July 25, 2011

Citadel's Coach Higgins Highlights Upcoming Season

July 19, 2011: Our club had the pleasure of hosting guest speaker Kevin Higgins, the head football coach for The Citadel. Coach Higgins provided this update on the team, life at The Citadel and a peek of the upcoming season:

Coach Higgins talked to the club about the unique aspects of The Citadel's program that includes the military regimen and rigorous time management disciplines required of all students. "Because The Citadel is not your traditional college environment…these kids have incredible demands on their time, and they really perform well."

But, coach Higgins noted, recruitment for the college is difficult because of the regimented lifestyle and additional challenges. This year, The Citadel is granting 12 athletic scholarships, which is significant when compared to other regional schools: six for University of South Carolina, two each for Wofford and Furman, and one for Charleston Southern.

Both the football staff and The Citadel in general offer several initiatives to help boost student retention and success:

Incoming freshmen (knobs) enroll in the College Success Institute (CSI), which is a summer school program designed to orient new students to The Citadel customs. Students take two courses during their four week stay.

The Citadel assigns full-time faculty advisors who meet with students and faculty to be sure the student athletes are progressing well.

To build a stronger relationship with the corps of cadets and military staff, the football staff joins the corps of cadets for their morning formations at 7:00 a.m., where they can interact with students and the TAC officers.

The college hosts a "career night" that features representatives from businesses and other organizations who give cadets a clear vision of what awaits them in four years. "They hear from these leaders just how important the cadets' development at The Citadel is and how well it will serve them for life," said Higgins.

He also spoke of the commitment to service learning at The Citadel. For example, when the students return in early August, they will also spend time working in the community
on projects such as Habitat for Humanity on John’s Island and in West Ashley. "Those opportunities help strengthen the students' understanding of service leadership," said Higgins.

Spotlight on Academics
Finally, coach Higgins underscored the importance of the college's emphasis on academic performance. Each year, football players are turning in stronger and stronger grades, several of whom make Dean's List routinely.

"We hope you'll come out this year and join us at the stadium," Higgins, said. "We expect a good year; we have many players returning, and we have several strong new recruits." Go Dawgs!

Career highlights: Kevin Higgins joined The Citadel as head coach in 2005. Previously, he served with the Detroit Lions, specializing in quarterback and wide receiver coaching, and he was the head coach for Lehigh University.

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee
Lackey Touts Benefits of AT&T, T-Mobile Merger

July 12, 2011: A pending merger between telecommunications giant AT&T and T-Mobile would dramatically increase coverage and signal reliability across South Carolina, AT&T's state president Pamela Lackey told more than 100 people Tuesday.

In a talk titled "Broadband technology for South Carolina," Lackey highlighted the tremendous telecommunications changes taking place in the marketplace, most of which are driven by consumers' seemingly insatiable appetite for using wireless technologies.

She noted AT&T's wireless traffic has grown 8,000 percent in the last four years -- and is expected to grow eight to 10 times more in the next four years.

"How would you scale up for that?" she asked members. "This has just been unprecedented. More and more traffic is going to keep coming and we're going to have to continue to scale up."

Among some interesting factoids:

Between 2008 and 2010, AT&T invested $675 million in South Carolina to enlarge and improve its wireless and wired networks.

Last year, it upgraded 200 cell towers.

In 2009, the company spent more than $45 million on goods and services from Palmetto State suppliers.

The company now employs 2,400 people in the state and has a payroll here of more than $185 million. Its workers donated 142,000 volunteer hours in the last year and its corporate philanthropy arm donated $1.8 million to state charities.

Lackey outlined how the merger with T-Mobile would benefit consumers across the state:

Spectrum. It will add wireless spectrum to give wireless networks more capacity where we need it most to improve network quality. The merged company should cover wireless needs for 97 percent of the states, she said, noting that rural areas would benefit the most from increased coverage.

Speed, reliability. The merger will add speed and reliability to the company's infrastructure backbone.

Investment. Through the "enormous synergies" between the company, the merger also is expected to increase growth and investment in the state.

"Essentially, the merger will increase a 1 + 1 = 3 synergy," Lackey said.

