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JUST BEACHY. Just looking at this photo of sea oats at the county's Kiawah Beachwalker Park is soothing and relaxing. If you haven't been lately to one of the county's beach parks (Folly, Isle of Palms or Kiawah), click here to learn more. Photo by Michael Kaynard,
Kaynard Photography.

Issue 5.38 | Monday, July 22, 2013
Mmmm, the summer smell of fresh, cut grass

FOCUS Getting a plate at the table
BRACK Engage in the trade war
GOOD NEWS Two big grants
HISTORY Henry Laurens
SPOTLIGHT Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
FEEDBACK Two letters
BROADUS French interns; mystery solved
THE LIST Tall buildings
QUOTE Surprise: DHEC screwed up
CALENDAR This week ... and next

Three ways to get a plate at tables that matter
Special to Charleston Currents

JULY 22, 2013 -- The Preservation Society of Charleston's new and third "Seven to Save" list includes a public park, endangered commercial and civic structures, cemetery ironwork, historic documents and plantation ruins. By listing these sites, the Society hopes to bring attention to the important historic value of these resources and inspire support to preserve them for future generations.

This Plate Matters, a new summer supper series presented by the Preservation Society, is a way for the community to engage with unrestored "Seven to Save" sites. Buildings that are closed to the public are opened for one evening only for a unique dining experience featuring spectacular local chefs, local food and local flair.

Trolley Barn complex

The first This Plate Matters event will take place July 30 at the Trolley Barn Complex at 645 Meeting Street. Completed between 1897 and 1902, the Trolley Barn on Upper King was a bustling hub of transportation infrastructure for the City of Charleston. At its peak use in 1921, approximately 2,000 Charlestonians were using the trolley system daily, but with the introduction of automobiles and buses, it became obsolete by 1938. Later used as a bus shed, the structure was abandoned in the late 20th century and was listed on the Preservation Society's Seven to Save in 2013.

This rare architectural example of transportation infrastructure in Charleston will be the backdrop for a special evening lovingly designed by Stacey Fraunfelter of Red Letter Events. Farm tables and soft overhead lighting will set the mood for the locally-inspired menu from up-and-coming Charleston chef Tara Derr Webb, founder of the FARMBAR. Salmorejo hearty gazpacho, Carolina shrimp and summer greens, and "sugar boo" are just a few highlights of the night's fare.


Music by the Bluestone Ramblers will provide the soundtrack for all of these unforgettable evenings and Icebox will keep you cool with specialty cocktails and other libations from a full bar at each event. Proceeds from these events will go towards helping the Preservation Society of Charleston to continue to fulfill their mission of inspiring the involvement all who dwell in the Lowcountry to honor and respect our material and cultural heritage.

Tickets are $150 per person for each event with a special discount of $400 per person for all three events (must be purchased by Monday, July 29th). Tickets can be purchased online or by phone (843.722.4630).

On August 20, This Plate Matters will be held at the Cigar Factory at 701 East Bay Street. Built in 1882 as a cotton mill, the American Tobacco Company purchased the five-story Victorian commercial building in 1912 for use as a cigar factory. American Tobacco Company was one of the largest employers in Charleston and operated until 1973.

In 1845, a group of African American women from Local 15 of the Food, Tobacco and Allied Workers Union organized a strike to address low wages and racial discrimination. On the picket line, the workers were the first to sing "We Shall Overcome" as a song of protest during the civil rights movement. In 2011, the Preservation Society recognized civil rights era sites on the "Seven to Save" list.

The rustic industrial interior space of the Cigar Factory will get special treatment by John Pope of John Pope Antiques. Carrie Morey of Charleston-based Callie's Biscuits has crafted a menu that features Callie's cocktail biscuits, John's Island tomato and arugula tea sandwiches, pickled shrimp with okra rice, berry shortcakes and much more.

