August 27, 2009

"Lowcountry Ready..."

August 25, 2009: Cathy Hanes, Director of Charleston County Emergency Preparedness, educated Rotarians today on best practices as we prepare for the 2009 Hurricane Season. Cathy began her career in 1982 as a paramedic and later moved into the field of emergency preparedness. As head of the county division, Cathy's team develops a plan, sets evacuation routes, as well as, oversees shelters and public transportation. It is important to note that Cathy's team prepares for all types of natural disasters and man made disasters, and the only type of disaster that is not a threat in Charleston County is volcanoes. Today, we will focus on hurricane preparedness.

The first rule to insure your safety is to be prepared. Take personal responsibility for your safety as emergency responders may not be readily available; the four steps of preparedness are "get a kit, have a plan, stay informed, and get involved". The outline below if a brief overview of what each of those steps entails.

Get a Kit
You should have a kit that can sustain you and your family for 7 to 10 days, it should contain, food, water, medicine, batteries, flashlight, battery powered radio, can opener, first aid kit, baby needs, and pet necessities. Also before the storm arrives, check your flood insurance, update your kit, fill gas and propane tanks, and protect your home and business.

Have a Plan
Decide to stay or go, if you go know your evacuation route, and leave early. If you can not evacuate move to a Red Cross shelter, usually housed in a near by school, transportation is provided by Carta and the Charleston county school district, and take your supplies with you. In general, you should have a family plan, of where to meet in case of an emergency; choose a place inside your neighborhood, as well as, a place outside of the immediate area. Choose a friend or family member that lives outside of the area that can be a point of contact for all of you in case your family is separated during the event. Remember to plan for the elderly and those with special needs.

Stay Informed
Have the contact numbers and the emergency plan for your employers and/or schools. Have a battery powered radio so that you can tune into satellite broadcasts for updates, and if you are out of town and have internet access stay tuned to for updates.

Get Involved
Take personal responsibility, attend local training, and offer to volunteer for the CERT, community emergency response teams. After the storm, get involved in clean up; enter with caution, check for damage to gas and power lines, open windows and doors to increase ventilation and separate debris using the C.H.E.A.T rule. "Don't CHEAT our environment", debris can be picked up and disposed of more efficiently if it is divided into groups of C-construction materials, H - hazardous materials (batteries, oil etc), E - electronics, A -appliances, and T- trees and vegetation.

In closing, we encourage all Rotarians to get prepared and help be "Lowcountry Ready", for questions or additional information access the following sites:,,

Submitted by Elizabeth Wooten Burwell,, Keyway Committee Chair

August 21, 2009

"Our Freedom is in the Hands of Volunteers ..."

August 18, 2009: Jennet Alterman introduced Senator DeMint as a native South Carolinian from Greenville who graduated from Wade Hampton High School, the University of Tennessee; earned an MBA from Clemson. After a successful career as the owner of the DeMint Group, a strategic planning consulting group, he entered politics because he believed in normal people more than politicians and that volunteer groups accomplish the good in America. He had no interest in politics but his disillusionment with government motivated him to run for the Senate after serving in the House.

The Senator stated being a Greenville Rotarian continues to influence his platform: the 4-Way Test. His consistent message remains using "logic & common sense." The Republicans are sleep-walking and the Democrats have no business-vision for an environment that facilitates our economy's growth. Even China told us to "get our spending in order." For instance:
- Fannie-Travel: a $400M tourism bill that will pass on the first vote this fall. "They don't get it, we can't afford this."
- Fannie-Med: "it's not about healthcare, we could take care of that in a ten page bill, it's about government control. We've seen it before, country after country who destroyed themselves on this issue. We can't allow the federal government to take control of healthcare.
- Cash-for-clunkers: "of course we have to sell cars, we own car companies ... we're in that business now; is that what we want? Not one check has been cut to dealers, we're about to hire 1000 people in Washington, DC to issue those checks ... and we're about to increase this to $2B. Is this a way to make our economy grow?"
- Cap and Trade: "are you willing to have $100 per month added to your electric bill with no quantifiable positive impact on the environment?"
- Why not a free enterprise economy versus a managed economy? Let's use a common sense approach. Senator DeMint proposed these solutions even though our current President voted against them while a Senator from Illinois.
- Interstate insurance healthcare competition: complete policy plans, no matter where you live or work. No matter what pre-existing conditions.
- Fair tax treatment: give individuals who pay their own medical policies the same tax benefits as companies/corporations receive.
- Health Savings Accounts: allow individuals to use HSAs to pay for insurance premiums.
- Association policies: allow them to buy individual/family healthcare policies using their group numbers and clout [to overcome actuarial obstacles].
- Court reform: we all know the impacts of the "deep pocket theory" on our insurance rates and policies.

Senator DeMint closed with two thoughts. My supporters always say:
1. "Thanks for fighting for us"
2. "What can I do?"
His answer: "Freedom is more in the hands of volunteers than elected officials."

