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Greenville Tech receives $32K to launch Advanced Manufacturing Academy for high school seniors


The Greenville Tech Foundation has received a $32,000 donation from Bosch Rexroth Corp. to create an Advanced Manufacturing Academy for high school seniors.

The multiple course program is designed for students who are pursuing either technician or engineering education after high school, according to a press release.

Students accepted into the program will spend their afternoon hours at Greenville Technical College’s Center for Manufacturing Innovation, where they will be introduced to CNC machining, mechatronics, welding, 3D printing, robotics, and metrology.

“Students will have the chance to experience advanced manufacturing and to understand the opportunities ahead of them on this path. We appreciate the chance to come together with Bosch Rexroth to help create the workforce of the future,” said David Clayton, executive director at the Center for Manufacturing Innovation.

He added that the program applies as a technical elective for several advanced manufacturing programs at Greenville Tech and as an overview of manufacturing technologies for those planning to enroll in university engineering programs.

Furman receives top 10 sustainability honor

Furman University’s David E. Shi Center for Sustainability is a 3,400-square-foot building that has become a place where students, educators and community members can learn more about how to implement sustainability in their daily lives. The center is home to Sustainable Furman, a master plan designed to help the university adopt and enhance academic offerings in sustainability. Photo provided by Furman University.

Furman University has made the list of overall “top performer” schools in environmental sustainability, placing eighth among baccalaureate institutions, according to a newly released report by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.

The report, known as the 2017 Sustainable Campus Index, recognizes high-achieving colleges and universities overall by institution type and in 17 sustainability areas related to curriculum, community engagement, campus operations and administration.

“Over the past few decades, Furman has established itself as a sustainability leader in higher education, both in terms of its curriculum and its campus operations,” said Weston Dripps, executive director of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability, in a news release. “Being recognized as a top sustainability performer nationally speaks to our ongoing hard work, efforts, and sustainability achievements.”

Since 2007, for instance, Furman has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent through operation efficiency, heating and cooling systems, and solar generation, according to Jeff Redderson, the university’s associate vice president for facility and campus services.

The university more recently constructed a $1.7 million solar farm on six acres along Poinsett Highway. The 743-kW solar farm, which went online earlier this year, is expected to reduce Furman’s electricity expenditures by up to 5 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 3 percent.

“Furman takes its environmental responsibilities seriously, and we’re proud to be a leader in our sustainability programs and renewable energy systems,” said Furman University President Elizabeth Davis.

Horizon throws ‘Swag Saturday’ benefit for Triune Mercy Center

Horizon Records has partnered with iongreenville in order to pay it forward this holiday season on Small Business Saturday. Beginning on Saturday November 25th, Horizon Records will encourage all to share food (non-perishables), warmth (blankets, caps, gloves, socks), and of course deductible cash or check, in order to support Triune Mercy Center.
In return for donations, Horizon Records will be giving away tons of fun and collectible swag items that record store has accumulated. Some of these freebies include CD samplers, vinyl LP test pressings, posters, and more.

The Triune Mercy Center provides services to those in need, whether hungry, homeless, struggling addicts, or others. Triune is only three blocks from Horizon and provides a safe haven for those in need, especially during the holiday season.

Cancer Survivors Park will be an inspiration for generations to come


It will be years before the value of the Cancer Survivors Park is understood. Yet, I can already glimpse its significance.

Years ago, my daughter, at 4 months old, was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive form of leukemia. I have always appreciated time spent outdoors, but I learned that it is especially valuable when everything else seems to be caving in.

Research proves that both physical and emotional health improves and that even the healing process increases with time spent outdoors. There is plenty of evidence showing how the outdoors impacts the way we live and feel, and that investing in public, outdoors spaces creates healthier communities.

We have already witnessed the positive results of investing in parks such as Falls Park. Visionaries saw how a once dirty and hidden Reedy River could be a gem. After the investment of over $13 million in the now-iconic Liberty Bridge and the areas around it, both local residents and visitors now benefit from the experience of our award-winning Falls Park.

The benefits go beyond enjoyment. Over the past 15 years, the investment in the bridge and park spurred additional economic development, including RiverPlace and the widely used Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail.

