June 22, 2006

Education and Economic Development Act:
Getting South Carolina Ready for the World

June 20, 2006: Anita Zucker, who has been very active in education and has a terrific passion for developing children's skills and abilities, introduced our speaker. Ann Marie Stieritz is the owner of AMSC Consulting, LLC and is currently contracted to serve as the Statewide Coordinator for the establishment of Regional Education Centers mandated under the South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA).

Ms. Stieritz brings an international background in both education and economic development to her work. She served as the Assistant Director/Vice President of the Ponape Agriculture and Trade School, the only academic and technical high school serving students from across the Micronesian region in the Central Pacific. She also taught English with the United States Peace Corps in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania. She holds degrees from Xavier University in Ohio, the Universite de Paris, la Sorbonne, and New York University. In addition to her many activities, she is a member of the Columbia Rotary Club and is the incoming Chair of the Club's World Community Service Committee and has been involved with the Guatemala Literacy Project of Rotary International.

Her program, Pathways to Success: Preparing All South Carolina Students to Compete in the Global Economy, showed the change in vision and direction for the State with the publishing of the Education and Economic Development Act in 2005. It showed the challenge of globalization and how South Carolina students lagged behind somewhere between 49th and 50th depending on the state. Workforce Gap, which is the gap between what is needed and what students possess upon graduation, is significant in this state, and our future growth and economic prosperity rests on narrowing that gap. To narrow the gap and provide greater skills with a new approach that is different than the traditional role in the past, students now have their Personal Graduation Plan based on their objectives along with family input.

A goal of the program is to get one Guidance Counselor per 300 students to help students understand what is needed to develop their plan. The program has 16 career cluster areas that not only provide career awareness, but also provide skills and work habits that enable students to move into the workforce. This promotes a more rigorous education, as well as being relevant to students' needs.

From kindergarten through fifth grade the focus is career awareness. Grades 6 through 8 focus on career exploration, assessment, and investigation. In grade 8 the students develop a long-term goal and choose the career cluster. In grades 9 through 12 the students prepare their career and post secondary education, such as college, employment, and career placement.

It is in all of our best interests to develop the workforce and as business owners we can do a great deal to help. Giving students the opportunity to learn through job shadowing and lending expertise to schools is helpful. Also, we can support the policy makers and help the Regional Education Centers become a reality. Become a "Positive Ambassador" to help make the South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act (EEDA) successful.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

June 16, 2006

Current Immigration Issues Affecting Charleston

June 13, 2006: Patrick McDavid, of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency of the Department of Homeland Security was at today's Rotary meeting to talk about how current immigration issues affect the low country. Patrick is the Resident Agent in Charge of the Charleston office, who along with 16 other agents, work to enforce existing customs and immigration law. Mr. McDavid's office focuses on three main categories of investigation: those pertaining to national security, investigations regarding smuggling and public safety, and financial investigations.

It is estimated that 330 million illegal aliens cross our borders annually. This number is approximately 15% more than the total US population. Up to 5,000 people a day are coming into the United States from Mexico and, in fact, about half of all illegal aliens coming into the US are from Mexico. This is a significant and growing problem here in South Carolina because we live in a state which is perceived by illegal immigrants to be a safe haven. The means and man power is just not available here in South Carolina to apprehend, take into custody and then deport illegal aliens. There are not enough agents, bed space to hold detainees, and deportation is cumbersome since it requires that detainees be processed through Atlanta.

Mr. McDavid told Rotarians that most illegal immigrants are well-intentioned individuals living in extreme poverty who are willing to do whatever it takes to have the opportunity to work hard in order to provide for their families. His office considers their job to be one of prioritizing and targeting high profile and undesirable individuals who are terrorizing neighborhoods, committing crimes, or are involved in illegal activity.

Business owners have the responsibility to follow all laws pertaining to customs and immigration and must determine the legal status of every individual they employ. He reminded business owners that even picking up an illegal alien and transporting them to a work site is considered harboring and is therefore subject to worksite and employer sanctions if caught. Mr. McDavid also advised that government contractors were more likely to be the focus of interest by their office than is the average small business.

