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home : news January 24, 2015 

North Dargan Innovation Center gets RBEG Revolving Loan Fund Grant
RIBBON CUTTING – Shelby Jenerette, director of the North Dargan Innovation Center, cuts ribbon held by Councilman Robby Hill, and Teresa Ervin, with center clients looking on.
RIBBON CUTTING – Shelby Jenerette, director of the North Dargan Innovation Center, cuts ribbon held by Councilman Robby Hill, and Teresa Ervin, with center clients looking on.
The North Dargan Innovation Center held an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 15. During the open house, Florence Downtown Development Corp. announced an award of a $50,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Revolving Loan Fund Grant specifically for the center’s client companies. City Councilman Robby Hill talked about the Innovation Center and how the grant will help lure more clients. Also speaking were Jesse Risher, director of the USDA Business Program and Chuck Bundy, deputy director of small business and existing industry with the S.C, Dept. of Commerce. The RBEG program provides grants for rural projects that finance or facilitate development of small and emerging rural business.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Florence County Museum Announces Winners of 2015 Pee Dee Regional Art Competition Sponsored by Chick-fil-A
On January 15, the Florence County Museum hosted the opening reception for the 2015 Pee Dee Regional Art Competition at the museum’s newly opened adjunct gallery, The Waters Gallery located at 135 South Dargan Street in historic downtown Florence. First place in this year's competition was awarded to Colleen Critcher of Florence for her painting The Engagement. The other award winners include second-place oil painting by Hartsville resident Jim Boden titled Sirens I and third place, The Genesis of Jihad, by Longs artist, Cat Taylor. 
Wednesday, January 21, 2015

City, county recycling efforts going strong
A reader posed a question: “Are the items we separate from the household garbage and deliver to the curb in the recycle containers really recycled? “ Yes, they are, says Chuck Pope, Public Works Director for the City of Florence. The city collects your items for recycling on the same day as it collects your household garbage. These items are then transported to USA Waste and Recycling in Darlington where they are separated and baled to be shipped to various recyclers. Pope said glass is not accepted by the city, because of the risk of breaking when transported. However, the Florence County Recycle Centers do accept glass items.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Florence based SpringBridge Development and Raines Hospitality breaking ground in the Mount Pleasant Market.

Landmark Enterprises, Inc. and Springbridge Development, LLC break ground on their SpringHill Suites Marriott at Gateway Mount Pleasant Project in Mount Pleasant, SC.

Mount Pleasant, SC – Mount Pleasant, SC based - Gateway Mount Pleasant Hotel, LLC is pleased to announce that it has broken ground on its SpringHill Suites Marriott Hotel. This is the first phase and project at the master-planned, mixed-use Gateway Mount Pleasant Project in the Town of Mt. Pleasant, SC. 

