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Posts posted by manjack

  1. I'On is a unique community near Charleston, South Carolina which currently contains 6 geocaches as part of its I'On Village Community Walking Trail. Recently a one minute commercial was put on the community radio station promoting Geocaching within the I'On and around the world.


    :huh: If you're visiting the community while geocaching, you can tune in to 1640 AM to hear the commercial. Those further away can listen online through the station's live internet feed. You can connect through www.ionradio1640.com.


    :o In the near future a new cache will be added in I'On that will use a clue broadcast on air to allow people to find the cache. Geocaching events within I'On will also be promoted on the station.

  2. All we need to do is take a page from the primary campaign of Howard Dean. We need to find out who in Berkeley County might be willing to run against Cieps in the next election. If potential challengers know support is available, they'll be far more likely to step forward. Once a challenger appears, we simply set up a Pay Pal account or similar internet payment mechanism for them and solicit donations from geocachers throughout the United States. In a state like South Carolina and a fairly small community like Beaufort, a few thousand dollars makes a huge difference. Dean collected millions over the internet so five or ten thousand here shouldn't be a problem.


    Apparently she has a long history of introducing poorly considered legislation and cluttering the legislative calendar with resolutions where simply buying someone a plaque would have been more appropriate. The dishonestly of her presentations and willingness to represent law abiding citizens as criminals indicates she shouldn't be in public office, or as appears likely, the higher office in the US Congress or State Senate she apparently aspires to.


    Only American Citizens should contribute. Foreign contributions apparently violate election laws. There are election oriented donation mechanisms that handle that problem.


    I'm sure Geocahers from across the US would be happy to contribute $10 or $20 to "Archive Cieps."


    It is clear she'll be back next year and every year until she gets what she wants. If she does, we'll see copycat legislation introduced in less sophisticated states across the US.


    At the same time, we must remember to vote for and contribute to the campaigns of the people who stood up for us. I've invited my representative to come to the I'On community for a little Caching and to meet the neighbors.

  3. I spoke with my representative today,

    House Majority Leader James H. Merrill

    District 99 - Berkeley & Charleston Cos.

    Contact Address:

    (H) 174 Etiwan Park St., Daniel Island, 29492

    Bus. (843) 884-9108 Home (843) 849-7306

    © 518B Blatt Bldg., Columbia, 29211

    Bus. (803) 734-3138 Home


    E-Mail Address: JM1@scstatehouse.net


    He called me on the telephone right after the session was over.


    He apparently took the floor of the Senate and spoke out against the legislation. He had read my email sent this morning. My neighborhood was recently added to his district, but I couldn't be more pleased with his responsiveness.


    I faxed him the sheet for the only geocache on Daniel Island. He said it sounded like a great activity for families and kids.


    Obviously his position in the House implies a lot of influence and I am very grateful for his actions. He said they attempted to put in some amendments to fix some fo the defects in the bill, but when that didn't work, objections were made and it went on the contested calendar. It is still possible to pass the bill, but special procedures and votes are now required. He did say that this seemed very improtant to Representative Cieps who had been pushing it very hard.


    He did tell me the members of the house need to continue to hear from us until the session is over and that we should encourage as many people from SC to contact their representatives as possible.


    I really could not possibly ask for more from a representative. It does appear that Ceips will be back.

  4. The legislation may be debated and voted on today. Here is what I sent the members of the Charleston County House Legislative Delegation Yesterday.


    Opposition to SC House, Bill 3777


    I have voted in every election available to me since 1978. I am a licensed attorney practicing in the State of South Carolina and own a home in Mt. Pleasant. I currently manage and maintain six geocaches in Mt. Pleasant. 75% of the visits to the caches I maintain are by tourists. You can check the caches I am involved with by going to www.geocaching.com and searching for caches in zip 29464. All my caches have the word “I’On” in there name except for one at Patriot’s Point, named Hog Island Upgrade.


    I would ask that you vote against the Geocaching legislation pending in the SC House, House Bill 3777.


    The statute as written is dangerously vague. It criminalizes using GPS to locate a point on a historic site without the owner’s approval. As written, that would make it illegal for ships to use their satellite navigation to enter Charleston harbor since they pass through part of the Ft. Sumter National monument, which includes an official protected zone extending into the harbor around the fort and parts of the main channel.


    It would also prohibit use of GPS in most of downtown Charleston, South of Broad Street, nearly all of which, including public streets, is part of a National Historic Landmark District.


