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ANNIE. First Baptist School fourth-grader Madelyn Anderson stars as Annie with local 6-year-old goldendoodle Buddy in the award-winning musical that opens December 4 at the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston. Charleston Stage presents 12 shows through December 22 with Broadway actor Joel Robertson starting as "Daddy" Warbucks. For ticket and times, click here. Photo courtesy of Charleston Stage.
Issue 6.04 | Monday, Nov. 25, 2013
Brrrr ... break out the long johns

FOCUS New Carolina-Clemson rivalry
BRACK Just enforce law on robocalls
GOOD NEWS deepsouth film, ACA help, more
REVIEW 100 Things SC fans should ...
HISTORY Camden, S.C.
SPOTLIGHT Morris Financial Services, Inc.
FEEDBACK Send us your letters
BROADUS 36 hours in Charleston
THE LIST Tips to save energy
QUOTE On happiness
CALENDAR This week ... and next

A new Carolina-Clemson competition: Books for kids
Student body presidents of the University of South Carolina and Clemson University
For Charleston Currents

NOV. 25, 2013 -- This weekend's Carolina-Clemson game comes right on the heels of Thanksgiving, and the passion of that rivalry creates a great opportunity for us to impact our state. If you believe in the importance of child literacy, we ask you to support My First Library, a Tigers-Gamecocks competition that will provide books to some our state's most challenged children.

We lead the student bodies at Clemson University and the University of South Carolina. We are thankful to have had great support growing up, but not everyone is so fortunate.

Early reading can dramatically change a child's future. In fact the availability of reading material in a home is a strong predictor of academic and socioeconomic achievement. Yet, one study found that 61 percent of low-income families across the country have no children's books within their home. The probability that a child will remain a poor reader at the end of the fourth grade if the child is a poor reader at the end of first grade is almost 90 percent.

Dr. Rose Wilder, S.C. Superintendent of the Year and leader of Clarendon School District One, says many of her children enter school never having seen a book before. Another superintendent tells the heartbreaking story of trying to engage a five-year-old student with a book. The child could not recognize words or letters when asked. The superintendent finally realized the child knew nothing about reading at all - the child was trying to read the white space on the page, not the black letters.

Now, our state's most promising students are helping our most challenged. In the days before the Big Game - from last Monday until midnight Tuesday, November 26 -- students at the University of South Carolina and Clemson University are competing to supply books for entering 5-year-old kindergartners in our state's poorest schools. In many cases, these books will create a child's first library.

You can help! The "My First Library Program" is organized at USC by the Teaching Fellows and at Clemson by Kappa Kappa Gamma. All the tax-deductible donations go to South Carolina Future Minds, the non-profit that organizes private support for South Carolina public schools. Fans of the two schools can donate money by going to www.scfutureminds.org and clicking on the "My First Library" icon.

The program is a contest at two levels: student organizations compete within each university to raise the most money; and the universities themselves compete against each other. "My First Library" allows students, alumni and fans of the two schools to donate money to purchase the books and have bragging rights off the field.

The "winner" will be the school and organization that raises the most money, but the real winner will be children of South Carolina who will be given an opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed. And that's something to be thankful for!

Mizzell, who is from Folly Beach, and Seawright of Anderson are student body presidents at USC and Clemson, respectively. To learn more about the My First Library program, visit S.C. Future Minds.


State needs to enforce law on political robocalls
Editor and publisher

NOV. 25, 2013 -- In the last two weeks of any election season, you can't sit down for supper without some politician calling with an automated, recorded call.

"I hate them!!!" one Republican Facebook friend said. "I delete them almost instantly" from voicemail, said an equally-irritated Democratic friend in Charleston, adding, "These messages aren't the best way to convince me to get your vote." Yet another friend who got eight calls in one day from the same Mount Pleasant candidate recently took easy revenge -- by voting for someone else.

Yes, these "robocalls" are annoying. But did you know they are also against state law? Well, most of them are.

Unfortunately, few people complain, in part because it's confusing and hard to figure out where to file a complaint. But even if you do complain, political consultants aren't going to stop the practice for now because the fine is so cheap -- just $100. "I'd just pay the fine," one consultant remarked.

That means the state needs to start stepping up and enforcing the law.

First, however, it might be good for voters to know where to complain. How about the state Election Commission, which runs elections? Nope. Try the state Ethics Commission, a spokesman suggested. And what did folks there say? Wrong place, too.

