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May 24, 2012

Memorial Day events

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Stars and Stripes

On Monday, May 28, there will be the annual Memorial Day Parade through downtown Beaufort, starting at 10 a.m. at the corner of Rogers and Boundary streets, looping along Bay Street and back.

Then at noon on Saturday, the Beaufort National Cemetery will have a Memorial Day ceremony, with keynote speaker Capt. Joan Renee Queen, the commanding officer at Naval Hospital Beaufort. With American flags placed on the graves, it’s a fitting place to remember the meaning behind Memorial Day and honor the men and women who have served our country.

Making waves: Beaufort River Swim benefits Learn to Swim program at YMCA

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Pete Palmer, 76, is an avid swimmer and is seen at the pool at the Wardle Family YMCA in Port Royal. He is passionate about making sure children in Beaufort County learn to swim.

Wardle Family YMCA’s 6th Annual River Swim will take place this Saturday, May 26. This event attracts swimmers from all over the Lowcountry from teens to seasoned adults in their 70’s, including Pete Palmer, an avid swimmer and a member of the Master Swim Team at the Y.
The event is a three mile, open water swim along the shoreline of the Beaufort River.
The River Swim continues to grow in popularity and the Y is hoping for an even greater turnout over previous years.

Pete Palmer, 76, is an avid swimmer and is seen at the pool at the Wardle Family YMCA in Port Royal. He is passionate about making sure children in Beaufort County learn to swim.

Proceeds from the Beaufort River Swim benefit the YMCA of Beaufort County’s Learn to Swim Program. Last year the Y raised more than $2,000 for the swimming programs. In addition to support from the River Swim, a scholarship program and outside grants from nonprofits such as the United Way and Rotary helped raise and contribute more than $28,000 to aquatics in 2011. More than 500 individuals were impacted through swim lessons and aquatic programming and education that were provided by the YMCA throughout the year.
Swimmers of all levels participate in the River Swim: triathletes, recreational lap swimmers and competitive age group swimmers. The race starts at Port Royal Landing Marina between 8:30 and 9 a.m., travels around the bend, passes the Beaufort Memorial Hospital, and finishes at the boat ramp at the corner of the Downtown Marina, adjacent to the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. Supporters can get a great look at the swimmers coming down the river in their multi-colored swim caps along the bluffs on Bay Street Saturday morning.
Pete Palmer, who has lived in Beaufort for 11 years, is on the committee at the Y for the Learn to Swim Program and said, “It’s not simply about the River Swim, it’s about the kids.”
He said swimming saves lives, and that the leading cause of accidental death in children ages 3-11 is drowning. Especially with the amount of water in Beaufort County and the Lowcountry, he feels it’s even more important that kids here learn proper swimming techniques and to be familiar with the water, not just in the pool, but the ocean and other waterways.
Palmer recently went to nationals with his Master Swim Team in Greensboro, N.C., and said he beat his time, so he was pleased. At 76, he jokingly said he has outlived most of his competition.
“I am passionate about the Learn to Swim program,” he said, and added that supporting the river swim benefits a great cause.
The YMCA hopes to continue to grow and be able to raise money to serve more individuals in the community who want to learn to swim. Come out and be a part of this great event and help them toward their goal.
The YMCA is a not for profit organization promoting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The organization is overseen by a volunteer board of directors within the community.
For more information or to register, visit or call 843-522-9622.

A photo for the future: Student wins state award

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By Tess Malijenovsky
Mattie Jo Thomas, a Lady’s Island Middle School eighth-grader, won top honors in a statewide competition for her black-and-white photograph, the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee announced this week.

Mattie Jo Thomas, center, holds her new iPad after winning a statewide competition with a photo that captured the essence of the question, What does education mean to me and my future?

The statewide contest highlighted the committee’s 2020 Vision — that all South Carolina students will graduate with the knowledge and skills to compete in the global economy. Students were asked to write an essay, create a poster or take a photograph in response to the following question: What does education mean to me and my future?
The caption of Mattie Jo’s raw, unedited photograph read: “The world is at my fingertips. Education will determine the course my life takes.”
Mattie’s teachers Lynn Jester and Cadra Rooney coordinated student entries at Lady’s Island Middle. There were 1,076 entries overall from students in schools across South Carolina.
State Rep. Andy Patrick from Beaufort County and Education Oversight Committee Interim Executive Director Melanie Barton presented the award and an iPad courtesy of private donations at a ceremony at the school Tuesday, May 22.  Lady’s Island Middle School’s Principal Mona Lise Dickson and Mattie Jo’s parents, Martin and Suzan Thomas, were also there supporting her achievement.
Mattie Jo wrote in describing her winning photo: “Education is the foundation of today’s society. Without proper education, our world wouldn’t be anywhere near what is today. From my perspective, education represents the world which is everything. In order to be my definition of a successful in life, a well and proper education is the key.  Education means my dreams, and it shows how the world is at my fingertips. Education will determine the course your life takes.”

