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Locals helping victims of Harvey

in Community by
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Photo above: Luke Fairchild, a butcher with Island’s Meat Market on Lady’s Island, stacks some of the donated items destined for flood victims in Houston. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

Angel Hayes, left, a phlebotomist with OneBlood, takes out the needle from the arm of Rett Bullard of Beaufort during a blood drive for the flood victims in Houston. Hayes said OneBlood collects blood for local hospitals but is also sending some to hospitals in Houston.
Angel Hayes, left, a phlebotomist with OneBlood, takes out the needle from the arm of Rett Bullard of Beaufort during a blood drive for the flood victims in Houston. Hayes said OneBlood collects blood for local hospitals but is also sending some to hospitals in Houston.

By Bob Sofaly and Sally Mahan

(Editor’s note: The Island News goes to press on Tuesday, so we didn’t have enough information to let our readers know what to expect regarding Hurricane Irma and its potential impact. Additionally, contact the organizations mentioned in this story before dropping off items to make sure they are still accepting donations.) 

The horror of Hurricane Harvey has brought out the best in folks throughout Northern Beaufort County.

From collections of clothing and toys to donating money to giving blood, people throughout the area are looking for ways to help.

SugarBelle, a boutique on Boundary Street, has been collecting bottled water, hygiene products and baby formula, in addition to other donations, and is working with Samaritan’s Purse to help distribute the items. 

Samaritan’s Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritan’s Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease and famine.

“We were helped (after Hurricane Matthew),” said Cherimie Crane Weatherford of SugarBelle. “We have to help.”

SugarBelle can be reached at 843-379-4141.

Meanwhile, Angel Hayes, a phlebotomist with OneBlood, said the organization collects blood for local hospitals but is also sending some to hospitals in Houston.

Luke Fairchild, a butcher with Island’s Meat Market on Lady’s Island, is collecting items such as baby and pet supplies, toiletries and nonperishable food for the flood victims.

Those items will be brought to Love House Ministries for storage until they are sent to Texas. Island’s Meat Market is one of the drop-off points for donations. It is accepting donations at the market at 136 Sea Island Parkway from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call 843-525-6162.

Other donation drop-off locations include Love House Ministries at 423 Parris Island Gateway, which is accepting donations from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday (843-524-5683); and Bubba’s Lowcountry Collectibles at 463 Parris Island Gateway, which is accepting donations from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (843-525-1130). 

Love House Ministries said they are accepting any type of toiletries, nonperishable food, clothing, water, cat and dog food, diapers, wipes, batteries, bleach, plastic gloves, trash bags, sock and underwear, blankets and sleeping bags, baby bottles and medical supplies.

Another group taking donations is Beaufort Restaurants United. 

“We are arranging to fill an 18-wheeler full of supplies to show our support for the victims of Hurricane Harvey,” according to their flyer. “Not quite a year ago we went through similar conditions and we want to give back.

“Anything you can spare will help. Clothes, water, food, blankets, anything that can help those displaced.”

Donation dropoff locations include Piace Pizza on Lady’s Island (843-379-2237), Brody’s Bar and Grill in Beaufort (843-524-2500), The Tavern in Royal Pines (843-522-9700), Boondocks on St. Helena Island (843-838-0821) and The Kitchen catering in Beaufort (843-929-8643).

Readers should check with these groups and businesses to make sure they’re still accepting donations.

Visit www.redcross.org for locations for blood drives and information on monetary donations.

Beware of fraudulent charities

In response to the devastation from Hurricane Harvey, many South Carolinians are searching for ways to help victims. 

The SC Department of Consumer Affairs is advising consumers to be on the lookout for fake charities. Here are a few tips to ensure donations get to those in need:

• Seek out a charity. Be cautious of groups that approach you. Obtain information on a particular charity by visiting the SC Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.sc.gov/Public_Charities or by calling 803-734-1790.

• Donate to well-known charities. Watch out for charities that have sprung up overnight. Do not assume a charity is legitimate based on its name. Some phony charities use names similar to those of respected, legitimate organizations.

