5.41 | Monday, Aug. 12, 2013
Gardens used as nighttime bat laboratory
AUG. 12, 2013 -- With a high-tech detector atop a make-shift pole, Auburn University graduate student Lydia Moore spends quiet hours near water from sundown to sunrise listening for the call of the bats.
to know if bats behave differently over the water than over land. Very
little research has been done on activity of bats in the lower coastal
plain of South Carolina, said Moore, a Charleston resident. "We really
don't know how they are using these habitats."
of her master's thesis, Moore said she is observing "how bats use
wetland habitat to determine if there is a difference in activity over
fresh water, salt water and brackish water and within each of these habitats
whether vegetation or lack of vegetation affects activity." At each
site, she also traps insects periodically to measure their number and
on "An Ordinary Summer" delight
AUG. 12, 2013 -- Every now and then, some good writing hits you at exactly the right moment.
So it was recently with a collection of reflections by the Rev. Callie Walpole, archdeacon of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina. In the 40-page booklet "An Ordinary Summer," the John's Island native reflects things we see every day in the Lowcountry -- walls, joggling boards, bricks and buzzards.
In an essay on tidal pools, Walpole marvels at how the zone between the sea and land is the richest ecosystem on the planet:
Now broaden her theme to change-resistant South Carolina, which eventually, grudgingly and stubbornly embraced what become the norm much earlier in other places -- suffrage for women, integration and civil rights. See any parallels to more recent debates on Obamacare or comprehensive tax reform or tougher environmental standards?
Writes Walpole, also vicar of Grace Episcopal Church in Charleston, "The alternative to a tide pool is a bucket of water -- stagnant water, which goes nowhere, serving as breeding ground for mosquitoes which can threaten to suck the very lifeblood out of us. So which is preferable? Stagnation and ultimately destruction, decay and death, or movement -- the life force of pools created by tides, the place where life began and is and ever shall be -- the place wherein the juices of our own beings may now be found after lo, these many years -- commingling in ever-shifting sands and marvelously muddy waters."
In an essay on sweetgrass used by basket makers to create works of art and utility, Walpole writes of a project that once sought to grow more sweetgrass away from the harsh, sandy soil along the coast where plants are exposed to heat, wind and salt spray. Workers rooted plants in rich soil, out of the wind and salt, but what developed were weak plants with blades that broke too easily for the basket makers.
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NOW IS NOT THE TIME for South Carolina to turn to North Carolina for how things should be. As I wrote Friday in Statehouse Report, it took North Carolina just one legislative session to do the kind of damage to state government that took South Carolina lawmakers about 20 years to achieve.
Republicans took over the North Carolina General Assembly in 2010, but had to wait until the state had a Republican governor to avoid Democratic vetoes of legislation intended to erase the progress for which the Tarheel state has long been proud.
In one legislative session, North Carolina lawmakers rolled back an impressive -- and scary -- set of laws. They made it tougher for people to vote by requiring photo identification at the polls. They allowed guns to be taken into bars and onto playgrounds. They imposed tougher restrictions on abortion, which is causing some clinics to close. They cut taxes across the board, which caused $600 million less in education and other funding. They cut teacher pay raises. They relaxed environmental laws, required drug testing for some welfare recipients and increased the allure of special interest money.
But what's worrying about what's been going on in the Tarheel State is the possibility that South Carolina Republicans will become roosters with new confidence to push things that passed in North Carolina that still haven't passed here -- more abortion restrictions, guns in bars, more education cuts, laxer environmental laws and more.
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Angel of Death
Unable to capture Battery Wagner on Morris Island, the Union army was still at least five miles from the city of Charleston, a distance too far for conventional guns. General Quincy Gillmore felt that if he could shell Charleston, he would weaken the resolve of the Confederates and cause the surrender of the city.
Gillmore asked Colonel Edward Serrell of the 1st New York Engineers to find him a spot between Morris Island and James Island to build a battery to reach Charleston. The only thing between Morris Island and James Island was marsh and mud. In fact, the mud was over 12 feet deep in most places.
After 17 days of testing and planning, Serrell finally had a location and a design for the battery that General Gillmore would approve. His plan was to build a parapet of logs and sandbags to surround the gun platform. The gun platform would essentially "float" on this parapet.
