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Our office offers a robust range of chiropractic services near Knightsville, from custom shoe insoles for your feet to adjustments and massages for your back.
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The droves of people moving to the Lowcountry for the low cost of living and plentiful jobs aren’t coming alone.Often those workers have families that include young children who will attend public schools. Of the more than 750,000 people who live in the region, about 22 percent are age 18 or younger, according to the Census Bureau.That growth leaves school systems struggling to keep up as they strive to find funding, space and dozens of teachers to instruct those new students each year.“Right now, we are tryi...
The droves of people moving to the Lowcountry for the low cost of living and plentiful jobs aren’t coming alone.
Often those workers have families that include young children who will attend public schools. Of the more than 750,000 people who live in the region, about 22 percent are age 18 or younger, according to the Census Bureau.
That growth leaves school systems struggling to keep up as they strive to find funding, space and dozens of teachers to instruct those new students each year.
“Right now, we are trying to basically take inventory of what we have, and trying to find different ways to deal with the growth,” said Berkeley County Senior Associate Superintendent Deon Jackson.
In many cases, districts’ annual growth is enough to fill a new school.
This year, for instance, Berkeley planned for 800 new students, but 1,400 came.
“And Volvo hasn’t moved the first car off of their plant yet,” Jackson said of the carmaker that plans to bring 4,000 new jobs to the county and will roll out its first S60 sedan later this year. “At this rate, there is no doubt in our minds that yes, we are going to need additional schools at some point.”
Dorchester, on the other hand, got an unexpected break this year. After more than a decade of 400 to 1,000 additional students per year, only 149 new students enrolled in that district this year. Officials had planned for 600.
Predictably, the schools near new development are the most overcrowded.
Cane Bay elementary and middle schools near bustling Carnes Crossroads are currently under the biggest strain in Berkeley, and the Philip Simmons schools off Clements Ferry Road are expected to feel a pinch in coming years.
Dorchester 2’s crush is in the Knightsville area on the district’s northeast side, where Reeves Elementary and DuBose Middle share a campus.
“We have a lot of development coming that could impact those schools,” said Dorchester 2 Chief Financial Officer Allyson Duke.
Lack of funding
But those new houses don’t contribute to school districts’ operating budgets.
State law, Act 388, limits the kind of taxes a school district can levy, including a prohibition on taxing homeowner-occupied residential properties for operating expenses.
“They build all these houses, but we don’t benefit from the property taxes from them,” Duke said.
Property tax bills reflect an amount for the school operating budget that is then deducted as a credit.
“There’s still confusion,” Duke said. “A lot of people do not realize that they’re not paying school operating taxes. They see it on their tax bill and don’t look and see that school tax credit at the bottom.”
Funding for capital needs like new buildings or maintaining existing ones has to come from somewhere else, often special obligation bonds.
“What we are trying to do is make sure that we’re utilizing everything that we have to the fullest extent before we start building additional schools,” Jackson said.
Charleston County, which is also growing by about 1,000 students annually, funds its building program through a 1 percent sales tax. The district expects to collect $575 million to fund new school buildings and renovations through the tax, first approved in 2010 and renewed in 2014.
But Berkeley and Dorchester 2 have both turned to homeowners. In 2012, those districts floated “Yes 4 Schools” campaigns with an eye toward easing some of the overcrowding that existed then.
At the time, they said several schools housed hundreds more students than they could comfortably hold and students were being taught in trailers, work rooms and libraries.
Seventy percent of voters in Berkeley approved the ballot measure to fund a $198 million building program that added four new elementary schools and a high school, while Dorchester 2’s $179.9 million campaign to add three elementary schools and a magnet middle school of the arts passed by a 60-40 margin.
The measures added $102 on a $150,000 owner-occupied house in Dorchester County for 20 years. In Berkeley, homeowners paid $60 more on a $150,000 house the first three years, and are now paying $120 annually until 2023, when it goes back to $60 for another decade.
“The referendum was definitely a success,” Duke said. “If we didn’t have these new schools, I don’t know what we would have done.”
End of Yes 4 Schools
Both Berkeley and Dorchester 2 will see the end of their building campaigns this year. In August, Berkeley plans to open Bowens Corner and Foxbank elementary schools, and Dorchester 2 students will move into the new Rollings Middle School of the Arts.
The extra seats have helped some but not enough, officials said.
“We need more schools, that’s all there is to it,” said Duke.
In the 5½ years since the referendums were approved, Berkeley has grown by about 5,000 students to 35,192 this year. Dorchester has gone from 23,245 to 26,240.
“We’ve completed that building program, and the growth is still coming,” Jackson said. “We’ve made our adjustments; however, it’s still not sufficient. When you have a 900-student school opening up at 750 students, it doesn’t leave you much room, not the way that Berkeley County is growing.”