We will soon be able to add another iconic symbol to the list of things that make Greenville great – the Cancer Survivors Park.

Cancer Survivors Park is an extraordinarily unique park; its scale and depth are not available anywhere else. This park has rejuvenated the overgrown, largely inaccessible, 6.8-acre site connecting Falls Park to Cleveland Park.

Calling the area Cancer Survivors Park is a tremendous responsibility, as it seeks to capture a journey that nearly escapes words but encompasses the vast span of human emotions. It needs to be a space that acknowledges the dark moments of the journey yet also provides the inspiration necessary for hope and healing. We will all benefit from what the visionaries behind the park have created – a beautiful place that will live up to these unique obligations.

It has been exciting to watch the park unfold. Recent months already have brought the dedication of the Children’s Garden, the boardwalk, the new Spirit Bridge, and the butterfly art sculpture “Transformation.” If you have not experienced the view from the Leap of Faith area on the boardwalk, or seen children climbing the “Fear Not” lion, or viewed the river from the new bridge, I encourage you to visit.

Once completed in 2018, the park will offer many more experiences, such as a Healing Garden, a Celebration Plaza, and an amphitheater. The Survivorship Education Center will host a variety of community programs designed to help anyone learn to live with cancer or any life-altering illness or loss.

The Cancer Survivors Park Alliance recently reached their initial goal of raising $7.5 million, and they have launched a thoughtful plan for raising an additional $2 million to complete the park. It is up to us to continue to invest in such community-enhancing projects as we did for the Peace Center improvements and the Children’s Museum of the Upstate. We are involved in the process of ensuring an effective, affordable housing strategy. These public-private projects are a hallmark of the Upstate.

Like many of these projects, Cancer Survivors Park will be a source of pride as well as a catalyst for economic development. In addition to offering hope and healing, the project symbolizes attributes that make Greenville unique: private-public partnerships, strong philanthropy, the courage to tackle visionary projects, and a compassion for and commitment to advancing our quality of life.

The Cancer Survivors Park will be a shining symbol of hope and transformation, now and for generations to come.

Maurie Lawrence is a volunteer, contributor, and beneficiary of the Cancer Survivors Park. She is also a lecturer in Clemson University’s Master in Real Estate Development program. For more information on Cancer Survivors Park, please visit the park or call 864-255-5010.

Now that the votes are in, Russell Stall, the newest member of the Greenville City Council, talks about the road ahead

Photo by Will Crooks

Russell Stall has had a hand in changing Greenville for more than two decades.

From heading Greenville Forward, a nonprofit he founded to facilitate and shepherd Vision 2025, to facilitating programs for Leadership Greenville and serving as Rotary Club president, the 58-year-old Greenville High graduate has worked to improve his hometown.

Beginning on Dec. 11, Stall will be working to improve Greenville from a different angle — as a City Council member.

The Greenville Journal caught up with Stall after he won one of two at-large seats on Council to talk about what’s ahead.

How did the relationships you have built in Greenville help you win the seat, and how will you use those relationships to get things done on City Council?

With every door of the 4,000 I knocked on during the campaign, I realized how important building trusting relationships are in creating Greenville’s future. Every day I knocked on doors, I would meet an old high school teacher or classmate, a past youth group advisor, an old family friend, or someone I had not reconnected with in decades. Walking also gave me the chance to connect with new people who did not know me, and hear their concerns and ideas. There is no better way to learn Greenville than on the ground… street-by-street and door-by-door.

I am privileged to be mentored by an inspiring group of old-school public servants – Max Heller, Dick Riley, and Nick Theodore – who share the belief that everyone is important, and everyone’s opinion and voice is valued. I hope I will continue this legacy.

On election night, the message I talked about was probably unexpected. My message was the importance of personal relationships in the campaign and in our future. Greenvillians must feel that our elected officials are accessible and listen to their concerns.

Additionally, I do not know the impact my relationships had on the outcome of the election, but I do believe these relationships will help me be a more effective councilperson. I also believe these relationships will help me reach out beyond the city to improve the county, the Upstate, and the region.

City Council approved the establishment of an independent nonprofit Housing Trust Fund on Nov. 13. In addition to that, what specifically should the city do to address affordable housing?

