Fire leaves family homeless

By Tess Malijenovsky
Last week a mobile home went up in flames when a Pop-Tart started shooting flames from a toaster. The wife was just returning from the hospital for the holidays, said Fire Fighter Dan Byrne.
The Burton firefighters arrived in minutes to the scene on Winsor road in the Shell Point area, but were forced to exit the burning house as the roof weakened and the fire grew beyond their hose line.
In the middle of the operation, a home oxygen tank inside exploded with enough force to result in several 911 calls from the surrounding area and sent firefighters scattering; however, no one was injured. Firefighters from Port Royal and Parris Island were called to the scene for assistance, along with Beaufort County EMS.
The Beaufort County Fire Scene Investigation Team is conducting an investigation and while the investigation is still ongoing, Burton Fire Chief Harry Rountree states they have no reason or evidence to think there is another cause at this time.
Burton fire officials encourage citizens to research the dangers of pop tarts and toasters, and stress the importance of having home fire extinguishers that are readily available and all household members are knowledgeable in its use.
According to Byrne, the family has no homeowner’s insurance. The home was a total loss. A fund has been set up at the Wells Fargo bank on Lady’s Island. To help this family, make a donation to the fund in the name of Gwen Price.

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The Island News asked: What are your resolutions?

Rarely do I ever make resolutions for the New Year because I take such things very seriously.  The last one was two years ago when I resolved to stop smoking — cold turkey — and did.  As you can see I try to keep resolutions for the big, serious, life changing stuff. Well, this year I am going to make another biggie resolution.  I have gotten rather rotund (my nice way of saying fat) and badly out of shape. and if I don’t do something to change my direction soon I will easily win a Jabba The Hut look alike contest.  So the serious regimen to change my ways starts January 1, 2012! If I have the same success as with stopping smoking, I should be looking for another big resolution next year. Maybe learning how to Shag!                                                       Buck Boone, General Manager

“It is with sincere conviction that I resolve to attempt my greatest fear: To think before speaking and say it anyway. Or possibly guard my words and thoughts with the fierceness that I often guard my cupcakes. Either one of those will suit just fine. The likelihood that I forget them both by midnight suggests eminent failure.”
Cherimie Crane Weatherford, aka Backwoods Barbie

Approaching the age of 35, it has become quite apparent that I no longer possess the physique, energy and metabolism that I did at the age of 25.     2011 was an eye-opener for me, in regard to my current state of health as well as those around me. Discovering that I had high cholesterol, having both my parents and an aunt diagnosed with cancer, as well as losing a beloved church family member and another aunt to the same, I make a resolve to take better care of myself so that I am better able to take care of those around me. I make a resolve to eat better and at appropriate times, exercise more, drink water more, rest more, and most importantly, I vow to get annual screenings and regular check-ups as if my life depended on it. 2011 has taught me to pray endlessly, love harder, and laugh louder. See you all in the New Year! 2012 is going to be awesome!                                                             Takiya Smith, Beauty columnist

“I think I’ll start the year out by giving birth and then I’ll try this whole raising a baby thing.”
Pamela Brownstein, Editor

“Wag more. As my dog friends have taught me over the years, those who wag more have more joy, harmony, gratitude, and peace of mind than those who spend their time barking about whatever is presented them on a moment-to-moment basis.”
Tracie Korol, holistic behavior coach and author of wholeDog

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Celebrate the new year at Founders’ Night II