• Know who’s calling. During a call, a professional solicitor must disclose that they are a paid solicitor, the name, location and purpose of the charity, the registered and the true name of the professional fundraising organization for which they work. 

• Know where the money is going. Ask what percentage of your contribution goes to the charitable cause. Find out their mission and history. Don’t be afraid to ask for details in writing.

• Do not provide personal or financial information to cold callers. This includes your Social Security number, credit card and bank account numbers. Scam artists can use this information to commit fraud. When in doubt, hang up.

• Do not give or send cash. For security and tax record purposes, contribute by check or credit card. Write the official name of the charity on your check.

Michael Powell, team leader for OneBlood, handles some of the 14 pints of blood taken on Sept. 1. The blood will be divided between local hospitals and hospitals in Houston.
Michael Powell, team leader for OneBlood, handles some of the 14 pints of blood taken on Sept. 1. The blood will be divided between local hospitals and hospitals in Houston.
Teresa Roberts, left, and Portia Siler sort through some of the clothing and toilet articles donated for flood victims in Houston. Roberts said they opted not to work through any national organization. They instead planned on renting a tractor-trailer and driving to Houston. The donations will then be distributed by members of their organization.
Teresa Roberts, left, and Portia Siler sort through some of the clothing and toilet articles donated for flood victims in Houston. Roberts said they opted not to work through any national organization. They instead planned on renting a tractor-trailer and driving to Houston. The donations will then be distributed by members of their organization.

Bright times ahead for city

in Local News by

By Sally Mahan

The city of Beaufort is spending millions of dollars now in an effort to save millions of dollars in the years to come.

Various offices in the city of Beaufort’s Municipal Complex on Boundary Street have been closed during the week of Sept. 4 in order to install energy saving updates.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but the overarching benefit is a 37.5-percent annual savings for the city,” said Neal Pugliese, director of public projects and facilities for Beaufort. 

The updates are costing the city $3.1 million, but according to Pugliese, Beaufort will save more than $5 million over 15 years.

The improvements include new HVAC energy-efficient systems, a solar system and more. The city is also upgrading lights throughout the community to make them brighter and more energy-efficient.

Pugliese said the efforts are well worth it for taxpayers.

“You’re not going to get that kind of result by changing out a couple of light bulbs,” he said. 

There is also another bonus.

The city is working with Johnson Controls, a global company that works with communities and other organizations to identify areas where their clients can improve sustainability and energy-efficiency.

“Johnson Controls guarantees us an annual savings of 37.5 percent,” said Pugliese. “If we don’t save that money, then they make up the difference. This is where they put their name on the line to guarantee this program.

“It took the foresight of city leadership, the mayor, the city council and the city manager, Bill Prokop, who all understand the value of saving energy.”

The idea for the program came about during budget discussions in 2016.

“We asked, how do we save money and do upgrades and pay for the new equipment?” said Pugliese. 

One of the questions raised has been why wasn’t this work done when the Municipal Complex was built about 10 years ago?

According to Pugliese, that’s because technology has changed so dramatically in the years since it was built.

“Technology has evolved,” he said. “I would liken it to an iPhone 6 compared to an iPhone 8. Something made 10 years ago was probably state-of-the-art then. But look at phones. An iPhone has more computing power then they did on the Apollo spacecrafts. Much of the technology we’re seeing in this project didn’t even exist 10 years ago.”

Pugliese said he is particularly pleased that the project is ahead of schedule.

“We were supposed to be done in March of 2018 and we are about four months ahead of schedule and on budget,” he said, adding that it will be complete by October or November.

“I honestly believe this is one of those good news stories where local government is really doing right by its people to spend money wisely, saving money and thinking about the future. Funding is not a bottomless pit, and our city leadership has the right idea in thinking about what happens in the future.”

Meanwhile, at the Municipal Complex, the police department is working out of offices at 1205 Duke St. through Friday, Sept. 8.

The Municipal Court has been working out of City Hall and is set to reopen Thursday, Sept. 7, in its regular location at 1901 Boundary St.

The Planning, Permit and Codes Department will be closed through Friday, Sept. 8.

The Business License and Finance Department will be closed Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8.

The Human Resources and City Clerk Department will work out of the Municipal Court building at 1901 Boundary St. on Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8.

The city manager’s office will be closed Thursday, Sept. 7, and Friday, Sept. 8. The city manager can be reached at 843-525-7070 during this time.  

The Fire Department and Public Works Departments are operating as normal.

During this time, all phone lines/extensions for the departments being impacted will remain operable. For questions, call the city’s main line at 843-525-7070. 

All departments within the city’s Municipal Complex will resume to normal business and locations on Monday, Sept. 11.

Local students attend leadership program

in School News/Schools by
four

Photo above: From left are Clayton Ruff, May Harrelson, Will Warren and John Manos, who are displaying their certificates from the 2017 Palmetto Boys-Girls State Encampment. Photos provided.

From left are American Legion Post 207 Auxiliarians Jamesetta Inabinett, Ernestine Norman, Kim Holms and Alice Gaskins joining Chuck Lurey of Post 9 to congratulate May Harrelson for attending Palmetto Girls State Encampment.
From left are American Legion Post 207 Auxiliarians Jamesetta Inabinett, Ernestine Norman, Kim Holms and Alice Gaskins joining Chuck Lurey of Post 9 to congratulate May Harrelson for attending Palmetto Girls State Encampment.

Staff reports

American Legion Beaufort Post 9 sponsored three young men and the Samuel J. Bush Post 207 Auxiliary Unit sponsored two young ladies, all five local high school rising seniors, to South Carolina’s Palmetto Boys and Girls State encampments in June. 

Palmetto Boys State’s 1,050 participants gathered at Anderson University; while the Palmetto Girls State’s 640 young women met at Presbyterian College in Clinton. 

John Manos of Beaufort High School was elected mayor of his mock city, Congaree. “I learned an overwhelming amount about elections, winning and losing, and how many great future politicians there were,” he said.

Another attendee, Clayton Ruff, also of Beaufort High, hoped “that even more Beaufort boys have an opportunity to attend such a great week.” 

Will Warren of Beaufort Academy added that having already studied the structure and function of government, Boys State “made it very real for me in ways that a classroom never could.” 

May Harrelson of Beaufort High said Girls State “was a life-changing experience and a real eye opener on just how many really intelligent young women are in South Carolina.” 

Sarah Suber, also of Beaufort High, added that she “made so many friends and connections while attending Girls State.”

Boys State was first held in June 1935 in Illinois. South Carolina began to host the program in 1940. 

The American Legion founded the Boys State program to teach young men about government and politics. More specifically, the program is intended to spark interest and pride in government on a local level as well as the national scope. 

The greatest aspect of the program is that the participants learn by doing. Active participation in Boys State is key.

Palmetto Girls State is a one-week leadership and citizenship training program, created to educate outstanding high school students about state and local government and citizenship. 

Girls attending Palmetto Girls State experience governmental procedure by simulating political campaigns, elections and the political process. They also learn about the principles of citizenship and public service from guest speakers, expert panels and staff members.

The delegates, who are rising seniors in high school, are selected for the program based on the leadership skills and involvement they have shown in their respective schools and communities.

The South Carolina Department of the American Legion Auxiliary has organized and administered Palmetto Girls State since 1947. 

For more information, visit palmettoboysstate.com/about-palmetto-boys-state and palmettogirlsstate.net.

Sarah Suber and May Harrelson attended the 2017 Palmetto Girls State Encampment.
Sarah Suber and May Harrelson attended the 2017 Palmetto Girls State Encampment.

Friends of the Beaufort Library to hold book sale

in Community by

Staff reports

The 2017 Friends of the Beaufort Library Fall Book Sale is right around the corner, with thousands of boxes of donated books plus audio-visual materials (books, music and movies) available at give-away prices for the annual fundraiser.  

As in years past, Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in downtown Beaufort will be the site of the sale, which begins Friday, Sept. 22, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 24.  

On Friday a two-hour preview for all members of The Friends will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. Nonmembers can sign up before or during the preview at the membership table for $15.   

The sale then opens to the public from noon to 6 p.m., and will reopen from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Everything is half off from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday, including rare and collectible books.

The popular Silent Auction will again be conducted during this year’s book sale, with bids being accepted between 10 a.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday, when bidding closes.   

Included in this year’s Silent Auction are a number of signed Pat Conroy books, a selection of natural history books on birds, gardens, freshwater fish, tropical plans, wildflowers and aquarium fish. Many similar books will also be found in the Rare & Collectible section, as well as on the Natural History, Gardening and other tables.

“This year’s Silent Auction is going to be bigger and better than ever,” according to Book Sale Chairman Kinsey Baker. “We’re getting donations daily, so it’s a good idea to look at our website for more announcements about items that will be included in the auction.

“We also have a small but charming collection of Vintage Christmas books that came in as well as a large reference library on astrology,” he said. “With more coming in every day, who knows what else might turn up between now and the end of September?”

The book sale spokesman said donations of books throughout the year have been strong and he expects to bring more than 40,000 books, CDs and DVDs to this sale.  

As always, there will be a good supply of children’s books from the greatly expanded Children’s section in the Friends’ Book Store located at the downtown Beaufort library on Scott Street, which is open year-round during library hours, with fresh stock being added regularly.

Donations of books, CDs and DVDs are needed more than ever, especially with the recent expansion of the Friends Book Store and its increased activity.

The Book Sale is the main fundraising event held by the Friends with all proceeds benefiting the Beaufort County Public Library branches in Beaufort, Lobeco and St. Helena Island.  

For more information, email FriendsBeaufort@gmail.com or visit the friendsofthebeaufortlibrary.com.

Early detection key to treating cataracts in kids

in Contributors/Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO/Health by

By Dr. Mark Siegel

Many people think cataracts only happen to older people, but children can get cataracts too. Both pediatric cataracts and cataracts from aging are a clouding in the lens of the eye that can cause blurry vision or blindness.

In adults, cataracts occur after the eyes and vision are developed and stable. Most adults can have good vision again after the cataracts are removed. Because children’s eyes are still developing until they’re 8 or 10 years old, untreated cataracts can have serious long-term effects on their vision. But early detection and prompt treatment can prevent permanent vision loss in children with cataracts.

Types, causes vary

Pediatric cataracts can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired (develop after birth).

They can occur in one eye (unilateral) or both eyes (bi-lateral). Bi-lateral cataracts can be asymmetric (one cataract is more severe than the other).

Cataracts may appear in different parts of the lens and range in size from tiny dots to dense clouds.

They can be caused by genetic predisposition, metabolic disorders such as diabetes or trauma to the eye that damages the lens. Sometimes they occur spontaneously.

A traumatic cataract in a child's eye. The injury also damaged the iris.
A traumatic cataract in a child’s eye. The injury also damaged the iris.

Early detection

An eye’s lens must be clear to focus the images it sees onto the retina, which then transmits the images to the brain. A cataract can prevent light from reaching the retina or cause light rays to scatter as they pass through the cloudiness. This distorts the retinal image.

For children, whose eyes and brain are still learning to see, distortion can lead to amblyopia (lazy eye). Without proper treatment, pediatric cataracts can cause abnormal connections between the brain and the eye. Once made, these connections are irreversible.

Most pediatric cataracts are detected when the child is examined at birth, before they even leave the hospital. Many more are detected by pediatricians at well-baby exams and some are noticed by parents. They are often noticed as a missing or irregular red reflex test on pediatric screening exams.

Acquired cataracts are most often diagnosed at vision screenings by the pediatrician or after an eye injury.

Pediatric cataract in a child born with aniridia (missing iris).
Pediatric cataract in a child born with aniridia (missing iris).

Long-term strategy

Treatment for pediatric cataracts can vary depending on the type and severity. But the vast majority of children need surgery to remove the cataracts. 

Unlike adults with full-sized eyes, children require specialized surgical instrumentation and techniques. When performed by an experienced pediatric cataract surgeon, cataract removal is generally safe. The most common risks include glaucoma, retinal detachment, infection and the need for more surgeries.

