August 25, 2006

District 7770 Governor visits our Club

August 22, 2006: Our club was honored with a visit from District Governor Bernie Riedel, who has been a member of the Rotary Club of Hilton Head since 1983. DG Riedel braved the plane and Porsche ride from Assistant Governor Rick Moore (Charleston Breakfast) to speak to us about his goals and vision for our District this year. He began by touting our new Rotary International President, Bill Boyd, who claimed to be an "ordinary Rotarian given an extraordinary task." President Boyd's Rotary theme this year was held secret until Governor-elect training, which revealed the "Lead the Way" theme to be upheld by the District Governors. DG Riedel was relieved given past themes which were a challenge to remember, let alone execute. And he has hit the ground running in executing this theme.

DG Riedel has already developed his strategic plan for the year and is ready to roll it out to District 7770. The plan covers what he called getting "back to basics", and highlighted his goals and objectives through a trip through Rotary history. He emphasized fellowship, as this was why Rotary was founded. Rotarians can experience lots of fellowship at the upcoming joint District (7770, 7750) Conference May 23-25 at the Marriott on Hilton Head Island. He encouraged networking in our clubs as well; discussing business goes back to the roots of Rotary. Another area of focus is service, because Rotary became a service organization in 1907 with the completion of two community projects in Chicago. He has asked each Club to adopt a club from District 6840 in New Orleans which sustained damage due to Hurricane Katrina. President Amy was happy to update the DG that our Club had in fact adopted a club, and raised over $13,000 (largest donation to-date) to restore a public high school which was devastated by Katrina, including rebuilding and restocking its library through speaker gifts handed out each week.

Supporting the Foundation is the third area of focus, and DG Riedel highlighted all the wonderful things the Rotary Foundation has done all over the world. In fact, RF was recently awarded the highest ranking by Charity Navigator, but he didn't need that ranking to verify what he already knew. Most importantly, he stated that the Rotary Club was the lifeblood of Rotary, and that we as Rotarians must nurture our clubs by signing up for volunteer opportunities, hosting families, and seeking out the best and brightest for its members.

Submitted by Amy Riley, Keyway Committee Chair

August 19, 2006

Back to School/Progress of School District

August 15, 2006: Our speaker was Nancy McGinley, second in command of the Charleston County School District (CCSD). Ms. McGinley delivered a very informative speech that updated the club on the Charleston Plan for Excellence three years into the Superintendent's tenure; illustrated how the CCSD's progress was tied to national education goals; and related their challenges for the 2006-07 school year. She was passionate in stating the need to always view education in a social context. Her experiences lead her to believe any community's health may be measured by the efforts and resources it puts into educating their children. "Charleston has a great opportunity; we are in a roll analogous to the civil rights movement."

Ms. McGinley stated curriculum improvement was her number one goal. The enablers for improvement are sound financial/business practices, increased accountability, integrated public engagements that create allegiances/partners, and best practices for safe, orderly schools.

In order to combat the increasing dropout percentage (up 2.2% between 2000-01 and 2002-03) CCSD is creating a continuum of care to help meet the needs of the full spectrum of children. One size does not fit all. The first level is Preventative Programs to reinforce positive behavior and reward accomplishment. The second is Intervention Programs that will attempt to reverse any negative trend before it becomes acute. The third is Rehabilitative Programs which are designed to isolate children with strong dropout characteristics and provide individually tailored help. These programs are critical to reverse the trend that shows not only is the Charleston rate higher than Greenville and Berkley counties but theirs is decreasing while Charleston county continues to increase. The target grade for dropout prevention is ninth grade.

Ms. McGinley stated that the CCSD continues to stick with the key elements of the Plan for Excellence: coherent curriculum, benchmark testing, and differentiated instruction. She expounded on the testing stating "we check three times a year which facilitates tailoring the differentiated instruction." There are impediments to optimizing the testing results. When the testing shows a students not in the correct class for their knowledge level there is a lack of alternative placement options. CCSD has just one percent opportunity as compared to five-ten percent nationwide. "We've gone to great lengths to help this situation" stated Ms. McGinley. In November 2006 we will outsource to Community Education Partners to increase our placement options. That combined with the Accountability Court Program we implemented in 2005-06 we should start seeing results. The court requires parents to attend parenting courts with their children/students. The third element, differentiated instruction, includes academic intervention which combines intense literacy and math classes with behavior modification.

Ms. McGinley ended her talk using a comparison of CCSD standardized testing scores with seven other counties nationally. The emphasis was not on the comparative numbers, but on the trends between grades 3, 5, and 8. Testing scores drop dramatically. She summarized, "in CCSD we see children of all economic backgrounds test about the same through grade 3 and then drop off dramatically after that." "Those counties around the nation who maintain higher standardized scores teach concepts and have a better distribution of nationally certified school teachers throughout the entire district...we must move to do the same."

Submitted by Bill Crowe, Keyway Committee

August 11, 2006

Daniel Island and Carnes Crossroads

August 8, 2006: Our speaker was Matthew Sloan, Executive President of Daniel Island Company, which has been key to the positive development of Daniel Island over the last 10 years. His experience as a Development Consultant beforehand helps him and his partner guide the Island's development to create an atmosphere that is unique and the environment of the Southeast. He shared with the group how Daniel Island has progressed in the last 10 years and what is in-store for future development both on and off the island.