Instead, complaints should go to the S.C. Department of Consumer Affairs, which one senior state attorney said seemed to be "the oddest place" for illegal political calls to be reported. But in the twisted way that government sometimes works, it does make a little sense, because Consumer Affairs gets complaints about business robocalls, particularly from telemarketers selling everything from time shares and home security systems to Medicare products and lower-interest credit cards.

Consumer Affairs Administrator Carri G. Lybarker said her agency has received only four complaints over the last decade about political robocalls. (Count us as number five.)

"We're not seeing any kind of influx or pattern that shows more attention needs to be given," she said, adding that most people probably just ignore the calls.

But that doesn't mean the state -- or politicians -- should ignore the law.

According to the law, political robocalls are illegal unless a person specifically asks to receive them (who would torture themselves with this?). Other exceptions are for calls connected with a debt, contract or existing business relationship, which wouldn't apply. The statute calls for a civil penalty of $100 per violation, which can go up to $500 or 30 days in jail for a third or subsequent violation.

To confuse matters, however, the statute refers to another part of state law that suggests a telephone solicitor can make a call if the seller, purpose of the call and "nature of the goods and services" are promptly disclosed. That exemption might not fit for political calls, but there's never been a request for an interpretation from the department, Lybarker said. (We'll be sending a letter.)

And to muddy the waters even more, there's a 2010 opinion from the S.C. Attorney General's office that says "political telephone calls are acceptable to telephone answering machines but not to live answerers."

Translation: political robocalls in South Carolina are illegal if you can pick up the phone and hear it. If you're not home, telephone solicitors can leave their political trash on your voicemail.

It's sad that these robocalls may impact elections. Just this month, a good candidate almost certainly lost a runoff election by a few dozen votes because the opponent had a prominent leader make a last-minute robocall. The call might have been enough to remind voters to support the popular leader's endorsee, which boosted turnout just enough to hurt the good candidate.

Automated political calls to people who answer the telephone are illegal in South Carolina. Instead of passively ignoring them, state officials should start enforcing the law and issuing fines. But that also means people who are irritated need to start complaining by contacting the state Department of Consumer Affairs -- unless the legislature can clean up the law and make it clearer.


Send us your thoughts

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!

Morris Financial Concepts, Inc.

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Charleston Currents to you at no cost. In this issue, we shine our spotlight on Morris Financial Concepts, Inc. It is a nationally recognized, fee-only financial consulting firm that helps you identify and align your resources, values and goals to achieve an enriched life. It does do not accept commissions or compensation-related to the products and service it recommends. Its counsel is based solely on what its professionals believe is best for each client.


deepsouth documentary on Dec. 4 to raise awareness about HIV

The Charleston premiere of "deepsouth," a documentary film about the disproportionate impact of HIV among people living in the American South, will be shown 5 p.m. December 4 in Physicians Memorial Auditorium at the College of Charleston.

Producer and director Lisa Biagiotti and film subject Monica Johnson will also answer questions at the event, hosted by public health advocates at the college.

The film focuses on the often-ignored and interconnected issues facing the rural American South. Beneath layers of history, poverty -- and now soaring HIV infections -- four Americans redefine traditional Southern values to create their own solutions to survive.

According to the college, 521 of every 100,000 people in Charleston County at the end of 2010 were living with HIV. This compares to 364 per 100,000 across all of South Carolina and 283 per 100,000 across the United States, based on data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"HIV has an outsized -- yet largely unseen -- effect on Charleston. We spend a lot of time discussing HIV's unequal effect on certain groups in the area in many of our public health classes," says Matthew Page, Ph.D., M.P.P., assistant professor of public health at the College of Charleston. "We hope this program goes beyond our campus to promote awareness of HIV's disproportionate impact. We want the message to reach members of the communities most adversely affected by the disease."

In the last year, "deepsouth" has been on a grassroots film tour, screening more than 45 times -- 30 times at the invitation of communities -- in local theaters, university auditoriums, government agencies, Black churches, LGBT film festivals and academic conferences. It has won several awards.

Learn more locally about Affordable Care Act

Local residents will have two opportunities to get more information about the complicated Affordable Care Act so they can make informed choices about their health care and learn how it can work for them.

