Thursday, October 31, 2013

North Charleston Dinner Theatre Series Goes Gullah on November 15

Sharon Cooper-Murray as The Gullah Lady
Another fabulous dinner theatre performance is set to take place in North Charleston on Friday, November 15, with Gullah Roots presented by The Gullah Lady, Sharon Cooper-Murray. The interactive program features a captivating collection of stories and songs that offer a glimpse into Gullah life and culture on the coastal plains and Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. Dinner for the evening is catered by Embassy Suites and features an entrée of sage buttered and roasted pork tenderloin. Tickets are on sale until Tuesday, November 12.

In Gullah Roots, Cooper-Murray uses her rich singing voice and conversational storytelling approach to take the audience on a journey through her memories, revealing the people, songs, stories and experiences that have shaped her passion and understanding of the Gullah culture.   Although she is known as The Gullah Lady, many are surprised to learn that Sharon Cooper-Murray is not Gullah at all. Born and raised in Lake City, SC, she attended college in Tennessee and moved to the Lowcountry at the age of 22. It was in 1984, when she married Wadmalaw Island native Frank Murray, that she was first introduced to the Gullah culture. She was immediately fascinated with the Gullah way of life and its unique language, oral traditions, music, crafts and food ways. More than two decades later that fascination has turned into a life-long passion to not only learn all she can about the Gullah people and their traditions, but also to preserve and promote the language and culture. She does so by traveling throughout the east coast of the United States to participate in workshops, lectures, storytelling events, special occasions and artist in residency programs. She also performs regularly at Boone Hall Plantation.

Gullah Roots 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 offered. Ticket price includes dinner, play, and gratuity. Tickets for just the play are available for $15. Parking is free. A cash-only bar will be available. To purchase tickets, contact Pam Smith at 843-740-5847 by Tuesday, November 12. For details on the 2013/14 North Charleston Dinner Theatre Series or information on additional programs and events, contact the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department at 843-740-5854 or visit

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Veterans Day 2013 in North Charleston, a Tribute to our Veterans

A WWII veterans gives a smile

The City of North Charleston will host its annual Veterans Day tribute on Monday, November 11, 2013 from 10:30 am – 1:00 pm at Park Circle. We ask veterans and the public to join Mayor R. Keith Summey and City Council in this special ceremony. Last year, over 500 veterans in attendance were honored.

The Department of Defense and the Veterans Day National Committee once again selected North Charleston as a Regional Site for Veterans Day 2013. North Charleston is one of two regional sites in the State of South Carolina and has received this designation for 4 consecutive years.

All veterans in attendance will be recognized and will receive a specially designed commemorative coin. To receive a coin, Veterans are urged to RSVP no later than November 4 to (843) 740-5801, (843) 745-1028 or via email at

Prior to the ceremony, from 9:30 am – 10:30 am, a story swap will be held in the Felix Davis Community Center. Veterans will have an open opportunity to share memories and stories about their service with fellow veterans. The story swap is open to the public. Veterans wishing to speak should RSVP to (843) 740-5850.

Once again, lunch for all of the event attendees will be provided immediately following the ceremony.

Colonel Myron C. Harrington, Jr. USMC (Retired) will be the event’s keynote speaker. Col. Harrington, a native of Augusta, Georgia, graduated from The Citadel in 1960 and was commissioned in the USMC in 1961. He would go on to serve his country in the Vietnam War.

The Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism was awarded to Col. Harrington for his actions during the Vietnam War on February 23, 1968 at the Battle of Huế. During the battle, he commanded a USMC force attacking a well-fortified North Vietnamese position along a portion of the wall surrounding the Huế Citadel. Under heavy fire and with disregard of his own safety, Col. Harrington maneuvered the Marines under his leadership to rout the North Vietnamese soldiers from the encampment.

An hour long interview filmed on December 8, 1981 with Col. Harrington from the WGBH Media Library and Archives can be found here: The interview is his personal account of the Battle of Huế.

