Space and STEM showcased at JB Charleston Air and Space Expo

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JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. (AFNS) — Since the 1957 launch of Sputnik, a Russian satellite, Americans have been challenged to step up and become leaders in science, technology, engineering and math — collectively known as STEM. Over the years, there has been a trend in the push for STEM education to younger generations. Recognizing this, Air Mobility Command prioritizes the creation of partnerships with local and public schools to provide insight into the Air Force while enhancing educational experiences.

In conjunction with several partners, Joint Base Charleston showcased both STEM and space through various booths and interactive exhibits at the 2018 Air and Space Expo. Some of the booths included robotics demonstrations, electricity exhibits, moon rock samples and more.

“As military members we practice STEM every single day and most people don’t know that,” said Master Sgt. Kelly Anderson, 628th Communications Squadron superintendent of plans, programs and resources. “The goal was to educate people about STEM and hopefully spark an interest in some of the careers it has to offer. Most people don’t start their freshman year of high school knowing what they want to pursue. They usually reach that point after going through many twists and turns to build that experience moving forward, so hopefully we were able to be one of those twists and turns that helps them decide what they want to do, especially if it’s STEM related.”

STEM education integrates concepts usually taught as separate subjects in different classes and emphasizes the application of knowledge to real-life situations. A lesson in a STEM class is typically based around finding a solution to a real world problem and tends to emphasize project-based learning.

“Space is the next frontier for exploration,” said Cassandra Runyon, College of Charleston associate professor. “Similar to Christopher Columbus sailing America, we’re going out to space and learning more about the environment and weather systems every day. We’re working with the military using STEM routinely to understand the planets and other worlds through a crossover of technologies between NASA and the military.”

Another variation of STEM is STEAM, which includes an added ‘a’ for art. Artistic design is becoming an important part of STEM education because creativity is an essential part of innovation.

“Without STEM we wouldn’t be able to explore space,” Runyon said. “We need each aspect of STEM as well as the materials it provides to create lighter aircraft, better drones, smaller instruments and more. Space is really exciting and inspiring to me because it is unknown and brings up so many questions. I think events like this are really beneficial for kids because they get to see what we accomplish through STEM and hopefully it excites them to consider working in one of our career fields.”

More than 2,000 students from 23 different schools attended and participated in the activities.

“I think this was an awesome opportunity to not only engage the students with the military but also with STEM and space as a whole,” said Megan Wickline, Marrington Middle School of the Arts teacher. “The kids understand the concept of space and what STEM is but they don’t understand all the intricate details that go into actually putting something into the air. Each of the students visiting expressed an interest in STEM-related careers through their career surveys, so I think the hands-on experience was a great way to show them what they could potentially be doing ten years down the road.”

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GALLERY: Arts in the Park Comes to Hampton Park

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Charleston County Park and Hampton Park are proud to unveil four artistic creations from Georgia-based artist Joseph Dreher in Hampton Park.? These colorful wood and transparent cast acrylic pieces are now up and adding beautiful culture and added color to the beautiful surroundings of Hampton Park.

Details – First Art in the Parks Installation Displayed at Hampton Park

Come with us on a virtual walk through the park to see the new art display.



Cotton Fields (Southern Love Story) – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

Every day I think of you
Every night the same dream
A world with you by my side
In your eyes, I see your faith reflect into my soul

Sitting on the swing under the warm Southern sky
Spelling our names in pine cones with cotton fields not far behind

Remember me as I remember you
Never forgetting that Southern love, that first love, that first moment

This beautiful misery of seeing you for the last time
A perfection of God’s creation
Cherish in 8MM in the forefront of my mind

Behind the cotton fields
Under the pale moonlight
I held you close until the end of time
Time shortened faster than I could catch my breath

The slide show in my mind so clean
Lips as smooth as a glass of Southern moonshine
Love as deep as the Lowcountry marshlands
Promises as safe as my heart on a line

A tragic flaw in our perfection
A hurricane to wipe away our beachfront sunrise
A time lost, but not forgotten

Cotton fields
White as the innocence in your eyes
Pure as the affection your shared
Soft as the skin I miss holding so tight
A woman, crisp as the morning air
A mother, protector of the gift of life

I look around now and all I see are reminders of what might be
To walk in those cotton fields again
A dream, a wish, a sacred vow said in silence in the darkened night

You can’t always get as Jagger said
But are you the one I need….