Submitted by Bill Crowe, Keyway Committee

August 14, 2009

"What Do You Know ... a Clemson Grad is Introducing Me?"

August 11, 2009: Our club thoroughly enjoyed the good natured ribbing between the Clemson and Gamecock fans in the audience. Todd stated he'd spoken to "100s of Rotary Clubs over the years and never been introduced by a Clemson graduate [President Kyra], because they can't read." He then graciously complimented our Club stating this was the best Rotary meal he's ever enjoyed.

After a few good natured jokes and "war stories" he provided great insight into the Gamecock's 2009:

- Schedule: "one of the top 5 most difficult in the US"
- Recruiting Class: "the best since 1985 when I was recruited ;-)"
- Coaching Staff: "6 new coaches that are rock solid"
- Team Strengths: "talent in secondary and size on defense"
- Team Weaknesses: "offensive line: they've been last in rushing 3 years in a row"

Todd provided personal insights about "retiring at 27 years old" and having to return to law school and the wonderful opportunities he's experienced walking the sidelines as a commentator for 13 years and then as the voice of the Gamecocks. After a vigorous question and answer session our Club applauded his candid responses with smiles and appreciation.

Submitted by Bill Crowe, Keyway Committee

August 7, 2009

"Put South Carolina Back to Work"

August 4, 2009: Today, we had the pleasure of hearing from Senator Larry Grooms, of the 37th district about what he believes are three crucial changes that must be made to create new jobs in our state, jobs that will yield higher income and reduce the state deficit. Currently, South Carolina has the third highest unemployment rate, and the unemployment trust fund is operating at a deficit. The state is experiencing its second consecutive year of declining revenues and projected to report negative revenues again next year. Senator Grooms states " we have to create jobs, we have to develop our economy", he explained that new industry is the key to our state's growth and ultimate success. In his opinion there are three road blocks to enticing new industry to South Carolina; to secure our future we must act on "the 3 P's of change" - port, power, and permitting.

The state of our ports is a huge consideration for manufacturing companies, we must restructure which we are in the process of doing, and have to expand to accommodate the changes in ship traffic that will occur with the changing of the Panama Canal.

Secondly, we must provide access to the power that is necessary to run a large plant, today we could not power a new plant the size of Nucor Steel. Senator Grooms believes that nuclear power is the way of the future, but South Carolina needs to act more quickly! The Senator proposes that we open a new coal plant to meet the immediate power needs of the state and its potential new companies and as nuclear power becomes readily available, the older, less efficient, plants can be closed, resulting in cleaner air and more power today!

The third problem hindering our ability to aquire new business is our painfully slow permitting process. While Grooms acknowledges the importance of proper permitting he admits that bureaucracy in some of our departments has made the process twice as long as it needs to be. The time a company wastes in permitting costs time and money, and is generally discouraging. The Senator says "we must cut permitting time in half"!

When prospective manufactures consider South Carolina to house their new plant they must experience a state that is aggressively seeking their business. A state that can offer an effective port to move their product in a timely, efficient manner, a state that can provide the power necessary to run their business, and a permitting process that is timely and encourages the building and operation of new plants. New industry is the only way to put South Carolina back to work, and create the revenue stream necessary to run our state.

Submitted by Elizabeth Wooten Burwell, Keyway Committee

August 2, 2009

State Treasurer Converse Chellis visits Rotary

July 28th, 2009: State Treasurer Converse Chellis broke what seems to be the current trend of reporting only bad news and elected instead, to focus his presentation to our club at Tuesday's meeting on the positive things going on in South Carolina. Given the current environment we are in right now, it was a refreshing change and one I think his audience greatly appreciated. Chellis was elected State Treasurer in August of 2007 by the General Assembly and before that, had served in the General Assembly since 1996. In addition, he is a licensed CPA and had a long career in the industry before moving on to political office.

When he was first elected, Chellis was intent on bringing integrity to his position. He was focused on cutting waste where he could and making improvements to the state's retirement system, unclaimed property accounts, college savings plan, and creating an initiative for the state to begin the process of going paperless beginning with state employee's paychecks.

The state of South Carolina currently has thousands of unclaimed property accounts, there are 107,000 cases here in Charleston alone. Chellis and the General Assembly created the Palmetto Payback program, targeted at finding those that are owed money and returning it to them. This owed money has been turned over by a company or other entity to the state when the person they are looking for could not be located. Through the Palmetto Payback program, residents can now easily learn if they are on the list and re-claim what is rightfully theirs. The goal of the Treasurer's office is to get that list down to just a few thousand people.

In 2008, South Carolina introduced the Future Scholar 529 College Plan. This new plan has taken our state from being ranked 24th in the nation to being in the top 5 for college savings plans in the country. This past year, South Carolina was ranked second in the nation for the plan's investment performance in 2008. This plan is available to all those in South Carolina and is open to other states as well.

As our country continues to endure one of its most uncertain times, it's nice to know that good things are happening in our state. To learn more about the State Treasurer, some of the programs his office offers and his futures goals, go to

Submitted by Darby Siegel, Keyway Committee