Brick House, Edisto Island

The final This Plate Matters event of the season will take place September 1 at Brick House on Edisto Island, a 2013 "Seven to Save" site. Built in 1725 by Edisto Island rice planter Paul Hamilton, this two-story brick plantation house was acquired in 1798 by the Jenkins family who continues to own it today. Tragically, the house burned in 1929, but the ruins of its exterior and interior walls miraculously remain as a rare artifact of our region's colonial architecture.

The Lee Brothers, Matt and Ted Lee, have designed an Edisto Island-inspired menu that features local flavors like "stolen tomatoes," chanterelle mushrooms, okra, guinea bog, and a special Elizabeth Jenkins Young "kiss pie" with scuppernong jam. Renowned designer Mimi van Wyck of Van Wyck & Van Wyck will return the plantation to its former social glory with beautiful tablescapes that adorn the lawn.

The mission of the Preservation Society of Charleston is to inspire the involvement of all who dwell in the Lowcountry to honor and respect our material and cultural heritage. Katherine Ferguson is marketing and communications manager for the Society.


Let's engage in the trade war
By ANDY BRACK, editor and publisher

JULY 22, 2013 -- America has been in a trade war ever since the country started, retired U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings reminded members of the Rotary Club of Charleston last week.

The problem, however, is America forgets it is in this war, a struggle that is costing jobs and our national backbone.

The result? China is cleaning our clocks by making stuff that we no longer make -- everything from steel, textiles and computers to the cheap doodads and T-shirts found in abundance at beachside shops. But soon, Hollings predicted, Mexico will become the next China for U.S. businesses due to Mexico's proximity to the U.S., increasing stability and low wages.

Hollings, born in 1922 when the British Empire was at its largest, offered a history lesson.

The first substantive measure of the new United States was the Tariff Act of 1789, signed into law on July 4 by President George Washington. Congress enacted this protectionist tariff that included a 10 percent duty on imports carried here on ships "not of the United States." Why? To encourage America to fend for itself by making things, not relying on Great Britain and others to do it.

By the time of the Civil War when America started building the Transcontinental Railroad, many wanted to import foreign steel because it would be cheaper. But President Abraham Lincoln said no. He wanted to country to build its own iron and steel industry so that when the railroad was finished, the country would then have steel capacity -- along with jobs, capital and wealth -- of its own.

Fast forward to World War II when America's manufacturing machine muscled out tanks, planes and uniforms. The country was strong and the world -- including a British Empire in decline -- looked to America for strength. That continued until the 1960s, when foreign markets started to develop manufacturing capacities just as we had done.

Then American businesses, seeking to maximize the next quarter's profits, started closing manufacturing plants, decimating domestic industry after industry. Manufacturing moved overseas to places like Japan, China, Korea, India and Pakistan.


Don't think China is on an forward roll? Take a look at this new poll by the Pew Research that shows that while the U.S. is rated more favorably than China across the globe, China is becoming a stronger superpower.

These days, Washington politicians do nothing to keep American companies from offshoring their production, Hollings complained. All the while, China laps it up, wanting more and more of America's market share while creating domestic needs to keep its factories going. What does the United States do? It keeps borrowing to pay the government bills -- so much so that the nation is trillions of dollars in debt and pays annual interest fees of more than $400 billion -- yes, billion -- a year. Interest, as budget hawk Hollings pointed out, pays for nothing other than our past, irresponsible spending.

What's interesting -- and sad -- about this tale of the rise and fall of American manufacturing is how history is actually repeating itself. China -- certainly not a democracy -- is doing nothing but a modern-day economic take on bulking up to make things at the expense of the United States, which did the same thing to Great Britain in the Industrial Age.

The only way to combat what's happening to the United States is for us to start making lots of stuff again. To do that, we've got to make it more attractive for big multi-national industries to manufacture again in America.

Hollings often suggests a way to increase competitiveness is to replace the country's 35 percent corporate income tax, which multi-nationals scurry to avoid by offshoring, with a 7 percent value-added tax added on at each stage of production. He says our competitors across the world -- more than 150 countries -- take this approach. But because we're not, we're being played as Uncle Sucker.

