June 26, 2008

"Presidential/Board Transition Meeting"

June 24th, 2008: And so a new year begins. Before President Andy's tenure began, President Jermaine gave a rousing speech and shared with our club some great memories, lessons learned, and some of the wonderful charitable endeavors he was able to participate and lead our club in as President. Thank you Jermaine for a job well done and another successful year for our club.

After induction, President Andy's first order of business was to recognize Jermaine for all the hard work he had done. Second, he recognized the new board members that will guide us through what we know will be an interesting, exciting, and successful 2008-2009 year. As all incoming Rotary presidents do, Andy attended a Rotary conference in Los Angeles, California. He attended meetings and met Rotarians from all over the world. While there, it fueled some great ideas to implement and goals for our club to achieve this year.

First, there is no doubt our club is a big supporter of local charities. But, Andy is excited about identifying an international project that we can support. Rotary is able to do so much nationally and internationally and both are equally important.

One of the many great things about our club is the quality of our programs. "Every week I learn something" says Andy and it's his goal to make sure that each and every week we have a program that is interesting and informative. Jennet Alterman has agreed to join him in continuing this effort. His other areas of focus are a successful wellness program, integrating new members so that they are involved right away and making sure that our big fundraising project is something we focus on and own. Just to give the money isn't enough, participating to make sure it's successful is also important.

It's been a wonderful year led by President Jermaine. With Andy now at the helm, we all can look forward to continued success heading our way.

Reported by Darby Siegel, Keyway Committee

June 22, 2008

Local Authors and Rotarians Raising Money for Fraser Elementary

June 17, 2008: Today, we hosted a book signing for six local authors as a fund raiser to benefit the children at Fraser Elementary School in downtown Charleston.

Dr. Charles Banov author of Office Upstairs
Dr. Banov is a Charleston native, who traveled the world lecturing on the subject of allergies. He is a fellow of many national and international medical societies. In his book Dr. Banov shares the drama, humor, and humanity of his years practicing medicine. When asked why he wrote the book Dr. Banov responded: "I was in Arizona teaching at a graduate program and one day I saw an African American woman walking alone who no one seemed to want to talk to. I struck up a conversation with her and after sharing about my life she said, 'you must write a book.' Later my wife asked 'do you know who that was; that was Oprah Winfrey'. Mr. Banov hopes he lived his life and practiced medicine in a way that, at the end of his time on earth, those who knew him will say Dr. Banov has moved his Office Upstairs!

Mrs. Joyce Coakley author of Sweetgrass Baskets
Joyce Coakley, author and historian, is Director of the College of Charleston's Upward Bound Program and president and cofounder of Sweetgrass Cultural Arts Preservation Society and the owner of Sweetgrass Baskets by Design. The author is from Mt. Pleasant and considers her book the result of a "30 year research project". Growing up, Mrs. Coakley cared for the aged while their families attended church and other community events; she used this time to ask her elders to tell her of the rich past of the Lowcountry including stories of ghosts, h'aints, and the local Gullah traditions, she also recorder the stories of her grandmother, the medicine woman, and the "flower ladies" who came into existence in 1911. The book was originally written to accompany the beautiful sweet grass baskets hand-woven in Charleston to educate all of their history and significance.

Ms. Tressy Magwood Mellichamp and Ms. Lily Herndon Weaks co-authors of East Cooper, A Maritime Heritage
These two ladies combines Tressy's expertise as a 4th generation Shem Creek shrimping family, with Lily's research and writing skills to co-author "East Cooper, A Maritime Heritage". The book is meant to educate on the rich history East of the Cooper that is often overshadowed by Charleston. It is Tressy and Lily's hope that the book will preserve the maritime history that has been an integral part of life on the coast for over 200 years.

Tripp Wiles author of Forgotten Raiders of '42
Mr. Wiles has served in the armed forces and as a civilian for the US Army with the Central Identification Lab in Hawaii and the Defense POW office in Virginia. Mr. Wiles first task was to research nine marine raiders who died in the pacific and determine where they were executed. While working on the project the author uncovered new information and realized that only one side of the story was being told. Tripp Wiles wrote "Forgotten Raider's of 42" to educate the people on both sides of the story, the ensuing investigation and honor the men who died in the raid.

Mr. Jack McCray author of Charleston Jazz
Mr. McCrary has a long rich history with his beloved art, Jazz Music. Jack McCray was a reporter with the Post and Courier for over 30 years and is "the lead researcher and co-founder of the Charleston Jazz Initiative". Mr. McCrary spent the last three decades on a journey of self discovery and wanted to share with fellow Charlestonians and jazz lovers around the world the largely unknown jazz history of the Lowcountry. Mr. McCray states that often times the jazz history associated with Charleston is over shadowed by the thought that the music was originated in New Orleans. "What happened on the South Carolina coast rivaled what was happening in New Orleans, Tennessee, and all over the South East". The author's goal in "Charleston Jazz" was to educate and entertain his reader, while preserving the roots of Jazz in Charleston.

