DHEC Launches New COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line, Increases Call Center Staff to Nearly 300 as Vaccine Demand Increases

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — In response to overwhelming call volume to the Care Line, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has added a new phone information line to answer questions about COVID-19 vaccines and to help support people searching for vaccine provider information.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line: 1-866-365-8110

The new vaccine information line launches today with 240 phone operators and is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. People who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines or who need help finding vaccine providers and their contact information are asked to call the DHEC COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line.

“Many in South Carolina don’t have access to the internet, so offering a dedicated vaccine phone line to help them locate contact information for vaccine providers is essential,” said Nick Davidson, DHEC Deputy of Public Health. “This new line helps DHEC offer better customer service that keeps pace with people’s demand for vaccine and vaccine information.”

Care Line: 1-855-472-3432

DHEC’s Care Line has also increased the number of its operators from 30 to 48 and is actively training additional staff. The Care Line maintains the same hours of operations at the vaccine information line, easily remembered as 7-7-7: available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

The Care Line assists people with general questions about COVID-19, testing, or who need to schedule an appointment at a DHEC health department for SC STRONG appointments, family planning, well-child check-ups, WIC services, HIV/STD screening, and other health department services.

“By offering two well-staffed information lines, we’re reducing wait times and improving people’s experience by quickly getting the help they need,” Davidson said. “In the next several weeks, we’ll be adding an additional 200 operators to the vaccine information line. We are encouraged by the number of people who want to be vaccinated in South Carolina. Until our vaccine supply equals our demand, we ask for everyone’s continued patience. Everyone will have a chance to get the vaccine.”

Safe and effective vaccines and following public health guidance are how to win the fight against COVID-19. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, go to scdhec.gov/vaxfacts. For the latest information about COVID-19, go to scdhec.gov/COVID19

South Carolina Public Health Officials Detect State’s First Known Case of the COVID-19 Variant Originally Detected in United Kingdom

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today the detection of one case associated with the SARS-CoV-2 variant that first emerged in the United Kingdom.

Viruses are constantly changing, and the new versions are called variants. Variants are closely monitored for their ability to spread faster or cause more disease. South Carolina public health officials were notified late Friday by MAKO Medical Laboratory of a South Carolina sample that was determined to be the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom.

Experts agree that existing vaccines work to protect us from this variant, even if we don’t know just how effective they are. At this time, there’s no conclusive evidence to prove that the B.1.1.7 variant causes more severe illness.

“The arrival of the second SARS-CoV-2 variant in our state is a yet another important reminder to all South Carolinians that the fight against this deadly virus is far from over,” said Dr. Brannon Traxler, DHEC Interim Public Health Director. “While more COVID-19 vaccines are on the way, supplies are still very limited. We must all remain dedicated to the fight by doing the right things to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”

The case, an adult from the Lowcountry region, has an international travel history. To protect their privacy, no further information will be released.

The B.1.1.7 variant has been identified in many countries and in 30 states with 434 total cases having been reported in the US as of 7 p.m. Friday. Earlier this week, DHEC announced that two cases of a variant first discovered in South Africa had been reported in South Carolina. Both variants first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa spread easier and quicker than most SARS-CoV-2 variants.

The three significant variants being spread in the world currently, originally from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil, emerged independently from each other and have different characteristics. Most variants do not change how the virus behaves and many disappear.

“We know that viruses mutate to live and live to mutate,” Dr. Traxler said. “That’s why it’s critical that we vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible and each of us do our part by wearing a mask, staying six feet apart, avoiding crowds, washing our hands, getting tested often, and when it’s our time, getting vaccinated. Science tells us that these actions work to prevent the spread of the virus, no matter the strain.”

DHEC, in coordination with the CDC, will continue to watch out for COVID-19 variants. Public health officials will provide more information as it becomes available.

Safe and effective vaccines and following public health guidance are how to win the fight against COVID-19. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine go to scdhec.gov/vaxfacts. For the latest information about COVID-19, go to scdhec.gov/COVID19.

3D illustration of virus / coronavirus / bacteria close-up

9 clever coronavirus parody Videos to help lighten the stress levels

The pandemic has made us all a little more creative. Some good and some bad, but we found 9 videos that should the fun and hopeful side of the pandemic. If we can’t make fun of a serious situation, when can we?


