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EASY TO GUESS? This photo ought to be easy to identify, especially if you've been out for a few too many beers in downtown Charleston. (Guys might have a slight advantage, but the urinal trough at this joint isn't hard for women to miss.) The fifth person who identifies where the photo is will win a pair of ticket vouchers to the Charleston RiverDogs. Send entries to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. The photo is from a coming exhibition in the City Gallery at the Waterfront. Learn more below in Good News. (Photo provided; by Robert Epps.)

Issue 5.36 | Monday, July 8, 2013
Guess the mystery photo for tickets

FOCUS Chief reaches out to youths
BRACK State keeps treading water
SC AT WAR Assault on Battery Wagner
GOOD NEWS A look at three exhibitions
HISTORY Old Exchange Building
SPOTLIGHT Kaynard Photography
FEEDBACK Column on gardens
BROADUS Frolicking
THE LIST Recalibrating T+L list
QUOTE Agreements start arguments
CALENDAR This week ... and next

Assistant police chief reaches out to at-risk youths
Special to Charleston Currents

JULY 8, 2013 -- North Charleston Assistant Police Chief Reggie Burgess hasn't forgotten where he came from and knows well how the choices we make can profoundly affect the path we take in life.


Drawing from his own first-hand experience he delivered a poignant and impromptu cautionary tale to at risk Lowcountry students participating in Carolina Youth Development Center's (CYDC) Freedom Schools summer enrichment program on June 25.

Burgess had been invited to our CYDC Freedom Schools to read a book aloud to youth (he picked "If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks," by Faith Ringgold, which profiles Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks) and answer routine questions about his favorite books and what it's like to be a police officer. We didn't ask for or expect anything more.

But the North Charleston native and former football standout pleasantly surprised us all when he spoke off the cuff about his own upbringing in a tough neighborhood, some of the bad choices he made as a youth, and how he managed to turn it all around and find success.

The vivid personal account of his own transition from misguided teen to responsible young adult sent a powerful message to Freedom Schools youth. At CYDC where our primary focus is preparing children for adulthood and helping youth transition into independent living, his story struck a chord.

Burgess harkened back to a time when he was a teen playing high school football, and his mother, with whom he had formed a strong bond and admired and loved deeply, implored him to come straight home after football games and avoid the streets at night, which invited trouble. He admitted that he chose to ignore this advice until one fateful night that changed him forever.

North Charleston Assistant Police Chief Reggie Burgess reads to youth June 25 as part of the CYDC Freedom Schools summer enrichment program. Different guest readers from the community come in every weekday morning during the six-week program and read aloud to children with the goal of helping inspire a love of reading.

On this particular evening Burgess had stayed out on the streets for nearly four hours after his football game before returning home. When he arrived to the house, a crowd was gathered outside and there was an ambulance and flashing lights. Burgess rushed inside to find the person he cared about most in this world and who likewise loved him the most, lying on the bed in a severely debilitated state.

His mother had suffered a stroke.

"Who did this to you?" Burgess recalled crying in anguish to his mom. She slowly raised a weakened arm and pointed in his direction.

"You did."

Burgess cited that moment as the turning point in his life, and credited his mother, who taught him the difference between right and wrong and the consequences of one's decisions, with turning his life around and molding him into the man he is today.

Thankfully his mother survived the stroke and has lived on to see Burgess get an athletic scholarship and play football at Morgan State University (Burgess even tried out for some NFL teams at one point) and rise through the ranks of law enforcement to become North Charleston's Assistant Chief.

Burgess concluded his story that day by advising the approximately 50 youth participating in CYDC Freedom Schools to "do the right thing" and "take advantage of the opportunities you're given."

"Be your own man or your own woman," said Burgess, who has been in law enforcement for 24 and a half years. "Pick your own destiny."

Burgess told Freedom Schools youth that it's easy to do the wrong thing,

"It's much harder to do the right thing. Work hard to do the right thing," he urged.

Well said, Mr. Burgess. Well said.

* * * *

Carolina Youth Development Center is in its ninth year serving as a host site for the nationally- recognized Freedom Schools program. The innovative program with documented outcomes, which launched June 17 and runs through July 26, is built upon the twin prongs of inspiring a love for reading and fostering an enhanced feeling of self-worth among participants.

