Posts Tagged ‘Visiting Bonneau SC’

Tom Starland: An Interview With Myself – Part III, with questions and answers by Tom Starland

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Twelve years ago, back in the year 2000, I came up with an interesting idea – I would interview myself so I could address some issues on my mind. No one else in the media seemed to be interested so why not do it myself. My ego isn’t that big that I wasted space in our printed papers to include such a self-serving piece, and they were too long to include anyway. So they were posted only on our website (www.carolinaarts.com) – where they are today (Archives – Special Features), and every once in a while someone comes across them and really learns something about this paper and me – if they can get through it all. In reading back over them I have to say, if anything I’m consistent. My opinions have stayed the same on most of the subjects covered, although some of the subjects have gone through major changes or disappeared all together.

The first interview dealt with a lot of the paper’s history. Tom Starland: An Interview With Myself, with questions asked by Tom Starland was offered in May/June 2000. You can read it at this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/600tominterview.html).

The second interview dealt with a lot of frustrations about how bad things in the visual art community were – in 2006. Tom Starland: An Interview With Myself – Part II, with questions asked by Tom Starland was offered in March 2006. Things were bad, but who knew the bottom was going to drop out in 2008. You can read it at this link (http://www.carolinaarts.com/306tominterview2.html).

A lot has happened in the six years since the last interview – the economy went to hell, funding for the arts has been under attack, we stopped printing our paper and became an electronic publication, and we got a new President. And, a lot of things have stayed the same.

So in our 25th year of covering the visual arts in the Carolinas, first in Charleston, SC, then the State of South Carolina, and finally in 1997, both North and South Carolina – it’s time for the third interview to take its place in an issue of Carolina Arts.

Q: Are you a little surprised that we are doing this for a third time, considering the bridges you burned in the first two interviews?

A: The biggest surprise is that they still couldn’t find anyone better than you to do this. Or, were you referring to the fact that we have made it through 25 years of publishing an arts newspaper?

Q: I see we are going to have the same banter of the first two interviews.

A: Smart-ass questions deserve smart-ass answers. And, in response to your first one – yes, I am surprised that no one has replaced us in covering the visual arts in the Carolinas. Some have tried or think they will, but they have a rude lesson to learn. And I’m happy to let them learn it.

The main problem is that there is not enough profit in covering the visual arts in the Carolinas while we are still in business and in 25 years we’ve learned to deal with that reality. And, yes I’m surprised we made it through the last six years – which have been a nightmare of change – a changing market, a changing medium, change, change, change.

Q: I take it you don’t like change?

A: I hate all change unless it is easy and benefits me. Who likes change that is bad? We’ve had enough of that in the last six years. If someone told me I had to change the font we use in the paper – I’d hate that, just for the sake that it is a change of what I’m used to, but if they said it would double our readership and be as easy as resetting something on my computer – I still would fight it, but eventually would embrace it, but I wouldn’t like it. First because if it was that easy to double readership by changing a font – that would make me feel stupid for not doing it long ago. Second, because it didn’t take that much effort to change for the better. But, not all change is that easy.

Q: So what changes have been good?

A: Well, the big change of not printing the paper and going online with an electronic version of the paper was hard, but it turned out to be the best change we ever made – next to starting out years ago picking Apple computers to work on. Our readership has gone from a possible of 10,000 (the amount of papers we printed each month) to an average of 100,000 downloads of the paper each month.

A lot of credit for these downloads go to the people and organizations which help us distribute the paper to their e-mail list and friends and contacts. They help spread the paper beyond our reach.

Not printing the paper has saved a lot of trees, landfill space, and money. Although entering our third year online, we are still paying off our printer for previous printings of the paper before 2010. We are also saving a lot on transportation cost, but I feel a little cut off from the art community we cover by not delivering papers to it every month. And, the time spent delivering that paper was consumed in more time spent on the computer covering more areas of the Carolinas. We’re operating a lot more green then before and that’s good for the environment.

