5.37 | Monday, July 15, 2013
Abbey visit offers quiet, idyllic spot to chill
2013 -- When relatives come to visit where should you take them? The typical
decision is the beach, shopping or one of the historic plantations. Any
of these would be a good idea but don't forget Mepkin Abbey near Moncks
Corner. This was my choice when my sister-in-law stayed with us. It was
well worth the drive.
is a quick history of the area we know as Mepkin Abbey:
founding monks of Mepkin Abbey came from the Gethsemani in Kentucky. Their
order was a sect of Trappist monks called Cistercians that came about
in France during the French Revolution in the late 18th and early 19th
century. These monks cultivated the land and spent the rest of their lives
living the communal life and in continual prayer. When I arrived in Charleston
in the early 1970s, the monks were known for their agricultural products
and egg production. Today they continue to sell items such as mushrooms
to docent Al Kennedy, who led our tour, the abbey can house approximately
50 monks. The most who lived at Mepkin was about 40, he said. A few years
ago the last of the original 29 monks passed away. Now there are only
13 left. Hopefully others will get the calling to this idyllic life so
that the sect can continue at Mepkin.
tie-in with July Fourth for me was the fact that Henry Laurens lived on
this property. He was a wealthy merchant with a stately home in Ansonborough
in Charleston, but preferred to live at the plantation at Mepkin. This
is where he loved to be and was eventually buried on the property.
was a staunch, financial supporter of the revolutionary forces. His home
at Mepkin was burned by the British. He was in Europe to ask for loans
for the revolution and was captured on a ship and taken to the Tower of
London. He was later exchanged for Lord Cornwallis and helped negotiate
a peace treaty ending the war. He returned to Mepkin a few years later
where he loved to be. He is buried at Mepkin.
The grounds are stunning. There is a feeling of peacefulness and spirituality. When you visit Mepkin, you can view beautiful gardens and walk through massive oaks dripping with Spanish moss. Situated along the Cooper River, I doubt if anyone could visit without marveling at the beauty and peacefulness that abounds.
I strongly suggest that you make arrangements to arrive in plenty of time to take the guided tour. I enjoyed being able to sit and watch the service in the Abbey Church. Admission to the property is free. The guided tours are $5.
a good brand to government
JULY 15, 2013 -- Government gets a bad rap.
Just about everywhere you turn, it seems people are ragging on government, as if they've given much thought to how much positive impact government actually has on their lives.
Let's take a look at a few obvious things:
The government makes a difference in our daily lives in countless ways, from protecting our food and water supplies to ensuring medical drugs are regulated; to keeping our communities safe thanks to firefighters, first responders and police; and to educating our children so they can be tomorrow's innovators.
But much of government's functions have become so commonplace and assumed that today's Americans forget how hard it was to build their infrastructure and make sure they helped people move from the daily subsistence of living on the farm to modern-day life in which they didn't have to worry about growing their food, protecting their homes or teaching their children.
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, in a much-heralded new book about using technology to make government more innovative and helpful, observes people now mistrust the government so much that they're getting less and less involved.
"When ordinary people feel politics is irrelevant, the whole Jeffersonian model of democracy is in peril," he writes in "Citizenville." "We're becoming a government of the elites, the opposite of what our forefathers intended, and the opposite of what has historically made America strong."
While the book subsequently focuses on how to make government more transparent, accountable and innovative by opening up huge government databases so that people can build technological applications to improve how they interact with government, he makes an observation that could remind us how thankful we ought to be for government, despite the messiness that sometimes comes with it:
"We experience government every single day, directly and indirectly," Newsom writes. "But because government can't brand all its projects with its own little Nike swoosh, people don't realize that fact. Because government doesn't have an official PR department to help burnish its image, people go about their daily lives oblivious to how enriched they are by it."
So stop right there. Just why can't government brand itself consistently to show people everywhere it prevails? Newsom suggests a national "coming out day" for the nation's 23 million government workers to celebrate government. Fine. But why can't government start putting a Captain America-like logo on every government product, service or program that affects people? Folks in Louisiana have been branding government bridge projects for years.
