Roller Derby Brings the Spirit of Competition and Sisterhood to the Lowcountry

Photo by Phil Lackey
Update: The Lowcountry Highrollers kick off the new season on August 29th, doors opening at 4:30 at their new venue at 3337 Business Circle, North Charleston, SC.? Come out and show your support.? Learn more at Lowcountry Highrollers Official Website

As I spoke to Lori, a seasoned member of the Swamp Foxes on Wednesday evening, I could see the team in the background doing drills and stretching exercises in preparation for their closed scrimmage at the Hot Wheels Skating facility on Folly Road. Ranging from age 18 to 45, this group of women includes a former competitive fencer, speed skaters, nurses, writers and a chef. This is the makings of a true sisterhood who has found a release hidden behind their skates, pads and helmets.

Lori’s passion dates back to her youth when she watched hours of bouts on television and sought the opportunity once she learned of the league. Along with the other skaters, Lori sees Roller Derby as part of something much bigger than herself. It is a community partnership, an organization fueled on education, awareness and a sense of teaming unlike anything you may ever witness.

Full gear for a roller derby athlete can run about $600 or more. This is a pertinent amount for the dedicated girls who are practicing and competing for nothing more than pride and charity. Sponsor a Skater is one of the many examples of community partnership that embrace the passion of this sport. Donors, sometimes anonymous, provide funding so that the athletes can have the opportunity to skate, hit and score.

During each bout, you will witness banner ads, raffles, announcements, flyers and digital ads promoting businesses from around the Charleston area. These sponsors are part of the well-oiled machine that keeps this league thriving. The athletes, coaches and referees are not paid. In fact, each bout supports a local area charity. All other funds raised provide for rentals, insurance, equipment and marketing to help keep the dreams of these girls alive. The compassion and commitment of the league to support local area charities is infectious. MUSC Sports Medicine even offers free healthcare assistance to any player injured during a bout or practice.

Stepping into a situation with a limited understanding of the rules and regulations was a challenge for me, but meeting the girls and spending time with Lori, put my lack of knowledge at ease. The exuberant dialogue offered a wealth of information about the sport, the dedication year round of the competitors and the community partnership.

Whether you are a member of the Ashley Riverdolls, Swamp Foxes, Heartbreakers or junior derby, conditioning, training and preparation are a part of everyone’s routine. Players interested in competing must complete two stages of assessment before they can clash in a bout. From conditioning to technique, the league takes great precautions to ensure safety and health.

Photo by Phil Lackey

Each and every player is given the chance to learn leadership, project management, marketing and teamwork. This is a beautiful ecosystem in place. Each member must be part of at least two committees (marketing, media, sponsorship, etc.) and there is a rotating coaches program where players take turns coaching a practice or scrimmage. It is, in a way, a utopian society with no hierarchy and a communal lifestyle.

Why choose Roller Derby? For some it is a way to stay in shape. For others, finding a sisterhood bond. Ultimately, roller derby is a healthy escape from the pressures of personal and professional lives. Most of us spend our lives working the “day” job and at the end of the day, a release is a breath of fresh air.

This is a breath of fresh air.

I spent a few minutes watching the scrimmage. Two minute intervals; jammers, blockers and pivot, all packed together. It was a rugged form of poetry. As they bunched together, you could see the competitive drive as well as the strong team concept. It is truly a remarkable experience.

If you have never witnessed a bout, go enjoy the experience. Do it for the charity, do it for the action, but most of all, do it to show your support for the ladies and gentleman that dedicate hours in preparation for each bout.

Before each bout, when each player is introduced and they skate a lap around the track while others eagerly wait for their announcement while listening to their motivational music, watch closely as you cheer them on. Look at the fire in their eyes and the spirit in their glide. It will inspire.