Col. Harrington’s decorations include the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with two Gold Stars in lieu of second and third awards, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star in lieu of second award, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and Gold Star in lieu of second award, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star, and the Vietnamese Staff Honor Medal 1st Class.

Col. Harrington earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Shippensburg State College in Pennsylvania in 1980. After retiring from the USMC in 1991, he joined the staff of Trident Academy in Mount Pleasant as the Headmaster, retiring in 1997. He now is the Secretary of The Citadel Board of Visitors.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

City of North Charleston Donates 500 POPS! Tickets to Lowcountry Military Families

City donates 500 POPS! tickets to Lowcountry Military Families

City of North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced today that 500 tickets are being donated to local active and retired military members and their families for the North Charleston POPS! “Military Salute” concert on Saturday, November 2 at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. Representatives from the Charleston County Veterans Affairs Office were on hand to accept the donation from Mayor Summey and North Charleston POPS! Manager, Tacy Edwards.

The North Charleston POPS! “Military Salute” concert features Las Vegas artist Steve Lippia who will join forces with the POPS! to honor our enlisted troops, past and present, in an evening of foot-stomping, tear-jerking music sure to ramp up your patriotic fever. The concert will also include Sousa marches, a moving pictorial military tribute sure to bring a tug to your heart, a surprise guest narrator and a hall full of buglers attempting to break a Guinness world record. In addition, Lippia will sing the biggest hits of Frank Sinatra such as The Lady Is a Tramp, My Way, All of Me and Send in the Clowns. The show is sponsored by the Bank of South Carolina.

“It’s our hope that these tickets for Saturday night’s North Charleston POPS! “Military Salute” will provide our local military and their families with a wonderful evening of music, but also a reminder of how much we appreciate their sacrifices for our community and our country”, said Mayor Summey.

North Charleston POPS! Manager Tacy Edwards added, “Saturday night’s performance is truly a labor of love for all of the North Charleston POPS! musicians as it allows us to show our deep appreciation to the Lowcountry’s military, veterans and their families.”

Tickets for North Charleston POPS! “Military Salute” featuring Steve Lippia are on sale now at the Coliseum Advance Ticket Office, Ticketmaster outlets (including select Publix stores), charge by phone 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticket prices range from $15 - $35 (plus applicable fees). Season tickets and group discounts are available by calling (843) 202-ARTS (2787). Military personnel (active and retired) can save $5 per ticket by showing the military ID at the Coliseum Advance Ticket Window.

The 2013-2014 North Charleston POPS! season consists of four themed performances at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center. In addition to the November 2 performance, the other shows are “A Rockin’ Christmas” on December 7, “Endless Love” on February 15, and “Philly Soul” on March 29. Season tickets start at just $58 and are available by calling the North Charleston POPS! hotline (843) 202-ARTS (2787) or online at

Thursday, October 24, 2013

North Charleston breaks ground on new $42 million Public Works complex

North Charleston breaks ground on new $42 million Public Works facility

City of North Charleston officials broke ground today on a new $42 million Public Works complex off of Vector Avenue. The new complex features a state of the art design on a 38 acre multi-building campus to streamline Public Works functions and places the facility centrally within the City.

When the Charleston Naval Base closed, the City acquired off-base property at the intersection of Remount Road and I-26, where for years, a municipal court annex and several city departments operated. Additional property was later transferred to the City by the US Air Force. After the completion of the new city hall in the fall of 2009, all city departments were consolidated, except for public works. The consolidation allowed for the demolition of the former annex, freeing a large tract of land for a new public works facility.

On June 14, 2012, City Council approved the bond issuance to fund the construction of the new public works facility. With design, planning, and site preparation completed, building construction is set to begin.

The Public Works complex will consist of a multi-building campus, plus sheds for equipment and storage, spread across 38 acres. Its centralized location allows access to major thoroughfares and I-26. Construction is scheduled to be completed in April 2015.

Public Works is currently located at 1023 Aragon Street in a facility built in late 1975. At the time of construction, it was located very near the center of the City with room for expansion. After nearly forty years of growth, both in population and geographic area, the City has outgrown the now small, crowded facility.

“With our population now over 100,000, the replacement of our public works facility is long overdue,” said Mayor Keith Summey. “The new complex positions North Charleston for the next fifty years of growth, and ensures that citizens of North Charleston receive efficient and cost effective services.”

“North Charleston’s Public Works Department has come a long way since its formation in the early 1970s,” said Public Works Director Jim Hutto. “Starting with a used dump truck and a two man crew to fill pot holes, Public Works now employs nearly 200 and oversees a wide variety of services for the citizens and businesses of North Charleston. The new facility is ideally positioned to provide our employees the appropriate space to serve the people of our city.”

North Charleston’s Public Works Department is responsible for engineering, street and sidewalk maintenance, stormwater maintenance and utility, solid waste disposal, traffic signs and signals, landscaping, city facilities maintenance and repair, fleet maintenance, and construction contract administration.

Monday, October 21, 2013

North Charleston City Gallery to Exhibit Works by Barbara Sammons, Carol Beth Icard and Linda Page Hudgins

"Forgotten" by Barbara Sammons
The City of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department is pleased to announce that photographs by Barbara Sammons and abstract paintings by Carol Beth Icard and Linda Page Hudgins will be on exhibit at the North Charleston City Gallery from November 1-30, 2013.

Dusty Roads by Barbara Sammons

In her latest collection of photographs, Dusty Roads, Barbara Sammons focuses her lens on the classic cars, junkyard jalopies and old trucks she encounters as she travels the back roads of the Carolinas, Tennessee and Kentucky. According to Sammons, the post-processing techniques she applies to her digital photographs work to enhance the soul or story behind the subject, as there is always a story to tell. “I’m often asked, ‘Why do you want to take a picture of that rusty old car?’ I’ll say, ‘Tell me its story, and then I’ll tell you why,”” Sammons explains. In response, the photographer has heard a number of reminiscences about family summer road trips, tales of teenage backseat shenanigans, recollections of successful excursions through bad weather, memories of driving lessons with nervous parents, and more. As both a photographer and writer, it is the people and narratives behind these rusty, old automobiles that inspire Sammons. “I hear the joy and love in their voices,” she says. “And I love a good story.”

Barbara Sammons is an award-winning photographer and published writer with over 30 years of experience behind the camera. Her photographs have been featured in numerous solo, group and juried/judged exhibitions throughout the Southeast. Barbara currently resides in Candler, North Carolina, and is a former professional chef, graphic designer, marketing professional and master gardener. She is a member of several photography organizations in North Carolina, the Photographic Society of America (PSA), the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), CORSA, the Corvair Society of America and CORSA/NC, the Corvair Society of North Carolina.

Works by Carol Beth Icard and Linda Page Hudgins
In their joint exhibition, Carol Beth Icard and Linda Page Hudgins present a collection of nonobjective paintings that capture invisible energy with their own personal color vocabularies. Icard describes her painting style as introspective abstraction, incorporating intuition, emotion and contemplation via color, gesture, line and form. Hudgins’ work may be described as abstract surrealism, with images of nature implied through spontaneous brushstrokes. The two artists live in the same community, six miles apart, divided by a state line. Although they maintain strongly individual approaches to painting, they have developed a compatibility that has become a part of their growth, both as artists and as friends.

Carol Beth Icard began her painting career mid-life, enrolling in the visual arts program at Berkshire Community College (Pittsfield, MA) in her mid-forties. Her focus for the many years since then has been on developing her voice as an abstract painter. Her works have been featured in many solo and group exhibitions along the East Coast and are included in several private and public collections, such as the Carol Grotnes Belk Library and Information Commons at Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) and Hospice of the Carolina Foothill (Columbus, NC). She lives and works in Landrum, SC, and is currently represented by Carolina Gallery in Spartanburg, SC, and The Design Gallery in Burnsville, NC.

