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SCIWAY News is a free, concise electronic newsletter that will keep you informed about what's happening on South Carolina's Information Highway. It is published once a month (except in November) and spotlights new SC websites and other noteworthy state online resources and services. If you find SCIWAY News useful, please forward this issue to others who are interested in South Carolina. But if you don't want to receive any more issues, just send the word "unsubscribe" to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask SCIWAY Poll Results
In last month's issue of SCIWAY News, I proposed a new Web-based bulletin board service called "Ask SCIWAY." This service would enable anyone in the world to ask a question about South Carolina ... and any interested South Carolinian could answer it.
I also suggested that Ask SCIWAY should include separate bulletin boards for various South Carolina subjects, and I asked if you thought such a service was needed, how it should be structured, and what topics we should focus on first.
Eighty readers responded to this survey. All thought Ask SCIWAY was a good idea, and many were enthusiastic. Twenty volunteered to be board moderators.
The responses about which bulletin boards should be set up first were interesting. Two subject areas received the most votes (30):
Ask SCIWAY Plans
I'm not sure that a statewide service like Ask SCIWAY will succeed, and I'm even less sure that I have the resources to support it. But I know how many questions we already receive each week, and I think this approach to answering such questions has long-term promise. So we are going to set up two Ask SCIWAY boards as an experiment. If these two boards turn out to be useful and affordable, we'll add others.
Based on our poll results and the questions we already receive, I would like to try these two bulletin boards first:
We are in the process of evaluating Web bulletin board software. If you have used any of the commercial or shareware packages currently available, I would appreciate your sharing your experience with us. Please send your comments to email@example.com.
One of the most helpful results of last month's poll was that I received some great ideas about how Ask SCIWAY could be simplified and streamlined. Next month I will explain how the process of asking and answering questions will work. I think you will like it.
New and Notable South Carolina Web Sites
State Classified Job Descriptions Are a Valuable Web Resource
Many of the most useful South Carolina resources on the Internet have been developed by our state government. An excellent example is the collection of more than 400 classified job descriptions that can now be accessed via the Web, thanks to the Budget and Control Board's Office of Human Resources (see http://ohrweb.ohr.state.sc.us/OHR/OHR-index.phtm). Regardless of whether you work for state or local government, a business, a school district, or a non-profit organization, these job descriptions (and their salary ranges) can help employers and employees define new positions and clarify existing ones.
Workers' Compensation Laws, Regulations Now Online
The South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission has also developed a Web site (http://www.state.sc.us/wcc) that is useful to both employers and employees. Recently expanded, this site now includes the complete text of South Carolina's workers' compensation laws and regulations. As far as I know, the Workers' Compensation Commission is the first state agency to provide such complete information online.
SCIWAY Adds Vacation Rentals Links
The warm weather we've had these past few days makes one think of summer--and staying cool! If you're considering a stay at a beach or lake, you may want to visit SCIWAY's new Vacation Rentals pages (http://www.sciway.net/tourism/vrentals.html). With the click of a mouse, you can visit hundreds of homes, villas, condos, and cabins in more than a dozen South Carolina vacation locations.
Upcoming Festivals, Shows, Events
For the latest information on upcoming South Carolina events, please see http://www.sciway.net/calendar.html.
Voyage of the Month
At the beginning of this month my daughter Julia and I spent a wonderful week cruising South Carolina's intracoastal waterways from Charleston to Savannah and back. The journey was 125 miles each way, and since few people travel such distances by boat anymore, I thought you might be interested in reading about it.
Our carriage for this cruise was our old wooden boat Orca. Orca was built in 1938 for an Ashley River plantation, but James Island has been her home for the past 52 years. She's not a fancy boat, but to me at least she's quite beautiful. Her 32-foot white hull is unusually narrow. The sides of her low cabins are mahogany, and her deck and cabin tops are covered with canvas painted pine green. (You can see some pictures of Orca by following the links at the end of this issue.)
Julia, Orca, and I left home shortly after noon on a Sunday. That night we anchored off Yonges Island, which is about 25 miles southwest of Charleston, and feasted on rice and lima beans.
Monday was a beautiful, sunny day, but the wind was strong and at odds with the tide as we crossed the open waters of St. Helena Sound, then Port Royal Sound, north and south of Beaufort. But the waves we encountered there were ripples compared with the moving mountain ranges that crashed Orca up and down in Calibogue Sound (behind Hilton Head Island) toward the end of the day. Despite the fact that the sun was still shining brightly, we could scarcely see ahead because so much water was splashing on our windows.
In fact water was everywhere–surging through Orca's wood-frame windows, leaking through the tongue-and-groove cabin ceilings, and pouring off the back of the main cabin as though a waterfall were following us.
Fortunately we reached Harbour Town's circular marina shortly after 4:00, and both Julia and I were truly grateful for its calm. Perhaps Orca was too.
Tuesday morning's winds were as strong as Monday's, so we treated ourselves to an unplanned but delightful stay at Harbour Town. A long, warm shower. Exploring the lighthouse. Reading in the red rocking chairs in the afternoon sun. Butter pecan ice cream cones. Watching the sun set across Calibogue Sound. Hours of conversation with Julia. I could get used to this.
The rest of our trip was peaceful and thoroughly enjoyable. We reached Savannah Wednesday morning and docked at the Hyatt on River Street. Even though the weather soon turned gray and rainy, we were able to explore much of the downtown area and waterfront. Savannah is so much like Charleston, yet so different.
Friday morning we headed north to Beaufort, where we spent the last night of our trip at the Downtown Marina. I could live at this marina! Great restaurants, an interesting hardware store, endless history, clean showers, and a beautiful riverfront park with lots of benches and swings–all at your gangplank. I've never been to Beaufort by car, but it's my favorite city to visit by boat.
Which brings me to the most special part of our trip--traveling by boat. Today most of us travel between cities by car or airplane, and we try to spend as little time as possible "getting there." Popular platitudes notwithstanding, it's the destination, not the journey, that's important to us.
But when you're traveling on a boat–especially an old boat like Orca–this changes. No matter what you do or say, Orca is not going to move much faster than a covered wagon. When you're traveling this slowly, there's time to cook, eat, do dishes, make repairs, polish brass, read, talk, savor Slim Jims, sip slowly, check your charts, synchronize the rhythmic drone of the engines, inspect the undersides of bridges, and–most of all–soak in the beauty and variety of South Carolina's coastal rivers, creeks, marshes, shorelines, forests, and wildlife. On a boat, the journey IS at least as important as the destination.
I know that opportunities to travel long distances on a small boat are few and far between. But if such a chance should someday cross your course, I hope you will take it. There's a quiet, almost magical simplicity about traveling by boat that's hard to find anywhere else in life.
Copyright © 1998 SCIWAY, LLC. SCIWAY News is written by Rod Welch of James Island, South Carolina–with a lot of help from people throughout South Carolina. Circulation: 17,000+
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