Review: Midtown Productions “Broadway Bound” is a heartwarming look at family, ambition and the comedic twists of life

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By Mark A. Leon

Midtown Productions, “Broadway Bound” written by Neil Simon and adapted to the Lowcountry live stage by director Sheri Grace Wenger and technical director Ryan C. Ahlert is a story filled with warmth, ambition, love, infidelity, and the zany insanity we all come to know as family.

A strong play is culminated by the combined forces of a compelling story, well-developed characters, complex plot twists, relatability and emotion, but most of all, an exceptional cast bonded by the passionate commitment to embody their characters.? This is one Charleston area play that stands on a solid foundation of highly entertaining quality because of a prominent cast who have brought to life this Brighton Beach family whose intertwining lives lead the audience up and down a roller coaster ride worthy of Coney Island.

Narrated by Eugene Jerome, played with endearing charm by Justin Borak, the story centers around three generations of Jerome’s, living under the same roof, all facing major life decisions.

Ben Epstein is in the twilight of his life struggling to give up all he has known to leave New York behind, Kate and Jack are coming to grips with the loss of love after 33 years or marriage and Eugene and Stanley are two brothers on the cusp of writing their way into stardom.? Over the course of two hours, the audience will witness a series of transformations, leading to some massive life changes, but in the end, family, good and bad, do provide a haven of understanding, loyalty and hope.

Michael Okas and Justin Borak, as Stanley and Eugene Jerome, have tremendous chemistry on stage together.? Stanley, the uptight business minded brother and Eugene, the comedic, heart on his sleeve, slightly sarcastic, starry-eyed romantic brother.? Together, you feel as if you were watching the early evolution of Neil Simon’s “Odd Couple” characters being developed right before your very eyes.? Together, Michael and Justin fed off each other’s personalities and nuances to create memorable comedic scenes.

During one scene, that lasted several additional seconds due to extended audience laughter, Stanley is screaming into his mirror reaffirming confidence in himself.? As he turned back to his brother, you can sense both actors ready to burst into an unscripted explosion of laughter, yet they both held it in.? This was a moment that reinforced the commitment to character and the chemistry shared by this fine cast.

Bill “Terry” Terranova, played Ben Epstein, the father to Blanche and Kate and grandfather to Stanley and Eugene.? Bill provided a dry sense of humor and truly talented sense of comedic timing.? His lines and dated generational outlook on life were just the right mix to bring balance to a family that was fueled by emotion.? During several moments of the production, as his sat on the couch or dining room table, his character resembled the stoic, scarred and damaged heroism of Dustin Hoffman’s Willy Loman (Death of a Salesman).? With a pan face, aged, but still firm prominence, Bill brings to life a character that shows he still has so much to offer.

Ben Epstein was a man raised in a generation taught to refrain from emotion, but years of repression cut down by a family fueled by emotion, have broken the walls and exposed a sign of penetrating love and acceptance.? During several scenes, in his own traditional way, he gave reassurance and provided a level of prominence that he once knew as a younger man.? Bill truly brought to life a complex and well-designed character.

Michael Catangay plays Jack, husband to Kate and father to Eugene and Stanley.? We learn early on that Jack has a moment of infidelity, but, as the story evolves, we learn there is so much more complexity to the story.

We are all faced with moral indecision in life, some are black and white, but most are filled with layers of grey.? Jack’s situation, though not morally sound to most did have a silver lining and that sub-plot provided an essential element to the story line.? Michael took on this serious role with poise and heart.? He put his character out of a limb for a great unknown and put in a beautiful performance given the challenging nature of the role.

Kate Jerome, perhaps had the most difficult of all the characters was played wonderfully by Lynda Harvey-Carter.? As a mother watching her two sons become successful having their eyes on the big city, witnessing her mother leaving for Florida and dealing with a husband who is not only cheating, but has fallen out of love for her, Lynda brought an unconditional blend of love and sadness to the stage.? Late in the production, Eugene describes his mother as someone who never had ambition to do anything with her life.? Maybe he was right or maybe he never saw through the unspoken ambitions deep in her eyes.

In perhaps one of the most powerful scenes in the play, Eugene asks his mother to tell the story of when she danced with George Raft.? As she recollects the story and the two of them reenact the dance, you see a glow in Kate’s eyes that has been missing for years.

“Broadway Bound” is a reflection of all of us.? Neil Simon has taken to heart the phrase, “Life imitates art” in every level of his writing.? He wrote about himself and his family, but he also wrote about each of us.? As I watched this production, I saw scenes from my own life come back in a haunting, yet soothing way.

