Issue 6.07 | Monday, Dec. 16, 2013
Send us photos of tree butchery
first during this holiday season
2013 -- Thousands of South Carolinians will hit the highways this holiday
season visiting friends and family. Odds are good most drivers will be
traveling with a wireless device, and some of them will be tempted to
use that device while driving.
will resist, but some won't. Those who succumb to the urge put themselves
at risk for a bad outcome -- more than 100,000 crashes each year involve
familiar with these sad endings. Since 2010, my employer, AT&T, has
asked its customers and the public not to text and drive as part of a
campaign called It
Can Wait. The campaign includes a documentary, called "The
Last Text," that illustrates the danger: a mother lamenting the
loss of a teenage daughter the day before she was to graduate high school;
a young man struggling to communicate with the camera because of his brain
injuries; another young man expressing his guilt over having struck and
killed a bystander.
and driving is the cause and tragic bond these stories share. Especially
gut wrenching in each instance is how much was lost in exchange for so
little. Lives are cut short for the sake of an insignificant message such
as "where r u " or "what's for dinner."
want any of my fellow South Carolinians to go through something similar.
Loss caused by texting and driving can be prevented. There are tangible
ways to arm yourself and your loved ones against the temptation of texting
behind the wheel:
AT&T's goal is simple: We want texting and driving to be as unacceptable as drinking and driving. We're not there yet, but we're hardly alone in this push. More than 1,500 organizations have joined the It Can Wait movement, including Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile US.
In South Carolina, there's been a groundswell of support. Examples include the Charleston County School District, which in September challenged its high schools to see which one could generate the most pledges not to text behind the wheel.
Gov. Nikki Haley issued a similar challenge to the University of South
Carolina and Clemson University. The two universities collected nearly
3,300 pledges combined. The state Department of Insurance, Department
of Public Safety and S.C. National Safety Council among others also were
a part of the USC-Clemson pledge push. There are still others in South
Carolina active on this important front, and AT&T applauds them for
applaud our state lawmakers who are working to craft legislation to ban
texting while driving across South Carolina. We believe this is a wiser,
less confusing approach than local ordinances adopted by local jurisdictions.
education, workforce development related
DEC. 16, 2013 -- Public education and workforce development are two sides of the same coin.
Maybe if more of our political leaders realized that, there would be much less bickering over investments in our children's future.
An October report by the S.C. Education Oversight Committee (EOC) should scare the pants off of our leaders. It shows South Carolina is not ready -- by a long shot -- for the future jobs that will require more critical thinking skills, more math and more science:
Translation: We need to double the amount of South Carolinians with education after high school.
But to pour more salt into a festering education wound, South Carolina isn't even graduating enough students from high school.
According to the June 2012 Diploma Counts report from Education Week magazine and the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, South Carolina ranks near the bottom -- 48th of 50 states -- in the number of 9th graders who go on to graduate. Only 61.7 percent of students in the Class of 2009 graduated from high school, which means that more than a third of South Carolina's high school students are dropping out or failing to finish high school on time. And while the state graduation rate is much better than 47.1 percent from 10 years earlier, there are still thousands of kids who aren't in school and won't have the skills needed to excel in the 21st century job market.
Hence, the challenges faced by our K-12 public education system directly relate to the quality of the workforce that our state has to offer. If South Carolina can't supply the workforce that companies need, they'll move elsewhere -- or move out-of-state people here to fill those positions, which doesn't do much to help natives without jobs.
"A high school diploma isn't enough anymore," said Melanie Barton, executive director of the state EOC. "Until the K-12 and higher education communities come together in this state, I really don't know where we're going in this state.
"It's going to take higher expectations, more technology in the classrooms and teachers who understand that we're preparing kids for careers, not just crossing that stage."
Newly-minted state Sen. Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston) agrees that educating students from an early age through graduation essentially is long-term workforce development.
"One issue that's bipartisan is economic development," he said. "If changing the terminology from 'funding education' to 'funding workforce development' is something that appeals to the majority, then I'm in favor of talking about it in the same terms. It's essentially the same thing."
A couple of strategies to generate more South Carolinians with postsecondary education include:
Changing the senior year. Barton said the EOC has been talking about replacing the exit exam for seniors with another test for 11th graders to determine how ready they are for educational opportunities after high school. Then by transforming the senior year, students ready for college-level work can get a head start during the senior year. Students who need remediation to improve skill levels so they can excel after high school can get the help they need senior year -- and not waste time for remediation in college.
Technical college. Ben Dillard, president of Florence-Darlington Technical College, says parents today understand that tech schools offer more than job training. In tight times, students have been taking advantage of lower tuitions -- half or more of four-year colleges -- but enjoyed the same quality in the base-level first two years of study found at universities.
"Our schools are focusing on much more than workforce development," he said.
line: South Carolina's leaders need focus like a laser beam on education
and invest now if they want a healthy economic future.