Hollings argues if Congress would get off its duff, enforce existing trade laws and enact a VAT, the country would actually experience a tax cut!

Fritz Hollings was born when Great Britain started its decline. Despite years of fighting the good fight to keep America strong, our nation is declining today because of what's being done by China and other manufacturing tigers.

Let's turn that around. Now would be a good time to start.

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


Likes the idea of a government brand

To the editor:

I wanted to thank you for the article on "Give Government a Good Brand."

I've been active in the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association for many years and recently became the S.C. Federation of Chapters President. We have a similar effort on spreading the word the value of federal worker jobs but it is more tailored to protecting our benefits -- Protect America's Heartbeat.

-- Kathy Hensley, Lexington, S.C.

Government isn't welcome all of the time

To the editor:

I don't think anyone disputes what you are saying about the good things that result from the necessary functions of government. The military? I remember "provide for the common defense" from the jingle that used to interrupt Saturday morning cartoons. Imagine the States agreeing on the specifications and location of Interstate roads?

I think the problem comes in with your accurate usage of the word "countless." Government has taken on a life of its own evidenced by the recent story of the building of a military HQ in Afghanistan that will never be used. The spare engine for the F35 that no one wants, (except General Electric of course). Regulations to regulate the regulations. Go to the website for the USDA. Look at the variety of things they are involved in. They are supposed to be stamping beef.

Government touches every facet of our lives. Many of these touches are unwelcome, unwanted and would cost oodles less if someone else handled that.

-- Donald T. McDonough, Charleston, S.C.

Send your letter. If you have an opinion on something we've offered or on a subject related to the Lowcountry, please send your letters of 150 words or less to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Please include your name, address and phone number for verification purposes. We look forward to hearing from you!


Magnolia Plantation and Gardens

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. Today we shine our spotlight on Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, founded in 1676 by the Drayton family. It has survived the centuries and witnessed the history of our nation unfold before it from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond. It is the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870. Open 365 days a year, Magnolia offers its visitors splendid tours of nature and history and the role African-Americans played in the development of its award-winning Romantic-style gardens.


WINGS for kids wins $2.5 million grant to expand program

Charleston's WINGS for kids, the nation's only program to offer a social emotional learning curriculum in an after-school setting, has been awarded a three-year investment of up to $2.5 million from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the organization announced last week.

The grant, which consists of funding from EMCF and the federal Social Innovation Fund, will seek to expand its program to 16 schools in four communities in South Carolina and Georgia in the next three years.

"After years of prepping and planning, working and waiting, the world is finally ready for us!" WINGS for kids CEO Bridget Laird wrote friends in an ecstatic email last week. "Picture 2,060 kids in up to 16 schools across four regions getting WINGS by 2016 -- a growth of over 200 percent. Our hearts are bursting with pride in seeing our vision become a reality."

WINGS for kids (www.wingsforkids.org) was chosen in an open, national competition that drew 191 applicants from leading nonprofit organizations nationwide. The foundation relied on a rigorous, in-depth process of due diligence to identify promising programs with the potential to improve the prospects of economically disadvantaged youth aged nine to 24.

Founded 17 years ago in Charleston, SC, WINGS has developed a proven methodology for bringing social emotional learning to elementary students. Currently offered in six schools (four in Charleston and two in Atlanta, GA), WINGS works with children identified by teachers and others as needing extra help. At the end of every school day, the children report to WINGS where they work in small groups with WINGSLeaders (college-aged mentors) for 15 hours a week, learning to control emotions, empathize with others, avoid peer pressure, identify feelings and experience joy.

Trident Tech benefits from big federal grant

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a five-year, $439,920 grant to Clemson University to partner with Trident Technical College and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College to build an innovative program in Food Science and Technology for students from multicultural backgrounds.

The goal of the program is to graduate 12 students with a bachelor of science degree in Food Science and Technology that will enable them to pursue rewarding careers in the food and agricultural industries, according to a press release.