For most children, surgery is just the first step to rehabilitate the eyes. Ongoing treatment must repair eye-brain connections. This involves teaching the eyes how to focus properly.

After surgery, children often need some combination of contact lenses, intraocular lenses implanted in the eye or glasses. If amblyopia has developed, the child may need patching. This treatment involves covering the stronger eye to stimulate vision in the weaker eye.

Children who receive timely treatment and follow-up have a good prognosis. Successful outcomes may require years of individualized visual rehabilitation.

Dr. Mark Siegel is the medical director at Sea Island Ophthalmology at 111 High Tide Drive (off Midtown Drive near Low Country Medical Group). Visit www.seaislandophthalmology.com.

Bonds, interest rates and the impact of inflation

in Business by

There are two fundamental ways that you can profit from owning bonds: from the interest that bonds pay, or from any increase in the bond’s price. Many people who invest in bonds because they want a steady stream of income are surprised to learn that bond prices can fluctuate, just as they do with any security traded in the secondary market. If you sell a bond before its maturity date, you may get more than its face value; you could also receive less if you must sell when bond prices are down. The closer the bond is to its maturity date, the closer to its face value the price is likely to be.

Though the ups and downs of the bond market are not usually as dramatic as the movements of the stock market, they can still have a significant impact on your overall return. If you’re considering investing in bonds, either directly or through a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, it’s important to understand how bonds behave and what can affect your investment in them.

The price-yield seesaw and interest rates

Just as a bond’s price can fluctuate, so can its yield, that is its overall percentage rate of return on your investment at any given time. A typical bond’s coupon rate, which is the annual interest rate it pays, is fixed. However, the yield isn’t because the yield percentage depends not only on a bond’s coupon rate but also on changes in its price.

Both bond prices and yields go up and down, but there’s an important rule to remember about the relationship between the two: They move in opposite directions, much like a seesaw. 

When a bond’s price goes up, its yield goes down, even though the coupon rate hasn’t changed. The opposite is true as well: When a bond’s price drops, its yield goes up.

That’s true not only for individual bonds but also for the bond market as a whole. When bond prices rise, yields in general fall, and vice versa.

What moves the seesaw?

In some cases, a bond’s price is affected by something that is unique to its issuer, for example, a change in the bond’s rating. However, other factors have an impact on all bonds. The twin factors that affect a bond’s price are inflation and changing interest rates. A rise in either interest rates or the inflation rate will tend to cause bond prices to drop. Inflation and interest rates behave similarly to bond yields, moving in the opposite direction from bond prices.

If inflation means higher prices, why do bond prices drop?

The answer has to do with the relative value of the interest that a specific bond pays. Rising prices over time reduce the purchasing power of each interest payment a bond makes. Let’s say a five-year bond pays $400 every six months. Inflation means that $400 will buy less five years from now. When investors worry that a bond’s yield won’t keep up with the rising costs of inflation, the price of the bond drops because there is less investor demand for it.

Why watch the Fed?

Inflation also affects interest rates. If you’ve heard a news commentator talk about the Federal Reserve Board raising or lowering interest rates, you may not have paid much attention unless you were about to buy a house or take out a loan. However, the Fed’s decisions on interest rates can also have an impact on the market value of your bonds.

The Fed takes an active role in trying to prevent inflation from spiraling out of control. When the Fed gets concerned that the rate of inflation is rising, it may decide to raise interest rates. Why? To try to slow the economy by making it more expensive to borrow money. For example, when interest rates on mortgages go up, fewer people can afford to buy homes. That tends to dampen the housing market, which in turn can affect the economy.

When the Fed raises its target interest rate, other interest rates and bond yields typically rise as well. That’s because bond issuers must pay a competitive interest rate to get people to buy their bonds. 

New bonds paying higher interest rates mean existing bonds with lower rates are less valuable. Prices of existing bonds fall.

That’s why bond prices can drop even though the economy may be growing. An overheated economy can lead to inflation, and investors begin to worry that the Fed may have to raise interest rates, which would hurt bond prices even though yields are higher.

