Confessions of a coffee snob

By Pamela Brownstein I didn’t always love coffee, but it slowly crept its way into my life, one bitter cup at a time, and now I can’t imagine going without it. Actually, I can, because I tried not to drink it when I was pregnant and it was awful. I missed the savory aroma, those first delightful sips, the distinct caffeine buzz that acts like a green light in my brain: now you can start to work. My parents drank coffee all the time when I was growing up and I loved the smell. Nothing wakes me up on the right side of the bed like the smell of a fresh-brewed pot of coffee (cue cheesy Folgers commercial from the 80’s). It reminds me of warmth on cold New Jersey mornings and comfort knowing that no matter what the day brings, a hot mug of goodness is waiting just for you. As much as I enjoy the home brew, like any coffee snob, the best part about a sophisticated coffee... ...

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All-you-can-eat night at The Chocolate Tree will create Confection Fantasy

By Tess Malijenovsky A love for chocolate is a lasting desire. Just take a look at Beaufort’s local chocolatier, The Chocolate Tree, which has been in business for 32 years. The specialty chocolate shop will be busy once again preparing for its biggest event: the 28th All-You-Can-Eat Night on Friday, August 17. But the idea behind the popular candy buffet grew more out of necessity than creativity. “Honestly, way back when the heat in August was so hot and the electric bill was crazy, we just did it to pay the electric bill in August,” said Joy King, an owner of The Chocolate Tree. However, in the last three decades this annual event has evolved into a sold-out family tradition. Joy has watched families grow — before they had kids and after having several — and year after year they return to the All-You-Can-Eat Night. “We have people calling in May, ‘When is it going to be?’ And they schedule their vacations around it!” said Joy. Just four years ago,... ...

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Remembering the remarkable life of Roger Steele

By Scott Graber My friend, Roger Steele, died on Saturday, August 4. Death came suddenly as he was getting ready for bed. He was with his wife, Cheryl. Who was Roger Steele? Roger Steele came to Beaufort in 1974, freshly endowed with a Masters in Fine Arts from Texas Christian University. He brought a remarkable capacity to teach drawing, printmaking and sculpture. And for many years he transferred these skills to thousands of young people at Laurel Bay Schools and at USCB. But who was this guy? You can learn something about Roger from his lithographs. You can see the purple plains of Texas (where he spent much of his youth); and the golds and blacks and magentas that speak of his time in Japan. He loved the soft, healing force of rain and that was a theme running through his work. But you can’t see his generosity. In the 1970s, our public schools were under-funded. The same might be said for Beaufort Memorial Hospital and a dozen other local... ...

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Give blood, win car

The Blood Alliance together with Lucas Honda and HondasForLess.Net announced that Martha “Sam” Cowan of Beaufort was the randomly drawn winner of a 2012 Honda Civic LX. “We had more than 80,000 donors participate in the Honda car promotion that started on August 31 last year,” said Valerie Collins, Chief Operating Officer of The Blood Alliance, which has been providing blood since 1942. “Our need for blood is constant and we depend on our community to make that happen. Providing the car as incentive to come in and donate blood brought awareness of our need to new donors as well as donors who hadn’t donated in a while.” Cowan was informed of her prize and was in disbelief. “Nobody ever gives me anything like this because I never win! What a surprise, I can’t believe it — is this real?” she asked. Cowan, a regular whole blood donor with The Blood Alliance, said, “I donate whenever my church (St. John’s Lutheran) hosts a blood drive. Whatever Sunday the bloodmobile shows... ...

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TCL to create agriscience biotechnology program

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Technical College of the Lowcountry will begin offering courses in the rapidly advancing field of agriscience — a field of study that combines science and agriculture to enhance the production of plants, animals, and other related products. TCL recently received a $199,200 Advanced Technological Education grant from the NSF to develop an agriscience biotechnology certificate program. “The agriscience industry expects a proficient workforce in South Carolina and needs workers who know basic laboratory procedures coupled with technical communications and analytical skills,” biology instructor Dr. Natavia Middleton said. “The agriscience industry will be one of the economic growth engines of the coming decades.” Agricultural production potential is excellent in South Carolina.  The agriculture industry has a large impact on the economy in South Carolina generating almost $10 billion a year.  Including indirect impacts, the agriculture industry totals almost $16.8 billion a year.  The labor income is substantial as well generating $1.7 billion in direct labor income and almost $3.5 billion in... ...