SpringHill Suites Marriott at Gateway will be the first of its brand in the Mount Pleasant market.  The SpringHill experience mission is "Celebrate TraveLife" and this hotel will do just that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Timrod Park gets 'spruced up'
If you passed by Timrod Park lately, you’ve noticed the fresh clean look of the park’s landscape. The city’s oldest park received special attention last fall following the end of the mowing season for city work crews. Once the grass stopped growing on city baseball and softball fields, city workers were freed up to concentrate on sprucing up Timrod Park, said City Manager Drew Griffin. Although the city’s work force was reduced during the recession, basic park maintenance has always been taken care of, he stressed. The slow down in grass cutting provided the opportunity to make improvements in the park. The clean up work included digging and pulling up volunteer growth, such as unrulely vines and other ground cover.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jane Spillane to speak to local literary club
Jane Spillane, widow of the late best-selling author Mickey Spillane, will be the guest speaker at the Jan. 21 meeting of the Sidney Lanier Literary Club. Mrs. Spillane will talk about her recent book chronicling her life with the famous author. The literary club meeting will be held in the Spears Room at Central United Methodist Church, beginning at 3 p.m. It is open to the public at no charge. Mickey Spillane was an American author of crime novels, many featuring his signature detective character, Mike Hammer. More than 225 million copies of his books have sold internationally. 
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Public invited to meet Dr. Randy Bridges
The community is invited to meet Dr. Bridges and his wife Vernetta on Thursday, Jan. 15, at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center at 201 South Dargan Street. The meet and greet session will be held from 5 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Dr. Bridges became superintendent of Florence School District One on Jan. 1. Dr. Bridges has served as superintendent in Stafford County Public Schools in Virginia; Alamance-Burlington and Orange County School Systems in North Carolina; and Rock Hill School District Three in South Carolina. Dr. Bridges has been a public school educator for over 35 years, holding positions as a classroom teacher/coach, middle and high school principal, and serving for the past 16 years as a superintendent of schools.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Councilman Robby Hill enters special election
Republican Councilman Robby Hill, small businessman and Florence City Councilman, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination in the State House 63 special election to be held Feb. 24. Friends, family, and community leaders joined together in front of the newly renovated Hotel Florence, one of several downtown projects Councilman Hill is proud to be a part of, to witness his entry into the race. A special election for State House District 63 was called for after Rep. Kris Crawford resigned, shortly after being re-elected, citing the need to spend more time with his family. Many have described the election as more of sprint than a marathon with election day only a few weeks away. 
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jeopardy champion Ben Ingram to speak to Friends of the Library on Sunday afternoon

The Friends of the Florence County Library will host Ben Ingram on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. Ben is a Florence native who is the 2014 Jeporady Tournament of Champions winner. He was educated in Florence School District 1 and received degrees from Wofford and USC.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

S.C. AgriBiz & Farm Expo just a week away
The 3rd Annual SC AgriBiz & Farm Expo is a week away. Don’t miss this great opportunity to interact with 120 plus top agricultural companies, get updates on the latest innovations, connect with the Who’s Who in Agriculture, take in the optimization clinics for combines, hay equipment and precision ag tools, get educated on the Farm Bill and benefits of cover crops, see exhibitor demonstrations and much more. “It is time for the 2015 SC AgriBiz & Farm Expo and we want to invite everyone to come out and take it all in. You will see everything from antique tractors to agricultural drones. This year we will focus on more interaction between the farmers and exhibitors.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Registration still open for Biggest Loser competition
Registration for Florence’s BIGGEST LOSER has started and spots are filling up fast. Participants in this weight-loss, healthy lifestyle competition will receive a free membership to McLeod Health & Fitness Center for the duration of the contest to include fitness trainings and nutrition counseling. Contestants will also receive life coaching and motivational support from Sozo Life & Leadership. Florence’s BIGGEST LOSER runs for 10 weeks from Jan. 20 to April 2. Two grand prizes of $500 will be awarded to the individuals who lost the greatest percentage of weight and the greatest percentage of inches. The registration fee is $150 and there are only 20 spots left. 
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Start a lifesaving habit by giving blood
The American Red Cross encourages eligible blood donors to start a lifesaving habit by becoming a regular blood donor this year, starting with National Blood Donor Month in January. January is a challenging time for blood donations. Inclement weather can result in blood drive cancellations, and cold and flu season may cause some donors to be unable to make or keep blood donation appointments. National Blood Donor Month, celebrated in January since 1970, raises awareness of the need for blood during the winter and throughout the year, while honoring those who roll up a sleeve to help patients in need. 
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Jay Jordan files to run for SC House
Jay Jordan officially filed for the Republican nomination for South Carolina House Seat, District 63, on Monday, Dec. 29. Wallace “Jay” Jordan has filed his Intention of Candidacy and Party Pledge at the Florence County Election Commission on Third Loop Road. Jordan is the first candidate to have officially put his name in the race. The primary will be decided on Feb. 24, followed by the general election on April 14. 
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bluegrass Concert Saturday in Darlington

