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104 Mitchell Dr Summerville, SC 29483
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104 Mitchell Dr Summerville, SC 29483
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electrician in Fort Lawn, SC

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A few of our most popular commercial and industrial electrical services include but are not limited to:

  • Parking Lot Light Installation
  • Electrical Safety Inspections
  • Electrical Grounding for Businesses
  • Generator and Motor Insulation Resistance Analysis
  • Electrical Troubleshooting for Businesses
  • Ongoing Maintenance Plans for Vital Electrical Equipment
  • Transformer Installation
  • Circuit Testing for Businesses
  • Preventative Maintenance for Electrical Equipment
  • Electrical Wiring for New Businesses
  • Electrical Service Upgrades
  • Much More

A few of our most popular commercial and industrial electrical services include but are not limited to:

Circuit Breakers

Tripped Circuit Breakers

Your businesses' electrical system will trip when it has too much electricity running through it. These problems are very common in commercial properties and usually stem from one of three culprits: circuit overloads, short circuits, and ground fault surges. Obviously, when your circuits are tripped regularly, your business operations suffer. To help solve your circuit breaker problems, our commercial electricians will come to your location for in-depth troubleshooting. Once we discover the root cause, we'll get to work on repairing your circuit breaker, so you can continue working and serving your customers.

Flickering Lights

Flickering Lights

Like tripped circuit breakers, dimming or flickering lights are among the most common commercial electrical problems in South Carolina. These issues typically stem from poor electrical connections. These poor connections will usually cause sparks, which can start fires and wreak havoc on your commercial building. While dimming lights might seem minor, if you leave this problem to fester, you could be looking at permanent damage to your businesses' electrical systems. Given the danger involved in fixing this problem, it's important that you work with a licensed business electrician like Engineered Electrical Solutions as soon as you're able to.

Dead Power Outlets

Dead Power Outlets

Dead power outlets aren't always dangerous, unlike other recurring commercial electrical issues. They are, however, disruptive to your company's productivity. Dead outlets are common in older commercial buildings and are often caused by circuit overloads. Connecting multiple high-wattage devices and appliances to the same power socket can cause overheating. When the power outlet overheats, it can lead to tripped circuit breakers. In some cases, the live wire catches fire and burns until it is disconnected. For a reliable solution using high-quality switches, sockets, and circuit breakers, it's best to hire a professional business electrician to get the job done right.

Residential Electrician vs. Commercial Electrician in Fort Lawn:
What's the Difference?

Finding a real-deal, qualified commercial electrician in South Carolina is harder than you might think. Whether it's due to availability or budget, you might be tempted to hire a residential electrician for your commercial electrical problem. While it's true that great residential electricians can help solve commercial issues in theory, it's always best to hire a business electrician with professional experience.

Unlike their residential colleagues, commercial electricians are licensed to deal with different materials and procedures suited specifically for businesses. Commercial wiring is much more complex than residential, and is strategically installed with maintenance, repair, and changes in mind. Additionally, commercial properties usually use a three-phase power supply, necessitating more schooling, skills, and technical ability to service.

The bottom line? If you're a business owner with commercial electricity problems, it's best to work with a licensed commercial electrician, like you will find at Engineered Electrical Solutions.

Professional and Efficient from
Call to Technician

Shields Painting has been in the business since 1968. In a world where so much has changed, we are proud to uphold the ideals that make us successful: hard, honest work, getting the job done right, and excellent customer service. Providing you with trustworthy, quality work will always take priority over rushing through a project to serve the next customer. That is just not the way we choose to do business.

As professionals dedicated to perfection, we strive to provide a unique painting experience for every customer - one that focuses on their needs and desires instead of our own. Whether you need residential painting for your home or commercial painting for your business, we encourage you to reach out today to speak with our customer service team. Whether you have big ideas about a new paint project or need our expertise and guidance, we look forward to hearing from you soon.

We want to be sure every one of our customers is satisfied, which is why we offer a three-year guaranteed on our labor. If you're in need of an electrician for your home or business, give our office a call and discover the Engineered Electrical Solutions difference.

Physical-therapy-phone-number(843) 420-3029

Schedule Appointment

Latest News in Fort Lawn, SC

Gallo Wants To Build Bottling Plant In South Carolina

E. & J. Gallo plans to build a new bottling plant in South Carolina, a facility that would serve as Gallo’s main hub east of the Mississippi, according to various reports.The world’s biggest wine company plans to build the plant on more than 600 acres in Fort Lawn, Chester County, in an area once known for its textile mills, according to the multiple sources. Fort Lawn is about 45 minutes south from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and an hour north from Columbia, SC.Modesto-based Gallo plans to invest mo...

E. & J. Gallo plans to build a new bottling plant in South Carolina, a facility that would serve as Gallo’s main hub east of the Mississippi, according to various reports.

The world’s biggest wine company plans to build the plant on more than 600 acres in Fort Lawn, Chester County, in an area once known for its textile mills, according to the multiple sources. Fort Lawn is about 45 minutes south from Charlotte Douglas International Airport and an hour north from Columbia, SC.