A branding campaign for America wouldn't be hard. It would cost virtually nothing. But it could make a big difference to remind us how our lives are better overall through government, regardless of whether you are Democratic or Republican. If we could get people to stop denigrating government all of the time, maybe we could start working together more towards new goals, such as the innovations outlined in Newsom's outstanding book.
is us," the former San Francisco mayor writes. "It's the police
officer, soldier, educator, IT worker, secretary, lawyer or engineer who
lives next door. Helping people realize that would be a great first step
in cutting through the disdain and mistrust people have for government
a su pord
The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In today's issue, we shine the spotlight on SCIWAY, South Carolina's Information Highway. Pronounced "sky-way," SCIWAY is the largest and most comprehensive directory of South Carolina information on the Internet. It includes thousands of links to other South Carolina Web sites, including Charleston Currents, as well as an amazing collection of maps, charts, articles, photos and other resources.
To learn more about this extraordinary information hub that 7 million people visit a year, go to: http://www.SCIWAY.net.
museums promote summer learning through play
gives children a chance to practice what they are learning."
JULY 15, 2013 -- Whether you seek refuge from the heat or a diversion on a rainy Lowcountry day, there are plenty of interactive children's museums in our state to choose from to find cool play.
As a mother who has frequented these museums throughout my children's stages of growth and development, I highly recommend them as bright, clean, organized spaces that encourage creativity and big thinking while enhancing fine and gross motor skills. For preschoolers, there is the added benefit of socializing with other children and learning through observing older children play. Allow a solid block of three to four hours to really appreciate all these museums have to offer.
The Natural History Museum of College of Charleston: Located on the second floor of the School of Science and Mathematics building at 202 Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston (open daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Wednesdays), this free to the public museum is an excellent resource for kids who love fossils, dinosaurs, sharks teeth, and so much more. There are geology students on hand to answer your questions. Please contribute a donation to help keep this excellent little gem of a museum thriving.
The North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum and Educational Center: This museum has an impressive collection of antique fire trucks from all over the country, as well as hands-on activities for children of all ages. This is a great space to climb, play, and move about on a rainy day and your children will learn everything they need to know about fire safety in the process. Located at the North Charleston visitor Center at 4975 Centre Pointe Dr., North Charleston
Johns Island Schoolhouse Museum: Accompany your children as they soak in the atmosphere of a sweet and "simpler" time at this one room school house. This museum offers a fantastic summer program of stories on the porch. Check Pluff Mud Kids blogsite listed below for dates, times, and details.
The Children's Museum of the Lowcountry in Charleston, EdVenture in Columbia, and the Children's Museum of S.C. in Myrtle Beach: These three museums geared for kids are all reciprocal under the umbrella of American Children's Museums, extending the value of a yearly membership.
Children's Museum of the Upstate in Greenville, SC: This museum is
privately funded and not associated with the American Children's Museums,
so it is not reciprocal with a membership to the three ACM children's
museums listed above. However, it is well worth the price of admission
when you visit Greenville. Conveniently located in the heart of downtown
next to the library and the Upcountry History Museum, this museum for
kids is loaded with interactive exhibits, bright colors, and cool surfaces
to climb on with plenty of staff to help keep kids engaged in all the
Crisis Ministries gets $2 million grant to help veterans
A $2 million
grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will allow Crisis Ministries
to serve an extra 500 veterans and their families who are at risk of losing
their housing by providing case management and supportive services.
Ministries partners with Family Services, Inc., which administers the
rental and utility assistance, as well as financial education and counseling
to veterans in the program.
awarded a total of $300 million in grants to assist approximately 120,000
homeless and at-risk veterans and their families to 319 agencies in 50
states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. This is the third year SSVF
grants have helped Veterans and their families find or remain in their
Kids needed to help release ladybugs at Gardens
Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is recruiting Lowcountry children to help release more than 70,000 ladybugs in the gardens.