By Tess Malijenovsky

It’s been a long year celebrating Beaufort’s 300th birthday, but now it’s time to wrap up the year with a bang. That’s why the city is kicking off Beaufort’s fourth century with a free, family-oriented New Year Eve’s event December 31, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Waterfront Park.
This special community event begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and will feature the noted singer Marlena Smalls with musical performances by Sumitra Stewart, Marlena Smalls and the Delbert Felix Trio, and choirs from Tabernacle Baptist, Carteret Street United Methodist and First Presbyterian churches.
Between musical productions, locals Anita Singleton-Prather, Bill Harvey Jr. and Jeff Evans will present brief snapshots of Beaufort’s history ranging from the city’s humble beginnings in 1711 to its economic growth and wars during the last 300 years.
Beaufort was named after Englishman Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort (1684-1714), one of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina. It was on January 17, 1711, that the English founded Beaufort’s formal charter.
The closing Tricentennial ceremony and the explosion of fireworks over the Beaufort River will take place after sunset around 6 p.m.  “We want this to be a family affair and we’ll end early enough so people can go out to dinner or get home for New Year’s Eve festivities,” said Mayor Billy Keyserling.
In the event of rain on December 31, the event will be moved to The Arts Center at Beaufort High located on Lady’s Island.

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Start a more organized life in 2012

By Roxanne Cheney
For many, the New Year is a time to reflect on the changes we want or need to make.  And every year, many of us end up making the same resolutions.  One that shows up on just about every New Year Resolution Top Ten List is to “get organized.”  That’s not surprising when you consider these statistics:
• 23 percent of adults admit to paying bills late (incurring late fees and suffering credit report effects) because they lose bills among the clutter;
• 25 percent of people with two-car garages can’t park even one car because of the other items stored there;
• 1 in 11 American households spends more than $1,000 annually on rented self-storage space;
• The average American spends one year of his/her life looking for lost items.
Whether you want your home organized enough that you can invite guests over on the spur of the moment, or simply want your papers organized enough to find addresses or receipts in under a minute, the following tips will get you started on the road to a more organized life.
For most people, trying to organize their space without first sorting and purging their belongings is simply rearranging the clutter.  Use this simple acronym to kick start your efforts:  SORT.
S ort
O bserve Oosouji
R ule of One
T oss with Abandon
Sort. Soon after the New Year arrives, most families take down holiday decorations and store everything for the following year. This year, before repacking the ornaments, lights, and linens, look at each item to determine whether it’s something you really want to keep. With time, have some of the items become tired, tattered, or stained?  Some may have sentimental value despite (or even because of) their age.  But are some decorations there just because, well, they’re there?  If you don’t love each one, donate or discard it before putting away the others. Next December you’ll be glad you did.
Observe Oosouji. In Japan, an integral part of New Year tradition is clearing dirt, clutter, and the disorganization from the old year.  Japanese homes receive a top-to-bottom cleaning; business offices are sorted and organized; and children clean out school desks.  The objective is to drive out any impure influences that may have taken up residence during the previous year.   Whether you want to purify your home, or simply enjoy a clean and uncluttered house, oosouji will help you achieve your objective.
Rule of One. Try this simple idea to keep clutter at bay as you put away holiday gifts: for each item received, donate or discard one.  For example, for every new DVD you add to the shelf, remove one older title. New PJs for the children? Before placing them in the drawer, take out a pair that no longer fit or that your child doesn’t like. If craft supplies filled your stocking, remove as many from your stash before adding the news ones.
If your home is already cluttered, try donating or discarding two items for each one received.  This will immediately reduce clutter — and the pleasure of new possessions will help ease any discomfort about letting go of items you no longer use, need or love.
Toss with Abandon. We all know that when it comes to gift-giving, it’s the thought that counts. And that’s true for all the gifts that entered your home this holiday season.  Do not allow your home to be cluttered with items you do not want simply because they were gifts.  Try these strategies to handle any “white elephant” gifts (after writing a thank you note, naturally):
• If a gift receipt was included, return the item or exchange it for one you will use, need or love.
• Consign gifts to one of our fabulous local consignment shops, or donate to one of the myriad charitable resale shops in town.
• If you wish to save a gift for “regifting,” attach a note to yourself with the name of the gift giver and date received; this will help prevent a regifting faux pas.
• Host an after-Christmas “white elephant” exchange (with very good friends).  Remember, one woman’s trash is another’s treasure?  It’s true!
Sorting and de-cluttering before putting things away isn’t about doing without; it’s about surrounding yourself only with things you use, need or love.   And wouldn’t that be a lovely way to live your best life in 2012?
Roxanne Cheney is a Professional Organizer and Daily Money Manager. For more information, visit www.RoxanneOrganizes.com, 843-252-1118 or Roxanne@RoxanneOrganizes.com.