The approval of CommunityWorks and the allocation of $2 million toward affordable housing are a start in solving our affordable housing shortage. My first task on Council will be to understand the conversations leading up to the ordinance and to understand the work that has been done by the city and our nonprofits to help solve the problem.

One important issue to address is expanding the definition of affordable housing to include housing for our workforce; those who work in our restaurants, hotels, office buildings, and schools.

Housing should not be just a conversation about the number of units we produce, but more importantly, a conversation about the impact housing has on people – as a way to move out of poverty, stabilize families, improve employment opportunities, and give people hope. Providing affordable housing is a smart economic development strategy and demonstrates our compassion as a community.

How specifically will your experience with Greenville Forward help you on Council?

Greenville Forward was a powerful foundation in preparing me to officially serve the city on Council, and as I move to the next chapter in my life in service to Greenville.

The goals of Greenville Forward and the City of Greenville are highly aligned… to create the most livable city in the country. In my work on Council, I will continue Greenville Forward’s goals to make Greenville healthier, more creative, greener, more connected, economically vibrant, more inclusive, and create a culture that values learning.

Greenville Forward, and my 12 years with Leadership Greenville, not only helped me understand the issues facing the community and her residents, but more importantly, connected me to people in all parts of Greenville, of different income levels, faith traditions, and life experiences that I would otherwise not have met.

How will you work with other Council members to get your top priorities accomplished?

As a new councilperson, I will be a new voice among a group of seven. I already have strong relationships and friendships with the current Council, as well as with all the city department heads. Over the years, I have worked with each Council member on different projects and in different capacities.

My relationships with current Council members are established, friendly, deep, and consistent. A “get to know each other” period is unnecessary, and we can get to work immediately on the future of Greenville immediately.

You have pushed for smart growth. Now that you’re on Council, what will be the first thing you do for in that regard?

My first task will be to better understand the policies the city has developed to deal with growth so far.

In a survey I conducted last month, 62 percent say that Greenville is growing too fast, and 78 percent say that it is important to manage the rapid growth of the city. Growth and new development are necessary for Greenville to move forward as a world-class city, but growth also puts a strain on our aging infrastructure and the charm and feel of our city. While the design guidelines were revised recently, we should concentrate on enforcement, as well as tailoring design standards to match the scale and personality of each distinct neighborhood.

GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail receives Great Places honor

Photo provided

The Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail has been popular with people of the Upstate. Now, it’s the “People’s Choice” in the American Planning Association’s 2017 Great Places in America.

The SRT received more than 51,600 votes – a record for the contest – to beat the City of Rochester Public Market; downtown Golden, Colo.; the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa; and Douglas Avenue in Wichita, Kansas.

The APA said the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail network “puts Main Street on a county-scale” and said the trail sees more visitors annually than the entire population of the county.

“The trail originated in and was the catalyst for the revitalization of the town of Travelers Rest. Thanks to the trail’s popularity, once-vacant old textile industry buildings all along the trail are renovated, repurposed, and brought back to life with new businesses and services with pleasing monikers like ‘The Swamp Rabbit Trail Café and Grocery’ and ‘Hampton Station,’” the trail’s Great Places in America profile said.

The trail is 19.9 miles and generates $6.7 million in tourism economic impact annually since 2009. Future expansion visions include “flying” the trail through the second story of a mixed-use building and “invisible” bridges over roadways, the profile said.

The only other Upstate location to make the Great Places in America list, which began in 2007, is Uptown Greenwood, 82 acres of commercial, residential, and public space centered around a stretch of Main.

Greenville Middle teacher named a state teacher of the year

Photo by Justin Nix

Greenville Middle special education teacher Nicole Shartzer’s students worked with the school district food and nutrition services department to help prepare a Thanksgiving meal for their parents.

But at the lunch, Shartzer was served up a special side dish — a Palmetto Teacher of the Year award from the S.C. Education Association as a part of American Education Week.

South Carolina K-12 public education principals were invited to nominate educators in their schools who they believe go above and beyond the call of duty in providing the best education for their students. SCEA President Bernadette R. Hampton reviewed the nominees and selected educators in different regions who are making a difference in ensuring every child in the state receives a quality education.