Photo by Phil Lackey
Photo by Phil Lackey

You enjoy all the energy on October 12 at Hot Wheels on Folly Road as The Swamp Fox Militia take on The Holy City Heartbreakers and November 9 for the Home team championships – Roller Derby Schedule

Learn more today – Roller Derby Charleston SC


Stay Plugged in with Scoop – Charleston’s First Electric Car Service

By Mark A. Leon

Have you sat in a vehicle and felt like you were flying on a magic carpet?? Have you ever experienced a car that seems to float on air, with a gentle sound of near silence filling your ears. Have you ever rode in a vehicle sleekly outfitted with a BOSE sound system and Bluetooth technology? You may have the opportunity in the near future as Scoop descends on the streets of Charleston.

It took some time to get past the soothing, airy appeal of the fully electric vehicle as Scoop CEO John Suddath drove away from my condo in the Nissan Leaf tailored with the logo accompanying the side.? In less than 2 weeks, Charleston will once again open the gates of innovation as Scoop Charleston launches to the public.? You may have seen the white cars with the nifty Scoop logo driving between Rutledge Avenue and East Bay or Spring Street to the Battery.? The company has been testing the routes, analyzing their capabilities and preparing for the newest eco-friendly idea to hit our community.

With ten charging stations in the Peninsula, Scoop is ready to handle a wave of customers.? This is only the beginning.? Within a month, Scoop will launch an app where customers can request service and monitor the location of their driver.? How else can this concept be more enticing?? Scoop is not charging a fee to their passengers.? This car service is running solely on the generosity of its customers as a tips-only based service.? The company will be powered by local business sponsorships.

Two years ago, John and his partner conceptualized an idea of local city transport.? Beginning as a golf cart and evolving into an environmentally sound solution, Scoop has plans to modify the landscape of Charleston.? A number of initiatives are in place to change the mindset of Charleston to become more “green” and focus on the future of generations to come.? This is one huge step in the right direction.? Scoop has taken all measures to provide a comfortable and safe customer experience.? With men and women on staff, customers can request the gender of the driver to ensure a high level of comfort and trust.

For many, it will be their first time in an electric car, as it was for myself.? The entire staff of drivers will be well-versed in the functionality of electric cars and will be ready to educate their passengers.? Scoop is committed to hiring drivers with warm and friendly personalities who enjoy conversing with others.? Along with the easy ride, passengers will be greeted with surround sound music of their choice and iPads with flash videos and scrolling local advertisements to provide more options on the Peninsula.


After a 45 minute drive through downtown Charleston, I saw glances of curiosity, but most of all, I sensed us sneaking up.? With no engine noise or emissions, this quiet car may very well become an outspoken leader in Charleston’s continued commitment to move to a greener way of life. It is time to be plugged into a better tomorrow.? Scoop Charleston is one company that is proud to be part of the trend.



The Newest Restaurant to Roll Into James Island — Rollin’ South Kitchen

By Tyler Sexton
By Tyler Sexton


From the first turn onto Folly Road to the ocean, we drive past dozens of delicious restaurants.? Veering off at one of the side streets is where we find the local treasures.? These are the places where we won’t bump into tourists, because these spots aren’t on the direct path to the beach.? The newest addition to this small list of restaurants is Rollin’ South Kitchen. ?

Rollin South’ just opened up a short two weeks ago in the building that was formerly The Sloppy Cow.? With a fresh paint job on the outside and an open and welcoming interior, this new diner has been bringing in crowds from all corners of James Island and the peninsula.? Their lunch menu starts with Jim Island Snacks, which includes traditional comfort foods like Chuck Town Chips and Folly Fries, and then progresses through salads, hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, and options from the grill.

The interior is decorated in our Charleston beach fashion, with comical life lessons painted on old wooden planks, and the dishes have witty names like the Fatty Patty Melt, Bubba’s Bacon, and the Reuben You The Right Way.? Considering that they’ve only been open for such a short time, the staff were very knowledgeable about the menu.? They were able to point out and explain their favorites from each category of food on the menu.? The Reuben You The Right Way got the highest recommendation, and I opted to go with pastrami over the corned beef at the managers suggestion. ?


The name fits.? The pastrami was tender and juicy, and it brought a pleasant bit of spice to the sandwich without over powering the other ingredients.? The tartness of the sauerkraut paired wonderfully with the kick of the pastrami, and the melted swiss cheese worked well at everything together.? Thousand Island dressing brought that familiar zest while the toasted rye kept all the flavor of the pastrami from escaping.?

The fries are done just right here as well.? They cut them in house and fry them to perfection, leaving them with a crispy golden outside and flaky white inside.? If malt vinegar is your thing, they’ve got you covered here.? If not, you can’t go wrong with ketchup. ?


The portions were perfect.? I was completely content after cleaning my plate, but I was so satisfied with my lunch that I couldn’t help but to ask about dessert.? My server said that the key lime pie is her favorite, and she hadn’t led me astray thus far.? I love key lime pie because of the pairing between the tartness of the lime and the sweetness of the graham cracker crust, and this pie fits the bill.? Just when you are about to pucker up from the sour filling, the sweet crust balances out each bite.

With their welcoming and hospitable staff and the delicious food options, Rollin’ South Kitchen has kept their tables full since the day they opened.? It looks like the newest addition to the James Island food scene is here to stay.

Located at 1023 Harbor View Road, Charleston, SC

The Palmetto Palace opens their hands in comfort to Charleston


Established in 2006, the Palmetto Palace will not shine on the cover of a magazine or seek out the spotlight, but what their mission defines is the cultural infrastructure of the Charleston community.? Developed as a family care program, Palmetto Palace assists families of hospitalized critical care patients with the basic necessities and financial assistance necessary to focus their time and efforts on caring for their loved ones.

Healthcare crisis is a difficult physical and emotional time for all of us.? Many South Carolina families do not have the financial resources for healthcare and lodging and this is where Palmetto Palace steps in to provide that extra shoulder to lean on.

How does the Palmetto Palace assist families?

  • Financial Assistance – Hotel vouchers for families and meal coupons.
  • Care Packages including everyday toiletries which may have been forgotten during a critical situation.
  • Partnerships with local restaurants and hotels to provide cost effective means of lodging and eating for families of patients with extended hospital stays.

This organization relies on countless hours of volunteerism to raise funds, establish partnerships and meet families with compassion, warmth and assistance.

Their unyielding commitment to help those that are struggling to deal with overwhelming adversity is part of what makes them special.? Their staff treats each and every person with the same level of respect and their admiration for each dollar raised is genuine and pure.

During the Spring of 2011 and Spring of 2012, The Palmetto Palace providing financial assistance to pay for 149 hotel nights, 1700 hospital meal vouchers and distribution of 1400 care packages to local ICU waiting rooms.? Their efforts continue today.? This is only the tip of the potential.? Their ability to continue is through the kindness of those that volunteer and donate to the cause.

The strength of this foundation is heavily based on awareness.? We are doing our small part to partner with The Palmetto Palace to help Charleston become aware of this wonderful organization.? In a community driven by warmth, it is refreshing to see an organization that is dedicated to help families in their most desperate time of need.

On Thursday, October 16th, 2014, The Palmetto House will be hosting The Palmetto Palace Hearts for Hospitality Bachelor / Bachelorette Auction at the Charleston Music Hall.? This is their most aggressive fund raiser and one they hope will help this foundation continue to support more and more families.


We invite you to come and support a very worthy local cause.? If you cannot attend and would like to donate time or financial support to this foundation, click here to more information or call or email directly at 843.532.3169 /

Thinking of all the families who deal with health emergencies each and every day, it is truly a blessing to know there is an organization that is there to help.