Falling interest rates: good news, bad news

Just the opposite happens when interest rates are falling. When rates are dropping, bonds issued today will typically pay a lower interest rate than similar bonds issued when rates were higher. Those older bonds with higher yields become more valuable to investors, who are willing to pay a higher price to get that greater income stream. As a result, prices for existing bonds with higher interest rates tend to rise.

Example: Jane buys a newly issued 10-year corporate bond that has a 4 percent coupon rate, that is, its annual payments equal 4 percent of the bond’s principal. Three years later, she wants to sell the bond. However, interest rates have risen; corporate bonds being issued now are paying interest rates of 6 percent. As a result, investors won’t pay Jane as much for her bond, because they could buy a newer bond that would pay them more interest. If interest rates later begin to fall, the value of Jane’s bond would rise again, especially if interest rates fall below 4 percent. 

When interest rates begin to drop, it’s often because the Fed believes the economy has begun to slow. That may or may not be good for bonds. The good news: Bond prices may go up. However, a slowing economy also increases the chance that some borrowers may default on their bonds. Also, when interest rates fall, some bond issuers may redeem existing debt and issue new bonds at a lower interest rate, just as you might refinance a mortgage. 

If you plan to reinvest any of your bond income, it may be a challenge to generate the same amount of income without adjusting your investment strategy.

All bond investments are not alike

Inflation and interest rate changes don’t affect all bonds equally. Under normal conditions, short-term interest rates may feel the effects of any Fed action almost immediately, but longer-term bonds likely will see the greatest price changes.

Also, a bond mutual fund may be affected somewhat differently than an individual bond. 

For example, a bond fund’s manager may be able to alter the fund’s holdings to try to minimize the impact of rate changes. Your financial professional may do something similar if you hold individual bonds. 

Bond funds are subject to the same inflation, interest rate,and credit risks as their underlying bonds, and if interest rates rise and bond prices fall, that can adversely affect a bond fund’s performance. Before purchasing a mutual fund, you should carefully consider its investment objective, risks, fees, and expenses, which can be found in the prospectus available from the fund. Read it carefully before investing.

Focus on your goals, not on interest rates alone

Though it’s useful to understand generally how bond prices are influenced by interest rates and inflation, it probably doesn’t make sense to obsess over what the Fed’s next decision will be. Interest rate cycles tend to occur over months and even years. Also, the relationship between interest rates, inflation and bond prices is complex and can be affected by factors other than the ones outlined here. Remember, investments seeking to achieve higher yields also involve a higher degree of risk.

Your bond investments need to be tailored to your individual financial goals and take into account your other investments. A financial professional may be able to help you design your portfolio to accommodate changing economic circumstances.

This article was written by Broadridge, an independent third party, and provided by Hall Sumner, Vice President, Investments at  TLS Wealth Management of Raymond James. 

Hall Sumner is a financial advisor with Raymond James & Associates Inc., Member New York Stock Exchange/SIPC located at 2015 Boundary Street, Suite 220, Beaufort SC 29902. He can be contacted at 843-379-6100 or  hall.sumner@raymondjames.com or visit our website at: www.tlswealthmanagement.com

This information was developed by Broadridge, an independent third party. It is general in nature, is not a complete statement of all information necessary for making an investment decision, and is not a recommendation or a solicitation to buy or sell any security. 

Conroy center to host award-winning author

in Community by

KSZ_art

The Pat Conroy Literary Center’s Visiting Writers Series will host Karen Spears Zacharias, a Weatherford Award-winning, at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at Beaufort’s Technical College of the Lowcountry auditorium in Building 12. 

Zacharias, author of the new Appalachian novel “Christian Bend,” will appear in conversation with local novelist Stephanie Austin Edwards, author of “What We Set in Motion.” 

Sponsored in part by the Pulpwood Queens book club and presented in partnership with the Technical College of the Lowcountry, this Visiting Writers Series event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for sale and autographing thanks to NeverMore Books.

Spears Zacharias is a Georgia-raised Gold Star daughter. 

Her work has been featured in the New York Times and on CNN, National Public Radio and Good Morning America. 

