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NAME THAT BEACH. The first and fourth people who correctly name the area beach where this guy seems to be struggling while biking will win a pair of tickets each to a future RiverDogs game. Send your guess -- along with your hometown -- to editor@charlestoncurrents.com. Good luck!
Photo by Michael Kaynard, Kaynard Photography.

Issue 5.40 | Monday, Aug. 5, 2013
Count the butterflies in your yard

FOCUS Kudzu bugs are invading
BRACK Ford needs to sit it out
GOOD NEWS March on Washington, Greenberg
HISTORY Samuel Gaillard Stoney
SPOTLIGHT Maybank Industries
FEEDBACK Good poverty column
SENIORS More mythbusting on wills
BROADUS "Triptych" exhibition starts
THE LIST Three new Hall of Famers
QUOTE Good manners, bad breath
CALENDAR This week ... and next

Kudzu bugs are invading the Southeast
Special to Charleston Currents

AUG. 5, 2013 -- If you live in the Southeast, you probably have already heard of these little buggers on the news or seen them for yourself. 


Kudzu bugs (megacopta cribaria) are small, almost square-shaped, olive and black mottled colored insects.  They are about the size of lady beetles and fly just as well.  These insects were first discovered in the United States near Atlanta, Georgia, in 2009.

It was the first record of any insect in the family Plataspidae to be found in the northern hemisphere. They are native to parts of Asia. Since then, they have spread dramatically and are now found throughout Georgia, the Carolinas and parts of Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida.  That’s a lot of ground to cover for a little bug, and in less than four years!  Entomologists are carefully tracking their wildfire-like spread. 

So what’s the big deal with these little guys?  Well, as their name suggests, they like to feed on kudzu, which is a good thing.  Kudzu is a fast-growing vine, also native to Asia, that was brought to the U.S. many years ago by the Department of Transportation to help control erosion on banks along highways, but since its introduction has overtaken trees, utility poles and buildings in these areas. 

So having a bug that will feed on kudzu to help control it is a good thing.  Unfortunately, they also like to feed on other legume crops, such as soybeans, which is causing major problems for farmers in the areas they have invaded.  

Like lady beetles, the adults like to overwinter inside structures and are a nuisance to homeowners.  They like to congregate on the sides of buildings, especially light-colored ones.  So if you live in a white house next to a soybean field or a kudzu patch, you are a prime target for being invaded. 

Kudzu bug

They don’t bite, so you don’t have to worry about that. But they are related to stinkbugs and will emit a foul odor when disturbed.  Some people have developed allergic reactions to these secretions.  Kudzu bugs are also known as globular stinkbugs, bean plataspids,and lablab bugs.  
What can you do if you become inundated with kudzu bugs?  First, try to keep them from coming inside.  Make sure windows and doors shut tightly and do not leave gaps. Close gaps with weather stripping or caulk.  Make sure foundation vents, eave vents and, gable vents are also fitted tightly with no gaps around them and are in good condition.  Install a screen or exclusion device to the top of the chimney to prevent them from entering. 

If bugs do get inside, use a vacuum to suck them up and be careful not to squish them as this may stain some fabrics.  Empty the canister into an outdoor trash can, or replace the bag soon after vacuuming them otherwise your vacuum will begin to stink.  Kudzu bugs found outside of the house should be treated by a professional pest control service. Visit Terminix Service, Inc. for services available in your area.

There are restrictions to using certain pesticides (those that contain pyrethroids) to treat the sides of buildings, but Terminix does have products without these restrictions that are promising.  Sometimes it may require multiple treatments to make a dent since there can be so many of the bugs in an area. It seems like these bugs are going to be a big stinky problem for quite some time!

Kevin Hathorne of Columbia is an entomologist with Terminix Service, Inc. Terminex on Facebook and Twitter.


Ford needs to get out of the way
By ANDY BRACK, editor and publisher

AUG. 5, 2013 -- The fragrant allure of politics must be too much for former state Sen. Robert Ford, the Charleston Democrat who resigned this year for what he maintains were health reasons. Regardless of how loudly Ford squawks about his health being to blame, it’s just a cover. He resigned because serious ethics allegations against him were about to come home to roost. He still must face them.

For most people who resign from office, the dingy, gray cloud of shame is enough to keep them out of politics, unless you’re New Yorker Anthony Weiner or our own Robert Ford. As several candidates head toward an Aug. 13 Democratic primary for Ford’s old seat, he pumps out frequent emails to keep in the fray. There’s one to remind Senate Ethics Committee members of all the good things he’s done over the years for the community. There’s another of him in photos from a fish fry. And then there are the multiple emails endorsing his chosen candidate, a former city council member with ties to the Republican Party.

Ford, also known for working more closely with Republicans than some Democrats found comfortable, should realize he can’t hand-pick a winner for the seat he left in disgrace. He’s had his chance in the Senate. Now he needs to get out of the way.

ENJOY THE BRIBE? Hope you enjoyed the 64-cent weekend bribe brought to you by the state of South Carolina.

Yes, we’re referring to the annual August sales tax holiday for qualified school purchases in which the state won’t collect its 6 percent sales tax over a long weekend. All totaled, South Carolina consumers were expected to save about $3 million, which averages to about 64 cents a person for the 4.7 million people who live in the Palmetto State. [Oddly, the state Department of Revenue doesn’t keep up with how much revenue is lost during the holiday, but estimates the savings for consumers based on research on retailers who sold school supplies.]

While people who spent a couple of hundred dollars on back-to-school stuff got $12 in savings, most people didn’t get anything because they don’t have kids in school or they didn’t use the opportunity to buy bedspreads and linens, both of which were exempt from tax over the weekend. Also exempt: clothing, shoes, pencils, paper, notebooks, bookbags, computers and printers. You can even avoid taxes on scarves, pillows, bandanas, bridal gowns, musical instruments and skin-diving suits.

What rankles about this holiday is that it is an out-and-out gimmick to make politicians look like they’re really doing something when they’re not. For most South Carolinians, it really doesn’t have a big impact for at least two reasons.

First, stores are frothing at the mouth at this time of the year with unbelievable deals that offer far more in savings than six cents on the dollar to get folks inside to buy pencils, clothes, backpacks and the like. The sales tax holiday is a “broadus,” or a little bit extra to use a Gullah word. It’s not the incentive for shopping.

Second, the tax holiday is nothing but a bribe that lawmakers use to make you think that they’re making the regressive sales tax a lot fairer. A smarter thing to do than having three days free of tax is to figure out ways (i.e., real sales tax reform by reducing the billions of dollars in exemptions) so that the overall rate can be lowered -- 365 days a year.

Grrrrr. We’ve been opposed to sales tax holidays for a long time because they’re bad policy. Lawmakers should do something big to fix taxes, not dole out crumbs.

HATS OFF to the S.C. Small Business Chamber and partners for a neat campaign to draw attention to the future impact of climate change.

Along the coast, small businesses are being asked to use blue tape to mark on their buildings where water would rise in 2100 in the event of a six-foot sea level rise. The project, called South Carolina Businesses Acting on Rising Seas, is an effort to protect the small business tourism industry from the coming impact of rising seas. Great way to visualize what could happen.

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


Informative column on poverty's assumptions

To the editor:

This was a very informative article and, yes, somewhat surprising.   I liked your questions and the last two paragraphs very much.  

Politicians want short-term solutions and there are none. We seem so short-sighted and put bandages on when social change is needed to look at the long term.

I would add to your list:  a stable population, no growth policy,  slow immigration to a halt.

-- Jan Harman O'Loughlin, 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!