DARLINGTON – The Southeastern Bluegrass Association of South Carolina will hold monthly concerts on the first Saturday of every month at The Darlington Music Hall, 1931 Harry Byrd Highway.
Doors open at 4 p.m. for jamming, socializing, and open mic. Info: Jammers play into the late evening under the southern skies. Two festivals–the spring and fall festivals are all day events.
The spring festival is usually held in April and the fall festival in October. Events include an indoor concert featuring area and regional bands. Outdoor and indoors is an informal gathering of local musicians of various skills who jam together, playing and singing traditional bluegrass songs. Bluegrass is rich in traditional folk and gospel songs.
Come out and join us! If you play an instrument, bring it along and join the fun. Light snack and soft drinks are available for purchase.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Central hosting Women Wanting Wisdom conference
Julie Allen and Lisa Stokes were so inspired by a women’s conference they attended in Whiteville, N.C., that they felt led to present one here. The upcoming conference, “Women Wanting Wisdom,” will be held on Friday evening, Jan. 9, and Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, hosted by Central United Methodist Church. Tickets are $40 and $35 for a group of 10 or more. “Women are so busy between work, family and life, they sometimes get beat down,” commented Julie. “This is a good chance to affirm that they are worthy. We encourage women to take time for themselves and bond with other women.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Consider helping feed wildlife during winter
“Winter is a difficult time for many animals,” reminds Lex Glover, wildlife technician with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Winter is also a culling–out time-a time when mortality for many animal species is the highest because of predation and the lack of food.” Cold weather, and its deadly effect on insects, is the main reason many birds leave the state and go south to find an area where insects are more active, says Glover. Birds staying in South Carolina year-round are mostly seed and berry eaters, like cardinals, titmice, chickadees and mockingbirds, or predatory birds that feed on rodents, birds and other small animals. 
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Local company gives back to The Naomi Project
The Florence office of Spherion Staffing Services donated $1,000 to The Naomi Project as part of the company’s national Community Give Back program. Spherion is a local recruiting, staffing and workforce solutions provider. Owners Steve and Carla Vandenberg of the Florence office selected The Naomi Project because of the impact the organization has in helping women and children who suffered from domestic abuse in the home get back on their feet. The Naomi Project assists women and children by providing long-term transitional housing in a safe environment. 
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Library registering for winter programs
The Florence County Library is registering for its Winter/Spring programs through Jan. 2. The library has planned a variety of programs for children. Registration is required for all programs. Daycare centers may call for a separate appointment for Preschool Storytime. For more information and to register for the programs, call the Greenberg Children’s Library at 292-7382.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Help 4 Kids filling hunger gap with food bags
Recognizing that hunger doesn’t take the weekend off, Help 4 Kids is trying to fill that gap with elementary school children in Florence School District One and Timmonsville School District Four. Since organizing in 2013, this local non-profit group has been sending home food packs for “food insecure” children every Friday afternoon. The food, packed in brown paper bags stamped with a smiley face that says “you are loved,” is discreetly packed in the participants book bags by school personnel. The food packs include seven food items, something for two evening meals, snacks and breakfast. These foods include protein and fruit, such as Vienna sausage or Beanie Weenies, applesauce, fruit cup, fruit bar, Pop Tart, oatmeal, mac and cheese and Ramen noodles.
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Frank Avent of Pepsi and Pee Dee Foodservice retires
Frank Avent, general manager of Pepsi Cola of Florence and Pee Dee Foodservice, has retired after 51 years of dedicated service. The company hosted a private celebratory luncheon in Avent’s honor in Florence on Dec. 17. South Carolina Lt. Governor Yancey McGill, state Sen. Kent Williams and state Rep. Terry Alexander attended among many others from the community to honor Avent’s achievements and dedication to the company and community. A.R. Avent, Frank Avent’s father, founded the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Florence in 1936, along with two partners. They built the first facility in 1937 on Irby Street in Florence, where they operated until they outgrew that location. In 1974 they built the plant on David McLeod Blvd. where they continued to operate until they once again outgrew their space. 
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Duke Energy gift funds welding scholarship
Florence-Darlington Technical College’s Educational Foundation was recently presented a $45,000 grant from Duke Energy Foundation. The gift will be used to fund scholarships for students in the College’s Advanced Welding and Cutting Center. Mindy Taylor, Duke Energy’s Government and Community Relations Manager for the Pee Dee Region, presented the check to FDTC President Dr. Ben Dillard and Foundation Vice President Jill Lewis. “We are extremely grateful to Duke Energy for this gift. Duke realizes the importance of having a highly qualified workforce and these scholarships for our welding students will help do that for industries throughout the state,” said Dr. Dillard. 
Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Pee Dee Business, Professional Women's Network celebrates 'season of giving' with monetary gifts to local charities

