November 25, 2007

Charleston's Bulk Service Handling Port

November 20th, 2007: Art Rudolph, area manager for Kinder Morgan Terminals, gave us information on this fast growing company, which is only 10 years old. His territory extends from Philadelphia to Charleston and includes 8 terminals. The home company owns and manages 150 terminals shipping oil, diesel, coal, and other bulk products. In addition to ports they have major pipe lines terminals in New York City, Houston, and New Orleans which pump natural gas, CO2, and diesel V.

A computerized master control center operates out of Houston. The company started with a single pipe line purchased from Enron and then expended into terminals in Kentucky and Tennessee. The biggest company terminal in the Charleston area is in North Charleston, on Virginia Avenue and handles rebar, coal, salt, cement and aggregate. 50% of the aggregate for the new Cooper River Bridge came from their terminal. This terminal can hold 450,000 barrels of diesel and chemicals used by Westvaco.

The company continues to purchase and expend, but not to break up and sell but rather to improve and run the terminals and facilities it purchases, all with an eye to safety and environmental considerations. The North Charleston terminal site has been active since the early 1900's and they are committed to making major cleanups of old soil leaks there were on the site. Recent area improvements include the purchase of two new German cranes. Their dock capacity enables them to import huge quantities of highly clean burning coal from South America. Currently they are planning expansions that will spend about 70 million dollars.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

November 20, 2007

CSO Continues to Make Great Music

November 13th, 2007: David Stahl, Music Director of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra and Ted Legasey, CFO, visited our club to let us know what's been going on the last couple of years and what the future holds for our symphony Orchestra.

According to Stahl, about 18 months ago, the CSO was on "life support with a very poor prognosis for the future." The musicians were taking a pay cut on what is already a very low salary and the community support was at an all time low. However, with a charge to save the CSO lead by Mayor Joe Riley, last year was their best year. They were able to get their musician's salaries back and still managed to have the most financially productive year they've ever had.

The musicians are arguably the heart and soul or our symphony. The 46 that are on staff have a 35 week schedule from late September to late May and are paid about $25,000 per year. All are mastered trained and one third of them are professors of music at schools in the Charleston area. However, more important than the music, is the education that each musician provides to local schools all across the county. They visit schools every week and are educating our young people about music and all that it has to offer. They take that part of the job as seriously and passionately as they do their playing.

The reason the CSO was in bad shape was because community support dropped. Up until last year, they had about $50 to $65,000 worth of business support, this past year that number increased to $1.5 million. That was all due to the hard work of Stahl, Legasey, Mayor Riley and many others staffed at the CSO. This progress must continue. Our city has so much to offer in so many areas. For a city our size, to have a symphony orchestra with talented musicians, the cultural enrichment they provide to us and their commitment to education makes them worth supporting for years to come. For more information, please go to their website at

Submitted by Darby Hand, Keyway Committee

November 11, 2007

"Real Rotarians" and a club "full of 'em"

November 6, 2007 : Rotarian Kyra Morris started off this energizing meeting with a challenge to our club to become "real Rotarians." Kyra spoke passionately about the Rotary Foundation and continually referred back to the true object of Rotary. Through a well laid out presentation, Kyra helped us understand the impact of the Rotary Foundation both locally and globally. Several of us were surprised to hear about the extent of matching funds available and also the far-reaching implications of our dollars. To emphasize Kyra's challenge, John Bleeker discussed different ways to give to the Foundation and laid out his goals for our club: to have 100% of our club be counted as Sustaining Members ($100/ year) and to catch up with other local clubs, which are significantly smaller than ours, and be recognized as a "Star" Club. He explained that, in order to become a Two Star Club (the lowest level of recognition) our club should have contributed about $50,000 in the 2006-2007 Rotary year. Instead, our giving totaled $31,363.66 which was woefully short. In order to become a Two Star Club, we would need a $200 per capita donation. He then introduced Danya Jordan of Water Missions International.

Danya captivated our group immediately with a striking photograph of a young girl named Jaqueline carrying a five gallon jug of water on her head. She then held up a bottle of murky brown water and explained that the water Jaqueline walks four miles a day to bring home for her family's daily needs is as contaminated and dirty as the water in the bottle. Danya taught us that 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water and that every 15 seconds, 1 out of 5 children dies from a water bourn illness. Water Missions International (founded by Rotarians George and Molly Greene) has provided over 438 water systems to 31 countries around the world. Their "Living Water" treatment systems have saved the lives of countless people who did not have access to clean water prior to the intervention of Water Missions. Danya encouraged us to help in three ways: By volunteering, by participating in Operation Round Up, and by utilizing the funds available for the Water Project match. If our club were to donate $5,000 the district would match our funds dollar for dollar bringing our impact to $10,000. Rotary International would then match District Funds dollar for dollar and provide a 50 cent match for local funds. This would turn our $5000 into $17,500!