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Take the Pelican Plunge

By Pamela Brownstein
The tradition of starting the new year by braving the cold Atlantic Ocean continues on Hunting Island State Park during the 4th Annual Pelican Plunge on Sunday, January 1, 2012. Registration starts at noon at the North Beach Lighthouse Shelter, and the plunge will be at 1 p.m.
Last year the event attracted 200 plungers, but with spectators on the island, the number was more like 700, said this year’s chairwoman Denise Parsick.
Sponsored by Friends of Hunting Island, the Pelican Plunge raises money to support the Discover Carolina educational program that allows teachers and students to visit the park for a day of learning. Denise calls it “an excellent, hands-on science-based experience” that gives students the chance to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for their environment.
This year, a steel drum band will be playing and free coffee and cocoa will be available for all participants. Denise said the warm-up activities are always fun, and all plungers will get a kazoo. Costumes are also encouraged. “It’s just a hoot of a day,” she said.
Prizes will be given out to the business, organization and individual that raise the most money. For more information, visit www.friendsofhuntingisland.org or call the park at 843-838-2011.

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Holiday Closings

Administration, Libraries, PALS, and Courthouse:
All Beaufort County administrative offices, libraries, Parks and Leisure Services and the County courthouse will be closed Monday, January 2 for the New Year’s holiday and will reopen for business Tuesday, January 3 at 8 a.m.

Convenience Centers:
All Beaufort County Solid Waste and Recycling Convenience Centers will close Saturday, December 31 at 1 p.m. for the New Year’s holiday and will remain closed New Year’s Day, Sunday January 1. They will re-open Monday, January 2 and operate as normally scheduled.

Animal Shelter:
The Beaufort County Animal Shelter will be open to the public as usual on New Year’s Eve, Saturday, December 31 and closed to the public Sunday, January 1 and Monday, January 2. The shelter will re-open for business Tuesday, January 3 at 9 a.m. for those turning in an animal or seeking a lost pet.

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Generations: The work of James Denmark & Dimitri Denmark

Start 2012 with a generational look at beauty: James Denmark, the renowned artist and collagist (including a spot in the Absolut collection in Stockholm) and his grandson Dimitri, based in Florida, join forces to fill the spacious gallery at ARTworks with an opening reception Friday, January 6, 2012, from 6-8 p.m., through February 29.
In his studio in Yemassee, James Denmark creates compositions that go beyond the superficial and transitory. He focuses, instead, on what is eternal and universal.

“Cut flowers” by James Denmark.

Denmark’s work is consistently and eagerly sought after by galleries and collectors worldwide: most notably New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Trust and faith creates confidence, which allows me to move forward with my work,” stated Denmark. “I leave everything to the spirits. I step back every so often to peek at found collage materials, and to ponder new possibilities. I am a party to improvisation, found materials, and the impact of color.”
Born in 1935, Denmark was exposed to color and form at an early age by his grandmother, a wire sculptor and quilt artist, by his grandfather, a bricklayer noted for his unique custom design molds, and his mother who was gifted with an intuitive feeling for design and a fastidiousness for detail which she expressed in all aspects of her daily life. This family tradition continues in grandson Dimitri, who is forging his own artistic career as an adult.
James’ career began as an art teacher in the New York public school system. There he met and was nurtured by an immensely talented community of artists, including abstract expressionists as Jackson Pollack, Clifford Still, and William DeKooning. The African-American masters Norman Lewis, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, and Ernest Crichlow instilled in him an appreciation of his African-American artistic heritage, and he began experimenting with collage.
Denmark has a natural affinity for the difficult and largely improvisational medium of collage and quickly developed his own unique and easily identifiable style, which can be enjoyed by the public at ARTworks Tuesday through Fridays, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday afternoons.
ARTworks is located at 2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort SC 29902, 843-379-2787. http://www.ArtWorksInBeaufort.org.