“Nicole Shartzer is an amazing talent. She’s knowledgeable, compassionate, and a go-getter,” said Greenville Middle Academy Principal Nicky Andrews. “Mrs. Shartzer has served as a mentor to new teachers and demonstrates high expectations for our kids.”

Each year, students in Greenville Middle School special education classrooms invite their parents to a special Thanksgiving lunch. This year, the district’s food service department was involved to help teach students about food preparation and life skills. The students have mild and moderate intellectual disabilities, and part of their educational program is spent on daily life skills. For the Thanksgiving meal project, students learned about table settings and centerpieces in addition to food prep.

City Council approves Housing Trust Fund to target affordable housing shortage

Photo provided

Greenville’s new Housing Trust Fund will focus on projects serving households with incomes between $15,000 and $55,000.

The Greenville City Council on Nov. 13 unanimously adopted a resolution to establish the independent nonprofit fund to help address an affordable housing shortage in the city.

CZB, an Alexandria, Va.-based urban planning and neighborhood development consulting firm, recommended that money be combined with $1 million from philanthropic, corporate, and charitable sources to create a housing trust fund that would help address the city’s shortage of more than 2,500 affordable housing units.

Earlier this year, the City Council approved using $2 million of the city’s fund balance to increase the amount of affordable housing in the city. That money will be combined with $1 million from philanthropic, corporate, and charitable sources.

The Housing Fund, which will be launched under the existing nonprofit CommuityWorks, is expected to be operational in early 2018.

CZB Founding President Charles Buki had told City Council that households that make $55,000 a year can readily participate in Greenville’s housing market. But teachers and first responders, especially those who are young, will struggle in the market. So would the city’s service-oriented workforce such as hotel and restaurant workers.

“Once you get to $55,000 a year, you can pretty readily participate in the housing market. Once you’re at 55, you’re in,” said Charles Buki, CZB principal.

In addition to new affordable housing, preservation of affordable units should be a priority, Buki said

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch ‘The Nutcracker’ this holiday season

Photograph by Conrad Kuiper, Creative Commons 2.0

Clara, her courageous soldier, and the sugar plum fairies will be chassé-ing across a variety of stages in three unique “The Nutcracker” productions beginning Dec. 1.

Along with the regular evening shows, each company or studio will also host educational outreach programs for students, along with additional special events.

International Ballet

International Ballet performs The Nutcracker, in partnership with the Greenville Symphony Orchestra, at the Peace Center Concert Hall Dec. 1-3. This year’s guest artists include Cuban ballet sensations Adiarys Almeida and Taras Domitro, who are performing in Greenville for the first time through a sponsorship by Graham and Greta Somerville.

“This season, our audiences will be able to enjoy the artistry of our accomplished dancers alongside these incredibly respected and world-renowned guest artists of the ballet world,” said International Ballet’s Artistic Director Vlada Kysselova.

As Greenville’s only production of The Nutcracker with a live orchestra, it will also feature a live choir in the snow scene, led by Arlen Clarke of St. Mary’s Catholic Church.

“It is incredibly fortunate that audiences have the opportunity to experience Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece live, for there is no substitute for the fantastic energy that fills the hall when you combine musical mastery with the artistic expression of ballet. It is the perfect note to start the holiday season on,” said Greenville Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Julianne Fish.

Additionally, International Ballet will host the Nutcracker Tea Party on Dec. 10, at the Poinsett Club, featuring a performance by IB’s Nutcracker dancers, sweets by Jonathan Caleb Cake, and story time, among other holiday themed activities.

“International Ballet’s Nutcracker Tea Party is that quintessential childhood tradition that brings the holidays to life and gives young people and up-close experience with the art of dance,” said Lena Forster, International Ballet executive director.

International Ballet:

The Nutcracker with Greenville Symphony Orchestra

Dec. 1 (school performance) – 10:30 a.m.; Dec. 2 – 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 3 – 3pm

Peace Center Concert Hall, 300 S. Main St.

Tickets: $18-$55 (Use code FamilyPack to Buy 3, Get 1 Free)


The Nutcracker Tea

Dec. 10, 1-3 p.m.

Poinsett Club, 807 E. Washington St.

Tickets: $30


Greenville Ballet

The Greenville Ballet will present the 33rd annual production of executive director Andrew Kuharsky’s adaptation of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 15 and 16 at 3 p.m. at Furman University’s McAlister Auditorium.

Guest dancer Crystal Serrano from Dance Theatre of Harlem will perform with 90 local dancers, including Kuharsky’s four grandchildren. This year’s production will also include the premier of brand new sets for Act 2.

The sets and the storyline are modeled after George Balanchine’s internationally famous version, with the exception of some of the women’s costuming. (Read: hoop skirts.)

“It’s more ‘Gone with the Wind’ than traditional German,” Kukarsky says.

Kuharsky said the educational performance on Dec. 15 is a main reason the company moved its production from the Peace Center to McAlister Auditorium in 2002 because it was more cost effective to offer significantly discounted seats.

“A lot of kids don’t have exposure to dance,” he says.

Greenville Ballet:

The Nutcracker

Dec. 15, 10:30 a.m. (student performance); Dec. 16, 3 p.m.

McAlister Auditorium, Furman University, 3300 Poinsett Hwy


Carolina Ballet Theatre

Carolina Ballet Theatre presents “The Nutcracker: Once Upon A Time in Greenville,” a European-inspired production that will feature all new costumes, sets, backdrops, and props.

The libretto is adapted from E.T. A. Hoffmann’s classic story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.” Choreographed by CBT Artistic Director Herman Justo, the performance is based on the original Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov ballet.

On opening night, Carolina Ballet Theatre will host guest artists from world renowned ballet companies – Herman Cornejo, principal at American Ballet Theater and partner of ABT’s Misty Copeland, and his sister, Erica Cornejo, principal at Boston Ballet.

The three performances feature a 100-plus person cast including CBT Company dancers. The Meyer Center for Special Children students will perform during the opening scene.

Additionally, this year CBT has partnered with the S.C. Football Hall of Fame to bring celebrity athletes to the stage, including former Tigers Patrick Sapp and Tajh Boyd.

Before the evening performances and following the matinee, Table 301 will serve a Nutcracker Banquet in Genevieve’s. Included will be guest dancers and treat bags for the children.

Carolina Ballet Theatre:

The Nutcracker

Dec. 22, 7 p.m.; Dec. 23, 2:30 and 7 p.m.

Peace Center Concert Hall, 300 S. Main St.


Republican Ashley Trantham wins District 28 primary

Photo provided

Greenville resident Ashley Trantham has won the special primary for the District 28 seat in the S.C. House of Representatives.

The seat is currently filled by Rep. Eric Bedingfield, who is retiring in January to become the director of government affairs at Greenville Technical College.

Trantham was one of four Republicans vying for the seat. Other candidates included Krystal Blume, Jonathan Smith, and Bill Welch. No Democrats filed for election.

According to unofficial results, Trantham won more than 57 percent of the voters with 871 votes. Blume, however, finished a distant second with 296 votes. Welch received 191 votes and Smith received 149 votes.

Trantham will be the only name on the ballot for the special election on Jan. 16 for District 28, which covers southwestern Greenville County.

Greenville artist Megan Hueble explores the role of women in religious iconography

Photo by Will Crooks

Since childhood, Megan Hueble has focused on being an artist.

After graduating from the Greenville Fine Arts Center in 2013, she enrolled at Clemson University to study visual art with a concentration in drawing. Her earliest works focused on patterns and grids and incorporated everything from graphite to acrylics. She also briefly experimented with black-and-white photography and embroidery.

“My work is always changing and exploring new things,” she says. “I basically focus on whatever’s inspiring me in the moment, which gives me more artistic freedom.”

Today, Hueble’s focus has shifted to creating mixed-media installations that aim to examine and challenge the historical portrayal of female saints in Catholic iconography, a subject she was inspired to tackle after visiting cathedrals in Italy nearly two years ago.

“Most of the women in these pieces were represented by men who had no idea what the female experience is like,” Hueble says. “They painted simplified versions of these women to represent archetypes like Eve or Madonna. In a lot of religious art, women were represented so that they couldn’t directly engage with viewers, which created this mythos that they were pure with no desire. I’m trying to turn that idea upside down.”

Photo provided

Some of Hueble’s most recent installations, for instance, include self-portraits that attempt to engage the viewer through eye contact. “It gives my subject independence from the viewer’s gaze and asserts that they’re an actual person,” she says.

