Wednesday, March 27, 2013

2013 North Charleston Arts Festival Gala Set for April 26

Spring is in the air and the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival is preparing to bloom! In anticipation and celebration of the annual event, the City of North Charleston will host the Arts Festival Gala on Friday, April 26, from 6:00pm to midnight at Montague Terrace at the North Charleston Coliseum. Tickets for the black-tie optional affair are $75 and can be purchased until Tuesday, April 23, by calling Pam Smith at 843-740-5847.
North Charleston POPS (photo by Robert McDaniel)

The 2013 Arts Festival Gala begins with an outdoor reception “under the oaks” from 6:00-7:30pm featuring light refreshments, musical entertainment by the Leonard School of Music Jazz Ensemble, and a live plein air painting demonstration by local artist Deborah Meyer. The garden party will move indoors to Montague Terrace at 7:30pm for dinner service and an unforgettable evening concert by the North Charleston POPS. This full-scale professional orchestra performs a variety of upbeat musical selections that include light classical, film music, Broadway, rock 'n roll, country, and more. Following the concert, guests can dance the night away to music by the 17 South Band. With three horn arrangements, the group delivers a huge and classy sound ranging from Motown and R&B covers to classic beach music and Top 40 hits. The evening’s line-up is sure to entertain and makes for an exciting kick-off to the nine days of arts and cultural programs and activities offered during the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival, taking place May 3-11.

Montague Terrace at the North Charleston Coliseum is located at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. Ticket price includes parking. For more information about the Arts Festival Gala, contact Sheri Pearson at 843-740-2538. For more information about the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival, including the full schedule of events, visit

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

North Charleston Police Department Again Receives National Accreditation

On Saturday, March 23, 2013 the City of North Charleston Police Department was awarded re-accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (C.A.L.E.A) during the organization’s spring conference in North Charleston, South Carolina. 

Police Chief Eddie Driggers, along with members of his staff appeared before the commission to complete the re-accreditation process. The accreditation program requires the Police Department to comply with 446 state-of-the-art standards in four basic areas: policies and procedures, administration, operations, and support services. North Charleston Police Department received initial accreditation in 2007 and was reaccredited in 2010. 

During the re-accreditation process, members of the commission praised the Police department for its commitment to completing the extensive process; and strengthening community relations while at the same time reducing crime. 

National Accreditation strengthens crime prevention and control capabilities; formalizes essential management procedures; establishes fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices; improves service delivery; solidifies interagency cooperation and coordination; and increases community and staff confidence in the agency. 

Chief Eddie Driggers said, “This is a proud moment for the employees of our agency and citizens of North Charleston. It proves that we continue to make tremendous strides in building trust with our citizens while improving our delivery of service. If citizens trust law enforcement they will work with us, and this is what we work at everyday developing trust in the community. 

Mayor Keith Summey said, “Once again, this is a defining moment not only for the hard working men and women of the police department, but for our entire City and residents. “Receiving re-accreditation ensures our citizens that they are receiving the best public safety service from a professional agency.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Annual Art & Fine Craft CoOp Gallery in North Charleston set to open April 5

The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department will host its annual Art and Fine Craft CoOp Gallery and Sale at the Meeting Place each Friday and Saturday from April 5 through June 1, 2013. The temporary, artist-run gallery is presented as a component of the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival, taking place May 3-11.

The Art & Fine Craft CoOp Gallery is dedicated to presenting works by Lowcountry artists of varied backgrounds in a diverse array of media and styles, from representational to contemporary. All pieces on display will be available for sale. Artwork ranges from original oils, watercolors, and mixed media, to photography, prints, note cards, and more. Participating artists include Sherri Bardsley, Olga Bixby, Andrea Cochran-Pastel, Jan Dalton, Daryle Halbert, James Christopher Hill, Angela Hiott, Muriel Lanciault, Barbara B. Sawyer, Pat Singletary, and Francina Smalls-Joyner. The artists will host a free public reception at The Meeting Place on Wednesday, May 8, from 5:00-8:00pm during the North Charleston Arts Festival Art Walk.

The Meeting Place is located at 1077 East Montague Avenue in the revitalized Olde Village area of North Charleston. Parking is free. CoOp gallery hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 11:00am-7:00pm. For information on the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival, visit For information on other exhibits and programs presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, call 843-740-5854 or visit

Monday, March 18, 2013

North Charleston City Gallery to exhibit works by digital photography pioneer Bill Helms

The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce that works by photographer Bill Helms will be on exhibit at the North Charleston City Gallery from April 1-30, 2013. The exhibition, titled FADS: Fine Art Digitals, is on loan from the South Carolina State Museum’s Traveling Exhibitions Program.

South Carolinian Bill Helms (1927- 2008), is considered to be one of the pioneers of digital photography. A well respected commercial ‘food photographer’ by trade, Helms’ creative work includes transformations of personal visions and re-combinations of the world as he saw it. FADS: Fine Art Digitals features 42 photo montages and digital manipulations that range from a kind of modern impressionism to various degrees of abstract realism. They are entirely new visual experiences that fuse elements from multiple photographs to create images that exercise both the eye and the mind.

Bill Helms was probably the youngest combat photographer when he boarded the USS Yorktown in 1944. He specialized in flight deck combat photography during WWII and later attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California, where he received his Bachelor of Professional Arts Degree. In his post-military career, Helms established himself as a leader in food, interior design, and travel photography. His editorial work was featured in House Beautiful, House & Garden, Better Homes and Gardens, Metropolitan Home, the New York Times Entertaining Magazines, Los Angeles Magazine, and Los Angeles Times special sections. His book credits include the Time-Life Foods of the World series and Metropolitan Home's The New American Cuisine.

The North Charleston City Gallery is situated in the common areas of the Charleston Area Convention Center, located at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. Parking and admission are free during regular Convention Center operating hours, 9:00am – 5:00pm daily.  The gallery is staffed on Friday, Saturday, and Monday only.   Inquiries regarding the artists or purchase information may be directed to the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at (843) 740-5854. For information on additional exhibits, programs, and events, visit the Cultural Arts section of the City’s website at

Friday, March 15, 2013

St. Paddy's Day Block Party & Parade - March 16

Come join the biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the Lowcountry on Saturday, March 16th in the Olde Village of North Charleston (located on East Montague Avenue near Park Circle). The 10th Annual “St. Paddy’s Day Block Party & Parade” is from 12 PM – 8 PM and promises fun for the entire family. The Block Party location is East Montague Avenue between Virginia Avenue and Jenkins Avenue.

The celebration will feature live music across three stages, bagpipe music, a mechanical bull, food vendors & trucks, corned beef and cabbage, Irish trivia, a Kid’s Zone with jump castles, face painting, local artisans, and much more. 

Live music line-up includes: Karl Byrne, Customs Four & Friends, The V-Tones, Folkgrass, Sean Austin Leonard, Michael Wolk, Don Merckle & The Blacksmiths, The Three Dudes, Maya Morill, Lizzy Pitch and WADATA. 

This year’s party will kick off with a parade starting at Park Place East (adjacent to East Montague Avenue and across from Park Circle Community Center) at 12 PM. The parade route will go down East Montague Avenue to the block party location near Virginia Avenue. The parade Grand Marshalls will be Madra Rua Irish Pub owners, Robert Spencer and Stephen O’Connor, who recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the pub’s opening. North Charleston's Mayor Keith Summey, the North Charleston High School band and many other local groups will also participate in the parade. 

East Montague Avenue will close from Park Place East to O’Hear Avenue at 11:30 AM and stay closed for the duration of the parade. East Montague will close between Virginia Avenue and Jenkins Avenue at 9:30 AM for set up and remain closed for the duration of the block party. 

The party, parade and parking are free to the public. 

The 10th Annual St. Paddy’s Day Block Party and Parade is sponsored by the Madra Rua Irish Pub, The City of North Charleston, Southern Eagle Distributors, Guinness, Cork Neighborhood Bistro, DIG in the Park, EVO Pizza & Bakery, Cheerwine, The Sparrow, The Barbecue Joint, The Mill, Fratello’s, The Idle Hour, Richard’s Coffee and More and Park Pizza.

Photos from last year's event

Mabeline Road Closure - Monday, March 4 - Friday, March 29 (closure extended)

Helsinki Manhole Cover

North Charleston Sewer District has provided an update regarding the emergency repair of the sewer force main on Mabelene Road and Wattereau Ave.

The contractor has made all efforts to minimize the impact of delays and traffic backup throughout the project. Sewer by-pass pumps and piping have been setup and are in operation. Construction is underway to inspect and replace the damaged sections of pipe.

Construction is projected to be completed by March 29, 2013.

Areas that were impacted with the overflow have been cleaned and disinfected. As a result of the above referenced SSO, water samples were taken at different intervals and locations. Public notification signs have been posted throughout the process advising the public of a sanitary sewer overflow. Listed below are the dates samples were taken:
  • February 14, 2013 at 02:05pm 
  • February 18, 2013 at 11:30am 
  • February 25, 2013 at 09:55am 
As a result of the last water sample areas that were impacted are all back to normal. Public notification signs have been removed from site.

This road closure is necessary to uncover the existing sanitary sewer force main and install the new force main. The roadside message boards have started displaying this closure and additional message boards will be added on Railroad Avenue between Hanahan Road and Stokes Avenue.

During the installation of the new force main, the road will be closed to through traffic.

Fire Chief Bulanow recognizes personnel for going above and beyond the call of duty

Recognized: Eng. Stephanie Julazadeh, FF Michael Phillips, FF Brian Morton and FF Corey Shaw 

A Letter from Chief Bulanow

On February 16th upon arriving at work, Eng. Stephanie Julazadeh noticed a couple in the field area behind the Remount Road fire station who were packing up their bedding from apparently sleeping there the previous night.  Eng. Julazadeh spoke with the couple and learned that they were recently homeless and trying to get back on their feet.  After speaking with the couple, Eng. Julazadeh went to McDonalds and used her own money to purchase breakfast for them.  That evening the couple came back to Station 3 stating that they were concerned about the cold temperatures predicted for that night and asked if the crew knew of any place where they could stay.  With temperatures near freezing, the crew invited them into the apparatus bay to warm up and requested that dispatch send a police unit to see if they could assist.  In the meantime the crew continued to visit with the couple and learned that the husband is a military veteran and had a job interview scheduled for the following Monday. 

A NCPD unit arrived at Station 3 and advised that all shelters were full and there was no assistance available to them.  The firefighters asked if the officers would be willing to transport the couple to a nearby hotel if the fire crew were to pay for the room and the officers agreed.  So Eng. Julazadeh, FF Michael Phillips, FF Morton and FF Shaw pooled their resources and gave the officers enough money to pay for the room and the officers took the couple to a nearby hotel where they spent the night.
While speaking to the couple the firefighters learned that the man had skills as a handyman.   FF Morton told the husband that he had some work that needed to be done at his house and offered the work to him.  He accepted and went to FF Morton’s house on Monday afternoon after his interview.  The crew has kept in touch with the couple and the man has secured basic employment and the couple has been able to maintain housing since that night.

The members of this crew demonstrated great compassion to this couple. They went well out of their way to help them and sacrificially gave of their own money to help them in their time of need. To recognize the great compassion that they demonstrated, I am pleased to present Eng. Julazadeh, FF Michael Phillips, FF Brian Morton and FF Cory Shaw with a Letter of Commendation along with my admiration and gratitude.

Recognized: Captain James Langdon, FF Robert Marriot and FF Morgan Doyle 

A Letter from Chief Bulanow

On February 9, 2013, Engine 205 responded to an emergency call for a woman who had just given birth. The crew arrived and found an unconscious 20 year-old female with a still attached baby on the floor. The mother had lost consciousness while giving birth to the baby. The infant was blue, cold to the touch and was not breathing. Neighbors had found them and called 911.

The crew immediately went to work. They clamped off and cut the umbilical cord and Captain Langdon and FF Marriot began providing care to the baby. They suctioned the mouth, provided warmth and rubbed the infant’s chest to stimulate breathing.  Meanwhile FF Doyle worked to care for and revive the mother and provided oxygen. By the time Charleston County EMS arrived to transport the mother and baby they were both conscious and breathing on their own. FF Marriot rode to the hospital while continuing to provide warmth and stimulation to the newborn infant. 

I am pleased to report that due in large part to the care provided by this crew, the mother and baby were both revived with strong vital signs as confirmed when they arrived at the hospital. It is worth noting that both Captain Langdon and Firefighter Marriot were certified as EMTs and that FF Doyle has recently completed her EMT training and is preparing for her final test. For the swift and skillful care they provided, I am pleased to present Captain James Langdon, FF Robert Marriot and FF Morgan Doyle with a Unit Commendation along with my admiration and gratitude for a job well done.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Participants Sought for Opening Processional of 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is accepting applications from local performing arts groups of all ages for participation in the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival Opening Processional on Saturday, May 4, at 9:45am. In past years the processional has been led by African drummers and dancers and has included groups dressed in brightly colored outfits and costumes, volunteers carrying giant puppets, banners and other crafted props, jugglers, dance troupes, theatre groups, and more. Applications can be found on the Applications page at Deadline for applications is Friday, April 19, at 5:00pm.

The Opening Processional has kicked off the Arts Festival’s Main Event festivities at the Charleston Area Convention Center Complex for over a decade. Participants parade around the complex toward the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Once the Processional enters the North Charleston Performing Arts Center Auditorium, the celebration continues with a Performance Spotlight, featuring 3-5 minute performances by pre-selected groups. Performance Spotlight slots may be requested on the Opening Processional application and are filled on a first come, first served basis. 

The North Charleston Arts Festival will be presented May 3-11, 2013, at various venues throughout North Charleston and the surrounding area. The nine-day event is one of the most comprehensive arts festivals in the state, highlighting national, regional, and local artists and performers in the areas of Dance, Music, Theater, Visual Arts, Crafts, Photography, Media Arts, and Literature. For 3o years the festival has made quality arts programming affordable and accessible to the widest spectrum of the public, attracting over 30,000 residents and visitors from throughout the Southeast to participate in a fabulous array of free and modestly priced performances, workshops, exhibitions, and activities. The Main Event weekend at the North Charleston Performing Arts and Charleston Area Convention Center on Saturday, May 4, and Sunday, May 5, offers free parking and admission to over 40 performances on four themed stages. Other Main Event activities include fine art and photography shows, the SC Palmetto Hands fine craft exhibit, a gem and mineral show, an antique show, activities for kids at Box City and Creation Stations, art and craft booths, and a food courtyard. The Arts Festival continues with over sixty free and ticketed events and exhibitions throughout the week at various locations, including street dances, concerts, theatre presentations, film screenings, workshops and demos, children’s activities, a National Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition, and the Grand Finale with fireworks. 

For more information on the Opening Processional, contact Nancy Rodriguez at (843)740-5851. Visit for more information about the 2013 North Charleston Arts Festival and other participation opportunities, including downloadable applications for judged art, photography, and youth art exhibitions; art & craft and food vendor space; and volunteers.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

PERFORMANCE CANCELED - North Charleston to Host Free Concert by USAF Heritage Brass Quintet

The United States Air Force Heritage Brass Quintet’s performance hosted by the City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department on March 17, 2013 at Sterett Hall Auditorium has been canceled.

It has been reported to the City of North Charleston that this cancelation is due to national budget cuts. Yesterday, March 6, 2013, it was announced that travel funds were immediately suspended for all military bands, thus tours of the USAF Heritage Brass Quintet were canceled.