Through the merger, the bulked-up AT&T would be able to create a stronger broadband network that should also increase educational opportunities across the state, as well as offer more tools for small business and for health care providers. More: www.MobilizeEverything.com

Submitted by Andy Brack, Keyway Committee

July 5, 2011


June 28, 2011: During Tuesday's meeting Rotary members gave a warm farewell to 2010/2011 Club President Brian Johnson and welcomed in our incoming President Patterson Smith. District Governor-Elect Paula J. Matthews was present to induct President Patterson Smith into office.

Rotary is thankful for the hard work and dedication President Brian provided during his tenor. His acts of selfless commitment and leadership awarded the club many accomplishments to be proud of. In the committee areas of Education, Service, International, Administrative, Social, and RCCF Grants, the impact was tremendous.

One of the clubs biggest achievements this past fiscal year was our club achieving 100% Paul Harris Fellow Club status. This is an honor because less than 2% of all Rotary Clubs worldwide holds this status. The Paul Harris Fellow was created in 1957 to show appreciation for contributions to the Foundation's charitable and educational program. Our club, with the help of contribution sharing, was able to reach 100%. On Tuesday, 85 members were recognized for their contribution.

The club also completed its $125,000 commitment to the Low Country Food Bank. President Brian Johnson presented Jermaine Husser, Executive Director, the final endowment payment of $25,000.

This year the club awarded $15,300 in grants to several area organizations. On Tuesday, the following organizations were present and received their awards: Begin with Books, TTC for Kids College, Carolina Youth Development, and Literacy Outreach Initiative.

These are only a few of the clubs list of achievements. As new elect President Patterson Smith stated: "Brian has set the bar very ,very high".

Submitted by Katie McCravy, Keyway Committee


JUNE 21, 2011: Rotarian Rob Dewey introduced today's speaker, Kate Parks, Project Manager for the Coastal Conservation League. Rob discussed Kate's impressive educational background including graduating cum laude from Clemson University with a BS in Environmental and Natural Resources with a Concentration in Conservation Biology. Prior to graduating, Kate studied as a NOAA Ernest F Hollings Scholar with the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office in Maryland, focusing on land use and coastal development.

Kate began her presentation by thanking the audience for inviting a Coastal Conservation League representative to address the environmental and economic impact of Charleston’s current infrastructure developments including the 526 Highway extension project and the new cruise ship terminal.

As Kate explained, the 526 Highway extension project debate has "allowed us to focus on community needs" and compare the economic invest and impact of other projects such as freight rail improvements, Boeing's expansion and mass transit needs. Unfortunately, these projects including the 526 Highway extension, share the same funding source, the Infrastructure Bank. Established in 1997, the Infrastructure Bank funds projects of state significance, such as the Ravel Bridge, the Horry County Intracoastal Bridges and Aiken County's Palmetto Parkway.
As 5 years have passed since the application for funding was submitted, the 526 Highway Extension project is no longer a top priority. Unfortunately, the current price of the project ($489M) occupies a large part of the Infrastructure Bank's funding and bonding capacity. So, the question arises, should the 526 Highway extension be built at the expense of other projects? The answer is not that simple, as Kate explained. The debate between the public opinion as well as the money ($11.6M) currently owed continues today.

An equally controversial topic, the new cruise ship terminal, was the second local concern Kate discussed. As the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SPA) plans to increase cruise ship visits and build a new cruise terminal, issues raised include: "increased traffic (pedestrian and vehicular); the visual spectacle of large cruise ships at berth that do not fit the scale or context of historic downtown Charleston; and high levels of harmful pollutants that come from cruise vessels."

In an effort to explain the recently filed lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines, by Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of CCL, the Preservation Society, Historic Ansonborough, and Charlestowne neighborhoods, Kate outlined the seven stipulations included in the "Miranda of understanding," whose collective purpose is to ensure balance. The provisions include the following: limit 104 ships per year (two per week), no discharge zone moved to 12 miles outside harbor, cruise ship option to "plug in" to decrease air pollution from idling, offsite parking, noise ordinance, accommodation tax and size limit. Kate explained the purpose of the lawsuit is for the "ability to clarify local control."

Kate's passion for the environment and balance between land and people is exemplified in the Coastal Conservation League's mission "to protect the natural environment of South Carolina coastal plain and to enhance the quality of life in our communities by working with individuals, business and government to ensure balanced solutions."

Reported by Teal Van Suan, Keyway Committee