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Great Scots!

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Highland games celebrate S.C. Celtic culture

FEBRUARY 2018

SC RECIPE

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2018 | feb

THE MAGAZINE FOR COOPERATIVE MEMBERS VOLUME 72 • NUMBER 2 (ISSN 0047-486X, USPS 316-240) Read in more than 584,000 homes and businesses and published monthly except in December by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina, Inc. 808 Knox Abbott Drive Cayce, SC 29033

16 Great Scots!

Tel:  (803) 926-3 1 75 Fax:  (803) 796-6064 Email: letters@scliving.coop

Highland games celebrate South Carolina’s Celtic culture and history.

EDITOR

Keith Phillips Tel: (803) 739-3040 Email: Keith.Phillips@ecsc.org

4 CO-OP NEWS

Updates from your cooperative

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Diane Veto Parham

6 AGENDA

FIELD EDITOR

Cooperatives across the nation are experimenting with microgrids to enhance power infrastructure. Plus: The true stories of enslaved Africans come to life at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site.

Walter Allread PUBLICATION COORDINATOR

Travis Ward ART DIRECTOR

Sharri Harris Wolfgang DESIGNER

Susan Collins PRODUCTION

Andrew Chapman WEB EDITOR

Chase Toler COPY EDITOR

L. Kim Welborn CONTRIBUTORS

Jayne Cannon, Mike Couick, Tim Hanson, Hastings Hensel, Jan A. Igoe, L.A. Jackson, Patrick Keegan, Kaley Lockwood, Sydney Patterson, Belinda Smith-Sullivan, Brad Thiessen PUBLISHER

Lou Green

10 DIALOGUE Finding the best deal for consumers As state lawmakers sort out what happens next with Santee Cooper, S.C. electric cooperatives will continue to work to deliver the best result for our members. 12 ENERGY Q&A How smart should your new thermostat be? Whether you control it by Wi-Fi or walk over and turn a dial, your thermostat is a powerful tool for saving energy.

14 SMART CHOICE Move up to the majors

ADVERTISING

Get things done in the kitchen and laundry room with hightech major appliances that do their jobs and a lot more.

Mary Watts Tel: (803) 739-5074 Email: ads@scliving.coop American MainStreet Publications Tel:  (800) 626-1181

21 STORIES Defying gravity

Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. If you encounter a difficulty with an advertisement, inform the Editor.

22

NATIONAL REPRESENTATION

Greenville native Sandi Morris sets her sights high as a world‑class track-and-field athlete.

ADDRESS CHANGES: Please send to your

Periodicals postage paid at Columbia, S.C., and additional mailing offices.

SCENE

The fast and the furry South Carolina dogs (and their owners) leap into flyball, the nation’s fastest-growing canine-agility sport.

local co-op. Postmaster: Send Form 3579 to Address Change, c/o the address above.

26

The need for speed

of South Carolina, Inc. No portion of South Carolina Living may be reproduced without permission of the Editor.

Indoor karting offers racing thrills—and a way to settle friendly rivalries—on a budget.

is brought to you by your member-owned, taxpaying, not-for-profit electric cooperative to inform you about your cooperative, wise energy use and the faces and places that identify the Palmetto State. Electric cooperatives are South Carolina’s — and America’s — largest utility network.

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

30

22

TRAVELS

© COPYRIGHT 2018. The Electric Cooperatives

RECIPE

For chocolate lovers Indulge your passion for chocolate with four new recipes from Chef Belinda.

32

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Relish the radish Get an early start on the garden season with colorful, cold‑tolerant radishes you can plant this month.

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MARKETPLACE CALENDAR

Great Scots!

HUMOR ME

Highland games celebrate S.C. Celtic culture

When bettas get blue If you thought scientists had better things to do than study the emotional well-being of fish, you’d be wrong. PHOTOS, FRO M TO P: M IC SM ITH; J EFF SM ITH; K A REN H ERM A N N

SC RECIPE FEBRUARY 2018

ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTIONS:

16

Who wants chocolate? SC SCE NE

Release the hounds

Berkeley Electric Cooperative member Shane Sutherland competes in the weight-throw competition at the 2017 Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering. Photo by Mic Smith.


SC | agenda The power of microgrids THE AMERICAN POWER GRID

is often hailed as one of the greatest engineering feats of all time, but there’s always

room for improvement. Utilizing new technology, including battery-storage systems, electric cooperatives across

Mainland

How microgrids work

Island

The electricity grid is like the mainland, where energy is generated at a central power plant and sent to where it’s needed. A microgrid is like an island—although it is connected to the traditional grid, it can function on its own and power a concentrated area during blackouts, storms and other disasters.

On the mainland 1 MAIN POWER GENERATOR

5 INDEPENDENT GENERATION

Power is generated at a baseload plant. In daily use, microgrids can help reduce peak demand on the main grid.

When needed, the microgrid can generate its own electricity from traditional power sources, such as generators, and alternative sources, such as solar farms.

2 SUBSTATION

A substation is the intermediary between the power plant and the consumer.

On the island 3 STORMS

When storms and disasters cause large-scale outages on the main grid, microgrids keep the power on to the local community. 4 MAIN COUPLING SWITCH

6 CRITICAL SERVICES

A microgrid is usually built to power critical community resources like hospitals, police and fire departments, and schools so that they can function in emergencies. 7 HOMES

Individual homes may be linked to the microgrid, but are usually low on the priority list. 8 BUSINESSES

This is where the main grid and Key commercial properties may be microgrid connect or disconnect. linked to the microgrid depending On a normal day, the coupling on the needs of the community. switch ensures that voltage levels SOURCE: AMERICAN PUBLIC remain equal between the systems. POWER ASSOCIATION

6

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

the nation are experimenting with microgrids as a way to improve service to members. Microgrids are smallscale energy networks best described as mini versions of utility power systems. These smaller networks incorporate additional ways to generate electricity, and they can connect or disconnect from the main grid as needed. In emergencies, these local networks can “island off” from the main power system and operate entirely on their own. A microgrid’s local electricity sources and load-­management systems then work together to provide backup power to critical infrastructure, such as hospitals and water-treatment facilities, while also giving affected communities the ability to quickly recover after a storm. The hurricanes and tropical storms of 2017 demonstrated the value of microgrids. In Houston, where flooding created by Hurricane Harvey left hundreds of thousands without power, a number of supermarkets in the affected area were able to stay open, thanks to electricity from a natural gas-powered microgrid. Hurricane Sandy, which hit the northeastern U.S. in 2012 and left 8.5 million people without power, was a ­catalyst for the construction of 35 new microgrids, according to greentechmedia.com. These grids currently make up 33 percent of the 2,045-­megawatt ­capacity of all microgrids in the United States. Developments in battery

In emergencies, these local networks can ‘island off’ from the main power system and operate entirely on their own. storage have also spurred ­interest in microgrids for dayto-day energy management. Effective ­energy-storage systems give co-ops the option to capture electricity when generation costs are low and ­distribute it when generation costs are high. This is the operating principle behind North Carolina’s first grid-connected microgrid—a partnership of the state’s G&T cooperative, North Carolina EMC, and the local distribution ­cooperative, Tideland EMC—serving Ocracoke Island. This system is connected to the main grid and includes a diesel generator, battery storage and photovoltaic solar panels. When the microgrid is hooked up to the main power system, the ­batteries charge during periods of low demand, like in the early hours of the day, and discharge during periods of peak demand, or when everyone gets home from work and starts cooking dinner. As technology advances and costs decline, microgrids will continue to evolve as another tool electric cooperatives can use to provide safe, reliable and affordable power to members. —KALEY LOCKWOOD


ONLY ON SCLiving.coop Chocolate silk

TURNING UP THE HEAT Winter storm creates record demand for electricity

If you’ve felt the frustration of trying to melt chocolate only to end up with messy clumps, let Chef Belinda show you the path to silky-smooth chocolate perfection at SCLiving.coop/food/ chefbelinda.

M I LTO N M O RRIS

Anyone who’s sweltered through a South Carolina summer may be surprised to learn that our state’s demand for electricity peaks in the winter months, not the dog days of August. January 2018 was no exception. When a massive cold front swept across the Palmetto State, dumping three to five inches of snow along much of the coast, it spurred a new record for peak demand as co-op members turned up the heat in their homes and businesses.

4,470 megawatts Peak statewide demand for electricity by S.C. co-op members on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018—a new all-time high

36 F / 21 F High and low temperatures recorded in Charleston that day, according to accuweather.com. The historic average temperatures for the city on Jan. 2 are 57 F/43 F.