Maybank Industries

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. This issue's featured underwriter is Maybank Industries, LLC of Charleston, S.C. With broad experience in commercial and government operations, Maybank Industries applies deep-rooted commitment to teamwork, reliability and personal service to provide innovative business solutions for project development, information technology, logistics, vessel design, vessel construction, shipping agency services and marine terminal operations, both locally and internationally. Maybank Industries applies a powerful blend of professional expertise to research, analyze and develop tailored solutions with thorough plans of action, combining a heavy dose of common sense to solve today's needs that can adapt to changing or evolving requirements.


Some more common myths of elder law and estate planning
By CATHERINE LAFOND, contributing editor
Special to Statehouse Report

AUG 5, 2013 -- Today let's look at some more common myths about elder law and estate planning:

Myth: If I have a Last Will and Testament (“will”), my estate will not have to be probated. 

I hear this at least once a week and it isn’t true, -- in South Carolina or anywhere that I know of. If you have probate assets (things that aren’t owned jointly with rights of survivorship or that don’t have designated beneficiaries like life insurance), the will will have to be probated.  The will, among other things, determines who receives these assets. It also allows you to appoint a personal representative to execute the directions in the will and can include testamentary trusts that puts restrictions on if or when a person can get the property. This is particularly useful when the recipient is a minor or a special needs person. 
Only if you have no probate assets or if your probate assets are all owned by a trust will you avoid probate.  That being said, South Carolina, unlike many states, does not have a very onerous probate process, the probate courts are very user-friendly and the fees are not cost-prohibitive for most estates. More: See SC Code 8-21-770(B).

Myth: My mother is in a nursing home and she has to exhaust her life savings before being able to qualify for Medicaid. 

In addition to being able to use some of the funds to purchase at least one automobile (maybe two) for transport, an irrevocable pre-paid funeral plan, burial plots for her family members, there are exempt transfers that can be made in specific circumstances and other planning techniques that can help preserve an average of half of her assets if she is single and up to 80 percent to 100 percent of the assets if she is married.   The Medicaid regulations are very complex. Consult with an experienced elder law attorney in your area before spending down all of the assets.

Myth: Medicare will cover my long-term care costs. 

Unfortunately, this is mostly incorrect.  Medicare will pay, in part, for up to 100 days of rehabilitation in a skilled nursing facility, but then only if you are transferred there after at least a three-day stay in the hospital.  After that, if you are not qualified for Medicaid, you will have to pay privately unless you have long-term care insurance (“LTCI”). 

If you do, indeed, have LTCI, check your policy to see, among other things, if there is a waiting period for receiving benefits, what the benefits cover (nursing home, at home care from someone other than a family member, etc.) and if there is a cap to how much it will pay on your behalf.   Nursing homes average $5,644/month in South Carolina. That can add up quickly.  If you do NOT have LTCI, please consider it immediately – the sooner the better!  I purchased a policy when I was 30 and the premiums are much more affordable than if I had waited until I was 42.  

Catherine LaFond, J.D., LL.M., of catherine e. lafond, p.a., is an elder law attorney accredited with the VA to assist veterans and their surviving spouses with the presentment of claims for Improved Pension and can be reached at info@lafondlaw.com or 843.762.3554. She is VA Accredited Attorney #19668.

CSO groups to commemorate March on Washington anniversary

The Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO) Gospel Choir and CSO Spiritual Ensemble will present a short performance of gospel and spiritual music featuring remarks by area clergy to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington and its supporters.

The event at 6 p.m. August 17 at Morris Street Baptist Church ( 25 Morris Street, Charleston) is free and open to the public

The March on Washington attracted an estimated 250,000 people to promote civil rights and economic equality for African-Americans culminating at the Lincoln Memorial for speeches, songs and prayer. Televised live to millions, the march most memorably featured Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Far larger than previous demonstrations for any cause, the march impacted the passage of civil rights legislation and nationwide public opinion.
Conducted by David A. Richardson, the CSO Gospel Choir is an 80-voice gospel group and the CSO Spiritual Ensemble is a 35-member all-volunteer vocal group focusing on African-American Spirituals. More information.
SCRA recognizes Greenberg as knowledge leader

SCRA presented its Knowledge Economist Emeritus Award July 30 to Dr. Ray Greenberg, the departing president of the Medical University of South Carolina.