Zacharias is the author of eight books, most recently the novels “Christian Bend” (2017), “Burdy” (2015) and “Mother of Rain” (2013) — all three published by Mercer University Press. 

“Mother of Rain” received the Weatherford Award for Best in Appalachian Fiction and was adapted for the stage by Georgia’s Historic State Theater. Zacharias and her husband divide their time between Oregon and Georgia.

A Beaufort High School classmate of Pat Conroy’s, military brat Stephanie Austin Edwards is a writing teacher, novelist and author consultant. 

Following a 22-year career in New York City working on Broadway, in film and on television, she returned to her roots in the South Carolina Lowcountry. 

“What We Set in Motion,” her debut novel, won the Best Submission Award at the Atlanta Writer’s Club Conference in 2013. 

Edwards is volunteer docent at the Pat Conroy Literary Center, where she also teaches writing workshops.

In related news, Zacharias will also teach a writing workshop as part of her Visiting Writers Series appearance. “Never Forget: A Writing Workshop for Those Who Served on the Front Lines & the Home Front” will be held from 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Beaufort Arts Council, 921 Ribaut Road, Building 1.

Zacharias, who is also the author of “After the Flag Has Been Folded” (William Morrow) and editorial panelist for Operation Homecoming (National Endowment of the Arts), examines the storytelling methods which honor the promise to “Never Forget.”

“The stories of war need to be more than an information dump or blow-by-blow of the battles fought,” Zacharias said. 

“The obligation of those left behind is to tell the stories that bring the fallen to life. To ransom the sacred as best we can.” 

Zacharias will explore ways to tell those stories through both fiction and non-fiction. This writing workshop is open to writers at all levels of interest and experience and will be  of special benefit to those who have served — and to family members of those who have served — in the armed forces. 

This workshop is presented at, and in partnership with, the Beaufort Arts Council. The cost is $25 per person; advance registration is required at 843-379-7025, or at mneverforget.brownpapertickets.com.

There are ways to save money on mental health medications

in Health by

By Judith Treadway

Over the last several decades, the use of psychiatric medications has greatly increased, and so have the costs. 

The average American takes 12 medications compared to seven medications 20 years ago. 

According to the National Health Center health statistics, more than 16 percent of Americans age 40 to 50 take antidepressants. 

While some generic drugs can be inexpensive, even they can vary drastically in costs in the same community. 

While doing research for this article, I found that Venlafaxine ER 75 mg costs $250 for 60 pills at one drug store and the same generic drug costs $40 at a neighborhood store. Switching to an immediate release formulation costs between $4 and $8. 

There are simple ways to save money on medications, but there are some possible pitfalls of using some methods. 

Formulary 

If you have insurance, look carefully at your plan’s drug formulary. A formulary is a list of the drugs for which your insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid, will pay its part of the cost. 

If your doctor can prescribe you a drug that is on formulary, on a low tier and that does not require prior authorization (a special explanation from the doctor), it will likely save time and money. 

Formulation 

Simpler forms of medication tend to be cheaper than those that are ending in letters like Xl, XR, etc. These usually designate that they are extended-release in some way. 

These medications are not always better than the immediate release, but they are usually more convenient and more expensive. Discuss with your doctor the cheaper immediate release versions, if available. 

Generic medications 

Some patients will say that they have to have the brand name medication, but brand name medication is almost always more expensive. Many drug stores now offer a long list of inexpensive generic drugs. Many cost only $4 for a month’s refill. 

The FDA requires that all generic drugs contain identical amounts of the same active drug ingredients; however, the shape, flavor, inactive ingredients and release may vary. 

Switching to a generic drug may not always be a good idea, for example, for seizure control. 

Many of the so-called big box stores have a $4 generic list for a 30-day supply and many are posted online. Some are also offering a 90-day supply for $10. 

Two pharmacy chains offer free antibiotics and free Metformin for diabetes and Lisinopril for hypertension with prescriptions. One now offers free Amlodipine. 

Websites 

There are websites that may shorten the search for inexpensive generics. These sites are generally run by pharmacist groups. 