Submitted by Helen J. Reynolds, Keyway Committee

June 11, 2006

Handing Over the Reigns: Club Transition

June 6, 2006: Our Club officially transferred its leadership today from President Earl Walker to President Amy Jenkins. President Earl reflected on this past year's theme: Rotary Renewal: Regeneration and Rejuvenation. President Earl recognized the Board Members and Committee Chairs for their hard work and achievements, and how their reports to the membership kept us all informed of the action and projects of the Club. He mentioned the Club's accomplishments, of which we should all be proud, including the 27 of 28 goals we have achieved. These goals included growing the membership by 20 members (and young members!), raising over $13,000 for Hurricane Katrina Relief, producing an every-member canvas to increase service from Rotarians, improving the website and Keyway, and many others. President Earl closed with thanks and quotes from Max DuPree's The Artful Leader which have guided him as our President this past year. Thank you President Earl for all your hard work and Service Above Self!

President Amy presented President Earl with a plaque and pin, and recognized our Assistant District Governor Rick Moore who was in attendance. She then detailed some of the upcoming projects for the next year, including adopting a club impacted by Katrina (see announcement) and donating a book as a gift to our speakers, strengthening the Capital Creation Committee, fulfilling our obligation to the City of Charleston for the sculpture at the Rotary Fountain in Marion Square, assisting the Rotary Club of South Brazil with a grant for a hospital upgrade, and eventually raising funds for the Lowcountry Food Bank's training kitchen. President Amy stated our Club's goals included growing the club's membership, getting to know one another through expanded fellowship opportunities, and fixing the head table! We will also strive through our projects to fulfill the goals of Rotary International, which this year include Literacy, Water Management, Health and Hunger, and Family of Rotary, as well as District goals including Fellowship, Adopt-A-Club, Public Image, Building Stronger Clubs, and Family of Rotary. We have an exciting year ahead of us, and President Amy is energized and ready to lead the way! Thank you, Amy!

Submitted by Amy Riley, Keyway Editor

June 1, 2006

Hurricane Season Begins: CPA Bob Baldwin and Chief Meteorologist Bill Walsh Offer Preparedness Tips

May 30, 2006: Reminding Rotarians that hurricane season begins again on June first, Bruce Murdy introduced our two speakers who were quite familiar with the subject of hurricane preparedness. Bill Walsh, the Chief Meteorologist for Channel 5 News talked about what we might expect this year according to predictions and our own Bob Baldwin took a few minutes to offer his suggestions about how to protect and preserve financial documents in the event of a hurricane.

Taking some preliminary steps to protect financial documents before the advent of a hurricane will pay huge dividends in the event of a hurricane disaster according to Bob Baldwin who is President of the South Carolina Association of CPA's. Bob began by asking how many Rotarians had actually read their insurance policies well enough to know how their carrier defined the term "hurricane". The type and kind of insurance we carry as well as how much risk we assume is critical in the event of a hurricane. Bob warned that when a hurricane is approaching the coast it is already too late to begin wondering whether our insurance coverage has kept up with increasing property values

Any disaster preparedness plan should include provisions to protection and transport critical financial documents especially in the event that an evacuation becomes necessary. By taking the time to scan and copy relevant information onto a CD, copies of insurance policies, credit cards, lists of important contact numbers, photographs of possessions, warranties and medical information can easily be taken with you when you leave town. In the event a weather disaster occurs, the recovery process will be much easier if you have that information at your fingertips. Mr. Baldwin mentioned three web sites we might want to consult when constructing a disaster preparedness plan: The sites are: www.redcross.org; www.ready.gov and www.360financialliteracy.com. In his final comments, Bob reminded us to be absolutely sure that we password protect any CD containing our personal financial information .

Bill Walsh, the two-time Emmy award winning meteorologist at Channel 5, has been covering hurricanes for 20 years here in the lowcountry. In a normal hurricane season an average of 11 storms will be named. This year, it is predicted that 17 storms will large enough to be named, 9 will become hurricanes and 5 will be considered major hurricanes of a category 3 or more. Regardless of whether predictions call for a quiet season or an active season, the only important consideration turns out to be that one hurricane which happens to be bearing down on the Charleston coastline.

One reason hurricanes represent such a danger is due to the rapidity with which the intensity can change. Mr. Walsh told us that hurricane Hugo was rated a category 2 the morning before it hit. By 5 pm that afternoon it had been upgraded to a category 4. Because flooding is the single greatest threat associated with a hurricane, leaving when a voluntary evacuation is announced is crucial. One only has to move inland and away from the coast in order to avoid the potential storm serge.

Even though we have learned lessons from other hurricanes and now have good predictive systems and solid emergency evacuation procedures in place, having to pack up and leave when a hurricane approaches is one of the the few trade offs we must make in exchange for living in such a beautiful city on the coast.

Contributed by Helen Reynolds, Keyway Committee