Colin McCandless is the PR and marketing coordinator for the nonprofit Carolina Youth Development Center in North Charleston which serves at risk Lowcountry youth through its nine residential and outreach programs. He can be reached at cmccandless@cydc.org.


South Carolina keeps treading water
By ANDY BRACK, editor and publisher

JULY 8, 2013 -- Unless South Carolina leaders change how they do things, our state is going to stay on the bottom of lists compared to other states.

That again is clear in the new annual Kids Count report that showed the Palmetto State dropped from 43rd to 45th from the top overall in its rank for the well-being of children who grow up here.

The low ranking, however, doesn't mean South Carolina makes no progress. Today's children are a lot better off than kids growing up 40 years ago. Schools certainly are better, not only because most are air-conditioned but because the curriculum is better, teachers are better and students have more tools, such as computers. Our economic well-being is better because the poor have more safety nets.

But it's unclear whether child health is really better because of today's predominance of junk food, empty calories and lack of activity around many homes. At least teen pregnancy and infant mortality rates have been dropping of late, which indicates positive change. And, people in South Carolina have access to a lot more sophisticated medicines, research and tools, such as MRIs, than they did a half century ago.

So the story isn't all bad when you look at how South Carolina is compared to how it was many years ago. But the state's dysfunctions show up when you compare it to how other states are doing. Why? Because just as we are working hard to make improvements, other states are trying to improve too. And while we all get better, South Carolina doesn't improve enough to get out of the cellar and away from the hangover of a century of Southern neglect after the Civil War.

Sue Williams, chief executive officer of the Children's Trust of South Carolina, explains it simply: "Until can get that sustained commitment [for real change], we keep treading water."

It will take a visionary strategy, leadership and money to create change that will help children. Just look at how South Carolina became a leading manufacturing state. That didn't happen overnight. It occurred because successive governors and legislatures invested in the technical education system for decades to provide better job skills for unskilled workers who had only known textile mills or farming. That's the kind of commitment it is going to take to move South Carolina out of the doghouse and ahead in rankings like the four criteria measured by Kids Count:

  • Economic Well-Being: South Carolina dropped from 34th nationally to 44th nationally from 2012 to 2013 as the number of children in poverty increased to 297,000, children living in households that spend more than 30 percent on housing grew to 395,000, and teens from 16 to 19 not attending school or working grew to 30,000.

    "Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development," noted the Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "Poverty and financial stress can impede children's cognitive development and their ability to learn." Note: The Kids Count data lags current conditions because it is from 2011. Williams added the state's recent success in recruiting more jobs, spearheaded by Gov. Nikki Haley, may help turn around this ranking to "provide the relief and financial security our families and children need."

  • Education: The state's rank dropped by one position to 41st. While there are more children attending preschool and some students have increased reading and math proficiencies, other states still outpace South Carolina. In other words, we're falling behind more.

  • Health: South Carolina dropped four slots to 44th in the country despite making progress in having fewer low birthweight babies, kids without health insurance, child deaths and teens who abused alcohol or drugs. Again, other states outpaced our improvements, which lowered our ranking.

  • Family and community: Our rank stayed even at 43rd, but we have to note that more kids live in high-poverty areas and grow up in single-parent homes.

Bottom line: Our state leaders must craft a bold vision for South Carolina that stops saddling children with conditions that cripple their future. To get off of the bottom of lists, we have to have exponential progress, not incremental change.

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


Enjoyed column on Brookgreen Gardens

To the editor:

Nice article on Brookgreen Gardens. Kathy and I go there at least twice a year, picking different seasons to see something different unique each time. We went on a Saturday in February and enjoyed a pretty snowfall that was magical with hardly anyone else around.

-- Chris Brooks, Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Drop us a line. If you have an opinion you'd like to share or a bone to pick (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!

Kaynard Photography

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. Today we shine our spotlight on Kaynard Photography, a business run by contributing photographer Michael Kaynard of West Ashley.

Kaynard Photography grew from Michael's love of walking the streets of the Charleston's historic district. It developed into a passion for capturing everything Charleston through a camera lens. Kaynard can be seen walking the streets of Charleston many days from dawn to darkness. He calls his work "At Street Level." His photos are available for viewing and sale at kaynardphotography.webs.com.


The assault on Battery Wagner
By DOUGLAS W. BOSTICK, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents

Early on the morning of July 10, the Union troops on Folly Island and the Federal fleet in the harbor channel opened fire on the Confederate position on the south end of Morris Island.