Representatives with the USAF Heritage of America Band were apologetic to the public for this inconvenience.

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department is proud to host a free afternoon concert by the United States Air Force Heritage Brass of the USAF Heritage of America Band at the Sterett Hall Auditorium on the former Charleston Naval Base on Sunday, March 17, at 3:00pm. The concert will feature the diverse talents of five professional Airman-musicians from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia, whose commitment to excellence has earned worldwide acclaim and military distinction. From Bach to the Beatles and patriotic favorites, Heritage Brass offers a musical experience sure to be enjoyed by all audiences.

The Heritage Brass, formed in 1973, tours the Mid-Atlantic region from South Carolina to Delaware, always leaving audiences impressed and delighted with the ensemble’s world-class musicianship and entertaining showmanship. From classical to jazz and popular music, the quintet brings its brilliant brass sound to all music genres, providing a variety of music that’s as educational as it is exciting.

These gifted musicians hold master’s degrees from several of the nation’s top music schools, including Eastman, Indiana, and Carnegie Mellon, and bachelor’s degrees from Texas University at Austin, Lynn University, Roberts Wesleyan College, and California State University, East Bay. They’ve performed with the Pittsburgh, Midland-Odessa, New World, and Virginia Symphonies. The group has also performed the National Anthem and other patriotic music at Phillies and Orioles games and NASCAR’s Dover 400. Additionally, Heritage Brass performs in a variety of other venues including concert halls, theaters, schools, museums, and hospitals, and often presents clinics at the elementary, secondary and collegiate levels. Aside from their concert tours, Heritage Brass provides patriotic music and fanfares at important military ceremonies. Recently, the quintet participated in the opening of the Fisher House at Dover Air Force Base and the merger of Naval and Air Force Bases in Charleston, South Carolina, to form Joint Base Charleston.

The USAF Heritage Brass concert is free, but advance tickets are required. Tickets may be obtained by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope with request to: Tickets, City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, PO Box 190016, North Charleston, SC, 29419-9016. Please limit 6 tickets per mail-in request. Tickets are also available for pick up Monday through Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm, from the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department office on the second floor of North Charleston City Hall, located at 2500 City Hall Lane, North Charleston, SC 29406. Unclaimed seats will be available to non-ticket holders 15 minutes prior to concert time.

For more information about this concert or other programs and services offered by the North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, call 740-5854, email, or visit

Flowertown Players close out North Charleston Dinner Theatre season on March 22

The Flowertown Players of Summerville will present Forever Plaid, the off-Broadway musical revue written by Stuart Ross, as part of the North Charleston Dinner Theatre Series on Friday, March 22, 2013. 

This deliciously goofy revue centers on The Plaids, a wholesome quartet of well harmonized guys that just want to sing. Tragically these four young, eager male performers were killed in a car crash on the way to their first big concert. As the play opens they have been miraculously revived for the posthumous chance to fulfill their dreams and perform the show that never was. With nostalgic hits from the 1950’s, The Plaids’ close harmony, zealous choreography, and boyish squabbles will put a song in your heart. 

The Flowertown Players staged this production at the historic James F. Dean Theatre in downtown Summerville at end of January and have adapted it for the North Charleston Dinner Theatre stage. Enjoy the final performance of the 2012/13 Dinner Theatre Series with this delightful new rendition of the off-Broadway show. The evening’s meal, catered by Embassy Suites, will feature a boneless pork chop entrĂ©e with soy, maple, and red chili marinade and sweet charred corn relish.

Forever Plaid will be presented at the Charleston Area Convention Center Ballroom (adjacent to the North Charleston Performing Arts Center) at 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston. The ballroom doors open at 7:00pm for dinner. Tickets are $40 per person. Group discounts are available. Ticket price includes dinner, play, and gratuity. Tickets for just the performance are available for $15. Parking is free. A cash bar will be available. 