3 4,460 megawatts Peak statewide demand for electricity by S.C. co-op members on Feb. 2, 2015, the date of the previous record

200 Average number of homes that can be energized by 1 megawatt under normal conditions

GONE FISHIN’ The Vektor Fish & Game Forecast provides feeding and migration times. Major periods can bracket the peak by an hour. Minor peaks, ½ hour before and after. Minor

PM Major

FEBRUARY 15 7:01 16 7:16 17 7:31 18 8:01 19 8:16 20 2:31 21 3:01 22 3:46 23 2:01 24 8:16 25 9:31 26 10:16 27 11:01 28 11:31

12:01 12:31 12:46 1:16 1:46 8:46 9:16 9:46 10:46 3:31 4:16 5:01 5:31 6:01

Minor

AM Major

Minor

PM Major

MARCH 12:16 5:31 12:46 6:16 1:31 7:01 7:46 2:01 8:31 2:46 9:46 3:31 11:31 4:31 — 5:46 — 7:16 12:31 8:31 2:01 9:31 3:16 10:31 4:16 11:16 5:01 11:46

1 — 6:31 12:01 5:46 2 7:01 12:31 12:46 6:31 3 7:31 1:01 1:16 7:16 4 7:46 1:31 8:01 2:01 5 8:16 2:01 9:01 2:46 6 2:31 8:31 10:01 3:31 7 2:46 8:46 — 4:31 8 12:01 9:16 — 5:46 9 — 9:46 — 7:16 10 11:01 4:31 — 8:31 11 9:46 4:31 1:16 9:16 12 10:16 4:46 2:46 10:01 13 10:31 5:16 3:31 10:31 14 11:01 5:31 4:16 11:01 15 11:31 5:46 5:01 11:31 16 — 6:01 12:01 5:46

Two lucky winners !

Celebrate Valentine’s Day by entering our Reader Reply Travel Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of two $100 Visa gift cards. We’ll draw the names of two lucky readers from all eligible entries received by Feb. 28. Register today at SCLiving.coop/reader-reply.

Buckle up! See what indoor karting is like as we take a lap around the new track at LeMans Karting in Duncan. For this video— and racing tips to help you take the checkered flag—see the article “The need for speed” at SCLiving.coop/travel.

KEITH PH I LLI P S

SOURCE: CENTRAL ELECTRIC POWER COOPERATIVE

AM Major

Shortly after winning a silver medal in the 2016 Summer Olympics, Greenville native Sandi Morris became the second woman in the history of pole vaulting to clear 5 meters outdoors. Visit the Featured Videos section of SCLiving.coop to watch her defy gravity.

Who loves you, baby?

Inches of snow that accumulated in the Holy City, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Minor

Up and over

Like us on Facebook If you love South Carolina, follow South Carolina Living on Facebook, where we celebrate all that’s great about the Palmetto State. Add your voice to the conversation and share your photos at facebook.com/SouthCarolinaLiving.

Consider insulating your hot-water pipes. Doing so can reduce heat loss, allow you to lower the temperature setting and save an additional 3 to 4 percent per year on water heating. SOURCE: ENERGY.GOV

SCLIVING.COOP  | FEBRUARY 2018  |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

7


|

SC   agenda HIGHLIGHTS FEBRUARY 15—MARCH 15

SOUTHEASTERN WILDLIFE EXPOSITION FEBRUARY 16–18

Collies that herd sheep and ducks are new at the expo in 2018, but they won’t be the only critters on display. Get up close to raptors, reptiles, amphibians, alligators, bobcats and DockDogs at Charleston’s annual ­celebration of wildlife, sporting and art. Animal rides, an exotic petting zoo, cooking demos, and naturethemed artworks are also in the mix.

THE SOUL OF PHILANTHROPY OPENS FEBRUARY 10

(843) 723-1748; sewe.com

HILTON HEAD ISLAND SEAFOOD FESTIVAL FEBRUARY 19–25

(803) 799-9084; tsopcola.org

SE

AF

OO

D F EST I VA

L

Dive into Saturday’s main event at Historic Honey Horn Plantation for fresh seafood, crab races, family fun, local artisans and live music. If you have a taste for more, the week-long festival offers on-the-water excursions to learn shrimping, clamming and more from the pros, a James Beard Foundation dinner featuring celebrity chefs, a pig pickin’ and oyster roast, and a waterfront seafood brunch.

What does African-American philanthropy look like? “Giving Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited” is a multimedia exhibit that showcases the stories of centuries of black philanthropists whose giving transformed lives and communities. Based on a book by Charlotte author Valaida Fullwood, the exhibit debuts in South Carolina at Richland Library’s main branch in Columbia following its nationwide tour.

(843) 384-6410; hiltonheadseafoodfestival.com

H I LT

ON

H

D EA

IS

LA

N

D

AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE DAY FEBRUARY 24

M IC SM ITH

During the day, real stories of enslaved Africans come to life at Hampton Plantation State Historic Site in McClellanville as historical interpreters, including Joseph McGill (pictured) of the Slave Dwelling Project, share stories of plantation life and the role of African Americans in the Civil War. A gospel choir from nearby Howard AME Church, founded by freed slaves, will perform. That night, a first-time, overnight event offers added perspective for 35 guests who can reserve space to camp on site behind the plantation’s old kitchen house. (843) 546-9361; southcarolinaparks.com/hampton

JOYE IN AIKEN MARCH 9–16

Joyfully celebrating a decade of bringing hundreds of world-class ­musicians, actors and dancers into local performance venues, Aiken marks the 10th anniversary of this arts festival with a lineup including Grammy Award-winning organist Paul Jacobs (pictured) of The Juilliard School and the unconventional strings trio Time for Three, known for its genre-­bending mix of classical, country, gypsy, jazz and hip-hop. joyeinaiken.com

8

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

For more happenings this month, turn to our Calendar on page 36, and see the expanded Festivals & Events roundup on SCLiving.coop.


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SCLIVING.COOP  | FEBRUARY 2018  |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

9


|

SC   dialogue

Finding the best deal for consumers YOU MAY HAVE READ ABOUT SCE&G CUSTOMERS

MIKE COUICK

President and CEO, The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina

10

want­­ing refunds of the money they paid toward construction of two abandoned nuclear generating units. Electric cooperative members want their money back, too, but that’s harder to accomplish. The cooperatives, together, are a super customer of Santee Cooper. Co-ops purchase about 60 percent of the energy—the kilowatt-hours—that Santee Cooper produces. But, unlike you at your home, the co-ops don’t pay a simple rate per kilowatt-hour of energy. In fact, our contract requires that we pay about 70 percent of Santee Cooper’s costs of building those nuclear units. Roughly $8.9 billion has been spent on the two unfinished nuclear units. Santee Cooper owns 45 percent of the project. Since co-ops pay 70 percent of Santee Cooper’s construction costs, co-ops are obligated to pay about $2.7 billion for assets that will be unproductive. SCE&G customers may seek refunds from the company’s stockholders, but Santee Cooper doesn’t have stockholders. While it’s an asset of the State of South Carolina, it receives money from only two groups of people: its ratepayers and its ­bondholders. Ratepayers are the people who buy electricity from Santee Cooper, either directly or indirectly. That group includes cooperatives. It’s important to shift the burden of these unproduc­tive plants away from ratepayers as much as possible. Bondholders are people who bought bonds that provide financial capital for Santee Cooper to use. Bondholders—many of whom are South Carolina citizens—could be a source to lighten the load on ratepayers. To get bondholders to take less than what they’re contractually owed could hurt the state’s credit reputation. It is a risky proposition, and it is hard to quantify how much benefit is on the other side of that risk. We hope there’s a better way. If electric cooperatives get the S.C. General Assembly to help, we may be able to get you value for your $2.7 billion investment in the failed project without the risk of defaulting on bonds. The first part of this plan involves a payment made to Santee Cooper by the parent company

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

of the bankrupt contractor for the nuclear units. Because co-ops have been responsible for 70 per­ cent of Santee Cooper’s construction costs, co-op members are due their share of the payment. The legislature can help by establishing rules governing how co-op members benefit from this payment. The second part of this plan involves a significant transformation of state-owned Santee Cooper. This transformation could take several forms. How to transform it is not an easy decision to make. Some politicians have floated the idea of selling Santee Cooper. That’s a decision only the legislature can make. And, for now, electric cooperatives, collectively, do not have a position on whether “to sell or not to sell” Santee Cooper. In fact, there are several choices available to legislators. They could sell the utility outright, sell some of the assets, or keep Santee Cooper and reorganize it. The best—and maybe the only—way to know how best to transform Santee Cooper is to test the market. To get a helpful test, the legislature will need to set up a formal process. They’re going to have to decide what might be sold. Then, they’ll have to take serious proposals, examine the terms and see what’s best for consumers. That’s where we are now. Without transformation of Santee Cooper, either through a sale or reorganization, its cost of power could get out of sync with other power providers, making it harder for co-op members to make ends meet and for cooperatives to facilitate ­economic development. We’re asking legislators to pull together a formal process to force shoppers to get serious and put their best offers on the table. Let’s see what’s best for consumers—today and in the future—related to rates. Until there is good information on which to make a decision, co-ops won’t have a position on selling or not selling Santee Cooper. But, co-ops do have this position: Our job is to get our members the very best deal we can get going forward. We owe you nothing less.


EMPOWERING VISION With our low-cost, reliable electricity and choice industrial sites, Santee Cooper is working with the South Carolina Power Team to help new businesses picture a better future – and to power South Carolina toward Brighter Tomorrows, Today.

www.scpowerteam.com • www.santeecooper.com


|

SC   energy Q&A

How smart should your new thermostat be? BY PATRICK KEEGAN AND BRAD THIESSEN

Q

Our home has an old dial thermostat, but there seem to be a lot of fancier thermostats these days. Are the pricier, techfocused options worth the cost?

A

Today, many thermostats can do things thermostats of the past simply could not do. It’s certainly worth asking if these new thermostats can save enough money to justify their cost. Let’s look at the three main options for thermostats: manual, programmable and smart. The main benefits of a manual thermostat like yours are that it’s simple to operate and there are no batteries to replace. You just have to remember to raise and lower the temperature setting whenever you leave the house. The second option is the programmable thermostat. Typically, this type of thermostat allows settings for different periods each day. Some models can handle a different schedule for each day of the week. You control the settings to suit your climate, schedule and temperature preferences. And, you can easily override your program settings anytime. The third option is a smart, or “learning,” thermostat. A smart thermostat connects to your home’s Wi-Fi network. After installation, you input the basics of your schedule and temperature preferences. Over time, as you change settings, it learns your schedule and adjusts to minimize energy use. A smart thermostat can even detect when no one is home. You can also control it remotely with an app on your smartphone or tablet. If your electric co-op has a demand-­ response program that offers discounts for using less power during peak energyuse hours, a smart thermostat can provide additional savings on your power bill. The move to smart technology is a significant investment. Units can cost 12

Smart thermostats learn from your behavior to maximize energy savings.

A programmable thermostat is only effective if it is programmed correctly.

Whatever style you choose, remember there are ways you can use your thermostat more efficiently. up to $400, although some models start around $170. It’s important to note not all homes have the proper wiring to accommodate smart thermostats, so you may need to hire a professional to handle the installation. So, are newer, more expensive thermostats worth the extra cost? How much money a thermostat can save depends on how much you spend on heating and cooling your house. You can estimate your heating and cooling expenses by examining your utility bills related to heating your home. Compare bills for winter and summer to those for spring and fall. Most of the difference is likely due to heating and cooling. If that amount is more than $900 per year, which is the national average, you have a better chance of a good return on your investment in a smart thermostat. The second factor that will determine how much you can save is how you are operating your current thermostat. If you

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

A manual thermostat is still a good option for people willing and able to adjust it to their regular schedules.

are conscientious about adjusting the temperature to save energy when you’re leaving the house or going to bed, a programmable or smart thermostat may not reduce your bills that much. Whatever you choose, remember there are ways you can use your thermostat more efficiently: XXDon’t adjust the thermostat temperature drastically in the hope of heating or cooling your home more quickly. XXFor the greatest savings during winter, keep the temperature at or below 68 F while you are home during the day and cooler during the night. During summer, keep the temperature at or above 78 F while you are home. XXYou can save up to 10 percent off your heating and cooling bills by turning back your thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours a day. XXThe thermostat is just one piece of the energy-efficiency puzzle. You might save more by adding insulation or sealing air leaks. A professional energy audit is the best way to identify your home’s energy weaknesses. As you consider options, don’t forget to look to your electric co-op’s website for advice, ratings and possible rebates. Send questions to Energy Q&A, South Carolina Living, 808 Knox Abbott Drive, Cayce, SC 29033, email energyqa@scliving.coop or fax (803) 739-3041.


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SC   smart choice

Move up to the majors Appliances seem to get smarter every year. These major appliances do their jobs and so much more.  BY JAYNE CANNON

JET-POWERED

Dishwashers are big ­timesavers— but not if you have to wash off every speck of food before you load the dishes. The GE Monogram Dishwasher comes to the rescue with 140 jets delivering a deeper clean. A third rack just for ­silverware gives you more space below for large pieces. $2,000. (866) 626‑2000; geappliances.com.

DOUBLE DUTY

Every cook has been there— one dish cooks at 350 degrees; another needs a 425-degree oven. End the juggling with the Samsung Flex Duo Range. It’s a single oven that turns into a double oven when you need one, so you can serve your dishes piping hot at the same time. $2,777. (800) 726‑7864; samsung.com.

THINK SMALL

Don’t you hate to fire up the washer for just a couple of items? With the LG Sidekick, you can stop feeling guilty about tiny loads or washing a few delicate items. The Sidekick is a pedestal that operates as its own mini-washer and serves as a base for a full-size LG front-loader. $657. (888) 237‑8289; bestbuy.com.

SPEEDY SUPPER

Get dinner on the table in a flash with a Panasonic Countertop Oven & Indoor Grill with Induction Technology. This oven grills, broils, bakes, toasts and cooks one-pan meals using double-infrared and induction technology. Preprogrammed settings help you select just the right cooking mode for tonight’s feast. $399. (888) 280‑4331; amazon.com.

14

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

KEEP YOUR COOL

Oh, those fridge peepers. They stand there, refrigerator wide open, cold air escaping, while they examine the options for the perfect snack. You can retrain them with an LG InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerator. They just knock twice on the glass panel to see what’s inside without ever cracking open a door. $4,500. (800) 243‑0000; lg.com.


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Not available in all states. In NY, during the first two years, 110% of premiums will be paid. Website unavailable for NY residents. EASY WAY Whole Life Insurance is underwritten by United of Omaha Life Insurance Company, Omaha, NE 68175, which is licensed nationwide except NY. Life insurance policies issued in NY are underwritten by Companion Life Insurance Company, Hauppauge, NY 11788. Each company is responsible for its own financial and contractual obligations. *Age eligibility and benefits may vary by state. **In FL policy is renewable until age 121. AFN44167_0113


Great PLAY IT LOUD AND PROUD Pipe bands from across the Southeast compete during the gathering, showing their skill at coaxing music from bagpipes.

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Scots! Heritage festivals and Highland games celebrate South Carolina’s Celtic roots BY HASTINGS HENSEL | PHOTOS BY MIC SMITH

TO THE SOUTH, THE HIGH, LONESOME SOUND OF BAGPIPES

trills above the rolling drumbeats. To the west, spectators stand in line for sausage rolls, meat pastries, Scotch eggs and haggis pockets. On a stage in the east, young girls wearing colorful Aboyne dresses dance the lilt and the fling. But, in the middle of the 2017 Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering, Berkeley Electric Cooperative member Shane Sutherland has tuned everything out as he picks up a 22-pound hammer. Burly and bearded, Sutherland plants his feet firmly, then twists his body at the waist, his kilt twirling as he swings the hammer overhead and heaves the implement into the air with a groan. The hammer helicopters a remarkable 79 feet before thudding onto the soft ground of Boone Hall Plantation. The crowd applauds, and a grin forms in his thick, black beard as Sutherland claps his taped hands together. His ­competitors­​—all as burly, bearded, imposing and kilted—­acknowledge his throw with head nods and grunts of encouragement. A native of Goose Creek, Sutherland has been competing in the games for 16 years and knows how to pace himself. The morning events—the putting of the stone and the weight throws— have been grueling enough. And, still to come are the afternoon events, including the sheaf toss—in which he must chuck a hay bale over a raised bar with a pitchfork—and the caber toss— in which he must make a 19-foot cypress log cartwheel by heaving it from his shoulder. It makes for an exhausting weekend, but Sutherland looks forward to competing every year. “I get to do what I love and meet and see people from all over,” he says. “It is so much more than throwing trees and rocks. The history and the people are a major draw, too.”

p DON’T MESS WITH THE KINSWOMEN Aslynn Halvorson of Anderson gives it her all in the weight-throw competition of the 2017 Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering. t TARTAN FORMAL Jeff Castle, president of the Scottish

Society of Charleston, welcomes attendees to the opening ball.

History, heritage and haggis Organized by the nonprofit Scottish Society of Charleston and drawing more than 6,000 people annually, the Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering is the state’s largest celebration of Celtic heritage. “History and heritage go hand in hand,” says Jeff Castle, the society’s president. “Scots are often­ times lumped in with the British and the Irish and misunderstood as a bunch of hot-headed ­loonies in kilts who eat sheep entrails with whisky for dinner. In truth, Scots have made immense contributions in politics, economics, medicine, philosophy and science. All while eating sheep entrails, drinking whisky and battling the English.”

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GREAT SCOTS!

HEAVE HO! Willie Danzer competes in the sheaf toss at the 2017 Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering. Athletic competitions at Highland games require a combination of brute strength and proper athletic form.

