Healthy Eyes Are in Focus at the Eye Center of Charleston

Protect Your Eyes with Help from an Ophthalmologist in Charleston, SC

If there's one thing that most people can agree on, it's that our human senses are extraordinary. They help us interact with the environment around us every day of our lives. Our brain processes signals from various neurons associated with our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch to provide us with a meaningful perception of the world. The truth is, though, that we tend to take our senses for granted unless we experience a malfunction in any of them.

Humans have five senses and the same number of organs to complement those senses: a tongue to taste, a nose to smell, two ears to hear, skin for the sensation of touch, and eyes for sight. Of those senses and organs, our eyes are often considered the most essential, as they enable us to perceive up to 80% of all the impressions we encounter daily.

If other senses like taste or smell stop functioning, our eyes protect us from potential dangers. But they also help provide us with distinctly human memories. Think of all the picture-worthy moments that you have experienced over your lifetime. From seeing your baby smile or walk toward you for the first time to enjoying a memorable movie, it's safe to say that our eyes play an incredibly important role in our daily lives.

It makes sense, then, that we would want to protect our eyes and have them checked regularly to make sure they're healthy and functioning as they should. According to data by Ipsos, however, only 39% of Americans have been to an eye doctor's office in the last year. Fortunately, if you live in the Lowcountry, finding an eye doctor in Charleston, SC, is easier and more convenient than ever when you visit the professionals at Eye Center of Charleston.

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 Eye Surgeon Charleston, SC

The Eye Center of Charleston Difference

Unlike some eye doctor offices in South Carolina, our team uses the most advanced technology paired with our esteemed clinical and surgical skills to precisely diagnose and treat a wide variety of eye conditions and diseases. We focus on a number of vision conditions, medical conditions, and physician services, including but not limited to:

  • Cataracts
  • Presbyopia
  • Nearsightedness
  • Farsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Styes
  • Diabetic Eye Disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Excisional Biopsies
  • Dry Eye Syndrome
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Flashes & Floaters

It all starts with an introductory appointment with one of our experienced eye doctors, who will take as much time as needed to get to know you, learn more about your needs, and better understand the symptoms you're experiencing. Once we know the extent of your eye care needs, our doctors will provide you with an effective, efficient diagnosis and plan of action to remediate any issues you're facing.

From nuanced eye surgeries to standard eye exams, we've got you covered. In fact, we offer the latest technology in Varilux Progressives, Transitions, Crizal Anti-Reflective Lenses, Prescription Polarized Sunglasses, and Thin Lightweight Lenses. With a wide selection of frames and sunglasses, you're sure to find the glasses you need in a style you love.

 Eye Doctor Charleston, SC

What is an Ophthalmologist in Charleston, SC?

When people think about eye doctors, they often think about professionals who conduct eye exams and prescribe contacts. They don't realize that an ophthalmologist is different than other professionals, like optometrists. So, what is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a vision health professional who plays a specific role in the field of eye care. Along with optometrists and opticians, they are part of a comprehensive eye care team. However, some patients may need clarification on the similar-sounding names of these three types of eye care providers. Each one has unique skills and training for the tasks they perform. You should understand these differences so you can choose the best professional to address your vision needs.

What are the Differences Between Ophthalmologists and Other Eye Care Specialists?

Opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists each have a separate role in the field of eye care.

 Eye Treatment Charleston, SC

Optometrists

These professionals conduct eye exams, vision tests, and can prescribe corrective lenses that help address and solve eye conditions.

 Eye Surgeon Charleston, SC

Opticians

Opticians are often labeled "eye doctors," but they focus mostly on filling prescriptions for contact lenses, glasses, and sunglasses. They're also experts at repairing glasses and adjusting frames as needed.

Ophthalmologist Charleston, SC

Ophthalmologists

These medical doctors treat and diagnose certain eye diseases. However, it's not uncommon for ophthalmologists to provide vision services similar to those of optometrists.

At Eye Center of Charleston, we offer patients all three eye care specialists to provide the most well-rounded, effective eye care services in Charleston and beyond.

Are Optometrists and Ophthalmologists Basically the Same?

While optometrists have a four-year Doctor of Optometry degree and can provide primary vision health care, ophthalmologists are medical doctors who have received approximately three times the education and training.

They can perform all the same services as an optometrist but can also provide treatment, including performing surgeries such as cataract removal, vision correction, and eyelid lifting. Optometrists may detect signs of eye diseases during routine eye exams but are unable to treat them, so they often refer patients to ophthalmologists at The Eye Center of Charleston.

Surgical Specialties at The Eye Center of Charleston

While we serve many different types of patients with a wide variety of needs, many clients visit our eye surgeon in Charleston, SC, for very specific procedures. Keep reading below to learn more about those surgeries and the conditions that necessitate an eye doctor's intervention.

While we serve many different types of patients with a wide variety of needs, many clients visit our eye surgeon in Charleston, SC, for very specific procedures. Keep reading below to learn more about those surgeries and the conditions that necessitate an eye doctor's intervention.

In a young and healthy eye, light passes smoothly through clear ocular structures and is then focused on the retina, the light-sensitive lining inside the eye. The lens, which is a slightly flattened marble-shaped structure, helps to focus the eye. If the lens becomes cloudy, yellow, or limits the amount of light that travels through it, it is known as a cataract. Cataracts can occur at any stage of life, from birth to old age.

Some of the most common symptoms of cataracts include the following:

  • Blurry or Dim Vision
  • Lights Are Too Bright
  • Lights Give Off Halo Effect
  • Faded Colors
  • Vision at Night is Poor
  • Vision Distortion

Glaucoma is an eye disease that can cause damage to the optic nerve due to high pressure in the eye, leading to possible vision loss. Therefore, the primary focus of treatment is to control eye pressure. Early intervention is crucial in preventing severe vision loss. While most patients can avoid severe vision loss with the use of topical eye drops, some require additional treatment.

It should be noted that some patients prefer to have less dependence on eye drops. Along with medical treatment, several safe and effective procedures are available, including laser trabeculoplasty and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery. To learn more about these treatment options, talk to your eye doctor at The Eye Center of Charleston.

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for sending visual information from your eye to your brain and is essential for good vision. While high pressure in your eye is often associated with optic nerve damage, glaucoma can occur even with normal eye pressure.

Although glaucoma can happen at any age, it is more prevalent in older adults and is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. Unfortunately, many forms of glaucoma produce no warning signs. The effect of the condition is so gradual that you may not notice a change in vision until the later stages of the disease.

That's why it's essential to have regular eye exams that include measuring your eye pressure. Early recognition of glaucoma is a very important part of that process because it can help slow down or prevent vision loss. If you have glaucoma, you will need to undergo treatment or monitoring for the rest of your life.

Some of the most common symptoms of glaucoma include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Eye Pressure & Pain
  • Low, Blurred, or Narrow Vision
  • Bloodshot Eyes
  • Nausea
  • Seeing Rainbow-Colored Haloes Around Light Sources

A pterygium is a non-cancerous growth that appears on the surface of the eye, causing blurry vision. It usually occurs in individuals who have a long history of exposure to sunlight or UV light. Should you need pterygium surgery at The Eye Center of Charleston, you can rest easy knowing that your eye doctor in Charleston, SC, will be highly trained and experienced in the surgical treatment of pterygia.

Also called surfer's eye, a pterygium is an overgrowth of the conjunctiva, which is a thin and clear membrane on the surface of the eye. It can appear as a fleshy growth and is usually found growing from the inner corner of the eye, close to the nose. However, it can also appear on the outer corner or on both sides of the eye. The condition is not cancerous and does not spread to any other part of the face or body. It can cause redness and irritation in the affected area.

If left untreated, a pterygium can grow across the cornea, which is the transparent 'window' that covers the pupil and iris, further impacting vision. In such cases, surgical treatment may be necessary. However, it's important to note that pterygia may grow back even after successful surgery.

Some symptoms of a pterygium include the following:

  • Itching & Burning
  • Inflammation & Bloodshot Eyes
  • Minor Eye Pain
  • Issues with Blocked Vision

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

If you have diabetes, you may be wondering if the disease can affect your eyes and whether or not an ophthalmologist in Charleston, SC can help. To provide the best answer, it's important that you understand how diabetes can affect your eyesight.

Diabetes is a condition in which your body fails to properly convert food into energy. This is because your body either cannot produce or does not respond to insulin, which is a hormone responsible for transporting glucose (blood sugar) to the cells in your body. When there is an excess of glucose in the bloodstream, it can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves throughout your body, including the eyes.

Understanding Diabetic Eye Disease

When we refer to diabetic eye disease, we're talking about a group of eye conditions that stem from diabetes. Those conditions include the following:

3 Easy Ways to Protect Your Eyes Everyday

Eye problems can be easily prevented if you adopt some easy-to-follow habits for eye care in your daily routine. Even though these habits are practical and easy to accomplish, many people brush them off - until they have serious eye problems. To maintain good eye health and sharp vision, try incorporating these eye care techniques into your daily routine.

Eye Center of Charleston Pro Tip

Swing by one of our eye clinics to see our selection of fashionable and chic sunglasses. Our licensed opticians keep a number of popular sunglass options available at all times, like Costa, Kate Spade, and Juicy Couture. Protect your eyes and look great at the same time!

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Use Protection from the Sun

It's important to be mindful of the potential risks associated with exposure to sunlight and UV rays. These hazards include an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, as well as the possibility of cornea sunburn or photokeratitis. To protect your eyes, try wearing sunglasses that have UV protection. If you don't like wearing sunglasses, you can opt for UV-protected eyeglasses or contact lenses instead. You can also try wearing caps, visors, and hats for added protection.

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Try Not to Rub Your Eyes

One of life's little pleasures is rubbing your eyes when you're tired or have had a long day. It may feel good, but we don't recommend doing it. Reason being, your hands come into contact with a great deal of dirt, dust, and bacteria on a daily basis.

Every time you touch or rub your eyes, these harmful particles can be easily transferred to them. If you avoid touching your eyes with your hands, you can better prevent infections and irritations.

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Try the 20-20-20 Rule of Thumb

To keep your eyes in the best shape possible, consider adopting this handy rule. It states that:

  • Look away from your computer screen or TV every 20 minutes and fixate your gaze on something that is 20 feet away.
  • Blink your eyes 20 times in succession. This helps prevent dry eyes.
  • Get up out of your seat or away from your desk every 20 minutes. Then, take 20 steps. Doing so helps you vision and also helps promote healthy blood circulation and posture.

See a Brighter Future with Help from An Eye Doctor in Charleston, SC

At The Eye Center of Charleston, we're proud to offer a breadth of eye care services under one roof tailored to you and your whole family. From pediatric myopia management and treatment for dry eye to popular eyewear options and complicated eye surgery, we're ready to help. Regardless of the reason why you visit our eye care office, you can have peace of mind knowing that your patient experience will be comfortably curated for you.

Contact our eye care center today to learn more about our practice and to schedule an initial consultation with one of our expert eye doctors.

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Latest News in Charleston, SC

Charleston County School District set to lead in teacher pay with budget approval

...CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Teachers in the Charleston County School District are one vote closer to a higher paycheck.The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to recommend approval for next year’s budget, which includes salary increases for teachers and non-teachers.By next school year, the district is expected to lead the state in teacher pay.The recommended budget includes a $7,500 salary increase for all teachers, something educators have been advocating for over the past two years as the cost of l...

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Teachers in the Charleston County School District are one vote closer to a higher paycheck.

The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to recommend approval for next year’s budget, which includes salary increases for teachers and non-teachers.

By next school year, the district is expected to lead the state in teacher pay.

The recommended budget includes a $7,500 salary increase for all teachers, something educators have been advocating for over the past two years as the cost of living continues to rise.

Charleston educators push for $5K salary increase in upcoming district budgetCHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Charleston County teachers and parents say they’re advocating for livable wages as the 2024-2025 school year’s budget is being put together... Continue reading

“This will allow teachers to afford houses and housing costs – whether rent or home ownership – closer to the schools and communities they serve," said Patrick Martin, a high school teacher in the district. "We can be more active members in those communities."

But teachers aren’t the only ones likely to see a larger paycheck.

Classified workers, non-teacher staff, would get a 6% pay raise, bringing them to 100% of market value.

“It wasn't ever that the focus needed to be on anyone but the teachers, but it highlighted the fact that we weren't paying the teachers enough. Once you do that, and you can start to retain your primary staff, that's when you can bring the rest of the staff into the conversation,” said Megan Maciejewski, a numeracy assistant for CCSD.

CCSD's new funding model enhances resources for vulnerable learners, no tax hikeCHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — Charleston County School District (CCSD) leaders have spent months on their proposal for next school year’s budget... Continue reading

Recruitment and retention are some of the driving forces behind continuing efforts to increase teacher salaries.

“There's just no replacing a veteran teacher who has experience, especially serving the community and knowing the culture of the community in which they serve,” Martin said.

The same is said for the district’s classified workers, many of whom turn to second jobs to bring home enough money.

“I think the goal is to always have somebody capable and educated and experienced with the students in that role, but how can you keep that up when your staff is constantly having to supplement?” Maciejewski said.

A spokesperson for CCSD said the district is looking to fill around 200 teacher positions for next school year.

The school board will make its first vote on the budget on Monday, May 20.

Lowcountry Food Bank’s 2024 Agency Conference helps empower its partner agencies and food pantries to better serve neighbors who experience food insecurity

Charleston, SC – Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB) held its fifth Agency Conference at NewSpring Church in North Charleston on April 26. The LCFB Agency Conference is typically held every other year.LCFB partner agencies are the backbone of LCFB’s business model and operations. Last year, LCFB partner agencies distributed 90% of the 42.8 million pounds of food distributed by LCFB, of which more than 40% was fresh produce.LCFB procures, then distributes healthy food to 230+ partner ag...

Charleston, SC – Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB) held its fifth Agency Conference at NewSpring Church in North Charleston on April 26. The LCFB Agency Conference is typically held every other year.

LCFB partner agencies are the backbone of LCFB’s business model and operations. Last year, LCFB partner agencies distributed 90% of the 42.8 million pounds of food distributed by LCFB, of which more than 40% was fresh produce.

LCFB procures, then distributes healthy food to 230+ partner agencies, including food pantries, on-site meal programs, and homeless shelters that give neighbors who experience food insecurity in the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina direct access to healthy food.

LCFB’s Agency Conference provides its partner agencies and food pantries with best practices for food service, connects them with resources that enhance and support their operations, and provides opportunities for professional development to help them best serve their communities. At the conference, agencies also gain a greater understanding of LCFB strategic initiatives that support equitable food access for Lowcountry neighbors and learn skills to further empower the neighbors they serve through nutrition education.

Conference breakout sessions were chosen based on partner agency preferences and by LCFB to maximize the opportunity for agencies to best serve their neighbors: Creating a Culture of Belonging and Connection, Volunteer Recruitment and Retention, Scenario Planning – a session that helps the neighbors we serve get the most out of the fruits and vegetables available, and a networking session to discuss challenges and solutions that come with managing a food pantry.

Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Byron Benton, LCFB Board member and Senior Pastor of Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in North Charleston, gave an inspirational and uplifting address to conference guests to kick off the event. Dr. Benton talked about the “power of community bonds and connections” and “how we are all a part of the same community.”

