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South Carolina’s Tax Holiday

If you need to do some shopping, this weekend is the time to get it done. Beginning this weekend (Aug. 8 and 9), South Carolina shoppers will receive a sales tax break on back-to-school items. The six percent state and local sales tax will be waived on certain purchases, including school supplies, clothing, footwear, computers, accessories and more. All consumers are eligible; shoppers need not to be prospective students to receive the tax break. For a list of eligible items, visit the SC Department of Revenue site. In the past, the holiday tax break has saved shoppers upwards of $2.8 million. Experts have mixed opinions on how consumers will view this opportunity. Will it be enough of a break to get people in the shopping mood again? Or has the tough economy put a damper on consumers’ opinions of sales and tax holidays? Projected sales are said to be lower than previous years, according to forecasts. On the contrary, spending on electronics is predicted to increase by 11 percent this year, according to the National Retail Federation. For consumers, this is the weekend to make those back-to-school and other essential purchases. If you’ve been contemplating purchasing any of the listed items, now is your chance to save a little. With stores expected to be a little busier than normal this weekend, it may be helpful to get an early start. The tax holiday has already begun and ends at midnight on Sunday, Aug. 9. For a list of helpful shopping tips, click...

Hurricane Season Is Here: Are You Ready?

It’s hurricane season in the Lowcountry—are you prepared? Although a major hurricane hasn’t hit South Carolina since Hugo in 1989, it’s always important to remain educated and aware of the possibilities. The Charleston area sits on the coast, which means the area is at risk for hurricane attacks. First off, let’s go over some common terminology often used: Tropical Storm: Once winds within a tropical system reach 39 miles per hour and the distinct low-pressure area is well defined by a rotating circulation, the system is considered a tropical storm and is given a name. Hurricane: A hurricane has sustained winds exceeding 74 miles per hour or greater, with dangerously high water and rough seas. Hurricane Watch: A hurricane watch is issued when hurricane conditions are a real possibility for an area within 24 to 36 hours. Hurricane Warning: A hurricane warning is issued when a hurricane is expected within 24 hours. Begin precautionary action at once. Before the storm: Before there is even any talk of a hurricane, take the following into consideration: Check into flood insurance: Contact your home insurance agent and consider getting flood insurance even if it’s not required for your home’s location. There is normally a 30-day waiting period before a new flood insurance policy becomes effective for an existing residence. Sometimes that waiting period is longer during hurricane season. However, with flood insurance, homeowner polices typically do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane. Develop an emergency communication plan: In case family members are separated from one another during a disaster, which is realistic especially during the day with work...

Buy Local to Boost Local Economy

Times are tough these days for Americans, and those in Charleston are no exception. However, instead of sitting back and watching the local economy plummet like nation’s has, area citizens have come together and developed a plan to boost the local economy. They call it the Lowcountry Local First Initiative. The idea behind the plan is called the “10% Shift.” This non-profit group is asking that all Lowcountry households take 10% of their purchases to local vendors and shops—those that are locally owned and independent. They say that if everyone does this, thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars of new economic activity will be created. Local business owners, as expected, have really jumped on board with this idea. A coupon can be found here that will take 10% off the purchases of local businesses who have chosen to participate. It’s a way of giving back to those who have decided to shift. Even local grocery stores have supported this initiative by displaying signs advertising locally grown produce and groceries. Area billboards can also be spotted with some alluring messages, reminding people that Charleston-area local goods and services are just as good—if not better. Charleston is said to be a great place for entrepreneurs because of the endless opportunity and support the community gives. This locally grown initiative is absolutely no exception to the strength and determination Lowcountry business owners and residents have. Click here for a list of locally owned and independent businesses in Charleston. Click here for a list of businesses who are accepting the 10% off coupon for the month of...

Charleston Budget Travel Tips and Ideas

Planning a trip to visit Charleston? Associated Press writer, Bruce Smith, recently took a trip to Charleston and has some great tips on how to enjoy the area on a budget. As taken from USA Today: CHARLESTON, S.C.—In colonial times, Charleston was America’s wealthiest city. Three centuries later it still has an upscale cachet with houses on its historic Battery fetching eight figures and shopping and restaurants rivaling much larger cities. But you don’t need deep pockets to enjoy this town of pastel buildings, narrow alleys and quaint, secluded gardens. Indeed, you can experience much of Charleston, which has a reputation for being the nation’s most polite city, for a pittance. WHERE TO START: It’s hard to see Charleston from your car because you’ll likely get confused in a tangle of one-way streets. Most folks arrive by car and your first stop should be the Visitor Center on Meeting Street, which is built in an old railroad warehouse and open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. For basic information, visit Charleston City Info or Charleston CVB. Here a high-tech video floor offers multimedia displays of attractions. You can also get brochures, maps and make lodging reservations. With map in hand, you have two options for getting around. You can drive and find a parking garage farther down the peninsula—the city lies between the Ashley and the Cooper rivers which locals like to say form the Atlantic Ocean. Look for directional signs because the garages are sometimes hard to see from the street. Your other, and perhaps best option, is to park by the Visitor Center and board...

Charleston ranked No. 6 most pet-friendly city

Whether traveling, relocating or living in an area, it’s important for all members of your family to feel welcomed. Keeping that in mind, it’s no surprise that Charleston is ranked No. 6 for dog-friendly cities in the U.S., which means that your Fido will receive that warm southern hospitality Charleston is known for. The rankings from DogFriendly take into account the quality of dog-friendly accommodations, transportation, beaches, parks, attractions, stores, dining and things to do with your dog. The ranking was posted in June 2009. The Charleston area hosts about 10 off-leash dog parks. Some are city and county maintained, while others are sponsored by local organizations. Either way, off-leash dog parks are a great way to give your dog some exercise while socializing with others. Interested in history and sightseeing? Your pooch can even accompany you on several tours of the historic city. Boone Hall Plantation, Fort Moultrie National Historic Site and even the Charleston Ghost Tours, to name a few, happily allow dogs. If beach living is more your style, you won’t have to leave your dog at home. Each of the three beaches in Charleston allows dogs, but each beach has it’s own set of rules and regulations based on the season. Double check the leash laws before you make your way to the sand and sun. Many outdoor restaurants and cafes not only allow your dogs to dine with you, but they’ll even bring out a fresh dish of iced water for your pal. There are also many pet stores and boutiques in the area, perfect for spoiling your pets. Full list of accommodations, attractions...

Horizon Village is now opened

North Charleston – A host of dignitaries including North Charleston’s mayor and South Carolina congressman Jim Clyburn officially opened horizon village. The village is on the borders of Spruill and Rivers avenue and is a blend of single family homes, apartments and a senior citizens community. It is funded by the federal government’s Hope six program. “Hope 6 is all about affordable housing. It is mixed use not the way people generally think of it. Cos you can have home ownership here You get residents here, you have senior housing allowing for inter-generational experiences.” says Cong. Clyburn. This is a place where the income levels will vary. High income to low income families will be able to live in Horizon and there will even be public housing. “You can’t tell which one is market, you can’t tell which one is tax credit. You can’t tell which is public housing or market. It’s all blended in to one community.” There are one, two three or four bedroom appartments with a small patio or a porch. Each is in the Charleston style architecture with Charleston...
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