September 25, 2009


September 22, 2009: Joe Riley was elected Mayor of the city of Charleston in 1975, and is currently serving his ninth consecutive term. Today, he spoke proudly about this city and what the changes that have occurred over the last 34 years, but not before taking the opportunity to thank our Rotary Club for its continued service and touting our members as pillars and leaders in the Charleston community.

On this the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, the Mayor reflected about the courage and collaboration of our community as we prepared for the storm and then responded to and recovered from storm. Our citizens rose to the occasion just as prior generations had when they faced earthquakes, fires and wars. He noted that the recovery started with the very preparation before the storm.

Reporting on the Charleston of today he gave highlights of progress and excellence:

Police Chief Mullin has surpassed all expectations. Violent crime is down 25%. We have 19 new officers and all officers are spending increased time "on the streets". Each police cruiser is an electronic marvel that includes a complete computer console.

Fire Chief Carr has brought the knowledge of having been a chief in one of the nations very large fire companies. He is working to standardize fire fighting procedures throughout the region and has established 4 full time firepersons on duty at each unit.

Federal Stimulus Money is improving all aspects of the city, including police technology equipment, affordable housing, energy conservation, a new gymnasium and the West Ashley greenery.

Water Drainage is being improved by a massive undertaking in the area of Hampton Park, MUSC and the Ashley riverfront.

Cross-town Expressway is to receive an upgrade with a new median and trees.

Cruise Terminal is to receive a refurbishing, but plans are underway for major improvement of that whole sea entranced to Charleston.

Dock Street Theater will reopen on January 28th. It is completely rebuilt and will included the latest sound technology and total handicapped access.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

September 18, 2009

Visit from Alan Walters, District Governor

September 15, 2009: Alan Walters, our District Governor from Pawley's Island, SC, visited the Charleston clubs this week to give us a "state of our district" update and to let us know what the next year will bring for all Rotarians.

Walters attended the annual District Governor's conference in San Diego and was able to not only visit with all 532 Rotary Governors from all over the world, but also meet Rotary's new President, John Kenny. Instead of avoiding the obvious, Walters opened with the difficulty Rotary is experiencing right now. It's tough right now and will probably continue to be as the economy sits in a less than ideal spot. While things seem to be improving slowly, it is a fact that Rotary has lost members over the last year. Our organization is based on active and strong membership, the clubs can't help but suffer when it's down.

The good news, our District Governor and President, have great things planned for this year and believe that what is planned is achievable. "The future of Rotary is in YOUR hands", says President John Kenny. Now, more than ever, we will individually make a difference on the successfulness of our organization this year.

There are a few goals we all need to keep in our minds as we move forward. Rotarians are known world-wide as givers and community supporters, for the club is not intended to be a social club. This club is about service and that is where our efforts should be focused this year. A few years ago, with the help of Bill Gates, Rotary took on the big challenge of doing everything it could to eradicate Polio. We've made great strides towards this goal, but we're not done yet. Not only is it vital to those in danger of contracting Polio that we complete this mission, but it's vital to Rotary's reputation as a strong organization that finishes what it starts. How can we take on new goals and challenges if we don't complete the ones from the past? How can we count on someone like Bill Gates to support our endeavors if we leave work unfinished?

This year will be about service and hard work. All members should focus on not only getting involved, but each of us need to take on raising membership. We are all Rotarians because we were asked to be, it's our turn to get out there and ask qualified and able prospects to join us for lunch and see if our organization is a fit for them. If we grow our clubs, we are better able to take on the challenges Rotary is known for world-wide, service above self.

Reported by Darby Siegel, Keyway Committee

September 11, 2009


September 8, 2009: Today, we were privileged to have MaryBeth Clark, the Associate Artistic Director for Charleston Stage and four of their fine new actors join us. The Charleston Stage is not only the largest live stage company in SC it also presents us the opportunity to attend great productions. This is MaryBeth's 11th season with Charleston Stage where she's the Director of the current production of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", which opens tomorrow and runs through September 20.

The Charleston Stage, which most of us know as Dock Street Theater, presents shows to 50,000 ticket holding attendees each year. That's just the tip of the iceberg of the value they provide to our culture and community.

In addition to producing top quality Broadway style shows (this season in the beautiful College of Charleston Sottile Theatre while the Historic Dock Street Theater is being renovated), Charleston Stage does a great deal to enhance the arts and assist children throughout the Low Country. Last year 15,000 Charleston schoolchildren were able to see their first "live show" because of Charleston Stage when members went into the classroom to perform and teach.

Like most organizations (especially art related non-profit organizations), the Charleston Stage has had to tighten its financial belt recently. This year it was necessary to cut 30% of their expenses, primarily due to a reduction in gifts and philanthropic activity and being out of the Dock Street Theatre. While they earn 47% of budget through their own activities, they still rely on donations for the remaining 53%. Because of this shortfall, some necessary cuts included: reducing staff by five and hiring just 4 new actors on a 10 month program rather than the normal six new actors.

These actors, like other staff members, don't just perform; they work with and teach people around the Low Country about the arts and live theater. Even when the Spoleto Festival is not going on (or when a production is not underway) the staff of Charleston Stage is busy promoting the arts and helping Low Country citizens, especially schoolchildren, appreciate art. When working with groups, especially children, they teach: 1.The importance of knowing what needs to be done, 2.Knowing where you're supposed to be and 3. Helping someone else. Staff members use these three keys from their experiences on stage to teach life lessons.

The four actors, James Lombardino, Priya Paranthaman, Christopher Diaz and Justin Tyler Lewis, accompanying MaryBeth shared with us a sampling of songs from the upcoming productions of "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", "Evita", "Blithe Spirit" and "Ferdinand the Bull". These wonderful samplings left us eager for the live productions! For more information about their productions, the dates of presentations and tickets go to,

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

Reported by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee

September 4, 2009


September 1, 2009: The Honorable Irvin G. Condon, Charleston County Probate Court Judge, joined us today to educate Rotarians on the general role of the probate court, as well as, the Adult Drug Court that he resides over. Judge Condon explained the main functions of the Probate Court which encompass the broad topic often referred to as, estate planning. More specifically the court probates wills; appoints conservators and trustees to conservatorship trusts that have been set up for children and families; oversees Declarations of a Desire for a Natural Death; and Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney documents. The court is also handles involuntary commitments and marriage licenses.

The court is committed to assisting in drug and alcohol incidents 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The institution also administers The Adult Drug Court Program, that is charged with rehabbing addicts and helping them become valuable citizens in their communities. An individual who has pled guilty to drug related charges may elect to participate in the program. It requires court and treatment attendance every week and costs the individual $25.00 each week. If the attendee is unable to pay the $25 dollars toward their treatment, they must work it off in community service. The offender must attend two AA or NA meetings per week, and pay back all restitution that may be ordered with associated charges. He noted that this plan is much better than simply warehousing addicts as prisoners, many of those in the program have made progress and are productively employed.

The judge made sample forms available for all on the topics of Wills, Healthcare Power of Attorney, Declaration of a Desire for Natural Death, and Durable power of attorney. However, he emphasized that one should not attempt to execute these forms from samples. Professional assistance is vital.

When asked about new plans in Mexico and California to decriminalize minor drug offenses, he responded that those in the criminal justice system in South Carolina oppose the idea.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee