Opportunity Zones = Help for Lagging Economies

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Oct 242018

South Carolina’s Department of Commerce is laying groundwork for participation in a new community development program – Opportunity Zones – established by Congress as part of 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.  The program was detailed for Capital Rotary by Commerce research director Ben Johnson (pictured), the club’s Oct. 24 guest speaker.  Designed to encourage long-term private investment in low-income communities, Opportunity Zones aims to jump-start economic activity in parts of the state that have not prospered over the past few years.  Investors are offered federal tax incentives for putting existing capital gains into the program and keeping these monies invested for five, seven or 10 years or more.  Opportunity Zones projects could include workforce development, affordable housing, new infrastructure, startup for new businesses and capital improvements.  Johnson, who has experience in commercial real estate research and data, is a board member of the SC Logistics Council, the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator and Eau Claire Development Corporation.  He also authored the most recent South Carolina Innovation Plan.

Okatie Rotary Polo For Charity

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Oct 222018

The 2018 Polo for Charity match is just around the corner! As hundreds gather to tailgate and enjoy the Lowcountry’s only annual polo match, Okatie Club Rotarians have been planning this event all year. Through their strategic efforts, widespread community support and a small army of civic volunteers, the 25th Polo for Charity is set to be the best one yet!

Okatie Rotary’s Polo for Charity is the club’s largest annual fundraising event. Their small (but mighty!) group consists of 20 members who prioritize every aspect of polo to ultimately make a major impact on the Lowcountry community. “Polo is an all-hands on deck, full day effort with countless additional hours of planning and soliciting,” said Tony Leister, Okatie Rotarian and Polo Committee Chair. “The club counts on each member, our families, and civic volunteers to make Polo a success,” he said.

The primary recipient of this year’s event is the Lowcountry Foundation for Wounded Military Heroes. 20 LFWMH volunteers will be on site at the polo match, including a representative from K9s for Warriors, a program LFWMH is connected to that matches combat-wounded veterans with support dogs. A large portion of the proceeds from polo will be given to this worthy organization to go toward purchasing a support dog for a Lowcountry wounded veteran, to be named Okatie!

Also new to polo will be a group of 65 students from the (SCAD) Savannah College of Art and Design equestrian team. They are eager to volunteer in an equine-related charity event that also promotes involvement with other equestrian communities. Their head coach, Ashley Henry, lives in Rose Hill. As the wife of a veteran, the K9 for Warriors program holds a special place in her heart. “Anything my team can do to support both warriors and animals is phenomenal,” said Ashley. The team will be around to walk horses, assist the riders and help with crowd control.

SCAD volunteers are not the only student participants from the Lowcountry in this year’s match. Elliott Lentz, a student from Hilton Head Christian Academy, will be singing a patriotic song after the national anthem. Students from the college level Rotary affiliate Rotaract at USCB and the high school level Rotary affiliate Interact clubs at May River High School and Bluffton High School will also be volunteering their time to help with setup and cleanup.

The Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton will be represented with five to ten volunteers from the Keystone and Torch Club leadership group. This is the Boys & Girls Club of Bluffton’s 10th year helping with the match. In the past, Club alumnus Aaron Jenkins was a national anthem singer.

Polo for Charity is a unique event that truly relies on the community to make the match a reality. The event will take place on Sunday, October 28th at Rose Hill Plantation. Gates open at noon and the match begins at 2pm. For more information about the event or to purchase tickets, please call 843-298-3055 or 843-384-8010, email  rotarypolo@hotmail.com or Facebook – Okatie Rotary Polo For Charity.

Ambassadorial Global Scholar Madeline Leibin – My Year at Tel Aviv University

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Oct 222018

Hi! Thanks everyone for your love and support and desire to follow my journey(s) in Israel.

I must say, I’ve always refused the ‘blog’ opportunity in previous times abroad. I’ve always felt that I couldn’t fully capture in so many words all of the smells/sounds/energies/interactions/occasions/experiences and, importantly, the reflections ofbeing in foreign spaces. BUT I am going to push myself to share this time in Tel Aviv, as a show of my gratitude for the generous Rotary Global Grant and their sponsorship of my time AND as a way to make a faraway place like Israel, which is sopolitically/socially/culturally contested, more human and more understood.

And so– I am living a quite blissful existence here in the Mediterranean Miami/Manhattan. The lifestyle here is very easygoing, and both the city and the people are immensely warm (re: so so friendly—a phone call with an Israeli running groupmanager becomes a 45 minute conversation).

Warm, in a vibrant, electric, youthful and passionately alive way, with urban sprawl, festivals, and oh-so-many pedestrians ever-in-the-way of bikers (especially electric bikers/scooters). Warm, in a way that heats up and sweats to intense beachpaddleboard games (re: matkot, Israelis are fanatic about it) and buzzes to the beat of house music, and zips to and fro and lights up new technologies and innovations (re: Tel Aviv is Silicon Wadi centre-point). And warm, in a cozy and serene wayin calm spots like the Neve Tzedak neighborhood, or my new favorite coffee shop-turned-jazz-café-Monday-nights.

As one might imagine, I am really enjoying the culinary scene— and not just the expected hummus bars, falafel joints, and, local favorite, sabich stands (pita with roasted eggplant, potato, egg, salad, tahini, spices, etc.). The whole culture of theculinary scene here is incredible: with fresh-caught fish from the Mediterranean and many vibrant shuk (שׁוּק) selling produce and olives and חלה (challah bread) and cheeses and spices and sweets. Many call Tel Aviv an international vegan/vegcapital, and this checks out—there are extensive vegetable-based options everywhere.

The wellness of this culinary world is well-matched with the outrageous amount of fitness endeavors in the city. I have never seen so many people running and biking and roller blading and pursuing absurd ab workouts on the outdoor gyms. They are a tourist attractive onto themselves, the gorgeously-fit bronze bodies tanning on the coastline’s beaches. Previous to arriving, I dreamt about running the Tel Aviv Marathon in February, and suffice to say, I have now registered and startedtraining with the vigor of a local.

The diversity here is particularly astounding—there are people from all over the world, mixing their culinary, religious, linguistic, cultural traditions. Funnily enough, the phrase ‘melting pot,’ which I’ve always associated with genetics in the USA, was a formal policy here, used to invite and inaugurate Jewish immigration. There is also a more concentrated Arab population South Tel Aviv, in Jaffa. History and current politics intermingle in this urban atmosphere, and I am lucky to witness the heterogeneity in small ways (re: street signs in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, in that order) and also in big ways. Obviously these dynamics, occurring on a geography formerly called Palestine, are writ with injustices, conflicts, and contestations and in these newsletters I will try and share my reflections on those realities, but I’ll keep it light and introductory for this first edition.

It is quite surreal to be here—I wrote the first drafts of my dream to study in Tel Aviv in the spring of 2017, and I’m now actually living them(!!!). This can be very emotional, as I watch the sunset over the Mediterranean sea or struggle through Hebrew learning. It is actually quite ironic, when I share that I’ve just moved here, many people infer that I am Jewish, making Aliyah (migrating permanently to zion, the homeland). Though not the case, I do feel so deeply blessed to be here, and I long to make this land a core part of the fabric of who I am and who I become.

I begin the orientation to the International MA in Conflict.

Charleston County Council Candidates Address Rotarians Questions

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Oct 222018

The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston was privileged to host a Candidates Forum moderated by Past Club Presidents Andy Brack and Mark Smith. Charleston County Council candidates Jenny Honeycutt, Joe Boykin, Herb Sass, and Donna Newton attended and were given an opportunity to answer questions from members.

Mark explained the format, which began with each candidate giving a 2 minute introduction. Each question would then be presented to one candidate to answer with others having an opportunity to respond or weigh in after the answer.

Jenny Honeycutt, candidate for District 9, began the introductions and described her 3 part platform: “Safe Roads, Smart Growth, and Sound Leadership”.  She believes her support of the completion of I-526 played a large role in her primary victory over an 8 year incumbent.

Joe Boykin is running for District 8. He is a retired federal agent and local law enforcement officer. Joe responded to the Emanuel 9 shooting and many other significant cases. he said his campaign has united Republicans and Democrats and introduced his campaign manager Abe Jenkins, grandson of Esau Jenkins, the renowned civil rights leader from Johns Island.

Herb Sass is an incumbent representing District 1. He stressed the importance of quality of life that makes Charleston such a great place to live. It is what attracts so many to Charleston, but with this growth we need to make sure that the quality of life is maintained.

Donna Brown Newton, is running for District 2. Her background is in education with a long career working for Charleston County School District. She is a lifelong resident of the county and wants to control the rapid growth that she has witnessed in Mount Pleasant and the rest of the county.

The first question was to Ms. Honeycutt regarding flooding. Ms. Honeycutt said she has been talking to organizations such as Charleston Waterkeepers and Charleston County Public Works and there are creative measures that can be taken to reduce flood risk that need to be employed. Also proper maintenance of outfalls and ditches needs to be addressed.

Mr. Boykin was asked a question about how Council could be a better steward of the public’s tax dollars. He said he thought the Council has not done their required due diligence in the past on many matters, citing the Naval Hospital and the new Recycling Center. He felt it was important to get a Recycling Center that can to serve the three counties, even if that meant delaying the completion. Donna Brown Newton said she thought more studies were needed on use of the Naval Hospital. That there are needs in the area, often cited as a “food desert”, and the central location of the site should be attractive for other uses.

The next question was about what things can be done to improve the Public School System. Mr. Sass said that having educated workers for our thriving economy is critical and that we have to support public schools to make that happen. Ms. Newton said that charter and magnet schools need to be looked at. She did not think that students in rural parts of the county are being served well by the current system. Mr. Boykin stressed the importance of vocational training in schools which was well received by the crowd.

Ms. Newton was asked about how to manage growth. She said we need to expand public transit in order to reduce the number of cars on the road. We also need to make sure that roads are built before the development, and she pointed to what has happened with SC 41 in her district. Developers need to be responsible for impacts of development. Joe Boykin mentioned that we need to look into a Public Facilities Ordinance to better ensure that developers are participating in getting infrastructure to support the added people and vehicles that their developments bring in.

A question was asked to Jenny Honeycutt about whether she supported term limits – she responded yes and there was concurrence among all the candidates in support of term limits.

Another flooding question was asked to Joe Boykin. He stressed the importance of maintenance, and that sometimes it is a challenge to determine whether county, DOT, or a municipality is responsible for an easement. He also said the practice of building up areas within flood zone with dirt to get above flood elevation has a negative impact on surrounding areas. Homes need to be elevated but not by fill dirt. Mr. Sass said much progress has been made since the 2015 flood in identifying many easements that were not being maintained and getting those on the list for maintenance.

Herb Sass was asked about the Recycling Center and he explained that the director, who is no longer with the County, approved changes to the facility that caused the issue, but he believes the project is back on track to serve as regional recycling center.

Donna Brown Newton was asked if the County should impose taxes on the State Ports Authority. She said that would be fair considering the effects of the trucks on our roads. Mr. Boykin said he was not sure there would be a legal way to do that, since SPA is a state agency.

The question was asked to Jenny Honeycutt if completion of I-526 was critical. She reiterated that she fully supports completion. Joe Boykin said he supports the project as well, but did not think that any ½ cent sales tax funds should be used. Only funds left over from the original ½ cent sales tax, after completion of needed projects should be used. Donna Newton said she was opposed to completion of I-526.

Each candidate offered brief closing remarks. Donna Newton said she is not a politician and had not run for office before. She wants to represent everyone in the county, not just her District. Herb Sass said there is much work to do such as construction new libraries and ½ cent sales tax road program. Joe Boykin said it was important to bring integrity and common sense to council. Jenny Honeycutt said the county needs safe roads, smart growth and sound leadership and thanked the club for the opportunity to answer the important questions raised.