You enter the name of the medication you are seeking, the strength, your ZIP code and it compares prices at several local drug stores. Note, though, that these search sites do not cover all medicines or search all pharmacies, so you may still not get the absolute best price. 

It may be best to phone around to compare prices. 

Compassionate programs 

These are programs that are generally need or income-based for people without insurance to help someone who falls into the Medicare doughnut hole. Visit www.needymeds.org or www.ppaRX.org.

Additionally, most large pharmaceutical companies offer assistance for the brand-name medications. Individual websites for the medications also give guidance on how to apply. 

Coupons for medications can sometimes be found at the drug company website. These are usually for brand-name medications and are limited to so many per patient each year. 

Discount savings cards

These can be useful for people without insurance. They are generally free. When the patient uses the card, the discount varies.

Pill splitting 

This is the practice of cutting pills in order to save money. It works best with medication that is scored, i.e., has a line down the middle. 

The AMA and the Americans Pharmacists Association do not endorse the practice but reportedly acknowledged this can save money if done correctly. 

However, there are many medications that should not be split, including those with a hard coating, enteric-coated, time released, birth control or are bitter or crumbly. 

Mail order 

You may be able to order via your health plan and save that way. Make sure there is a safe delivery place that is in the shade. 

Internet medication orders may be fake, fraudulent or unsafe. The FDA has warned that medications ordered from overseas may not be the same as in the USA.

Dr. Judith Treadway is the chief of psychiatric services at Coastal Empire Mental Health in Beaufort.

Revolutionary ship model on display

in Community by
Bill-Shultz

A model of the daring ship, The South Carolina, built from scratch in 3/16-inch to 1-foot scale by Callawassie Island resident Bill Shultz, on display in the clubhouse of the Callawassie Island Club. 

In the days of “wooden ships and iron men” The South Carolina was among those rare and intrepid vessels that challenged the Royal Navy as our nation fought for independence from Britain, according to a release.  

Shultz wanted to contribute a project that is significant to South Carolina history, yet finding out what The South Carolina looked like took some detective work. 

At last, in a five-volume 1888 French compendium titled “Souvenirs de Marine” by Edmund Paris, there it was – a single one-page illustration of The South Carolina.  

Built in Amsterdam in 1777 as L’Indien, The South Carolina was a 40-gun frigate, a design intended to balance a substantial amount of firepower with greater speed than most heavily armed ships of the day.

Initially U.S. naval legend John Paul Jones tried to acquire the new ship, but British agents blocked his plans. 

But a South Carolina man found a way to put the new ship on the side of the American colonists.  

When Charleston merchant and politician Alexander Gillon was commissioned by the state to organize a navy to protect South Carolina ports, Gillon succeeded in acquiring the ship in Europe and sailing for America. 

Unable to land in Charleston, already occupied by the British, Gillon took The South Carolina to Havana, allied with the Spanish fleet there, and joined them in capturing the Bahamas from the British in 1781.  

From there Gillon sailed The South Carolina to Philadelphia to be refitted, provisioned and provided with a crew of Continental sailors. Departing Philadelphia in 1782, The South Carolina was pursued by blockading British vessels and captured.  

The fate of The South Carolina in the Revolutionary War service unfolded in just under two years – less time than it took Bill Schultz to build his model of her.  

Visit www.callawassieisland.com for more information.

Celebrating Gullah culture

in Community by
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Photo above: Margaret Polite, right, looks for some help while her daughter Melissa Hardin dishes out chicken wings and a barbecue dinner plate at Grandma’s Kitchen. Photos by Bob Sofaly.

Gullah ancestry and the legacy of Reconstruction were celebrated during the Lands End Woodland River Festival on Sept. 1-2 on St. Helena Island.

In the 1920s, 45 black families got together and bought 328 acres of land. They did this so that relatives and friends would have somewhere to hunt, fish and have community gatherings. The property is also used for weddings, parties, family reunions, etc. 

To maintain the property and support its use, the heirs have been holding the Lands End Woodland Festival for the last 12 years.

Right: Anita Prather, as Aunt Pearlie Sue, entertains the crowd while spinning a tale in traditional Gullah language during the annual Lands End Woodland River Festival.

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