Rugby is More Than Beer
You recently printed an article on rugby in the Charleston area ("No Pads Needed," May 23). Though the Charleston Outlaw Rugby Football Club greatly appreciates publicity and to a certain degree the humor with which the article was written, overall we were disappointed with the tone of the article. The written comments about getting "loaded up before they go play a match" or forcing "players of the opposing team to shotgun a beer" continue to promote stereotypes about the sport. Such actions are not practiced at all among most men's sides. In fact, the current coaches and captains of the Charleston Outlaws discourage excessive drinking the night before games and certainly the morning of games. That is one of the many reasons we have been to the national playoffs in rugby four out of the last five years. We train hard, travel often, and sacrifice a lot of time for a game we love. Though of course there is a social aspect of rugby, and we do enjoy parties with the opposing team after games, we also take seriously our commitment to athletic performance and the promotion of rugby as a sport. The majority of the members of this team are individuals with careers, houses, and families. In addition, we participate in Adopt-A-Highway trash pickups and are currently developing other activities to support the community. Please contact any one of our club executive members through our website, www.charlestonrugby.com, for further information.
Our recent 7's tournament was a success. We would like to thank the teams and sponsors from around the southeast who participated in the 5th Annual Memorial Day 7's Tournament on May 26 at the old North Charleston Navy Base, where 200 players converged on Charleston to compete in three divisions. Daytona won the Men's Qualifier, Charlotte won the Men's Open, and The University of Florida won the Women's Division. The Outlaws would also like to thank Piggly Wiggly for their donation of water and bananas for the weekend. The 115 pounds of water that was left over was given to Amy Kosar of the Charleston Food Bank. As a result of the success of our tournament, the Charleston Outlaw Rugby Football Club will be making a $125 donation to the Food Bank.
John G. Wagner
Charleston Outlaws Rugby Football
There has been a recent (past 15 years) and successful drive in the industry for sustainable seafood. The overall goal is preservation, but the added incentive is fresh local product. In reading an article in the latest issue of Gourmet on chicken mega-farm processing plants, it occurred to me that the same incentive that drives many chefs to only use local produce and nonendangered fish should drive the industry to seek out smaller, humane poultry sources. After all, the masters never used product from these massive slaughterhouses. Beethoven said, "Only the pure in heart can make a good soup." Let us follow his lead by using only the best ingredients. A superior dish requires meat that has not been under the stress and inhumane care of mass-slaughter poultry mega-farms.
Help With the Housing Dream
The May 30 column by Barney Blakeney ("A Public Project") failed to accurately view the many opportunities available to residents of public housing in Charleston to aid them in reaching their dreams and aspirations.
We could dispute point by point the many operational inaccuracies but we believe it is more advantageous to your readership to highlight just a few of our sponsored programs for residents, they are:
• Turning Point Support Group — A mental health program for women designed to strengthen families by providing group and individual counseling sessions weekly on site in public housing. Managers refer participants that are victims of Domestic Violence.
• Wise Counsel/Elderly Support — Organizes weekly activities for senior residents to socialize, and participate in educational and recreational activities.
• Home Ownership Program/Family Self-Sufficiency — Offering programs designed to encourage public housing and Section 8 program participants to achieve their employment potential, job skills training, educational goals and home ownership.
• City of Charleston Recreation Department — Opened a satellite program on site in public housing (Marion Strobel Center), on April 23, 2007, offering a variety of programs for all age groups.
• Annual Community Festivals — We host annual festivals at several public housing sites promoting community safety awareness, education, legal assistance, medical information, and recreational activities for families in Charleston.
• The Charleston Area Children's Garden Project — This project is designed to improve the garden at Kiawah Homes and partner with the families to experience the thrill of planting and eating the fruits of their labor.
• Jazzin' in the Spirit Project — We have a liaison with the Jake McGuire Savage Foundation and The Charleston Jazz Initiative to assist students at Mitchell Elementary School by providing music instruction and instruments. The students are residents of public housing.
• Girl Scouts of America — We host weekly Girl Scout meetings at various community centers to help young women learn social skills, life development and to have fun.
• New Resident Orientation — We offer an orientation program designed to empower public housing residents. The programs consists of instruction in understanding the lease agreement, crime prevention, financial management, housekeeping and social issues.
• Resident Advisory Board/ Associations — We facilitate resident association meetings for each public housing site and administration of the Resident Advisory Board, which presents issues that are important to the residents to the Board of Commissioners and the Housing Authority Staff.
I would close to tell you public housing is but a third of our affordable housing inventory, however, it is a precious resource, as no new dollars to build more public housing has been appropriated by Congress since 1993-1994.
Donald J. Cameron
Chief Executive Officer Housing Authority of the City of Charleston