“In addition to enjoying a fun day where our partner agencies can get to know each other, these agencies know best the unique and local communities they serve, and they make decisions on what is best for their neighbors who experience food insecurity,” said Nick Osborne, President and CEO of Lowcountry Food Bank. Nick addressed the agency attendees as “the heart and soul of our collective work to serve our communities.”

Food Lion generously sponsored the 2024 Agency Conference hosted at NewSpring Church.

Conference resource booths provided valuable industry and community information covering topics of interest for partner agencies: a demonstration of LCFB’s GIS Mapping technology, which strategically pinpoints where food assistance is most needed; nutrition information and food sampling; LCFB’s sustainability efforts and efficiencies; opportunity for partners to provide feedback toward LCFB’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative; the opportunity to provide feedback on LCFB-administered feeding programs; a social determinants of health table, which outlined how the environments where people are live affect their health and quality-of-life, and an Advocacy table, where attendees can learn ways LCFB works to increase awareness about hunger issues and helps educate our community about social and policy issues that surround food insecurity.

Community partners WIC, United Way, and Second Chance Resource Center all had information tables at the event that presented valuable resources to attendees.

LCFB held drawings and awarded prizes to partner agencies, including food and merchandise gift cards for the neighbors they serve, a food freezer, shopping carts, and a computer.

90 LCFB partner agencies were present at the conference with a total of 200+ people in attendance. Many LCFB partner agencies volunteer their time to help provide equitable, dignified, and consistent access to food for neighbors who seed food assistance.

Click here to learn more about LCFB Agency Relations on the LCFB website: https://lowcountryfoodbank.org/about-us/partner-agencies/ Organizations must meet specific eligibility criteria to quality as an LCFB Partner Agency and serve food to our neighbors who face hunger. Applications will be considered at the end of 2024.

About the Lowcountry Food Bank: Feed. Advocate. Empower.

The Lowcountry Food Bank serves the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina and distributed more than 42 million pounds of food in 2023. The Lowcountry Food Bank helps fight hunger by distributing food to more than 230 partner agencies including on-site meal programs, homeless shelters and emergency food pantries. The Lowcountry Food Bank advocates on behalf of those who experience hunger and helps empower people to make healthy and nutritious food choices. For more information, visit the Lowcountry Food Bank website.

Asian-owned restaurants to check out in South Carolina for AAPI Heritage Month

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, keep reading for a look at Asian-owned restaurants to support throughout May and beyond.This list is far-reaching, but not exhaustive — please contact Free Times Food Reporter Jane Godiner at jgodiner@postandcourier.com with more AAPI-owned restaurants to feature in future roundups.Kultura — CharlestonLocated in Cannonborough-Elliotborough, Filipino restaura...

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, keep reading for a look at Asian-owned restaurants to support throughout May and beyond.

This list is far-reaching, but not exhaustive — please contact Free Times Food Reporter Jane Godiner at jgodiner@postandcourier.com with more AAPI-owned restaurants to feature in future roundups.

Kultura — Charleston

Located in Cannonborough-Elliotborough, Filipino restaurant Kultura offers both traditional and fusion cuisines against the backdrop of artful plating, craft cocktails and weekend karaoke brunch. Menu highlights include the arroz caldo with smoked trout roe, xo sauce, chili crisp, fried garlic and a soft-boiled egg, sisig carbonara with roasted pork belly and trout roe and scallop adobo — a twist on the national dish of the Philippines — featuring coconut grits. Kalamansi and ube meringues make it difficult to skip dessert.

Freshe Poke — Columbia

With three locations across Columbia, Freshe Poke specializes in poke bowls. The word "poke," or the verb "to cut" in Hawaiian, encapsulates the nature of this dish — cubes of protein, usually marinated fish, over rice. Freshe Poke allows guests to customize their poke bowl with as many toppings as they want, from classic rice bases and seafood to chicken sous-vide and salad bases.

Poke beginners can try one of Freshe's pre-set combinations, including "The Buddhist" with tofu and seaweed salad, the "Spicy Ahi" with tuna and sriracha aioli and the "Volcano Eruption," with salmon, ahi tuna and shrimp. Wash down your poke bowl with one of Freshe's 29 fruit or milk tea flavors — boba, jelly or swirl optional.

Arts & Entertainment

Saffron Indian Cuisine — Greenville

Greenville's Saffron Indian Cuisine keeps things classic with North Indian lunch and dinner offerings, including customizable curry entrées, vegetarian specialties and fried appetizers.

Guests can enjoy their choice of protein in tomato-based tikka masala, spinach-based saag, traditional curry, creamy korma, ginger-forward kadai or sweet mango sauce. Specialty plates, including their coconut curry shrimp and gobhi Manchurian, featuring fried cauliflower, encourage diners to explore Southern Indian and Indo-Chinese cuisines.

Finish off your meal with homemade desserts, including their gajar halwa, a glazed carrot pudding and rasmalai, cheese patties in sweet, floral milk with pistachios.

Inakaya Watanabe — Columbia

Located just off of Saint Andrews Road is Inakaya Watanabe, which offers hot and cold Japanese fare. "Inakaya" translates to "cottage house," but this Columbia mainstay offers as many homey options as it does adventurous. Guests can opt for warm bowls of miso soup and choose between countless comforting, fried appetizers and mains — including their "Inakaya Fried Chicken," pork katsu cutlets and takoyaki, or octopus balls. Those in the mood for fish can peruse Inakaya Watanabe's pages of seafood dishes.

Raw options include fish-over-rice sushi known, called nigiri, sushi rolls, called maki and sliced, raw seafood without rice, called sashimi. Cooked options include salmon teriyaki, steamed clam and una don, or barbecued eel over rice. No meal at Inakaya Watanabe is complete without one — or many — of their selection of six ice cream flavors wrapped in mochi rice dough.

Sum Bar — Greenville

While there are over 2,000 types of dim sum dishes, which come in the form of small, shareable plates and originate cross different regions of China, Sum Bar pays homage to some of the most ubiquitous — and some of the more hidden gems — in its Greenville kitchen.

Menu items are rotational, but there are some cult favorites on the Sum Bar menu, including the green beans, shrimp toast and sesame balls. Those looking for entry-level dim sum dishes should order the siu mai, a type of dumpling with shrimp and pork, char siu BBQ pork and gai lan, or Chinese broccoli with oyster and garlic sauce. For dessert, order egg tarts for the table, which feature a vanilla-flavored egg custard cradled in a shortbread crust.

Kao Thai Cuisine — Columbia

Situated on Columbia's Main Street, Kao Thai Cuisine offers guests a survey of Thai dishes across regions and contexts — from street food like spicy sausage called sai ua and duck confit wrapped in a flatbread called roti to large, theatrical main dishes like crab fried rice and lychee curry. The menu hits on all of the classics, including papaya salad, coconut-milk-based curries and Pad Thai, or thin rice noodles with egg, bean sprouts and "Gai's secret sauce."

However, Kao is not afraid to explore cuisine from other parts of South and Southeast Asia, including Malaysian chicken wings, Hawaiian seaweed salad and their "K.F.C.," or "Kao Fried Chicken" dish, which comes coated in a Korean sweet and spicy sauce.

Phuong Vietnamese Restaurant — Charleston

Whether you appreciate some variety or get overwhelmed by too many choices, Charleston's Phuong Vietnamese Restaurant has a menu with something for everyone.

Diners can snack on fresh appetizers like spring rolls called goi cuon or fried appetizers like fried wontons while they decide on what combination of starch and protein they want for an entrée. Those who want something warm and hearty can opt for pho, a soup made with beef and rice noodles, or egg noodle soup for some more protein variety. Diners can also skip the broth by ordering bun, or rice vermicelli noodles, topped with any combination of pork, egg rolls, beef, chicken or shrimp. Those who want to do away with noodles altogether can opt for any of the soup or noodle proteins over white rice. Think of it as an edible choose-your-own adventure.

Nibl Dessert and Cafe — Columbia

Another of Columbia's Main Street attractions is Nibl, a cafe selling Asian-inspired desserts and coffee tucked inside MOA Korean BBQ.

While desserts are rotating, some of its greatest hits feature brownies infused with Japanese green tea called matcha, Korean shaved ice called bingsu and crinkle cookies featuring a Southeast Asian purple yam called ube. Guests can eat their sweets alongside a selection of specialty coffees including butterscotch cream cold brews, ube lattes and Vietnamese iced coffee with condensed milk. Non-coffee drinkers can enjoy lavender lemonade, matcha lattes and strawberry milk.

Jane Godiner is the food reporter for the Free Times. You can reach her at jgodiner@postandcourier.com or find her at @JaneGodiner on X and @jane.craves on Instagram.

The restaurant group, Poogan's Hospitality Group, which operates its flagship location at an upstairs restaurant on Queen Street in Charleston, announced via social media on May 13 that the Forest Acres eatery would close for good on May 19.

"To the people of Forest Acres, your support has been incredible, and we're grateful for the warmth and community you've shown us," the Facebook post read.

The restaurant, which serves Southern comfort food like shrimp and grits, biscuits and fried chicken, opened in the Cardinal Crossing development of Forest Acres in August 2022. The 6,600-square-foot space was able to seat roughly 200 patrons and sat alongside other popular spots like Bad Daddy's Burger Bar and Molto Vino.

Poogan's Southern Kitchen's last day of service will be May 19.

SC ports agency taking initial steps toward cleanup of former WestRock paper mill site

The proposal is called a voluntary cleanup contract, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control regularly approves them for businesses that want to buy and redevelop so-called brownfield properties with decades-old contamination issues.The deals allow the cleanup to take place without the new owner having to worry about liability for pollution created by a previous property owner. DHEC is accepting public comm...

The proposal is called a voluntary cleanup contract, and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control regularly approves them for businesses that want to buy and redevelop so-called brownfield properties with decades-old contamination issues.

The deals allow the cleanup to take place without the new owner having to worry about liability for pollution created by a previous property owner. DHEC is accepting public comments on the SPA's proposed contract through June 5.

"We have entered in a VCC with DHEC to clean up the site and will go through that regulatory process as part of the future redevelopment to expand our terminal in North Charleston," a SPA spokeswoman said in a written statement. "We will start the VCC assessment and sampling soon and can put in place the remedial measures during the redevelopment."

The SPA purchased the WestRock site along the Cooper River — and additional land the paper and packaging giant owned in Berkeley County — for $105 million this month. The deal will expand the adjacent North Charleston Terminal to 481 acres and the capacity to handle 5 million shipping containers per year. That's more than twice the capacity of the Wando Welch Terminal in Mount Pleasant, currently the SPA's largest.

The sale won't affect operations of Ingevity Corp., which operates a chemical plant near the former mill.

An initial environmental assessment performed in March by HDR Engineering found numerous potential environmental issues on the paper mill site.

"Given the long history of mill operations, presence of more than 911 storage tanks onsite and multiple documented releases onsite, there is potential that petroleum products (diesel fuel and No. 6 fuel oil) may have entered the process sewer and could have impacted soils and groundwater beneath the property," the proposed contract states.

It adds there is a potential for groundwater contamination due to "the heavy historical industrial use in the vicinity of the property."

Under the contract, the SPA would be required to make a detailed assessment of the environmental condition and formulate a plan and schedule for cleaning up the pollution. The analysis will include soil and groundwater quality testing and evaluating the presence of methane in a former landfill on the site.

The SPA said it plans to move forward with planning the expansion of its North Charleston Terminal as well as adding two new phases to the Leatherman Terminal in North Charleston.

"Port infrastructure projects require long-term planning and foresight, and SC Ports consistently plans for multiple projects at once while ensuring ample capacity for our customers," the agency said, adding timing for both projects will be driven by market demands.