  • Lowcountry #GetCovered Surge Center: The Center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays from December 2-13 at Fountain Walk next to the S.C. Aquarium to help people enroll in an affordable health insurance plan. The center, opened due to efforts of the Charleston chapter of the S.C. Progressive Network, will offer certified navigators to help people access and use the healthcare.gov Web site. For more information, contact Loreen Myerson at (843) 475-2859 or the SC Progressive Network's state office at (803) 445-1921

  • Health care fair: The cities of Charleston and North Charleston will hold an Affordable Healthcare Information Fair 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. December 8 at the Charleston Area Convention Center in North Charleston. At the event, you can meet agents, navigators and application counselors. No appointments are needed. More info: Contact the Palmetto Project, 1-888-998-4646.

"Consider this event a one-stop-shop with resources and counselors comprehensively assembled to address any need or question," said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. "We hope to eliminate confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act."

Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. added, "Having health insurance protects families from the potential of crippling financial debt caused by expensive medical bills. Charleston and North Charleston have organized this event as an opportunity for our residents to learn more about the Healthcare Marketplace."

To be eligible for the health care marketplace in South Carolina, you must have an income between 100 percent and 400 percent of poverty, as highlighted in the chart, above at right. Marketplace open enrollment ends March 31, 2014.

Charleston Southern expands online business degree program

Charleston Southern University has added four concentrations to prepare graduates for leadership in the manufacturing and industrial sectors, to its innovative master of science in organizational management.

The master of science in organizational management is an online, accelerated program in CSU's College of Adult and Professional Studies which emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, servant leadership and multicultural understanding.

Gary Vance, dean of the College of Adult and Professional Studies, said, "We partnered with Hanover Research to conduct a thorough market study and found significant interest in each of these four concentration areas: supply chain management, analytics, project management and operations management."

He said, "Without question, these concentrations are intended to address specific needs right here in the Charleston area. The manufacturing and industrial base continues to grow locally, and there are many professionals within these disciplines that would see their skills sets and credentials enhanced by pursuing one of these opportunities."


100 Things South Carolina Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die
By Josh Kendall

Imagine sitting with Tom Price, Don Barton, Tommy Suggs, Todd Ellis, George Rogers, Rex Enright, Tatum "Tiger Killer" Gressette and Mike Saffran, listening to them exchange the tales that have made South Carolina's football tradition great as they lived them. Author Josh Kendall brings those voices to life in his well-written and well-researched "100 Things South Carolina Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die."

"100 Things" connects the dots of things we Gamecock die-hards knew just enough about, but always wondered more: Our beloved Cocky suffered a bumpy hatching before becoming our loving mascot; Steve Wadiak excelled on the field at Carolina, only to be lost tragically; Ron "Sunshine" Bass starred for USC in football and on the big screen; and "The Prank" that showed the real Tigers just before kick-off, but riled Clemson fans out of their seats. Kendall expertly reduces to writing the legends of USC football in a way each Gamecock fan wants to hear them.

Local attorney David Haller is has a bachelor's degree and law degree from the University of South Carolina. He is the 1994 recipient of the university's Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award and an avid Gamecock fan.

  • 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 recently read. Send to: editor@charlestoncurrents.com

Camden, S.C.

Located in the Midlands, Camden boasts more than sixty well-preserved buildings in its historic district that attest to a rich past and to a lifestyle respectful of that heritage. In 1758 Joseph Kershaw, the "father of Camden," established a store on Pinetree Creek, a Wateree tributary.

Located on the path between Charleston and the Catawba Nation, Kershaw's store was a convenient place to collect and process local produce, especially wheat, before it was forwarded to Charleston. Here the village of Pine Tree Hill developed as a milling and trading center. Within a decade the thriving settlement was renamed in honor of Charles Pratt, Lord Camden, a champion of colonial rights, and a formal plan was drawn up to guide development. In 1791 Camden was the second town in the state to be incorporated by the General Assembly.

During the Revolutionary War, British troops under Lord Cornwallis occupied Camden for nearly a year during their campaign to subdue the backcountry. Among those imprisoned by the British in the Camden jail was the young Andrew Jackson. Two major battles were fought near the town: the Battle of Camden on August 15-16, 1780, which saw a disastrous American defeat; and the Battle of Hobkirk Hill on April 25, 1781, in which the victorious British suffered such heavy casualties that they withdrew from Camden a few weeks later.