Beaufort to install mooring field in harbor, upgrade marina docks

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An improved mooring area in the Beaufort River and upgraded electrical connections will make Beaufort more appealing to visiting boaters through a $100,000 federal grant received by the City of Beaufort and the Downtown Beaufort Marina.
“For boaters who travel up and down the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Beaufort will be a much more appealing place to stop for a night or two or three,” Beaufort City Manager Scott Dadson said of the marina upgrades and new mooring field. “For too many years we’ve overlooked this important part of marketing our city to the boating community.”
Work is expected to run from July 1 through December. The U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Services are the federal funding agency for this Boating Infrastructure Grant. Key elements in the project include:
• Installing two step-up transformers to increase the electrical voltage from 208 to 240 volts on the marina’s outermost dock which serves visiting vessels. The improvement will provide better customer service and make the marina more attractive to larger vessels traveling the Intracoastal Waterway.
• Installing 16 professionally-managed moorings for transient boats in an approved area of the Beaufort River, in the area already used as the city’s “harbor.” Such mooring space isn’t available between Charleston and St. Augustine, Fla. The new moorings will replace the approximately 12 randomly placed anchoring and also will involve removal of dilapidated boats which will improve water quality.
• Replacing two existing but rusting electrical disconnect systems at the marina and installing new disconnects in stainless steel housings.
The mooring buoys will either be fabricated by a marine contractor or purchased through a vendor. The most cost effective approach will be the one selected. The buoys will be installed by a licensed marine contractor under the supervision of an engineer, said Libby Anderson, Beaufort’s planning director.
The project is part of the capitalization of the Downtown Marina, which is city-owned but managed by Griffin Enterprises.  Capital costs are part of the lease agreement with Griffin Enterprises.
The mooring field and electrical upgrade project received endorsements from the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce, Beaufort Sail & Power Squadron and local boaters.
Because of its location within the historic downtown area and proximity to historic and tourism amenities, the Downtown Marina attracts a significant number of transient boaters. During the spring and fall, the major seasons for transient boaters in South Carolina, the marina typically hosts 10 to 20 boats per night, according to the marina management company.
The Downtown Marina has approximately 1,140 feet of pier devoted to transient boats and can accommodate 38-40 boats of 26’ in length. Currently, there are no mooring facilities in the Beaufort area.
Transient boats desiring a mooring must either dock at the marina’s transient piers, if room is available, or continue to 65 miles north to Charleston, or 240 miles south to St. Augustine, Fla. A mooring field with associated professional management will increase the opportunities for boaters moving through the area.
While some boaters prefer moorings, many desire the conveniences offered by dockage at the transient pier. The Downtown Marina falls short in satisfying the electrical needs of large, modern, well-equipped vessels — largely because the electrical service at the marina was installed in the 1970s.
“This grant will help make our marina, and downtown Beaufort, a better choice for boaters as they travel the Intracoastal Waterway. They are a tight-knit community and word spreads fast about marinas with good, or bad, service,” Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling said.
“When these boaters enjoy our restaurants and shops, when they enjoy our Waterfront Park, we want them to share their experience and to come back frequently. Some of them may even decide to relocate here. This is another investment in our future,” he said.

DNR to hold courtesy boat inspections

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In an effort to keep state waterways safe during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division will again be conducting courtesy safety inspections at some public boat landings.
The Memorial Day holiday weekend is considered the first blast of summer and one of the busiest weekends of the year on state waters. DNR boating safety and enforcement officers will perform a quick, but thorough, inspection for items such as required safety equipment and proper boat and motor registration. Those who are not in compliance with safety regulations or registration requirements will not be ticketed during the complimentary inspections. Boaters will be given an opportunity to correct the problem before they launch.
“Boaters should pay special attention with keeping their safety equipment up to date. Boaters should inspect their lifejackets to ensure that they are in good serviceable condition and without tears or holes. The boat operator is responsible for having a proper fitting U.S. Coast Guard type II lifejacket for all passengers on board. It is especially important to check the size and fit of lifejacket for children. Our courtesy boat inspections are a proactive way to give boaters this opportunity before launching their vessels,” said Col. Chisolm Frampton, deputy director of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Division.
The Memorial Day weekend courtesy inspections correspond to the National Safe Boating Week (May 19-25).
Inspections in Beaufort County:
• Saturday, May 26: Lemon Island Landing (Edgar Glenn), Chechessee River, 10 a.m. to noon
• Sunday, May 27: Pinckney Island Landing (C. C. Haigh, Jr.), Mackay Creek, 10 a.m. to noon.