But ironically, Hueble is inspired by the icons that she challenges, and she incorporates various religious symbols, including halos and floral wreaths, in her collages to represent and celebrate the legacy of Christianity.

“I’m mostly using these religious symbols as a way to replicate the imagery used in icons,” she says. “But it also comes from a personal place. I was raised Southern Baptist and find it valuable even if I’m no longer orthodox and think these religious institutions need to be questioned. They’ve had a huge impact on art and history.”

Each of Hueble’s works is process-oriented and features multiple forms of media. She usually begins with a self-portrait, snapping a selfie and then replicating it on gridded paper with a graphite pencil. Hueble then cuts a halo and floral wreath from paper and colors them with watercolor, color pencil, highlighter, and ink. She then finally pieces the components together and secures it with staples.

Hueble says some components in her collages are deeply personal and incorporate subtle references to her spirituality. One of her most recent installations actually features self-portraits on pieces of paper that she cut out from a former prayer journal.

Photo by Will Crooks

“It puts me in a very uncomfortable place, but it’s also obscure,” she says. “I’m just really trying to figure out ways that I can visually invite others to ponder and question and converse about these things I want to talk about.”

Hueble, who is one of three Brandon Fellows at the Greenville Center for Creative Arts, is currently displaying and discussing her work on every first Friday of the month at GCCA. She is also experimenting with realism and working to master large portraits under the mentorship of West Greenville artist Mary-Epp Carter.

As for the future, Hueble hopes to use the Brandon Fellowship to make a name for herself in Greenville and further her career goal of art education. She previously interned with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Mint Museum in Charlotte.

“I’ll never stop making art,” says Hueble. “But there’s nothing better than helping people connect with and learn more about art.”

Duke Energy Foundation donates $350K to Upstate conservation projects


The Duke Energy Foundation has awarded more than $350,000 in grants to 14 environmental nonprofits in South Carolina.

“We are dedicated to protecting the natural beauty of South Carolina and being good stewards of the environment,” said Kodwo Ghartey-Tagoe, Duke Energy’s South Carolina president, in a news release. “By supporting the organizations that do this honorable work, we can help protect and restore wildlife and natural resources, and support quality environmental education programs in our state.”

The grants will fund various environmental projects, wildlife conservation efforts, and environmental educational programs within Duke Energy’s service territory in the state. Some of the grants are going to Upstate conservation efforts.

Ten at the Top, for instance, will receive $25,000 to support the Connecting Our Future Initiative, the goal of which is to build a coalition of stakeholders to develop a regional vision for the Upstate to increase connectivity while reducing congestion and environmental pollutants.

TreesGreenville, a nonprofit that works to plant, promote, and protect trees in Greenville, has been awarded more than $44,000 to coordinate five tree giveaways that help educate homeowners on the right place and right tree to plant in order to improve energy savings.

“Thanks to the Duke Energy Foundation, we’re promoting tree planting and protecting a healthy community forest,” said Joelle Teachy, executive director of TreesGreenville. “Together, we’re giving away trees that are saving energy, improving air quality, and providing public health benefits.”

These organizations will also receive grants from the Duke Energy Foundation:

Anne Springs Close Greenway will receive $49,850 to bring hands-on environmental outreach education to elementary students in York and Lancaster counties.

Beautiful Places Alliance will receive $20,000 to help South Carolina State Parks provide expert instruction and hands-on field experiences to students as they explore the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area.

Children’s Museum of the Upstate will receive $150,000 to develop curriculum that will build on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invite them to explore wildlife and the world around them at a new satellite museum in Spartanburg.

City of Pickens will receive $13,000 to create a sensory rain garden located at the Pickens Doodle Park.

Clemson University will receive $50,000 to expand programs that provide an environmental education on the interrelationships of energy production and environmental stewardship for K-12 teachers at the Duke Energy Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station in Salem, S.C.

Florence County will receive $11,500 to provide environmental educational tools such as kiosks and signs for visitors to Lake City Park.

Kalmia Gardens received $10,000 to help bring Pee Dee area schoolchildren that otherwise might not have access to have a firsthand experience with environmental education at Kalmia Gardens.