This is a night you will remember.? Go and see “Broadway Bound”

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Photo Credit:? Midtown Productions

Review: “Lowcountry Revolutionaries! America’s First Freedom Fighters” is a reminder to preserve our Charleston history

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By Mark A. Leon

The United States built a foundation on an inherent lie, noted in the Declaration of Independence,We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

All men are indeed not created equal, nor are women and children.? We are a collective pot of unique thoughts, ideas, talents, backgrounds and beliefs.? We are born with the gift of life which comes with it, free will.

No evidence more evident than the stories of the original freedom fighters, Colonel William Rhett, Captain Henry Felder, Rebecca Brewton Motte, John Laurens, John Featherston, Emily Geiger, Peter Harris, Francis Marion and Mary Tenor.? You may not know all these individuals by name, but their contributions collectively led to the privileges we all enjoy today.

Nine individuals of such differing backgrounds with one common thread, the passion to pursue to rights of all individuals to live under a free sky.

Lowcountry Revolutionaries! America’s First Freedom Fighters is a reminder of the culture and values that Charleston and the South are built upon.? As we look around and see the modern development and explosion of real estate and hotels, we are forced to reflect on a time that was and a time that will be.? Charleston is losing its roots and this play, in a way, is a new fight for the values and retention of the history that has made Charleston the Jewel of the South.? In 1760, lives were sacrificed for freedom.? Today, we must honor them and preserve what we have built.

Over the course of this 70 minute, one act play, our senses are awakened by storytellers of the past; narrative ghost stories of ordinary men and women that risked their lives in preservation of a principle.

The time-period is 1760-1783, blacks, whites, Indians, women, men and children all lived on the same land, each with their own individual struggles of change and survival.? Somehow, so many came together to raise their hands and weapons to the tyranny of the British rule.? It was a time of compromise, risk and sacrifice.? Some survived, some perished, but freedom was attained.

This is a poignant series of stories that pulls the audience in from the very opening monologue and musical accord.? With each character taking center stage, the rest of the cast surrounded the theater, cheering, singing and reiterating the words of these powerful stories while Tracy Bush, founder & director of Taiko Charleston, created the sounds of the times from unnerving anticipation to gun shots in the distance.? The echo in the room and surround sound effect created a setting of almost being alive in that era.

Individual Performances

David Perez, played John Featherston, a Navy man.? David, himself a 10-year veteran of the Air Force, serving 5 tours in Afghanistan and around the world, brought a powerful presence and respect to the stage with the embodiment of a man who fought 230 years ago as told through the vocals of a soldier who fights for our freedoms today.

Dante Rollerson as Peter Harris, a Catawba Indian, who fought with the Patriots was a performance ripe with unadulterated emotion.? He strength on stage and personal struggles his character made in the decision to fight for his land showed so clearly in his eyes and storytelling prowess.

Chris Weatherhead and Clarence Felder, whose relationship has spanned many decades from coast to coast and keeps getting stronger with each passing day, acted beautifully together.? Their affections could be seen from the back of the room and outlined so well that life was difficult during this period, but perseverance and love are powerful tools in overcoming adversity.

Robbin Knight, carried his film performance of John Laurens forward to the live stage recalling his personal journey to end slavery, 80 years before his time.? Until several Red Coat bullets would take his life, he never gave up on his commitment to create a land where all men and women have the same opportunities to be free.

In the Lowcountry, there are some roles you do not take lightly, and Francis Marion, Swamp Fox, is one of them. Michael Easler, brought a frailty and intimacy to his performance.? As the older, worn down version of the great tactical leader, Mr. Easler told very personal accounts as he limped across the stage.? It was a different man that we see on the statues or in the old paintings.? It was a man that understood his mortality and the men he lost along the way.? He came to grips with the sacrifices he made and was ready to share his story with all of us.

Myra Jones (Emily Geiger) and Michelle Warren (Mary Tenor) were superb in each of their own respective ways.? Myra brought an Irish accent so real to life and a candid portrayal of life as a woman, you felt comfort and empathy.? Michelle brought strength to her monologue.? With a powerful voice and a jovial laugh, she left it all on the stage, just the way her character who have done herself.

Our future is only as safe as about ability to remember and learn from the past.? Lowcountry Revolutionaries is an educational, entertaining and important look at our past as told by seven characters, with very personal accounts of a time when fighting for freedom was all they knew.