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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.
winter play activities for the holidays
Here are some things for you to consider doing over the holiday season with your family:
Night of a thousand candles: There is still time to capture a walk by candle light at Brookgreen Gardens. This event is quickly becoming one of the Lowcountry's best kept secrets for a special family tradition. There are thousands and thousands of candles, carolers, and the trees and paths come to life. Your children will love this!
This Thursday evening through Saturday evening (Dec. 19-21) are the last remaining nights before Christmas to enjoy the spectacle of these sculpture gardens glowing by candle light. More.
Winter walk in Mount Pleasant. A rainy day in Charleston is still beautiful, especially to children who love umbrellas and wet walks. At just under a mile, this is a nice little walk with some points of interest along the way. Start your walk by parking in the Old Village at Edwards Park field, 400 Pitt St., in Mount Pleasant. There are plenty of public spaces to park here, benches to sit, and a big field to run in with children and dogs.
the hill past the Confederate Cemetery on Carr St. You will walk past
the G. M. Darby building ( stop in for a catalog of activities and camps
for children). Turn left onto King St. and walk to Pitt St. Turn right
on Pitt St. and wander up to the warm and cozy Village Bakery. Head inside
for a hot chocolate and then carry on to "ooh" and "ahh"
at the lovely window displays in Out of Hand, a Pitt Street must see.
Retrace your steps to the parking lot and you have completed almost a
Polar Plunge: Don't forget to take the renewing Polar Bear Swim on New Year's Day on Sullivan's Island at Dunleavy's Pub. OK, there are no actual polar bears, but there are a bevy of creative characters and the kids absolutely love the thrill of the plunge.
Tips: On-street parking is free anywhere on Sullivan's Island. Park and walk to Dunleavy's Pub and follow the crowd from there to the plunge site on the beach. Take towels and dry clothes. Drinks, hotdogs and food, and restrooms available at the pub. Pets on leads welcome! More.
Adopting a cannon can help conservation efforts
You can adopt one of the rare cannons at Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie to help fund high-priority conservation, according to the Fort Sumter-Fort Moultrie Historical Trust.
cannons at the two forts are home to the rarest collection of American
seacoast artillery in existence. Cannons manufactured as early as 1830
desperately need restoration after decades in harsh outdoor environments
at both forts, according to a news release, but funding has been reduced
and the National Park Service does not have the resources for adequate
restoration of all these historic artifacts.
Citadel cadet ranked sixth in nation by Army ROTC
Lewis K. Dunaway, an Army ROTC senior at The Citadel, ranked sixth out of 5,478 graduating Army ROTC cadets, according to a press release. Each fall, Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadets from around the country are ranked in a national Order of Merit List (OML).
Dunaway, a native of Charlotte, N.C. pictured at left, is scheduled to graduate in the spring with a degree in political science and minors in Spanish and business. He will be commissioned as a second lieutenant of Infantry. Dunaway was a four-year lacrosse player and helped his team win a state championship their senior year. He also earned the rank of Eagle Scout while juggling sports and academics.
At The Citadel, he has stayed actively involved in intramural sports competitions between companies, and is a fitness enthusiast. Dunaway has had held a wide range of leadership positions in the Corps of Cadets. As a senior, he is Academic Officer, Company Honor Representative and the Battalion Executive Officer for The Citadel's Army ROTC Battalion. Dunaway is also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Summerall Guards, the Citadel's elite silent drill platoon.
for his impressions on his accomplishments, Dunaway responded with his
favorite quote, by Winston Churchill: "To every man there comes
that special moment when he is figuratively tapped on the shoulder and
offered the chance to do a special thing unique to him and fitted to his
talent. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared or unqualified
for the work which would be his finest hour."
County's new Consolidated 9-1-1- Center and Emergency Operations Center
is the first facility of its kind in the Palmetto State to receive a gold
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from
the U.S. Green Building Council. More.
Smith, IV, a current member and incoming 2014 chair of the U.S. Green
Building Council South Carolina Chapter, was to present a plaque to Charleston
County Council on December 10 recognizing the certification.
The County's newly constructed 38,000-square-foot facility opened on January 24, 2013 at a cost of $27 million. The structure was designed by Rosenblum Coe Architects, in association with Architects Design Group. 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 personnel.
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Singer Chubby Checker was born Ernest Evans on October 3, 1941, in Spring Gully near Andrews, the son of a tobacco farmer. He moved to Philadelphia at age seven and later attended South Philadelphia High School with the future teen idols Fabian and Frankie Avalon. Evans attracted the attention of Dick Clark, host of the national television show American Bandstand, in the late 1950s. Clark wanted to send out a Christmas phonograph record to friends, one that consisted of holiday greetings from singers imitating rock and roll stars. Evans was in the studio doing these imitations when Clark's wife Bobbie noticed him and suggested dubbing him "Chubby Checker," a play on the name of the recording star Fats Domino.
