Palmetto Provides Bird’s Eye View of Nature

Palmetto Provides Bird’s Eye View of Nature

I think he’ll be to Rome
As is the osprey to the fish, who takes it
By sovereignty of nature. -Shakespeare

Our local power provider, Palmetto Electric Co-op, is offering the community a chance to learn more about majestic raptors in our midst.

For years electric transmission towers have served as nesting homes for the migratory Osprey. As you drive across the Intracoastal Waterway to Hilton Head Island, you can spot the Ospreys congregating on the towers during the spring and summer months. Another tower—in Palmetto Electric’s own backyard—has also served as home to Osprey since 1988.

Each spring our feathered friends return to reside high atop the communications tower that overlooks Palmetto Electric’s Hilton Head Island operations center. This year new residents have taken over the nest and are settling in for the summer. Join Palmetto Electric in our second Osprey season as we get a bird’s-eye view thanks to a Web camera mounted nearby.

Osprey, commonly known as a “seahawk,” live to be 20 or more years old. They mate for life and migrate to South America and back every year. Their diet is 99% fish.

Click here for Palmetto’s Osprey Blog. Or here to hear the Osprey’s call.

A Hyperlocal Post: Saturday In Port Royal

A Hyperlocal Post: Saturday In Port Royal

Port Royal is a charming community tucked into the marsh between Paris Island and Beaufort. It has an historic downtown like Beaufort, Bluffton and Savannah. Hilton Head doesn’t offer this, and it’s a flaw in their carefully-crafted design, in my opinion.

See more Port Royal on Flickr

One of our favorite restaurants in the area, Bateaux, recently relocated to historic Port Royal from Lady’s Island. Today, we ventured over to try Old Towne Coffehaus and McPhearson’s Serious BBQ, both of which were excellent.

We walked around a bit and saw lots of For Sale signs on homes and business properties. We also saw a new development going in, and evidence of others. Port Royal, like Bluffton, is being discovered. Marshfront living is alluring, there’s no doubt about that.

Before heading back to this side of the Broad we motored up to Boundary Street to find Higher Ground in its new location. Of course, my shoe radar went off and it brought me in direct contact with a pair of Keen’s in my size at 50% off retail. Who can resist a bargain?

Interestingly, there’s a new microbrewery in town in the next retail bay over from Higher Ground. Brewer’s Brewing Co. is a 7 bbl, 90 seat brewpub and claims to be a green operator. I ordered a Brickyard IPA and was impressed with the intense hop profile. Brewer’s says it’s one “for all you hop heads out there” and it is.

p.s. While drinking iced espresso at the Coffeehaus, I picked up the front page of today’s Charleston Post & Courier and smiled when I saw my friend Phil Sellers there. The paper is interested in his CityTrex startup, as well they should be.

Obama Wallops Competition In Palmetto State

Obama Wallops Competition In Palmetto State

Fall Saturdays in South Carolina are known for big hits and rough play. But not in January. January is more genteel. Except for yesterday. Yesterday, as the votes were counted in the Presidential primary, all the sporting analogies came out.


John O’Connor at The State got in on the action with a racing allusion.

Barack Obama left the Democratic field in his red clay dust Saturday, easily winning South Carolina’s first-in-the-South Democratic presidential primary.

Second place finisher, Hillary Clinton jetted off to Nashville, wanting to put South Carolina behind her, quick like. Despite his third place finish in the state he won four years ago, John Edwards pledged to continue to fight for those with no health insurance, the poor and those worried about their jobs.

“Your voice will be heard in America and it will be heard in this campaign,” Edwards said.

Obama supporters, such as former Gov. Jim Hodges, said the margin of victory bodes well for later states. Obama’s win, he said, cannot be written off as Jesse Jackson’s 1984 and 1988 S.C. caucus victories were. Sadly, for Bill Clinton, he did suggest just that yesterday afternoon, mid-route.

“It was a first round knockout,” Hodges said. “(Jackson) didn’t win like this. Nobody’s won like this.”

BONUS CLICK: Obama’s victory speech from Columbia, SC.

Humor Me In ’08

Humor Me In ’08

As a South Carolina resident and periodic voter, I’m sorely disappointed that I will not be able to cast a vote for Charleston native Steven Colbert in the upcoming Democratic primary.

According to MTV, the executive committee of the South Carolina Democratic Party shot the funny man down on November 1, despite the fact Colbert paid the $2,500 filing fee necessary to get into the race.


Colbert’s bid was voted down 13-3. Using random criteria such as whether the candidate was recognized in the national news media as a legitimate candidate and whether he’d actively campaigned in the state, the committee put the kibosh on the Colbert bid.

One of those who voted in favor of certifying Colbert was South Carolina Representative and social-work administrator Gilda Cobb-Hunter. She said having Colbert on the ballot would be a good way to bring a national spotlight on issues of concern to the Palmetto state. “Also, quite frankly, I think we — and I mean elected officials and party officials — take ourselves a bit too seriously and I think an injection of humor would have added to the process.”

According to Wonkette, one of the humorless ones is Waring Howe, who said, “Over my dead body will Colbert’s name be on the ballot.”

A recent poll of likely 2008 voters showed that in his short time in the running, Colbert was coming in at 2.3 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary, which put him in fifth place above Governor Bill Richardson (2.1 percent), Congressman Dennis Kucinich (2.1 percent) and former Senator Mike Gravel (less than 1 percent).

Colbert said on his show recently, “ABC News says my campaign is ‘no joke.’ I ask you, is anyone saying that about Richardson or Biden?”

Silver Puts Hollywood Dollars To Good Use

Silver Puts Hollywood Dollars To Good Use

Yemassee—Hundreds of sightseers got an eyeful on this crisp November weekend, as history and architecture buffs from as far away as Virginia and Florida made their way to the rural northwest corner of Beaufort County. The reason for their journey? Auldbrass, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterworks and his only project in the Lowcountry.

see my entire Auldbrass Flickr set

Wright started work on Auldbrass in 1939 and continued to improve the project until his death in 1959. The plantation–as all such properties are known in these parts–was commissioned by an industrial engineer from Michigan, C. Leigh Stevens. After Stevens’ passing, his daughter lived on and maintained the property for 20 years, before selling it to a group who used it as a hunting lodge.

Modern day Auldbrass began in 1986 when Joel Silver, the famous (and rich) Hollywood producer came on the scene. Silver hired Eric Lloyd Wright, the legend’s grandson, to help restore the place to its original magnificence. The pair had previously joinded forces to restore Wright’s “Storer House” in Los Angeles.

Thanks to Silver’s generosity, the public is invited to see the property once every two years. The showing is coordinated by Beaufort County Open Land Trust.

Education Is The Fundemental Building Block

Education Is The Fundemental Building Block


The town that helped end school segregation offered Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a backdrop Thursday to offer a variation on a familiar theme: the two Americas.

“We still have two school systems in America,” he told a group gathered in the library at Scotts Branch High School. “We have one for the affluent and one for everybody else.”

Edwards’ remarks came in the town that spawned the Supreme Court ruling that, in 1954, ordered the desegregation of schools. It was part of a daylong tour of S.C. counties known as the “Corridor of Shame” for their impoverished schools and economies.

Edwards pushed a litany of remedies for failing rural schools. Among other things, he would offer universal preschool, a bonus of up to $15,000 to teachers in needy schools, and a new “teaching university” he compared to West Point. It would offer a free education to those willing to commit to teaching.

[via The Charlotte Observer]

Bluffton Not Exactly Known For Being Young And Restless…Until Now

Bluffton Not Exactly Known For Being Young And Restless…Until Now

Palmetto Bluff is so Hollywood. A couple of years ago, Oscar attendees received free vacations at the exclusive May River resort. Now, the property is benefitting from free advertising care of the CBS daytime soap opera “The Young and the Restless.”


On the sopa, characters Nikki and Victoria Newman are busy developing fictitious “Clear Springs,” a community taking its cues from the very real Palmetto Bluff.

Palmetto Bluff gets this free publicity in exchange for providing the show with artwork to use as a prop, which is a pretty sweet deal considering product placement deals can run into the millions of dollars.

Tom Gardo, a spokesman for the Inn at Palmetto Bluff commenting on incremental business said, “It’s been great for us.”

Crescent Resources, a unit of Duke Energy, developed the property. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is run by California-based Auberge Resorts.

[via The Island Packet]

Lowcountry Organics

Lowcountry Organics

According to The Beaufort Gazette, St. Helena farmer Sara Reynolds, 56, introduced her newly certified organic produce to the public Wednesday at a new market off U.S. 21 behind Gullah Grub restaurant.

photo by Bob Sofaly

The market is still in its early stages, but organizers hope it will include other local farmers interested in growing produce using fewer chemicals.

From noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays at the market, Reynolds will sell an array of organic seasonal produce including tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, cantaloupe, watermelon, bell peppers and yellow squash for $15 a box.

The mixed produce boxes are roughly enough to add to recipes to feed a family of three for a week and must be reserved in advance.

For more information search Local Harvest, an online directory of organic farms, farmers and farmers’ markets.

Building The Palmetto State’s Produce Brand

Building The Palmetto State’s Produce Brand

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is embarking on a branding campaign to benefit the state’s farmers and rural communities.

From the official Press Release:

The new Certified SC branding campaign was designed to stir-up state pride and loyalty, and change South Carolinians from consumers into advocates and customers who ask for and prefer Certified SC Grown products – driving the demand for the quality, diversity and availability of homegrown products and contributing to rural economic development for the state.

According to The State, the campaign is being paid for with a one-time $600,000 allocation from the state Legislature.

The effort comes at a time when consumers are growing savvier about the food they eat and demanding more information about where it comes from and how it’s grown. Recent bouts with contaminated spinach, peanut butter and pet food have placed the issue on the national and international stage.

[UPDATE] Here’s another post I made about the state’s economic development needs, which are plentiful. South Carolina’s unemployment rate was 5.8% in April, 2007—one of the worst in the nation.