The county is outpacing even the aggressive predictions of a 2015 study by Clemson’s Strom Thurmond Institute that forecast the student population could skyrocket to 55,000 by 2035. That study called for 20 new schools in 20 years.
But aware that taxpayers are still putting money into the 2012 program, officials are doing everything they can to maximize space.
“We are not so certain that a referendum is the only solution,” Jackson said. “We’re working with the county government and working with our Legislature to figure out what’s the best way for Berkeley County to deal with the situation we have.”
The trailers the districts removed from schools a few years ago are now being added back. At DuBose, for instance, six additional units will be added to the 18 already there for next school year.
Dorchester is not yet talking about redrawing attendance lines — always a hot topic — but Berkeley is.
“Where do you move them? To a less overcrowded school?” said District 2 spokeswoman Pat Raynor.
Officials at both districts said they have a commitment not to increase class size, which can be a detriment to learning for students and a stress for teachers.
“Talk to just about any teacher, and they would rather have lower class sizes,” Duke said. “That’s probably more important to most of them than pay, really.”
Berkeley is looking at some unconventional ways to increase capacity, such as using a “college model” of office space or shared spaces in jam-packed high schools instead of assigning teachers to classrooms. That allows each class to be used every class period, in theory increasing capacity by 25 percent.
“We’re trying to use every resource that we have to the fullest before doing something that’s going to cause us to borrow more money,” Jackson said.
Although they aren’t ruling out future referendums, both are aware that they may not get taxpayer support.
“We’re taking a collaborative approach because we are coming out of a building program that drew a lot of attention,” Jackson said. “We are definitely cognizant of that.”
Opposition to Berkeley’s referendum led to a State Law Enforcement Division investigation and guilty pleas on ethics charges from former Superintendent Rodney Thompson and Communcations Director Amy Kovach.
In addition, in the aftermath of the investigation, authorities uncovered a scheme by former Chief Financial Officer Brantley Thomas to embezzle nearly $1 million from the district and shuffle money between accounts to cover up construction cost overruns of about $7.2 million.
Dorchester 2 was also sued over its referendum. In March 2017, Summerville lawyer Mike Rose filed a lawsuit claiming that the district broke state law and its own rules during the building campaign, leading to cost overruns, delays in opening new schools and shoddy work. That lawsuit is ongoing.
By Casey L. Taylor, JDTucked away near Summerville, SC – the place known as “Flowertown, USA” – is a sanctuary dedicated to gibbons (small apes). It’s a jungle-like wonderland that has lifesaving at the core of its mission.The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) sanctuary is a secret to many locals. It is situated on over 40 acres of land surrounded by lush woods. Neighbors are lucky enough to hear the songs and great calls of these interesting primates throughout the da...
By Casey L. Taylor, JD
Tucked away near Summerville, SC – the place known as “Flowertown, USA” – is a sanctuary dedicated to gibbons (small apes). It’s a jungle-like wonderland that has lifesaving at the core of its mission.
The International Primate Protection League (IPPL) sanctuary is a secret to many locals. It is situated on over 40 acres of land surrounded by lush woods. Neighbors are lucky enough to hear the songs and great calls of these interesting primates throughout the day and night.
The sanctuary is home to 36 gibbons, the smallest of the apes, who have been rescued or retired from laboratories, deplorable “roadside” attractions, or the pet trade. IPPL provides lifetime care to these incredible endangered species and works to educate the community on the plight of gibbons in the wild.
The gibbon residents at the sanctuary have indoor night houses that are hurricane-grade, expansive outdoor habitats, and aerial walkways that give them the choice to safely move about their designated areas as they wish. It is important to the organization that each sanctuary resident is given as much freedom of choice as possible in a captive environment, while keeping them safe. Despite most residents having a rough start to their lives, they thrive at IPPL. They even have some residents nearing the age of 60!
IPPL is a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving the world’s remaining primates, great and small. For the last 45 years, IPPL has made a global impact by securing an export ban on primates from Thailand (saving thousands and thousands of lives) and working with over 20 reputable primate rescue and rehabilitation centers in Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America.
IPPL not only supports their efforts to care for native primates who have been rescued and are in need of rehabilitation or lifetime care, but also to thwart poachers and illegal wildlife traffickers, as well as educate local villages and communities on how they can help be part of the solution in preserving native populations of primates.
Small Team, Big Impact
With a small but mighty team of animal caregivers, maintenance technicians, office staff, and dog nannies, IPPL provides compassionate lifetime care for every resident, which includes nutritious and delicious fresh produce three times a day for the gibbons, as well as veterinary care and enrichment — to stimulate those intelligent minds of theirs!
Forms of enrichment vary from food puzzles that the gibbon must figure out in order to get their healthy treats, to special time with their favorite caregiver. Bubble-blowing is a big hit with some of the gibbons. Tong, who was one of the first four original residents at the sanctuary, loves a good foot rub — what girl doesn’t?