We are also able to publish the entire paper in full color vs. a color cover and the rest in black & white or in the end just black & white like we started. I never liked covering the visual arts in black & white. The paper also has active links in it so that readers looking at ads can click and go to the advertiser’s website or click a link from an article and go to a website.

Our ad rates also went down while the size of the paper stayed the same. Which was good for the art community as a whole considering the decline of the economy and arts funding in the last six years.

Q: So what changes were bad?

A: All of them. Like I said I don’t like change. The biggest complaint we have comes from people still stuck in the 20th century. They say they like to hold a paper in their hands to read it. They say they have trouble downloading the paper which takes less than a minute on most modern computers with any decent internet service – other than dial up. And, now they say there is too much to read.

Most of these complaints are really about people not being able to deal with technology. I understand, I feel their pain – I’m one of those people. I have to be dragged kicking and screaming to try something new. Linda, my better half, is an adventurous explorer when it comes to the computer. She enjoys telling me of things she discovers that can really make a difference and I have to be embarrassed into trying them – which turn out to be really cool things – real time savers. I hate it when she does that, but I also love the new tricks. They’re amazing.

So these folks who have a hard time adjusting to the new technologies – I know what they’re going through, but they are going to be left behind as the world changes – if they don’t change. Besides holding an iPad or any of the new tablets in your hands is a great way to read any book, magazine or newspaper.

Look, some of these folks who ask where they can get a printed copy make the mistake of saying they used to pick it up at some gallery or art space, but in the last few months it’s been hard for them to get by these places. We haven’t printed the paper in two years. These are not regular readers we need to be concerned with – apparently they didn’t read it that often to begin with.

The other change that is bad for me is the fact that doing this new paper and all the components that go with it – our three blogs, Facebook and now Twitter – has me chained to my computer. We’re providing more information than we would have ever dreamed of in a timely fashion – sometimes within minutes of receiving info from someone on the blogs and Facebook, but it all takes a lot of time to process. And, we are now covering all areas of the Carolinas that we hear from when we used to only cover areas where we got advertising support.

Now that’s a policy I’m still wrestling with. Ever since we began we have fought against being just another “you pay, you play” publication. You know what I’m talking about – a publication which only includes info about the people who buy ads. I’ve always felt that by including everyone, it makes the paper more interesting and informative. When we were printing the paper and delivering it we had to restrict our coverage to areas where we received advertising support and areas near those places. We did include everyone who sent us info on our website once we launched it in 1999.

When we went totally online and didn’t have to print the paper or deliver it, we decided to include everyone the same, but as the amount of info increases we find ourselves doing a lot of work including areas (some very large areas) with little or no support coming from those areas. When it gets to the point that we can’t handle it all at the expense of those who do support us – we may have to make some cuts of those areas. And, that day may be getting closer and closer.

You see, there are a lot of folks who think the media has to cover them as a service to their readers or at least that’s what they hope. They think that by sending the media a press release and saying, “Thanks in advance for helping us spread the word on this important event,” is all they need to do.

Q: I hear and read you asking people to send you info all the time. Is that just a ploy to get them to eventually advertise with you?

A: I know it’s the stupidest thing I do. I want to cover everything and do encourage people to send us info about their exhibits – that’s the focus of the paper – exhibitions taking place in the Carolinas – commercial and non-profit. It’s my Catch-22 (Google it folks).

I want Carolina Arts to offer the most informative and inclusive coverage of the visual arts in the Carolinas, (which we do already – but we want more) but time is limited and we are a business. We can’t do it all for free – all the time.

Q: So you do hope people who are sending you info will advertise or as you would put it – support the paper.

A: You will never get a cold call from us asking you to advertise. We have no advertising sales staff. Yes, we hope the light bulb will go off in people’s head eventually when they tell us how we are providing such a wonderful service to the community that they will one day support us with advertising. They could just send us piles of money, but I’m not holding my breath. Advertising gives you something for your money. Each month we send out an e-mail to those who have advertised with us if they want to again. Eventually people are taken off if we don’t hear from them again.

As far as the time factor goes, here’s the deal. I can process a well written press release in minutes and prepare an image sent in a few more and it’s ready to be placed in the paper. After 25 years you get a system down pat. What takes time is when people send you a mess that is incomplete and you have to go back and forth collecting the info they should have sent to begin with. Some articles take weeks to process. I don’t mind that when it comes to supporters, but it’s a pain when it’s coming from folks who are not. And they seem to always be the most drag on my time.

We expect more from people who are being paid to do this – it’s their job, but we are often disappointed, and we cut those who are beginners some slack, but eventually expect them to catch on, but you’d be amazed at how little people can remember from month to month – year after year. And then there are those special few who actually read the paper, study it and deliver their press releases exactly the way I would have processed it. Folks, their stuff goes in the paper first and is always in the best spots – if there is such a thing.

But getting people to send us info about their exhibits is the frustration that never seems to change. It’s the biggest problem in the visual art community – a lack of communicating and when they do – a lack of knowing how to do it in a professional and timely way. And that goes across the board – commercial galleries, non-profit art spaces and art museums. Some of the worst are colleges and universities – which have better resources at hand to do this job.

Q: I can tell you are tired of this subject by the look you are giving me. How did you like The Hobbit?

A: You are a hobbit.

Q: So how’s your relationship going with the SC Arts Commission?

A: You are a stupid hobbit. Ask me something that matters.

Q: So what do you think is next?

A: Well, you got me there. I have no idea what change will come next. I just know I won’t like it already and probably after years of doing it – what ever it is – won’t understand how it works. And, The Hobbit was great.

Q: What would you like to see happen in the future?

A: I’d like to be able to tell my computer what to do. That’s probably already possible, but either too expensive or to complicated for me. But, that would be nice.

I’d like to get more coverage and advertising from areas we never hear from. I know exhibits are being offered everywhere, we just never hear about them and the people who are presenting them probably think no one wants to hear about them, but I do and I think our readers do too.

Every once in a while I get some free time to do some research on the internet and you’d be amazed at the great exhibits that are taking place around the Carolinas in places that rarely get regional coverage – much less local coverage. I feel sorry for those art spaces that are in the area of coverage of a major city – which has a bunch of non-profit institutions presenting exhibits. Try getting coverage for the little guy when space in most publications for the arts is shrinking and these big institutions are always pleading for local coverage. Oh, it happens when a big name artist is showing in a smaller space – that’s news to these papers, but what about the talented local artist? There’s no room for them in arts coverage in major publications.

Some would say that’s the natural process of survival. The cream will rise to the top, but that’s a bunch of bull droppings. I know a lot of talented artists who will never get their spot in the sunlight, and a handful of less than talented artists who always seem to get their 20 minutes of fame -over and over.

And, I could get rich if I just got a dollar for every time someone asked me “why” I was including this or that exhibit. I collect $5 in my head for every time they ask why I placed that same article next to their’s. It’s a dog eat dog world out there when it comes to media coverage. And some what it to be an exclusive club with restricted membership.

Q: Yet you say you have to beg for people to send you info.

A: There’s the rub. We’re still living in a world where print media coverage is still on top. Who know’s how long that will last – I don’t know, but that space is getting harder to come by. There are a lot of folks out there that don’t think an online publication is worth anything.

Don’t get me wrong, I know coverage in our paper doesn’t compare to a local gallery space or artist getting coverage in a local publication that all their friends and neighbors will see. That’s an exciting occasion, but it also stops at the extent of that publication’s coverage – which is limited. An article in our paper has regional coverage which for an artist and gallery has the potential for growing their market. Coverage in our publication might get you a future show in another region of the Carolinas or a visit from a traveler who takes home some works off your gallery’s walls.

For folks under 30 – online media and social networking is their way of life, they don’t know much of anything else. For folks over 30 – it’s all so new and change is coming too fast for many of them. And, for most people the older they are the more they cling to the old ways. But, more and more older folks are seeing the light and are making the leap into the future and finding an amazing world out there. We’re hoping more and more of those folks who say they loved the old Carolina Arts will one day find us online and discover we are better than ever and that turning pages on a tablet is easier then re-setting the clock on their old VHS recorder.