Magic in your pocket (and other lessons from Boston)

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By Jack Sparacino
Our son Jack recently flew down from Boston for a weeklong visit.  He’s very grown up now at 26, with a fascinating job in a terrific city.  When he was a little fellow, it was always fun to teach him things. Now the tables are somewhat turned, and that’s fun too.  Here are a few of the lessons I was able to absorb while he stayed with us.
1. How old did you say I seem? We had perfect weather coming home from Savannah.  Jack drove and I got to ask questions about his flight and the music we listened to on the radio. After a neat blast from the 60’s courtesy of The Doors (“Hello, I Love You, Won’t You Tell Me Your Name”), we heard several songs that apparently came from another galaxy.  One that actually started to grow on me (did I really just say that?) was “Glad You Came” by The Wanted.  Jack laughed and agreed there might still be some hope for me musically joining the 21st century.  Some.
2. What did Elton John call them?  Showing my age again, we were talking over a lovely dinner at Saltus about how different people have their own individual profiles when it comes to those purchases they’re willing to splurge on a little — or not.  When I reminisced about only paying $6 for a pair of “blue jeans” when I was a freshman in college, and not liking to pay all that much more than that today, Jack politely informed me that the term was actually “jeans” or “denim,” not “blue jeans.”  A quick check in my closet revealed that they were all indeed blue, but I’m working on it as I note that 1968 came and went — along with my cool record collection. Which at one point included Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” (blue jean baby, L.A. lady).
3.  Victory at sea.  When a friend invited us to take a close-up look at the Victory after a delightful lunch at Sweetgrass, we were treated to a wonderful tour of a venerable ship that was built in 1955.  Turns out that many famous people have been on this vessel, including Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Jack followed Frank down to the engine room and let me know that everything seemed shipshape. Just like our special relationship as we continued to cruise through a beautiful day.
4.  Magic in your pocket.  Jane and I have had cell phones for years, the same ones come to think of it.  You know, the kind that you recharge by turning the crank. When Jack said he was excited about picking up his new iPhone at Best Buy, I wondered what all the hoopla was about. One 15 minute demonstration later over lunch at the Back Porch and my brain was spinning. Those phones are like having magic in your pocket. We concluded that it’s not really a question of what they can do, it’s more a question of what they can’t do, and the answer is … not much. The camera alone is phenomenal, the applications are off the charts, and you can talk to it, for example to ask “the lady” to remind you to do something.  Oh yeah, you can also use it to make phone calls.
5. Living off the land.  Jack got another kick out of how readily one can put together a fabulous Lowcountry seafood treat. We were “living off the land,” he reminded me, as we prepared crab cakes and steamed clams from the shellfish we harvested.  I also learned that in his world in Boston, you simply can’t put too much garlic in a chicken and bell pepper dish. It was fun to watch him cook and walk us through a delicious recipe. Was this the same fellow who once covered a room with spaghetti from his highchair?
6. What’s a mojito?  When Jack ordered one of these before dinner one night, I asked him what that was.  Turns out it’s a popular cocktail that includes rum, muddled mint leaves, lime juice, club soda and simple syrup.  With those ingredients, I think it could also serve as mouthwash.
7. Not all good movies are supposed to be entertaining. In this case I learned that no, a movie doesn’t have to be “entertaining” to be considered an excellent film.  Jack managed to help me understand that just because watching “The Black Swan” made me uncomfortable, it was still a worthwhile and perhaps even valuable experience (a theatrical piece of “art,” as he put it).  Just don’t try to get me too excited about ballet.
8. The dog multiplier effect: 2 + 1 = 6. We have two fun little Yorkies and Jack brought his girl Rory with him.  That made three Yorkies, each on a hair trigger for anything out of the ordinary: squirrels or lizards on the porch, a dog barking on TV, you name it.  It was one chain reaction after another at times.  We all learned that the difference between 2 dogs in the house and 3 dogs is more like 4 than 1.
So after a week’s visit that seemed like a day and a half, our wonderful son is back in Boston and we’re left basking in the wake of another lovely family time.  If I did the math right, Jack left the Lowcountry three years or so the wiser and Jane and I came out a decade younger.