After the forum concluded, President Alex Dallas thanked Andy and Mark for the work they did putting together the program.

Bluffton Rotary Club Helps Eradicate Polio by Raising Community Awareness

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Oct 222018

BLUFFTON, S.C. — In honor of World Polio Day – October 24 – and Rotary International’s 33-year commitment to the worldwide eradication of the wild poliovirus, the Rotary Club of Bluffton is engaged in a local polio awareness-raising campaign.  The first prong of this campaign was a presentation by Bernie Reidel, a past Rotary district governor and current “End Polio Now” chair,  at the Rotary Club of Bluffton’s meeting on Wednesday, October 3.  The second component of this campaign involves a team of Rotarians, as well as their friends and family members, participating in the Old Town Bluffton Oyster Run on Saturday, October 20 wearing red, “End Polio Now” t-shirts.  Besides the team of Rotarian runners, all of the participants will receive “End Polio Now” bracelets and an informational brochure in their race packets.  Through these efforts, the Rotary Club of Bluffton hopes to increase our community’s knowledge of the ongoing threat of polio; Rotary and its partners’ efforts to eradicate polio; and how everyday people can help spare all of the world’s children from this terrible disease.

In 1985, Rotary International launched PolioPlus, a campaign to rid the world of polio.  Since then, the organization and its partners, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have reduced the number of cases worldwide from 350,000 to fewer than 25 annually.  Over the past 33 years, Rotary has made and secured financial commitments in excess of $12 billion dollars.  Its affiliated volunteers have helped vaccinate more than 2 billion children worldwide.  As of September 26, there were only 18 documented cases of wild poliovirus in the entire world, and the majority were in hard-to-reach parts of Afghanistan.  The complete eradication of this disease is in sight; come join us in the fight against polio!

Anyone interested in learning more about polio and what they can do to help, Rotary, or specifically the Bluffton Club is welcome to attend one of our Wednesday morning (7:30AM) meetings at the Rotary Community Center in Oscar Frazier Park.  For more information about membership, please contact Membership Chair Joanie Iaco, vano9144@bellsouth.net.  Please visit the Rotary Club of Bluffton’s website https://blufftonrotary.org/ for information about our members, projects, and upcoming events.



Lindsay Sutcliffe

Public Image Chair

Rotary Club of Bluffton


Midlands Has State’s Largest Youth Soccer Club

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Oct 182018

South Carolina United FC is the Palmetto State’s largest youth soccer club and aims to make a positive impact on the lives of the 4,400 children and young adults active in its programs.  That’s what Capital Rotary members heard when Ron Tryon (shown with Rotarian Felicia Maloney) was their Oct. 17 guest speaker.  Tryon – a former attorney – has been CEO of the soccer non-profit since January 2014.  His goal is to offer quality youth recreational soccer in all neighborhoods and to any child regardless of race, religion or socio-economic background.  South Carolina United FC attracts players from 250 schools in 17 counties and last year had 43 of its “alumni” players bound for competition at the college level.  Three of the club’s former players are now in the professional ranks.  South Carolina United FC’s cultural exchange program with a “sister state” in Germany has involved over 600 student-athletes and coaches since 2003.  Its two annual tournaments attract some 200,000 players, coaches and parents, resulting in a $7.6 million economic impact in the Columbia area.  Tryon also detailed progress on the club’s new 24-acre, five-field soccer training complex located near the intersection of I-20 and Monticello Road.

Rotary Club of Charleston Helps Beat Back to School Blues

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Oct 152018

Despite the return to the classroom, grumpy teachers and piles of homework, there were nothing but smiles at Charleston’s Burke High School recently as thousands of kids from around the region lined up for the Hootie’s Homegrown Roundup. The event, inspired by the founding members of local legend band Hootie & The Blowfish, has become an annual tradition to kick off the start of another school year. It features a range or booths and displays of all sorts of back-to-school services, activities and programs, even a place to get a free haircut. But the main draw is the expanse of school supplies, donated by local companies and organizations, that fills the gymnasium – literally a ton (or more) of free stuff to equip the would-be scholars.