"Feeding a growing global population is a major challenge in the 21st century," said Clemson University President James F. Barker. "Education to equip a new generation to meet this challenge will require innovative and collaborative approaches. Critical to the success of these efforts will be the participation of underrepresented populations. This program will be a model to attract and retain minority students in our agriculture and food science and technology programs."

Trident Tech President Mary Thornley said it was an exciting time for food science.

"Each day we learn more about the effects of food on health, and with an increasing population the need for a sustainable and affordable food supply is critical," she said. "We look forward to working with Clemson to educate the next generation of food researchers whose work will shape the future of South Carolina's agribusiness industry."

The partnership between the three institutions will be the framework for recruiting, training and mentoring students throughout the program. Students will complete two years at one of the technical colleges and then transfer to Clemson to complete their bachelor of science degree in Food Science.

  • For more information contact Cara Smyczynski at Trident Technical College.

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


Henry Laurens
(Part 2 of 2)

The South Carolina to which Laurens returned in 1774 had moved beyond peaceful petition to revolution. Within weeks of his landing, St. Philip's Parish elected him to the First Provincial Congress.

H. Laurens

In June 1775 he became president of the Provincial Congress and the Council of Safety and consequently the state's chief executive during the establishment of the provincial regiments and the transition from royal to independent status. He contributed to South Carolina's first constitution and served as vice president in the first state government formed in March 1776. He remained an active and moderating force in South Carolina's revolutionary movement from 1775 until he left to serve in the Continental Congress in June 1777.

Laurens has been frequently cited by historians as one of the few citizens in the lower South who expressed opposition to slavery in America as early as the 1770s. In an oft-quoted passage from his correspondence, he wrote (after receiving a copy of the Declaration of Independence), "I abhor slavery," despite participating in the slave trade early in his career, owning 298 slaves as late as 1790, and the fact that there is little evidence that he offered freedom to more than a few of his servants. Laurens understood the harm that slavery posed, to both races, and anticipated that it would end in a bloody conflict. His opposition to slavery, however, had little impact on the institution in South Carolina.

Arriving at Philadelphia in July 1777, Laurens quickly established himself as an active and respected member of the Continental Congress. In November 1777 he succeeded John Hancock as president during one of the most trying times in American history. He took the chair at York, Pennsylvania, where Congress met after Philadelphia had fallen to the British the previous September. During his tenure the Continental army spent its winter encampment at Valley Forge and turmoil in Congress and among Continental officers threatened General George Washington's command. Laurens resigned as president in December 1778 but continued to represent South Carolina in Congress until late 1779. In October that year Congress selected him to travel to Holland and secure a loan and an alliance with the Dutch.

Shortly after departing on his Dutch mission, Laurens, his vessel, and most of his papers were taken by a British warship in September 1780. Charged with high treason, he was a prisoner in the Tower of London from October 1780 through December 1781. After obtaining his parole and subsequent freedom, Laurens learned that he had been named to the American commission to negotiate peace with Britain. The fifteen months spent in confinement ruined his health, however, and permitted him to play only a minor role. Along with Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay, Laurens signed the preliminary peace treaty in Paris in November 1782. Traveling to England to regain his health, Laurens did not attend the signing of the definitive treaty in Paris in September 1783.

Laurens returned to South Carolina in January 1785 and withdrew from public affairs. Elected as a delegate to both the 1787 Philadelphia constitutional convention and the 1790 South Carolina constitutional convention, he declined to serve in both. The one minor exception occurred in 1788 when he supported the federal Constitution as a delegate to the South Carolina ratification convention. He spent his declining years successfully rebuilding his war-ravaged estate. He died on December 8, 1792, at his Mepkin plantation on the Cooper River. As stipulated in his will, he chose to have his remains cremated before burial. His ashes were interred at Mepkin.

-- Excerpted from the entry by C. James Taylor. 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.)