Submitted by Elizabeth Wooten Burwell, Keyway Committee

June 12, 2008

"The Rising Cost of Energy in South Carolina"

June 10th, 2008: The Director of the South Carolina Energy Office, John Clark, gave a fact-filled and optimistic presentation last week. Mr. Clark is a native of our state, having grown up in Kingstree and then attending college and earning a PhD. The subject of his presentation was of utmost relevance to us all: the rising cost of energy in SC. There are no conventional energy resources in the state, such as coal, oil, natural gas, or uranium. Higher demand is forcing us to look for cleaner and alternative sources. South Carolina ranks 15th in the nation for energy consumption per capita, 5th for electricity usage, and 13th for gasoline usage. The good news is that our kilowatt hour charge is comparatively on the low side: an average of 7 cents. However, the demand in the state is still very high. We also use a lot of coal for electricity. The down side to coal is that it is associated with mercury, sulfur dioxide, other particulates and it can require high water usage.

With alarm bells sounded, South Carolina is looking for alternatives to non-renewable energy sources. One alternative to coal is the already popular nuclear energy. Nuclear energy generally produces low emissions, but it requires a lot of water, can be expensive, and there are unresolved waste disposal issues. As many as four new nuclear power plants are in the works to be opened by 2020. Some other renewable energy ideas are wood wastes, landfill gases, and animal and human waste. There has been talk about using wind power, however Mr. Clark notes that it is a better idea for West of the Mississippi. However, the idea may work off shore in South Carolina.

There is a lot of excitement over plug-in vehicles, bio-diesel and ethanol. The pressure to perfect this idea grows as it becomes more apparent that the vast majority of oil resources are held in the Middle-East, Russia, Venezuela, and several other nations. Ideally, we would switch to hybrid vehicles that run on a mix of battery power and fuel. The batteries would be charged by electricity. Hypothetically such a system could reduce our energy cost to 63 cents per gallon (based on a price of $3.75 per gallon for gasoline). Plug-in vehicles are one of the most exciting ideas. However, Mr. Clark notes, with honesty, that there is no instant or easy panacea for the energy crises we are facing.

Reported by Jackie Grau, Keyway Committee

June 6, 2008

"Charleston Coroner's Race"

Today, we had the privilege of having the three candidates for the Charleston County Coroner's office speak to us and share their ideas and strategies for the office. Rae Wooten and Bubba Dunlap will face-off in the June 10th primary to determine who will be the Republican candidate in the November election. Henry Middleton, unopposed in the primary, will be the Democratic candidate in the November election, also shared his ideas.

Based on their comments, it was clear that each candidate brings a wealth of experience with their unique perspectives and desires to not just determine the manner and cause of death, but to also serve the families of victims.

Bubba Dunlap, who is challenging the incumbent Ray Wooten, led off and shared his experience, as well as, his desire to serve as the Coroner. His experience began with the fire department and includes EMS District Supervisor and Deputy Coroner for Charleston County. He has a degree in Criminal Justice and is a Registered Nurse working in the East Cooper Emergency Room. His experience helps him provide compassionate support and demonstrates his commitment to public service.

Rae Wooten is the current Charleston County Coroner and joined the office in 1995. She is also a Registered Nurse and was appointed Coroner in 1996 by the Governor to fill Susan Chewning's unexpired term. Rae is heavily involved in Master Disaster Planning on a regional basis and currently manages $1 million budget, but she says it's much more than dollars and even creating ways to get more value from each dollar, it's about providing the compassion and support to families of victims at this very difficult time.

Henry Middleton grew up in Berkeley County, received a degree in Biology from Morris College and has been involved in various aspects of criminal investigations. He spent 19 years with Charleston County Medical Examiner's Office and was Deputy Coroner from 1996 to 1997. He is currently a Crime Scene Technician and has seen death through the eyes of a Coroner, as well as, the police department. He strongly believes in a team approach utilizing Police and first responders to assist the Coroners office to gather more, accurate information beginning at the crime scene itself.

We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to hear from these talented, dedicated Public Servants.

Reported by Wayne Outlaw Keyway Committee

June 1, 2008

"Educating All Children, at All Costs ..."

May 27th, 2008: Our Rotary Club honors our Teachers of the Year:

"Charleston County Names Gwendolyn Benton as its Teacher of the Year!"
Teachers of the Year of the Charleston County School District (CCSD) are selected annually from among approximately 3,500 teachers. Each school names and honors its own Teacher of the Year. Nominees at the school level are given the opportunity to compete in the District level competition. Forty-four teachers competed in the District level competition this year.

Ms. Benton, who has been teaching for almost 40 years, took top honors at the announcement ceremony. "This one-of-a-kind teacher," credited for never giving up on anything, said "It is one of the greatest honors in my entire life." "Ms. Benton, the honor is all ours!"

"We thank you for your tireless service. We are inspired by the imprint you've left on students at Morningside Middle School-they adore you. We are privileged to learn from the way you teach while also serving the community, creating scholarship programs, and so Ms. Benton, I thank you for personifying our standard of excellence. And to all of our educators, please know how much I appreciate your hard work, ingenuity, and commitment to making the future bright for every student in our county. Everywhere I go, I see excellence being achieved across the county, and it's a tribute to all of you, our parents and partners." Dr. McGinley

Reported by Bill Crowe, Keyway Chairperson