Modesto-based Gallo plans to invest more than $400 million over the next eight years and hire nearly 500 employees, Rob Donoho, head of Gallo’s global chain functions, told South Carolina state legislators on March 9. It would only be the first of five phases, Donoho noted.

“This is really intended to be our East Coast home for the Gallo enterprise for decades and decades to come,” Donoho said.

The plant, which could be reached by rail, would be designed to bottle wine in different formats, including glass, cans, bag-in-box and small plastic bottles, according to Donoho. It will also be a warehousing and distribution center for wine bottled in California and shipped to Chester County, according to Donoho’s presentation. The company could also produce its own cans on site, Donoho said.

Gallo, an importer and exporter, also plans to “double or triple” its operations at the Port of Charleston, according to Donoho.

No timeline has been given. Still Donoho and other representatives spoke of the company’s commitment.

“We do actively want to come to South Carolina. There has been a tremendous vetting process,” Donoho told the South Carolina Senate Judiciary subcommittee which is considering a bill to allow Gallo to have up to four satellite tasting rooms for educational and marketing purposes. “We’re very close to closing the deal,” he said.

Donoho cited the economic and environmental benefits of having the plant in South Carolina, given that about 70 percent of its customers are on the East Coast.

“Being a wine grape producer on the West Coast puts us at a logistics disadvantage to getting products to our consumers,” Donoho said. Shipping “heavy” glass bottles and cardboard cross country, he said, was “very expensive.”

Instead, it is “much cheaper“ for the company to ship its wine to the East Coast and source the glass and other packaging locally, Donoho said. “There is a tremendous logistics advantage to doing that.”

Donoho also noted the “sustainability” benefit of “not burning as much fuel to get the product to the consumers.”

The state’s other benefits would include supply chain revenues and the demand for trucking services, according to the presentation. In addition, the satellite tasting rooms Gallo wants to open could spur tourism, Donoho and others said.

Minimum wage in South Carolina is $7.25/hour.

Among the factors that led Gallo to choose South Carolina to build its “East Coast home,” Donoho cited South Carolina’s business-friendly climate, its location to the port of Charleston, and S.C. Ready, a state-sponsored job training program. “It’s truly one of the things that attracted us to the state,” he said.

Donoho addressed the subcommittee as the state Legislature considers S. 619, a bill that would allow Gallo to have up to four satellite tasting rooms in the state. Gallo’s representatives have called the provision a “critical” point to the company coming to the state. The tasting rooms will be a marketing and educational tool and will build brand awareness, Donoho said. Their locations for the tasting rooms, which could be 800 to 1,200 square feet, according to Donoho, were not specified.

South Carolina’s top elected officials, including Gov. Henry McMaster, have strongly backed the Gallo project in Chester County.

In a March 9 letter to the state legislators, McMaster urged support for S. 619. Gallo was “very close to announcing a once-in-a-generation $400 million capital investment in Chester County that will create nearly 500 jobs,” McMaster wrote. The investment will “transform the community and contribute greatly to South Carolina’s economic prosperity.”

E. & J. Gallo, he wrote, “is a well-respected, family owned company with products that are distributed across the globe.”

South Carolina State Sen. Brad Hutto, D – Orangeburg, voiced support for Gallo, noting the jobs that could be created. “We look forward to having them,” Hutto said, referring to Gallo.

The Senate Judiciary subcommittee was scheduled to meet again Thursday regarding S. 619. Current state wine law does not address satellite tasting rooms. The legislation was drafted after the South Carolina’s Department of Commerce, which is helping Gallo come to the state, approached the Department of Revenue to figure out the next steps, according to testimony before the state’s Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

The state Department of Commerce has submitted an application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to seek a permit to build the plant. Construction would require filling about 1 acre of wetlands and about 8,000 feet of tributaries, according to the public notice. The environmental evaluation of the project is under way, according to the federal agency.

Gallo’s name was not mentioned as the applicant behind the Fort Lawn project until recently.

The financial agreement between Gallo and local officials has not been unveiled either. The Chester County Council has discussed the project, code named “Project Magma,” in closed-door sessions.

The secrecy did not sit well with Michael McLain who lives near the site where the proposed Gallo facility may be built. He found the identity of his potential new neighbor through the U.S. Corps of Engineers, he said. “You’re not watching after us,” McLain told the Chester County Council early March.

The plant is going to “squash the value of my property and my home and is going to be annoying the crap out of me every morning and every evening by being right across the street from me, shining lights in and out of my house,” McLain said.

This week, however, a manager at The Wagon Wheel restaurant in Fort Lawn said the Gallo plant would bring jobs to the community.

The South Carolina Department of Commerce and a Gallo representative declined to give more specifics on the company’s South Carolina plans.

“E. & J. Gallo Winery is constantly reviewing the strategic options of its business in order to meet growing global demand; toward that end, we are exploring potential operational investment opportunities on the east coast. Nothing is finalized at this stage and we don’t have specifics at this time, however we are continuing to explore strategic options within our business as we plan for the future,” Gallo representative Natalie Hoch Henderson said in an email.

