August 27, 2010


August 24, 2010: Bobby Pearce, Chairman of the Board of the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, spoke to us on current issues facing the chamber. An attorney by profession he has been involved with the chamber in many positions for years. He is a graduate of William & Mary, with an MBA and law degrees from the University of South Carolina.

While much reporting today focuses on the bad he is very upbeat about the news in Charleston noting that this city is tops in the nation as a place to LEARN, LIVE, WORK AND PLAY. In just one year the chamber grew from having 522 business members to 592. Major goals of the Chamber are [1] to encourage job and economic growth, [2] improve the local infrastructure, [3] improve the education and development of the workforce. Currently, we have a 40% drop-out rate which must change to having all complete at least two years of college. With the arrival of Boeing aircraft [with 15,000 employees] he sees no end to the arrival of new Boeing subcontractors who will employ local people.

The Chamber has operated in the black for the past eight years and has the solid support of the business community as businesses rush to find ways to survive. When Boeing was being recruited its second stop in its evaluation process of the community was to speak with the Chamber of Commerce. The Convention and Business Bureaus actively support the Chamber and the Chamber has been at the forefront to bring Southwest Airways to the city in the very near future.

The Chamber also highly supports the Clemson University wind project, the SPAWAR operation [which currently has 13,000 engineers supporting our military], which recently hosted a nationwide Homeland Security conference. Further support continues to go toward the growth of our medical centers.

The Chamber supports having cruise ships come to Charleston, but is working to insure that this industry does not negatively affect the quality of life in the city.

The Chamber does not support an 8 year increase in sales tax, but would support such a tax for a shorter time frame, rather than have an increase in property tax.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

August 23, 2010


August 17, 2010: As part of the special series on the Civil War, Dr. Bernard E. Powers, Jr., Professor of History and Director of African-American Studies at the College of Charleston, addressed the Charleston Rotary Club on the subject of the role of slavery in the Civil War:

His perspective brought into focus the often subdued references to slavery as a potent ingredient in the Civil War, but one that was not overtly discussed for a very long time. In fact, in his own account of a visit he made to Ft. Sumter in 1976, the Ranger talked about the triggers for the war and cited the disputes over states' rights and tariffs, but made no mention of slavery. "That was an astounding revelation..."

Dr. Powers underscored the deep intertwining of the black and white communities in the South Carolina, in particular. Slavery was a central, complex issue and was, of course, deeply tied to the economic forces at work in the antebellum period.

He cited that while many believed northerners and Union soldiers were assumed to be abolitionists, he illustrated how the situation was quite the contrary. In the north, abolitionists were often mobbed and chided, feeling real threats to their fundamental rights to safety. And while most northerners had little or no interest in slavery, there was increasing conflict over the role of freed slaves. As the Western Territory grew, the position of the Republican Party was to oppose slavery in the west. Eventually Horace Greeley's time-honored line, "Go west young man," referred to the opportunities for freed slaves to thrive in the west. Even our own, John C. Calhoun declared, the Western Territory was the common territory for all.

But the growing fear of emancipation among the white population was not widely discussed. In step with Abraham Lincoln's ascendency, the fear was eventually realized. But it has taken too long to take an honest and courageous look at the real issues and motivations that we must understand.

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

August 12, 2010


August 10, 2010: Police Chaplain, Rob Dewey, introduced Mayor Summey, stating many of his accomplishments over the period of time that he has served as mayor of North Charleston. Mayor Summey has lived and worked in North Charleston since the early sixties.

Mayor Summey opened his remarks by saying: "I'll always be known as the Jr. Mayor" although he has been the Mayor of North Charleston for 16 years. He spoke briefly about how Park Circle is the stalwart of North Charleston; that it was the founders of that circle who have given North Charleston the strong heritage that it continues to have to this day. He stated that it is that heritage which unites the city.

He asked the Rotarians to "stop and think about the economy we're in and the economic forecast for the entire country." Speaking of North Charleston he said: "We're the last to take a nose dive and the first to recover." He said that North Charleston is a wonderful place to live, work and play. "People from all over like to come here."

Mayor Summey said that he is particularly excited about Boeing coming to North Charleston for two reasons: 1. They are building a top notch, environmentally advanced building. 2. They are interested in supporting many of the 501c3 organizations in the greater Charleston community. He said that he was also very excited about the Clemson wind turbine project. He stated that it will create between 10,000 and 20,000 jobs in SC over the next 10-20 years. He said that the city of North Charleston gave Clemson 85 acres of land on which to build this project.

Regarding the Noisette Corp, he said that they bought the Ship Watch Square from them to create anchors and allow private developers to come into that development.

Regarding the Montague Ave. redevelopment, he said that he wants to redo Reynolds Ave. in the same way. He wants to build a new Chicora Elementary School. He said that he's trying to recreate areas that will be conducive to inviting young couples to move into the area. "We have to play catch-up with the rebuilding of our schools. We have to create new communities out of old, run down communities. They have to become the nucleus by investing in the area."

Regarding casino boats and gambling, Summey said that it's an opportunity to draw revenue and create entertainment, that "you don't have to drink or gamble to have fun on the boats." However, he did say that it is a controversial topic.

With regards to his participation in the Gay Pride Parade, he said that "as a believer (in Christ) we are all children of God. Why should we get caught up in the small things that make us different instead of the larger things that make us alike? A lot of the things in our lives are hereditary. We have to learn to live together and work toward making an environment that is warm, caring, friendly and open-minded."

Regarding the Port he simply said that "we have to work together to make it work."

Submitted by Bill Christian, Keyway Committee

August 9, 2010

Water Is Life

AUG. 3, 2010 - Rotarians Bill Nettles and Dyson Scott gave a fascinating overview of an April trip to Peru to install water purification machines as part of the club's international service.

Our club, along with the Rotary Club of Daniel Island, funded machines installed over four days in the area of Iquitos, Peru, which is in the northern part of the country along the Amazon River. Attending from our club were former president Mark Smith, Nettles and Scott, along with representatives of the Daniel Island club.

"This was a huge success with this trip," president Brian Johnson said introducing the teammates.

The machines, designed and deployed by Water Missions International of Charleston (our club's international partner), are now among more than 700 that have been installed in 40 countries across the world, Nettles said. Since the first machines were created in 1998, Water Missions International has helped more than 1 million people globally get access to clean water. But more than a billion people don't have clean water, Nettles added. An estimated 25,000 people die daily from water-related problems.

Nettles described how the U.S. team installed water purification machines in villages around Iquitos. In one place, they installed a pump on a floating raft that could be moved to access water as the river ebbed up to 40 feet between rainy and dry seasons. One picture shown during the team's slide show showed yellow-brown water that people routinely drank and used, compared to clear water that came from a machine.

"People were lining up to get water," Nettles noted. "They would come out in droves and were just so thankful." He added that team members often had to take the first drink of clean water from a machine to show that it was good and they "wouldn't die."

Scott said the trip was not your normal vacation.

"It was an incredible opportunity for all of us," he said.

He described a trip that team members took about 3.5 hours upstream from Iquitos where the Amazon was up to 12 miles wide in some places. A lodge featured thatched-roof huts in the middle of the jungle. Grand water lilies measured 8 feet across. Sunsets were magnificent.

"The flowers, birds and wildlife are unbelievably beautiful. It's phenomenal how friendly and kind the people were."

Johnson said another trip to install a machine is planned for the current Rotary year.

Submitted by Andy Brack, Keyway Committee