Newberry Soil and Water Conservation District will receive $10,000 to assist private landowners in implementing wildlife habitat and water quality improvement practices in the expanded Indian Creek Wildlife Habitat Restoration Initiative area.

Pee Dee Land Trust will receive $20,000 to expand the Landowner Education Program, which educates private landowners about options for protecting their land and family legacy.

S.C. Aquarium will receive $25,000 to support the traveling environmental education outreach program, Rovers, specifically underwriting service to middle school students in Marion County.

S.C. Waterfowl Association will receive $27,000 to support Camp Leopold, a school year natural resource conservation and environmental education camp in Pinewood, S.C., that reconnects students to the land through the use of hands-on environmental education programs.

S.C. Wildlife Federation will receive $25,000 to proactively enhance wildlife habitat and offset the loss of prime acreage to commercial and residential development through environmental education programs for landowners.

Anderson-based AnMed Health cuts 159 positions


Anderson-based AnMed Health has laid off 94 employees and eliminated 65 vacant positions.

The cuts include full-time and part-time positions, according to a press release from the health system. Employees affected by the layoffs include lab technicians, security personnel, and workers in radiology, among others. The health system cited various factors for the cuts.

“Several industry trends, including reimbursement declines, softer volumes, and the cost of necessary investments in technology, have resulted in a budgeted loss on operations this year, which is not sustainable,” the hospital said in a statement. “The organization has taken aggressive steps to respond while minimizing the impact on jobs and people.”

AnMed is the largest employer in Anderson County with around 400 physicians and about 4,000 employees. It has a medical center and a women’s and children’s hospital in Anderson and an urgent care facility in Clemson. The only area shut down completely was the health system’s Physician Surgery Center, which was closed on Monday. Physician offices are not closing.

The hospital is “still seeking qualified applicants for a number of positions, and in all cases affected employees will be encouraged to apply for appropriate positions and not lose their service longevity with the organization,” the statement said.

In addition to the layoffs, AnMed Health said Dallas-based Med-Trans Corp., a national air medical provider, will take over the system’s air ambulance programs as of this year. The services and coverage area will remain the same.

20 leaders from five cities tour Greenville for examples of smart growth


Smart Growth America and the Knight Foundation recently held the second phase of its inaugural Amazing Place Ideas Forum in Greenville.

Held Nov. 14-16, the forum brought more than 20 economic development leaders and elected officials from five U.S. cities to Greenville to see how the city has used historic preservation, brownfield redevelopment, and riverfront investment in our celebrated downtown.

Participants previously toured Denver, Colo., from Aug. 29–31 to study how that city has used transit, strategic redevelopment, and the arts to attract millennials.

“Denver and Greenville exemplify the Amazing Place approach to local economic development,” according to a press release from Smart Growth America, a nonprofit advocacy group. “The five selected communities will get an up-close look at how they’re doing it, but this is an approach that any community can use.”

In Greenville, the forum’s delegates spent three days meeting with local economic development leaders, business owners, and elected officials to discuss affordable housing, urban design, transportation, and more.

Greenville City Councilwoman Amy Ryberg Doyle and Mayor Knox White led a discussion in downtown about the importance of walkability. And our very own publisher, Ryan Johnston, narrated a bus tour of the Village of West Greenville that explored the opportunities of redevelopment.

The forum also included tours of Main Street and other points of interest, including the Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail and NEXT Innovation Center.

The Upstate Business Journal recently sat down with representatives from each of the visiting cities to discuss their experience in Greenville and what they learned from it. Here is what they had to say:

Akron, Ohio

The Akron leadership team came to Greenville looking for ideas to make their city, which is suffering from postindustrial population decline, a “better city” and a more “complete city,” said Dave​ ​Daly, ​market and garden coordinator with Let’s Grow Akron, a nonprofit that helps neighborhoods turn unused parcels into community gardens. What that means for them is a place where bicyclists, pedestrians, and people of all races, ethnicities, and ages are not only welcome but can thrive. Specific areas of note for them from Greenville are the Reedy River corridor, which could provide a roadmap for better use of the Akron canal-way; the expertly designed streetscapes along Main Street and the design guidelines that help enhance the downtown experience; public art for all generations, such as the Mice on Main; and the Village of West Greenville, the ongoing revitalization of which could be foreshadowing the fledgling development of the southwestern Akron area of Kenmore. “The bones are there,” Daly said. Akron team members Dominic​ ​Falcione, Kelli​ ​Fetter, Valerie​ ​Shea, Karen​ ​Starr, and Bronlynn​ ​Thurman contributed to this report.