"Dr. Greenberg has been a tremendous leader and supporter of the knowledge economy in South Carolina and a steady, positive influence on SCRA's board," said SCRA CEO Bill Mahoney. "During his tenure at MUSC, the campus has added new, innovative facilities and partnerships that increase research capabilities and opportunities. We are delighted to recognize Dr. Greenberg for his dedication and contributions to South Carolina."

The SCRA Knowledge Economist Award is presented to leaders whose efforts have advanced and strengthened the technology-based economy of South Carolina. The Knowledge Economist Emeritus Award was established as a special recognition presented to prior Knowledge Economist awardees. It recognizes individuals who have devoted a large part of their lives to building the S.C. technology community for the public good.
In his role as MUSC president, Greenberg has led the university through expansions to the campus and numerous partnerships that have brought innovation and opportunity to the knowledge economy of South Carolina," SCRA said in a news release. A considerable initiative during Greenberg's leadership was the joining of the state's three research universities and four largest teaching hospitals to form Health Sciences South Carolina, a collaboration to improve health, advance research and further economic development in the state.
Landshark alert

Be on the lookout for special packaging from Landshark Lager that allows you to create a summer T-shirt using nothing but an old (or new) T-shirt, a hot iron and packaging from Landshark Lager.

Through the end of the month, local stores offering the beer in 12-pack cartons for bottles and beer include an iron-on transfer on the box that will allow you make a neat T-shirt. Just cut out the transfer, place it on a shirt and iron it on. (We tried it and it worked moderately well. Advice: Make sure you keep the cardboard in the same place (tape?) and make sure you iron a lot on the edges to get a crisp image.)

The company also is offering three limited-edition cans highlighting the Zac Brown Band. By “blipping” the Landshark can using the blippar app on a mobile device, fans will get the exclusive behind-the-scenes content from the band all summer long.
The band, sponsored in part by Landshark Lager, will be in the Lowcountry on Oct. 19 and 20 for the 2013 Southern Ground Music and Food Festival, which will be at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island.
More info.


Send your review, recommendation

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


Samuel Gaillard Stoney

Samuel Gaillard Stoney is considered by many to be the quintessential Charlestonian. Born in Charleston on Aug. 29, 1891, son of the planter Samuel Stoney Sr., and Louisa Cheves Smythe, he was descended on his mother’s side from the antebellum writer Louisa McCord and was also related to the writer John Bennett and the preservation architect Albert Simons.

After graduating from the College of Charleston, he saw service on the Mexican border. And although he was also an officer in the 318th Field Artillery, 81st Division in France, he never saw combat. A degree in architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology led to work in Atlanta and New York, where his charm and knowledge brought him into contact with artists and scholars. His interest in Gullah enabled him to serve as a dialogue coach for actors in Porgy and so piqued the interest of the author Gertrude Mathews Shelby that she convinced Stoney to coauthor two books with her: a collection of creation tales told in Gullah, Black Genesis (1930); and a novel on the tragedy of miscegenation, Po’ Buckra (1930).

In 1933 at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, Stoney met and married the New England poet (and later novelist) Frances Frost. They moved to Charleston, and the marriage ended in divorce. Stoney then began a frank love affair with his native city. President of the South Carolina Historical Society, the Preservation Society, Historic Charleston Foundation, the Huguenot Society, and other organizations, Stoney helped document the city’s past while fighting to save much of its architecture. His stubborn stands gained him both detractors and devotees. Living simply, he became a familiar sight on Charleston’s streets, where he was known as much for his sandals and shirtsleeves as his curiosity, knowledge, and wit.