After three hours of combined army and navy gunfire, two thousand Union troops dislodged the Confederate troops there, and secured the southern end of Morris Island. The next day, Gillmore ordered an attack on Battery Wagner, thinking he could quickly overwhelm the sand fort. The Union troops suffered 339 casualties in a fierce fight with the Confederates before they withdrew. The Confederates only had 12 casualties in Battery Wagner.

Battery Wagner held a garrison of 1,300 men commanded by Brigadier General William B. Taliaferro. Positioned within the sand fort were 1,621 Confederate troops from South Carolina, North Carolina, and Georgia. On July 18, at 10 a.m., the Union batteries and Federal fleet opened an intense bombardment of Battery Wagner, firing an average of twenty-one shells per minute. After 10 continuous hours of bombardment, firing more than nine thousand shells, Gillmore ordered a second infantry attack on Battery Wagner.

The morning firing was so intense that Confederate troops sought cover in bombproofs, on the parapets, in "ratholes" (buried rice casks) and anywhere they thought they could seek cover. Most of the guns at Wagner were disabled, and the Confederate artillerymen ceased their return fire. The Confederate troops were exhausted from the daylong bombardment and the extreme heat and poor air in the bombproofs. One Union soldier wrote, "No one would suppose that a human being, or a bird even, could live for a moment upon that fort."

The attack by 7,130 Union troops was led by Brigadier General George C. Strong commanding six regiments in the first brigade. The second brigade was commanded by Colonel Haldiman S. Putnam, and Brigadier General Thomas G. Stevenson commanded the third brigade. Putnam did not agree with the plan for the frontal assault, and he commented to a junior officer that "we are going into Wagner like a flock of sheep." At the urging of Colonel Robert Shaw, Strong assigned the 54th Massachusetts the "post of honor" to lead his brigade.

"The Battle of Battery Wagner as sketched by Frank Vizetelly, war correspondent for the Illustrated London News."

At dusk, as they neared the sand fort, a massive fire poured forth from Wagner. Wagner's fire was supported by Confederate guns from Fort Sumter, Battery Gregg and James Island. All of the Confederate troops in Battery Wagner moved into action with the exception of the 31st North Carolina which refused to exit its bombproof, leaving the left salient of the battery undefended, which allowed Union troops to enter Wagner.

With the first brigade experiencing heavy losses, Putnam's brigade was ordered to advance, but he stalled for fifteen minutes before complying. Shaw, climbing the rampart at Wagner, challenged his men to charge forward, and he was quickly killed. The troops from the 54th Massachusetts who followed Shaw to the top of the parapet were all killed. Others broke ranks and fled back to the beach. Shortly, other than Captain Little with the 76th Pennsylvania, all of the commanding officers in the first brigade were either killed or wounded.

When the second brigade stalled, this left the surviving men of the 6th Connecticut and 48th New York without support. They were quickly engaged in hand-to-hand fighting as the Charleston Battalion moved over to defend the left flank. All of the Union troops obeyed the order to remove the caps from their guns and make a bayonet charge except the 100th New York in the second brigade. When the 100th New York reached the moat in front of Wagner, it lost its composure and fired a volley, only to other Union troops. One Union soldier later wrote, "Men fell by the scores on the parapet and rolled back into the ditch; many were drowned in the water, and others smothered by their own dead and wounded companions falling upon them."

Though a general retreat was ordered for the Union troops, fierce hand-to-hand combat continued for another three hours until the Union troops in the battery were killed, wounded or captured. By 10:30 p.m., the attack was over. The Union army suffered more than 1,500 casualties, including 111 officers. The Confederate casualties only totaled fewer than 200.

Beauregard was elated with the victory and, the next morning, he telegrammed General Joe Johnston in Brandon, Mississippi, writing:

Praise be to God! The anniversary of Bull Run has been gloriously celebrated. After shelling Battery Wagner all day yesterday…[the] enemy attempted to storm Battery Wagner last night, but was gallantly repulsed with great slaughter.

CAPTION: The caption for the engraving: "The Battle of Battery Wagner as sketched by Frank Vizetelly, war correspondent for the Illustrated London News."