To purchase tickets or to request more information, contact Pam Smith at 843-740-5847 or email For information on the 2012-13 North Charleston Dinner Theatre Series or additional programs and events, visit the Cultural Arts section of the City’s website at

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Red Cross breaks ground on new facility by City Hall

Lowcountry Red Cross Groundbreaking

Today, the American Red Cross and Mayor Keith Summey joined Owner, Mall Drive 2424 LLC and Lender, National Bank of South Carolina as they broke ground on their new building that will be the future home of the Red Cross in the City of North Charleston.

The new building will be centrally located in the City of North Charleston at 2424 City Hall Drive and will provide the Red Cross with over 10,000 square-feet of office, educational, training and storage space to better serve its clients across the Lowcountry. The new building is scheduled to open in December 2013.

“The new facility will be a place for our volunteers to come together and learn,” said Mason Holland, board chair, American Red Cross, Carolina Lowcountry Chapter. “The opportunity to expand our volunteer base and their knowledge will increase our capacity to support our Lowcountry 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through lifesaving education and response. The centralized location in North Charleston will allow for a more efficient response to disasters across our region and will allow us to better serve our community.”

The Carolina Lowcountry Chapter serves Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Hampton and Jasper counties and is part of the Palmetto SC Region. The Red Cross provides food, shelter and emotional support after disasters, assists members of our armed forces and their families, teaches lifesaving skills and supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood.

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. A financial donation can be made by sending a check to the American Red Cross, Charleston, SC Region, 8085 Rivers Ave., Suite F. North Charleston, SC 29406 or by calling (843) 764-2323 ext. 368. For more information or to make a secure online donation, please visit

Monday, March 4, 2013

Be a Force of Nature during National Severe Weather Preparedness Week

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partnered to designate March 3-9, 2013, as National Severe Weather Preparedness Week, and is calling upon all Americans to Be a Force of Nature.

We live in an area prone to flash floods, severe thunderstorms, and hurricanes, and should be aware that this weather can strike anywhere and at any time.
Last year across the United States, there were more than 450 weather-related fatalities and nearly 2,600 injuries. Each time severe weather threatens we hear stories of ordinary Americans who do the extraordinary to save loved ones – a mother protecting her children by shielding them from flying debris, a homeowner opening up his storm shelter to neighbors, neighbors helping a senior in a wheelchair get to a safe shelter, individuals ensuring friends are aware of the current watch or warning in their area.
Building a Weather-Ready Nation requires that every individual and community take action because severe weather knows no boundaries and affects us all. Be a Force of Nature by making a public pledge to be prepared at

What can you do to Prepare?

Knowing your risk, taking action and being an example by sharing your knowledge and actions through your social network are just a few steps you can take to be better prepared and assist in saving lives.

Know Your Risk: The first step to becoming weather-ready is to understand the type of hazardous weather that can affect where you live and work, and how the weather could impact you and your family. Every state in the United States has experienced tornadoes and severe weather, so everyone is exposed to some degree of risk. Check the weather forecast regularly and visit to learn more about how to be better prepared and how you can protect your family during emergencies.

Pledge and Take Action: Be Force of Nature by taking the Pledge to Prepare at When you pledge to prepare, you will take the first step to making sure that you and your family are prepared for severe weather. This includes filling out your family communications plan that you can email to yourself, putting an emergency kit together, keeping important papers and valuables in a safe place, and getting involved.

Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio, and check to see if your cell phone is equipped to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts and sign up for localized alerts from emergency management officials. Stay informed by having multiple sources for weather alerts - NOAA Weather Radio,, and Wireless Emergency Alerts. Subscribe to receive alerts at

Be an Example: Once you have taken action and pledged to Be a Force of Nature, share your story with your family and friends. Create a video and post on a video sharing site; post your story on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, comment on a blog, or share through any other social media site. Technology today makes it easier than ever to be a good example and share the steps you took to help us achieve the vision of a Weather-Ready Nation. Join us today and pledge to prepare for the severe weather in our area.

Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flooding is available at and or the Spanish-language web site