Front and center in the giving was the Rotary Club of Charleston, which anchored the key first corner of the handout line. More than a dozen Rotarians gave up their Saturday morning gardening routines to man the giveaway lines, handing out everything from calculators to rulers and notebooks to crayons and glue sticks. Happy students stuffed their backpacks with the helpful supplies, with grins and laughter to show their appreciation.

The event has fast become a favorite among Rotarians for the hands-on experience of helping kids and seeing their gratitude up close and personal. Of course, the chance for a brush with fame is an extra incentive, too, and this year didn’t disappoint. In addition to cameos by our Mayor John Tecklenburg (a proud Rotarian himself) and Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds (a recent speaker at our club), the man himself — Darius Rucker – made a special appearance and spent quality time with the kids – and adults – posing for selfies and signing autographs, as well as graciously thanking all the dozens of volunteers who supported the event. The Homegrown event was the first appearance of a big weekend for Darius and the boys, who performed a reunion of classic Hootie & The Blowfish magic later that night and even invited Mayor Tecklenburg to jam on stag with them.

Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island Teach Appreciation

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Oct 152018

Rotary Club of Hilton Head Island honored 13 Hilton Head teachers at a luncheon on September 26, 2018.   Pictured below are the honorees and the school where they teach.  Each teacher was accompanied by an administrator from her school.  A proclamation from the Mayor’s office was  read and presented to each teacher along with a gift.

Front Row: Teresa Hamby (Hilton Head IB Elementary School), Amanda Boudreaux (St. Francis Catholic Middle School), Kerry McKinney (Sea Pines Montessori Academy)

Second Row:  Patricia Drane (Hilton Head Middle School), Kris Watson (St. Francis Catholic Elementary School), Cora Lugo (Hilton Head School for the Creative Arts), Sarah Benedik (Hilton Head Preparatory Middle School)

Third Row:  Sharon Terry (Hilton Head Preparatory Upper School), Amy Orr (Hilton Head Early Childhood Center), Mary Delle Robinson (Hilton Head Christian Academy Lower School), Jodi Butterworth (Heritage Academy), Edie Philips (Hilton Head High School), Summer Dempster (Hilton Head Preparatory Lower School)


Rotary Club of Lake Marion at Santee ‘Flocking’ Project a Success

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Oct 152018

You’ve Been Flocked!

This is the newest catch phrase circling around some Rotary clubs in District 7770. The catch? Lots of dollars collected for a club’s favorite cause. The Rotary Club of Lake Marion at Santee’s head flamingo herder, Randal Smoak made it easy for the club to collect nearly $1100 in one month. Members contributed time to help “shoo” the flock from yard to yard.

Flocks of plastic pink flamingos appeared in neighbors’ yards with a sign and an explanation as to how to get the flock moved to another yard. A donation was asked for the removal and replacement of the flock. The flock consisted of 20 birds.

The project was a huge success and became quite a hit, so much so that people actually called to have the flock appear in their own yards.

Lake Marion Rotary donated half of the proceeds to CART and the other half for Polio Plus.

Unique Boutique Serves Cancer Survivors

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Oct 102018

Capital Rotarians heard the story of a unique boutique that helps cancer survivors feel whole again from the business founders – Sherry Norris (standing in photo) and Kim Neel (seated) – guest speakers at the club’s Oct. 10 meeting.  The pair opened Alala LLC in 2006 to serve women who’ve had all types of reproductive cancers.  The company specializes mainly in mastectomy prosthetics and bras, as well as compression pumps for cancer survivors.  Alala also offers compression garments and wig refurbishing, shampooing, conditioning, setting and styling.  In addition to their retail operation, Norris and Neel started a nonprofit organization in 2008 – the Alala Cancer Society – that helps provide women with donated mastectomy bras and wigs that would otherwise be unaffordable.  The enterprising pair met while working with the local Girl Scouts and remain active community and church volunteers.  Norris received business administration training at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University, while Neel earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, NC.

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