To build the parapet, soldiers had to carry more than 13,000 sandbags, weighing over 800 tons across a wooden plank causeway that was two feet wide and 1,700 feet long. To confuse the Confederate troops on James Island, Serrell also built a fake battery just south of this location. The gun platform was going to have to support 24,000 pounds of gun and carriage. Once completed, the platform took 20,000 feet of wooden planking cut from the pine forest on Folly Island, 600 pounds of iron spikes, and the equivalent 10,000 man days of labor. One Union soldier remarked, "We're building a pulpit on which a Swamp Angel will preach." The name "Swamp Angel" stuck, but this was meant to be an angel of death for those in Charleston.
With the battery ready, the soldiers first moved the 8,000-pound gun carriage through the marsh to the site. The gun was huge-an 8-inch Parrot gun weighing 16,300 pounds. It took all night to float the gun by boat to the site and another four days to mount the gun. Shells, powder, and primers were delivered, while Union Captain Nathaniel Edwards took compass reading on St. Michael's steeple. The gun was elevated to an angle never before used for the large 150-pound shells fired by the Parrott gun.
At 1:30 a.m. on August 22, the Swamp Angel sent its first shot shrieking into the city. That night, a total of sixteen shells were fired into Charleston. Ten of the shells were laced with "greek fire," an incendiary chemical that was an early form of napalm. Panic was widespread in Charleston. The residents could not fathom how the Union army could reach Charleston.
The shelling of Charleston resumed on the evening of August 23. A hairline crack developed in the Swamp Angel, a trait that was characteristic of the larger Parrott guns. Not wanting to slow the shelling, two lanyards were tied together on the gun. As each shot was readied, the men moved outside the battery before firing in case the gun did explode. Finally, on the 13th shot of that evening, the 36th shot to be fired on Charleston from the Swamp Angel, the angel of death met her own demise. The gun's barrel could no longer contain the force of the 150-pound shell and it burst.
Though the short duration of the firing from the Swamp Angel did little to affect the siege of Charleston, its accomplishments were far-reaching. The Swamp Angel firings were the first recorded firing of artillery shells using compass readings. The shells fired by the Parrott gun traveled farther than any previous artillery fire in history. Many engineers and historians believe that the Swamp Angel was the most significant engineering accomplishment of the war.
The horror of shelling civilians only strengthened the resolve of the Confederates and the citizens of Charleston. Today, the Swamp Angel platform still stands in the marsh between Morris Island and James Island with a small marker bearing witness to the location. The SC Battleground Preservation Trust protects the site. The gun itself was transported to Trenton, N.J., and is on display as a Civil War relic.
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.
County marks 30 years of 9-1-1 service
County yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of its first 9-1-1 call.
After signing a contract with AT&T in November 1981, Charleston County
embarked on a two-year preparation period to convert Rural Route Numbers
to physical street addresses as well as name all unnamed streets in the
county to build the 9-1-1 database. The database enables the 9-1-1 centers
to identify the physical address of the caller by what is known as an
enhanced 9-1-1 system.
the groundwork was laid, the mapping system in place and the database
complete, the first Enhanced 9-1-1 call in all of South Carolina, North
Carolina and Georgia was made in Charleston County on August 11, 1983.
Hoskins, a 9-1-1 call taker and dispatcher for the last 28 years, said
the growth of the system was like watching someone building a house: "First
you see the foundation being laid and before you know it, more and more
rooms are being added," she said in a release. " "First,
the technology was just buttons and push to talk and as the years progressed,
you have a completely computer driven system where security is of the
County Consolidated 9-1-1 Center began operations at the Lonnie Hamilton
Public Services Building in January of 2009. The Consolidated 9-1-1 Center
moved from that building to a newly constructed 38,000-square-foot facility
on March 5, 2013. The new facility houses the Consolidated 9-1-1 Center
and Emergency Operations Center at a cost of $27 million to construct.
The Consolidated 9-1-1 Center staffs 24 telecommunicators and supervisors
per shift to provide their internationally accredited service to the public,
law enforcement officials, firefighters and emergency medical services
will occur in January 2014 when the City of Charleston Police transition
to the Consolidated 9-1-1 Center. Using the latest 9-1-1 technology and
information sharing tools, the Consolidated 9-1-1 Center will process
over 1.3 million calls a year with an operating budget of approximately
$12 million to support a staff of 150 Consolidated 9-1-1 Center employees.
