October 29, 2010


October 26, 2010: The Rotary Club of Charleston had the privilege to host two candidates for Superintendant of Education, Mr. Frank Holleman and Mr. Mick Zais. In a facilitated forum, both candidates provided 5 minute introductory statements and answered questions supplied in advance by Rotary members. Following is a summary of their discussions:

Mr. Holleman, well educated in part at Harvard and the London School of Economics, articulated the support he has garnered from many recently named Teachers of the Year and several state media organizations. Mr. Zais methodically outlined his candidacy as based on his strong military career, beginning with his education at Westpoint, and his achievements as the president of Newberry College where he turned around the college onto a stronger path of success.

Q: What is your perspective of the voucher system?

Mr. Zais: "I support the voucher system. Each child has separate needs. We should consider tax credits for low income children and provide for private education options if needed."

Mr. Holleman: "We need to provide a high quality education for all children and have systems that will give each child an equal chance at success."

Q: In your view, how should teachers and administrators be evaluated?

Mr. Holleman: "Measurement is difficult without some form of numeric system. Teachers' compensation and performance need to be tracked as we all know there are inequalities - there are highly compensated poor teachers and poorly compensated teachers and administrators who are exemplary."

Mr. Zais: "Teachers should be evaluated based on the outcomes, on student scores. And while no system is perfect, we do need some form of measurement so we can advance the standards."

Q: Public schools have suffered deep budget cuts. If elected, how would you seek to restore sufficient funding and strategies?

Mr. Zais: "The funding system does not work. Only 44% of every dollar reaches the classroom and we need to improve that cash flow. Dollars must fund the students and principals with the understanding that different environments have different needs."

Mr. Holleman: "There are at least two main rules to follow. First, we should follow the Hippocratic Oath and be sure we do no harm. Second, we need to compete aggressively for all funds including those in the form of grants at all levels, private and public. But I need to point out that my opponent used a wrong statistic when he cited 44% of each dollar reaching the classrooms: in fact we have a state audit that demands 70% of every dollar reach the classroom."

In closing, both candidates reiterated their strengths for consideration and our votes. Mr. Holleman asserted his interest to be the public servant of public education, which in his view is one of the most important aspects of America's culture. Mr. Zais declared his strong foundation as a military officer and a successful college president, giving him the unique skills to lead our public education industry to new levels of success.

Rotary is grateful to both candidates for making time to share their views and perspectives with us, a block of the voting public. Good luck, gentlemen!

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee

October 22, 2010


October 19, 2010: Paul Welborn introduced Robert Fencel from the US Customs and Border Protection Agency. Mr. Fencel said that he lives in Summerville and that his primary job description is that of protecting the Port of Entry and Port of SC. He said that his first love is protecting the USA.

He stated that his agency is not a border patrol, but that the border patrol is directly under their auspices. Fencel said that they became an official agency of the US government in 2003 under the umbrella of Homeland Security and as a direct result of the 9/11 attack.

Their two goals are: security and facilitation. In terms of security, they do the following: stop terrorism; prevent illegal entry into the country; stop drug traffic and human smuggling; prevent agricultural diseases; secure national events; and assist with disaster relief.

In terms of facilitation, they do the following: collect customs revenue; process in-coming travelers; inspect imports; and stop counterfeit good from entering the country.

Protect borders .... they manage a massive number of imports at the Port. They are considered law enforcement officers. They control 327 ports of entry around the world .... the land, the sea and the air. They are involved in trade security so that nothing comes into this country that can hurt anyone. They intercept trade violations, i.e., counterfeit watches, hand bags and clothing. They protect the US from unsafe imports, i.e., pharmaceuticals, pills such as Viagra.

Mr. Fencel was in Arizona for 12 years and dealt with corruption in the area of drugs and the Mexican government. He also dealt with the illegal immigration issues involving Hispanics attempting to get into this country illegally. His organization also oversees security for any major events, i.e., the Olympics, major sports events, the inauguration. They are also engaged in readiness preparedness for disasters.

In terms of the cruise ships now coming to the Port of Charleston, as well as container ships, they are part of the official welcoming committee. He stated that they believe that they are very good at what they do. He said that they talk in terms of global terrorism and its effect on the US.

Mr. Fencel said that they engaged in the tremendous response to the Haiti earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. They sent agents over there on Jan. 18. There were 100 military relief flights out of the Charleston airport, providing aid, medical assistance and much needed supplies to the Haitians. He also stated that they helped people fill out their customs forms, worked closely with the Red Cross, and assisted churches in responding to the needs of the displaced people. He said that the Charleston response to this disaster was just incredible. They assist in the federal response to hurricanes.