Companies mentioned in this article:

E & J Gallo Winery

Rapids and renewal: Great Falls hope kayaking brings success

More than 115 years have passed since two dams were built on the Catawba River in the sleepy town of Great Falls to power three textile mills.The mills in this Chester County town closed decades ago.Residents still live in the mill villages. Historic store fronts along the town's main roads have been shuttered for years.Residents have one grocery store, the Great Falls IGA, once a Piggly Wiggly. One of the town's remaining restaurants, The Flopeye Diner, has a sign on the porch with the word "hope."Now, ...

More than 115 years have passed since two dams were built on the Catawba River in the sleepy town of Great Falls to power three textile mills.

The mills in this Chester County town closed decades ago.

Residents still live in the mill villages. Historic store fronts along the town's main roads have been shuttered for years.

Residents have one grocery store, the Great Falls IGA, once a Piggly Wiggly. One of the town's remaining restaurants, The Flopeye Diner, has a sign on the porch with the word "hope."

Now, town and state leaders are hoping restaurants, shops, hotels and tourism-based companies will flood the town and wash away its economically-depressed status with the completion of Duke Energy's wide-scale project on the Catawba River.

Duke officials said the Great Falls-Dearborn project, which will create new recreational channels along the river for kayaking, is about 70% complete.

The project was scheduled to open this summer, but additional work was needed, said Michael Brissie, manager of generation project engineering for Duke. Brissie said the facilities will open in spring of 2023.

The project has many components — public to access channels on the river, a state park with hiking trails, an historic visitor's center, a pedestrian bridge, a 3,000-foot hiking trail on an island, parking and restrooms — all within three miles.

"This is a game-changer, obviously for Great Falls," state Sen. Mike Fanning said.

Duke started construction on the project at the Great Falls Reservoir more than a year ago. As part of a new license for the Catawba-Wateree Project in 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requires Duke to provide recreation, enhancement to water quality and quantity, fish and wildlife habitat protection and land conservation along the river.

The main focus of this project is to bring water back to two channels, or bypasses, that were cut off more than a hundred years ago. Those channels made up the 50-foot Great Falls of the Catawba, the town's namesake.

One channel will be the long bypass, a 2.25 mile stretch for leisure kayaking and canoeing. The long bypass will have Class II and III rapids, which are appropriate for families and individuals wanting a leisurely trip down the river, said Duke spokesman Ben Williamson. The short bypass will have faster water flowing over three-quarters of a mile that will have Class III and IV rapids and is geared more to experienced kayakers, said Christy Churchill, recreation planner for Duke.

Duke can control how much water it releases into the channels. Tourists will be able to check the flow schedules online, or through an app, when planning trips.

To date, Duke has built the Nitrolee Access Area with restrooms and parking for 100 vehicles. Nitrolee will be the primary public hub for access the Great Falls Reservoir and the long bypass. Adjacent to the parking lot on property owned by the Catawba Valley Land Trust is the Arc Building that was part of the Nitrolee plant in the early 1900s. The historic building will become the visitor's center.

Within a year of the project's completion, the site will be connected to the Carolina Thread Trail, a regional network of "connected greenways, trails and blueways that reaches 15 counties," according to the trail's website.

Another component of the project will be a state park on Dearborn Island. Duke is providing money to the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism to help the state develop a park on the 600-acre island with trails, Churchill said. Construction on the park, which will have a campground area, will begin once the lease with Duke and SCPRT is finalized, she said.

Duke also will build a pedestrian bridge from a kayak launch to provide access to the island.

Fanning said ideas are floating to offer a unique camping experience, including "glamping," or glamorous camping, where campers stay in modern-day yurts. He said Dearborn Island will be the third state park in Chester County, which is rare in South Carolina.

"We have plenty of regular camping and so this island is going to be a way for you to spend time on a campground and have a different form of camping," Fanning said.

Duke also will create a trail, roughly half a mile, on Mountain Island at the Cedar Creek Reservoir that will allow kayakers to hike back and put their kayaks back in the water.

Churchill said the Dearborn project is unique.

"I would bet in the country, it's pretty one-of-a-kind," Churchill said. "It's like an engineered system to enhance the natural experience."

Glinda Price Coleman, executive director of the Great Falls Town Home Association, said the return of the water is a "game changer" since the mills closed in the 1980s.

"And since then, there's been several attempts to do something to punch up the economic structure here in town," she said.

The Great Falls Home Town Association is a community and economic development nonprofit that has rallied to have nature-based tourism brought to Great Falls and the surrounding community since 2000, Coleman said.

Coleman said developers and businesses are looking into the area, but could not elaborate on specific plans. The plan now is to bring opportunities for local entrepreneurship and attract businesses to set up shop, Coleman said.

Coleman said an array of business would "be another layer of what will bring people here, not only the natural beauty that we have in the area and outdoor recreation opportunities that we have with the trails and the whitewater and the state park."

Data produced by the nonprofit, American Whitewater, estimates that whitewater activities alone will bring $3.1-$4.6 million to Great Falls annually. Coleman has said it will likely exceed that.