Citadel gets $1.2 million NSF grant for STEM scholarships
The Citadel has been awarded a $1.2 million grant over five years from the National Science Foundation to fund scholarships to encourage talented students and professionals in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to become K-12 math and science teachers.
The grant will provide money to allow The Citadel to recruit and prepare up to 30 new teachers in math and science for high-need schools in the Palmetto State during the next five years, according to a press release.
"Encouraging students to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, known collectively as the STEM disciplines, is critically important to the economic advancement of the region and the nation," said Col. Lok Lew Yan Voon, dean of The Citadel School of Science and Mathematics. "The Robert Noyce Teaching scholarship grant will significantly enhance The Citadel's ability to produce a talented pool of passionate and highly qualified STEM teachers for the Lowcountry."
Remember to vote Tuesday
If you live in state Senate District 42, you can vote in the Democratic primary for six candidates seeking to replace former Sen. Robert Ford, who resigned earlier this year amid health and ethics concerns. District 42 includes parts of Charleston, the "Charleston Neck" and North Charleston. Click here to see precincts and polling places.
Those on the ballot Tuesday are, in alphabetical order: Emmanuel Ferguson, Herbert S. Fielding, Marlon Kimpson, Margaret Rush, Bob Thompson and Maurice Washington.
Polls open at 7 a.m. and close 12 hours later. If you plan to vote, take a photo identification card, such as a driver's license. Sample ballot.
If a runoff
is needed, it will be held August 27. The general election will be October
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Pisé de terre
Pisé de terre, or "rammed earth," is an ancient form of building construction. Clay is the basic material in rammed earth buildings. After a foundation of brick or stone is laid, clay is poured into wooden molds and then tamped until solid. Additional layers are added until the walls reach the desired height, and the finished walls are coated with stucco.
In the mid-nineteenth century, Dr. William W. Anderson, a Maryland native who settled in Stateburg in 1810, used it to create two of South Carolina's most distinctive works of architecture: the Borough House and the Church of the Holy Cross. He was influenced by S. W. Johnson, who introduced methods of rammed earth construction to America through his book Rural Economy (1806). In 1821, Anderson used the technique to rebuild the wings of the Borough House, the main building at his Hill Crest Plantation, and several outbuildings.
Anderson persuaded the Episcopal congregation of Stateburg to use pisé
de terre in constructing the Church of the Holy Cross (above, at right),
a Gothic-revival structure designed by the Charleston architect Edward
C. Jones. The Borough House and its outbuildings constitute the largest
complex of pisé de terre buildings in the United States. The U.S.
Department of the Interior designated the Church of the Holy Cross and
the Borough House as National Historic Landmarks in 1973 and 1978, respectively.
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Free computer classes
Trident Technical College offers several free computer classes through its continuing education program Programs are held weekdays at TTC's St. Paul's Parish Site from 5:45 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:15 a.m. to noon. You don't have to pre-register. Among the classes:
Here's a legendary
insult by playwright George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill, and the
zinger that the latter responded:
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(NEW) Shagging on the Cooper: 7 p.m., Aug. 17, and Sept. 7, Mount Pleasant Pier. You can tell summer is coming to a close when there are only two chances to enjoy live music on Mount Pleasant Pier. Palmetto Soul will play on Aug. 17; Coastal Breeze Band will perform at the last event. Costs are $8 for Charleston County residents. More.
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) Be Brave Bash: 6 p.m., Aug. 26, Alhambra Hall, Mount Pleasant. The Center for Women will have its second celebration of Women's Equality Day, which commemorates the day in 1920 (Aug. 26) when voting rights for women officially became a part of the U.S. Constitution. At this fundraiser, the Center will offer great food and an open wine bar, as well as an interactive art collage, photo booth, live music and more. Tickets start at $25. More.
signing: 5 p.m., Aug. 30, Le Creuset store, 241 King St., Charleston.
Acclaimed Chef Edward Lee, a Louisville, Ky., resident who won Iron Chef
America, will sign his new book "Smoke & Pickles"). The
day before, he will conduct a 6 p.m. cooking demonstration at Le Creuset
Atelier at Ripley Point. Tickets are limited. More.
(NEW) Moonlight Mixers: 7 p.m., Aug. 30, and Sept. 20, Folly Beach Fishing Pier. DJ Jim Bowers will keep your feet moving with oldies and beach music during the summer's last two mixer events. Costs are $8 for Charleston County residents. More.
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
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.
on Fort Sumter
on estates, wills