From Jonah to Judas, Part V

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By Danette Vernon
Khalil Gibran, a poet who lived more than 100 years ago, once beautifully wrote, “Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.”
We rush through our days. We take files home from work and fall asleep over them. We tell ourselves we have to because, “We can’t keep up as it is.” We fill our children’s days, and therefore our own, with soccer, ballet, and any empty spaces which are left, we fill quickly with volunteering at church or some other worthy organization. We’re busy, “We have no time to think.” Exactly. Who can deny, or question our goodness as a mother, or a volunteer, when we so faithfully serve our children or the community?
But what if we did sit quietly for a moment at the “river of silence,” and all that we can’t forgive, or forget, in ourselves or in others, comes up … then what?
Buddhist Meditation Master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche provides guidance, and encourages us to not be afraid when we hear the quiet of the river of silence:
“Going beyond fear begins when we examine our fear: our anxiety, nervousness, concern, restlessness. If we look into our fear, if we look beneath the veneer, the first thing we find is sadness, beneath the nervousness. When we slow down, relax with our fear, we find sadness, which is calm and gentle. Sadness hits you in your heart, and your body produces a tear. Before you cry there is a feeling in your chest and then, after that, you produce tears in your eyes. You are about to produce rain or a waterfall in your eyes and you feel sad and lonely and perhaps a little romantic at the same time. This is the first tip of fearlessness, and the first sign of real warriorship. You might think that, when you experience fearlessness, you will hear the opening of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or see a great explosion in the sky, but it doesn’t happen that way. Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart. Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness.”
It can seem in life, that only desperate struggle can lead to relief, but according to Chogyam, no, it’s tenderness and tears.
To illustrate, let me tell you a story about a Tender Warrior and his sadness:
Once upon a Father’s Day Sunday, a Marine officer who had returned from Afghanistan told of his time overseas, the cost, and the end result.
He started with the affirmation that he managed to bring back all of his men, despite their being in charge of a section of road that was essentially lost within a grid of a 1000 square miles.  To make matters more severe, they received no support from a village situated just across the river, and they had even been in fire fights with hostiles hidden within the village. These were firefights, wherein civilian casualties may have been a part of the defense of his platoon. He had maps, Google images, and stories that had harsh asides for a Father’s day message. What was his point in outlining this portion of his career for us?
His point was that anger and callousness had eventually overridden his “fellow feelings” for others while he was in Afghanistan. He told us how he had even begun to “hate” the local people. The stories that were engraved in his memory were of a people who were so ready for his men to die, that they refused his Marines the simple humanity of a warning when they were about to roll over a crude bomb in the road. The villagers were silent but for the wailing. They cried and shouted in grief for their sons. “Were their sons killed as incidental to the firefights that erupted with some regularity? Had their sons been amongst the insurgents hiding out in the village?” Hard to say.
He had saved his men, but at what cost to himself? With his return to the normalcy of life back in the states, being at war felt different. It felt like he had been party to the taking of the lives of his brothers, as aren’t we all brothers? And so he cried and he cried. But where does that get us?
This Warrior of the Heart then sought relief in a time-worn story, only from an inspired view — the story of Judas. He noted that Peter and Judas had “both” betrayed Jesus. Yes, that’s true, but so what? His revelation was that there was only one difference between these men, ONE. Both, in his estimation, could have gone on to become men we revere today. One forgave himself and went on to become a man of faith, his written words read by millions over hundreds of years. The other tried to “fix” what he had done by returning the 30 pieces of silver. When that didn’t work, he ended it all.
That is the first lesson of our time at the river of silence, we can’t “fix” the past. There just is no way back to even try. We can only forgive ourselves as Peter did and Judas didn’t. So take some time this week to sit at the river of silence, be still, feel its wetness, and drink deep. It’s a beginning.

Moment of Wellness with Danette Vernon: Offering a unique approach to your active health care needs using a variety of healing modalities, nutritional and wellness coaching to empower you to a new state of health and well-being. 73 Sams Point Road, 524-2554.

