemption amount permanent and, as such, a surviving spouse's estate can carry over the unused exemption from the first spouse's estate (assuming certain elections were timely made and an estate tax return was properly filed). This effectively allows a married couple to maximize the exemption and pass up to $10.5 million estate tax free without the use of the Credit Shelter Trust so many estate planners created within RLT's before portability was adopted. This seems to direct one away from RLT's but I wouldn't bet on these "permanent" changes, or anything Congress does for that matter, actually being permanent. Additionally, taxes aren't the only concern.
Probate: Revocable Living Trusts can help avoid the cost and time of probate. Although South Carolina probate fees are not cost-prohibitive for most estates, if an attorney is employed to assist with the process, this can easily cost more than the drafting of the trust. That being said, the RLT will only help avoid probate if the RLT is funded; being "funded" means that the decedent's probate assets are actually titled in the name of the RLT. It is unfortunately all too common for clients to come in with RLTs that were properly created but never funded and, therefore, do little more than prove that the client had good intentions. Probate of unfunded probate assets will still be necessary. If, on the other hand, all of your assets are non-probate assets (they have beneficiary designations like life insurance and IRAs or they are owned jointly with rights of survivorship), a trust may not be necessary. But if you are at all concerned about capital gains upon the sale of those assets and/or spendthrifts receiving these assets outright, it is best to consult with an estate planner before making the decision not to proceed with a trust.
Blended Families: Clients who are married to someone who isn't also the parent of their children will often opt for an RLT that makes provisions for the surviving spouse until his/her death and then leaves the remainder of the estate to the client's children. Without an RLT, the client either has to leave any legacy to his/her children outright at the first spouse's death or hope that the client's spouse doesn't die without providing for client's children in his/her estate plan. In other words without a RLT, the surviving spouse can decide to leave the estate to the surviving spouse's children and/or the pool boy instead.
Incapacity: An RLT should also provide for easy transition of management of property in the event the trustmaker becomes incapacitated. The property will remain titled in the trust and the successor Trustee will then take over the decision-making. Further, if the RLT is fully funded, this alone can help avoid spending the thousands of dollars often needed to obtain a guardianship/conservatorship over the incapacitated person and his/her belongings.
Special Needs Beneficiaries: If an intended beneficiary is disabled, the informed client would typically prefer to leave their inheritance in a trust rather than to the disabled beneficiary outright. Then the inheritance can be used to supplement, rather than supplant, any benefits the special needs beneficiary is otherwise receiving from other entities. If received outright, this inheritance would likely disqualify the beneficiary from obtaining the necessities from Medicaid and/or other public benefits. Left in trust, the inheritance, instead, can be used to provide additional comforts to the disabled person that aren't usually provided by the public benefits (some benefits are restricted to a $30/month personal needs allowance for hair care, clothes, cable, cell phone, etc.).
Spendthrifts and Errant Beneficiaries: If any of your intended beneficiaries are not good money managers and/or have trouble with substance abuse, an RLT is likely your best choice. Instead of receiving the funds outright, you can provide for scheduled disbursements at certain ages or upon certain accomplishments or leave it up to the Trustee to decide when and to whom to make the distributions (i.e. the Trustee may decide to pay the school tuition directly instead of giving it to Junior in hopes he'll go to graduate school). I was 19 when my father died and a pretty good kid. I didn't realize until I was 22 that I had unfettered access to the money he left me. It took me a short six months to spend it. It wasn't a large amount but it certainly would've been better served as a down payment on a house or in lieu of taking out law school loans.
Despite what many may think, all trusts and wills are not alike. There is no form that attorneys pull off of a shelf and fill in the blanks. Based on the assumption that the estate planning attorney has taken into account family dynamics, economics, tax considerations, asset protection, etc., the estate planning documents should be crafted to meet as many of the client's specific concerns as possible.
Just the idea that someone would purchase a form trust or will at Office Depot or from LegalZoom gives me great pause. There is simply no way to condense a legal education and all the concerns inherent in estate planning into a one-for-all form. Spend the money and consult with an experienced estate planner to determine which estate planning vehicle best suits your needs. It will save you and your family a lot more in time, money and regret in the long run.
"Paint Lady" has library show of portraits of Charleston's homeless
Mount Pleasant artist Carolyn Ter Poorten's paintings of Charleston's homeless are front and center throughout May in an exhibition at the Saul Alexander Gallery at the Charleston County Public Library on Calhoun Street.