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Author to sign copies of book ‘The Boy Project’

A book signing for “The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister” by Beaufort author Kami Kinard will be held Tuesday, January 10, 2012. The book, published by Scholastic, is a social science experiment for anyone who’s ever felt that boys were a different species. Meet the author at ARTworks from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in Beaufort Town Center, 2127 Boundary St.
Kami Kinard’s debut novel “The Boy Project: Notes and Observations of Kara McAllister” is a good-hearted look at the trials and tribulations of eighth-grader Kara McAllister who has one huge problem: Kara is the only person in her grade to have never had a boyfriend. Thirteen and wildly creative, Kara McAllister just had her best idea yet. Masked under the pretense of a social experiment for the school science fair, Kara plans to take careful notes on all of the boys in her grade (and a few elsewhere) in order to answer a seemingly simple question: How can she get a boyfriend?
But, as luck would have it, Kara’s project turns out to be much more complicated than she anticipated. Soon there are secrets, lies, and an embarrassing incident in the boy’s bathroom. Plus, Kara has to deal with mean girls, her slightly spacey BFF, and some surprising uses for duct tape. Still, if Kara’s research leads her to the right boy, everything may just be worth it.
Full of charts and graphs, heart and humor, this hilarious debut will resonate with tweens everywhere.
Kami Kinard enjoys writing about the boyfriend quest more than she enjoyed experiencing it. A teaching artist on the SC Arts Commission’s Roster of Approved Artists, she writes from Beaufort where she lives with her husband and two children. You can visit her online at www.kamikinard.com.

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‘Pencils, Words & Kids’ is new creative app

The ‘Pencils Words & Kids’ app is a how-to guide for kids and their mentors to get the words flowing. Learning to write is like weight lifting, every repetition makes you stronger. This app, for iPhones and iPads, is not about grammar and spelling, and it’s good for all ages, like a one room schoolhouse. The creative writing process is presented in 81 entries and 203 photos of kids writing, original artwork, and inspiring scenes. The photos show what real writing looks like, and will fuel stories, essays and poems. Many are scenes from Beaufort. Preview it all at http://sutromedia.com/apps/Pencils_Words_Kids.

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A look at the upcoming legislative agenda with Rep. Shannon Erickson

By Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort

‘Tis the season and I will soon return to Columbia for my fifth year as your South Carolina House District 124 Representative.  I want to humbly thank you for the honor of serving you and let you know how much your trust and confidence means to me each and every day.  There is no other place I’d rather be than beautiful Beaufort — except making sure that we have a strong Beaufort voice in Columbia.
So, some good news: South Carolina is ending the year on a brighter economic note than it began. Indicators in the past few months have rendered several encouraging economic forecasts for the state.
S.C. Economy Continues to Recover: By measuring the state’s sales and income tax collected, South Carolina’s economy is continuing its slow recovery. The state’s general fund revenue was up 6% in November from the same month a year ago. We’re apparently buying more — sales tax collections were up nearly 5%. Personal income tax collections were up 4% while corporate income tax collections were up a whopping 118%. Moody, the credit rating firm, has restored the state’s top rated AAA credit to “stable status.” Earlier this summer, Moody had issued warnings to five AAA rated states saying the debt problems with the federal government could affect their credit worthiness. According to State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, “This affirms our ranking among the best states in the country when it comes to handling our debt obligations.” It also allows the refinancing of a series of bonds saving South Carolina taxpayers $24 million.
More Tax Money = More Government Spending? I will continue to work to keep that from happening!  We all recognize the tendency for government to increase spending when more of your dollars are collected in taxes. Previous estimates show the legislature will have $900 million more available for the 2012-2013 state budget. Unofficial estimates now put that at 1.3 billion. Our priority must be to adequately fund core functions of government not grow unnecessary programs. Just one example: recession cut-backs diminished our state trooper ranks by nearly 20%.
Forecasting the 2012 Legislative Agenda:
1. Comprehensive Tax Reform: Overall, South Carolinians pay lower taxes than most other states, but we can do a better job. I authored a bill last year to remove all the sales tax exemptions (H. 4271 http://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess119_2011-2012/bills/4271.htm) in order to lower our overall state sales tax. Additionally, the S.C. Supreme Court has heard arguments challenging the states’ many sales tax exemptions as unconstitutional. While the justices’ decision looms large and could throw our taxing and revenue system into chaos, alternatives, like mine, are in the works. The House GOP Tax Committee, on which I serve, is moving swiftly to recommend reforms in sales tax exemptions, and property, income taxes and how we can make South Carolina a more fertile ground for businesses.
2. Major Pension Reform: With South Carolina tackling reform of its state pension program in the coming year, it’s important to keep an eye on what other states are doing. Lawmakers in Rhode Island, for example, are encountering similar issues to ours.  They had a choice — keep their state’s pension system as is, forcing big tax increases, service cuts, or both, or change the pension system to improve solvency and control the growth of future obligations. Last month, Rhode Island lawmakers chose the latter. They approved reforms that require certain state workers and teachers to move some of their retirement funds into a 401(k)-style account They also suspended annual cost-of-living raises until their pension funding levels reach 80 percent. They raised age requirements and re-amortized the pension system debt to lower and smooth future payments. Employee contributions will also rise.  Keeping our state retirement system vital is important and will be a large part of this upcoming session.
3. A Responsible Budget: As mentioned above, more revenue is forecasted but how it is spent is vital to our state’s well-being.  Having extra revenue doesn’t mean that we have “extra” money.  Appropriately funding core functions of government, making sure that you, the citizens, see a value in how your tax dollars are invested in our state and not allowing agencies to operate in deficits are important to our state’s fiscal health. We also must remember that when we have debt, it must be paid back and we should save and have adequate funds in the state’s rainy day fund.
4. Senate Action: The South Carolina House passed several key pieces of legislation last year and far too many are sitting in Senate committees or on their crowded docket. A few dedicated senators (Bryant, Davis, Campsen, Gregory, Grooms, Martin, Massey, Shoopman, Verdin come to mind) come to work and are doing their best to do business in the Senate.  Other senators, who affectionately call themselves “the deliberative body,” are not so inclined and find ways with rules and procedures to simply cause movement on vital issues to come to a crawl or complete halt.  Every one of you probably knows someone else in another county of South Carolina and I urge you to contact them and let’s push the state Senate to action from all sides.
5. Continuing Quest for Equitable Education Funding: The broken record message that Beaufort County is a donor county and that doling out education dollars based on property tax values continues to be the order of the day. We made small strides last year when the State House budget pushed away from the “EFA formula” in budget line items and placing “per pupil weighted unit” in its place. But the Senate finance committee did not allow it to remain and the Beaufort delegation had to drop back to “Plan B”, a Senate one-year proviso which allotted a minimal payment of funds to any district not receiving any EFA funding (only Beaufort). With the backing of the Beaufort County Council and the school board, we will continue this work in reforming our state’s antiquated education funding system.
Port Issues: The Army Corps of Engineers recently held a public meeting about its harbor deepening study, giving the public an opportunity to comment and ask questions about the harbor deepening study. With the Panama Canal expansion set to be completed in 2014, East Coast ports will be open to larger ships that require deeper drafts. About 80% of the ships on order now are post-Panamax, meaning they are too large to fit through the canal today. Experts say South Carolina’s deepening project will drive economic investment and jobs in the state.
In light of the SC DHEC permit allowing the Savannah Port to dredge, I have asked for a meeting with the governor to discuss the ramification of this decision on the Jasper Ocean Terminal. I am deeply troubled by her role in asking DHEC to hear this issue again and the lack of regard for the South Carolina Maritime Commission. Particular concerns are the spoil from the dredging being dumped on the Jasper Ocean Terminal site for the next 50 years and the fact that the Army Corps of Engineers did not consider the Jasper Ocean Terminal as an alternative to the Savannah Port’s dredging since the former would require far less environmental impact.  I will share information as I receive it and look for a meeting on this in early January.

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