June 19, 2009

"Counting Every Person: 2010 Census"

June 16, 2009: Every 10 years since 1790, the US Census Bureau counts each individual in the United States. This amazing track record will continue to be intact at this upcoming census because of the efforts and assistance of people such as Terry Seabrook, Partnership Specialist of the Charlotte Regional Census Center. She shared with us the reasons why it's important for full and accurate count and some interesting insights as to how that count is done. The census counts not only every citizen but all individuals that are in the United States with they are here legally or not.

In introducing our speaker, Alison Standard shared that Terry was not only an extremely competent individual but also a well-respected member of the community for many years and will be a very valuable asset to our "be counted in 2010" effort. This effort is very important for South Carolina as we fare worse only by Alaska in terms of responding to the Census. According to Seabrook "we can't even take pride in beating Mississippi".

Seabrook explained that there's been a process of geo mapping each home (or potential residence) combining sophisticated mapping technology and GPS systems. Before the census is mailed out, the objective is to know all potential residences in South Carolina. A great deal of effort is being expended to be sure that have been identified so they receive the mail in form. When asked if online surveying and would be more accurate, Seabrook responded, indicating that there are many people that don't have online capability or are not technologically savvy enough to accomplish a survey. The old-school, proven paper by direct mail is most accurate way to ensure everyone's counted. Technology is helping the census. Each form mailed out is being geo-coded to match the survey of residences. If a completed census not returned in the mail by the deadline a census taker will use the geo-coded information to visit the home up to six times to obtain a manual count.

While many people may want to avoid returning the census because they're worried that the information you provide will not be confidential. They don't have to worry. The individual census can't be seen by anyone for 72 years. If anybody violates confidentiality they can receive up to five years in prison and $250,000 fine. This effort is necessary, according to Seabrook because it affects many things that are important to us. First, it affects the apportionment of approximately $308 billion from the federal government. In addition to money, it affects political power. The information from the census is used for redistricting of Congress and also for redistricting state and local governments throughout the country. In addition, this information is extremely useful for all types of organizations including businesses for market research and planning.

To learn more about the US Census, and it's 10 quick and easy confidential questions go to www.census.gov. Census Day is April 1, 2010.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

June 9, 2009: Today, we were able to gain first hand knowledge about the many non-profit groups that serve the Charleston area. Each of the many organizations was ready to answer questions and provide flyers and materials about their work and upcoming events.

Submitted by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

June 5, 2009

"Piccolo Spoleto Festival"

June 2, 2009: Today, we were fortunate to have one of our club's former members share with us the unique and wonderful opportunity that we have as Charlestonians, to participate in, not just Spoleto, but in Piccolo Spoleto. Last year the festival sold 39,500 tickets and to more than 150 events. Barbara Kelley Duncan introduced our speaker, Ellen Dressler-Moryl, who was the first Director of the City of Charleston's Office of Cultural Affairs. During that three years she designed and launched a number of the OCA's ongoing projects including, the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, which is celebrating it's thirtieth season this past year, the City Gallery and the City Gallery at Dock Street Theater.

Ellen was a catalytic force in the development of the Black Arts Festival that evolved into the Mojaa African-American and Caribbean Arts Festival which is celebrating its 25th year. Ellen is a native of Portland, Oregon, has performed with the Portland Opera Orchestra, the Charleston Symphony and now performs with several local Chamber Music ensembles, including the Ensemble of St. Clair at Mepkin Abbey.

Ellen highlighted many of the opportunities that Piccolo Spoleto provides for the local area. In keeping with it's goal of giving an opportunity for local and regional talent to showcase against the backdrop of the Spoleto festival and to provide access those who would not have access to the events otherwise. This year, it provides 703 different events, utilizing the talent of 4,000-5000 different artists. Both Spoleto and Piccolo Spoleto combine for a $67,000,000 positive impact to the Charleston community. Even during difficult times it is making a significant contribution, however, the budget for Piccolo Spoleto was cut by 1/3 but working as a team, they made the reductions to not endanger the quality of the event and it will continue to be a jewel in the crown of the Charleston Arts Community.

The members were treated to a wonderful rendition of Suite Modale by Ernest Block, which was a sampling of the Great Music available at the festival. We are truly blessed to live in a city with such a rich Arts and Cultural heritage and have talented people, such as Ellen, to help create wonderful festivals such as Piccolo Spoleto.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee