5.45 | Monday, Sept. 9, 2013
MOJA Arts Festival gears up September 26 for 11 days
SEPT. 9, 2013 -- For 11 days starting later this month, Charleston will be home to a vibrant arts festival that offers a variety of fun things to do, but often is overshadowed by the spring's Spoleto Festival USA and its companion, Piccolo Spoleto.
So just look at all you can do in the Holy City starting Sept. 26:
And look what's free this year:
The festival's 2013 poster image is "Harvesting Sweetgrass" by the late Charleston artist Charles DeSaussure. There will be a memorial exhibition, Through My Eyes, to celebrate and honor his art at a memorial exhibition at The Art Institute of Charleston with an opening reception at 5 p.m. October 3.
welfare system: Not what you think it may be
SEPT. 9, 2013 -- So here's a regular guy in the street question: How many people in South Carolina get welfare -- cash payments to help them make it through rough times?
A hundred thousand? Two hundred thousand? More than 874,000 -- the number of people who live in poverty in the Palmetto State?
How about 34,355 people, which includes 25,330 children? That's how many people in July 2013 received old-fashioned welfare in our state, which has the nation's third highest rate of poverty. Any suggestion of hundreds of thousands of people on the government dole buying Cadillacs is as much of a myth as the man in the moon.
In the mid-1990s, President Bill Clinton promised to end "welfare as we know it," and he did. Yep, a Democrat. He worked with Congress to make program changes so that welfare had a five-year lifetime limit and restrictions that the longest continuing time someone could get help was 24 months in a row.
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, some 49,800 of 118,700 South Carolina families (42 percent) in poverty received welfare payments in 1994-1995. Sixteen years later, the percentage dropped to 15 percent (19,800 families out of 135,000).
Those families receiving help aren't on easy street. "The monthly grant for a family of three was $216 in July 2012, 26 percent less than in 1996 after adjusting for inflation," the Center said.
Can your family live on that?
Even if someone in your family works part-time, you can't make too much money or you won't qualify for the temporary help. According to state Department of Social Services spokesman Marilyn Matheus, several factors determine whether a family is eligible. "For a general, ballpark estimate, the monthly income limit for a family of three would be $795 in order to qualify," she said.
That would bring the family of three's total income to no more than $1,011 per month to pay bills, buy clothes and survive.
Welfare, known today as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, "is hard to qualify for," said another DSS spokesman, Kathleen Goetzman.
Not only do you have to meet income limits, but you have to "participate in work activities," such as trying to find work or participating in training or educational programs that lead to work. If you are a single woman with a child, you have to work with DSS to find the deadbeat dad to try to establish paternity to collect child support.
Despite the myth that the state is teeming with welfare queens, it's just not true. In July, for example, the state spent just $2,568,072 in cash support payments, which works out to an average of $74.75 per person (which is very close to the $216 listed above by the Center.)
One former DSS official went as far as to say that South Carolina really didn't have a safety net for the needy these days.
State Sen. Brad Hutto, an Orangeburg Democrat, put it this way: "We still have the issue of what do you do to assist the needy among us? Until we can get everyone properly trained, we have moral obligations to take care of people in our society. This notion that we are busting at the seams with government programs is not really happening."
While changes to the traditional welfare program cause fewer people to get help, many who are poor rely on food stamps to get money for food. During the Great Recession, the number of South Carolinians on food stamps jumped dramatically, from 605,852 people who split $60.9 million in July 2008 -- an average of just over $100 per person -- to 873,808 people in July 2013 who split $115,416,870, or an average of $132 per person.
Translation: A three-person family gets about $400 more to buy food.
And that's led to a new myth -- that thousands of people are using food stamps to eat lobster.
"I don't see anybody doing that," said Hutto, who should know. His home county has 24.5 percent of people in poverty.
As a society, we've got to do more to help, as the Bible says, "the least of these." To continue to ignore our poverty problem is immoral.
The arrogance of legislators
To the editor:
The arrogance to the logic [outlined in your 9/3 column] is so striking when at the state level legislators are diminishing state government almost to the point of being nonfunctional - while on the other hand, they are seeking to control local decision making and local authority.
We will pay a high price in future years when we are forced to catch up in so many essential areas and functions such as health and education because of rollbacks and cuts today in the ability of state government to function, be proactive and forward-thinking. They need to do the jobs that they were elected to do and start thinking about providing a platform on which we can grow and fulfill basic needs.
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 Carolinas 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.
amphibious assault on Fort Sumter
Unable to capture Battery Wagner by assault, the Union army spent much of August 1863 digging zigzag trenches to approach the Confederate stronghold. By September, these trenches were dangerously close to Battery Wagner, and General Beauregard was fearful of losing his troops there and at Battery Gregg. On the night of September 6, the Confederate troops evacuated Morris Island by boat. The Confederates at Battery Wagner defiantly held their position for 58 days, facing a Union army more than ten times their number and a fleet of armored vessels. At 5:10 am, Gillmore signaled to Dahlgren, "The whole island is ours, but the enemy have escaped us."
At Fort Sumter, with no large guns operational, the fort was nothing more than an infantry outpost. Colonel Rhett was transferred to command inner harbor fortifications and Beauregard placed Major Stephen Elliott in command at Fort Sumter notifying him:
Fresh troops, 320 in number, were rotated to Fort Sumter. Understanding that he may soon face an amphibious assault on the fort, Elliott obtained a supply of hand grenades and fireballs for his defense. He also placed wire and other obstructions at the tops of his crumbled walls to help thwart any attempt to cross over.
With no operable guns, Dahlgren demanded that Elliott (pictured at right) surrender Fort Sumter, to which he responded, "Inform Admiral Dahlgren that he may have Fort Sumter when he can take it and hold it." Accepting the challenge, Dahlgren planned an amphibious assault. He assigned Commander T. H. Stevens to lead the attack, telling him, "There is nothing but a corporal guard at the fort and all we have to do is go in and take it."
The relationship between the Union army and navy was never a great one as jealousies and egos collided, and by September 1863, the relationship between Gillmore and Dahlgren was at a breaking point. Both Gillmore and Dahlgren planned amphibious assaults on Fort Sumter. Gillmore proposed that they collaborate but under army command. After Dahlgren refused, Gillmore withdrew his support and participation for a joint assault and planned his own assault.
On the night of September 8, 500 Union sailors and marines boarded small boats and were towed to within 400 yards of Fort Sumter. From there they rowed to the fort for the assault. Elliott and 300 troops from the Charleston Battalion watched as the assault group neared. As the Union assault neared the southeastern and southern faces of the fort, they were expecting nothing more than token resistance.
Elliott ordered his men to hold fire until the Union force was within yards of the fort. They then greeted the sailors and marines with a barrage of musket fire, hand grenades and fireballs. The Confederate gunboat Chicora, positioned nearby, opened fire on the Union attackers, as did the guns at Fort Moultrie and Fort Johnson. Taking on intense fire, the supporting Union ships withdrew, abandoning the sailors and marines on the rocks at the fort. That night 124 of Dahlgren's men were killed, wounded or captured and four boats were lost. Gilmore's men never arrived at Fort Sumter. The low tide on the night of the 8th kept them detained at Morris Island. Clearly, they had miscalculated both the ability and the determination of the small Confederate garrison at Fort Sumter.
In the rest of September, the Union batteries and gunboats gave Fort Sumter scant attention. Dahlgren was leery of attempting another ironclad attack knowing that the firepower at Fort Moultrie had been increased. Gillmore concentrated on rebuilding and arming the captured Confederate positions at Battery Wagner and Battery Gregg. Gillmore continued to build his army, accumulating 22,000 troops on Morris, Folly and Kiawah Islands by the end of September 1863.
City's golf course may get irrigation improvements
To get in a full 18 holes of golf at the City of Charleston Municipal Golf Course, you may soon have to play nine holes twice thanks to improvements likely to come soon.
City Council will consider a bid on September 10 of about $600,000 to replace the course's 27-year-old irrigation system that leaks and for which some parts are no longer manufactured. If the contract is approved, work on the system could begin in early November and finished by the spring.
"The new system will require substantially less maintenance, reduce repair costs, increase water conservation, provide better control of areas to be irrigated and improve golfers' safety," according to a news release. "The new system will tie into a pump station that was replaced three years ago." Council will consider two optional upgrades for the $598,730 contract: $9,500 for a weather station to maximize water system efficiency, and $27,025 for a lightning alert system to warn golfers of weather hazards.