A native of South Carolina, Linda Page Hudgins studied art at Converse College and later at the Rhode Island School of Design. A lifelong commitment to artistic exploration has taken her to such exotic places as Ghana, Botswana and China. She has exhibited frequently in regional venues throughout her career, including galleries in Chicago, New York City, Richmond, Virginia, as well as NC, SC and GA. In addition, her paintings are included in a number of private and public collections both in the states and abroad, including Wofford College (Spartanburg, SC) and Guangxi Normal University Art School (Guilin, PR China).

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 Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 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, October 11, 2013

Charleston Regional Competitiveness Center website receives National Association of Development Organizations 2013 Innovation Award

The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments, located in North Charleston, South Carolina accepted a 2013 Innovation Award from the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) Research Foundation on behalf of the Charleston Regional Competitiveness Center (CRCC).

The CRCC’s free online data resource is available through the collaboration of four local organizations: the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG), the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, and the Trident Workforce Investment Board. The portal ( is designed to provide up-to-date economic and workforce information on the Charleston region, which consists of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties in South Carolina.

“The Charleston Regional Competitiveness Center is a collaborative effort that we are proud to be part of,” said Ron Mitchum, BCDCOG Executive Director. “The website provides citizens with the tools and information on business and community demographic information and is innovative and creative. We are honored to have received such an award.”

NADO is a Washington, DC-based association that promotes programs and policies that strengthen local governments, communities, and economies through regional cooperation, program delivery, and comprehensive strategies. The association’s Innovation Awards program recognizes regional development organizations and partnering organizations for improving the economic and community competitiveness of our nation’s regions and local communities. Award winners were showcased during NADO’s 2013 Annual Training Conference, held August 24 - 27 in San Francisco, California.

“For nearly 30 years, NADO’s Innovation Award has provided regional development organizations the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to promoting economic development in rural and small metropolitan communities across the country. Building on the unique strengths and challenges of each region and community, award recipients continue to promote sustainable economic growth not only now, but for many years to come. And I am pleased to announce that this year over 100 regional development organizations were selected to receive NADO’s 2013 Innovation Award,” said NADO President John Leonard, Executive Director of the Southern Georgia Regional Commission in Valdosta, GA.

About NADO

Founded in 1967, the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) provides advocacy, education, networking, and research for the national network of 540 regional development organizations. NADO members provide professional, programmatic and technical assistance to over 2,300 counties and 15,000 municipalities.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

MWV announces $9.3 million investment for new technology center

MWV Specialty Chemicals, a division of MeadWestvaco Corporation, will expand its existing operations in North Charleston. The $9.3 million investment in innovation is expected to support the division’s local workforce and growing global business.

MWV Specialty Chemicals will open a new technology center near its existing headquarters, located on Virginia Avenue in North Charleston. The new facility will serve as an innovation center for the company to expand its capabilities in automotive emissions control and sustainable chemicals in the oilfield, road construction and adhesives global markets. The center is expected to begin operations in early 2015. 

“The new facility will enrich our technical innovation capabilities positioning our division to serve important global growth businesses in rapidly changing and competitive markets. The center will support our existing North Charleston operations as we continue to expand our product offerings around the world,” said Ed Rose, president of MWV Specialty Chemicals.

“MWV Specialty Chemicals will expand upon its long history of providing top-quality, well-paying jobs in North Charleston with the investment to establish a new facility within its current footprint,” said North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey. “MWV has continued to innovate, develop, and deploy chemicals and products from sustainable sources that are used around the world. With MWV’s global stature, top-notch employees, and community stewardship, I am certain the company and its economic impact will remain a fixture in North Charleston for many, many years.”

“MWV Specialty Chemicals is a world-class company, and it speaks volumes that they decided to put this high-tech expansion here in South Carolina,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “We celebrate the company’s commitment to invest in innovation.”