To love and let love, starting with yourself

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By Takiya Smith
For the past few years I have embarked on an amazing journey of love. Loving myself, loving others and, in turn, learning to let others love me. Loving oneself might not necessarily sound impossible, just as much as letting others love you sounds inane. However, believe it or not, loving oneself as well as the latter reference of loving others doesn’t always come first hand, second nature or internal as we would all like to think.
For starters, let’s define love as an infinite and exponential form of emotion, thought, and contentment towards a person, place or thing. Webster’s defines love as an intense feeling of deep affection, however, being in love is not the subject at hand. When we love ourselves, infinitely, it means to be never ending and forever. Loving, exponentially, means to have a continuous and rapid growth of increase. Furthermore, an emotion is a state of mind that replicates our thoughts into feelings and ultimately leads to being verbalized or actualized.
When we can begin to place the very focus of these things on ourself, not worrying about what or how we appear to others, self-love begins. Ultimately, the expected result is one that brings a peace, joy, confidence and sense of happiness that can not be taken or replaced. Therefore, one being happy with themselves — not allowing the thoughts, intentions, motivations, words or actions of others to be controlling factors — effortlessly offers the option to begin to love.
Loving yourself, first and foremost, teaches you to love others and when we have a genuine love for others it allows others to love us. The world would and could be such a great place but let’s start with ourselves first, learning to love and let love.

Locals train for marathon, raise money for cancer research

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Over the past several years local residents have raised over $50,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) by training for marathons, half marathons and triathlons.  Now they are preparing to do it again!  The program, Team in Training (TNT), is a training and fundraising program in which participants train for an endurance event while raising funds for blood cancer patients in South Carolina.
Local coaches put together group trainings for the walkers, runners and triathletes.  TNT also hosts clinics on topics such as stretching and nutrition to assist participants along the way.  Since it’s inception, TNT has trained over half a million participants across the US.  TNT participants have also raised over $1 billion to fund life saving cancer research and to provide programs for patients and their families.
Last year, several Beaufort residents teamed up in memory of one participant, Wendy Garcia.  Members of Team Wendy completed the Nike Women’s Marathon and the Savannah Rock N Roll Half Marathon in her memory and have raised over $38,000 for LLS.  Each team member wore a picture of Wendy on his/her jersey on race day and crossed the finish line with her on their mind.
Team in Training is currently recruiting team members in Beaufort and Bluffton for their fall season events. Those events include the Nike Womens’ Marathon and Half Marathon, the Marine Corp Marathon, the Nation’s Triathlon and the Rock N Roll Savannah Marathon and Half Marathon. For more information or to sign up now, call Jade Lawson at 843-881-8176 or email her at, or check out our website at

The Indie Film Corner: ‘Joffery: Mavericks of American Dance’

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“JOFFREY: Mavericks of American Dance” from The Documentary Series presented by Emerging Pictures in HD at USCB Center For the Arts on Tuesday, May 29 at 7 p.m.
Synopsis: This film documents how The Joffrey Ballet revolutionized American ballet and dance by daringly combining modern dance with traditional ballet technique; combining art with social statement and even setting ballets to pop/rock musical scores.
Ratings & Reviews: Like most documentaries, the ratings are directly proportional to the interest the audience and critics have in the subject.  On that score, the film does very well with Rotten Tomatoes  audience rating of 100%.  Not enough critics have seen the film to develop a consensus rating, but, based on early reviews, it is likely to be middle of the road.
Previewer Comments: This documentary shows some very early footage of the Joffrey and its development over the years. It relates to the ups and downs of a remarkable dance company that operated “outside of the box.” It shows the fragileness of support for the arts, complete with funding issues and personal conflicts among those in the world of dance. This rule-breaking dance company took formal ballet and changed it.  They merged other forms of dance and music with ballet and made dance much more accessible to all.  To the classical purist, it was something to be shunned, to others it was a revelation or perhaps even a revolution. It has had “sold out” screenings in Chicago, San Francisco and NYC’s Lincoln Center. If you enjoy dance, see it!
Rated: Unrated, but can be considered to be PG. Certainly suitable for adult dance fans and students of dance, junior high and older.
Tickets for adults are $7, seniors $6, students $5. Call USCB Center for the Arts box office at 843-521-4145 or purchase day of performance.
Dennis Tavernetti lives on St. Helena Island and retired to the Lowcountry having a lifelong interest in the arts. He encouraged USCB ‘s Center for the Arts to investigate the possibility of bringing Indie, World and Documentary HD films to Beaufort.

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