Saturday, December 1, 2012

Magnolia Cemetery Important Dates

I prepared this to show my students how to use Microsoft Word to create a nice looking timeline. See this link a great how-to video on YouTube for creating these timelines.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Beverly Donald: "Curator" of Cemetery Treasures

Beverly Donald, Magnolia Cemetery superintendent
For 31 years Beverly Donald has been superintendent of Charleston's historic Magnolia Cemetery.  She heads a small staff that maintains and preserves one of America's premier "rural" and "Victorian" cemeteries. 

These terms pertain to a movement in the mid-1800s that took cemeteries out of the cities and into the countryside where they were laid out to be parks for people to play and picnic, as well as to bury lost loved ones.  Victorian is the style of the elaborate, symbol-filled statuary and monuments that many well-to-do families erected during this era.

Donald also runs the cemetery's burial business. Far from a museum, Magnolia Cemetery still has funerals regularly.

When Donald came to Magnolia Cemetery in 1982 it was not nearly in the lovely, well-manicured condition visitors see today.  The old house that holds her office was, to put it kindly, in disrepair, as was the gate house at the entrance (to be blunt, they looked like a good push would send them to the ground!)  And much of the cemetery grounds was overgrown and weed-infested. 

The improvements she began making took a major setback during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.  But with hard work the storm damage was removed and repaired and today Donald has the grand old graveyard looking better than ever thanks to her keen management, strong staff, attentive board of directors, and an array of supporters around Charleston, the state and country who help the cemetery financially and in other ways.

I was excited on Nov. 29, 2012 to interview Beverly Donald who has been very supportive of my research and writing projects at the cemetery.

Q. What has kept you here all these years (as cemetery superintendent)?
A.  Well, I like Magnolia Cemetery; it is more than a job to me. My family is buried here and I plan to be buried at Magnolia, also. It's a fun place to work. A lot of people can't really say that about their jobs. I feel I have a very diverse job that allows me the opportunity to go outside and have personal contact with the people. I have responsibilities that keep me in the office a good part of the time but I still enjoy those tasks that take me outside. Researching the various family roots is a favorite part of my responsibilities. It's an exciting job that offers good benefits.

Q.  Did you ever think you would have such a lengthy career here?
A.  Never. I never imagined working at a cemetery! I was talked into coming into this job by the chairman. I finally came to Magnolia just to have lunch and meet everyone. I was clocked in that very day and I've been here 30-plus years.

Q. Would you say the cemetery has changed much over the years?
A. Yes, in many ways. As far as the land itself, the industrial encroachments have taken their toll. The wildlife is not what it was when I first came here. When I first came here it was very common to see bald eagles.  They had a nest they came back to every year. The deer don't frequent us as much. The fox, you don't see them like you used to. However, the repairs to the flood gates have made our lagoons healthier.

The office and gatehouse have been restored and some of them are in need of repairs again. The landscape has definitely changed for the better. We’ve added additional burial spaces by clearing some areas that were wooded. Some of these additions were a direct result of the Hurricane Hugo clean up. Which was not a bad thing, for this cleared land increased the longevity of the cemetery.
Before my tenure, all the office business, interment records, lot owner files and payroll were all performed by hand. We have since become completely computerized.

Q.  Do you feel protective of the cemetery because it is such a beautiful place and it has so much history? Do you feel you are a steward of Charleston history in a way?
A.  I actually feel I am more of a curator than a superintendent because of the treasures we have here. The landscape architecture itself, by Edward C. Jones (who designed the cemetery in 1849-50), is probably our greatest treasure. The sculptures and monuments are irreplaceable. During Hurricane Hugo in 1989 much of the wrought iron work was lost beyond repair. We worked hard to get a FEMA grant (to repair damaged monuments) and they really did a good job for us, putting stones back up, removing and replacing trees that were lost, which are themselves historic.

Q. You've called the cemetery a hidden treasure?
A. Definitely, it still is the best kept secret in Charleston.

Q.  This isn't a place the city necessarily promotes, or that the CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau) promotes, is it?
A.  Magnolia is not owned by the city. The city has a greater interest in historic buildings and parks in the downtown area because there's more a concentration of tourists. For-profit tours are not allowed at Magnolia.   

Q. And you're not a money maker, generating tax revenue for anyone.
A. Magnolia is a not-for-profit trust, on the National Register of Historic Places. Magnolia is tax exempt under the provisions of a 501 (c) 13 status, and registered with the South Carolina Department of Charitable Funds Act. Everything goes back into the endowment to maintain the cemetery. Magnolia operates off the dividends and interest of the trust funds.

Q.  Is it fair to categorize this as a Confederate cemetery?
A.  Well, it has the largest concentrated Confederate burial ground in the area but I don't consider it a Confederate cemetery because 33,000 people are buried here over 160-plus years made up of every profession. During the era of the Confederacy all men of a certain age that were buried here were enlisted in some branch of the Confederate military. So in that aspect it's heavily Confederate populated.

Q. If and when you retire some day, what advice would you give the new superintendent?
A. When I began here, I did not realize that Charleston was such a close-knit community. I quickly learned that most people buried here have some type of family ties. This is extremely important when preparing for a funeral. There may be three of four people with the same name, making it very easy to open the wrong grave space for an interment.

Recognition and exposure are of utmost importance for maintaining competitiveness with the cemetery community. Magnolia should always maintain a good rapport with the right entities. The new superintendent would need to have a good working relationship with all of the historic foundations, like the Preservation Society, the Historic Charleston Foundation and South Carolina Department of History and Archives.
Q. I know you walk the grounds daily, or almost daily, for exercise and also to keep an eye on things. Do you have any favorite parts of the cemetery? Or a favorite monument or two that you think are particularly beautiful or that you think are the best, or most interesting to you?
A. The Elbert Jones monument (pictured right). I can't imagine what that monument would cost to build today. It's just so architecturally perfect, it's such a beautiful thing. And my eye caught the monument for the doctors who served in the Confederacy with the wheat on it, I really like those monuments. That's over in the Gibbes Circle. And I guess the Gibbes Circle is one of my favorite places. I have my places that I like to go. I really like the Lowndes lot in the back that overlooks the marsh (pictured below).

Q. Would you encourage people to visit the cemetery, who haven't been here before, whether local people or tourists?
A. It's interesting you mention that because this used to be a place of picnics, you had to check your picnic baskets at the gate. The trolley car came to the head of Cunnington Avenue. Visitors and lot owners would spend Saturdays picnicking and cleaning their lots.  Now you don't see as much of that, though it is starting to pick up more. Since the Hunley crew was buried here (in 2004), that's brought a lot of people into the cemetery. I would venture to say we have close to 10,000 people a year.  I'm counting the tours. We allow military tours, we allow schools and colleges for educational purposes. We don't allow commercial tours. I feel anyone would enjoy the diverse resources we have to offer ranging from wildlife, the Confederate element, other local history, and the  architecture.

Q. During your three decades here, what are a few of the achievements you are most proud of?
A.  One is the process of restoring the cemetery: cleaning it up, setting office procedures into place that did not exist. Getting everything computerized was so significant. Also, we're self-sufficient now, we maintain all of our own equipment. I was proud of myself and our staff during the monumental task of Hurricane Hugo clean up. 

It's not all due to me, but it happened during my tenure. I have a very good board. The board is very interested in the cemetery and really helps me.
Q. So you feel confident the cemetery will be in good hands for decades and decades to come?
A.  I don't think it will ever divert back to the disrepair it was at before I came here. And I'm not saying it was in total disrepair but it was close.  It had started changing for the better when I came here under the current board.

Thanks Beverly Donald for this interview and for all of your fine work over the years at Magnolia Cemetery!   --Patrick Harwod

P.S. Charleston's Post and Courier ran this interview on Feb. 8, 2013. The coverage included an amazing Magnolia Cemetery photo montage by Wade Spees.


Timeline: Cougar Athletics

          College of Charleston President George Benson said recently that the school is actively exploring a move to the Colonial Athletic Conference (CAA) from the Southern Conference (SoCon). 
The school's board of trustees has approved the switch.  No timetable was given on when CofC may join the CAA.  The board will meet on Nov. 30 to further discuss the possible (probable) move.

