July 24, 2008

"Attorney General McMaster on Ordinary Citizens Fighting Crime"

July 22th, 2008: Attorney General Henry McMaster delivered a message to our club that was right in line with the four way test: as citizens we must actively fight crime. Mr. McMaster's theme took him from dog fighting, to criminal domestic violence, to parole for violent criminals, to internet predators. His message was right on target with the news of today. Law enforcement in our state cannot do it all alone, and they need our help by way of a watchful eye, a willingness to report suspicious activity, and a helping hand from local citizens.

One crime that has gained recent national attention is the very gruesome, dog fighting. The movement to stop this vicious and cruel activity was been led in part by local animal welfare societies who have been backing rewards for information leading to the arrests and convictions of dog fighters. Again, the Attorney General underlined the need for citizens to report suspicious activity related to the keeping of dogs.

Another sub-set of crimes that has gained attention is internet based sexual perversion and fraud. McMaster eloquently explained that it is "raining perverts" out there and we have to be attuned to what our children are doing on the internet. Again, it is a priority of law enforcement to trap these predators but they cannot do it alone, and will probably never be able to find them all. It is essential for citizens to report suspicious behavior and monitor their own families.

Mr. McMaster also discussed criminal domestic violence, which is not a new crime, but which has become more of a public issue in modern times. He encouraged the attorneys in the club to be trained in order to be deputized special prosecutors in magistrates court for criminal domestic violence cases. Often times only the arresting officers are present to prosecute these cases, but there is a defense attorney on the other side. We need more attorneys working to convict the CDV offenders, and encourage the victims to come to court and testify. He also discussed abolishing the parole system in the state and instituting a new system for non-violent offenders. We thank the Attorney General for giving his time and visiting our club.

Reported by Jackie Grau, Keyway Committee.

July 19, 2008


July 15th, 2008: Today, Darla Moore shared her passion not only for South Carolina and its people, but also for two projects she has underwritten that are designed to improve the quality of life in the Lowcountry and State.

A native South Carolinian, born in Lake City, she found legendary success in the world of high finance and now focuses her time and passion here at home. Unlike many South Carolinians who must leave the state to find career and financial success, she returned home to use her experience and resources to make this a better place to live and work.

Many know of her high profile contributions and philanthropy such as the Darla Moore School of Business at USC. She has provided other very important contributions, such as Clemson's Eugene T. Moore School of Education named for her father. Today, we had the opportunity to have her share her vision of the Palmetto Institute and of Park Angels of Charleston.

According to Moore, the Institute's initial assessment was blunt, to the point and underscored its significant need. It stated that South Carolina could not compete effectively in today's global economy unless it made significant improvements in the mix of industry and the quality of our economic foundations. To compete, we must have a smart, well-trained workforce. She, as proof of the need to upgrade our workforce skills, cited BMW, which had to "trash" the first 800 vehicles produced by South Carolina workers due to the need to demonstrate quality control.

Aiding in the improvement of our workforce will be four technical colleges presided over by women who are Institute partners in a program entitled, "Achieving the Dream." Strong support by the State's research universities is also key. Moore stated "robust economic activity follows smart people." As economic clusters grow, so does economic opportunity.

In addition to smart people, to be successful we must have and support a government that will invest in our economic foundations while keeping tax rates low enough to encourage growth. It's very important to have an overall, rather than a piecemeal tax approach. The Institute provides in-depth research and analysis to advise the public and policymakers of the need for an unbiased, strategic tax approach that will produce real long-term economic benefit.

Life is about more than just business. One day while walking, Darla and her husband, Richard Rainwater, came up with an idea to help preserve Charleston's unique beauty and value. The Charleston Parks Conservatory is a new nonprofit organization, working with public and private partners to elevate our parks to the level preservation and appreciation that we already give our landmarks and buildings.

South Carolina and Charleston are extremely lucky and blessed to have Darla Moore as a returning native who not only returned home, but also gives back with passion and dedication.

Reported by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee.

July 11, 2008

"We're a leader in providing diverse & innovative educational programs"

July 8th, 2008: Our own Colleen Condon was "gracefully" interrupted by President Mary Thornley during her introduction. Dr. Thornley stated, "I know how this works and I was instructed by my mentor, General Grimsley, to leave at you best before they tell you "you best leave now."

Ms. Thornley did a wonderful job of walking our club through a small portion of the vast opportunities offered by Trident Tech. She highlighted the newest campus extension: St. Paul's Parrish that specializes in welding, reinforcing the college's overall goal of providing training to the poorest parts of Charleston County [those who have the least amount of money for gas to travel to jobs away from their homes] and ensure local employers use local talent. Trident recently teamed with Dorchester County and the federal Department of Commerce and received a $1.3 million grant to expand vocational opportunities. Their Aeronautical studies training is one for all to boast. Supporting the first airplane made of carbon fiber (25%), Trident trains the pipeline for over 600 employees who posses the highest level of technicial training supporting Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Tident started the program from scratch and now supports a center for accelerated start-up (CAT) that is the finest in the United States.

For the sake of time management, Dr. Thornley chose to highlight 2 more of the 12 academic divisions at TTC:

- Culinary Institute of Charleston: over 77,000 square feet of state-of-the-art training including a beverage operations laboratory.

- Nursing: TTC's greatest "brick and mortar need." Trident is SC's largest producer of nurses since 1985. "We produce 500 a year and have a need for 1075."

Reported by Bill Crowe, Keyway Committee Chair