    A tourist could be arrested, prosecuted and convicted for using his car navigation system to find the battery in Downtown Charleston under this law.


    As a practical matter, police will simply arrest people for possession of a GPS unit in these locations, on a selective basis when it suits there purposes.


    If someone is actually arrested under this law, it will persuade hundreds, possibly thousands of potential visitors to avoid the state. Visits to geocaches in your district, most of which were by tourists, have already fallen off drastically.


    I have been in touch with the President and Chief Legal Officer of the Garmin Corporation and Thales Navigations (Maker of Magellen GPS equipment) they are very concerned about the impact of this legislation on perfectly appropriate activity using GPS that has nothing to do with Geocaching. I believe they will be forced to place warnings in their users manuals about this law, which will certainly discourage many people from visiting SC.


    Federal Law will require most Cell Phones to be equipped with a GPS receiver to enable more efficient Police response to emergency calls. Currently it is difficult to pinpoint a cellular calls location so police can find the location of a fire, crime or emergency. This act would apparently criminalize using the phone to transmit your location to the police (which happens automatically) if you happen to be in a graveyard, historic site or archeological site. I believe it fails to include an exception allowing the police to use their GPS navigation to find the location as well. I suppose the police could request permission from the owner of every historic site in the state, for each department and service, to use GPS to respond to emergency calls on their property. How the victim is going to have time to get permission, I do not know.


    This is stupid, nanny state legislation. Laws already on the books about vandalism, graveyards, trespassing and archeological sites are more than sufficient to deal with the problems.


    If there is a specific problem with African American graveyards, why doesn’t someone clean them up and fence them? The one at Remley’s Point is terribly neglected. I had been planning to put a geocache there to raise awareness of that threatened graveyard. Had it ever been threatened with being bulldozed for development, I could have contacted all the geocachers who visited it for help preserving it.


    As it is, all caches have been removed from all graveyards in SC. The Remley’s Point graveyard has no legal owner and thus no cache can be placed there. I will leave it to others to try to figure out how to preserve it.


    This law makes as much sense as outlawing shovels to prevent grave robbing.


    William Hamilton

    Attorney at Law, Newspaper Columnist, Geocacher

    32 Sowell St.

    I’On Village

    Mt. Pleasant, SC

  5. I would expect a bandwagon effect. Many state archeologists, natuaral area managers and historic site managers are hostile to any public initiated activity on what they really believe to be "their property." It is really a matter or status and power. Of course, without funding, this now often means little or nothing happens on many government own historic sites. They're content to run the occassional paid tour, but the unmanaged public is really precieved as a nusance by most site managers.


    You can expect these very frustrated people (they've become irrelevant through years of budget cuts and no longer have much positive to do) to hear about this from each other, email this text around the country and find similar bills introduced in many other states.


    It offers them a way to vent their frustration on a public which seems uninterested, uninformed and unwilling to see that they have sufficient funding.


    In SC, Charles Town Landing is virtually abandoned. Staff has been cut to a total on 9, the museum has been closed since Hurricane Hugo in 1989, the pioneer wooden ship has been sitting on the ground for over six months awaiting repairs after it sank at the dock last summer and was hauled out. The picnic areas have been removed, the trash cans have been taken out and the playground structures were torn down and hauled away. The pioneer village was torn down about five years ago.


    The managers of the park had historically justified reasons for most of this, but the real reason is they have no money. Attendance at the park continues to fall.


    At one time there was a geocache in the Charles Town Landing (which charges admission) and the comments in the logs about the parks condition were very negative. People felt cheated of their time and money when they visited. I suspect logs like that about the sad state of our state historic sites are one of the real motivators behind this legislation.


    Geocaching offered a way to expose some of these sites to the public, but in SC, at least, that won't be an option much longer if this passes. In some cases, at least where admission is being charged, that is probably a good thing since many of these places are no longer worth visiting.

  6. This message came in yesterday.


    -----Original Message-----

    From: MARY MARTIN [mailto:MARTINM@scstatehouse.net]

    Sent: Thursday, April 07, 2005 1:09 PM

    To: rockg1@charter.net; NetWatcher@NetWatcher.net; sandra@spotsdesigns.com; wjhamilton@wjhamilton.com; normanlazarus@yahoo.com

    Subject: H. 3777


    House Bill 3777, dealing with geocaching will be revisited by the Special Laws Subcommittee on Wednesday, April 13. The meeting will be held at 9 am in room 516 of the Blatt Building on state house grounds.