MWV Specialty Chemicals is among the top 50 chemical companies in the U.S., approaching $1 billion in sales annually. The division employs around 450 people in the Charleston area and more than 1,200 worldwide.

“South Carolina has a long history in the chemical production industry, and MWV Specialty Chemicals remains a strong member of our state’s business community,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. “We appreciate the division’s continued commitment to the Palmetto State and we know the technology center will have an impact on high-tech growth in Charleston County.”

“I am excited to see another one of our fine existing companies looking to grow in Charleston County,” said Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor. “MWV Specialty Chemicals’ new facility will be an innovation center to grow their global business. A global leader in safety and sustainability, we see their products in everything from asphalt to activated carbon products for the automotive industry, and to adhesives products. We are proud to have them call North Charleston as home for their division headquarters.”

Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should visit the MeadWestvaco careers page

The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits.

MWV Specialty Chemicals manufactures, markets and distributes specialty chemicals derived from sawdust and other by-products of the papermaking process in North America, Europe, South America and Asia. For more information about the company, please

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Inaugural North Charleston Harvest Festival & Block Party Set for October 26

The City of North Charleston announces the inaugural Harvest Festival and Block Party featuring live musical performances, art and craft booths, costume contests and children’s activities. The fall festivities will take place in the Olde Village of North Charleston, located on East Montague Avenue near Park Circle, on Saturday, October 26, 2013, from 6:00-10:00pm. Admission and parking are free. East Montague Avenue will close to vehicular traffic from Jenkins Avenue to Virginia Avenue at 4:00pm and remain closed for the duration of the event.

The celebration features music by The Local Honeys and performances by other local arts groups from 6:00-7:30pm; a Kid’s Zone with ghost stories by the Backporch Storytellers, a student art exhibit, craft activities, carnival games, face painting and inflatables from 6:00-8:00pm; a street market showcasing fine art and crafts by members of the North Charleston Artist Guild from 6:00-9:00pm; and a street dance with festive tunes by The V-Tones from 8:00-10:00pm. Many of the restaurants in the Olde Village will offer additional programming and food and drink specials.

Other highlights include costume contests for children, adults and pets with prizes in several categories. The contests for children and adults are free to enter and prizes will be furnished by the City of North Charleston and the Olde North Charleston Merchants Association. The pet costume contest, sponsored by The Flats at Mixson, carries a $5 entry fee. Proceeds benefit the Charleston Animal Society, who will be on hand with pets available for adoption. Participants for all contests should be prepared to line up for judging at 7:30pm.

Check out information on Park Circle Films’ line-up of events taking place the same evening at Artists interested in participating in the street market can do so by becoming a member of the North Charleston Artist Guild. Visit for more information.

The inaugural North Charleston Harvest Festival and Block Party is sponsored by the Olde North Charleston Merchants Association, the North Charleston Artist Guild and the City of North Charleston. For more information, visit

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

North Charleston seeks “Citizen of the Year” nominations

The North Charleston Citizen Advisory Council is seeking nominations for the 2013 “Citizen of the Year.” Each year, North Charleston citizens are nominated to identify, honor, and reinforce the activities of exceptional citizens whose service or performance positively contributes to the quality of life in North Charleston.

Nominees must possess and demonstrate a generous community spirit, prove their commitment, and display a consistent effort of positively impacting the community, thereby raising the standards of social responsibility.

All applications are welcome and should include a detailed explanation for the nomination along with the nominee’s name, address, and phone number. Also, the individual(s) submitting the application should include their name, address, and phone number. Applications must be submitted online or postmarked by Friday, November 1, 2013 for consideration.

Or mail nominations to:

City of North Charleston
Citizens Advisory Council
c/o Executive Department
P.O. Box 190016
North Charleston, SC 29419-9016

Gerinda Doctor, 2012 Citizen of the Year

Rev. Bill Stanfield, 2011 Citizen of the Year

Monday, October 7, 2013

International accreditation strengthens North Charleston's Fire Department

North Charleston Fire Chief Greg Bulanow
Commentary by Chief Bulanow:

We can now proudly declare that the North Charleston Fire Department is an internationally accredited fire department.  Does this matter?  For our city today and throughout its future, it does, indeed.