Clover Highland Games NOV. 10

Gallabrae and Greenville Scottish Games

Various locations in and around the town of Clover (803) 222-3312 cloverhighlandgames.com

MAY 25–27

Furman University 3300 Poinsett Highway Greenville gallabrae.com

Saltwater Highland Games MARCH 23–25

North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex 150 Citizens Circle Little River (843) 492-0515 myrtlebeachhighlandgames.com

South Carolina’s 2018 Celtic heritage celebrations Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering Tartan Day South Highland Games and Celtic Festival MARCH 22–25

Historic Columbia Speedway 2001 Charleston Highway Cayce tartandaysouth.com

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NOV. 3

Boone Hall Plantation 2521 Highway 17 North Mount Pleasant charlestonscots@gmail.com charlestonscots.org

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

Indeed, Scots have contributed significantly to South Carolina history. Scots Covenanters, Presbyterians fleeing religious persecution, first arrived in Port Royal in 1684. Although the Spanish burned their settlement in 1686, the Scots were here, and here to stay. For such is the nature of the Scottish— to persevere through a fierce loyalty to kinship. Nowhere is this more evident than in the clan system. At every Scottish heritage celebration, clans (synonymous with families) will stake their tents, inviting kinsmen and kinswomen to come by and learn more about their namesakes and heritage. “Everyone of Scottish heritage is obsessed with figuring out which clan they belong to,” Castle explains. “And, most of us could claim to belong to more than one. This leads to great debate over which tartan to wear to which occasion and which other clans are allies or foes. Each clan has its own motto, songs and history.” During the festival, a ring of clan tents—McLeods, McPhersons, Armstrongs, Campbells, Wallaces, MacDougalls and many others—encircle the athletic field. At the Clan Donnachaidh of the Carolinas tent, Robert Duncan invites me in, despite the fact that I profess to be Welsh-Irish. “Any Scot worth his salt knows he’s Irish,” he says with a grin, launching into a history lesson about Brian Boru, the High King of Scotland originally from Ireland, and about Jacobite risings and the Battle of Culloden. Duncan tells me his is the oldest clan (Donnachaidh means “Sons of Duncan”), and he shows me the different tartans— the plaid patterns representing a clan—that he wears for ­different heritage events. Last night, for instance, he wore the Duncan Tartan to the Tartan Ball—a $100-a-head, formal, Scotch-sipping affair that kicks off the weekend’s pageantry at the Daniel Island Club, where the men wear kilts as part of their formalwear and the women dress up in Highland evening gowns. The Tartan Ball officially begins when The Citadel’s Regimental Pipe Band marches in, bagpipes blaring, for what’s known as the “Piping in of the Haggis.” Former society president David McDougall then reads “Address to the Haggis” by Scottish poet Robert Burns, and Castle gets the first bite of the infamous dish—a pudding containing sheep’s heart, liver and lungs—and washes it down with a shot of Scotch. Then the band comes on. The dancing begins. The photographs get snapped. People mingle over plates of fried oysters and tenderloin. One tartan-wearing first-time attendee, Greg Williams of Beech Island, explains why he attended the event. “My grandmother told me we were Scottish when I was looking into my heritage as a high schooler. As we discussed history at school, the teacher and some other students talked about their ancestors being at some of the events, and it sparked some ­curiosity in me.” Duncan says Williams’ experience is common at heritage


Oddly enough, you also see expressions of the warrior culture in the unlikeliest places.

celebrations. People make a connection and then get interested; it’s not the other way around. So, it is with something like curious trepidation that I venture over to the South Carolina Genealogical Society tent at the festival. Here I am, not Scottish and not a Charlestonian, at a Scottish heritage event in a town known for being preoccupied with lineage (who is kin to whom). At the genealogical booth—a staple of all Scottish-heritage celebrations—my name does not come up in the Scottish books. But, then I see that one of the books on display is titled The Surnames of Wales. Jim McDonald, a historical genealogist for Clan Donald USA—wearing a skunk-head pouch called a sporran with his kilt—looks up my mother’s maiden name and tells me that the Welsh had tartans, too. I am as worthy, he says, of wearing a family tartan as any Scot. Suddenly, I understand the impulse behind these celebrations—a sense of belonging. Once you make an ancestral connection, you feel as if you are a part of something larger than yourself.

Dancing warriors There seems to be a unique kind of pride in being Scottish, and it stems from the fact that Scottish culture is very martial and warrior-like. Nearly every tradition, it seems, reflects a history of rebellion and warfare. Of course, there are many popular depictions of Scots as warriors. Nothing did more to incite interest in Scottish heritage than the 1994 Oscar-winning film Braveheart. At festivals, kids still get their faces painted blue like Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace. (Many Scots are quick to point out that this is a romanticized version of the actual man.) The plotline of HBO’s popular Game of Thrones also steals a great deal from Scottish and English military history. And, oddly enough, you also see expressions of the warrior culture in the unlikeliest places. At the dancing stage, as young girls bounce up and down in remarkable synchronicity, I meet Diane Dubock of Spring Hills, Florida. Originally from Motherwell, Scotland, Dubock travels to Scottish heritage events all over the country.

ON THEIR TOES Many Highland dances are rooted in military tradition, serving as a way to select the most agile and athletic warriors.

She tells me that Highland dancing began as a way for the Scottish kings and clan chiefs to pick their bodyguards. “They wanted the most agile men out there to protect them,” she says. “The Scottish regiments learned how to dance, and it was a display of national pride.” In the 1920s, according to Dubock, women started competing in dance competitions, soundly beating the men. Now, you have little girls from all over the country taking an interest in Celtic dance. Just ask Brynn Brown, an 8-year-old from Aiken, competing in the beginner category of her first Highland Games. “It’s so much fun,” she gushes. “If I didn’t do it, I don’t know. It’s a part of my life!” l l

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GREAT SCOTS!

At the music stage, The American Rogues, complete in Highland dress and kilts, play a loud, banging set of bagpipedriven music. And, true to Scottish form, they honor the ­military between songs. Nelson Stewart, the bandleader, tells the crowd about playing fundraisers for the Navy SEALS and for veterans all over the country. “It seems all of our clans are filled with veterans, and the SAMS organization, the Scottish American Military Society, is a fixture at our games,” Castle says. “As far back as the Wars for Scottish Independence on through the Jacobite ­rebellion and the two World Wars, Scots have been proud warriors and soldiers.”

Turning the caber As the Saturday festival events draw to a close, it’s time for Sutherland to pick up the cypress log and give it, literally, a whirl. Typically, this is the highlight of the athletic competition and the festival. And the emcee knows it. He asks for the ale-soaked spectators to give it up for the hometown boy, and the crowd goes wild. Sutherland squats down, embraces the tree as if about to tackle it, then cradles it on his shoulder and begins to walk with it. His goal is to toss the tree so that it flips and the other side hits the ground in the 12 o’clock position and flips again. To succeed in doing so is to have “turned the caber.” Sutherland heaves the tree, and for a brief second, it looks like it might turn. But, the tree wobbles and comes crashing down, and the crowd lets out the kind of sigh and applause THE HIGHLAND MEETS THE LOWCOUNTRY During the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan celebration, descendants of 12 founding Scottish families parade through the chapel of First (Scots) Presbyterian Church in Charleston wearing symbols of Palmetto State pride with traditional clan attire.

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‘This is my golf. Everyone needs a hobby.’ —SHANE SUTHERLAND (RIGHT), IN THE CABER TOSS

that say, “Ah, too bad. But I couldn’t have done that myself!” “My cabers had been awesome this week. I had the speed, had a good pitch. I just stepped in a hole,” Sutherland says afterwards, disappointed with his performance but not dejected. He loves competing in these events, win or lose. “This is my golf,” he continues. “Everyone needs a hobby and, in my case, one that keeps me competitive and training in the gym.”

Closing procession The weekend closes on Sunday as it began, with pipes and drums, this time at a church service known as the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan. At First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, organized in 1731 by a dozen Scottish families, worshipers gather for Scottish Heritage Sunday, in which the families march in with their tartan banners as the bagpipes play “Highland Cathedral.” Although it’s an American tradition, the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan is based on Scottish history and legend. And it is, of course, a tradition with military origins. When Scotland returned to British rule following the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Scots were no longer allowed to carry arms, wear kilts or display Scottish heritage or pride. Thus, Scots would secretly carry a piece of their tartans with them to the Kirk (the church). During World War II, Dr. Peter Marshall, the chaplain of the U.S. Senate, led services called “Kirkin’s” in support of the contributions made by the Scottish to the war. After the service concludes, the churchgoers gather outside as The Citadel’s Regimental Pipe Band plays those bagpipes loudly and proudly. It is a beautiful day, and anyone walking the streets of downtown Charleston and hearing the music knows for sure: The Scots are here, and here to stay.