Their touching recollections remind us that we can’t lose sight or take advantage of what we have.? No matter what, we must remember those that helped light the fire of freedom.

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The Humanity of Networking

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By Mark A. Leon

A few years ago, I was asked to represent my company as a speaker in San Francisco for Hirepalooza. ?It was an honor to be asked to represent my company’s brand and image, but who would say no to speaking at a conference call Hirepalooza?

The few days I spent there speaking, listening and most importantly engaging, reminded me of the essence of recruitment. ?From the resumes stored in file cabinets to Chrome Extensions allowing you to track down any human being, one element has remained over the years, the human relationship.

I went out there thinking everyone wanted to work for a start-up, work 100 hours a week for three to five years and then drive off into the sunset with their Tesla and big bag of money. ?It turns out my stereotype was shattered. ?What I did find were many intelligent young students and professionals that are struggling with the same concerns we all have about careers and the future.

During the conclusion of day one, I was sitting with two academic students during the post seminar networking event and I asked them both, “What Makes You Great”. ?They both laughed and shrugged their heads. ?Neither had an answer. ?I continued saying that we are all filled with greatness. ?It is a pool of passion, courage, risk and determination. ?It is the combination of those energy sources that takes your from mediocrity to greatness. ?Once you find your own personal inner greatness, you can’t ever not succeed in life.

I continued for several more conversations with these students even after I returned to the East Coast providing some level of counseling and advice.

This past Friday, I spoke with David, a UC Berkeley junior I also engaged with during this event. ??This most recent conversation was a result of an email he sent me earlier expressing how discouraged he was with networking and the lack of connection. ?Before I even said hello, I told David he was far too young to be this cynical and that life will get more and more challenging with the shift toward digital connections and away from human relationships.

This led into an hour and twenty minute candid discussion of which the entire time I was reminded of what an important connection I had made.

David is at least twenty years my junior, but I can learn as much from him about life than anyone else in my inner circle. ?He is wise beyond his years and sees the world from a new digital perspective. ?He was raised on the mobile phone, apps, computers and gaming. ?I think Wiffle Ball, tag and running bases are foreign terms to him.


He sees the present from an immediacy perspective. ?I see it from a watch the sunset and lay under the stars ideology. ?He sees responsiveness as immediate based on sound bite approaches. ?I see calculated responses based on research and understanding.

Still, we talked and talked and talked. ?At the end of the conversation, he had to go pack for a trip to Oregon where he and some friends were going to be in the great outdoors without wifi for a few days. ?It was a fitting reminder of what a life can be when you connect to all the elements and turn off the technology mechanism.

I live in a world with 9500 LinkedIn connections, 2800 Facebook Friends, 12,000 Twitter Followers, 24,000 Instagram Followers, 2900 Pinterest Followers and 5 close friends.? We are more focused on our personal brand, than who we are as a person.? I’m sure that sounds familiar to many.

I still believe in a common truth that human connection will always be the key to personal happiness. ?I believed that when I chased my brother around the block on my bike when I was 10 years old and I believe that today.

David is that living breathing evidence of a connection I made in 2015 that remains strong today. ??He sought me out for advice on careers and I learned a little about life.

At the end of the day, a tiny piece of electronics will make our lives easier, but human emotion will make it fulfilled.

World Finance Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening – James Island – April 27, 2018

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James Island, SC — World Finance Corporation, one of the largest small-loan consumer finance companies in North America will hold a grand opening on April 27, 2018 to unveil their new location. The event will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a ribbon cutting at 915 Folly Road, Suite 1, Charleston, SC 29412. The public is invited to attend this grand opening and attendees may also enjoy prizes, food and a live radio broadcast.
Visit World Finance Loans and Taxes at 915 Folly Road, Suite 1, Charleston, SC 29412 Mondays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturdays 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. For more information call (843) 406-8646 or visit

Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina Named 5th Most Expensive Beach Town in America

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Coastal Living along with have named its 10 most expensive beach towns in the United States for 2018.? The Lowcountry is proud to say that one of our beaches has made the top 10 in this years survey.

Coming in at #5 is Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina with a median home price of $2.45 Million.