    Please let me know if I can be ot further assistance in any way.



    Mary Ashley Martin

    Law Clerk

    Special Laws Subcommittee

    SC House Judiciary Committee

  7. Historically, the "table stones" common in Lowcountry Cemetaries were used to layout picnics when family members visited the family plot. Those visiting generally did some maintenance and weeding, then laid out a picnic right on the stone and shared stories. People came out on the street cars, often many different families, to picnic in the cemetary. We used to lay out sandwiches and other refreashments on the stones in downtown Charleston when we were cleaning up the cemetary. I always thought it was nice that we sort of shared the picnic with the buried that way. It connected us to them.


    This went on in Magnolia Cemetary in Charleston for over a century. To this day, my son always insists in visiting the duck pond when we visit my mother's grave.


    We gather at the neighborhood graveyard and tell ghost stories in I'On every year. It is a cherished neighborhood tradition.


    It is important to understand that death was a far more intimate experience for our ancestors. People died at home. Funerals were often held at home. Women in the family laid out and washed the body Relatives built the coffin and often dug the grave. They didn't have this wierd disconnected approach to it.


    Now we die in hospitals, get embalmed and morned at funeral homes and are shipped to a cemetary where the maintenance is done by strangers under perpetual care, including the semi annual placement of flowers.


    When my mother died, I wrote her obituary myself, which some people thought was inappropriate. I wonder who, besides my father, knew her better.


    I visited My mother's plot last Sunday and later went geocaching elsewhere. At one time, I could have visited the nearby grave that was marked with the Gallant 600 Cache, which brought people to the burial place of a member of the light brigade, but that has been archived. It would be nice if people could understand that my family buried my mother in the midst of great and famous company. On Sunday my wife speculated about where in the plot we would end up


    Each October the Confederate Heritige Trust does an entire reenactment in Magnolia to raise money for maintenance of the Confederate Graves there, with skits all through the cemetary. Women dressed in black lead the tours. There are actually reenactments of battle action, including cannon fire.


    And the dead, if they still hear, know we remember. We promised them we would remember and geocaches in graveyards are one way we can assure that people visit and remember the people buried there.


    Despite the lip service, most of our rural cemetaries in South Carolina are hopelessly neglected and overgrown. Most of the young people in these areas have moved away and there is neither muscle nor money enough to control the overgrowth. There are hundreds of these graveyards, far beyond anyone's capacity to protect or maintain them in the current economic climate. I suspect this humiliates those communities who don't really want visitors to see what poor shape these burial grounds are in.


    However, if you can accept it, there isn't really anything wrong with an overgrown cemetary in the woods. Frankly, I like it better than the industrial, flat stones so you can mow over them approach many newer grave yards have. I was going to place a cache at the endangered cemetary near here in Remley's Point, but obvioualy we'll move on to other projects. The plan was to accumulate email addresses so that if the cemetary were threatened with development, we could round up some people from outside the community to help with the fight. Now the people at Remley's point will be on their own.

  8. :o Tonight an event cache meeting was held in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina to discuss responses to the legislation. We were gratified by the large turnout. We spent about an hour discussing the various issues. Considering there was four days notice on this, it was a great response.


    The house judiciary committee meets Wednesday morning. You can find a llist of its members are




    It was the feeling of those at the meeting that the proper target for input was the house judiciary committee, which is considering this legislation now. Unlike the sponsors, who are on public record as supporting the bill, members of the committee haven't necesarily made up their mind. You should contact the legislator from your area on this committee to encourage them not to pass this bill and to allow laws already on the books to address long standing problems with historic sites, cemetaries and archeological sites. One inportant objection is that this bill outlaws placing caches on your own property if it is part of a district (such as downtown Charleston) that is on the register of national historic places per the definition referenced in the proposed bill.


    At this time, we do not believe this bill is on Wednesday's agenda, however some representatives of the Geocaching community will attend to see the committee in action and to attempt to set up meetings with members before any formal action is taken.

  9. We'll have an event cache meeting at O'Brion's pub in Mt. Pleasant, SC on Monday evening. Check the cache listings for full details. We hope to do some live chat and we'll post information afterwards.


    Unfortunately, reason and evidence count for very little in SC politics. Counting noses makes all the difference.