Ter Poorten, a 70-year-old Texas native, has been painting for about 55 years. Since she took art lessons as a teenager, she didn't see much point in majoring in art when she went to Baylor University in Waco. "This may have been better for me than I thought, for through the years my older female students who studied art found they were required to paint soup cans and were often taken advantage of by others," she said.
Ter Poorten, who got a master's degree in theology 11 years ago from the University of Dallas, volunteered at a shelter in Dallas and became known as the "Barbecue Lady" for making sandwiches. When she moved to Charleston, she became known as the "Paint Lady," for her on-location paintings with people at Crisis Ministries' shelter.
"Along with these pictures came a new path. I believe the spirit always moves us if we take the chance and follow," she says. "The style of my painting, alla prima, reflects the styles of my life - thoughtful, colorful and direct. I believe art reflects life, and art, when really understood, can belong to every human being, for what applies in art applies in life: doing things well, learning to see, being there and sharing what you love. Art teaches you to know yourself and in the end, we are our own best teachers, discovering God's gifts within us. We all seek the truth. The goal is not making art but living life. Art will result."
The artists said her subjects volunteered to be painted.
"I knew this would bring a new sense of dignity to them. ... These paintings afforded something that is not easy to come by: people who have little in common get to know each other; people who are often fearful of each other get to know each other; people from sometimes different ethnic cultures get to know each other. They liked me and I liked them. Visiting this shelter comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable."
Proceeds from the Library's show will go to Crisis Ministries. Today, Ter Poorten plans to show her art at the Atelier Gallery on King Street. She paints at a studio in her home and teaches too.
Great deal on rain barrels for Charleston County residents
get a rain barrel for a short time for about half of the regular price
thanks to a deal by Charleston County Government and Ashley Cooper Stormwater
Education Consortium. The barrels are available online for $63, far less
than the normal $119 retail price. You must order by 11 p.m. May 27 and
can pick them up on June 1 between 9 a.m. and noon at the county's Public
Services Building, 4040 Bridge View Drive, North Charleston.
barrels capture rainwater from rooftops by connecting to the home's downspout.
This water would typically be sent down the storm drain carrying potential
contaminants and contributing to flash flooding. The cumulative effect
of rain barrels implemented throughout a geographic area can have a significant
impact on stormwater management and water quality.
field of rain water harvesting has really been increasing over the last
five years and is encouraged by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,"
said Neil Desai, an environmental engineer with Charleston County's Public
Works Department. "In the end it is an opportunity to collect water
running off roofs and reuse that water, keeping it onsite, which eliminates
a huge portion of your stormwater runoff. This is important because it
keeps pollutants such as fertilizer and pet waste from ending up in our
streams and ocean."
Piccolo Spoleto 2013 to offer hundreds of performances
Spoleto's the city's annual public arts festival that is a companion to
Spoleto Festival USA, will offer hundreds of events during its 35th season,
May 24 to June 9.
year's festival will be an especially exciting time for our community
with many new programs and offerings, along with some wonderful echoes
from the past 35 years," said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley. "It
provides an excellent opportunity for everyone to experience the wonder
and beauty of the arts. Everyone who comes to Piccolo Spoleto is better
for the experience."
year's official poster (at left) is "Piccolo Suono Bartholomeux"
by artist Nathan Durfee.
Durfee's wonderful image is perfect for this year's 35th festival year,"
the mayor said. "It evokes the vitality, imagination and whimsy of
Piccolo's 700-plus performances and exhibits. His original painting will
become part of the city's collection of Piccolo Spoleto poster images,
which have been created by some of South Carolina's finest visual artists.
poster images were unveiled at the press conference. Harold Kessler's
fanciful piece "Who Filled It Up" depicts his son's interpretation
of how the moon appears to be a balloon that's been filled up with air
and is an imaginative image to represent the 2013 Children's Festival:
"Reaching for the Stars." The Spotlight Concert Series' poster
image "Aspirations" by artist Cheryl Baskins Butler, aptly illustrates
Piccolo's use of Charleston's beautiful historic churches as concert venues.
the press conference, Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. introduced the new Director
of the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, Scott Watson, who
began his duties in mid-January coinciding with the retirement of Ellen
Dressler Moryl on February 1.
of this year's Festival include the Spotlight Concert Series, including
two events at Mepkin Abbey and a Brahms retrospective concert at Grace
Episcopal Church; the Literary Festival with Dorothea Benton Frank and
other special guests; Sundown Poetry; traditional music of the old South
as well as jazz and blues; many theatre offerings; a Sunset Serenade concert;
Children's Festival; and lots more.
of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery
Author Debra Moffit paints effective, helpful pictures of a secret inner garden in her new book, "Garden of Bliss: Cultivating the Inner Landscape for Self-Discovery," which is scheduled for release Wednesday.
the beginning, she describes a gate to a secret garden and stepping inside
to explore. At the end, she stresses the importance of frequently tending
to the garden, weeding and pruning out the "ugly" thoughts in
our mind. And with enough work, we can have a life of joy and harmony.
Charleston Library Society
The Charleston Library Society is the third-oldest institutional library in the United States. On December 28, 1748, a group of Charlestonians met to establish a private subscription library to support education and the arts and sciences. The society secured a charter of incorporation in 1755 and established a tradition in which the colony's royal governors were society presidents. This tradition lasted until the Revolutionary War. By 1778 the society's book and periodical collection numbered five thousand volumes. Society members promoted a colonial college in 1770 that eventually became the College of Charleston. Three years later, in 1773, the society started a natural science collection that became the Charleston Museum.
The Charleston fire of 1778 destroyed all but a handful of the society's books. In 1863 the society's librarian sent one-half of the library's collections to Columbia, but they were destroyed there in 1865. In 1874 Charleston's Apprentice Library Society (founded in 1824) and the Library Society merged their resources. When the South Carolina Jockey Club disbanded in 1900, it transferred its property to the Library Society. The society sold the Washington Racecourse and established an endowment that has continued to provide revenue into the twenty-first century. In 1914 the society constructed a new building at 164 King Street. Eighty-two years later, in 1996, the society expanded into a large adjacent building, which houses a children's reading room, audio and video collections, and offices.
collections of the Charleston Library Society are rare books, pamphlets,
a manuscript collection, and the society's records. The most significant
collection is the society's newspaper files, which contain the world's
largest and most complete collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century
Charleston newspapers. Society members have free access to the collections,
including its circulating library, and nonmembers pay a daily research
Blowing its top
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Five on skin cancer
May is Melanoma Awareness Month, which means it's time to get your SPF (Sun Protection Factor) on. On May 9, the Spa At Charleston Place will host its sixth annual fundraiser to support the "I Will Reflect" Melanoma Awareness Initiative. More.
Skin cancer can develop anywhere. Here are five things to watch for and get checked:
"Peace begins with a smile."
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IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Golftoberfest: 11 a.m. May 7, Wild Dunes Resort, Isle of Palms. The Charleston RiverDogs will hold its 8th annual charity golf tournament inspired by Germany's Oktoberfest. Each hole will be named after an authentic Oktoberfest beer tent and include German-themed fun. Learn more: RileyParkEvents.com
Industry Day: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., May 9, Charleston Area Convention Center, North Charleston. The Charleston Post of the Society of American Military Engineers will hold its annual industry day with speakers and networking opportunities. Register here. Contact: Melvin Williams.
43rd Greek Festival: May 10-12, Greek Orthodox Church, 30 Race Street, Charleston. You'll have a ball eating Greek food and pastries and drinking Greek wine. There's dancing, tours and lots of cultural events. Cost is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and students, free for kids 12 and under. More: CharlestonGreekFestival.com
CONTINUING AND IN THE WEEKS AHEAD
Color in Freedom Experience: Through May 20, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. This interactive exhibit involving the Underground Railway experience offers 49 works by artist Joseph Holston. More.
Run to Remember: 6:30 p.m., May 23, Mount Pleasant Pier, Mount Pleasant. The Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission offers the inaugural evening run as a way to kick off Memorial Day celebrations. Online registration is open through May 22 at www.ccprc.com.
Great watercolors: May 24 to Sept 15, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. In conjunction with Spoleto Festival USA, the Gibbes will present watercolors created in Charleston in the early 1990s by celebrated contemporary artists Stephen Mueller and Carl Palazzolo, who will give an opening day gallery talk at 2:30 p.m. at the museum. Art is from the collection David and Carol Rawle. More: GibbesMuseum.org
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
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.
Noble: Envision SC
brand to government