The insect, which is classified as a beetle, will be set free throughout the 60-acre garden starting at 10 a.m. July 27. Each family will be given a container holding several hundred ladybugs.
Chris Smith, Magnolia's Nature Center director, said ladybugs are natural predators to harmful insects such as aphids, scale insects and other small insects.
The night before the release the ladybugs will be held in a cool place so they will be less active when they are released. "This way, they won't just fly away quickly," Smith said. "They will take to their surroundings a lot easier."
A $15 general garden admission is required to participate. Children under six will be admitted free.
Coastal Community Foundation welcomes 8 new board members
Five Charleston-area residents are among eight new members of the board of directors of the Coastal Community Foundation, founded in 1974 with $9,000 from the Rotary Club of Charleston.
New board members from the Charleston metropolitan area include Todd Abedon of Sullivans Island, cofounder of Chartwell Housings; Cedric Green of the Charleston area, who works for SCE&G; the Rev. Bill Stanfield of North Charleston, co-founder of the Metanoia Community Development corporation of North Charleston; Terry Stinson of Berkeley County, who is diversity manager for Santee Cooper; Dawn Robinson of Berkeley County, who works with First Citizens Bank;
Other new members include Gordon Granger and Jim Marks of Beaufort County; and Lawton Smith of Colleton County.
The foundation's new board chair is Bill Medich, senior vice president of S.C. Bank and Trust. David Jenson of Wells Fargo Advisors will continue as secretary and treasurer.
Retiring board members include Henry Blackford III, Kathleen Bounds, Frank Brumley, Norman Brunswig, David Smalls and Timothy Williams.
Today, the foundation manages more than $150 million in combined assets in more than 620 individualized funds. Learn more.
Henry Laurens was born on Feb. 24, 1724, in Charleston, the eldest son of John Laurens, a saddler, and Esther Grasset. Both the Laurens and Grasset families fled France as Huguenot refugees in the 1680s, with John and Esther settling in Charleston about 1715. Henry Laurens provided no details but described his education as "the best which [Charleston] afforded."
Following a three-year clerkship in the London countinghouse of James Crokatt, Laurens returned to Charleston in 1747 and formed a commercial partnership with George Austin. Austin & Laurens expanded in 1759 to become Austin, Laurens & (George) Appleby and continued until 1762, when the partnership was dissolved by mutual consent. Laurens subsequently traded on his own.
As a merchant, he exported Carolina products (rice, indigo, deerskins, and naval stores) to Britain, Europe, and the West Indies. His vessels returned with wine, textiles, rum, sugar, and slaves. During the early 1760s Laurens's interests expanded to include rice and indigo planting. He owned four South Carolina plantations (Mepkin, Wambaw, Wrights Savannah, and Mount Tacitus), two Georgia plantations (Broughton Island and New Hope), tracts of undeveloped land in both colonies, and town lots in Charleston. The earnings from his mercantile and planting interests made Laurens one of the wealthiest men in America.
Laurens entered public service at an early age, holding local and church offices in Charleston as early as 1751. He first sat in the Commons House of Assembly in 1757, representing St. Philip's Parish. He would be reelected to the colonial or state assemblies seventeen times during his lifetime. He served as a lieutenant in the militia in 1757 and as a lieutenant colonel in the provincial regiment during the Cherokee Expedition of 1761. He refused appointment to the Royal Council in 1764.
During the early stages of the Anglo-American conflict, Laurens gained prominence as a political moderate. On Oct. 23, 1765, at the height of the Stamp Act crisis, a mob invaded his home in search of stamped papers. This incident ended without injury but traumatized his wife and increased the conservative merchant-planter's concern for the rights of individuals threatened by the violence and enthusiasm of the revolution.