    It is important to understand that the members of the committees considering the bill are the best people to talk to. The sponsors have already made up their mind. Most of the traffic at my caches here in Mt. Pleasant are tourists, happily spending their money while hunting old ammo boxes and racking up $8 per night in accomidation taxes.


    Because of a long tradition of burying artifacts at gravesites, people often dig up African American grave sites looking for ceramic bowls and other objects. Most of those things were looted out years ago and that tradition died out decades ago.. There is also a beliefe that there might be valuable slave tags in the grave (which would be highly unlikely in a rural cemetary). What these cemetaries need is what all rural historic sites need, someone who cares and who lives nearby. Without that vandalism and arson are inevitable over time. Often when you see a beat up old trailer near a historic site, the goal there is to create a place for someone to live who can keep an eye on property.


    I would suspect that Goecaches actuallyr reduce the probabilty of vandalism, since nobody working over gravestones with a hammer wants to be seen by a guy with a GPS and his two kids. Anything which brings honest people to remote historic sites probably improves the chances that they'll be respected.

  10. Time to Get Organized


    I worked in the legislature as a page and later as an administrative assistant for the SC Trial Lawyer's Association, a lobbying group, so I know a good bit about the process.


    The process is by no means over after next week's commitee meeting, but it is an opportunity that should be taken full advantage of. that meeting is being held at 8 am on Wednesday morning at the Legislature in Columbia.


    Given the time and distance, meetings will be needed in the Upstate, Midlands and Lowcountry before next week's committee meeting to coordinate a response. I’m afraid next month’s geocacher’s association meeting may come too late to address this issue. If this is still a live issue then, anything done now will provide a head start.


    I will hold an informal meeting here in I’On at O'Brion's on this coming Monday to go over our options. A statewide meeting will take weeks to coordinate and there isn't time. Fortunately we can coordinate by email and cell phone. If the meetings were held at the same time, say 7 pm Monday, we could simply call each other on cell phones to stay on the same page.


    Since time is short, I would recommend quick, informal meetings with cell phone coordination for 7 pm Monday evening. I leave it up to people elsewhere in the state to coordinate those. Later Monday evening, we can use the clayjar chat on these forums to share ideas and information.


    :lol: I'll host the Charleston area meeting at O'Brion's Pub on 357 N. Shelmore Blvc., I'On Village, Mt. Plesant, SC 29464 at 7 pm on Monday, April 4 with a contact cell number of (843) 870-5299. I'm going to go on ahead and do that regardless, If nobody shows, I'll just chat with my neighbors. This will be an informal meeting to discuss strategies and lay the ground for formal action as soon as that can be coordinated.


    After these meetings we should be able to use the Monday evening Clayjar chat on these forums to discuss this issue.


    People should be collecting letters and emails from as many people opposed to this legislation as possible and run off a full set for each member of the committee to present to them at the meeting. Anything from a park or facility which encourages geocaching on their site would be particularly valuable.


    My newest Cache, Hog Island Upgrade, on the new nature trail at Patriot’s Point gets 75% of its usage from tourists. Geocaching has a positive, economic impact for the state. Every hour a visitor spends in the area increases the chances of a purchase, meal or overnight stay. A few plastic containers under bushes does that a lot cheaper than civil war submarines, aquariums or other expensive attractions.


    If anyone has a similar experience, printing out the logs and highlighting the out of state visitors, might impress this committee.


    Wamr bodies, however, impress them more than anything else. Pack the room with mature, well behaved opposiiton in suits and ties with GPS units hanging around their necks and you'll have their attention.


    This legislation probably originates from the SC DNR.

  11. We're integrating geocaching into a planned community trail here in I'On. We have six caches along a planned five mile route. We're waiting on some additional trail sections to put it online.


    We'll just have a downloadable .loc file that people can put in their gps units.


    We'll have a trailguide in PDF which coveres the entire trail with maps. We won't give the exact cache locations on the map, but will indicate which section of the trail they are on and in what order.


    The new trail is all GPS driven. We did the old one, three years ago with a compass. The accuracy of the GPS mapping, directions and distances has made working on the trail much easier.


    The old Trail, which has 3 caches on or near it can be found at www.ioncommunity.com look at the village walk pages.


    I've been using expert GPS for this.


    The challenge is keeping the entire trail under the 50 waypont limit on an etrex, the most common GPS unit. :)

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