Our support could have far-reaching effects. Water Missions is not only committed to providing disaster relief, they are building communities and training them in health and hygiene along with providing for spiritual growth.

Danya left us with the following thought: Man can live for almost one month without food but will live for less than a week without water.

Submitted by Angie Johnson, Keyway Committee

November 5, 2007

Candidates for City Council Debate

October 30, 2007: Candidates for Charleston City Council, Districts 1, 3, and 11, graciously spoke to our club last week about themselves and their plans, if elected or re-elected, to Charleston City Council. They each outlined their platform (3 minutes allowed) and then answered club member questions.

Ernie Long spoke about his concerns regarding District 1 that include tourism, traffic, taxes, noise, parking, and even college students. He is ready to take on these issues. He established himself as a leader in the community, as a Porter Gaud board member, a Citadel alumni, and the President of the Charlestowne Neighborhood Association. Gary White, also running for District 1, discussed how he has watched the area become a big city, and he wants to address city planning. He outlined his 4-point plan, including preservation, planning, success of growth, and prosperity.

For District 3, Erika Harrison discussed the importance of rational development, crime prevention, and making the city a classroom. She is a practicing attorney. Next, James Lewis says that he been known to represent his constituents well, and has been called a critic of city council in the past, of which he is not scared. He discussed the need for more police officers on the street.

Luqman Rasheed is also running for District 3. He is very active in his community, having been on the Burke High school committee, the Parks and Recreation committee, and advocating for more community involvement. He too would like a greater police foot patrol presence in the community.

Anne Francis Bleecker was present for District 11. She discussed how much she has relished being part of changes during her time on city council, and some of her projects, such as the Office on Aging. She was first sworn into her office in 2000, but says she would like to continue her work.

After the candidates each discussed their platforms for 3 minutes, the moderator asked them pre-submitted questions. Of interest, they commented on the balance of power between the council and the mayor, and the public sentiment following the tragic Sofa Super store fire and Chief Thomas.

Submitted by Jacqueline Grau, Keyway Committee

November 1, 2007

"2007 Charleston Mayoral Candidate Debate"

October 23, 2007: Today, we were treated to hear from the four Charleston mayoral candidates. Each gave us a five minute presentation on his visions, the reasons he would make the best mayor, and how he would govern the City of Charleston. The candidates are Omar Brown, Mayor Joe Riley, William "Dudley" Gregorie, and Marc Knapp. The candidates were introduced by Larry Tarleton, who moderated the spirited debate.

Omar Brown led off the debate by characterizing himself as innovative, enthusiastic, and hard worker who knows about the Charleston streets. His goal is to make the lives of Charlestonians better and to keep them safe. He stated, "while the Mayor is not directly responsible for education, improving our educational system would make the lives of everyone better." He indicated that having been a victim of crime himself, he understands the importance of pulling the municipalities together to work to make Charleston a safer place.

Next, Mayor Joe Riley indicated it was an honor to serve Charleston during his tenure as Mayor and reiterated his desire to continue to serve in the future. The Mayor listed a number of accomplishments such as the blossoming of the Biotech community to improve drainage for the City. Mayor Riley addressed public safety by looking forward to working with the Chief of the Fire Department to address the issues that were recently reported to strengthen the organization to be one of the best in the nation. His vision for the future includes a computer rail, community centers for learning, and expanded parks.

William "Dudley" Gregorie stated he felt we needed a change and renewed focus on our problems. Born on Court Street in a home his family bought in the late 1980's just a few blocks away from where we were meeting, he is very familiar with the Charleston community. He indicated his experience as a Director for HUD's Columbia Field Office, in which he was significantly involved in development, including Magnolia and the Neck, would become an asset for him. He feels there is a need to overhaul the management system of the City of Charleston and to spend tax dollars on infrastructure to preserve the "flavor" of Charleston.

Marc Knapp stated he is the most qualified candidate and then raised the issue of the Fire Department. He stated his background in finance as a Stock Broker and his experience as a Contractor, which would help him in terms of financial and infrastructure insights. He focused strongly on the deaths of the Fire Fighters and felt significant changes are needed in the Department, including a new Chief.

Their opening statements were followed by an exciting "question and answer session". The questions were submitted by Rotary members. The session resulted in a lively debate and helped all present gain a better understanding on the qualifications of the candidates. This insight will also help those in attendance make that all-important decision as to who they will support on Election Day.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Commitee