Retired Mensch: Tale of Two Restaurants – Rutledge Cab Company and 82 Queen

Paul & Cathy 5x7Now tell me, does a turkey sandwich befit a restaurant week menu choice? Of course not, but that’s what the Mensch ordered from the Rutledge Cab Company’s regular menu last week. If I were a poet I would have written a sonnet, an ode, or a haiku to that turkey sandwich.
Instead, I sent an email to general manager Dan Tolbert praising their turkey sandwich.
Who knew that toasted white bread could be so good? Thick cut, crispy brown outside, chewy inside. This wasn’t Wonder Bread. It was Pane De Vita bakery white according to Dan. And the turkey was just like the leftovers on black Friday, REAL turkey, not that deli-roll pretender. They roast it in house. Even the tomato was to die for. I think it was grown in a secret garden on John’s Island and not from Limehouse Produce as Dan offered.
The best part of this lunch was that the Mensch got two meals on one check! And even one day later, the toast of the other half of my sandwich had almost held its own against the spread and the tomato. I could have done without the sprouts and the subsequent gas, but that’s not their fault. Who cares what the restaurant week specials were, the everyday menu was tops.

With the unlimited budget at, restaurant week continued with dinner at 82 Queen which, after Magnolias, was a letdown. First off, the Mensch had to pay for parking, $3, at the city garage across the street.
Again we were a few minutes early and were offered seating immediately. We followed a hostess up the iron stairs to a small room to our left. Unlike the linen-clothed table of Magnolias, there were place mats. Our server Sienna cleared the extra settings and presented menus and beverage lists. Another great selection of cocktails and wine. An old-fashion, or is it old-fashioned?, and a cosmopolitan please.
The three course menu for $30 had some great choices. There were six appetizers, seven entrees and two desserts. For an extra $10 a crab cake would be added to any entree.
Sienna recommended the she-crab soup and the crab cake. Unlike Magnolias, this room was not crowded and the ambiance left something to be desired. Mrs. Mensch opted for the she-crab soup and how could I refuse fried green tomatoes?

I had hardly sipped my cocktail when our appetizers appeared. Mrs. Mensch oohed over the soup. The fried green tomatoes were tasty but not like they had been freshly prepared. The bed of cheddar grits were smooth, creamy and laced with bacon. Even Mrs. Mensch, a died-in-the-wool grits-hater, agreed with me and proceeded to glom some grits off my plate.
(“Grits were” or “grits was” which is correct? Either way it won’t affect the taste.) Before the plates disappeared our bottle of Rodney Strong chardonnay was uncorked. A fine selection.
Entrees appeared and Mrs Mensch had to send back the land portion of her land and sea. The steak was a little too rare for her. The scallop was sweet, a little cool and the outside sear was lacking in definition. The recommended crab cake was Maryland perfect.

I know, I know, chardonnay with steak just doesn’t sound right. However there was a scallop and a crab cake on her plate and I had the cod. Three out of four tilted the odds for white wine. Speaking of cod, it was Atlantic and baked so that the muscles peeled off like so many nickels. There were other mussels on the plate. I embarrassed myself by asking what PEI meant for the mussels. Ah, Prince Edward Island. Who knew? Actually, I did know, but the gray matter could not conjure up the definition.
I was on my fourth mussel when the wayward steak returned cooked to her liking. Now she had two plates of entrees side by side, scallop and crab cake on one and steak on the other.

Neither of us could see the value in adding chocolate to cheesecake and we both chose the lemon cello spongecake with lemon frosting and shaved white chocolate. A great dessert.
My disappointment was in the pacing. It was as if the kitchen knew what we would order, yes, yes, restaurant week menu, prepared it ahead of time and warmed it up to serve. We sat down a little before 6:30 and 7:31 was time stamped on my check. If I had hadn’t lingered to chat with the hostess or explore the other dining areas, I would have been home in time for Final Jeopardy and only paid $2 to park.

82 Queen Charleston Restaurant Week Menu

Ooh La La France in Charleston – Delight with Baguette Magic

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

If you frequent Folly Beach, you have passed this small unimposing bakery just to the left on Folly Road.? It is hidden near a salon, boxing center, barber shop and La Hacienda.? You will notice the blinking open light, but many are unaware of the bakery creations that lie inside.? Baguette Magic offers a unique French Style Bakery experience right in your own backyard.