After the Christmas record was released commercially as The Class in 1959 on the Cameo-Parkway label (partially owned by Clark), in 1960 Checker covered "The Twist," a song written and released previously by Hank Ballard. "The Twist" was associated with a dance that consisted of partners swiveling their hips and arms while standing apart from each other. This dance was unknown outside the African American community, where it had achieved some popularity. Clark noted some of his American Bandstand teenagers "twisting" and soon encouraged Cameo-Parkway to exploit this dance with a cover recording of the Ballard song. With television exposure on American Bandstand and on the Ed Sullivan Show, Checker's recording of "The Twist" became a huge hit and remained the biggest-selling single record of all time well into the 1970s. The associated dance craze crossed over to the mainstream and became an international phenomenon, spawning records of the same genre by many artists in the United States and abroad.
During the early 1960s Checker had thirty more chart hits. Eleven of these reached the top twenty, including a re-release of "The Twist" in 1962 that reached number one and made Checker the only artist to have had the same single song at number one on different releases. Other hits included "The Hucklebuck" (1960), "Pony Time" (1961), "Let's Twist Again" (1961), "The Fly" (1961), "Slow Twistin'" (1962), "Dancin' Party" (1962), "Popeye (The Hitchhiker)" (1962), "Limbo Rock" (1962), "Birdland" (1963), and "Loddy Lo" (1963). Many of these songs introduced new dance styles, and Checker maintains that he was the inventor of "dancing apart to the beat." In 1961 he was awarded a Grammy for Best Rock and Roll Recording ("Let's Twist Again").
As the dance craze era ended, Chubby Checker remade his image several times to match the changes in the music industry, but he did not return to the charts until 1988, with "The Twist (Yo Twist)," accompanied by the rap artists The Fat Boys. Checker has continued to tour and perform, relying on varying combinations of nostalgia and new material. He has repackaged himself as the rapper Chubby C.
Chubby Checker is, to some extent, an American icon. He has sold more than 250 million records and has appeared in at least twelve films and on numerous television shows, always playing himself.
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Charleston area economic stats
Here are some facts from the new Regional Economic Scorecard for the Lowcountry:
Earnings. A worker must earn $45.11 an hour to afford the Charleston region's average home of $281,459 or $32.37 an hour for the median-priced home ($202,000), but the community's average wage is $19.80 per hour.
Lowcountry wages by profession: Firefighter ($15.62/hour), teacher ($20.02/hour), service industry ($9.71/hour), administrative assistant ($14.61/hour), police ($15.62/hour).
Grads. Of comparable cities in the scorecard, Charleston ranks fifth of nine for percentage of college graduates and sixth of nine for percentage of high school graduates. "Since 2005, we've lost ground on the percentage of adults with high school diplomas and college degrees," the report says.
Science. Charleston ranks low on the number of science-related graduate students, an indicator that fuels a blow-national-average rating on innovation, despite the fact that the region is much improved overall on this indicator over six years.
Small businesses. Charleston ranks first of cities studied in the concentration of small- to mid-size businesses and total number of establishments per 1,000 employees, indicating a healthy environment for entrepreneurs.
Congestion. Commuters here spend an average of 30 hours per year caught in traffic at a cost of $647 per commuter.
Population growth. The Charleston area grew three times faster than the U.S. from 2005-11 and outpaced the other six comparable metropolitan areas in the study.
Great gift ideas for the season
Some of Charleston Currents' elves have been busy at work developing some great gift ideas for the holiday season.
Photographs by contributing photographer Michael Kaynard and his wife, Cynthia Bledsoe, now are being shown at the W. Hampton Brand Gallery at 114 East Bay Street. They offer several outstanding Lowcountry scenes that you might have seen over the past year in this publication.
Their feature image is of 95 Broad Street, which is also printed on slate. They also offer great views of Angel Oak, wildlife, the ruins at Old Sheldon Church and the oaks of Tomotley Plantation.
If you visit the gallery, mention Charleston Currents and get a 25 percent discount on any of the pair's paper prints. Some other fantastic photos you can purchase:
Other holiday treats
Historian and columnist Doug Bostick, who serves as executive director of the S.C. Battleground Preservation Trust, tells us the Trust is offering the last of a limited edition run of Ben Silver ties and pewter mint julep cups commemorating the 1st South Carolina Artillery, which defended Battery Wagner 150 years ago.
The ties (regular, extra-long or bow) are $75 each. The pewter cups as $15 each. For more information, contact the Trust by email or phone 843.743.8281.
From where to going where
"You know your children are growing up when they stop asking you where they came from and refuse to tell you where they're going."
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"Annie:" Through December 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.
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. More info.
Holiday Festival of Lights: Through December 31, James Island County Park. You can see more than 750 holiday light exhibits and get $5 off Monday through Thursday with donation of a canned food item. More info.
Polar plunge: 1 p.m., January 2, 2014, Dunleavy's Pub, Sullivans Island. The pub will offer its annual New Year's Day Polar Plunge this year to raise money for Special Olympics South Carolina. The fun starts at 11 a.m. when people gather for food and drinks, with a mass walk to the beach at 12:30 a.m. Registration is now open. More.
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.
Christmas to remember
the Personal Property Memo