The evacuating British destroyed much of the town, including its jail, flour mills, and several private homes. But Camden recovered quickly. The Civil War halted economic prosperity as Camden's leading citizenry embraced the Confederate cause. The town experienced invasion twice in 1865, first by a detachment of General William T. Sherman's men in February, then by troops under General Edward E. Potter in April. Public buildings, the depots, and the Wateree bridge were destroyed, as was much private property. The town was garrisoned by Federal troops for nine months after the close of the war.

By the end of the nineteenth century, Camden possessed three railroad lines. Two textile factories at the edge of town attracted workers from impoverished farms. A graded public school system was inaugurated in both white and black schools. The Camden Town Council coordinated programs to vaccinate citizens, pave streets, and expand water and light services. In 1913 the Camden Hospital opened, thanks in part to the Wall Street financier and native son Bernard M. Baruch, whose donation to the project was made in memory of his father, a former Camden physician. In 1915, a Carnegie grant made possible a handsome public library building, which later housed the Camden Archives and Museum.

Another northern invasion, this one consisting of wealthy tourists, began in the 1880s when the area's mild winters lured visitors to Camden as a health retreat and then as a tourist resort and a sports mecca. Three grand hotels and numerous smaller establishments catered to affluent guests. Although the hotel era ended with World War II, its effects lingered. Tourists renovated antebellum homes and became seasonal or permanent residents, thereby helping to preserve the distinctive architecture of Camden. Golf and polo were introduced to entertain tourists. Equestrian interest evolved into a multimillion-dollar industry. The Carolina Cup steeplechase, begun in 1930 at the Springdale Race Course, became an annual spring event. The Colonial Cup, an international steeplechase held in the fall, was inaugurated in 1970 on the same course.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Joan A. Inabinet. 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.)


36 hours in Charleston

The folks from The New York Times highlighted lots of Charleston eateries in its Sunday "36 hours in Charleston, S.C." Even though you may be from here, you just might learn about a restaurant or two that you've never heard of. Check it out. Photo by Andy Brack.

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!


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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Tips to save energy

With temperatures approaching freezing on some nights this week, it is a good time to think about some energy-saving tips that will also save you money.

Here are some recommendations from SCE&G:

  • Set the thermostat at 68°F. Each degree above 68° can significantly increase your heating bill.

  • Consider installing a programmable thermostat that automatically lowers the temperature even further than 68° overnight or while no one is at home.

  • Caulk around windows and replace old weather stripping around doors to keep the cold air out.

  • Check air filters. Dirty air filters increase your energy usage and can also damage your heating system. Be sure to use filters approved for your specific system.

  • Curtains. On sunny days, open curtains on your south-facing windows to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home. Close them at night to reduce any chill or drafts.

More tips on how to save energy and money are available at www.sceg.com/energytips


On happiness

"Independence is happiness."

-- Susan B. Anthony



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(NEW) Holiday inspiration: 4 p.m., November 26, and December 3 and 10, Heyward-Washington House, 87 Church Street, Charleston. You can get inspiration for holiday entertaining at the historic house run by the Charleston Museum. More.

(NEW) Black Friday protest: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Nov. 29, intersection of Rivers Avenue and Ashley Phosphate Road, North Charleston. The Blue Cell Rebel Elves and Uncle Samity Claus will again protest Black Friday and Walmart on the biggest shopping day of the year. More info.

(NEW) Creche Festival: Through December 1. The monks at Mepkin Abbey display about 100 nativity scenes from artists all over the world at the abbey on the Cooper River near Cordesville. More.

On Golden Pond: Through December 1, Charleston Acting Studio, 915 Folly Road, James Island. The studio will put on the award-winning play over two weeks. Click here for ticket information and times.

(NEW) Chanukah in the Square: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., December 1, Marion Square, Charleston. The downtown square will come alive with celebrations of Hanukkah. Local Holocaust survivors will light the Hanukkah candle in this event that's a great way to end the Thanksgiving celebration.

"Annie:" December 6 to 22, Dock Street Theatre, Charleston. Charleston Stage will present the award-winning Tony musical to "lift everyone's holiday spirits" with Charleston's own Madelyn Anderson as Little Orphan Annie. Tickets and info.

Shopping with Friends: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., December 6, Hibernian Hall, 105 Meeting Street, Charleston. Lowcountry AIDS Services will celebrate 10 years with a new twist on its annual fund-raiser. Jazz artist Charlton Singleton will perform with a 14-piece Big Band. More.

That Holiday Book Sale: 9 a.m., December 6 and 7, Mount Pleasant Regional Library, 1133 Mathis Ferry Road, Mount Pleasant. Books, CDs and DVDs will be on sale during the annual event with prices starting at just $0.50, this is a bargain that can't be beat. Sponsored by the Charleston Friends of the Library. More.

Christmas Festival and Parade: 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., December 7, Park Circle, North Charleston. While the parade will begin at 5 p.m., there will be lots of fun at the holiday market and festival. More.

(NEW) Celtic Christmas: 7:30 p.m., December 9, Grace Episcopal Church, 98 Wentworth Street, Charleston. The Taylor Festival Choir and fiddle group Na Fidleiri will present traditional Irish holiday music with storytelling and more. Tickets are $10 to $30. More.

Art of Pinar Del Rio: Through December 29, City Gallery at Waterfront Park, Charleston. The gallery will host an exhibition of works by more than a dozen contemporary Cuban artists curated by local artist Reynier Llanes. Llanes' lecture: 3 p.m., December 7. More info.

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.


12/23: Simpkins: Meeting Mandela
12/16: Creech: Safety first
12/09: Heddinger: Arbor Day
12/02: Troy: Photo contest for birds

11/25: USC-Clemson book rivalry
11/18: Boyd: Remembering JFK
11/11: Weirs: Photographing cats
11/4: Frazier: Azalea talk at Magnolia

10/28: Kaynard: Slow it down
10/21: Gambrell: Changing education
10/14: Smetana: Green teams
10/7: Gress: More to do on equality

9/30: McCarter: Safe water
9/23: Diebolt: One Book program
9/16: Mercer: Civil War photos
9/9: 30th MOJA Festival soon
9/3: Scharstein: Free autism forum

8/26: Ringler: Chasing after a cure
8/19: Sabine: Kids giving back
8/12: Frazier: Bat lab
8/5: Hathorne: Kudzu bugs

7/29: Sheahen: Poverty grows
7/22: Ferguson: Plate at the table
7/15: Kaynard: Mepkin Abbey
7/8: McCandless: At-risk youths
7/1: McGee: Monroe's new book

6/24: Williams: Avoiding foreclosure
6/17: Dewey: Preventing suicide
6/10: Hoover: Clean kitchens
6/3: Kulp: On breathalyzers


12/9: A Christmas to remember
11/18: Jefferson Davis visits
10/14: Shelling Fort Sumter
9/9: Assault on Fort Sumter
8/5: The Angel of Death
7/8: Assault on Battery Wagner
6/10: "A furious barbarian"
5/13: Recovery of Keokuk guns
4/8: "Turrets are coming!"
3/11: Preparing to attack
2/11: Blockade is broken
1/14: Stono Rebellion


12/23: Who's been naughty, nice
12/16: Education, workforce related
12/9: MacDonald's mysteries
12/2: S.C. has coolest flag

11/25: Enforce robocall law
11/18: Library referendum needed
11/11: Oh, the Things You'll Miss
11/4: Wild gov's race ahead

10/28: Lake City's surprises
10/21: Challenging exceptionalism
10/14: Holidays approaching
10/7: Tired of Congress

9/30: On Henry Martyn Robert
9/23: New American inspire
9/16: 10 years later: Letter
9/9: Welfare today
9/3: End legislative delegations

8/26: What would Dr. King say?
8/19: Wool over our eyes
8/12: Essays on ordinary summer
8/5: Ford needs to get out of the way

7/29: New poverty study
7/22: Engage in trade war
7/15: Give brand to government
7/8: S.C. keeps treading water
7/1: Brad Taylor's new thriller

6/24: Brookgreen Gardens
6/17: New fee bring us closer?
6/10: Great new library service
6/3: On Robert Ford


11/4: Your time: great gift for seniors
10/7: Let's celebrate aging
9/3: Medicaid and your future
8/5: More on estates, wills
7/1: Estate planning myths
6/3: Pensions for wartime vets
5/6: Revocable Living Trusts
3/4: Resources to help seniors cope
2/4: On life estates
1/7: Next step in health care


10/28: Impact of rising bond market
9/30: What happens when rates rise


11/18: Winter activities to do
10/14: Four ways to preserve history
9/16: It's harvest time
8/19: Kids giving back

7/15: Childrens' museums
6/17: Interactive adventures
5/20: Birds, bees, butterflies
4/15: Signs of spring abound
3/18: Great local parks
2/18: What's new in Charleston is old
1/21: Blaze a trail in 2013
12/10: Great holiday adventure



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