Their menu is small enough to fit in your wallet and their pricing is very similar to the Euro system where all tax is built in.? They even offer wallet size menus upon arrival so you can plan ahead for the next time.? Let us lay out the menu to help show the simplicity of this establishment.? Baguette Magic will not win you over with complex or fancy, but pure delicious delicacies.? The fresh baked fluffiness is in sight and smell from the first step inside.

They offer five culinary categories:? Bread, Croissant, Sandwiches, beverages (juice, milk, water) and Saturday & Sunday Brunch.? Of course, no meal would be complete without a fine coffee selection.? If you are looking for a traditional cup of drip coffee, keep making your way to Starbucks, for Baguette Magic only serves French Press pour.? It is rich and robust and wakes you like a zesty bar of soap.

Their breads and croissants are authentic French style and this authenticity, makes it a breath of fresh air in James Island.

The interior is small and quaint with a bar top area, a few booths and tables and a staff right in front of you baking away before the sun even rises.

If you are looking to start your morning right, start with a berry or almond croissant.? The soft flaky outside combined with divine fresh ingredients inside will leave your mouth wanting more.? Savor each bite and eat slowly for the taste lingers on.

If you find your way there for lunchtime, you may lean toward a Salmon & Dill Croissant, Prosciutto & Mozzarella with Basil Croissant or their unique offering of Pate de Campagne.

Baguette Magic can cater to one, an adoring couple starting their day before a bridge walk or cater to larger groups.

At $3.00 for a berry or almond croissant, $2.00 for a cup of coffee and $8.00 for a sandwich, the prices are incredibly well within any price range.


If you arrive to a line, don’t fret.? Be patient and enjoy the aromas throughout this small intimate bakery.? The wait will be worth it.

Starting in the fall, Baguette Magic will start to offer homemade desserts to its menu.

The staff truly compliments the food with a kind demeanor and welcoming smile with each visit.

Baguette Magic Website – 792 Folly Road, James Island, SC (843) 471-5941


Monday:??????? Closed

Tuesday: ? ? ?? 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Wednesday:? 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Thursday:???? 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Friday:????????? 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Saturday:???? 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Sunday:?????? 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Charleston Charities / Non-Profit Organizations – Community Pride


Charleston has a rich tradition of community service, volunteerism and charity. Throughout the area, you can see these partnerships everywhere on billboards, businesses, sporting teams and media. It is such a wonder to see this commitment throughout the Lowcountry. Thank you for all that give generously of their time and money. If you want to learn more about ways you can help, here is a full list of charities and non-profits in Charleston County.







  • Family Services, Inc. – North Charleston – services include credit counseling, debt management, homebuyer education, family violence intervention, and bankruptcy counseling
  • Fields to Families – Mount Pleasant – distributing fresh produce to area hunger prevention organizations
  • For the Exceptional – making a difference in the lives of those with disabilities
  • Friends of MUSC Children’s Hospital – raises funds for and enhance community awareness of the exceptional care delivered at MUSC Children’s Hospital






  • KARS Institute – Mt Pleasant – provides training, resources, and opportunities for collaboration for nonprofits, organizations, and individuals





  • Neighbor To Family – North Charleston – places abused and neglected children with their siblings in safe and stable foster homes



  • Palmetto Palace – helps with lodging, transportation, and meals for those in need with a family member in a hospital
  • Pattison’s Academy – Mt. Pleasant – serves children with severe or multiple handicaps
  • People Against Rape – Charleston – assists adult victims of sexual assault in the tri-county area
  • Project Healing Waters – Charleston – dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fly fishing and associated activities including education and outings.


  • Rein & Shine – Awendaw – uses horses to heal children and adults with physical, mental, and emotional limitations
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Charleston – provides a comfortable “home away from home” where families can stay while their child is hospitalized
  • Rotary Club of Charleston – participates in local and global service projects
  • Rural Mission – Johns Island – assists sea-island families, including migrant workers, with health care, crisis intervention, and educational programs



  • Teacher’s Supply Closet – gives teachers in six Title 1 schools supplies for their classrooms and students
  • Tricounty Blue Star Mothers – Goose Creek – supports America’s active troops and veterans
  • Tricounty Family Ministries – North Charleston – provides vital services to the less fortunate in the Tricounty area
  • Trident Literacy Association – North Charleston – increases literacy with instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, English as a Second Language, GED preparation, and basic computer use
  • Trident United Way – programs to address education, financial stability, and health needs in the community


  • US Vet Corps Resources – helps Veterans, first responders, and their families in their transition from active service to civilian life



  • Veterans on Deck – aids Veterans that struggle returning to a civilian society



*Note:? Information provided courtesy of (South Carolina Information Highway)

Business Networking in Charleston – Creating Lasting Partnerships

By Mark A. Leon
By Mark A. Leon

Good day to the wonderful community of Charleston. We would like to begin by thanking each and every one of you for making Charleston, SC an amazing place to live and work.? Being such a warm and engaged community is a reward in and of itself. Our channel of communities will continue to? grow based on the knowledge sharing, partnerships and resource exchange.? As we grow, networking and partnership will be even more critical.

We see local and large businesses working together every day and we want that culture to continue to thrive.

We thought we would provide you with some resource links to bookmark and keep you informed on the evolution of the Lowcountry.? They may also open up some doors of possibility:

These are excellent resources to help you grow and expand your professional network in Charleston. We hope you take some time and find value on these links.

Jack of Cups Delivers on Folly Beach

By Loretta Jophlin
By Loretta Jophlin

After a long day at Folly Beach, I approached Jack of Cups looking for a casual place to cool down. Like your best friend’s high school basement, Jack of Cups Saloon is cool, dark and a little mysterious. Hints of the supernatural present themselves all around and the bar itself is lacquered in tarot cards. There are about 10 seats at the bar, a couple of small tables as well as picnic benches out front. One very talented bartender runs the show.

Classified by some as a wine bar, the wine list is short, but does not disappoint. Unlike many other local bars, where the house wine is the cheapest magnum of turpentine around, the red and white house wines were carefully selected by the staff who sampled several before choosing. At $4 a glass, the price is more than fair. There are about 10 other unique wines by the glass and bottle at modest prices. For the craft beer lover, there is a large menu and for the true beer Spartan, High Life Ponies can be had for $1 every other Monday. Also available are specialty cocktails made from Carolina Clear, created using fresh fruits and herbs.

The food truly shines at Jack of Cups. From the chalkboard menu, to presentation using traditional Indian tableware, to phenomenal taste, my experience was a delight.

All dishes on the small chalkboard menu are $6 and marked with stars signifying the spiciness level. Choosing was difficult, but I finally decided on the red curry mac and cheese and the curried black bean nachos. The mac was good, with a distinct resemblance to the red curry noodle soup available at Taste of Thai. The flavor was a perfect blend of sweet heat and coconut cream. I couldn’t discern much in the way of cheese, but that did not bother me in the least.

The portion was modest and I would have enjoyed a few more bites. The nachos, however, changed my world for the better. Perish the thought of stale bagged yellow corn chips doused in synthetic cheese polymer and embrace this exceptional redefinition of nachos. The dish is perfectly composed of fresh, fried flour tortilla chips surrounding a mound of curried black beans topped with cooling sour cream, fresh salsa and a sprinkle of cilantro. It will be difficult to branch out and order anything else on my next visit because this is such a perfect dish.


Over the course of the evening, the bar filled in, not for drinks, but understandably for food. The service was friendly. The live music that started as I was leaving was a nice touch. Overall, Jack of Cups is a perfect end to a beach day or well worth a trip to Folly in its own right. Jack of Cups Saloon is located at?34 Center St, Folly Beach.