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Athletes, volunteers help clean Beaufort High stadium

Beaufort High School’s recently re-sodded stadium complex will get a pre-game clean-up this month as local boosters and athletes join hands to prep the campus for fall sports. On Saturday, Aug. 11, parents, business community volunteers and student athletes will converge on Beaufort High’s stadium for a major work day. In the days before and after, additional efforts will be under way. “Our goal is to make Eagle Stadium the hub of community activity for all the football home games, and then in the spring to attract more people to spring sports,” said Jonolyn Ferreri, president of the school’s Big Green Booster Club. “Beaufort High has strong academics and strong athletics, and we are proud to put in our hard work to help. The Aug. 11 community clean-up will include some of the following: • Spreading of new mulch; • Cleaning and re-hanging sponsor banners along the football field, fence and press box; • Tree maintenance; • Treating the grounds for ants and other pests; • Cleaning and power-washing locker... ...

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Local ingredients and amazing dishes make for a sweet experience at Sweetgrass Restaurant

By Pamela Brownstein The Lunch Bunch shed its daytime appetite and gathered after dark on Dataw Island to taste the culinary divinity that is served nightly at Sweetgrass Restaurant and Bar. The views of the boats and the water, the excellent service and the incredible food made for a wonderful dinner. Owner Lauren Tillapaugh was a gracious hostess and described the emphasis on local ingredients and having a seasonal menu. They partner with many local establishments to highlight the best the Lowcountry has to offer. We started with three appetizers: Sweetgrass deviled eggs, seafood nachos, and sweet chips with chunky blue cheese. The chips were so indescribably awesome: homemade sweet potato chips with warm blue cheese dressing. For salad, Daniel ordered the “Hot and Hot Fish Club” made with local tomatoes, fried okra, lima beans, corn, bacon and greens. It was excellent. For soup, I tried something new: Peach gazpacho. I like the traditional gazpacho — Nikki got that, made with tomatoes and cucumbers, and it was really good —... ...

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Poor Pinot Noir, Good Pinot Noir

By Celia Strong Hello, again. Another new wine coming at us, again. And, actually, from a grape variety that we don’t look at all that often — Pinot Noir. This is a red variety whose name refers to the dark pinecone shape of its grape clusters on the vine (“pinot” is from the French for “pine” and “noir” is “black” in French). Poor Pinot Noir, though. Over the last several years we have tried and tried to drink Pinot Noir wines, but it’s been hard to get there. The grape itself is one of the more difficult to grow which tends to cause a wide range in the quality of its wines.  And, then, along came a movie that made it sooooo popular that the retail prices on Pinot Noir wines became difficult too. Poor Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir’s home is the Burgundy region of France. It is a very old variety, only one or two generations removed from wild grapes. Interesting how even grape varieties have a line of... ...

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Wente went for the gold!

By Terry Sweeney Earlier this year, at the San Francisco Chronicle’s 2012 Wine Competition, American wines competed for bronze, silver and gold medals. More than 300 wineries sent their best to this: the largest competition of American Wines in the world. What interested me most, of course, were the medal winners under $20. I imagined these lesser-priced bottles arriving with their wine coaches in tow just like in the Olympics. “Make every sip count!” “Don’t pop your cork too soon!” “Remember, you’re in it to vin it!’” Hey, who says you can’t talk to a bottle of wine? I know I have. It’s perfectly normal.  If you hear it talk back, however, then you’ve got a problem. Anyway, one particular winery’s name among the celebrated winners jumped out at me: Wente! Carolyn Wente lives right here, slightly west of Beaufort. The other part of the time, she’s oh-so-busy being the CEO of Wente Vineyards which was named in 2011 “The Winery of the Year “ by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Carolyn’s... ...

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10 Healing Herbs for hounds and humans: #6: Lemon Balm — it’s the balm!

By Tracie Korol The clammy paralysis of anxiety has become almost routine for so many people that it is has become the new normal. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect 18% of the adult population of the U.S., or about 40 million people. No one tracks how many dogs suffer from canine anxiety, but experts peg the rate at somewhere around 30% and, many say, it’s probably rising. A canine anxiety epidemic seems out of sync with a world that includes organic food, daycare centers, and memory foam beds for that special canine in your life. There are dating sites for people partial to spending their free time with dogs and travel agencies that can plan entire vacations around you and your dog. In canine-obsessed times such as these, how bad could a dog’s life be? The truth is that most dogs aren’t along for the ride. Even the ones lucky enough to be adopted by responsible people spend a good part of their lives... ...

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