As Congaree Riverkeeper for the last six years, Bill Stangler works in the Midlands to protect the environmental quality of three different rivers and their tributaries because “water is a common good,” as he explained at Capital Rotary’s Feb. 14 meeting. Stangler (pictured with Rotarian Ann Elliott) is a former outdoors guide who studied ecology and river science at the University of South Carolina. He now monitors water, wildlife habitat and recreation conditions on the Congaree, Lower Saluda and Lower Broad Rivers – including 90 miles of river, 2,000 miles of streams and five different counties in the watershed. Stangler said preserving “our rights to our rivers” involves (1) outreach and education about issues facing rivers; (2) advocacy work and voluntary cleanups, plus water quality sampling; and (3) suing to enforce environmental laws when regulatory agencies fail to do the job. Congaree Riverkeeper is a non-profit organization, one of six in South Carolina affiliated with the Waterkeeper Alliance, a global movement of on-the-water advocates who patrol and protect rivers and coasts all over the world. One of Rotary International’s areas of focus is support for local solutions to bring clean water, sanitation and hygiene to more people every day.
The Boeing Company is proud to build the “airplane of the future” – its 787 Dreamliner – in South Carolina, and looks forward to continuing a rewarding partnership here for years to come. Tommy Preston Jr., Director of National Strategy and Engagement and Government Operations at Boeing South Carolina, was Capital Rotary’s Jan. 10 guest speaker. Preston is a native South Carolinian, a USC graduate, and formerly practiced law at Nexsen Pruet, LLC in Columbia. He said Boeing’s aerospace campus in Charleston was made possible by commitment to workforce training, by the state’s non-union labor environment and by government flexibility in working together to solve any problems. Boeing supports an estimated 9,000 direct and indirect Palmetto State jobs, works with 300 suppliers across the state, and invested about $2 billion in the Dreamliner final assembly and delivery facility. The company also partners with local schools, the technical college system and the University of South Carolina to expand job opportunities and to advance aerospace products and services. (Boeing Company photo)
Since opening earlier this year, the University of South Carolina’s new School of Law has become the anchor for a “law corridor of Columbia” running along Gervais Street, says dean Rob Wilcox. He told Capital Rotary members on a tour Nov. 29 (he’s at far right in photo) that the legal district also includes the S.C. Supreme Court, the State House and the National Advocacy Center, which trains attorneys from the U.S. Justice Department. The three-story, $80 million law school features 17 classrooms and two realistic courtrooms. Wilcox said its design has a purpose and an impact that goes beyond mere aesthetics. “It’s designed to send a message to our students – it’s not just college anymore,” he explained. “It’s the beginning of your profession. Different things will be expected of students here. There are responsibilities that come with this.” USC’s School of Law is one of the nation’s oldest and the state’s only nonprofit law school. Its new home occupies nearly an entire city block at Bull and Gervais streets. Capital Rotary’s tour was part of the club’s Fifth Wednesday program featuring local field trips in place of a regular meeting.
Cybercrime costs U.S. business more than $1.3 billion yearly and often takes the form of bogus e-mails, according to Lt. D. Britt Dove, supervisory agent for the S.C. Law Enforcement Division’s (SLED) Computer Crime Center. Dove (at right, talking with Rotarian Tommy Gibbons) was Capital Rotary’s Oct. 18 guest speaker. He said every business connected to the internet is a potential cybercrime victim. Businesses are vulnerable to being scammed by e-mail as criminals expand their ability to steal money directly or to turn stolen data into money. Dove detailed several safeguards that include (1) educate employees to recognize suspicious e-mails; (2) be cautious when e-mails request confidential information or information out of the ordinary; (3) double check e-mail sender details carefully, watching for similar domain names or characters that have been swapped for other letters; (4) forward e-mail responses instead of hitting “reply” so you can type out the genuine e-mail address for the person you wish to communicate with; and (5) confirm details of the e-mail request by contacting the sender using a known phone number. Lt. Dove is a University of South Carolina graduate, a former West Columbia Police Dept. investigator, and is active in the Secret Service Electronic Taskforce, FBI Cyber Taskforce and the S.C. Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce.
The First Tee Columbia program uses golf to teach young people life lessons and leadership skills, according to executive director Sally Beacham (shown with Capital Rotary member Chris Ray). Beacham, guest speaker at Rotary’s Sept. 27 meeting, said First Tee’s instruction helps youngsters 5-17 become good golfers and even better people by imparting core values such as respect, integrity, honesty, confidence, confidence and sportsmanship. An affiliate of the World Golf Foundation, Columbia’s First Tee is part of the elementary physical education program in five Richland District One schools and plans to add Richland District Two schools in the future. Beacham said First Tee participation has grown from 105 students to 335 over the last several years. She joined the non-profit after playing collegiately at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, where she was captain of the women’s golf team and a member of the all-conference team in 2008.
Capital Rotarian Abby Naas has been named Female Executive of the Year for the South Atlantic League. Naas joined the staff of the Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball team in January 2015 as marketing and public relations vice president. She became a Capital club member later that same year. Naas now will be the South Atlantic League’s nominee for the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award, an industry-wide honor presented annually by Rawlings and minor league baseball. Prior to joining the Fireflies, Nass was twice named Midwest League Female Executive of the Year while working for the Fort Wayne TinCaps in Indiana. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Fireflies)
Blake DuBose, Capital Rotary’s incoming president, presents a distinguished service plaque to Dr. Tommy Gibbons (right), who led the club for 2016-2017. Gibbons, a native of Clarendon County, is president and chief medical officer of UCI Medical Affiliates, Inc. and Doctors Care, PA in Columbia. He’s also served as chair of the SAFEKIDS South Carolina Board of Directors and as a member of The Children’s Trust SAFEKIDS South Carolina Advisory Committee. DuBose, a graduate of Newbery College, is president of DuBose Web Group, a website design and development firm based in Columbia.
Dr. Michel van Tooren (wearing white shirt, blue coat in photo background) explains industrial oven use in new materials manufacturing to Capital Rotary members on a tour of the Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research. Van Tooren is deputy director of the center founded at the University of South Carolina in 2011 and named after the late Challenger astronaut. It supports the state’s second largest industry through aerospace education, research, outreach and economic engagement. Capital Rotary’s tour was part of the club’s Fifth Wednesday program featuring local field trips in place of a regular weekly meeting.
Capital Rotarian Bill Beers (left) is congratulated by club president Tommy Gibbons as the latest member to join the ranks of the club’s Paul Harris Fellows, signifying a $1,000 contribution to the Rotary Foundation. Paul Harris Fellows receive a special pin, a certificate and a medal to honor their donation. Gifts to the Rotary Foundation help fund international programs promoting world understanding and peace. Beers’ donation was assisted by David Boucher, the club’s chairman for Foundation giving.
Catherine Glen, a Global Grant Scholar for 2016-2017, is welcomed to Capital Rotary’s weekly meeting by president Tommy Gibbons. The 2011 University of South Carolina graduate taught special education students in rural Japan for the past three years. Her Rotary Global Grant scholarship funds a year of graduate study at Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland, hosted by the Rotary Club of Belfast. Glen is seeking a master’s degree in the psychology of childhood adversity. She formerly worked with youth in treatment for substance abuse and mood disorders at the Medical University of South Carolina and was a Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer.