February 22, 2008

Conversation with Joan Mack

February 19, 2008: Joan Mack, Public Information Director and Producer of the "Conversations" show on ETV Public Radio was our speaker of the day. Joan brings to the program a broad background and groundbreaker experiences: first Afro-American female to cost such a program; 2001 award recipient for a program produced at the College of Charleston reporting on the Civil Rights Movement; Fox 24 award as an "exceptional person"; recipient of a public service award from Pope John Paul II.

Joan started her reporting career in 1972 on our local Channel 5 who were "seeking an African-woman to join the staff." Though she had no prior broadcasting experience she applied for and received the job. From there she moved to Channel 2 as a lead reporter, again breaking ground as a female reporter. Finally the producers of "Conversations" on ETV radio recruited her and she has continued her outstanding reporting.

Her interviews have included many of the nations noteworthy citizens. She played a short radio segment for us during which we heard from Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House of Representatives; James Clyburn, South Carolina Congressman; Jim Rex, State Superintendent of Schools; Brent Lott, C of C professor and author of "Jewel" and Oprah Winfrey selection; and most recently Michelle Obama, wife of the senator.

"Conversations with Joan Mack" airs each Thursday evening at 6:30 on ETV radio, FM 89.3. This is a format that goes back in time to the Fireside Chats originated with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1930's. It is a tried and true format well worthy of the time to listen.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

February 15, 2008

"Mental Health in South Carolina"

February 12, 2008: Jim Geffert introduced our guest speaker, John Magill, with a touch of humor to preface a very serious topic. Jim stated that the best indication someone is going crazy is "a loss of memory and forgetfulness on trash day." John, the State Director of the Mental Health Department, has served in the field for 40 years, 38 in Charleston and began his presentation with a quick history lesson. His agency is a very large organization with over 5300 employees. They treated over 100,000 patients in 4 hospitals (3 in Columbia and 1 in Anderson), 17 mental health centers, and 45 clinics. 31,00 children and adolescents were treated which was not part of the 1821 charter when the state legislature authorized the agency; our oldest agency. The first hospital was opened in 1827 and the first patient treated in 1828: the archived clinical notes reveal an amazing insight into the status of the patient and state of his treatment.

Mr. Magill expanded on "what we're doing well" stating there's 250 counselors working in 457 schools in an attempt to encounter problems early that will lead to more success later. He related there are 850,000 people in SC suffering from some form of mental illness and an additional 250,000 with an addictive disease ... "that's 1 million out of a 4.3 million person population." John then related "what we're not doing well." "We have a state-wide crisis providing emergency support." Today there's 600-700 beds in hospitals and, on any night, 3000 people in a community care environment. There's a larger number not finding a service and seek treatment in emergency rooms. To help this "ER crisis" the Duke endowment provided 4 million dollars to allow SC's 65 emergency rooms a link back to the agency, 24/7/365, to make a better diagnosis and prescribe better medication ... "we're the first state in the Union to do so." Medicaid and Blue Cross Blue Shield have [respectively] contributed funds to support a collaborative database and school-based support in the "corridor of shame."

In summary, John complemented Rotary for "putting our heart and resources into doing something good for someone else."

Reported by Bill Crowe, Keyway Committee Chair

February 8, 2008

"Personal Pathways to Success!"

February 5, 2008: Patricia Ferguson, representing Trident Regional Education Center, has "mastered" the field of education many times over. She studied education at Clemson, has a masters' degree, and has experience in grant writing, and academic enhancement courses. What shines through besides her impressive academic background, is her enthusiasm and belief that there is genuine "opportunity for genius" through education.

Ms. Ferguson is passing on what she knows, to help bring the vision of a bright future to South Carolina's school children. Ms. Ferguson discussed how the Education and Economic Development Act of 2005 has been implemented, and what the purpose is behind it. There is a catchy motto associated with the Act: "Personal Pathways to Success." The educators, legislators, and businesses behind the Act are hoping this motto will appeal to the public.

The Personal Pathways program is intended to accomplish a combined set of goals, including producing the workforce that will be demanded in the coming years. The relevance of the Personal Pathways to local businesses should not be overlooked. Ms. Ferguson walked us through some statistics that are cause for concern to any local resident: 53% of South Carolina high school students graduate in 4 years--that is the lowest number since 2004; 56% of South Carolina adults function at a literacy level below that of a 5th grader. The program as implemented in high schools asks students to choose a sort of "major" out of 16 different career cluster focuses, as defined by the US Department of Education.

Students are free to change their focus major yearly, and are not locked in. The purpose is to encourage students to take classes they will enjoy, and to learn more about a career path. Businesses can also get involved by mentoring, counseling, and opening themselves up to students. Ms. Ferguson was an inspirational speaker, and we thank her for taking the time to better the community.

Reported by Jackie Grau, Keyway Committee

February 1, 2008

The Automobile is Your "Second Home"

January 29, 2008: Jim Geffert introduced Ray Parrish as a very successful businessman who spent the first 23 years of his life working with his Dad in his "gas station" ... that's a phrase we haven't heard for a while. But that background produced an extremely successful Regional sales manager for Ford Corporation who states his family is "top shelf and the key to his success."

Ray set the stage for an extremely informative discussion that revolved around "better technology ideas in the automotive industry that is changing the world." He stated the US market facts:
- 175 million internet users
- 110 million broadband users
- 100 million iPods sold as of April 2007

These numbers will continue to increase exponentially because:
- 73% (245 million) of today's youth control the market demand

These factors converge with "their second home" ... the car. Generation "Y" wants:
- Internet in the car
- Full voice control of their peripheral devices
- Plug and play as they start their car

Ray ensured we understood their industry-leading technology "meets a need and doesn't create a need.' He expanded on the fact Ford's technology was launched from the ground up and done so in conjunction with Microsoft.

Questions from our Club revolved around safety and the future of corporate liability when dealing with inexperienced drivers using a plethora of technology integrated into an automobile that can serve our needs or take a life.

Reported by Bill Crowe, Keyway Committee Chair