Pee Dee Business and Professional Women’s Network celebrated their Season of Giving program by making donations to seven non-profit organizations during their Dec. 18 luncheon meeting at the Florence Country Club. Amber Turner, vice president, presented checks for $150 to Lighthouse Ministries, Boys & Girls Club, Harvest Hope Food Bank, Hope Health, Naomi Project, House of Hope and Habitat for Humanity. Several of the agencies also received gift boxes with food items. New officers were introduced for the 2015-16. They are Robin Lewis, president; Lauren Sammis, vice president; Paula Childers, re-elected as secretary; Cherry Gerrald, treasurer; Jennifer Robinson, membership; and Nicole Echols, education. Pee Dee Business & Professional Women’s Network was established in 1998 to connect, communicate, and support business and professional women in our area with fellowship and informational topics. The club meets on the fourth Thursday of each month from noon until 1:30 at the Florence Country Club. Lunch is $15. For more information or to make a reservation, email Rebecca Barnett at

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

McLeod awarded disease-specific certification for orthopedic services
McLeod Regional Medical Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for its Total Hips and Total Knees Orthopedic Programs by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in disease-specific care. This certification award recognizes McLeod as a Joint Commission Center of Excellence for Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement Surgery. A Joint Commission expert surveyor evaluated the McLeod Regional Medical Center Orthopedic Programs for compliance with standards of care specific to the needs of patients and families, including infection prevention and control, leadership and medication management. 
Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Lions and Leos work together to make Christmas special for local youth
The Florence Evening Lions Club and West Florence High School Leos, a project of the club, made Christmas special for 16 children. Each child had breakfast provided by McDonald’s, a gift from Santa Claus, who arrived on a fire truck and a $100 shopping spree for items of clothing. The children were from Florence School District One and FSD1 nurse Sonja Best provided the list. The event was held on Dec. 6. “Money raised during fundraising activities, donations and grants allow Lions to meet pressing needs in our community,” commented Club President Waylong Hilley who served as project chairman. “Services we provide change and enhance the quality of life for those in need.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Law enforcement, volunteers honored at Holiday Celebration luncheon
The Florence County Coalition for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention hosted their annual Holiday Celebration and Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at the Florence Country Club. The luncheon was also sponsored by the Law Enforcement Network of the 12th Judicial Circuit and Circle Park Behavioral Health Services. Several volunteers were recognized for their leadership and valuable contributions to the health and well being of the citizens of Florence County. Honorees included Crishell Bass, chairman of the Parenting Issues Task Force and Kerry Floyd of Media Source One. Carlos Raines of the Florence Police Dept. and Florence County Sheriff Kenny Boone were presented plaques of appreciation for the agencies that they represent.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Florentine performs with UF chorale

Monica Pease of Florence, a member of The University of Findlay’s Concert-Chorale, recently performed “An International Christmas: A Celebration of Christmas Carols from Around the World.” The University of Findlay is a comprehensive university with a hands-on approach to learning located in Findlay, Ohio, approximately 45 miles south of Toledo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Galloway Mosley
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