The construction requires closing nine holes of the course at a time so the system can be installed, tested and repairs to the turf can be made. Golfers will be able to play 18 holes during the construction by playing the same nine holes twice. When the work begins, the front nine holes, driving range and putting green will be closed to the public for about 10 weeks. When the work is complete on the front of the course, the front nine holes, driving range and putting green will open to the public and the back nine holes will close until construction is complete.
City's first craft distillery to open Sept. 12 for tours, tastings
Distilling, downtown Charleston's first artisanal, craft distillery, will
open its doors September 12 with limited access tours and tastings.
Thursday through Saturday every hour on the hour from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.,
tours are limited to 25 people and reservations are recommended. Reservations
may be made by calling 843-755-4664. Tasting tours cost $8 per person
for guests 21 and older. Each will receive three half-ounce samples. Anyone
can take the non-tasting tour for $5.
Distilling Company is makes premium, handcrafted, small batch spirits
including gins, rums, whiskeys and vodkas using premium, specialized ingredients.
All of its products are batch distilled in a hand-hammered, German copper
still. The company's location is as unique as the spirits-a rustic 6,000
square foot warehouse located on Upper King Street next to Butcher &
Assignment: Make a movie at the state fair in just 2 days
The 48-Hour Film Blitz is a new all-access pass for South Carolina filmmakers to participate in a 48-hour contest to write, shoot and edit a movie imagined and produced entirely on the S.C. State Fairgrounds.
Starting at 5 p.m. Oct. 11, each of up to 10 teams will select a film genre, props, and fairground locations at random in a drawing, then be set free to write, produce and shoot a movie. The S.C. State Fair will provide overnight facilities for Friday and Saturday nights and workstations for dumping and editing footage, and accessing the Internet.
Finished films will be submitted by 5 p.m. on October 13. Films will then be played throughout the week at the From Field to Fair exhibition in the Cantey Building.
A panel of three judges will select a film to be awarded a $500 prize. Additionally, Columbia's WLTX will shoot live stories on the making of the Film Blitz films, streaming their daily footage of the process online. All submitted films will stream through the fair on the website of Columbia's WLTX for a special people's choice award of $500.
A final screening and awards ceremony will be held 7 p.m. Oct. 20 in the Rosewood at the closing of the 2013 S.C. State Fair. Filmmakers along with friends and family will enjoy a reception prior to the final screening at 6pm in the Rosewood Building.
The first 10 teams of no more than six people per team will be able to participate. Register by October 4. There's a $100 registration fee.
The Aiken-Rhett House, located in a block-long lot at 48 Elizabeth Street, is one of the most historically significant properties in Charleston. The house and its outbuildings are one of the most complete and best preserved urban domestic complexes of the antebellum era.
John Robinson, a wealthy merchant, began construction of the house in the suburb of Wraggborough around 1818. By the early 1830s, the house and lot had become the property of William Aiken, Jr., a congressman, governor, and one of the wealthiest planters in South Carolina.
Aiken dramatically altered the property, moving the entrance from Judith Street to Elizabeth Street, adding an eastern wing, enlarging the kitchen and slave quarters, and building a chicken coop, cowshed, and privies. In the 1850s he renovated these structures and added a northwest wing to house his art collection. With the exception of the cowshed, all of these additions and outbuildings have not only survived but also have remained largely unaltered since the 1850s.
Following the death of Aiken and his wife, the property was inherited by his daughter and her family, the Rhetts. In 1975, descendants transferred the site to the Charleston Museum, which operated it as a museum and planned to restore the house to its antebellum splendor.
Twenty years later, however, the museum sold the site to Historic Charleston Foundation (HCF) for $600,000. The building's unrestored and unaltered condition attracted HCF, which saw in it a unique opportunity to understand and present antebellum urban life and the African American heritage of Charleston to the public. The foundation has no plans to restore or furnish the Aiken-Rhett House complex and instead invites visitors to "marvel at what survives from the ninetieth century rather than search for what is missing."
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How to breathe a little easier
With pollen, not love, in the air as we move towards fall, the allergy season is, umm, back in full bloom. Here's a list of five thinks you can do around your house to breathe a little easier, thanks to Bob Cunningham, owner of Merry Maids of Charleston:
"Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor."