Absolutely nothing beats a life in the wild, but for these residents that is sadly not a reality. The team at IPPL feels that the least they can do is make the rest of these individuals’ lives the happiest and healthiest they can be. From residents used in invasive human vaccination studies and locomotion tests, to those kept in less-than-favorable conditions, IPPL’s sanctuary is a safe and loving place for them to thrive and to live as gibbons should.
Casey L. Taylor, JD is the Executive Director of IPPL.
MORE ABOUT IPPL
The sanctuary is not open to the public as an attraction, but it holds educational events in the community and offers options to visit during special times. Sign up to receive their e-newsletters on their website (www.ippl.org) and be the first to know about opportunities and events.
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A petition to repeal South Carolina's Heritage Act now has more than 6,000 signatures.The Heritage Act requires a 2/3 majority vote in the South Carolina state house to make any changes to "local or state monument, marker, memorial, school, or street erected or named in honor of the Confederacy or the Civil Ri...
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — A petition to repeal South Carolina's Heritage Act now has more than 6,000 signatures.
The Heritage Act requires a 2/3 majority vote in the South Carolina state house to make any changes to "local or state monument, marker, memorial, school, or street erected or named in honor of the Confederacy or the Civil Rights Movement."
"It’s a constant reminder of the segregationist’s past," said Stefan Koester, a College of Charleston graduate who believes Lowcountry monuments honoring the Confederacy should be removed. "There’s a lot to be proud of in South Carolina, and I don’t think memorializing people like John C. Calhoun or any sort elements of segregationist and pro slavery past is appropriate."
"Just empower local entities within South Carolina, including schools, to make their own decision independently about these issues," added Helen Knight, who is also working to circulate the petition. She said local municipalities should be able to decide how to handle Confederate monuments for themselves.
The John C. Calhoun statue in downtown Charleston is not on public property. The statue is in Marion Square, which is owned by a group called the Washington Light Infantry.
ABC News 4's Brodie Hart spoke with Carl Bettman, who identified himself as the chairman of the board for the Washington Light Infantry. Bettman confirmed the group plans to meet on Monday, but would not confirm they plan to discuss removal of the statue.
"He saw all my ancestors as property," said State Representative Wendell Gilliard of John C. Calhoun. Gilliard said he plans to meet with the Washington Light Infantry to discuss removal of the statue.
"It can come down. I’m very optimistic about it," Gilliard said. He said he does not support repealing the Heritage Act in its entirety. He plans to submit a resolution that will repeal the 2/3 threshold required by the law.
"Now, the young people are in a position now they want to continue on with all this energy to help restore faith in our government and our system," Gilliard said.
"I’m over symbolic gestures," added State Representative Marvin Pendarvis. He supports appealing the Heritage Act, but said it won't be enough.
"We also need to talk about how we fund schools, how black schools and black children school systems are underfunded," Pendarvis said. "We need to be talking about affordable housing, health disparity that’s prevalent in African American communities, the wage gap, miscarriage of justice in law enforcement."
Pendarvis added that "symbolism in isolation does nothing for the advancement of black people in this county if we don't address the root causes of injustice".
"I am a supporter of the Heritage Act and do not think it should be repealed," said State Senator Larry Grooms. Grooms calls slavery an ugly part of America's history, but says removing monuments and street names won't change the past.
"We have those memorials, we have those street names, those things happened at a particular point in our history. We can’t unwrite it so we shouldn’t try," Grooms said.
State Senator Sandy Senn said she also supports the Heritage Act, but said it's mostly because she supports the 2/3 majority required for such changes.
At the very least, Helen Knight wants Confederate monuments not to be celebrated.
"Just having that real ability to control your own experience around these memorial monuments landmarks will be game changing," she said.
You can sign the petition to repeal the Heritage Act here.
(Reuters) - Baker Donelson is continuing its expansion in the Carolinas by opening a Charleston, South Carolina office, the firm said Monday.The Southeast U.S. regional law firm opened an office in Raleigh, North Carolina, in October and has had a Columbia, South Carolina office since 2016. It hired lawyers away from Womble Bond Dickinson and Parker Poe for its new Charleston office.The move comes in a busy year for legal markets across the Carolinas. Greenberg Traurig ...
(Reuters) - Baker Donelson is continuing its expansion in the Carolinas by opening a Charleston, South Carolina office, the firm said Monday.
The Southeast U.S. regional law firm opened an office in Raleigh, North Carolina, in October and has had a Columbia, South Carolina office since 2016. It hired lawyers away from Womble Bond Dickinson and Parker Poe for its new Charleston office.