He was a frequent and popular speaker on numerous topics, all colored with his affection for his city. He wrote the text to accompany Bayard Wootten’s book of photographs, Charleston: Azaleas and Old Brick (1937), and contributed substantially to seminal works on area architecture: Plantations of the Carolina Low Country (1938) and This Is Charleston (1944), an architectural survey that has been key to the preservation of the physical city. Minor works include The Story of South Carolina’s Senior Bank: The Bank of Charleston and The Dulles Family in South Carolina (both published in 1955).

As author of numerous historical articles, aide to scholars, and contributor to the intellectual life of the city, Stoney built a scholarly foundation for the documentation and study of Charleston, which, in turn, treated him as a favorite son. In May 1968 he was awarded a doctor of letters from the College of Charleston, where he had lectured from 1949 to 1966. He died at his own hand on July 30, 1968. His death, the News and Courier noted, “removes a Charleston landmark as real as the architectural treasures he spent his life fighting to preserve.” He was buried at St. James Goose Creek Episcopal Church, which he had served as senior (and sole) warden for 40 years.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Harlan Greene. 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.)


Students, faculty offer "Triptychs" exhibit

Kaitlyn Hege, a bachelor's degree student at the Art Institute of Charleston, offers this "triptych" of boxing photos now on exhibit at the Institute. Students and faculty from the Photographic Imaging department of the Institute in the exhibit show how three photographs work together to create one visual impression. The exhibition will last through August 31 at the Gallery at the Art Institute of Charleston, 24 North Market St., Charleston. It's free. More info.

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 photos: If you want to see a neat photo of the rural South, sign up to receive photo emails at: www.SouthernCrescent.org. And tell your friends too!


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Three to join local Hall of Fame

Charleston baseball fans elected three local players to join the Charleston Baseball Hall of Fame. They'll be inducted Friday at the Joe Riley Stadium before the 7:05 p.m. game between the RiverDogs and Rome Braves. Those to join the Hall of Fame are:

Steven Jackson, a Summerville pitcher who played at Clemson for four seasons (2001-04) before a professional career with several professional organizations.

Drew Meyer, a Bishop England High graduate who was a 2002 All-American at South Carolina before beginning a nine-year professional career.

Britt Reames of Hanahan, a hard-throwing right-hander at The Citadel with several school records. He played professionally for six seasons.

More: Charleston RiverDogs.



"Good manners and bad breath will get you nowhere."

-- Elvis Costello



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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.

Chamber legislative reception: 6 p.m., Aug. 6, Founders Hall, Charles Towne Landing, Charleston. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce will have its annual Legislative Appreciation Reception to celebrate legislative wins in the area. State Rep. Jim Merrill, R-Daniel Island, will receive a leadership award. More.

Make a sweetgrass basket: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m., Aug. 10, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St., Charleston. You can learn to make a traditional sweetgrass basket with Sara Edwards-Hammond in this four-hours workshop. No experience required for this program for adults. $40 for members; $45 for non-members. Advance registration is required by going online or by calling 843.722.2996, ext. 235.

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) Ballpark Festival of Beers: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Aug. 17, Joe Riley Park, Charleston. More than 100 varieties of beers and food from local food trucks will satisfy attendees to this 11th annual event. The first 2,500 people will get a commemorative sampling glass and sampling tickets for 5-ounce tastes of their favorite beers. Music by Blue Plantation Band and Weigh Station. More info.

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.

(NEW) OPEN Arts Expo: Noon to 4 p.m., Sept. 8, Cistern Yard, College of Charleston, Charleston. The Charleston Regional Alliance for the Arts and College of Charleston School of the Arts will host this fourth-annual event that's a sneak peak of what's to come from more than 35 local arts organizations. 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.


9/30: McCarter: Safe water
Diebolt: One Book program
Mercer: Civil War photos
30th MOJA Festival soon
Scharstein: Free autism forum

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


9/3: Assault on Fort Sumter
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


9/30: On Henry Martyn Robert
New American inspire
10 years later: Letter
Welfare today
End legislative delegations

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


7/15: Childrens' museums
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


9/9: Fall allergy tips
Best new restaurants

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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