Between 1767 and 1769 royal officials in South Carolina seized his schooners Wambaw and Broughton Island Packet and the ship Ann for alleged customs violations. In response Laurens wrote pamphlets explaining his position and castigating the customs and vice-admiralty officials. He also challenged a customs officer to a duel. This aggressive behavior was not uncommon for Laurens, who sought vindication with dueling pistols on at least five occasions during his lifetime.
Laurens's life took a new direction in May 1770 after the death of his wife, Eleanor Ball. Married to Laurens since June 25, 1750, Eleanor had given birth to 12 or 13 children. Laurens now made the education of his five surviving children, especially his three sons, his foremost life's work. He suspended direct supervision of his planting and commercial interests and sailed to England in September 1771. From there he traveled to the Continent, where he found suitable schools for his two older sons in Geneva, Switzerland. During the time he spent in England, Laurens and several other South Carolinians in London signed petitions to Parliament and the king seeking redress of American grievances.
High Cotton honored with national award
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Keep your pets safe this summer
The Charleston Animal
Society offers pet owners some simple steps for helping animals beat the
heat and have a happy and healthy summer:
Spot the symptoms. Signs of overheating in pets include increased heart rate, excessive drooling and panting, difficulty breathing, weakness, elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees) and even seizures. Elderly, overweight and pets with heart or lung diseases are especially at risk for heatstroke. Pets with short muzzles like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats become overheated because they cannot effectively pant. These pets should be kept in air conditioning to stay cool.
Visit the vet. A visit to the veterinarian check-up is a must. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations. Pets should also be given a blood test for heartworm disease every year in the early spring. The deadly parasite is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito, and dogs and cats should be on monthly preventive medication year-round.
Pest-free pets. Commonly used flea and tick products, rodenticides, insecticides and many lawn products can be harmful to cats and dogs if ingested. Steer clear of areas that may have been sprayed with insecticides or lawn products when walking your pet.
Parties can be dangerous. Summertime can be perfect for backyard barbecues or parties; but remember the food and drink you serve your guests may be poisonous to pets. It is especially important to keep them away from raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate, alcohol and products with the sweetener xylitol, since these are poisonous to pets.
Splash safely. Not all dogs are good swimmers and should never be left unsupervised around any body of water. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear a flotation device on board a boat. Rinse your dog after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could upset their stomachs.
Be careful with sunscreen or insect repellents. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
"While other countries cling to the stale past, here in America we breathe life into dreams. We create the future, and the world follows us into tomorrow. Thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we're a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge, always leading the world to the next frontier. This quality is vital to our future as a nation. If we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost."
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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.
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.
(NEW) Palette and Palate Stroll: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., July 19, downtown Charleston. Attendees for the $45 event by the Charleston Fine Art Dealers' Association will make stops at local fine arts galleries for fine art, unique cuisine and wine. This year's gallery and restaurant pairings are: Anglin Smith Fine Art - Circa 1886; Corrigan Gallery - Barsa Tapas; Dog & Horse Fine Art - Lucca; Ella W. Richardson Fine Art - Social; Helena Fox Fine Art - Anson; Horton Hayes Fine Art - Oak; The Sylvan Gallery - Halls Chophouse; Martin Gallery - Tristan; Robert Lange Studios - Cypress. Tickets and more.
(NEW) Puss 'n' Boots: Through July 28 on Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Storytree Children's Theatre presents "The Awesome Tale of Puss 'n' Boots" at the Charleston Acting Studio, 915 Folly Road, James Island. More.
(NEW) The Screwtape Letters: 8 p.m., July 26, and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., July 27, Sotille Theatre, 44 George Street, Charleston. Tickets are $39 to $59 for this funny theatrical adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel about spiritual warfare from a demon's point of view. In its third year, the national tour kicked off after a nine-month New York run. More.
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.
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.
(NEW) Free skin cancer screenings: 9 a.m. to noon, Aug. 10, outside Splash Zone Waterpark, James Island County Park. MUSC dermatologists will offer free screenings on the MUSC Mobile Health Unit. No appointment necessary. More: Phone 843.792.0878.
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
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
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.
Angel of Death