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SC   stories 

Sandi Morris HOMETOWN: Greenville; now training professionally at the University of Arkansas, where she is a volunteer coach AGE: 25 CLAIMS TO FAME: Won silver medal in women’s pole vault during 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro; silver medal at 2017 IAAF World Championships in London; holds U.S. women’s outdoor pole vault record PERSONAL BESTS: Cleared 5 meters (16 feet, 4 inches) in September 2016 as only the second woman ever to clear that height outdoors. Indoors, cleared 4.95 meters (16 feet, 2 inches) in March 2016. ANIMAL LOVER: Morris’ menagerie includes a dog named Rango, three snakes, a bird, “about 10 fish,” and a cat she got in 2012 after narrowly missing a spot in the Olympic Trials; she named the cat Rio and vowed to reach the 2016 Olympics NEXT UP: Look for Morris at the USATF Indoor Track & Field Championships, Albuquerque, Feb. 18; All Star Perche 2018 international pole vault competition, France, Feb. 25; IAAF World Indoor Championships, England, March 3–4

Defying gravity It’s in the record books—and the story ends with a silver medal, not gold. Even so, it’s a Hollywood-worthy nail-biter when Sandi Morris describes the dramatic climax: two world-class pole vaulters are neck and neck in the Olympic finals, each straining to outlast the other, with one last chance to clear the bar and win the gold. “I ran down that runway like a barbarian,” Morris recalls of her last vault in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She plants the pole, pushes up toward the sky, arches her body over the crossbar. Victory is hers, she’s sure, triumphant for a split second, dropping to the mat. And then, the bar falls. There is no agony of defeat in this story. Every word rings with her joy in the experience—the thrill of the opening ceremonies, the gut-level delight of competing in the Olympics, the roar of fans and blur of lights in the arena. And winning a medal—incredibly, just two months after breaking her wrist. “That was the biggest thing I’ve overcome in my career,” Morris says. So, no, silver was no disappointment. “If anything, it motivated me even more.” A few weeks later, she set a personal best, jumping six inches higher than what she cleared in Rio. Fearless, athletic and fast since childhood—“I was that kid climbing to the top of a 30-foot magnolia tree, swaying back and forth”—Morris was a standout at Greenville High School, where she still holds school records in track and field, and the University of Arkansas, where she set an NCAA record in pole vaulting. The Nike-sponsored athlete aims still higher, hoping to set a world record someday. “It’s amazing that I get to do this for a living,” Morris says. “It’s fun to defy gravity.” —DIANE VETO PARHAM, PHOTO BY MILTON MORRIS

GET MORE Follow Morris on Facebook at facebook.com/sandicheekspv; on Twitter and Instagram, @sandicheekspv; and on her blog at vaulthigh.tumblr.com. Visit the Featured Videos section of SCLiving.coop to watch Sandi Morris clearing 5 meters.

SCLIVING.COOP  | FEBRUARY 2018  |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

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The

fast and the furry South Carolina dog owners leap into flyball, the nation’s fastest-growing canine sport BY TIM HANSON | PHOTOS BY MILTON MORRIS AND JEFF SMITH

Now, as a judge standing between the two lanes gives the official sign to begin the race, a set of electronic timing lights clicks down from red to yellow to green.

OLIVIA ROOP IS DOING EVERYTHING SHE

A BOV E: M I LTO N M O RRIS; LEF T: J EFF S M ITH

can to hold onto her dog, Huck, but the 60-pound pointer hound is tugging wildly at his harness and barking with such intensity that it leaves absolutely Growing by leaps and bounds no doubt about his total commitment to the task at hand. It’s called flyball. Huck and his team“All right, Huck,” Roop says into the mates are racing at the annual, dog’s ear. “Get ready, now. Let’s do this!” ­weekend-long December tournament Roop glances around at the three hosted by the Florence-based Pawmetto other dogs on Huck’s relay team—Dori, Pack Flyball Club, a group of a dozen or so dog lovers and their canine friends. a little, fawn-colored Jack Russell terrier/ Over the next two days, the club will toy poodle mix, an American cocker compete against other teams with names spaniel named Moose, and a spirited like Fur Fun, Dog Gone Fast, Turbo Paws, black-and-tan mixed breed named Izy. Dixie Flyers, Blockade Runners, On Your Like Huck, they are stoked, barking STAY, BOY Olivia Roop keeps Huck quiet for exactly Bark, Heads or Tails, Double Dog Dare and yipping and whining and, in short, the length of time it takes to snap a photo. and Lunatic Fringe, all of which have travdoing their best to make as much noise as possible. They are having one heck of a good time. eled from around the region to share their love of flyball at the In the adjacent lane, an opposing team of four dogs and Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fairgrounds just east of Florence. their handlers are also waiting—just a few more seconds, Flyball, or something close to it, has been around since the late 1960s. Dog lovers fiddled with the concept until rules were now—for the race to start. hammered out and key pieces of hardware, like the flyball box, Huck knows exactly what he needs to do: run as fast as were perfected. Then, in 1985, the North American Flyball he can over four hurdles, pounce with his front paws onto Association (NAFA) was created, and suddenly, it was an a specially made box that will release a tennis ball for him ­official dog sport. to grab, then race like sin back over the hurdles to Roop so Since then, according to NAFA, some 700 clubs have been Dori, then Moose and then Izy can take their turns. established in the United States and elsewhere, and the associaThe team that completes the 34-yard relay in the shortest period of time, without making any mistakes, wins. tion now sanctions 300 tournaments each year. 22

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP


Two of those tournaments—one in December and another in February—are hosted by the Pawmetto Pack in Florence, and some club members attend a dozen or more other competitions in North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia or the three-day CanAm Classic, the largest flyball tournament in the world.

The race is on To attend a flyball tournament is to be enveloped in a riotous atmosphere of relentless barking and seemingly nonstop racing. Each flyball race consists of three to five heats. Normally, a tournament is configured so that each team will run about 40 heats over a weekend. Of the four dogs on each team, the shortest animal is called the “height dog,” and he or she is used to determine just how high the hurdles are for that team. Essentially, the shorter the height dog, the lower the hurdles. “The minimum height for the hurdles is 7 inches,” says Jeffrey Jones, another member of the Pawmetto Pack club and longtime flyball veteran. At the beginning of each race, the first dog—called the start dog—is released so that he or she hopefully crosses the start line just as the light turns green. If the line is crossed too soon, an electronic signal picks up the error, and the heat is restarted. As each dog returns carrying a ball, the release of the next dog is timed so that both dogs cross the start/finish line simultaneously. The flyball box is the most sophisticated piece of equipment each team owns. It’s expensive, too, with new ones running as much as $1,500. The box has two or more holes, into which balls are fitted. When a dog hits the spring-loaded front panel, the ball is released for the dog to catch. Depending on the individual dog, a ball is placed in a hole on the right side or the left side of the box. It turns out that most dogs have an unconscious preference for which way they turn once they get the ball.

They are stoked, barking and yipping and whining.

GOOD BOY! Huck, the energetic pointer hound, demonstrates a flawless turn on the flyball box, snatching his ball and sprinting back to his owner.

Once a dog finishes running, the racer is rewarded with a tasty treat, like a hotdog or liverwurst or, for those less motivated by food, a quick game of tug-of-war with his or her owner. PHOTOS TH IS PAG E: M I LTO N M ORRIS

READY TO RACE Flyball is a team sport for two- and four-legged competitors. Four dogs, coached and handled by their owners, compete as a team to complete timed, 34-yard relays.

‘Fun first’ Many teams dedicate themselves to logging the fastest times possible. They acquire dogs that are naturally suited to the sport and work with their animals until every nuance of the game has been mastered. The world record for a team of four dogs completing a single heat stands at less than 15 seconds. While everyone involved in flyball admires those remarkable teams, most local competitors have more modest goals. “Our club motto is ‘Fun First,’ ” says Linda Damiano, captain of the Pawmetto Pack Flyball Club. “We have fun with our dogs

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SC   scene

‘Any dog can play this sport as long as they are having fun.’ —DEBORAH RHODES, SHOWN HERE WITH PHOEBE

“Any dog can play this sport as long as they are having fun,” Rhodes says. Sometimes, a dog will play flyball for possibly no other reason than simply to please its owner. A perfect example is Margi Moore and her little, white toy poodle, Bentley, who—after 11 years of racing—retired at the December 2016 tournament as a Flyball Grand Champion. “He’s a really nice dog,” says Moore, slipping Bentley a bit of cheese as an after-race treat. “But, he doesn’t live for flyball. He never did. But he ran for me, and so that’s pretty special.” And, while Bentley was hanging it up for keeps, another dog on the team—a 3-year-old, brown-and-white Australian shepherd named Lilly, owned by Rene Palles of Florence— was just getting started. “I think this is very cool,” says Moore, reflecting for a moment on what she calls the “circle of flyball.” “Bentley ran his last heat today, and Lilly ran her first heat today. It is sort of like Bentley passing on the torch to Lilly.” 24

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

GET  MORE The Pawmetto Pack Flyball Club will host its next regional tournament Feb. 10–11 at the Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fairgrounds in Florence. Attendance is free. The club also holds monthly practices and welcomes spectators and dog owners who are curious about the sport. For more information, contact David Moore at dmoore10@sc.rr.com. For more information on the sport and the club, visit pawmettopack.com or facebook.com/ ​​pawmettopackflyball.

Discipline, training and treats Lilly had been training for about a year before her December 2016 debut, and Palles was delighted to see the result of their work together. “I was having issues with Lilly being aggressive,” Palles says. “She would tolerate other dogs but did not like them a lot. And, she did not like strangers. But, since we’ve been doing this, her ­behavior has changed for the better. Flyball has been good for both of us.” Lilly’s story is not unique. Roop’s dog, Huck, had similar ­difficulties to overcome in his early years with the sport. “He was just out of control,” Roop says. “I could not even walk him on a leash. He’s almost 60 pounds, and he would drag me all over the place. Basically, he was in charge. He was running me—I was not running him!” For a year and a half, Roop worked patiently with Huck until he m ­ astered all the necessary flyball skills. He learned how to run over the hurdles without leaving the confines of the relatively narrow racing lane—an absolute no-no in flyball. And, he became adept at pouncing on the flyball box to get his tennis ball. His “swimmer’s turn,” that fluid turning motion to the right when he comes off the box, improved. These days, Huck is a completely different dog. A wellloved member of his team, he has logged more than 15,000 points in competition—well on his way to becoming a Flyball Grand Champion. At the December 2016 tournament, Huck logged a personal-best time by running to the flyball box and back to Roop in 4.7 seconds. “It’s been a lot of work,” Roop says. “But, it has all been worth it. I have a wonderful pet now, and we both love flyball.”

LEF T: M I LTO N M O RRIS; FA R LEF T: J EFF S M ITH

and enjoy each other’s company and that of the people we meet through the sport.” Damiano took up flyball in 2009 with her Labrador retriever, Jack, then 1½ years old. Today, she’s also working with Abby, a rat terrier mix. It took two years of training to get Abby to the point where she could successfully compete in a race. “Terriers can be very dense,” she concedes. “They do what they want to do.” Deborah Rhodes, another member of Pawmetto Pack, works with three dogs. The youngest is a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever named Maya, who is still in training. The other two, Phoebe and Beckett—both American cocker ­spaniels​—run full time. Phoebe is about as game a dog as can be found. While ­glaucoma and cataracts have reduced her vision, Phoebe still practices and competes in races.


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SC   travels

The need for speed BY KEITH PHILLIPS

PRIDE GOES BEFORE A FALL, so in hindsight, I should have kept my ego in check and my mouth shut. Photographer Carroll Foster and I were in the safety briefing at LeMans Karting when a staffer quizzed us on the race flags the marshal would use to control our head-to-head run around the indoor track. “What does a blue flag mean?” she asked. “It means he should pull over and let me pass, because he’s driving too slow,” I cracked.

One second he’s on my right fender, the next he’s in front, and then— zoom!—he vanishes into the next hairpin turn.

LeMans Karting 961 Berry Shoals Road, Duncan (Exit 60 off I-85) HOURS: Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 9 p.m. ADMISSION: Adult racing costs $20 per driver for a 10-minute racing session. Three-race packages are $50. DETAILS: (877) 722-3565; lemanskarting.com/greenville Speed Factory Indoor Karting—Greenville 1524 Roper Mountain Road, Greenville HOURS: Tuesday through Thursday, 3 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 3 to 11 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 8 p.m. ADMISSION: Standard adult racing costs $20 per driver for a 12-minute racing session. Three sessions cost $50. DETAILS: (864) 412-3323; speedfactoryindoorkarting.com Speed Factory Indoor Karting—Spartanburg 130 East Daniel Morgan Ave., Spartanburg HOURS: Wednesday through Thursday, 2 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 2 to 10 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 8 p.m. ADMISSION: Adult racing costs $15 per 12-minute racing session. Three-race packages are $40. DETAILS: (864) 447-4000; speedfactoryindoorkarting.com

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A BOV E A N D LEF T: C A RRO LL FOSTER

GET  THERE

Racing enthusiast Rick Gaan opened LeMans Karting to provide a fun, affordable way for anyone to indulge their need for speed. “Racing is a very expensive hobby,” he says. “So, our mission is to bring the thrill of real racing to the masses and do that as inexpensively as possible.”

Foster just smiled. We suited up—head socks, full-face helmets and neck braces are mandatory safety gear—and strapped into the 270 cc, gas-powered European racing karts. He took kart #20, as I settled into #19. After a familiarization lap around the hairpin turns of the course, we got the green flag, and the race was on. Foster started in the lead, but I managed to close the gap and made a dash for the inside line on the second turn. “I’ve got him,” I thought, straightening the wheel and punching the accelerator. But, my rival was faster, pulling away and taking a lead that he extended with each lap for the rest of the 10-minute race.

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

Soon, he was half a lap ahead. Then, I couldn’t see him at all. A quick look over my shoulder in the long straightaway confirmed my fears. He was right behind me, trying to pass. I held him off for two laps. Helmetcam video of the race shows the moment he officially lapped me, and it comes and goes in a blur. One second he’s on my right fender, the next he’s in front, and then—zoom!—he vanishes into the next hairpin turn. For friends, families and corporate groups looking to engage in some goodnatured competition, or for anyone with the need for speed, high-performance indoor karting is a way to enjoy racing on a budget, says Rick Gaan, owner of LeMans Karting in Duncan. Indoor karting is a cut above the typical amusement-park go-kart experience in that it requires genuine driving skill to negotiate a “proper road-racing course,” he says. “It’s real racing, versus just putt-putting around.” Gaan opened LeMans Karting in Greenville in 2013. In December 2017, he moved the facility to its current location in Duncan to claim the title of the largest indoor kart track in the Carolinas. Speed Factory Indoor Karting, based in Spartanburg, took over the old track to open its second location in the Upstate,


KEITH PH I LLI P S

giving South Carolinians three places to enjoy high-speed thrills. While the courses vary in length and number of turns, all use Sodi RX-7 racing karts with 9-horsepower Honda engines and automatic transmissions, capable of a 42 mph top speed and pulling 1.2 Gs in a turn. For safety, they come equipped with ventilated disc brakes, roll cages,

racing seats, four-point safety harnesses and energy-absorbing safety bumpers. “These are high-powered go-karts,” says Vadim Kozodoy, manager of the Speed Factory tracks in Greenville and Spartanburg. “They have a lot more speed than you think.” The one thing they don’t have? “There is no power steering,” he says. “It’s a good workout.” The karts at each facility are equipped with transponders to record and display your performance. Drivers get a timing sheet at the end of every session, so they can compare results, relive victories and learn from defeats, Gaan says. “There is a lot of friendly rivalry going on.” Anyone with a driver’s license can race during open sessions, ­competing in fields of up to eight drivers at a time. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are recommended to minimize wait times and make sure the facility isn’t rented out for a private function or

BUCKLE UP! Visit the Featured Videos section of SCLiving.coop for a run around one of the LeMans Karting tracks in Duncan. For racing tips and a guide to racing flags, see the online version of this story at SCLiving.coop/travel.

closed for league races. All safety gear is provided, and no prior racing experience is required. “Just bring a smile,” Gaan says. “It’s a lot of fun.”

R E A D E R R E P LY T R AV E L S W E E P S TA K E S

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SC   recipe

For chocolate lovers BY BELINDA SMITH-SULLIVAN

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE SERVES 12–16

1 ½ cups chocolate cookie crumbs 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 2 tablespoons sugar 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened 1 ½ cups sugar O cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 large eggs 2 6-ounce packages fresh raspberries 1 cup raspberry jelly or jam

February offers the perfect excuse for experimenting with te decadent chocola u’re recipes. Whether yo th your sharing sweets wi ating Valentine or just tre erts let yourself, these dess olate you indulge a choc e passion or fall in lov with chocolate for the first time.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Blend cookie crumbs, melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar, and press into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake 5 minutes; let cool.

Remove cheesecake from refrigerator, remove sides of pan and place cheesecake on serving dish. Top with remaining raspberries. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, heat raspberry jelly until melted. Let cool slightly, and pour over raspberries. 30

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

MAKES 32 SQUARES

2 cups dark chocolate 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 ½ cups chopped pecans ½ teaspoon cardamom or cinnamon

Line an 8-inch-by-8-inch pan with foil. In a heat-proof medium bowl, combine chocolate, milk and butter, and cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl over a saucepan filled halfway with water (water should not touch bottom of the bowl). Put pan over medium heat, and let chocolate melt 15–20 minutes. Stir until smooth. Add vanilla extract, 1 cup of the pecans and cardamom, and stir until smooth. Spoon into a foil-lined pan, and spread evenly with a spatula. Top with remaining pecans, and refrigerate until ready to serve. Lift foil out of the pan, and peel the foil away from the hardened fudge. Cut into 1-inch squares, and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. A BOV E A N D LEF T: G I N A M OO RE

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add remaining sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Reduce speed, and gently stir in 1 cup raspberries. Pour into prepared springform pan. Place cheesecake pan inside a larger pan, and add one inch of water to the larger pan. (This prevents the cheesecake from cracking on the top while baking.) Set pan in oven, and bake 60–70 minutes or until center is barely set. Turn off oven, and leave pan in oven 1 hour with door ajar. Remove from oven, and cool completely. Cover and chill at least 8 hours in refrigerator.

PECAN CHOCOLATE FUDGE


FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE SERVES 10–12

N cup orange liqueur or orange juice N cup sugar 6 eggs N cup water 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces Powdered sugar or whipped cream for garnish 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper, and butter the sides.

K A REN H ERM A N N

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add sugar and water, and bring to a boil to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Immediately add butter and chocolate chips, and let melt for 2 minutes. Whisk in liqueur or juice, then add eggs, one at a time. Do not overmix; that will allow air holes to form in the cake. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place pan inside a roasting pan, and add warm water about a half-inch high. Bake in the water bath 40–45 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely in pan on wire rack. Invert onto a serving platter, and garnish with powdered sugar or whipped cream.

TRIPLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES MAKES 32 COOKIES

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, packed 3 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup white chocolate chips (more if needed) ½ cup semisweet chocolate mini morsels (more if needed)

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl or on a separate sheet of parchment paper. Set aside. In a heat-proof medium bowl, combine 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips and chopped unsweetened chocolate, and cover with plastic wrap. Place bowl over a saucepan filled halfway with water (water should not touch bottom of the bowl). Put pan over medium heat, and let chocolate melt 15–20 minutes. Stir until smooth. Let come to room temperature.

K A REN H ERM A N N

What’s cooking at SCLiving.coop No lumps, no clumps—there’s a way to get perfectly smooth melted chocolate, and Chef Belinda shows you how at

SCLiving.coop/food/chefbelinda

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until well combined. Using a spatula, scrape down the sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Scrape down bowl again. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Remove bowl from mixer. Using a 2-tablespoon scoop, portion dough onto baking sheets, 6–8 scoops per sheet. Bake 18–20 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom halfway through baking time. Remove and cool on pans for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks, and cool thoroughly. Repeat until all dough is baked. Using same melting method as above, melt white chocolate chips. Dip cooled cookies in white chocolate, and sprinkle with chocolate mini morsels while white chocolate is still wet. Place on wire racks, and allow white chocolate to set. Store in airtight container with parchment paper between layers.

SCLIVING.COOP  | FEBRUARY 2018  |  SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING

31


|

SC   gardener

Relish the radish

FEBRUARY IN THE GARDEN n Pansies still perky? To continue their flower show into the spring, deadhead spent blooms and water plants with a diluted fertilizer solution every three weeks. Ditto for the closely related Johnny jump-ups.

BY L.A. JACKSON

AS WINTER LUMBERS INTO FEBRUARY,

n When selecting vegetables and ornamental annuals for this year’s garden, look for varieties that are disease- and insect-resistant and also drought-tolerant.

TIP OF THE MONTH Now is a good time to trim up ornamentals such as crepe myrtle, vitex, spirea, roses (hybrid tea, Knock Out, grandiflora and floribunda), gardenia, butterfly bush, beautyberry, rose of Sharon and abelia that start blooming in late spring and early summer. To get them in shape—or keep them in bounds—prune before spring sprouting season starts. As a bonus, these beauties flower on new growth, so your early-bird clippings will encourage more blossoms.

32

L . A . JACKSO N

Rein in exuberant ornamental shrubs, like this vitex, during winter months, before they begin their blooming and growing seasons in spring.

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

L . A . JACKSO N

n If rampant vines are eating your landscape, tame them before excessive foliage, pesky bugs and rising temperatures make this chore a misery. Whack back such nuisance crawlers and climbers as bittersweet, wild grape, kudzu, poison ivy (wear gloves), wisteria, Virginia creeper and Japanese honeysuckle.

vegetable gardeners start feeling that itch to get their hands dirty, sow some seeds and get the growing season going. Sadly, we must wait at least another month before many veggies can deliver a scratch of planting relief. Meanwhile, to the rescue comes the humble, dependable radish. February is a prime time to plant radishes in South Carolina for many reasons. For starters, radishes relish cold temperatures. They readily sprout and mature in soil that has cooled to around 45 to 65 degrees, and they tend to taste less pungent—a big knock on this veggie— when grown in chillier temps. And did I mention bugs? Although cutworms, aphids, flea beetles and leafminers can trouble radishes during balmier days in early spring, in February, these bad bugs tend to be less active. So, veggie gardeners, start your radishes! Select a sunny planting site, and since this is a root crop, turn over at least the top 10 inches of soil while mixing in plenty of quality topsoil or commercial soil conditioner. If you feel the need to feed your seeds, do it lightly—too much nitrogen will produce a prodigious amount of leaves, but at the expense of quality-size radish roots. Just a dusting of a common fertilizer such as 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 will usually suffice. Even better is a generous application of compost mixed into the growing ground. Dry conditions can also produce ­hotter-tasting radishes, so if no rains (or snows) show up in late winter, be sure to water your seedlings at least once or twice a week. Seedlings usually pop up in just a few days. They should be thinned so the ­radishes-to-be are about two inches apart. You won’t have to wait long to harvest

Restless S.C. gardeners can always satisfy the urge to grow veggies during winter by planting fastgrowing radishes.

The leaves are also delectably edible, especially in salads or stir-fries. radishes—they normally mature in 25 to 30 days. To keep a fresh supply on hand, stagger new plantings about a week apart through February. For the best-tasting radishes, harvest early—older roots can develop that unsavory, sizzling twang. The leaves are also delectably edible, especially in salads or stir-fries. As far as cultivars go, popular selections include Early Scarlet Globe, Cherry Belle, Easter Egg, Cherriette and Annabel. Milder-tasting daikon ­radishes, such as April Cross, can stretch to 8 inches or longer, but they take about two months to produce a crop. So, if you want something from the garden in your kitchen during dreary days of late winter, stick with regular, rapid-growing ­radishes. L.A. JACKSON is the former editor of Carolina Gardener magazine. Contact him at lajackson1@gmail.com.


|

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|

SC   calendar FEB 15 – MAR 15

Upstate

SCLiving.coop/calendar

F EB R UA RY

Our mobile-friendly site lists even more festivals, shows and events. You’ll also find instructions on submitting your event. Please confirm information with the hosting event before attending.

8–28  “Reconstructed Images and

Nature Morte,” Milliken Art Gallery, Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 596‑9181. 16–18  Lunatics at Large, Oconee Community Theatre, Seneca. (864) 882‑1910. 17–18  Tour of SC West Region Showcase, T. Ed Garrison Arena, Pendleton. (864) 934‑8523. 18  Read Gainsford, piano, Daniel Recital Hall at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 596‑9173. 20  Chautauqua History Alive Talk: Harriet Tubman, Hughes Main Library, Greenville. (864) 244‑1499. 21–25  The Wolves, Hazel B. Abbott Theater at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 596‑9724. 22–25  Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at Clemson University, Clemson. (864) 656‑7787. 24  Cabin Fever Tours, Devils Fork State Park, Salem. (864) 280‑5501. 26  Mnozil Brass, Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at Clemson University, Clemson. (864) 656‑7787. MARCH

1  2018 Voices in American Art, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg. (864) 542‑2787. 2  Little Red Riding Hood, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg. (864) 542‑2787. 2–3  Easy Bend IPRA Rodeo, T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena, Pendleton. (864) 918‑7633. 3  Creative Poetry Workshop, West Main Artists Co-op, Spartanburg. jebo@bellsouth.net. 3  Whole Hog Butcher Class, Greenbrier Farms, Easley. (864) 855‑9782. 5  Lezginka State Dance Company, Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at Clemson University, Clemson. (864) 656‑7787. 5  The RoseWind Duo, Daniel Recital Hall at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 596‑9173. 5–17  Young Women in Art Juried Exhibition, Milliken Art Gallery at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 596‑9126. 6–8  Weekday Waterfall Tour at Devils Fork, Devils Fork State Park, Salem. (864) 944‑2639. 8–10  ASAC Horse Show, T. Ed Garrison Livestock Arena, Pendleton. (704) 305‑3446.

36

8–11  Table Rock Photography

Workshop with Don McGowan, Table Rock State Park, Pickens. (864) 878‑9813. 9  Talin Hohn, Art Gallery on Pendleton Square, Pendleton. (864) 221‑0129. 9–11  Steel Magnolias, Spartanburg Little Theatre, Spartanburg. (864) 585‑8278. 12  Clemson University Symphonic Band, Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at Clemson University, Clemson. (864) 656‑7787. 12  Miles Hoffman, viola, and Reiko Uchida, piano, Daniel Recital Hall at Converse College, Spartanburg. (864) 596‑9724. 12–15  Devils Fork Photography Workshop with Don McGowan, Devils Fork State Park, Salem. (864) 944‑2639. 13  Hermitage Piano Trio, Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at Clemson University, Clemson. (864) 656‑7787. 14  Celtic Woman, Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, Spartanburg. (864) 582‑8107. O NG O ING

Daily until March 4  “Unnatural

History,” Spartanburg Art Museum, Spartanburg. (864) 582‑7616, ext. 254. Fridays  Starry Nights, Roper Mountain Science Center, Greenville. (864) 355‑8900.

Midlands F E B RUARY

15  An Irish Romance: Ciaran &

Tara Nagle, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 17  Bob Eubanks and the Not So Newlywed Game, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 436‑2616. 17  Southern Sound Series: The Steel Wheels, McCelvey Center, York. (803) 818‑6767. 18  DINO Light, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 20–22  Defending Carolina Civil War Battlefields Tour, Santee State Park, Santee. (803) 854‑2408. 23  On Golden Pond, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 24  Battle of Aiken, Confederate Memorial Park, Aiken. (888) 378‑7623.

24  Drawing Techniques with

Dr. Bradley Sabelli, Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 24  Night Sky and Telescope Viewing 101, S.C. State Museum, Columbia. (803) 898‑4921. 25  John Anderson, acoustic, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 28  TAO: Drum Heart, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. MAR CH

2  Atlanta Pops featuring Chloe Agnew and Dermot Kiernan, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 3  Midlands Kids Fest and Summer Camp Fair, Jamil Shrine Temple, Columbia. (813) 463‑2712. 3  Monthly Gospel Singing: Full Reliance and the Heritage Quartet, Midland Gospel Singing Center, Gilbert. (803) 719‑1289. 3  Sandi Patty, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 8  Teacher’s Choice Art Exhibit Public Reception, Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 9  Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 9–16  Joye in Aiken, various locations, Aiken. (803) 226‑0016. 10  Jeanne Robertson, comedienne, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 10  Jon Reep, Sumter Opera House, Sumter. (803) 436‑2616. 10  Spring Fever: Wreath-making with Angie Clinton, Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. 11  Dailey & Vincent Gospel Hour, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. 11  The Dog and Pony Show, S.C. State Farmers Market, West Columbia. (803) 319‑1502. 15  National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba, Newberry Opera House, Newberry. (803) 276‑6264. ONGOING

Feb. 16–March 16  Teacher’s

Choice Art Exhibit, Center for the Arts, Rock Hill. (803) 328‑2787. Daily until March 4  Winter Exhibit featuring Robert Lyon and Alicia Cully, Arts & Heritage Center, North Augusta. (803) 441‑4380.

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

Daily through May 6  “Giving

Back: The Soul of Philanthropy Reframed and Exhibited,” Richland County Main Library, Columbia. (803) 799‑9084.

Lowcountry FEBR UARY

1–28  Gullah Celebration, multiple venues, Hilton Head Island. (843) 255‑7304. 15  “Love the Arts” Education Fundraiser, The Stables at the Inn at the Crossroads, Lake City. (843) 374‑2482. 15  Pianist and composer Sonny Paladino, Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, Florence. (843) 661‑4444. 16–18  Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, various locations, Charleston. (843) 723‑1748. 16–18  Spring Home Show, Myrtle Beach Convention Center, Myrtle Beach. (843) 267‑1359. 18 and 25  A Renaissance Woman: “Ferdi” and the Gardens of Old Town, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Charleston. (843) 852‑4200. 19  Colin Quinn, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, Hilton Head Island. (843) 842‑2787. 19–24  South Carolina Chamber Music Festival, Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, Florence. (843) 661‑4444. 21  CSO Rush Hour, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. 21  Drawing at Your Own Level with Lese Corrigan (part 1 of 3), Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. 22  Palmetto Carriage Demonstration, Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, Johns Island. (843) 795‑4386. 24  African American Heritage Day, Hampton Plantation State Historic Site, McClellanville. (843) 546‑9361. 24  Jack and the Beanstalk, Florence Little Theatre, Florence. (843) 662‑3731. 24  S.C. Dressage and Combined Training Horse Show, Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, Johns Island. (843) 795‑4386. 25  Dooley Planetarium presents “Cosmic Colors,” Cauthen Educational Media Center, Francis Marion University, Florence. (843) 661‑1381.

25–26  Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra presents Porgy and Bess in Concert, First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island. (843) 842‑2055. 28  Drawing at Your Own Level with Lese Corrigan (part 2 of 3), Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. MAR CH

1 and 14  Film Screening: Quiltmakers of Gee’s Bend, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. 2–4  Oyster Roast Trail Ride Weekend, Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, Johns Island. (843) 795‑4386. 3  An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories with Graham Nash, Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, Florence. (843) 661‑4444. 3  Jewelry-making Workshop: Flower Drop-Lariat Necklace, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. 3  Myrtle Beach State Park Amazing Race, Myrtle Beach State Park, Myrtle Beach. (843) 238‑0874. 3  Sand Dollar Schooling Horse Show Series, Mullet Hall Equestrian Center, Johns Island. (843) 795‑4386. 3  Where the Wild Things Run, Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenel. (843) 795‑4386. 4  Customer Appreciation Day, all Charleston County parks, Charleston. (843) 795‑4386. 4  Palmetto Bluff Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K, Palmetto Bluff, Bluffton. (843) 815‑1718. 7  Drawing at Your Own Level with Lese Corrigan (part 3 of 3), Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706. 8  Moon Mouse: A Space Odyssey, Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center, Florence. (843) 661‑4444. 8–11  Hilton Head Wine and Food Festival, various venues, Hilton Head Island. info@hiltonheadwineandfood.com. 9–17  You Can’t Take It With You, Florence Little Theatre, Florence. (843) 662‑3731. 10  Pacing for Pieces and Piece Jam Festival, downtown, Florence. (843) 472‑5215. 15  Story Time at the Gibbes, Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston. (843) 722‑2706, ext. 237. 15–17  Anything Goes, Blanding Street Auditorium, Lake City. (843) 374‑8611. ONGOING

Weekdays through March 30 

Pee Dee Regional Arts Competition Exhibit, Florence County Museum Waters Building, Florence. (843) 676‑1200.


|

SC   humor me

When bettas get blue BY JAN A. IGOE

EVERY NOW AND THEN, I FIND MYSELF

in one of those hoity-toity offices with the luxurious leather sofas and a waterfall in the waiting room. The really fancy ones feature wall-to-wall aquariums filled with exotic tropical occupants to take your mind off how long you’ve been waiting and how much you’re paying to be there. Other times, there’s just a lonely, little betta fish hanging out in a Dollar Store dish. (Nobody ever said life is fair to fish, either.) As pets go, bettas are a bargain. First off, they’re fish, so you’ll never have to buy a leash or hire a fish walker. You won’t need insurance, because a fish won’t nip your neighbor’s kid or mistake your iPhone for a late-night snack. To find a pet requiring less care, you’d have to adopt a rock. (Some of you probably tried that in the ’70s.) Another plus: Bettas are extremely durable. Don’t let those delicate, fashionista fins fool you; these fish can handle themselves like tiny, water-logged Ninjas. They hail from the rice paddies of Southeast Asia, where nonstop floods and crippling droughts didn’t faze them. Instead, they learned to breathe air and do battle for puddle rights. The only thing they can’t survive is stupid owners—some of whom believe that bettas don’t need food and can get by in a half-cup of Clorox. That’s when they get depressed. Yes, just like us, fish may get down. They crave bigger bowls, leafier plants, entertainment and cleaner water (particularly desirable when your living room doubles as a latrine). Without it, they just mope around the tank. That’s when scientists like to study their brains. Professor Julian Pittman has been researching zebrafish because their neuro-stuff-I-can’t-pronounce is so similar to that of humans. Apes may be our

38

closest cousins, but not when it comes to anxiety and depression. How do they determine that a fish is clinically depressed, you ask? According to a recent edition of the Johns Hopkins News-Letter, it’s called the novel tank test.

How do they determine that a fish is clinically depressed, you ask? You take a fish and put him in an unfamiliar tank, which naturally stresses him out, so he loiters around the walls, nervously searching for an exit—much like me in a bar. But, after two weeks on antidepressants, you drop Mr. Z in a new tank, and it is party time. He’ll scope out the whole place from top to bottom and go flash the girls some fin. That whole wallflower thing? Gone. Life is even tougher on farm-raised fish. These poor things are so stressed,

SOUTH CAROLINA LIVING  |  FEBRUARY 2018 | SCLIVING.COOP

they’re virtually suicidal. For fish crammed into overcrowded tanks, it’s like spending your entire life on a city subway during rush hour. The poor claustrophobic creatures lose interest in everything, even swimming. They just float around waiting to die. Scientists call them “dropouts.” So, if you’re a fish parent, do everything in your power to prevent your babies from dropping out. Get the kids a nice, roomy tank with a view. Keep the water clean. Spring for some live plants, and rotate your playlists. With proper care, they’ll not only survive but thrive. And, maybe you won’t have to share your Xanax. JAN IGOE hopes February is a happy time and no one is suffering from end-of-­ winter blues. Like Dory says, you just have to keep swimming. Before you know it, we’ll be shoveling yellow pollen off our cars and paying hurricane insurance. Never mind; pass the Zoloft.


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South Carolina Living February 2018  

Highland games celebrate S.C. Celtic culture. Who wants chocolate? Release the hounds.

South Carolina Living February 2018  

Highland games celebrate S.C. Celtic culture. Who wants chocolate? Release the hounds.

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