Charlotte, N.C.

Rick Thurmond, Charlotte Center City Partners senior vice president for community and business development, has a simple definition of smart growth — growth with a plan. And Greenville, he said, is a shining example of urban planning done correctly. “There are a lot of lessons to be learned from Greenville, and I think one of them is the intentionality with which Greenville has grown,” he said. Charlotte and Greenville, although differing in size, face many of the same challenges, including equity in growth. “Our growth has been so fast that parts of our city, perhaps, have been left behind. The question is not only how do we rectify that, but as we continue to grow, how do we ensure all parts of our city benefit,” he said. Thurmond said he looks to learn lessons of leadership in any city he visits. “It’s not so much about a specific space or place that we can re-create in Charlotte,” he said. “It’s how did they get this thing done and can we learn a lesson from that to get something done in Charlotte.”

Columbia, S.C.

The development along the Reedy River in downtown caught the attention of Lou Kennedy, president and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corp. “We have the convergence of three beautiful rivers through our city. We have developed very, very, very little of it,” she said. “I see that as an opportunity for excellence.” Kennedy said river development is something that would really amp up the identity of Columbia. “I am 100 percent energized by what I see in Greenville, particularly as it pertains to the river development and as it pertains to diversity, arts, and culture. We have all those elements in Columbia. We need to celebrate them and grow them.” The key to getting it done is having the city’s leaders, whether they are elected officials or business leaders, work together. “Our group here today is just that,” she said. “We have to support that effort,” she said of Columbia’s business leaders. The Midlands Business Leadership Group, of which Kennedy is a member, is a coalition of more than 40 CEOs from the Midlands region’s largest employers. In January, the group announced an effort to mobilize the private sector to increase the region’s competitiveness.

 Macon, Ga.

Public officials and economic development leaders have made great strides over the past decade to increase the number of people moving to downtown Macon, says Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Virgil Watkins. In fact, the number of downtown lofts has nearly doubled since 2012. But the city is still struggling to retain residents and some of its top businesses, which is why Watkins and his group used their time in Greenville to focus on boosting connectivity and quality of life. “It was interesting to see how public art has been implemented in downtown,” said Watkins. “But our biggest takeaway from Greenville is that we need to work on keeping our streets clean and safe. We’ve got to get back to the basics before we start putting up any murals. That’s the only way we’re going to create an inviting environment that keeps people in downtown.”

Wichita, Kan.

Since 2009, the city of Wichita has seen more than $450 million in investment downtown and nearly 1,300 downtown residential units planned or completed. But the city still faces a multitude of challenges that could prevent continued economic development, according to Wichita City Councilwoman Cindy Claycomb. That includes a talented workforce of 18- to 40-year-olds leaving for jobs in other cities and a large downtown area that has one too many available storefronts for rent. Luckily, the city’s leadership team came to Greenville and found inspiration in the Reedy River, which has transformed downtown into a hub of entertainment, recreation, retail, and restaurants. “We have a beautiful prairie river in Wichita that we’re currently working to transform into an anchor for new developments. If done right, it could easily bring more businesses into town and help us fill some of our empty storefronts. That’s one of our biggest goals right now,” said Claycomb.

Hungry For Love

Ruff Reporter: Mitch

I haven’t always been homeless. When I was a puppy I had a family who doted on me daily. Then they found out they were having a baby and everything changed. They were worried because of stories they had heard about dogs who didn’t act gently around babies so they surrendered me to the shelter. It wasn’t because I had a history of violence. My record was spotless! But they worried too much and couldn’t be convinced that I should at least be given a chance. I wish they had tried to keep me around, or that they had taken responsibility to find me a new home with someone they knew would love me well. Now I’m homeless and hungry for love. Owners give up on their pets too soon all the time. If you’re considering giving up your pet, please follow the tips on greenvillepets.org for rehoming them. Your pet would never choose to give you up.



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