The towns making the top 10 include:

  • #10 – Anna Maria, Florida – Median Home Price:? $1.4 Million
  • #9 – Avalon, New Jersey – Median Home Price:? $1.46 Million
  • #8 – Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts – Median Home Price:? $1.5 Million
  • #7 – Key Biscayne, Florida – Median Home Price:? $1.7 Million
  • #6 – Haleiwa, Hawaii – Median Home Price:? $1.88 Million
  • #5 – Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina – Median Home Price:? $2.45 Million
  • #4 – Nantucket, Massachusetts – Median Home Price:? $3.00 Million
  • #3 -Manhattan Beach, California – Median Home Price: 3.1 Million
  • #2 – Water Mill, New York – Median Home Price:? $3.75 Million
  • #1 – Malibu, California – Median Home Price:? 3.95 Million

Complete Listing and Summary – Coastal Living

Looking for Monthly Garage Parking in Charleston? Palmetto Parking May Have You Covered

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  • 65 Hasell Street?(#001) Behind Fig Restaurant – A) $250/month – 24/7 parking? OR? B) $200/month – Monday – Friday – FULL
  • 14 Cumberland Street?(#004) $50/month – 2nd/3rd Floors of parking garage
    After 5pm M-F and All day Sat. & Sun. ONLY – Spaces Available
  • 9 Washington Street (#025) $165/month – Behind Domino’s – FULL
  • 200 Meeting Street?(#155) $190/month – One block north of the Market – FULL
  • Oliver’s Court?(#068) $125/month Corner of Cannon & Rutledge – 1 Space Left
  • 62 Gadsden Street?(#080) $150/month – Near MUSC parking deck (NO OVERSIZED VEHICLES E.G. TRUCKS OR VANS) – FULL
  • 69 Wentworth St?(#150) $190/month – Across from Renaissance Hotel – FULL
  • 55 Pitt Street (#119) $165/month – Mon-Fri ONLY Corner of Pitt & Calhoun – FULL
  • 33 Woolfe St (#121) $140/month – off of Upper King Street across from The Village Playhouse (Mon-Fri 6am – 6pm only) – Spaces Available
  • 159 Rutledge Ave (#122)? $ 165/month? Near MUSC campus, next to Rutledge Tower RESERVED PARKING (Compact Cars Only) – FULL
  • 194 Cannon St (#097) $125/month – Behind Bruegger’s Bagels – FULL
  • 46 & 48 John St (#128) $165/month – near corner of King & John Streets
    Mon – Fri 6am – 6pm – FULL
  • 8 Society Street (#144) $165/month -Corner of Washington & Society – FULL
  • 73 Washington St (#147) $150/month – Corner of Washington & Charlotte Streets – Spaces Available
  • 141 Meeting St (#161) $225/month (M-F 6a-6p) Former SCE&G bldg – FULL
  • 9 Morris St (#104) $190/month – Between King & St Philip St next to Morris Brown AME Church – FULL
  • 84 Reid St (#162)? $175/month – Just off King St between Woolfe & Reid – Spaces Available
  • 44 Nassau St (#166) $100/month – Just one block off Meeting St at the corner of Woolfe & Amhurst Streets?? MON. – SAT. ONLY? – Spaces Available
  • 29 & 31 Coming St (#170) $190/month – Between Wentworth & George Streets just
    1 block from the C of C campus – FULL
  • 82 Mary St (#173)? $175/month? Just off King St. (old Hughes Lumber) 3 Spaces Left
  • 21 Magazine St (#174) $165/month-2 blocks off King, close to Broad St – Spaces Available
  • 158 Spring St (#178) $125/month Near President Street, Close to MUSC – FULL
  • 10 Beaufain St (#177) $225/month? Between King and St. Philips Streets? – FULL
  • Cool Blow Street (#176) $75/month? Corner of Meeting & Cool Blow Streets – Spaces Available
  • 502 King Street (#180) $140/month Behind Bluesteins Mon-Fri 5am – 6pm – 1 Space Left
  • 106 Coming Street (#034) $190/month Just 1 block from CofC campus 1 Space Left
  • 96 President Street (#043) $140/month Corner of Cannon & President Streets, 2 blocks from MUSC and Roper Hospital – FULL

Last Updated April 9, 2018

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Charleston-North Charleston Community Profile – New key statistics on population, race, growth and employment

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The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce has released a new report (April 20, 2018) showing how Charleston-North Charleston fair against the rest of South Carolina and the nation.? Here are some key statistics in education, demographics, growth and employment.

Complete Study and Findings Report

Employers by Size of Company (Number of employees)

Unemployment Rates

Age Range of Current Residents

Population by Race

Population by Gender

Population Growth

Top Employers


Highest Academic Achievement

Academic Institutions