But getting back to the subject at hand – we offer a great opportunity for any art space that presents exhibitions to get coverage in our paper. And, for the time being – it’s free. All you have to do is get the info to us by deadline. I’d tell these folks all about how they can get the info about doing that on our website at (www.carolinaarts.com) under the heading “How the Paper Works” – a phrase I’ve written and spoken a million times, but they’re probably not reading this. At least I hope they haven’t been reading our paper all this time and are still not sending us info.

Q: What else do you hope for in the future?

A: Beside computers that do the work when you tell them what to do and for people to promote their exhibits in Carolina Arts? Well, how about Star Trek style transporters, and non-fattening, vitamin enriched, ice cream? I’m ready for that kind of change – where’s that?

Oh, I got one. I wish someone, preferably Apple would come up with something that replaces Facebook. If Apple does it I hope it works better then them trying to replace Google maps.

Q: Well, I was thinking more about the visual arts.

A: Do I get three wishes – that kind of thing?

Well, I wish more people would buy art and buy it at galleries, art fairs, artist’s studio tours, and even online and say they did it because ofCarolina Arts.

I wish Americans would realize that funding for the arts is like the government funding other industries – like corporate farmers, energy companies, and the defense industry. Stop using the arts as a political whipping post. And, the arts should stop wasting some of the money they get from the public by giving the money to artists who insult the public.

And, I guess my third wish would be that I wish the SC Arts Commission and Carolina Arts were BFFs.

Q: The SC Arts Commission keep popping up. What’s that about.

A: Is about me pulling your chain and making people read on hoping I’m going to drop a bomb on them, but I’m not. Like a lot of folks my age, my Momma told me that if I couldn’t say anything nice about someone – don’t say anything at all. I don’t really want to be BFFs with them, they have enough of them already.

Q: Any closing statement?

A: Ya know, here’s another change. So much that I’ve talked about in these three interviews has stayed the same that there’s no reason to go over them again and again. But, here’s an answer to a question a lot of folks have asked me.

If I won the lottery tomorrow and they gave me $300 million in take home cash, the first thing I would do is call my cousin Joyce, who I promised would be my first call, and no I would not go back to printing Carolina Arts. I would definitely spend some money making it a better online publication, but I would not go back to print – ever. This is the future.

And don’t call me again for one of these interviews until another six years passes. I want to be surprised as to where we are then.

A Bike Ride on the South End of the Dike Around Lake Moultrie Near Bonneau, SC

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Here’s something to show that I’m not working all the time.

In the last month, as Charleston, SC, artist, Bob Graham would say – I’ve gotten back on my horse. That’s an inside Facebook joke.

Here at Bonneau Beach, SC, the headquarters of Shoestring Publishing Company, we live in what some people might think of as paradise. We live at the edge of Lake Moultrie and the Francis Marion National Forest – both man made in the mid 1930s by a government trying to pull Americans out of a depression.

The lake was built to provide hydroelectricity for rural Berkeley County and the forest was planted to recover land overworked by cotton plantations. Both projects created jobs for men where there were no jobs. Both projects still provide jobs, recreational opportunities, and a good chunk of undeveloped land. There’s a lesson there missed by today’s politicians, but we’re not going into that today.

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Here’s a photo of the old hydro dam (Jefferies Generating Station) and the Pinopolis Lock which can move boats from the lake down to the level of the Tail Race Canal, which then runs into the Cooper River going down to Charleston. The area of Lake Moultrie and the Tail Race Canal in Moncks Corner is in the same area of America’s first summit canal, the Santee Canal, which began operating in 1800 moving crops from inland plantations to Charleston.

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Here’s a drawing of the old canal

OK that’s your short history lesson of this area.

Over ten years ago I use to ride my single gear bike around my neighborhood on a route that took me ten miles. Eventually I discovered I could ride the length of the dike, holding back part of Lake Moultrie from our neighborhood over to Overton, another community on the lake toward Moncks Corner, SC, giving me a more interesting ten mile ride. The distance from our end of this part of the dike is about five miles to Overton. I was doing this ride almost every day when it wasn’t raining, too windy, too cold or too hot.

For some reason about a month ago I had decided to give our cars their once a year bath. During the process I got a look at my old bike stashed under the carport. The tires were both flat and it was covered in dust and cobwebs. After I finished the cars I got the bike out and pumped up the tires – they still held air – and cleaned it up and oiled the chain and gear. It didn’t look too bad – worn but still respectable.

The next morning I took it for a test drive and made it through a third of my old route. Man, when I got off that bike my legs were rubber and burning. It’s been awhile since I was knocking out those ten mile rides and I wasn’t 60 years old back then either.

It took about two weeks to get up to doing two-thirds of the route, but I was getting into the swing and getting used to the routine. One Saturday morning as I was making my first leg around my route and coming up to the spot where the dike begins – for some reason I went up that entry road to the entrance.

After 911, Santee Cooper, the power utility which manages the lake, got money from Homeland Security to build gates on the dike to prevent terrorists from driving a truck up on the dike and blowing it up or pouring poison into the lake. Oh, I guess I didn’t mention that the dike is wide enough to drive on and Santee Cooper’s security drives it everyday. Eventually they put a pedestrian gate in the fence as people who used to walk the dike for exercise complained and a bike can fit through it.

Funny thing, there are a number of lake access roads in our neighborhood that lead right down to the lake so anyone, any time of the day could ride into the lake and dump a truck load of poison into it. Of course those terrorists would be at great risk – after all this is Berkeley County and almost every household has an arsenal of guns on hand and every stranger has a hundred eyes on them when they enter the area.

So, I’m up on the dike – there’s a little breeze and it’s a wonderful morning. I’ll check it out a bit. I had been thinking about my old days of riding on the dike. By the time I hit one of the turns in the dike I realize I had gotten myself into something I hadn’t planned on and as stubborn as I am – I’m about to do something pretty stupid – I keep going.

By the time I make it to the other end of the dike where Overton begins, my butt is killing me and I’ve got to go all the way back. I’ve already gone over six miles and it’s at least six miles back to the house. The sun is a lot higher in the sky and it’s getting hotter, I don’t have any water, I forgot my sunglasses and had the wrong hat on. I had my cell phone with me, but there is not a lot of coverage in that area. It was all coming back to me how I used to do these bike rides – I was prepared. And, I’m 60 now.

What really hit me smack in the face is the reality and memory of why I didn’t ride the dike when there was a breeze. When the breeze is at your back on the first leg of the trip – it’s in your face all the way back.

Now, don’t think that this experience wasn’t a wonderful event. I was out in nature and seeing all kinds of animals – mostly birds on this ride. There were wild turkeys, egrets, great blue herons, osprey, woodpeckers, Canadian geese, plenty of turkey vultures, cormorants, all kinds of small common birds – a bald eagle and pelicans – yes, pelicans on the lake. Of course there are plenty of turtles, dragon flies, and bull frogs in the ponds behind the dike. I hadn’t seen any gators or snakes yet, but I know they are there.

I still remember the day I was on the dike and came across a dead ten foot gator that a boat must have hit and killed. It had washed up on the rocks of the dike. The head and teeth were huge. I’ve looked at the lake totally different since that day.

Anyway, on the ride back I was up against that great breeze I enjoyed earlier, luckily to my side most of the way but in my face for the last mile and a half. Near the end the dragon flies were flying along side me as were the turkey vultures – they could smell – old man down. At one point two pelicans passed me floating in the air – heading in the same direction. I had this feeling of – look behind you – and when I did, there was a third one just above my head, just a little to my rear and on the left. I hit the brakes and stood there thinking – Hey guys, I’m not that old yet. My story is not over.

When I finally made it home – talk about rubber legs and I couldn’t sit very well the rest of the day. But I recovered.