Douglas W. Bostick grew up on James Island, and his ancestors in South Carolina date back to colonial America. He is the author of several books and numerous articles that have appeared in historical journals, magazines and national newsletters. A graduate of the College of Charleston, Bostick earned a master's degree from the University of South Carolina. He is a former staff and faculty member of the University of South Carolina and the University of Maryland.

New Charleston exhibit combines large-scale photos, poetry

"Past Presence - Works by Robert Epps and William P. Baldwin" will open for a month at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park starting July 20 to showcase the vibrant large scale photography of Robert Epps with the city-themed poetry of William Baldwin that showcases the iconic environs of Charleston.

Working at times in tandem, the local artists have spent the last four years exploring the way in which Southern culture manages to endure. Exploring Charleston's hidden richness through the photographs and poems, Epps and Baldwin create an atmosphere that invites the viewer to examine the sometimes fragile and elegiac character of buildings that have played a large part in the history of the city. Baldwin's poems, integrated with Epps' photography, allow viewers to open doors that cannot be accessed by something as tangible as a view camera. Through this mixed media exhibition, viewers can dive deeper into the emphasis that Southern culture places on its sense of loss.

An opening reception is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. July 20. Epps and Baldwin will host a lecture at the gallery at 3 p.m. Aug. 10.

The City Gallery is located at 34 Prioleau St. in downtown Charleston, SC, and gallery hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday, 10 am until 6 pm, Saturday and Sunday, noon until 5 pm.

Two new exhibitions open at Charleston Museum

Two new exhibitions at the Charleston Museum caught our eye:

Civil War: "Our Duty was Quite Arduous." In the museum's continued commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, it presents artifacts recovered from the Union encampment on Little Folly Island from 1863 to 1865. Accelerated erosion caused by Hurricane Hugo in September 1989 uncovered a wealth of materials from the Federal presence there during the Civil War. Most were remarkably preserved and now provide a rare glimpse into the daily lives of Union soldiers garrisoned on Folly Island. On exhibit through March 2014.

Fashion Accessories: Hats. This exhibit highlights hats, an essential fashion accessory for centuries. Before the 1960s, men and women never left home without a hat. From warmth-giving necessity to the ultimate fashion statement, hats for both men and women have taken many shapes and sizes. With this fashion staple in mind, the Charleston Museum continues its five-part accessories exhibition with Fashion Accessories: Hats. Installed in the study drawer section of the Museum's historic textiles gallery, headwear on display ranges from the accordion-folded calash of the 18th century and the stiff little pillbox of the 1960s to men's ever-popular top hat and Derby. On exhibition through January 2014.


An invitation: What Web sites, books or restaurants have you enjoyed? Send us a short paragraph review of why you liked a recent visit to a restaurant or a book that you recenly read. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com


Old Exchange Building, Charleston

One of the grandest and most significant public buildings constructed in colonial America, the Exchange and Customs House at 122 East Bay was designed by William Rigby Naylor in 1766 and constructed by Peter and John Adam Horlbeck between 1767 and 1771 on the site of the earlier "Court of Guard" and Half-Moon Battery. The original design included a cellar, a first-floor open arcaded piazza, and a large second-floor assembly room. The roof was hipped with a parapet and lead-coated cupola.

During the colonial era, royal governors were greeted at the east portico, the front of the building facing Charleston harbor. On Dec. 3, 1773, a large gathering of Charlestonians met there to protest British tea taxes. While the British occupied Charleston from 1780 to 1782, many prominent citizens were confined in the cellar as political and military prisoners. After 1783 the Exchange became City Hall and was the site of South Carolina's convention to ratify the federal Constitution in 1788. The building also hosted visits to Charleston by George Washington in 1791 and the Marquis de Lafayette in 1825. Later architectural changes included removal of the west stair wings, enclosure of the arcaded piazza, and stuccoing of the Flemish bond exterior. For much of the nineteenth century it served as a post office.

Threatened by demolition, the Exchange became the property of the Rebecca Motte Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1921. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975. Since 1976 the building has been administered by the Old Exchange Building Commission. A renovation undertaken as part of the American bicentennial observance returned the building to use in 1981. The Exchange Building was subsequently operated as a museum dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of the Old Exchange, the city of Charleston, and colonial and antebellum America.

-- Excerpted from the entry by John Laurens. 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.)



We've thought a lot about this image taken last month at Brookgreen Gardens. Doesn't it symbolize the simple, fun, frolicking nature of summer? Photo by Andy Brack.