Modern day firefighters fight fires and help save lives, from senior citizens who need our help to new-born babies that we've just delivered.  In our department, we are becoming better and more successful in all types of calls, in many types of environments, at land and even at sea.  Last week, for example, our fireboat crew assisted a Coast Guard helicopter rescuing three people from their wrecked sailboat, and the fireboat also assisted in Georgetown. We’re in a continuous training cycle and always striving for improvements, from preventing fires to fighting fires, and providing first responder emergency services.

International accreditation documents the determination of our department to serve our citizens with responses measured by the highest standards in the world. Accreditation is an achievement to be celebrated proudly, but it is a process, also.  We are accredited, and now we have to work even harder to remain accredited.

Accreditation is not an easy project. It involves the gut-wrenching work of challenging the status-quo, putting all issues on the table, changing ways of thinking and how we do business. That’s why only 187 of the 38,000 fire departments in the United States are accredited.

Accreditation isn’t only about another power-point presentation, or thicker binders full of policies and procedures, or bulletin boards with bar-graphs and pie-charts, or spreadsheets with rows of numbers, or GIS maps with colored dots or posters with high-minded words.

Accreditation requires measuring performance in 248 different areas, including physical resources, human resources, financial resources, training, external relationships, goals, planning, governance and administration.   Improvements in these areas mean processing calls quicker and getting out the door faster.  It means putting Squad trucks in the right place, at the right time so they consistently handle a third of our total medical call volume.  It means better training commitments, replacing trucks and building new stations where they are needed most, and many other direct and important improvements.

Accreditation means doing everything possible to make sure that things work out for firefighters, too, more often, more consistently, more effectively and more safely than ever before. Life-loss tragedies happen about 100 times a year in America’s fire services.  When we study the circumstances, we don’t find many surprises.  Too often, fire service members repeat the same mistakes over and over again, with deadly results.  The common denominator in too many of these line-of-duty-deaths is complacency.  We skip a step, we cut a corner and we get away with it.  So we do it again because we’re in a hurry and so we skip another step, cut another corner and we get away with it again.  Someone sees it happening but they say nothing, and before we know it, sloppy, reckless behavior is ignored and even accepted.  The fancy words for this are “normalization of deviation,” -- deviating from practices that will keep us safe becomes normal.  A better word is “complacency.”

Accreditation is about fighting complacency in all its forms.    Accreditation is about providing the best possible operational environment for firefighters.   It holds all of us accountable to do everything we can to promote safety, provide necessary resources and execute best-practice procedures.

Our fire department functions with the support and leadership of Mayor Keith Summey and members of City Council.  Yes, accreditation is a major achievement for our city, but we understand we still have work to do.  No member of the North Charleston Fire Department should be satisfied with status quo.  The determination to get better and better and more and more professional is the standing mandate of an accredited department.

So we can celebrate accreditation and accept that it now defines our department; it is a message that we are not afraid of hard work and being accountable.  It is a snapshot of our success today and a road map for constant improvements throughout our city’s future.  And yes, accreditation matters.

Gregory A. Bulanow began his firefighting career with the North Charleston Fire Department in 1996. He worked his way through the ranks and was named Chief in 2009.

Groundbreaking on newest community facility improvements

City of North Charleston breaks ground on newest community facility improvements
The City of North Charleston began facility improvements at the Murray Hill Community Center with a groundbreaking on Friday, October 4, 2013.

The improvements include a new press box and concession stand with restrooms to accompany the existing multipurpose baseball/softball/football field at the location. The project will enhance the ongoing Recreation Department athletic programs at the Murray Hill Community Center.

The $375,000 project is expected to be completed in March 2014.