The Social Distance – Parody of “Sounds of Silence”

(Covid-19 Wasn’t) Born In The U.S.A. (Coronavirus Parody Song) – Bruce Springsteen Cover

Hello (from the Inside) An Adele Parody by Chris Mann

Coronavirus Rhapsody (based on Bohemian Rhapsody) – Covid19

OUTKAST PARODY Hey-Ya “Ro-Na” (Coronavirus Edition)

Come On Vaccine – “Come On Eileen” Parody

Do Re Mi – Covid-19 version

Covid No. 19 (The Quarantine Song) – ‘Mambo No. 5’ Parody

Bonus: Mash and the Coronavirus

Lowcountry Land Trust Hosts 10-Day Online Auction Fundraiser ?- February 11-21

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For the Love of the Lowcountry auction offers unique experiences for nature lovers

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Nature lovers, hunters and conservationists can bid on Lowcountry experiences and products as part of the For the Love of the Lowcountry Auction benefiting Lowcountry Land Trust. 

The online auction opens at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11 and runs through 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21. All proceeds from the auction support Lowcountry Land Trust’s work preserving vital Lowcountry lands and waterways. Lowcountry Land Trust has protected more than 147,000 acres across 14 counties in South Carolina.

Featured auction items include: 

  • An English-style pheasant shoot at Fife Plantation in Jasper County. 
  • A custom 14″ x 11″ canvas in oil dog portrait with framing. 
  • Fly fishing casting instruction for four with John and Caroline Irwin of Fly Right Charters.
  • A guided duck hunt for four with an overnight stay at Midway Plantation, a protected property in Cordesville.
  • An afternoon and morning guided deer hunt for two with overnight accommodations in Dorchester County.
  • Sustainable forestry tour and clays shoot for four at Bailey Mill Tree Farm in Ridgeland. Forestry industry professionals Jim and Pam Porter will give a two-hour tour of 3,200 acres of American Tree Farm Certified land followed by lunch and a short sporting clays shoot on the property.

Place bids on items or purchase items immediately for a set price. Review and bid on auction items online at www.32auctions.com/lowcountrylandtrust.

“Even though we haven’t been able to host in-person events for the last several months, the need to protect our precious land and waterways doesn’t stop for a pandemic,” said Ashley Demosthenes, president and CEO of Lowcountry Land Trust. “We are happy to offer this online auction as a way for those who care deeply about the Lowcountry to support our work. Plus, there are some truly incredible experiences up for bid.”  

About Lowcountry Land Trust 

Founded in 1986, the Lowcountry Land Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to honor the relationship between people and land by protecting irreplaceable Lowcountry lands and treasured places. Lowcountry Land Trust has protected over 147,000 acres across 14 counties in South Carolina. More information about the Lowcountry Land Trust is available at www.lowcountrylandtrust.org

Charleston- Area Nonprofits Receive Record Donations

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charitable giving grew by nearly 8% during the third quarter of 2020 over 2019 according to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2020 Third Quarter Report, which is administered by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The amount raised on Giving Tuesday (December 1, 2020) was 25% higher than it was in 2019. The Winkler Group, a nonprofit consulting firm based in Charleston, South Carolina, predicts these trends will continue in 2021 based on their work with both local and national nonprofit clients.

Factors that are motivating major donors: the stimulus bill recently passed by Congress and the desire to move forward post-pandemic. With the stimulus bill, donors can elect to deduct up to 100% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) limit for cash contributions—this was increased from 60%. This applies to contributions made in 2020, but the Winkler Group expects to see similar incentives in 2021.

Over the past year, record stock market gains have inflated the value of many potential donors’ stock portfolios. These donors are motivated to avoid paying taxes by giving appreciated stock to charities instead.

“From the beginning, we predicted that donors would be generous in response to the crisis, but we were not prepared for the levels of generosity we have witnessed,” said Tim Winkler, founder and CEO of the Winkler Group. “We fully expect to see the trend of transformational gifts continue well into  2021.”

HALOS, a nonprofit organization based in Charleston that serves family members and friends raising children in an effort to keep them out of foster care, received nearly $130,000 from one donor in the last few months of 2020. “We received multiple smaller gifts then one large gift from a donor who doesn’t want recognition. This donor was simply compelled by our communication and wanted to help,” said Jennifer Richard, director of philanthropy, HALOS. “We were able to give specific examples of how donations were making an impact, and then we received a transformational six-figure gift. Our clients are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic—they are facing eviction and food insecurity– and by sharing stories of how their lives were changed through generosity, this donor stepped up in an extremely impactful way.”

Winkler Group research has found that large gifts have crossed sectors, from higher education to community service organizations, not only to front-line organizations fighting the impacts of COVID-19. Donors are giving because they are exhausted by the pandemic, a term called pandemic fatigue. Donors are looking toward the future and donating to ensure the causes they care deeply about thrive post-pandemic. 

For Dorchester Paws, the largest animal shelter in Dorchester County, a donor recently stepped forward with a $500,000 gift to help build a new shelter. “It was such a significant gift,” said Maddie Moore, director of the shelter. “Our staff veterinarian cried when she heard about it. This gift will have a profound impact on the sustainability of our shelter.”