          School officials acknowledge Cougar teams would face a great deal more travel time in getting to CAA opponents, several of which are in the Northeast. 
College officials say there are many advantages to leaving the SoCon in terms of CofC gaining greater exposure in the New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. areas.  More Cougar men's basketball games would be televised in those regions and nationally as well.
College of Charleston athletics began in 1897. The team was called the Maroons. 
Here are other key dates in CofC's sports history:

1897   The College of Charleston's Athletic Association is organized; the football
team plays it first game; baseball began the next year; basketball soon after
1903   The student body unanimously votes to change the College colors from
blue and white to maroon and white; first team name was Maroons
1922   Football cancelled after rule change prohibited freshmen from playing varsity sports
1939    A new Student Activities Center is built at the corner or George and Meeting streets

  CofC defeats Furman 20-17 in first game at the school's newly-built gymnasium

A number of intermural sports are added, including bowling

   The College joins the new Dixie Intercollegiate Athletic Conference; other members
include UNC-Charlotte, Lynchburg College, North Carolina Wesleyan College

    By a student vote the team name changes from Maroons to Cougars; the College
changes conferences, joining the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)

    The Johnson Center opens; Clyde the Cougar debuts as the CofC sports mascot

1983     John Kresse coaches men's basketball to the NAIA National Championship
1988    CofC athletics moves to the Division I level
1991     The College joins the Trans American Athletic Conference (other teams include
Mercer, Florida Atlantic, Florida International 
1994     Men's basketball teams plays in the NCAA Tournament for the first time
1999     CofC leaves the TAAC and joins the Southern Conference (SoCon)
2008     New arena opens (today called TD Arena)
2013     The College joins the Colonial Athetic Conference???  CAA teams include the
University of Deleware, Hofstra, George Mason, James Madison, UNC-Wilmington

(Source: "True Maroon: A History of College of Charleston Athletics"- published 2008)


Monday, November 5, 2012

Students Stress About Superstorm Sandy

(Click here to view a video version of this report)

   If many College of Charleston students seem distracted it may be because of what their families back home are dealing with: Hurricane Sandy and its destructive aftermath.
     CofC has a large number of students from Northeastern storm-stricken states such as New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maryland.
     New Jersey, in fact, sends the fourth most students to the College of Charleston after only South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia.  New York, Maryland and Connecticut are sixth through eighth, respectively in that category.  This  demographic data, from CofC's Office of Institutional Research, is from the Fall 2013 (recently updated) semester. 
     Here are the thoughts and concerns of several CofC students about Sandy's impact on their hometowns. Some of the students are anxious- yet optimistic- about things being back to normal- or close to it- by the time they travel home for Thanksgiving in a few weeks.

Ali Leberfinger
"It's been pretty intense. I've been corresponding with my family multiple times every day just to make sure everything is OK, that they're not impacted by all the flooding and devastation with trees falling down into people's houses and killing them, and people being stuck in their houses from falling trees, and people not having any power.
But luckily my family has been OK. They have power.  So it's been kind of a hot spot for neighbors who lost power.  So it's been good.  They got lucky."

                           RYAN COLBY
                                             FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J
Ryan Colby
"It's been really hectic, actually. A lot of my friends and family don't have power. Fortunately, my family does have power in their house. We've had a lot of my friends come over and take hot showers. I've been calling my grandparents to see how they're doing. A couple friends in New York City haven't been back to their apartments.  They don't have power and have no idea what's goin on in their apartment.
(At Thanksgiving) I'm worried it's going to be mass choas because I know the gas lines in my hometown are crazy and people are fighting over a gallon of gas. Hopefully when I'm home all of that chaos will be gone."

Chelsea Dentler
"My town got hit pretty hard. We lost a lot of the beachfront, and the beach club where I used to work is now destroyed. My parents were out of power for about six days.So I've been talking to them, seeing what they're doing. I know we had a tree down. And I've talking to my best friend who's in Spain right now. Her house is completely wiped out. So I've been updating her on that. Right now, all my friends and family are safe but my town is pretty much a mess right now.
(Thanksgiving) It'll be different and I'm kind of nervous to see what it will look like. But I'm definitely going home and when I'm there I'll probably help out, if I can."
                                                                                  KATHERINE SLUDER
                                                                                  BOSTON, MASS.

Katherine Sluder
"Well, it hasn't been that bad in Boston. My parents had to go down to our Cape house to take our boats out of the water. Last year one of my dad's boats sunk at the docks, so that was a concern for them. My parents do have a generator, so if they did lose power they would still be OK. My basement has flooded a little but it really isn't as bad as it is in the Connecticut and New York area so I'm thankful for that." 


Trevor Wilson
"It's been pretty hectic.  I have a lot of buddies whose houses are wrecked. My brother and 2-year-old nephew are without power and heat, so that's kind of unnerving. And apparently there are people in lines two miles long trying to get gas for their generators. And gas stations that don't have power so they can't give it to them and they're running out.

I talked to my buddy last night at, like, two in the morning and he said that grocery stores are completely out of canned food. So food's becoming an issue. It's mayhem up there. He said he's never seen anything like it.

(Thanksgiving) No, I moved down here to get away from bad weather."

      A report today from The Washington Post ranks Hurricane Sandy (estimated $50-60 billion) the second most destructive hurricane in U.S. history, behind only Katrina in 2005 ($105.8 billion).
     Hurricane Hugo, which struck Charleston (including CofC) and the Lowcountry in 1989, did nearly $10 billion worth of damage. 
     As of today, Sandy has claimed 110 lives in the U.S.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Edwin McCain Rocks the Coastal Carolina Fair

On Halloween night Alesia and I went to the annual Coastal Carolina Fair in Ladson.  It was the first time we didn't stay home to pass out candy to trick or treaters in, oh, 20 years probably.  Our kids are both in college so this year we decided going out to eat then the fair might be fun and different.
It was our first time to the Coastal Carolina Fair in several years. There was a nice crowd  Wednesday night, not as many people as I thought there would be.  Not as many kids in costumes either.
The Village People were going to perform the night we were there, but I'm not a big fan so I wasn't disappointed to hear, due to travel problems caused by Hurricane Sandy, the VP had to cancel. The real treat for us was seeing the "fill in" peformer- South Carolina's own Edwin McCain, and his excellent band.
McCain (right) is a South Carolina native. Born in Greenville in 1970 he attended the College of Charleston for a while and really got his start as a performer in the Holy City.
Before this concert, I hadn't been that familiar with McCain's music.  I know his career has kind of paralleled that of Hootie and the Blowfish, another Palmetto State group. McCain has had some hit singles and solid-selling albums, but not the early sensational success of Hootie.
But I'm a fan now! The small concert stage at the Ladson fairgrounds was an intimate venue to enjoy McCain's brand of acoustic rock. His deep voice even sounded good in an improptu version of the Village People's hit "YMCA." He asked for someone to bring up the lyrics on a smart phone, saying he'd sing "YMCA" if someone did, saying "I aint scared, I'll sing it."
And sing it he did! Above photo, McCain signs the words from a fan's phone.
A talented songwriter, McCain is backed by an equally talented band he's had for many years.
Larry Chaney (left) is an excellent lead guitarist. His solos were really good.
On bass (center) is Jason Pomar, also a dynamic player and performer. Both also sing.
Tez Sherard laid down a heavy, but rhythmic drum beat. All of the McCain's players are also from South Carolina except the bassist who's from Atlanta.
Charleston's own Craig Shields added an extra layer of excellence to the performance with his saxophone play, especially his solos. He also plays wind instruments and keyboards.
I really appreciated the musicality of Edwin McCain and his band. The crowd of several hundred was very enthusiastic and supportive. The weather was cool, and so was this veteran band of performers who put on a great show.
Edwin McCain has at least a few new fans after this show- yours truly, and my wife too.
I suppose a supreme compliment would be that I will surely buy some of McCain's music, I'd pay to see another show, and I've been telling people how great this show was.
What a great time we had at the Coastal Carolina Fair.  The fireworks show that started right after McCain finished his set was the best I've ever seen!  It went on and on, when I thought it would end, more and more colorful exposives and lots of crazy pyrotechnics I had never seen! 
Next fall we'll have to return to the fair and do more of the rides, games and exhibits.




Sunday, September 30, 2012

Build Portfolios and Personal Networks, Communication Advisors Tell Students

     "Any advantage you can have over other people is a great benefit," veteran corporate communicator Keith Lindenburg, chair of the College of Charleston's Department of Communication Advisory Council, told students Friday during a visit to my 9 a.m. multimedia reporting class.
     "Find something you're passionate about and turn it into a career," said fellow council member Mike Touhill, director of public relations for Kiawah Partners, a Lowcountry real estate company that is also developing properties in Ireland and St. Kitts, when speaking to my 10 a.m. multimedia reporting students.
     Both men have plenty of experience to back up their advice. Lindenburg has held high-level corporate communications positions at IBM and Deloitte, as well as executive jobs at major international public relations agencies Weber Shandwick and Brodeur Worldwide. He started out in journalism after earning a bachelor's degree in English from Fairfield University in Connecticut.
     Touhill's career also began in journalism when he was editor of the college newspaper at Virginia Wesleyan College where he would earn a degree in mass communications. Touhill says an internship at a boutique PR agency swayed him to pursue that field. He has since worked at the prestigious Martin Agency in Richmond, Va. (think Geico's caveman and gecko campaigns) then Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide in Washington, D.C.
     The PR veterans were on campus for the communication department advisory council's fall meetings, which included roundtable discussions with communication majors, mentor-protege program meetings, and classroom visits.

Keith Lindenburg
Mike Touhill
The advisory council is made up of 45 
professionals from public relations, corporate communications, news and digital media, and other media-related fields.

Lindenburg and Touhill both encouraged students to take advantage of the advisory council's expertise by networking and meeting with them, participating in council events and trips, and being proactive in seeking out their advice and help.

     "Use the advisory council," Touhill said, "It can help you get gainfully employed."
     Both speakers preached the importance of portfolios, saying students have to be able to show potential employers published writing. This can be student newspaper articles, organizational news releases and blog postings. Creative design and promotional materials can be part of the portfolio too, they said.
     Show that you can "flex a lot of different writing muscles," Lindenburg said. He said how social media such as Twitter and personal blogs can highlight "humorous, pithy, to-the-point" writing that can showcase the writer's style, skills and attention to detail. "You can't put things out with errors, you can't constantly make mistakes," he said.
     Touhill also stressed storytelling and content. "Come to me with stuff," he said of the importance of communication job candidates having writing samples.
     My multimedia reporting students are doing news blogs this semester. "Keep up your blogs after graduation," Touhill said. "Write about what interests you."
     Many companies now scour the social media history of job applicants. There are even agencies that specialize in doing this for employers. So it's essential to be smart about social media practices, both men said. Incriminating photographs showing questionable behavior, offhand remarks that may seem innocent can come across as racist, sexist or immature and unprofessional- all negatives that can lead to job candidates being dismissed.
     "There's so much good talent out there, it's so competitive," Lindenburg said. "Social media, that's one thing you can control."
     Touhill added: "The only thing you have in the world is your brand. Don't do anything that will make you look like a knucklehead so we can't hire you. Do it smartly."
     In today's professional world, Linkedin is the No. 1 social media site. Lindenburg advised students to make their Linked in sites as complete as possible because some companies look first at candidates who have 100 percent "profile completeness."  Linkedin shows a bar at the top of each person's home page showing that percentage.
     Both speakers encouraged the communication students to stay in touch with them. CofC communication department leaders have worked hard developing such a prominent advisory council.
     About the advisory council, my final two word suggestion to our students:  USE IT!

I was impressed with Alanna Hamilton who came up to Keith Lindenburg after his talk, shook his hand, introduced herself, thanked him for coming, and chatted for a few minutes with the prominent PR pro.
Ryan Colby also took the initiative for some one-on-one face time with advisory council member Mike Touhill.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Charleston Restaurant Week

Alesia and I are taking advantage of the great prices and dining opportunities offered during Charleston Restaurant Week.  First stop on a rainy (on and off) Friday night was Halls Chop House.
We'd been to Halls once before when it opened a few years ago at 434 King St. The ambiance, decor, food and service are excellent.  Prices are high though with steak and prime ribs dishes ranging from $36 (8 oz. petite cut) up to $85 (34 oz. Long Bone Tomahawk Rib Eye- Got to try that some day-- OK, probably not!)
But that's what makes Restaurant Week so great. At Halls, we enjoyed a three-course meal for $40 each. The appetizer, She-crab Soup, was amazing- the best I've ever had! This photo, along with my other food photos, do not do the meal justice. Pictures were taken with my flashless iPhone camera.
We had a really nice table upstairs in the corner. During Restaurant Week, the entree options are limited for the special price: 8 oz. Petite Filet With Yukon Gold Potatoes and Local Vegetable Medley or Blackened Scottish Salmon With Yukon Gold Potatoes, Local Vegetable Medley and Cucumber Yogurt and Dill Sauce.
We both had the steak and it was fabulous! Quite filling too, after the bread and soup. Dessert is part of the deal too!  I had the Southern Biscuit Strawberry Shortcake.
The shortcake was not short on flavor- delicious!  And Alesia enjoyed her Chocolate Pate.
We also had a very nice wait staff. The main one was a CofC graduate from 2008. She took this picture of us. And was thoughtful enough to turn up the lights so we could actually be seen.
Charleston Restaurant Week runs Sept. 5-16.  Check this website for participating restaurant.  There are something like 140 that are involved with prices ranging from $20 to $40. Click here to see the list.
Next weekend we're hitting High Cotton and maybe Gennaro's during the week!
Make your reservations ASAP because many restaurants are filling up fast.
Bon appetit!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Favorite Places: Folly Beach's Lighthouse Inlet

We're fortunate to have several public access beaches to enjoy in the Charleston area. One of my favorites is a part of Folly Beach many people may not know about. It's in an area long known as The Old Coast Guard Station, but today is offically called Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve.
On Folly Inlet with the Morris Island Lighthouse behind me
You'll find this treasure of a place by going all of the way north on Folly Beach's main road, past the surfers' Wash Out, until the road comes to an end. After parking, to reach the beach, you'll have about a 10 minute walk on the grounds of what used to be a U.S. Coast Guard station. The inlet can also be reach by walking along Folly Beach. The effort is worth it because from this remote vantage point, you have an excellent view of the Morris Island Lighthouse and Morris Island.  Morris Island, which has a very interesting history, remains undeveloped and can only be reached by boat (or air).
These folks also like this spot for a lighthouse photograph 
Built in 1876 to replace a lighthouse that was destroyed during the Civil War, the 161-foot Morris Island Lighthouse used to be on Morris Island but over the decades erosion has put it out to sea. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1962. Click here for more on the lighthouse's history.
The inlet is accessible by foot and bike- cars get no closer than half a mile or so
Folks willing to do a little walking or biking can enjoy a fabulous view of the lighthouse. There are lots of creative photo opportunities too.  A few years ago I ventured to this spot before sunrise to take pictures and video. Check my YouTube posting here to see those images.
Coastal birds like to hang out here too!
Along Folly inlet there's a nice stretch of beach for sunning, running, and biking. But swimming and wading are phohibited due to deadly currents.
Fishing is popular in these waters which are calmer than the nearby ocean.
Charleston County Parks and Recreation and the S.C. Department of Natural Resources now manage this property. Vandalism, graffiti, litter and unauthorized late night parties had been problems here, but much of those issues have been eliminated.
I, for one, appreciate recently added signs like this one that educate visitors about shorebirds they may see here, while also telling people to keep their distance from the birds and their nests.
In the photo above you see the Sullivans Island lighthouse in the background. The Morris Island light is on much more solid ground today due to the efforts of the Save the Light organization, which bought the beacon in 1999. At that point the structure was very unstable, listing and decaying inside and out.
Through Save the Light's impassioned leaders, members and other supporters, the lighthouse has been stablized and is on its way to further rehabilitation and restoration, perhaps even getting a fresh coat of paint one day.
I have long been an admirer of lighthouses and am a proud member of Save the Light. In 2008 I produced this short video about the restoration project, which happily has met all objectives to date, with more improvements coming in the years ahead. But much more fundraising is needed. Contact Save the Light if you'd like to learn more and possibly get involved too!
Another great thing about Folly Beach and "The Edge of America"- Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve. It's open daily and worth the extra effort to see if you haven't been yet!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Welcome Back Cougar Nation!

It's so nice to see our campus buzzing and bustling with activity again. But we could have done without all the torrential rains and street flooding on Tuesday of this week! Was that you I saw kayaking in The Market or water skiing up Calhoun Street??? 

Anyway, it was as quiet as a skeleton this summer so it's great to have everyone back!