COVID Inspires Lowcountry Chefs to Get Personal

Aug 25, 2020
File photo of chef's hands cutting green onions
Jakub Kapusnak [CC0 1.0] via Rawpixel

COVID-19 has caused many a business to adapt to changing circumstances in order to survive.  Such is the condition of many chefs in the Charleston area.  Since the advent of COVID has shut or slowed many restaurants, some chefs in the Lowcountry - and elsewhere - have found work doing private cooking for small groups or families right in their homes. 

Even before the much-anticipated Memorial Day weekend, Lowcountry beaches once vacant because of a potentially deadly pandemic, were crammed with people. 

"We were over run," says Isle of Palms Mayor Jimmy Carroll.

"People came out in droves that we haven't seen before in my 60 plus years of living on the Isle of Palms.

The Beach Debate

Pictures of the island showing tents and bathing suit clad bodies dotting the coast blew up on social media.  Some saw families responsibly enjoying the sun and sand.  Others saw a simmering petri dish.

This week on Walter Edgar's Journal we catch up with author Dorothea Benton Frank and her latest offering Full of Grace. Set in Hilton Head, SC, the book chronicles Maria Graziella Russo’s struggles with life, family and faith. Dottie Frank brings home another winning storyline…a must-have for the summer season.

Freetown mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr (left to right with International African American Museum CEO Michael Boulware Moore
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

Dressed in a brightly colored, patterned dress and wearing stylishly large, black rimmed glasses, 51 year-old Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr flashes the most fantastic smile. The mayor of Freetown, Seirra Leone in West Africa has travelled more than 4,000 miles to visit Charleston and South Carolina's Sea Islands. She must be exhausted. Yet she glows with warmth and enthusiasm.

"We're family," she tells an audience gathered inside the Frissell Community House at the Penn Center on Saint Helena Island. "We should be a bit closer than we have been to date."

Marsh Tackies Make a Come Back on Dafuskie Island

Sep 4, 2018
Estelita is the first Marsh Tacky foal born on Dafuskie Island in decades
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

With her windows rolled down, Erica Veit gives me a lift  at the ferry boat landing on Dafuskie Island.  The other passengers, mostly tourists, scramble for golf carts.  There are few paved roads and no grocery store, hospital or police.  The hour long ride from Hilton Head Island was a sign.  This place is remote and intriguing.

Lowcountry Bridge Reopens Early

Jun 2, 2018
South Carolina Department of Transportation Announces Plans for Wando Bridge with Local City Officials
Victoria Hansen

A major artery connecting coastal communities to Charleston and beyond is back open, one week earlier than expected.  South Carolina Department of Transportation officials made the announcement late Thursday and reopened the west bound lanes of I-526 to traffic Saturday.  Fortunately, the weather permitted.

"Well it's very welcome news, " said Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie.  "We  have 33,000 cars a day going out of Mount Pleasant over that bridge and  there are only nine lanes of traffice leading out of our town and two of them were lost in a moment's notice."

Former Slave Honored at James Island's Pinckney Park

Feb 27, 2018
Friends and family unveil marker honoring Simeon Pinckney on James Island.
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

James Island's Pinckney Park, with its colorful playground, iconic oak tree  and tire swing, is less than a  year old.  But its history goes back 150 years.  That's when a former slave bought the property just outside of Charleston.   It's still  thick with palms and pines that back up to a tributary of Parrot Creek.  His  name was Simeon Pinckney. 

"Most of the stories  that my mother told of him was him straightening someone out for not doing the right thing," said Jerome Harris.  He is the great- great grandson of Simeon Pinckney. 

Department of Transportation Commissioner Christy Hall on possible effects of Irma's winds on traffic.

Our next guest says his mom won't use mobile apps but she will send text messages.  So he designed a messaging service along with a custom built printer that allows her and anyone to text their orders to their favorite restaurants.  And the restaurants, he says, are loving it.

Mike Switzer interviews Greg Oleksiak, co-founder of Eatabit, an order-by-text-message service based in Charleston, SC.

When we think of entrepreneurship and business incubators, farming is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.  However, our next guest's organization recently made a big leap toward changing that perception when they won a national growth accelerator competition, winning a grant from the US Small Business Administration for its Dirt Works Incubator Farm.

Mike Switzer interviews Nikki Seibert, director of Sustainable Agriculture at Lowcountry Local First in Charleston.