The maritime agency said it also plans to coordinate the mill expansion with the S.C. Department of Transportation's plans to replace the Don Holt Bridge over Interstate 526. The proposal calls for construction of a taller span so the world's biggest and heaviest container ships can navigate underneath to the North Charleston Terminal. The Cooper River's navigation channel would also be deepened to 52 feet between the Leatherman and North Charleston terminals.

"We have to have sufficient capacity to handle ships calling North Charleston today before we take them out of use for modernization," the SPA said.

Atlanta-based WestRock, successor to the old Westvaco Corp., announced a year ago it would shut down the 500-worker papermaking plant by late summer after 86 years, citing a "combination of high operating costs and the need for significant capital investment." The redevelopment and reuse as a port terminal isn't projected to be needed or completed until the 2030s or possibly the 2040s, SPA chief executive officer Barbara Melvin told lawmakers earlier this month.

Proposed budget would make Charleston Co. schools first in state on two decisions

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A long-awaited presentation of the 2024 to 2025 Charleston County School District’s budget was discussed among the Board of Trustees on Monday evening.The first reading of the budget is officially not until May 20, but the board discussed and made recommendations for the first time on Monday night during three back-to-back meetings.Two budget proposals would make the Charleston County School District the only district in the state to implement a new funding formula and lead teacher compensation i...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A long-awaited presentation of the 2024 to 2025 Charleston County School District’s budget was discussed among the Board of Trustees on Monday evening.

The first reading of the budget is officially not until May 20, but the board discussed and made recommendations for the first time on Monday night during three back-to-back meetings.

Two budget proposals would make the Charleston County School District the only district in the state to implement a new funding formula and lead teacher compensation in South Carolina.

Increasing teacher salaries by $7,500 would put the district in that number one spot for pay as well as funding step increases. Pay increases for all non-teachers and classified employees are also included in the budget, providing 100% of the market, which is an overall 6% increase.

The most notable expansion in the budget is the adoption of the Weighted Student Funding Model which would allocate funding from the district to individual student needs at each school. With a $32.8 million dollar price tag, the funding would fully offset the sunset of federal funds, otherwise known as ESSER.

“What we are trying to do is equally distribute resources based on student need, then principals can determine what key things they need to leverage improved outcomes,” Superintendent Anita Huggins said.

The model would allow resources to be allocated to help schools in the district with students in poverty, special education or multilingual. The need for a new funding model partially comes from the number of students in poverty attending non-Title 1 schools under the current funding model cannot address all students.

During Monday’s budget workshop, board members asked Huggins and Chief Financial Officer Daniel Prentice a number of questions surrounding the model. Their questions surrounded a graphic and numbers stating the total cost of the Weighted Student Funding Model would cost around $32 million.

But board members argue the numbers need to be updated since students can fall into more than one category that the current model does not reflect.

“This seems like almost intentionally misleading data being put out into the public which I very much object,” Board of Trustees Member Ed Kelley asked. “When this goes out to the public, I would like to see this slide with the actual numbers.”

“If you are able to put this in layman’s terms, that would be great,” Board of Trustees Member Leah Whatley asked. “That is an awfully high number compared to the number of students we have enrolled in CCSD.”

Huggins and Prentice assured the board that the correct numbers would be provided to clear any confusion.

“We are going to have to take a very close look over the next three to five years,” Huggins said. “Then, we will determine whether this allocation model works or do we need to go back to the drawing board.”

To balance the budget, one strategy used includes central office reductions with the district eliminating over 30 positions totaling to $8 million.

A 3.9 millage increase is included in the proposed budget with it noted that future millage increases are not contemplated in the long-range plan. A millage rate is a tax collected on real estate and large purchases, like cars.

However, families that own and live in their homes are exempt from the increased tax on their houses for education purposes. Non-owner-occupied houses and businesses bear the brunt of a millage rate increase.

The first reading after recommendations from Monday will be at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 20. Then, the second reading will include a public hearing and board meeting on June 24.

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