Daniel Island creates a sustainable lifestyle using a small town experience to make a unique environment in the middle of a city, such as Charleston. Recently it was named the Leading Smart Growth Development in the Southeast, which was only one of many awards.

He shared the results of their master plan after 10 years. It has created a truly unique lifestyle where nearly 2,200 households reside in a community with a unique "southern Lowcountry" architectural feel. In order to take advantage of the access the Mark Clark Expressway created to Daniel Island in 1993 the two partners created a partnership with Crow Holdings. Both firms continue to have an interest in Daniel Island and future developments.

The Daniel Island Company's philosophy of development includes a seamless integration of different social economic groups to create a unique tapestry that forms a community. There has been a special focus in creating a pedestrian friendly downtown for Daniel Island. The unique feel, architectural style, and design of Daniel Island has created a community that is one of the top home selling communities in the Southeast. It is projected that 15,000 people will be living on Daniel Island by the year 2015. Real estate has appreciated significantly on Daniel Island over the last few years. The typical residence ranges from $600,000 to over a million dollars.

The Daniel Island Company is moving north and developing another area with a lower price point and significant open space. The Carnes Crossroad area provides the development of a unique opportunity of 4 miles of highway frontage which will be a life style rather than a builder driven development. This allows not only the development of a residential neighborhood with trails, parks, and protect areas, but also the commercial and retail aspects that are essential to a community.

While Daniel Island's growth has been significant, a large explosion of growth will take place outside of I-526 boundary. This area of growth will create a new population center in Moncks Corner/Summerville areas, which in the near future, is projected to have 100,000 homes. The area will have an unparallel use of greenways along with a system of lakes to enhance the natural beauty of the area. There will be an emphasis on streetscape with a mixture of both larger and smaller homes. The first residents in this area are ready to move in late 2006 or early 2007. Daniel Island Company is working with the city of Goose Creek with the goal of creating a new downtown which will have a similar look and feel of Daniel Island.

Matt shared the unique approach that created the success of Daniel Island Company from its architecture to the attraction of being the home of a professional soccer team, a top national tennis event, and even a national golf tournament this fall. Matt showed us the innovation his company used to address the needs of the community that enhanced the beauty of the Lowcountry.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw

August 4, 2006


August 1, 2006: Our speaker was Ed Sellers, CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, an organization that insures half of all South Carolina commercially-insured residents. Setting the stage for the complexity of understanding the high cost of medical care he told us that there are a host of issues to be considered, many of which he could not even begin to discuss, such as: How technology affects medical costs; the dilemma of the uninsured; the new all inclusive health care plan implemented by the state of Massachusetts; or the privatizing of medical insurance into major business ventures.

Medicine 101 tells us that a simple formula explains it all. One must simply divide the total U.S. population into the total of all costs that it takes to deliver medical care to the U.S. "All costs" includes buildings, salaries, new medical machinery, all of which eats up about 50% of the delivery cost. Unless the population goes up significantly to spread the cost over more people, the unit-specific delivery cost will only continue to rise. As the costs rise, the medical providers must ensure their reimbursement increases to cover the increased costs per visit. In some cases the consumer may also visit the doctor more often or use more of the new tests and services that are coming available, which also helps cover the increased costs for the providers.

Since the Federal government does not significantly increase its reimbursement for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, the overall cost of medicine for the commercially-insured population will rise to offset the provider losses on the governmental patients. At present, governmental healthcare costs are approaching 3 trillion annually and represent approximately 15% of the gross national product.

Another trend is a literal explosion of privately owned clinics and service delivery centers, especially physician-owned, such as a center with an MRI machine. The more patients who go to the private facilities, the deeper the trouble for the hospital systems, who also have the same equipment. It should be noted that the private, non-hospital facilities focus on profitable services and do not accept uninsured patients or Medicaid patients, thus they can offer the same service at a cheaper rate.

Medical plan premiums are expected to go up in the year 2007 in a range of 8 to 11 percent, which is lower than the increases over the last few years. Every new hospital built, such as the planned new East Cooper Hospital, adds to the overall cost of the delivery of medicine in the region. So what is the BC/BS response to these issues?

1. Implement consumer directed health plans where the consumer has higher out-of-pocket costs than under traditional managed care insurance, and therefore should be more interested in the value (cost and quality) of the services provided.
2. Consumerism/Transparency - provide tools for consumers to use to understand the type, quality, and costs of health care services.

So, what does he see in the future?
There will definitely be continued health care inflation.
There will be some medical breakthroughs, but they will not contain costs, because they will be focused on small segments of the population (e.g. stem cell research).
The states will continue to struggle with the cost of Medicaid.
Individuals will become more empowered as they learn more about medicine.
The poor will continue to be very vulnerable.

Asked what he would do to solve the problems if he were totally in charge, Ed Sellers responded:
I would work on problems in small bites.
I would add a 5% tax on all goods to go into a medical pool.
I would make every person have medical insurance just as they must have car insurance.
I would help people pay their medical premiums, from the pool, adjusted by their income.

Reported by Ellen Jackson and Fred Sales, Keyway Committee