February 25, 2007

Rotarians Get Personal

February 20, 2007: Today Rotarians enjoyed a "fellowship meeting" instead of a speaker. Led by our President-Elect Jermaine Husser, Rotarians were asked to sit at different tables, and one person at each table was designated the "facilitator" for that group. There were two activities designed to get to know your fellow club members and encourage discussion during and, hopefully, after the meeting.

The first activity involved a series of personal and professional questions asked of one person to another directly across the table for one minute. When the minute was up, the questions were passed to the next person, who asked questions of the person across from them, and so forth. This was continued for approximately 10 minutes, until everyone had asked and been asked a question. Jermaine then asked the group to identify someone who shared your hobbies and interests, which was one of the questions. He encouraged everyone in the group to do something with the person over the next 30 days who shared mutual interests.

The next activity involved a series of questions based on Rotary history, both general and specific to our Club. Rotarians were asked to answer five questions as quickly as possible, and the groups who finished first (with all correct answers) were eligible for prizes including SoCon Tournament Basketball tickets. The trick was getting all of the questions correct first!

All in all, the hour went quickly and Rotarians got the opportunity to get to know their fellow members a little better. Jermaine did a wonderful job of creating and facilitating the event, and hopefully we can have more of this type of event in the future!

Submitted by Amy Riley, Keyway Committee Chair

February 19, 2007

Update on Port Access

February 13, 2007: Mr. Patten is a seasoned SCDOT authority who for nine years prior to 2001 held the position of Program Director for the SCDOT. He has a Civil Engineering degree from Clemson and is a Registered Engineer. His many credentials underscore his comprehensive understanding of the Port Access issues.

In his presentation, Mr. Patten explained that there were many groups actively involved in the assessment and recommendations for access links between I-26 and the Port Authority at the former Navy base. A sample of the groups involved include the Army Corps of Engineers, SCDOT, Federal Highway Commission and the Chamber of Commerce.

One of the main issues that needed to be resolved prior to beginning operations at the proposed port facility was the ability to provide a continuous and uninterrupted road for trucks between I-26 and the port facility. One of the first official acts of the SCDOT, August, 2005, was to submit a permit application showing five potential alignments along with environmental impact statements (EIS).

A draft EIS for the proposed port and associated roadway was released for public review October 21, 2005. Alignments were evaluated and numerous public hearings were held to hear community comments and concerns and to explain how the alignments were determined. The preferred corridor and best design were discussed with emphasis on the fact that no displacement would result from the proposed alignment. The revised proposal which was submitted to the SCDOT involves the elimination of exit 218 Future traffic will either access a reconstructed exit 217 or use the access roads. This was proposed in light of the fact that this area of I-26 has several exit areas that are within a mile of one another which often causes excess congestion where traffic is entering and exiting close together. Most road designs have exit ramps at least two miles apart to reduce this type of congestion.

Currently, the Ways and Means committee has approved $138 million for completion of the construction required prior to the Port opening in 2012. However, Mr. Patten pointed out that the full General Assembly still needs to approve the budget. The total cost for the project is $282 million. When asked why the cost was so high he pointed out that average road construction is $15-20 million per mile which does not include costs pertaining to bridge structures.

Submitted by Stephanie Wilson, Keyway Committee

February 12, 2007

The latest from CARTA

February 6, 2007 -- Bruce Murdy introduced Howard Chapman as one of our Rotary's own who, after three decades as the Director of Charleston Transportation, chose to move on to founding CARTA.

Howard began his talk by emphasizing a Kiplinger Principle [paraphrased], "any initiative that provides a tax break to both the Employer and the Employee is rare and will succeed." After emphasizing CARTA is composed of eight different governments, he pointed to his cornerstone topic: CARTA Express launched on January 22, 2007 ( www.whydrive.net or call 843.724.7420). The origins of Express came from the Stakeholders:

  • Get us back to where you were before services were cut back
  • Give us smaller buses
  • Try new things

Suggestion number two resulted in 16 new, smaller buses that could get into neighborhoods the large buses could not reach. Suggestion number three yielded Express service from four outlying Charleston locations to select downtown locations in less than 30 minutes each way. Of note, managers in all four locations made business decisions to allow CARTA customers to park for free. Chapman emphasized: free parking; tax-free dollars; and a "rider-designed, smart times" timetable is more than enough reason to use CARTA. One MUSC employee was quoted as saying, "this is the one half-hour of the day that is mine." Howard emphasized some very key points:

  • Thanks to the Post & Courier and Charleston River Dogs for helping get the Express "word out"
  • Thanks to the College of Charleston for providing "free-to-staff" CARTA transportation
  • CARTA: is "focused on continuing to provide consistent, reliable service"
  • 2006 surpassed 2005 riders by 35%
  • CARTA has 16 new physical locations to buy tickets (24/7 at www.ridecarta.com)
  • CARTA is adding advertising (2 major clients) starting next month
  • CARTA is adding 22 bus shelters in the next few months

CARTA may be an eight government entity, but they employ the best world-wide contractor in the country. What’s next?

  • Market express
  • Reach out to tourists
  • Improve and streamline existing service
  • Implementing the first "5-Year Transit Action Plan"

Submitted by Bill Crowe, Keyway Committee

February 2, 2007

The CART Fund: Pocket Change Into Medical Advances

January 30, 2007: Our guest speaker, Mark Lattanzio, is the current regional coordinator for the Rotary CART Fund. He explained why the pocket change we throw into the "blue buckets" each week is so important. The CART Fund harnesses the bucket money from Rotary clubs in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and funnels it towards research dedicated to finding a cure for Alzheimer's Disease. The CART Fund was started by a Rotary club in Sumter, SC, in 1995. Since that time it has raised over $1,000,000,00. and has awarded grants in the way $1,350,000.00 towards research.

There is no question that Alzheimer's Disease has touched many Rotarians in a personal way. Our club was shown an educational video about Alzheimer's Disease that contained scenes of a Rotarian in Hilton Head who was very dear to the hearts of many, and became ill with the disease.

The CART Fund is unlike other funds because it gives grants to "high risk" and innovative research areas. Applications for a CART Fund grant can be found at www.afar.org/grants.html. A decision is made each March on who will receive the next grant of $250,000.00.

Submitted by Jackie Gottfried, Keyway Committee