Thursday, November 30, 2017

USDA has been hanging dead vultures to ward off live ones in Mt. Pleasant

The birds are usually left until they deteriorate naturally

Posted by Adam Manno on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 6:12 PM

Hanging vulture effigies at Brickyard Plantation in Mt. Pleasant. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Hanging vulture effigies at Brickyard Plantation in Mt. Pleasant.
Scarecrows are not the only option for those wishing to ward birds off their property.

Brickyard Plantation, a residential neighborhood in Mt. Pleasant, enlisted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to hang three dead vultures on its property.

"The effigies are placed there by the US dept of agricultural [sic] at our request to deter the swarming turkey bulges [sic] that eat the caulking from our pool decks," said Brickyard Plantation community manager Victoria Austin in an e-mail obtained by the City Paper. "Please do not remove."

According to USDA Wildlife Services state director Noel Myers, the office has been working with the community since 2015.

"Effigies can be a very specific way to disperse black vultures," Myers said. "They're notorious for pulling windshield wiper blades off of cars and the rubber gasket off windshields, as well as scratching up cars."

And yes, they're 100 percent real.

"A lot of our effigies are from other projects we’ve done in the state, so a lot of times we’ll just take a carcass and we’ll get it hung in those areas," Myers added.

The birds are usually left until they deteriorate naturally. A single one is effective for an average of six to eight months.

"We, a lot of times, encourage loud noises like pyrotechnics or use lasers, kind of like little light pointers, or actual lasers that we use ... to harass vultures," Myers said. "We’re just trying to move them to a location where they won’t create a problem for somebody else."

The live vultures nest near a radio tower behind the Boone Hall farm store, causing damage when they migrate to Brookyard Plantation.

"They're protected by Wildlife, so we just have to deter them," explained Brickyard Plantation homeowner's association president Joanna Hoover.

The federal executive department has also hung the effigies in areas of New Jersey and Virginia. The vultures are not currently in any other Charleston-area community.

So if you're going for a morning jog near Brickyard Plantation, try not to be frightened by the ominous sight of a hanging, dead vulture. She's just there to scare off the ones who made it.

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Lindsey Graham today: Stop labeling Trump a kook. Graham in 2016: "I think he's a kook."

"One year later..."

Posted by Sam Spence on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 5:15 PM

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham hasn't exactly had a warm relationship with Donald Trump ever since the Manhattan real estate tycoon took up his most recent hobby as President of the United States. But he's come around. Graham's got to work with the guy in Congress and votes for most of the president's campaign promises have hinged on a few key votes, so they both have an interest to work together these days.

With Trump retweeting anti-Islamic videos, playing nice with alt-right conspiracy theorists, and generally walking through the world with impunity, there's a lot to crow about these days when it comes to 1600 Pennsylvania.

But Sen. Graham won't have any of it. On CNN today, Graham cried out for the media to stop its "endless attempt to label the guy as some kind of kook unfit to be president." And that's a fine thing to say, unless, hypothetically he labeled the guy a kook a year ago or something and said he was unfit to be president.

Roll the tape:

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Folly Beach's Andrew Manzi, founder of Warrior Surf, is among CNN's Hero of the Year finalists

Vote for him now through Dec. 12

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 5:03 PM

  • CNN Screenshot
How about some feel good news? Folly Beach resident, combat veteran, and Warrior Surf founder Andrew Manzi is one of CNN's top 10 heroes of 2017. Congrats, Andrew. You can watch his story below — and vote for him for title of CNN Hero of the Year online now through Dec. 12.

Manzi founded Warrior Surf in May 2015 with the goal of using surfing as a tool to deal with post-transition challenges for vets such as PTSD, moral injury, and survivor's guilt. Warrior Surf offers six week camps, which you can sign up for online.

Learn more about Warrior Surf at

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The Agenda: Clyburn, Pelosi call for Conyers to step down; Collins sought special treatment; More smokers in S.C.

School board emailed superintendent about daughter's position on magnet wait list

Posted by Sam Spence on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 12:10 PM

Emails show Charleston County school board member Chris Collins sought preferential treatment when his daughter was waitlisted at a county magnet school. Over the same stretch of time, Collins also sought to dramatically increase his own pay and that of his colleagues on school board. Source: P&C

Private Christian university Erskine College is looking to increase revenue by sponsoring a K-12 charter school program that could put the religious school in charge of millions of dollars in public funds. Index-Journal headline: "Praying for Dollars." Source: Greenwood Index-Journal

20 percent: The portion of South Carolina adults that smoke cigarettes, five percent higher than the nationwide average. Source: SC Radio

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham didn't mince words this week reacting to North Korea's most recent missile launch. Graham: "We're headed to a war if things don't change." Source: CNN

Nancy Mace won Tuesday's Republican special election primary runoff to replace Republican state Rep. Jim Merrill who resigned after being indicted as part of a statewide corruption dragnet. Source: AP

Congressman Jim Clyburn raised some eyebrows yesterday when he made a flippant remark regarding questions over Democratic leaders' reaction to sexual misconduct allegations against Rep. John Conyers that made it seem as though he thought there were different standards for elected officials. As his colleague Rep. Cedric Richmond was berated with questions from a reporter, Clyburn looked at Richmond and asked "Who elected them?" Then this morning, after Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for Conyers to resign, Clyburn said it would be in the "best interest" for the longtime congressman to step down. Source: The State, The Hill, McClatchy

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CofC panel on King Street brainstorms how to save local businesses

Boomsters and Doomsters

Posted by Adam Manno on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 10:49 AM

Panelists answer questions at a CofC panel on the gentrification of King Street on Nov. 29. - ADAM MANNO
  • Adam Manno
  • Panelists answer questions at a CofC panel on the gentrification of King Street on Nov. 29.
An informal panel of activists, business leaders, and academics convened at the College of Charleston to discuss everything from the Citadel Mall's heyday to the gentrification of upper King Street.

The discussion was organized by notoriously bearded CofC professor Paul Roof as a sequel to a similar panel that took place 16 years ago at the college.
CofC professor Paul Roof running down King Street circa 1984. - COURTESY OF PAUL ROOF
  • Courtesy of Paul Roof
  • CofC professor Paul Roof running down King Street circa 1984.

Some of the night's speakers lamented rising rent prices and their inevitable effect on the culture.

"What King Street was for me back then — it was raw — it was a lot of independent shops," said Recovery Room owner Chris "Boston" DiMattia, who moved back to Charleston shortly after graduating from CofC in 2002. "We're losing the talented people, the artistic people, because they can't afford to live here."

Panelist Jamee Haley, founder of small business advocacy group Lowcountry Local First, urged attendees to put their money where their mouths are and overlook big chains.

"We lost that grit and that innovation," Haley agreed. "If there's a business you love and appreciate, you need to spend your money there."

The heavy gentrification talk of last decade's panel was mostly replaced with possible solutions on how to keep local business thriving. Possible solutions included the implementation of formula districts, in which chains and national companies can operate freely, and the permanent closing of King Street beyond Second Sundays.

"I would pedestrianize King Street," said CofC political science professor and native Irishman Mark Long, who says that the scale and European vibe of King Street convinced him to settle in the city. "It would be very difficult given the centrality of the automobile to American culture to do that anywhere."

In the end, panelists agreed that growth isn't necessarily a bad thing.

"I’ve seen Detroit fall on its face and I don’t want to go through that again, so these are good problems we’re facing here in Charleston," said Bastiat Society Executive Director Brad DeVos.

Audience member Jennifer Saunders, an adjunct professor at the College, cited examples of cities with robust public transportation systems that help sustain local growth.

"We need to have better mass transit," Saunders said. "I say have less parking and more buses, or park-and-ride.

Roof ended the night by setting a date to reconvene, in 2033.

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