"I think it's providing (Great Falls) a catalyst to begin work from their perspective and from their point-of-view building back their town," Churchill said. "We're building the recreation and then from there, hopefully they can build up interest in the general public and tourism to come down to this area and go rafting, go to the park on the trails, and hopefully bring some economic benefit to the area."

Fanning said Chester County has been "looking for that next big thing and the timing is perfect."

He pointed to California-based wine giant E&J Gallo, which is building its first East Coast facility in Fort Lawn, a small town in Chester County.

Fanning said the Dearborn project "will be the single largest development, economic development, dollar amount that we've seen in a project that was not a business in the history of Chester County."

Fanning said 53 business leaders, residents and town officials from Chester, Lancaster, York and Fairfield counties meet every month to discuss the project.

"I don't want it just to have water that comes down at a high speed," Fanning said. "We're looking to promote this as a destination for people to come and spend their time and just take advantage of spending time outdoors."

Fanning said community members have met with investors to promote the area. The discussions have centered around Great Falls but Fanning is touting Eastern Chester County as the "outdoor recreational capital of the Southeast."

He said the experience will be "phenomenal." "You think about the fact that people have been doing indoor whitewater rafting in Charlotte forever," Fanning said. "Meaning we know there's a demand, we know that we're going to have people coming from all over and it's going to be spectacular."

Kayakers can visit the U.S. National Whitewater Center in nearby Charlotte, North Carolina, but the Great Falls project is not an event venue or center, Churchill said.

"They are totally different animals," Churchill said.

The Great Falls whitewater experience comes from a free-flowing channel.

"Obviously the structures that we're building to help manage the flow is man-made," Churchill said. "However, the channel itself and all the features, the scenery, it's all nature."

Fanning said a year ago, locals were "rolling their eyes and saying here's another promise that will never come to pass." But now you can drive ... and you can see the work, he added.

"This is going to happen," Fanning said. "It will happen within the next year and it will be phenomenal."

Immerse yourself in Shakespeare with tours, poetry and on-stage games

“The play’s the thing,” to quote a different work by Shakespeare, but there’s more to the Folger’s pop-up residency at the National Building Museum than actual performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Much like the museum’s previous Summer Block Party installations, there’s a wide-ranging web of programming with “Th...

“The play’s the thing,” to quote a different work by Shakespeare, but there’s more to the Folger’s pop-up residency at the National Building Museum than actual performances of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Much like the museum’s previous Summer Block Party installations, there’s a wide-ranging web of programming with “The Playhouse” at its center, including daily family activities, free outdoor concerts, and even a chance to step into Puck’s shoes and speak a few lines from the stage.

Cathy Frankel, the Building Museum’s vice president for exhibitions and collections, describes the schedule as “very interactive.”

Start with the twice-daily “Insider’s Tour.” While the Playhouse itself is billed as the star, participants are put front and center right from the start. Groups are led into “A Midsummer Forest,” an installation filled with oversize illustrations from “A Knavish Lad,” a pop-up book based on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” There, surrounded by imagery from the play, with colorful translucent leaves overhead, docents ask volunteers to read and discuss lines from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” (You might have forgotten that, in the play’s first scene, Hermia is told that if she doesn’t marry her father’s preferred suitor, she faces a stark choice between a nunnery and death.)

After wandering through a tunnel, visitors enter the Playhouse. There are interesting facts to be learned about its construction — the set covers the museum’s central fountain, for instance, and after the final performances here, it is heading to the University of South Carolina, where it will go on tour — but let’s be honest: Everyone wants to get onstage and see what it feels like in front of all those (admittedly empty) seats. Guides encourage those on the tour to pair up and play “Shakespeare in a Can,” a game that involves drawing random lines from Shakespeare plays and performing them together, or improvising a short scene.

The 45-minute tour winds up “Backstage.” Visitors can dive into racks of costumes, including brocade jackets and floppy hats to try on, or just marvel at costumes worn in previous Folger productions; a ruffled, pearl-covered dress worn in “Elizabeth the Queen” is captivating, until you read that it weighs 20 pounds.

Some aspects of the tour might go over the littlest visitors’ heads, but there’s still plenty for them to do. Right next to the Playhouse’s entrance is a crafting area where children can create lion masks and fairy wands. There’s also a daily story time and face painting on Saturdays and Sundays. A scavenger hunt seeks out “Midsummer” characters placed in exhibits throughout the building. The museum’s hands-on “City by Design” exhibit, which introduces the idea of urban planning to grade-school visitors, has been adapted with an Elizabethan theme: Kids build model castles, churches and pubs out of cardboard boxes and construction paper and place them on a floor-sized map of Shakespeare’s London, or color and tape together a version of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Throughout the run, the calendar is full of special events: Lunchtime poetry readings (July 21 and 28), four Thursday evening concerts on the museum’s west lawn (July 28-Aug. 18), a weekend of “Hip-Hop Shakespeare” workshops (Aug. 5-7), and a “Brews and Banter” pre-show happy hour with members of the “Midsummer” cast (Aug. 12).

The hope, says the Building Museum’s Frankel, is that no matter their age, people will make a day out of “The Playhouse”: Come in at lunch for a poetry reading or to take a tour. Make crafts with the kids, then get a bite to eat in the neighborhood. After dinner, come back for live music or a workshop, then see “Midsummer.” It’s a day that sounds rather like a dream.

Tickets: Most events and activities are free with admission to the museum, which is $10 for adults and $7 for youths, students and seniors.

York Tech offers free tuition, meets the region’s labor needs, and wants money to expand

One of the larger gathering spaces in York County could grow again, to help produce the growing workforce needed in a variety of industries.York Technical College officials updated York County Council on Monday night with details of swelling enrollment, certification and workforce partnerships. Included are plans for a one-time request to the state legislature for $28 million to upgrade the Baxter Hood Center.Assistant vice president of facilities managemen...

One of the larger gathering spaces in York County could grow again, to help produce the growing workforce needed in a variety of industries.

York Technical College officials updated York County Council on Monday night with details of swelling enrollment, certification and workforce partnerships. Included are plans for a one-time request to the state legislature for $28 million to upgrade the Baxter Hood Center.

Assistant vice president of facilities management Robby Brown told Council there’s a need for expanded healthcare programs. A feasibility study will be done in the next three or four months. The school wants to develop a state of the art healthcare program. The study could reveal other options for the space too.

“We’ll also look at hospitality and culinary programs, which obviously that’s a big market in our area,” Brown said.

The Baxter Hood Center in Rock Hill has a history of hosting educational and civic events. Everything from public meetings or hearings to trade shows have been held there.

“It started out as a continuing education center and an event center,” Brown said. “It’s been used for various purposes over time.”

Expanded programming at York Tech would come at a time when students, business partnerships and other metrics continue to rise.

The enrollment dip during the COVID-19 pandemic that reached across higher education hit York Tech too, said president Stacey Moore. This school year there have been more than 3,800 students each semester. Fall enrollment was down 8% from the prior year, but spring enrollment is up 3%. There has been a more than 30% increase in applications, Moore said.

“We’re seeing a recovery now,” Moore said.

Last school year, York Tech had 1,054 students complete program studies. Those students earned 1,461 awards or certifications. The number of students completing studies is up 29% in four years, and 65% in eight years. Total awards are up 44% in four years and 91% in eight years.

“The most important thing, they’re walking the finish line and getting done,” Moore said.

While larger universities can get outsized attention, York Tech gets local students. Moore pointed pointed to first-time freshman data from just prior to the pandemic. The University of South Carolina (264), Clemson University (220) and USC Lancaster (216) each drew more than 200 new students in 2019 from York, Lancaster and Chester counties. Winthrop University wasn’t far behind at 173 students.

York Tech had 736 students, almost three times more than any other single institution.

“This is all of the students that came out of all of the high schools in all three of those counties in 2019, where did they go to school?” Moore said. “Far and above, students went to York Tech.”

York Tech has 128 acres of space, and 18 buildings on its main Rock Hill campus. The school has $3.7 million in 35 ongoing capital projects. Included is $1.2 million in building improvements. Some of that activity is routine maintenance. Some is in response to a growing need.

York Tech works with companies to provide workforce ready training. Corporate engagements — training, apprenticeships — are more than double in four years. More than half of current engagements, at 57%, are manufacturing companies. Municipalities are 14%. Telecommunications, healthcare and other businesses each account for 10% of corporate engagements.

“We actually are engaged with every single telecom company in all three counties,” Moore said.

Just last month, York Tech took nine of 12 awards at the Electrical Co-Ops of South Carolina Lineman’s Rodeo. The annual competition brings teams from across the state. Students from Rock Hill, Clover, Chester and Fort Lawn competed for York Tech in the technical college division.

“Students were able to demonstrate a portion of their skills in a competitive environment in front of potential employers from around the state,” said Sonia Young, assistant vice president of workforce and economic development at York Tech.

Also last month, the school expanded with a Pre-Police Academy Training certificate.

An undeniable factor in how many students choose York Tech is the free tuition.

Efforts from Gov. Henry McMaster and the state legislature have helped provide free courses, which Moore expects to continue at least through the spring of 2024.

“It is for all of our programs,” Moore said. “Credit and non-credit. So your workforce programs and the credit programs, and it is for all students.”

For the credit programs, students have to be enrolled in six credits to qualify.

Council Chairwoman Christi Cox sees quality programming at York Tech, which at no cost is a great benefit to students and parents.

“What better deal can you ask for than to have free tuition?” Cox said.

Councilman William “Bump” Roddey came to York Tech in 1992. A transfer student, Roddey decided at York Tech to study economics at Winthrop.

“York Tech actually helped me find myself as a student,” Roddey said. “The smaller class sizes, first-generation college student from the family. So it was really a blessing to have York Tech here.”

For Roddey, York Tech was an opportunity to stay and eat at home while pursuing higher education. For many during the tremendous job turnover caused by COVID, York Tech could be an opportunity to try a new occupation without the upfront costs. With at least another couple of tuition free years, increased student interest may well continue.

“Now is the time,” Moore said.

This story was originally published April 6, 2022 7:12 AM.

‘A foundational investment’: Inside the regional impact of Gallo Winery's complex in SC

The E. & J. Gallo Winery East Coast hub could reshape the whole concept of the Charlotte region. “It is an area that is ripe for economic development as it becomes more and more identified with the Charlotte metropolis,” said S.C. Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey III. “This is one of those foundational investments by a global brand that will put this area on the map.”The shift, while obviously impactful for the Fort Lawn community that will see a $423 million investment and the creation of 496 jobs as t...

The E. & J. Gallo Winery East Coast hub could reshape the whole concept of the Charlotte region. “It is an area that is ripe for economic development as it becomes more and more identified with the Charlotte metropolis,” said S.C. Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey III. “This is one of those foundational investments by a global brand that will put this area on the map.”

The shift, while obviously impactful for the Fort Lawn community that will see a $423 million investment and the creation of 496 jobs as the hub develops, creates another selling point for recruiters in the Interstate 77 corridor from Columbia to Charlotte.

Steven Pearce, president and CEO of the South Carolina I-77 Alliance, sees Gallo as a golden opportunity for a broader pitch.

Industrial development activity is already moving farther outside of Charlotte, especially for warehousing and distribution uses. Pearce thinks Gallo’s presence can draw more manufacturing interest to the S.C. Highway 9 corridor.

Giti Tire already has a plant in Richburg employing more than 1,000 workers around 12 miles down Highway 9 from the Gallo site.

Robert Long, director of Chester County economic development, expects interest to ramp up on that corridor. Long has fielded inquiries for commercial uses drawn by the arrival of a major employer.

Gallo’s project could push more food and beverage manufacturing into the area, Pearce says.

Mark Anthony Brewing announced a $400 million brewery and production facility in Richland County in late 2020. Pearce said he is receiving interest from several others in that sector.

Chester County has also seen residential projects approved in 2021. Chester County Supervisor Wylie Frederick said those rooftops will complement the job growth from Gallo and others.

US Developments secured rezoning in June for a 111.9-acre project on Village Drive, near Chester Middle School. Documents show it would include 266 single-family home lots, 215 multifamily units and parcels for commercial space.

JDSI LLC, which is run by leaders of SouthCraft Builders, is proposing a master-planned development in Richburg that would include over 1,000 residential units. The rezoning for that project received final approval from the county in July. It includes plans for homes, apartments and townhomes.

Stephen Rosenburgh, president of US Developments, said he sees big opportunity for projects in Chester County. Development is spreading outward from Charlotte, and he sees Chester County as one of the next frontiers for growth.

“It says to other companies that, if Gallo is coming to this region in a big way, there must be opportunity,” Pearce said. “There must be things this region is doing right from an infrastructure standpoint, a workforce standpoint, a cost-of-doing-business standpoint. … It puts us on the radar with companies that we otherwise maybe would not have on been on the radar with.”

Joseph Von Nessen is a research economist at the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business. He conducted an economic impact analysis for the Gallo project that was completed in early 2021. Its findings show Chester County and the surrounding area should expect development momentum.

His analysis estimates Gallo will support 2,862 permanent jobs by 2040. But just 980 of those positions would be directly created by Gallo.

Former S.C. Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt projected that Chester County will be considered a part of the Charlotte metro within five years. He points to the transformation of the Highway 9 corridor, both in the past and in the future with Gallo, as a big factor there.

“(Gallo) generates some momentum for more development in the region,” Von Nessen said. “But I think it is too early to say how quickly that momentum will move forward or whether you are going to see more merging of the (Charlotte and Columbia) regions. … Very clearly, this will spur growth in the area.”

SC woman bought storage unit for thrift shop. What she found ‘broke my heart’

A thrift shop owner and her husband bidding on storage units in Savannah in October 2021 were in for a surprise when they went through their latest find and discovered that someone had left cremated human remains inside.“It was one of the first things my son found,” Megan Leigh, the owner of My Angel’s Attic thrift shop in Jasper County, said. “My husband wanted to take them to the dump and I was like, ‘no, we cannot do that.’”With only a name, birthday and death date that were printed ...

A thrift shop owner and her husband bidding on storage units in Savannah in October 2021 were in for a surprise when they went through their latest find and discovered that someone had left cremated human remains inside.

“It was one of the first things my son found,” Megan Leigh, the owner of My Angel’s Attic thrift shop in Jasper County, said. “My husband wanted to take them to the dump and I was like, ‘no, we cannot do that.’”

With only a name, birthday and death date that were printed on one side of the pink marble urn, Leigh took to Facebook to try and track down the family, she said. She made posts in Savannah and Jasper County community pages on social media, but no one seemed to know who the woman was. After messaging multiple people with the same last name printed on the urn, or anyone she thought might have a connection to the 79-year-old woman, she found a grandson who lives in Oklahoma.

“He wanted her,” Leigh said. “They were originally going to cover the shipping cost, then he went MIA on me.”

Despite several messages, she never got an answer, she said. The woman, who passed away in 2019, is also from Oklahoma and, Leigh found out, her son was still in the Savannah area. She was able to get in contact with his wife, who told her they would drive to Jasper County to pick up the cremains. Again, Leigh said, the family disappeared.

“I would never have expected to find someone’s ashes,” Leigh said. “It broke my heart.”

Leigh’s own mother passed away two years ago and, she said, if she had lost her ashes she would have been “devastated.” When she first brought the woman’s ashes home, she didn’t know what to do with them. She considered placing them in her home beside her mother’s ashes and photo, but her family wasn’t too keen on the idea. The cremains now sit in the back of Leigh’s van. She sees them every day and tries to fill in the gaps of who the woman was.

“I can’t hold onto her forever,” Leigh said. “She’s not my mom, she’s not my family.”

Jasper County Coroner Willie P. Aiken III said that unclaimed cremains are, unfortunately, not an uncommon occurrence. His office even has cases of unclaimed cremains spanning decades, he said. He offered to take the cremains from Leigh and have his office contact the dead woman’s family, and, if there’s no response, place the cremains alongside the others in a mass burial.

Members of the woman’s family did not immediately respond to requests for comment. In the meantime, the ashes remain in Leigh’s van and she’s working on a solution: either getting the ashes back to the family or, when her “heart gives up,” trying to find a final resting place for them.

“My heart is soft,” Leigh said. “I have to just try.”

This story was originally published February 6, 2022 11:06 AM.

Company leaders talk about why E. & J. Gallo Winery chose SC site and when production might begin there

E. & J. Gallo Winery is well underway on the construction of its East Coast operations hub in Chester County. Company leaders say they hope to begin operations there late next year and could eventually invest more than $1 billion over the next several decades.On Wednesday, Andy Fusia, senior director for Gallo, was the keynote speaker at the South Carolina I-77 Alliance's annual economic develop...

E. & J. Gallo Winery is well underway on the construction of its East Coast operations hub in Chester County. Company leaders say they hope to begin operations there late next year and could eventually invest more than $1 billion over the next several decades.

On Wednesday, Andy Fusia, senior director for Gallo, was the keynote speaker at the South Carolina I-77 Alliance's annual economic development summit. He said the 640-acre site in Fort Lawn was an ideal fit for the operations of the Modesto, California-based winemaker. The site's proximity to the Port of Charleston and rail service by the Lancaster & Chester Railroad were key factors. Fusia provided a clear outline of the company's operations there and a timeline for the project.

The first phase will include a bottling operation, warehousing, a regional distribution center, an import hub and can manufacturing. It calls for $423 million of investment and the creation of 496 jobs over the next eight years. Gallo broke ground on its site, which is at the intersection of S.C. Highway 9 and U.S. Highway 21, in June after the project's announcement.

Fusia said Gallo is planning to begin operations for the distribution center in October 2022. The first manufacturing line is expected to be up and running in the first quarter of 2023, with the second one targeted for a second-quarter 2023 opening.

Hiring efforts will begin much sooner. Fusia said recruiting will begin in January, and training is set for June of next year.

Gallo recently hired Erich Kaepp as vice president of eastern operations. He said the Fort Lawn site was chosen over another finalist in the Savannah, Georgia, area.

The company is now moving full-speed ahead to establish major operations on the East Coast, where it says 70% of U.S. wine consumers live.

"We actually just felt one of the driving reasons here was that the port was available, the transportation corridor was there, and the economic pieces of the project and things going on in this area were exciting to us," Kaepp said of Gallo's choice to locate in Chester County. "This is our chance to plant our flag and go from having everything in California to (having a significant operation on) the East Coast."

Fusia said that Gallo's Modesto headquarters site is around half the size of its Fort Lawn site. The winemaker is developing 300 of the 640 acres for the first phase. He said a second phase will be developed on the rest of the site. The land is expected to serve the company's expansion in South Carolina for the next 16 years.

The East Coast operations will help Gallo be better connected to its operations outside of California. Fusia said in his presentation that Gallo has distribution centers in Florida, Alabama and Pennsylvania on the East Coast, in addition to other locations.

Gallo is out of space to expand at its Modesto site, Fusia said. It obtained its Fort Lawn land from Springland Inc., which is operated by family members of the former Springs Industries. Robert Long, director of Chester County Economic Development, told the Charlotte Business Journal in June that part of the state incentives package to land Gallo included covering a large chunk of the land purchase.

With a war chest of land under its control and connectivity to ports, railroads and highways, Gallo is ready to invest heavily in Chester County.

"This is seen as a huge opportunity for us to be able to expand with a little bit more freedom," Fusia said.

The Gallo project is expected to include three satellite tasting rooms throughout the state. The S.C. legislature passed a bill in May to change the state's alcohol laws to allow the tasting rooms. Locations for those have not been finalized yet, Kaepp said, but the first one will likely open in 2024.

The initial $423 million pledge by Gallo is expected to be only the beginning of the company's investment in Chester County. Rob Donoho, vice president for Gallo, told state leaders in April that the company had planned for "well over" $1 billion of investment and 1,000 jobs.