The move comes in a busy year for legal markets across the Carolinas. Greenberg Traurig said in April that it hired a Winston & Strawn partner to open a Charlotte office. Another Florida-founded global firm, Holland & Knight, expanded its Charlotte office in June with five private equity partners from Moore & Van Allen. Dallas-based Haynes and Boone also expanded in Charlotte with the addition of three lawyers in October.
Milwaukee-based law firm Michael Best & Friedrich said in January that it acquired the 23-lawyer Forrest Firm, adding offices in Asheville, Charlotte, Durham, Greensboro, Grenville, Wilmington and Winston-Salem.
The founding shareholders in Baker Donelson's new Charleston office are health law attorneys Alissa Fleming and Catherine Wrenn, who joined from Womble, and corporate attorney Ashley Cooper and employment attorney Jennifer Dunlap, who joined from Parker Poe.
A representative from Womble did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Kristen Leis, chief marketing and business development officer at Parker Poe, said the number of attorneys at the firm grew 38% over the last three years and it is "unequivocally" looking to grow in Charleston.
Mark Carlson, Baker Donelson's chief growth officer, said the firm is working to create full service offices in its Carolinas locations.
"We have missed out on opportunities in North and South Carolina because we haven't had enough boots on the ground," he said.
(NOTE: This update includes a correction in a reference to a 38% percent increase in partner head count at Parker Poe to reflect that the increase includes all attorneys.)
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Listen to this articleJason Tucker reports that business is booming at the boîte known as La Cuisine du Chevalier, or La Chev, by the locals. The 40-seat restaurant, which translates to “the knight’s kitchen,” garnered rave reviews by online contributors when it opened in November at the former soup restaurant called Ladles in the Shoppes of Summerville.It only recently held a grand opening celebration.Tucker, who has lived in Summerville for the past 16 years, is no stranger to the restaurant bus...
Listen to this article
Jason Tucker reports that business is booming at the boîte known as La Cuisine du Chevalier, or La Chev, by the locals. The 40-seat restaurant, which translates to “the knight’s kitchen,” garnered rave reviews by online contributors when it opened in November at the former soup restaurant called Ladles in the Shoppes of Summerville.
It only recently held a grand opening celebration.
Tucker, who has lived in Summerville for the past 16 years, is no stranger to the restaurant business.
“My background is extremely diverse and it started back when I was 15-years’ old scooping ice cream in Central Pennsylvania,” he said.
Related content: Charleston rooftop bar, restaurant to renovate, rebrand
Over the years, Tucker has worked in numerous restaurants, from chains like Buffalo Wild Wings, Cracker Barrel and the Hilton, to groups like Charleston Hospitality and more. After bartending his way through college in Virginia, the hard-working transplant accepted a management position from his employer, which took him to Summerville, where he has been ever since.
The father of two boys is also the operating partner at Wine & Tapas in Summerville and was buoyed by the popularity of the business. This inspired him to open a new restaurant, this time with a French flair.
“They call the area the French Quarter, but it lacked a French-themed restaurant, which never made sense to me, especially with the growth we are seeing in this area,” he said.
Tucker said that La Chev was designed to evoke the feeling of walking down the Champs-Élysées.
“It’s a cute café that’s quaint and all about the food and wine,” he said.
It doesn’t hurt that Tucker worked in the wine distribution business and is well-versed on what’s exceptional. He said that his goal is to bring people in by rivaling the quality that a customer would get in downtown Charleston.
“It’s all about the ingredients and there’s a lot of precision and thought that goes into each of our dishes,” he said, adding that chef de cuisine Jonathan DuPriest, who grew up in Knightsville, is Johnson and Wales-trained.
When it comes to dishes, Tucker said that the most popular lunch items that they serve are the French Dip and the shrimp and grits.
“A lot of people judge the quality of the restaurant by their shrimp and grits,” he said.
As for dinner, Tucker offers quite a few specials, ranging from steak dishes, to surf and turf, scallops, crabcakes, and salmon.
“Everyone says that it’s the best salmon served in the Atlantic Coastal area,” Tucker said.
For now, La Chev is taking reservations, except for the bar and outside area, so last-minute plans to dine can be accommodated if guests don’t mind sitting in either area.
Tucker also recently announced that they will be open on Sundays for brunch.
“We’re currently working on the menu which we will implement sometime around the end of July,” he said.
Kurry Seymour was a Ladles customer who was wowed by his first visit.
“This place brings a refreshing vibe to the Knightsville area and I am impressed by the décor, which was converted into a very fine, but very cozy dining experience,” he said.
Reviews like this are music to Tucker’s ears.
“I never thought I’d be in a situation where I’d be running two separate restaurants, but I love the feeling one gets when someone is happy with an experience. Making moments special is the best feeling in the world and having the opportunity to have someone really love what you’re doing, well, it doesn’t get any better than that,” he said, with a smile.
Stefanie Kalina-Metzger is a contributing writer for SC Biz News.