To conclude his presentation, he put an aerial view of 9/11 on the screen and said: "this is why we do what we do!"

Submitted by Bill Christian, Keyway Committee

October 14, 2010

Cremins Delights Rotary Audience

Oct. 12, 2010 - Legendary college basketball coach Bobby Cremins encouraged Rotarians to get behind the Charleston Classic Basketball Tournament, which will be held here on Nov. 18 - Nov. 21.

Eight teams are scheduled to play in the ESPN Regional TV owned and operated event: Georgetown, George Mason, N.C. State, East Carolina, Wofford, UNC-Charlotte, USC-Upstate and Coastal Carolina. The College of Charleston team, which Cremins coaches, can only appear in its own tournament every four years and won't play this year. "This is our city's tournament," Cremins said. "Hopefully, it can continue."

Cremins, a college player at USC and an award-winning coach at Georgia Tech before coming to the College of Charleston four years ago, said he was concentrating on getting big-name schools to play in Charleston to help the community. "I think it's important we stick our necks out and play some of the big boys."

In a well-received talk before more than 100 Rotarians, Cremins touched on several other areas:
On John Kresse: Introduced by former CofC Coach John Kresse, Cremins noted: "We're trying to live up to his legacy and it's not easy."

On the Southern Conference: "The Southern Conference is a great conference. It's a tough, dangerous conference. We've got to get players a little under the radar and, hopefully, they will develop."

On returning to coaching after being away for six years: "It was a godsend for me. I lost my purpose. I had a good life, but I wasn't doing what I was supposed to be doing. I just wanted to coach again. It's been a great future for me and my wife. We live downtown. I walk to work every day."

On this year's team: "Practice starts Oct. 15. With these four new kids [four freshmen recruits], I'm hoping they will challenge some of our veteran players."

Favorite places to recruit: South Carolina, Charlotte and Atlanta. "It's far enough so a young man can get away from home, but short enough so he can go home."

On which member of the club was a "great point guard at Temple:" "Nancy McGinley."

Submitted by: Andy Brack, Keyway Committee

October 9, 2010

Building Communities, Bridging Continents

October 5, 2010: Today's meeting got under way as District Governor, Rick Moore discussed our Rotary District 7770, as well as Rotary International.

Rick is a native Charlestonian, Clemson graduate, past member of the Summerville Rotary Club and a current member of the Charleston Breakfast Club. He served on numerous Board and Committee positions with both clubs, most notably, as Centennial President of the Charleston Breakfast Club. His District responsibilities include: Grants Club Committee Chair and as the District Governor Nominee for Rotary year 2010-2011. Rick is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, Major Donor, Benefactor and Charter Member of the Paul Harris Society.

Rick began his presentation discussing the importance of "building communities" and "bridging continents." He discussed Rotary International President, Ray Klinginsmith and his role of enhancing Rotary's visibility and vitality. Rick had the pleasure of meeting Ray and described him as "simple, grounded and a pleasure to be with." Although our international role is important, Rick explained that our community involvement is "90% of what we do." And as he held a small orange ball, Rick spoke about the balls ability to move with little effort and it's symbolism for all Rotarians to be "movers and shakers in [our] communities and clubs." Later in his presentation, Rick awarded our Executive Secretary, Carroll Schweers the orange ball in recognition of her strong core values and commitment to Rotary.

Rick continued his presentation with a strong focus on Rotary Fellowship and Membership. As he displayed a slide of Rotary's founding members (Paul P Harris, Silvester Schiele, Gustave E. Loehr and Hiram E. Shorey), he discussed the importance of their fellowship and legacy. On a personal level, Rick spoke about the fellowship he enjoyed at this year's District Social. He encouraged members to attend the next District social, which will be held on National Rotary Day, Friday, April 22, 2011 in Hilton Head, SC.

As another important "prong" of Rotary, Rick reviewed membership statics: 1.2 million members world-wide, India is the fastest growing membership country and 10% membership attrition each year. He explained that with the support of our members, Rotary can continue to make lasting difference in our core initiatives: Polio Eradication, Peace Builder, Scholarships, GSE, Grants and DSG.

Rick concluded his presentation with the distribution of chocolate coins and the encouragement to give to someone in display of "service above self."

Submitted by Teal Van Saun, Keyway Committee
Fall Social - A Lowcountry Boil

Sept. 28, 2010: Our Fall Social was held in lieu of our regular meeting. Members and their guests enjoyed a Lowcountry Boil at the Charleston Yacht Club. It was spectacular evening on the harbor with live music by Past President Kyra's sister, Susie, delicious food and a gorgeous sunset.