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A Charleston recalibration

Regardless of what Travel + Leisure magazine says, Charleston didn't make the list of top 10 snobbiest cities. Why? Because fourth place went to Minneapolis/St. Paul, which is one metro area but two separate cities. That means there were 10 cities ahead of us. Therefore, a recalibrated T+L list of snobbiest cities:

1. San Francisco
2. New York City
3. Boston
4. Minneapolis
4. St. Paul
6. Santa Fe
6. Seattle
8. Chicago
9. Providence, R.I.
10. Washington, D.C.

Yes, Charleston came next. But doesn't it make you feel better to be 11th? And at least the mag got it right in naming us the overall top city in the U.S. and Canada for the first time.


Agreements start arguments

"There is nothing more likely to start disagreement among people or countries than an agreement."

-- E.B. White



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(NEW) Reggae Concert Series: 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., July 13, James Island County Park. De Lions of Jahwill offer an evening of live reggae music Food, beverages, and souvenirs will be available for purchase. Outside alcohol and coolers are prohibited. Advance tickets will not be sold.: $8; free for Gold Pass Holders and ages 12 and under.

Book launch: 6:30 p.m., July 16, The Rooftop Bar at Vendue Inn, 19 Vendue Range St., Charleston. Local New York Times bestselling author Brad Taylor will launch his brand new Pike Logan thriller, "The Widow's Strike," at this event. More.

(NEW) Main Street USA: 6:30 p.m., July 18, Trident Technical College main campus, 7000 Rivers Ave., North Charleston. Celebrate summertime in America with Trident Technical College's Main Street USA program. Food, refreshments, ice cream sundaes, jazz and more. To request a free ticket or for more information, call TTC's Student Activities office at 843.574.6012.

Book sale, John's Island: Starting at 9 a.m. on July 26 and 27. The Charleston Friends of the Library will present the John's Island Branch Book Sale at the John's Island Regional Branch, 3531 Maybank Highway, Charleston. Great deals to be had on books and other media. More.

(NEW) Monroe to have signing: 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., July 28, Lowcountry Artists Gallery, 148 King Street, Charleston. Local nationally-acclaimed novelist Mary Alice Monroe will have a book signing of "The Summer Girls," which was reviewed July 1 in this publication. More.

Great place for lunch: Every Tuesday and Thursday through the end of July (except during July 4 week), 181 Palmer, Palmer Campus, Trident Tech, Columbus Street, Charleston. For just $15 per person, you can get a great lunchtime meal by student chefs with the Culinary Institute of Charleston. Make reservations here or phone 843.820.5087 for more.

Great watercolors: Through 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

Coastal Living's 2013 Showhouse: Open at various times now through Oct. 20. The magazine's newly-constructed home along the Wando River on Daniel Island is open for tours with a portion of the $15 ticket proceeds to charity. More info and times here.

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.


8/26: Ringler: Chasing after a cure
Sabine: Kids giving back
Frazier: Bat lab
Hathorne: Kudzu bugs

7/29: Sheahen: Poverty grows
Ferguson: Plate at the table
Kaynard: Mepkin Abbey
McCandless: At-risk youths
McGee: Monroe's new book

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


8/5: The Angel of Death
Assault on Battery Wagner
"A furious barbarian"
Recovery of Keokuk guns
"Turrets are coming!"
Preparing to attack
Blockade is broken
Stono Rebellion


8/26: What would Dr. King say?
Wool over our eyes
Essays on ordinary summer
Ford needs to get out of the way

7/29: New poverty study
Engage in trade war
Give brand to government
S.C. keeps treading water
Brad Taylor's new thriller

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


7/1: Estate planning myths
Pensions for wartime vets
Revocable Living Trusts
Resources to help seniors cope
On life estates
Next step in health care


7/29: B Corps
GoodBiz Summit
Getting ready to evacuate
Tax policies
On good policy
Heirs' property
1/28: Two conferences


6/17: Interactive adventures
Birds, bees, butterflies
Signs of spring abound
Great local parks
What's new in Charleston is old
1/21: Blaze a trail in 2013
12/10: Great holiday adventure


8/26: Citadel records
Tops in ice cream
Free computer classes
Hall of Famers

Beer shakes
Tall buildings
Keep pets safe
List recalibration
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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