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Street vendors help SC city win national award

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina has one of the nation's most livable cities thanks to Charleston's program helping enterprising young street vendors.

Charleston receives a 2009 livability award from the United States Conference of Mayors on Friday for its Palmetto Artisan Program. The program began almost three years ago to provide oversight

and business training for young vendors who twist palm fronds into the shape of roses and sell them to tourists.

Mayor Joe Riley said complaints from tourists that they were being harassed led to both a challenge and an opportunity.

The city passed rules that the youngsters attend training seminars and must purchase an inexpensive city permit. The vendors are prohibited from Charleston's most crowded streets.

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