Sometime over the next week or two, the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum will welcome its 9 millionth paid visitor since the state-owned tourist attraction opened in 1976.

A series of freebies are in store for the lucky visitor, including a prize pack valued at nearly $2,500 at the nation’s first aircraft carrier museum.

“Our museum’s 9 million visitors have contributed significantly to our region’s economy since 1976,” said Mac Burdette, executive director.

Burdette estimates that over the past 37 years Patriots Point has had an economic impact on the region and state of over $700 million. The Mount Pleasant attraction greeted its first paying visitor on Jan. 3, 1976.

The 9 millionth customer will be treated to a private three-course dinner for two aboard the World War II-era aircraft carrier Yorktown (donated by Corporate Events and Catered Affairs), Charleston Harbor tour for four (donated by SpiritLine Cruises), carriage tour for four (donated by Palmetto Carriage Works) and two–night stay for a family of four, plus dinner and breakfast (donated by Bennett Hospitality).

The visitor will also receive a voucher for a Carnival cruise for two people, helicopter ride at Patriots Point with PeeDee Helicopter, an experience in the Patriots Point flight simulator courtesy of Flight Avionics, merchandise from the gift shop and a year of free visits to Patriots Point.

The exact date the museum will reach the magic number will not be known until the day before, but it is likely that it will be between June 4 and 8, according to museum officials.

The polls are open for investors in two of South Carolina’s biggest and oldest homegrown banks. Columbia-based SCBT Corp. filed a document last week asking shareholders to begin voting “as soon as possible” on the proposed stock-swap merger with First Financial Holdings Inc., the parent of First Federal of Charleston.

The roughly $300 million deal was announced in February. The post-merger holding company will be First Financial Holdings Inc. No decision has been what name the newly unified bank will take.

The combination will bring together a pair of community banks that opened their doors in the early 1930s. First Federal was founded as a savings and loan association on Broad Street about 79 years ago. SCBT’s predecessor started around the same time in Orangeburg.

They hope to close the deal in the third quarter.

Add a couple more travel accolades to the heap, USA Today placed Charleston No. 5 on its Top 10 list for great waterfronts, and online site TravelNerd gave it a shoutout on its Top 10 list for underrated historical destinations.

USA Today pointed out Charleston’s seawall sidewalks along East Battery and Murray Boulevard, where the Ashley and Cooper rivers come together. It also steered visitors to the city’s Waterfront Park overlooking the harbor.

And for a city steeped in history, TravelNerd’s nod reinforced what locals and repeat visitors already know.

“Charleston gives visitors a sense of the Old South, where everything, from the pastel houses lining the streets to the swings on the waterfront, seems like a history lesson,” said TravelNerd, the travel arm of NerdWallet, a consumer advocacy site.

Its website steers visitors to Fort Sumter, where the Civil War began, as well as Charleston Museum, Drayton Hall, Middleton Place, the Aiken-Rhett House Museum and College of Charleston.

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Can’t take the heat? Then stand down. So says the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

To draw attention to the importance of safety at construction sites during the Southeast’s steamy summers, the federal agency is organizing a one-hour “stand down” in South Carolina and other states for Tuesday.

The federal agency, with the help of trade groups around the Southeast, is conducting a timeout at worksites and office 7-8 a.m. for safety training on the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and preventive steps.

Each year, thousands of workers nationwide suffer from heat-related illnesses, OSHA says. If not quickly addressed, heat exhaustion can become heat stroke, which has killed on average more than 30 workers annually since 2003, the agency added.

Local businesses that want to participate can go to to sign up through the Georgia chapter of the Associated General Contractors.

The leaders of Daniel Island-based software maker Blackbaud are on the road again this week.

Outgoing CEO Marc Chardon and finance chief Tony Boor presented at the Jefferies 2013 Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in New York on May 8. And Boor and Kevin Mooney, president of Blackbaud’s general markets business unit, participated in a “fireside chat” at the JP Morgan 41st Annual Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston on May 14.

This week, Chardon and Boor will take the show to San Francisco, where they will present at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Technology Conference. Their Tuesday afternoon talk can be heard via webcast available at

Still adjusting to the biggest acquisition in its history, former rival Convio, the Charleston company announced in January that Chardon would be stepping down at the end of this year or earlier if a successor is named before then.