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Boldorini concert: 4:30 p.m., Sept. 9, Bishop Gadsden Chapel, James Island. Raquel Boldorini, one of South America's most renowned pianists, will perform a free concert including music by Clementi, Schumann, Dubussy and Villa-Lobos. Earlier in the day, she will offer a master class at Charleston Academy of Music. More.
Tees & Turtles: 11 a.m. shotgun start, Sept. 10, Daniel Island Country Club. This second annual golf tournament will benefit the S.C. Aquarium's Sea Turtle Rescue Program, which aids threatened and endangered turtles. More.
Positively Paisley: Sept. 11, 2013, to Jan. 5, 2014, Charleston Museum, Charleston. A special exhibit in the Textiles Gallery will feature woven and embroidered shawls from the early 19th century through groovy styles of the 1980s. A curator-led tour will be 10:30 a.m. Sept. 13. More info.
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
(NEW) Citizenship ceremony: 10:30 a.m., Sept. 17, Charles Pinckney National Historic Site, Mount Pleasant. The National Park Service and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service will hold the 16th annual naturalization ceremony for up to 125 new citizens on the grounds of Snee Farm, home of Charles Pinckney, one of the signers of the U.S. Constitution. Seating is limited. Bring chairs or blankets.
Lowcountry rice: The Charleston County Public Library will offer four programs at county libraries in September that offer 10 things everyone should know about Lowcountry rice. Dates and locations: 6 p.m., Sept. 19, John's Island Regional Library; 6 p.m., Sept. 23, Otranto Road Regional Library 6 p.m., Sept. 26, Main Library; 1 p.m., Sept. 28, Mount Pleasant Regional Library.
Moonlight Mixer: 7 p.m., 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.
9 to 5: Through Sept. 21, Dock Street Theatre, Charleston. Charleston Stage kicks off its 36th season with "9 to 5: The Musical," one of Broadway's most outrageous comedies. For tickets, prices and times, click here.
(NEW) Rhythm and Brewfest: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sept. 21, Awendaw Green, Sewee Outpost, 4853 U.S. Highway 17 North. Awendaw Green will present the event to celebrate the area's beer culture and diverse original music. Music by Merri Creek Pickers, The Bent Strings, Simple Syrup with Doug Jones and Charles Hedgepath, The Train Wrecks , and Flatt City. Beer by Holy City, Coast, Palmetto and Westbrook breweries. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. More.
(NEW) Jobim's music: 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., Sept. 21, Charleston Music Hall, 37 John Street, Charleston. Charleston Jazz Orchestra will swing into the fall season with a tribute to Bossa Nova music and composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Tickets are $30 to $40, which discounts for seniors and students. More information.
Carolina Green Fair: Noon to 6 p.m., Sept. 22, James Island County Park. The fair will highlight conservation education through fun and inventive demonstrations, interactive play, music and experts. Enjoy beer, food and music. No coolers, outside food or beverages. More.
plays: 6 p.m. Tuesdays for six weeks starting Sept. 24, Charleston
Library Society, 164 King Street, Charleston. Retired College of Charleston
English Prof. Nan Morrison will explore Shakespeare's The Merchant of
Venice, Measure for Measure, and Troilus and Cressida on six successive
Tuesdays. The plays have frustrated critics because they're not easily
classified and dramatize challenging ethical questions. Cost: $200 for
members; $250 for non-members. Click
here to register and learn more.
Fraser lecture: 6:30 p.m., Sept. 26, Room 165, Bond Hall, The Citadel, Charleston. Renowned textile artist Mary Edna Fraser will discuss her batiks, some of the largest in the world, followed by a book signing and reception in the Daniel Library. The library is displaying some of her large-scale batiks through Oct. 26.
(NEW) Photo walks: Two times, Oct. 5. Photographer Chuck Boyd will lead photo walks in Charleston (9 a.m., Pineapple Fountain, Waterfront Park) and Mount Pleasant (4:30 p.m., Shem Creek Park) as part of Worldwide Photo Walk, which last year involved 30,000 photographers in 1,300 cities. To participate, you have to sign up on the Kelby photo walk Web site.
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.
and your future