So this Saturday, a week later, I was more prepared and I took my camera and all necessary items. So here’s a little photo journey of a bike ride on the dike. It was a little earlier, so there was some mist or fog, no wind, and I went directly to the dike to start off.

Because of the mist I had to wait until I was about four and a half miles into the ride before I could take my first photo.

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This is a shot of the Overton neighborhood on the other end of this part of the dike.

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This was a group of Canadian Geese getting ready for their morning swim. They were coming from the National Forest side of the dike to a little beach at the Overton end.

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Here’s a shot of that beach. Santee Cooper has not filled this in with rocks to re-enforce the dike – I guess to give folks on this side a little beach area.

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This part of the dike runs behind the neighborhood. I continued to ride the dike behind Overton till the end. The gate for people to pass through was 20 feet down the side of the dike to the left on another access road, so this was the end for me today.

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Here’s a shot off in the distance at the smoke stacks of the Jefferies Generating Station. Santee Cooper now burns coal there – the hydro days are over. But, it’s a museum now.

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On the way back, here’s a shot at a backyard garden area of one of the residences in Overton.

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When I got back to that little beach I could see that the geese were swimming back to the beach so I got off the bike to see if I could sneak a picture.

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Here they all are.

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Here’s a shot at one of the public access parts of the dike. On Hwy. 52 which runs parallel to the dike for a while there is a picnic area, called the Canal, part of Francis Marion National Forest, where you can park and walk to the dike. And, where the general public has access to mother nature – some elements of that public always has to leave a sign of them being there.

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This is also where the Palmetto Trail comes onto the dike.

The Palmetto Trail (not completely finished) runs from Awendaw, SC, on the Atlantic Ocean all the way up to where South Carolina shares a border with Western North Carolina at Oconee State Park – a 425 + mile trail. A small portion of it runs atop the dike on the northern end of Lake Moultrie. This part of the trail is mostly through the Franics Marion National Forest and around Lake Moultrie and Lake Marion.

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Here’s a view of the back side of the dike. It should be noted that you can’t hear cars on Hwy. 52 passing by, but you will hear trains passing by on the CSX tracks that run between the lake and Hwy. 52. Those tracks run north to south. We see and hear Florida orange trains, coal trains, freight trains, and Amtrack – going by all day and night. When it’s quiet you can hear the trains blow their horns three miles away, but most of the time I just don’t hear it anymore after years of hearing them.

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You can’t see it very well, but there is a bald eagle with something it caught and then came to eat it on top of this utility pole. I’m using a pocket camera which isn’t too bad, but it’s not like a real camera with a real telephoto lens. You have to look close, but it’s there. We see and hear eagles all the time in our neighborhood. The pelicans are the unusual sight around here these days.

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Here is the two and a half mile marker. Someone has put half mile markers down for walkers I guess.

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Here’s a shot looking back toward the way back home – well before several turns of the dike.

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Here’s a shot looking back toward Overton.

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Here is a shot at what I call big bird poop – full of seeds.

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Here’s a shot at the results of big bird poop. Birds are great pollinators. They eat the fruit off of plants and bushes and the next thing you know, you have plants and bushes growing in the rocks – growing everywhere.

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Here’s a shot at the intake of water from the lake for the Rembert C. Dennis Fish Hatchery located between Bonneau and Bonneau Beach. They raise a lot of the fish to restock the lake – which now has two dams on the rivers flowing out of the lake to the ocean. There’s a fish lift on the dam at the Santee River.

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Here’s the intake pipe.

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Here’s looking down the backside of the dike to the hatchery.

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Here’s the last turn of the dike. You can see the Bonneau water tower in the background. Lake Moultrie now provides good drinking water for the region – thanks to Homeland Security – keeping those terrorist out of our lake.

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Here’s a couple of view of a little protected cove near the entrance to the dike on our side. At this point I spotted something down in the rocks I want to get a closer look at. So, I get off the bike and jump down off the road level of the dike.

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Here’s a view from down in the rocks.

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Here’s a sign of a former dike bike rider. I guess they didn’t make it home one day.

I am never surprised at what I find in these rocks along the dike. Anything that can fall out of a boat, be tossed out of a boat, or blow into the water from someone’s backyard – you’ll find washed up on the rocks, not to mention all the junk the fishermen leave there. And, mother nature contributes too.

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You’ll find dead fish, dead animals, dead animal parts, animal bones (turkey vultures) and parts of trees. What’s amazing is when you find a huge tree trunk that must weigh tons – washed all the way up to the top of the rocks. That shows how strong the storms are on the lake with such a shallow bottom.

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Here’s a closer shot of that little cove – closer to water level.

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Here’s the turtle shell I spotted from the top of the dike. A boat must of hit it and cracked its shell in half and then it eventually washed up on the rocks where – as Rudy Mancke, of ETV’s NatureScene says, birds turned turtle into bird. If it had been whole I would have taken it home as a real prize.

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This last shot is looking toward the end of my ride on the dike.

It turned out to be a two and a half hour ride. It takes a lot longer when you’re stopping and taking pictures – especially if you’re going to climb down off the top of the dike into the rocks. And, it took a lot longer now that I’m 60 – but, my legs were less rubbery this time, but my butt was still sore. TMI – sorry.

That’s an adventure here in what some people call paradise. We’ll get back to the visual arts – real soon.

P.S. – I received an e-mail from Willard Strong of Santee Cooper Corporate Communications clearing up and correcting a few things I wrote in my blog entry – some based on “myth” I guess. I want to make these folks happy as they provide my electricity and I like my air conditioning.

Here’s what he offered: First, “the hydro days are over” is not accurate. Santee Cooper’s hydroelectric operations (and Pinopolis Lock operations) have been going on continuously since Feb. 17, 1942, when the first unit at the Pinopolis Power Plant (renamed Jefferies Hydroelectric Station in 1944 for Sen. and Gov. Richard M. Jefferies). The five units at Jefferies Hydro (totaling 128 megawatts of generating capability) are still in service. Also, there is not a “museum” at the hydro plant, although there are old pictures on the wall of a room there. Tours are available. (Side note: There is the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center inside the gates of the Old Santee Canal Park, formerly the Old Santee Canal State Park, Santee Cooper assumed operation of the park over a decade ago).

Also, the “fish lift” you refer to is on the Rediversion Canal (not the Santee River) at the St. Stephen Powerhouse, constructed and owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and completed in 1983. As you may know, this is called the “Cooper River Rediversion Project,” although the Cooper River was never really diverted as the Santee River was, the Cooper’s flow was altered by Rediversion, as it was by the original diversion of the Santee River. This 14-mile long canal between Lake Moultrie and the Santee River is technically not part of the original Santee Cooper Hydroelectric and Navigation Project (constructed from April 1939 to December 1942), and is not part of Santee Cooper’s federal license to conduct hydroelectric operations. However, it is now an integral part of this fairly complex lake system. There are three hydro units at the St. Stephen Powerhouse and Santee Cooper receives the 84 megawatts it is capable of producing and Santee Cooper actually controls it remotely (turning it on and off when needed or when there is enough water to run it) from our energy control center at the Moncks Corner headquarters.

You, as a publisher, please indulge me on two style notes: We officially use “Tailrace Canal” (I know the S.C. DOT made signs on the bridge with two words and “Tail Race Plaza”). “Tailrace” is actually a generic word in dictionaries. The other is “Canada geese,” sounds awkward to say, but my trusty AP Stylebook says that’s the way to do it. If you’re interested in more history about us, we have “Powering Generations, History of Santee Cooper 1934-2009,” released last year and published by The R.L. Bryan Co. in Columbia. The book is available for purchase at the Berkeley County Museum. I am the museum’s board chairman. It’s only $25, a bargain by hardbound prices of today. Hope this helps you understand more about us. If you have more questions, I’d be happy to assist you.

Best regards,

Willard Strong
Santee Cooper Corporate Communications
Corporate Headquarters
1 Riverwood Drive
Moncks Corner, South Carolina 29461
843-761-4053