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Latest News in Downtown Charleston, SC

Confederate Marker Fight May Send SC and Charleston to Court

This photo provided by the city of Charleston, S.C. shows a historical marker honoring Robert E. Lee in Charleston, S.C. South Carolina's top lawyer and Charleston appear to be heading to court to figure out if the city broke a state law protecting Confederate memorials when it removed a marker commemorating a rebel general from the front lawn of a public school. The stone memorial calling the street outside the school the “Robert E. Lee Highway” was removed in July at the request of leaders at the Charleston Charter School for M...

This photo provided by the city of Charleston, S.C. shows a historical marker honoring Robert E. Lee in Charleston, S.C. South Carolina's top lawyer and Charleston appear to be heading to court to figure out if the city broke a state law protecting Confederate memorials when it removed a marker commemorating a rebel general from the front lawn of a public school. The stone memorial calling the street outside the school the “Robert E. Lee Highway” was removed in July at the request of leaders at the Charleston Charter School for Math and Science in downtown Charleston, city officials said. (City of Charleston via AP) The Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's top lawyer and Charleston appear to be heading to court to figure out if the city broke a state law protecting Confederate memorials when it removed a marker commemorating a rebel general from the front lawn of a public school.

The stone memorial calling the street outside the school the “Robert E. Lee Highway” was removed in July at the request of leaders at the Charleston Charter School for Math and Science in downtown Charleston, city officials said.

The highway was never constructed, so city officials decided the monument didn't fall under the state's Heritage Act, which protects statues, street names, markers and anything else considered historic from being changed or removed without permission of the state Legislature.

State Attorney General Alan Wilson sent a letter Thursday to Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, saying the city must either restore the monument to the school or get seek permission from the General Assembly to move it.

"Unless the Lee Memorial is restored to its rightful place in preserving history, we will go to court to uphold the Heritage Act. The rule of law must prevail," Wilson wrote in his letter.

Lawyers for the city are working on a formal response to Wilson's letter, but said they thoroughly reviewed the request and found it followed the Heritage Act and a state Supreme Court ruling in September that upheld the law but struck down a requirement that two-thirds of the General Assembly must approve a move or name change.

“Courts exist to resolve sincere differences of legal opinion, which is what we have in this case,” Charleston spokesman Jack O’Toole said in a statement.

Several cities, counties and universities across the state have wanted to remove memorials or the names of segregationists from buildings, but none of them have been as aggressive as Charleston.

The city removed a statue of former U.S. Vice President and slavery supporter John C. Calhoun from a pedestal that towered over downtown in the summer of 2020. Wilson's office said it was allowable because the statue was not on public property and didn't honor an event covered by the Heritage Act.

The Heritage Act became law in 2000 as part of a bill that also removed the Confederate flag from the state House and Senate chambers and from flying above the Statehouse dome. It specifically protects monuments from 10 wars — from the Revolutionary War to the Persian Gulf War. It also protects monuments honoring African Americans and Native Americans as well as a catchall phrase of “any historic figure or historic event.”

The Robert E. Lee monument at the Charleston school was placed there in 1947 and is one of several similar markers placed on roads around the state by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The group placed its marker in Columbia as a program that “glorified the Confederacy, explained secession as a political act rather than a defense of slavery, and vilified the federal government’s empowerment of African Americans during Reconstruction,” according to the Historic Columbia preservation organization.

The American Heritage Association, which is suing over the removal of the Calhoun statue, also is threatening a lawsuit against the city over the removal of the Lee marker.

“Lee’s virtues and character are timeless, and they are worthy of emulation for all generations of Americans to come,” association board member Kyle Sinisi said in a statement.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Dry bottle shop opening in Downtown Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Alcohol has always played a dominating role in the American social scene, but now more consumers are looking to trade in their favorite spirits for a booze-less version.The non-alcoholic beverage business has exploded in the last two years with sales of alcohol-free wine, beer, and even liquor rising by 33.2% in the past year totaling $332 million in sales, according to Nielsen.A growing national trend, a gap in the Charleston market, and her own personal desire to cut back are what inspired Emily Heint...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Alcohol has always played a dominating role in the American social scene, but now more consumers are looking to trade in their favorite spirits for a booze-less version.

The non-alcoholic beverage business has exploded in the last two years with sales of alcohol-free wine, beer, and even liquor rising by 33.2% in the past year totaling $332 million in sales, according to Nielsen.

A growing national trend, a gap in the Charleston market, and her own personal desire to cut back are what inspired Emily Heintz to launch Sèchey, a one-stop-shop for the booze-free drinker.

“[the concept] fits in perfectly,” Heintz said. “We are designed for the sophisticated consumer who wants an elevated experience.”

Heintz launched Sèchey online back in October, but said in the past few months, her business has skyrocketed. The product list featured about 15 brands at the start and now has nearly 30.

“It’s far exceeded our expectations,” she said, adding that the reaction from customers has been overwhelmingly positive.

“They didn’t know this existed and they didn’t know how great alcohol-free beverages could taste,” she said. “The feedback has been that they’re surprised by the level of sophistication in the beverages and that some of the brand-makers come from a sommelier background.”

Now, Heintz is expanding the brand with a physical storefront on King Street where shoppers can come in, sample one of her popular brands, then stock their at-home bar.

One of her best-selling options has been a spiritless Kentucky 74 whiskey.

“You own your relationship with alcohol, we just provide alternatives,” she explained. “So, one of my favorite ways to sell the spiritless is halfsies, so mix it with your favorite bourbon and it reduces the alcohol content, you don’t really have a headache the next day, and you can enjoy your beverage.”

These alcohol-free beverages are designed to taste and feel like the real thing, with some even able to mimic the effects of alcohol in one’s body using adaptogens, additives, and eutrophics.

While the space primarily serves as just a bottle shop, for now, Heintz plans to convert part of the space into a dry bar, a place where drinkers and sober people alike can enjoy a night (or day) out. Her hope would be to have a dry-ish bar where the majority of options are nonalcoholic or low-alcohol.

“I’d like to open a beverage concept that flips the script which is led by unleaded drinks,” she said. “This is our cocktail menu, it just happens to not have alcohol.”

The dry bar and event space are set to open in time for Charleston Food + Wine Festival in early March.

Ultimately, Heintz has a vision for a more-inclusive drinking culture in the Lowcountry.

“Sometimes it’s just about having something in your hand that tastes great and it doesn’t have to have alcohol in it,” she said. “We want to make people who don’t drink or want to take a day off feel welcome and not judged.”

The Sèchey dry bottle shop located at 420 King Street opens this week.

Check out these 5 Charleston-area wine bars

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- It’s National Drink Wine Day! Whether you prefer red, white, or rosé, it is a day to uncork your favorite bottle and raise a toast.And just in case you needed another excuse to celebrate, there is evidence that moderate wine drinking can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and Type II diabetes. Wine is full of antioxidants and can help boost your immune system, too!So if you’re looking to try out a new wine or just want to celebrate, check out these 5 wine b...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- It’s National Drink Wine Day! Whether you prefer red, white, or rosé, it is a day to uncork your favorite bottle and raise a toast.

And just in case you needed another excuse to celebrate, there is evidence that moderate wine drinking can lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and Type II diabetes. Wine is full of antioxidants and can help boost your immune system, too!

So if you’re looking to try out a new wine or just want to celebrate, check out these 5 wine bars:

SAVI Cucina Wine Bar

Located in Mt. Pleasant’s Town Center, SAVI Wine Bar has an extensive wine list ensuring that everyone will be able to find one they like! In addition to wine by the glass selections, there are more than 150 bottles to choose from and an option for a sommelier-selected flight. SAVI has a full dinner menu and happy hour from 4-6 daily!

Ardoa Wine Bar

For those looking for a bit of a “choose-your-own-adventure” experience, check out Ardoa Wine Bar in Mt. Pleasant. Using self-service dispensers, customers can sample a variety of wines. Simply open the tap and let it flow! Worried about getting hungry? Ardoa has a few French-inspired options to snack on including charcuterie, foie gras, cheeses, and more.

Uncork Charleston

Another self-service wine bar, Uncork in Downtown Charleston has more than 40 wines to sip your way through. Customers can snack on a menu of gourmet charcuterie, cheeses, pasta, salads, sandwiches, tapas, and sweets. Uncork has a happy hour daily 5 pm-7 pm that features 15% off wine, half-off craft cocktails, and discounted select appetizers.

Accent on Wine

Head to either the North Charleston or Summerville location to try out Accent on Wine. In addition to a wine bar, there is also a shop, so customers can take their favorite bottle home with them. Offering over 30 wines by the glass and over 1000 by the bottle, Accent on Wine has a choice for every wine drinker. Is someone in your group not a huge fan of wine? They serve over 50 craft beers and a few nonalcoholic drinks that will pair perfectly with a cheeseboard.

Wine & Company

If you’re looking for a private way to celebrate, grab seven or more of your closest friends and family and head to Wine & Company in Downtown Charleston for a private tasting. When you enter, you’ll be greeted with a glass of bubbles to start your evening. Then you’ll be able to sample a hand-picked selection of 5 wines paired with cheeses and charcuterie. A sommelier will even be there to guide the group through the tasting.

Life science recruitment expert explains how Charleston, SC, is attracting top talent from across the globe

The life sciences industry in Charleston is growing fast. As more and more businesses and professionals are drawn towards the area, there is high demand for accomplished leaders to spearhead the sector’s growth. by Charleston Regional Development AllianceExecutive search consultant Joyce De Leo is doing her part to find these individuals. She spent a 25-year career researching and teaching medicine at e...

The life sciences industry in Charleston is growing fast. As more and more businesses and professionals are drawn towards the area, there is high demand for accomplished leaders to spearhead the sector’s growth.

by Charleston Regional Development Alliance

Executive search consultant Joyce De Leo is doing her part to find these individuals. She spent a 25-year career researching and teaching medicine at esteemed institutions in the north-eastern US, earning a PhD in neuropharmacology, and establishing a start-up pharmaceuticals company focused on treating chronic pain. She now works for executive search company WittKieffer, where she recruits talent for high-level leadership roles in healthcare and academic medicine. Last year, De Leo relocated from Boston to Charleston after falling in love with the region and recognising its rich opportunities for market growth.

De Leo is not the only professional moving to Charleston from the US’s more well-known hubs of life sciences activity like Boston, San Francisco and San Diego – as well as from numerous international locations. An increasing number of people are recognising the growth opportunities for life sciences in Charleston, and the talent pool and job market are growing rapidly. In the past couple of years, De Leo believes it has “really exploded”.

“What we find now with Covid-19, and in the US especially, there is a gravitation away from these big cities,” she explains. She cites her own reasoning as a combination of social isolation in the cold of Boston with the realisation that new ways of working have given businesses many more options when it comes to location. As a result, companies are no longer restrained by outdated views that inextricably link a city or region with a specific sector due to historic reasons.

As many other life science professionals come to similar revelations, De Leo believes it is a key reason why a charming smaller metro area like Charleston – where quality of life is high – is poised to become the next epicentre for life sciences on the US map.

“It is becoming a draw from the north to bring talent,” says De Leo. “Charleston is also becoming more international; I am talking to European companies and they are seeing this area as a place to build divisions.”

Changing relationships between industry and academia

Behind every healthy life sciences market is a strong academic community founded on a prominent health system. De Leo has recruited multiple leaders within Charleston’s Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the oldest medical school in the south and the powerhouse behind much of the area’s appeal.

“What I see in my work as a search consultant is a shift from industry doing it all to more partnerships with academia, to leverage their discoveries and build companies around them,” she observes. “Because of this ability to collaborate with excellent scientists and researchers at MUSC and other area universities, Charleston has become a major strategic market for life sciences.”

Another shift De Leo has noted in recent years is the number of academic leaders and scientific researchers eager to translate their discoveries by moving into industry. For many, Covid-19 is once again catalysing this big life decision. What is more, many pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies are eager to recruit them. Certain skills of adaptation and the ability to work in a fast-paced environment are important requirements in the academics making this transition.

In Charleston, the industry’s collective drive for innovation and collaboration provides the perfect space for these skills to flourish. Meanwhile, a supportive network of funding and commercialisation resources helps local entrepreneurs turn business aspirations into reality. In addition, the positive impact of groups like Charleston Regional Development Alliance (CRDA) offers the bridge needed to ensure companies are collaborating and partnering, says De Leo.

“Before Covid, CRDA organised a lot of dinners and social events,” she explains. “As soon as we can get back to that on a more regular basis, I think it will help build this area even more. There is just such an amazing feel to Charleston. People are friendly. A lot has to do with the weather. People are outside more; they are happier, they smile. I think that produces a nice collaboration in this field.”

“I have never had trouble recruiting to this area”

Perhaps it is this sense of southern hospitality that makes a lot of people visiting Charleston simply not want to leave. For De Leo, the ability to recruit people into a new area has never been easier.

“I have done many searches for MUSC and I have never had any trouble recruiting to this area,” she confirms. “The attraction of Charleston is the quality of life and the climate, all combined with a thriving life science sector. My husband and I live in Mount Pleasant – the town right next to downtown Charleston. We are ten minutes away from the ocean and the beautiful beach. We live on a marsh and at high tides we go out with our kayaks into a sound that eventually goes out to the ocean. There are many walking and bike trails; the outdoor life is fantastic and so healthy for you.”

Listing additional pull factors such as the area’s rich cultural aspects, historic architecture, excellent international airport and outstanding schools, it is safe to say Joyce De Leo is proud to be among the growing number of happy life science professionals calling Charleston home.

Discover why global life sciences businesses are choosing this thriving region. Download the white paper ‘Charleston, USA: A life sciences hub’ here.

7-floor affordable housing project approved for downtown Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - There’s a lack of affordable housing in the city, region, and around the country. The largest provider of homelessness services in Charleston, One80 Place, is looking to help.One80 place got final approval from The State Fiscal Accountability Authority for a new affordable housing project located at 573 Meeting Street.The building will have seven floors with 70 units. There will be studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms targeted for low-income individuals moving out of homelessness. Tenants will...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - There’s a lack of affordable housing in the city, region, and around the country. The largest provider of homelessness services in Charleston, One80 Place, is looking to help.

One80 place got final approval from The State Fiscal Accountability Authority for a new affordable housing project located at 573 Meeting Street.

The building will have seven floors with 70 units. There will be studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedrooms targeted for low-income individuals moving out of homelessness. Tenants will pay a minimum of 350 dollars a month, but no more than 30 percent of their income.

“We’re really targeting people with 30 percent and below with the area median income because that’s where we really see the gaps,” said Selena Wilson, Chief Program Officer at One80 Place.

It will also have a shelter space for homeless families and women in addition to the apartments. One80 Place said this will help women and children take their first step towards finding a more permanent home.

“It also gives former homeless clients the opportunity to engage with homeless clients so they can share their experience as well,” Wilson said.

Stacey Denaux, the CEO of One80 Place, said the project is funded through a combination of federal tax credits, state tax credits, private sector money and City of Charleston bond referendum money.

“We hope it is an opportunity to demonstrate true public private partnership in a way to leverage private sector funding along with tax credits and other sources of public funding to build truly affordable housing,” Denaux said.

Denaux said the project has been waiting for state approval the spring of 2020.

“We know that we need as many affordable housing units as we can provide and One80 Place has really stepped forward to help to meet this need. And we’re very happy to be investing in this project,” said Matt Ojala, deputy director for Housing and Community Development for the City of Charleston.

Ojala said one of the leading causes of homelessness is affordable housing. He said the city is working to find solutions.

“The number one priority for the city is to increase the amount of affordable housing in the city. By doing that, we can also address some of the homelessness issues we see throughout our communities,” Ojala said.

One80 Place says they’re expecting the project to be completed by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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