French interns spend summer here

Sophie Bertrand, left, and Ana Morales are interns from the National Landscape School of Versailles in Paris who are working as interns at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, which is participating for the fourth year in the international internship exchange.

Congratulations to Charleston attorney Jack Cordray for being first to guess correctly that the photo of the guy casting a shrimp net off a bridge was on Wappoo Road at the entrance to Edgewater Park. Some folks guessed the photo was taken on a bridge headed to Rockville and the Church Creek Bridge on Highway 61. Other correct guessers were Courtney Morris-West and Lynn Santos, as well as Matthew Salinger, a former Charlestonian who now lives in Houston.

Stump us. If you have a picture that you took that you think will stump people, send it along and we'll publish it as a mystery picture. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Make sure to include your name and a description of the photo (in case we're not good enough to guess.)

More pictures: If you'd like to see a fresh photo of the rural South every other day, check out our sister site, SouthernCrescent.org. You can sign up to get the photo delivered automatically by email.


We encourage you to check out our sister publications:

Statehouse Report -- a weekly legislative forecast that keeps you a step ahead of what happens at the Statehouse. It's free.

SC Clips -- a daily news compilation of South Carolina news from media sources across the state. Delivered by email about the time you get to work every business day. Saves you a lot of money and time. Sign up for a free trial subscription today.

TravelOrMove.com -- a fun, interactive site where you can input your travel or retirement preferences and find places you might not have considered.

Georgia Clips offers a similar daily news compilation for the scores of newspapers in Georgia's 159 counties.

GwinnettForum -- an online community commentary for exploring pragmatic and sensible social, political and economic approaches to improve life in Gwinnett County, Ga. USA.


Charleston Currents offers insightful community comment and good news on events each week. It cuts through the information clutter to offer the best of what's happening locally.

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© 2008-2013, Statehouse Report LLC. All rights reserved. Charleston Currents is published every Monday and Thursday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.


Tall buildings

Here's a list of the five tallest buildings in Charleston, according to Wikipedia:

  • St. Matthew's Lutheran Church (1872), 255 feet

  • Citadel Square Baptist Church (1856), 219 feet

  • Dockside Condominiums (1978), 203 feet

  • St. Philip's Church (1838), 200 feet

  • St. Michael's Church (1761), 193 feet


On screwing up

"DHEC screwed this up … I'm sort of as indignant and angry about it as anybody else. It's not how I run the railroad. It's why they are fired.''

-- DHEC head Catherine Templeton of Mount Pleasant. Last week, she broke a weeks-long silence on the slow response by her administrators and officials to rein-in an outbreak of tuberculosis in Greenwood County that exposed at least 50 kids to the potentially deadly virus. Some of the officials who have been fired have filed wrongful termination lawsuits.



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(NEW) Christmas in July: 6:05 p.m., July 27, Joe Riley Stadium, Charleston. The Charleston RiverDogs will have a snow machine at this Saturday game to turn the park into a Christmas wonderland. A special summer Santa will be on hand. There will be elves and gnomes and much more.

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.

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) Vocal auditions: 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Aug. 3, Second Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 342 Meeting Street, Charleston. The Charleston Symphony Orchestra Gospel Choir and CSO Spiritual Ensemble will hold voice auditions for new volunteer singers, who are asked to prepare a solo of their choosing and vocalize in a choral setting. More.

(NEW) Gardening galore: Aug. 5-8, 46 Windermere Boulevard, Charleston. Charleston Horticulture Society will offer Lowcountry Gardening 101 Summer School, a four-day extravaganza of 10 assorted gardening classes, each of which cost $10 for members or $15 for non-members. Lots to choose from. More.

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.

(NEW) Stomp some grapes: Noon to 5 p.m., Aug. 24, Irvin-House Vineyards, Wadmalaw Island. You can celebrate the annual grape harvest and get some purple feet at the 10th Annual Grape Stomping Festival. Admission is $10 per car, with part of the proceeds going to Frierson Elementary School. On hand will be music, family fun, great food -- and adult beverages. 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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