Fusia and Kaepp said Wednesday that more phases are expected to follow the one currently under construction.

"We definitely want to continue to expand," Kaepp said.

Goodbye to grass? More Americans embracing ‘eco-friendly’ lawns and gardens

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — LeighAnn Ferrara is transforming her small suburban yard from grass bordered by a few shrubs into an anti-lawn — a patchwork of flower beds, vegetables and fruit trees.It didn’t happen all at once, says the mother of two young kids.“We started smothering small sections of the lawn each year with cardboard and mulch and planting them, and by now the front yard is probably three-quarters planting beds,” she says. “Every year we do more.”...

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) — LeighAnn Ferrara is transforming her small suburban yard from grass bordered by a few shrubs into an anti-lawn — a patchwork of flower beds, vegetables and fruit trees.

It didn’t happen all at once, says the mother of two young kids.

“We started smothering small sections of the lawn each year with cardboard and mulch and planting them, and by now the front yard is probably three-quarters planting beds,” she says. “Every year we do more.”

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Her perennials and native plants require less upkeep and water than turf grass does. And she doesn’t need herbicides or pesticides — she’s not aiming for emerald perfection.

For generations, the lawn — that neat, green, weed-less carpet of grass — has dominated American yards. It still does. But a surge of gardeners, landscapers and homeowners worried about the environment now see it as an anachronism, even a threat.

Like Ferrara, they’re chipping away at it.

“America is unique in its fixation on the monoculture lawn,” says Dennis Liu, vice president of education at the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation in Durham, North Carolina. “Our English inheritance is our own little tidy green space.”

Now, drought, crashing insect populations and other environmental problems are highlighting -– in different ways, in different places –- the need for more kinds of plants in spaces large and small.

Some people are experimenting with more “eco-friendly” lawns, seed mixes you can buy with native grasses that aren’t as thirsty or finicky.

Others are mowing less and tolerating old foes like dandelions and clover. Still others are trying to replace lawns, entirely or bit by bit, with garden beds including pollinator-friendly and edible plants.

It all leads to a more relaxed, wilder-looking yard.

“The more you can make your little piece that you’re a steward of go with nature’s flow, the better off everyone is,” says Liu. In states with water shortages, many homeowners long ago swapped out turf grass for less-thirsty options, including succulents and gravel.

Elsewhere, the pandemic has speeded the trend away from lawns. Gardening exploded as a hobby, and many non-gardeners spent more time at home, paying more attention to the natural world around them.

Municipalities across the country are handing out lawn signs with “healthy yard” bragging rights to homeowners who forgo lawn chemicals or mow less often. Many towns are slapping regulations on common tools like gas-powered leaf blowers and mowers, mostly because of noise.

“For people interested in gardening, a lot have come to the realization it can’t just be ornamental anymore. It has to serve some other purpose, whether food, habitat … pack in as many uses as you can,” says Alicia Holloway, a University of Georgia Extension agent in Barrow County. “It’s a shift in thought, in aesthetics.”

Monrovia, a major grower of plants for nurseries and other outlets, has seen lots of interest in a “Garden of Abundance” trend -– a more “alive-looking” yard with a variety of plants, says company trend watcher Katie Tamony. She says it’s a way of thinking about your yard “as not just being yours, but part of a more beautiful, larger world that we’re trying to create.”

Plants that attract pollinators were the category most sought-after in a survey of Monrovia’s customers, she said.

And yet. The lawn isn’t disappearing anytime soon.

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Many homeowners associations still have rules about keeping yards manicured. And lawn services tend to be geared toward maintaining grassy expanses.

Andrew Bray, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, a trade group, says lawns are still the mainstream choice. People want neat outdoor spaces for relaxing, playing and entertaining.

He says his group supports the goal of making lawn care more environmentally friendly, but believes some recent ordinances, like those against gas-powered blowers and mowers, have created a “fraught political environment.” He says electric alternatives to those tools aren’t feasible yet for the big lawns that professionals handle.

The landscapers’ trade group set up a new public platform this year, Voices for Healthy Green Spaces, to present its side of things.

“Whether people want to have a large yard, plant a forest of trees in their backyard, or want a meadow and unstructured plantings,” all are green options, he said.

Those concerned that grass lawns fall short in helping pollinators and other species face another problem. “A lot of people don’t want bees –- there’s fear of nature,” says Holloway, the Georgia extension agent.. “I think that’s changing, but it still has a long way to go.”

Replacing grass also takes patience. “One of the best parts of my job is site visits. I go to backyards that people have been working on for 20, 30 years, and it’s helped me get over the mindset that everything has to be done all at once. It really takes time” to create a yard that’s got plantings, rather than just lawn, Holloway says.

And it’s hard to overcome tradition and neighborhood expectations. A lawn “looks tidy, and it’s easy to keep doing what you’re doing,” Liu says. But “once you’ve established the new equilibrium, it’s easier, it pays all these benefits.”

Some neighbors might see a yard without a lawn “and think, there’s the crazy person,” he says. “But a lot of people will just think it’s so cool.”

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