These gifts were made to organizations and institutions that kept fundraising throughout the pandemic. Winkler Group studies revealed that these gifts underscore the importance of regular donor communication and more cultivation than solicitation.

Read more research from Winkler Group and download free fundraising resources, such as “Four Benchmarks that Will Predict Your Campaign’s Success in 2021.”

About Winkler Group

Founded in 2004, the Winkler Group is national nonprofit consulting firm headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, with offices in North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The firm specializes in working with nonprofits to develop the strategies to raise more money with capital campaigns and strategic planning. With a hands-on, servant leadership model, Winkler Group works to strengthen the philanthropic health of organizations so they can spend time focusing on their mission. Visit winklergroup.com or call (843) 849-6256 for more information.

Both HALOS and Dorchester Paws are clients of Winkler Group.

Gatsby Lives: A Roaring ’20s Speakeasy Takeover Comes to Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails? (Mount Pleasant, SC)

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Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails will turn into Mt. Pleasant’s top-secret Speakeasy with traditional cocktails, decor, and more
Shhh…Handcraft’s Speakeasy Takeover is almost here! Starting Monday, February 1st, party all month long like Gatsby and experience what it was like to live in the 20s with traditional cocktails, classic music, old-time movies, and decor that transforms Handcraft into a Prohibition Era hideaway.?

Like traditional speakeasies, Handcraft’s entrance will be disguised as the Handcraft Arcade where guests can relax, play a few games, and gear up for a fun night ahead before *secretly* slipping through to the speakeasy!
For the whole month of February, guests will enjoy classic cocktails with a Handcraft twist, like The Daiquiri with overproof rum, pineapple rum, allspice dram, lime; Mexican Fire Water with smoked tequila, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, lime, cherry drizzle; The Beekeeper with lavender gin, lavender honey, lemon, bee pollen; Putting on the ‘Razz with gin, lemon, raspberry cordial, champagne, dry vermouth; and more!?
Handcraft encourages guests to dress in their finest Gatsby-like attire, round up their friends, and head into the best-kept-secret this town has to offer!?

For more information about the Speakeasy Takeover at Handcraft Kitchen & Cocktails and to make a reservation, visit?HandcraftMTP.com/speakeasy, or follow us on?Facebook?and?Instagram.

The Charleston Restaurant Foundation Cancels Lowcountry Oyster Festival

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (January 29, 2021) – The Charleston Restaurant Foundation (CRF) has announced the cancellation of the 2021 Lowcountry Oyster Festival due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. After initially postponing in December, the CRF board has decided to instead focus on the 2022 event.

“The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, and the community have always been the number one priority of the Foundation,” says Jonathan Kish, president of the Charleston Restaurant Foundation. “Although we have been diligently working to modify the event with appropriate safety precautions, we believe that canceling is the safest decision at this time. We appreciate the community’s continued support of this charity event, and we look forward to next year’s festival.”

All remaining ticket holders will be notified by the ticket company and provided a full refund.

The Conversation – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

Like the beating of my heart, the words have flowed

A lifetime of conversation we have shared

Often sad

Sometimes blessed with love

Days of melancholy; nights of bliss

In the late night talks

And the heartfelt letters

In the calling to the road and the homecoming of warm tears


Been down on my knees and touched the angels in the clouds

I’ve let it all out to you

Never held back the words as I continue to whisper to you


Seen the world and shared every moment with you

In the cabins, cities, mountains and oceans

Under a bright orange sky and cleaned by the powdering of the rain


I’ve shared it all with you


Together we stand

Fewer than better

A little older, little wiser

More profound this mystery

Awakened in meditation as the answers unravel

Each memory a new clue to a puzzle in flux


Let’s have another drink and keep this conversation going

In the songs, the poems, the confessions, we have witnessed it all

These words have lit the darkness

A profoundness of strength these vocal weapons have gifted


I love the conversation

The conversation with you

Valentines Event for Couples – Alcohol Art Ink and Drink at Indigo Reef Brewing – Wednesday, February 10, 2021

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  • When: Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 7 PM EST – 8:30 PM EST
  • Where: Indigo Reef Brewing Company – 2079 Wambaw Creek Unit #1, Charleston, SC 29492
  • Click Here to Tickets

Enjoy a special Valentine’s Event with your loved one at Indigo Reef Brewing! Spend a night creating 2 beer pint glasses and 2 ceramic beer coasters with this beautiful and unique technique using alcohol inks!

All supplies included so come and enjoy a fun night filled with creativity, amazing beer and delicious food!

Pre-registration is required.