Richland County and the City of Columbia need to focus on growing more career jobs, not just adding to the area’s store of hourly-wage work. Carl Blackstone, president and CEO of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, delivered that message to Capital Rotary at the club’s March 21 meeting. Blackstone (shown talking with Rotarian Ann Elliott) said strong private sector leadership is key in addressing what he called a local economy that “putters along.” As examples, he cited (1) Richland County’s 5% population growth from 2011-2016 – compared to 11% growth in Charleston County and 9% for Greenville County – and (2) Richland’s -2.6% job growth rate during the same period versus 26.2% in Charleston and 8.3% in Greenville. Disincentives for doing business in Richland and Columbia include the highest industrial tax rate in the country and commercial property taxes that are 8th highest in the country, Blackstone said. He said the chamber believes in Columbia’s potential, but the public and private sectors must “move forward together” to meet economic and employment challenges over the next 20 years. Blackstone’s background includes extensive government relations experience at state, local and federal levels. He has a business degree from the College of Charleston and is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina.
At a mid-year assembly to review Capital Rotary’s accomplishments to date in the 2017-2018 Rotary year, president Blake DuBose thanked members for achieving highlights that included:
- Attaining a current membership level of 61 Rotarians; plans are under way to create a new online proposed member application form plus an online explanation of membership responsibilities.
- Donating 936 free dictionaries to third-graders in 14 Richland County District One schools.
- Collecting 65 units of blood at the annual Red Cross Blood Drive, each donation helping to save the lives of up to three people.
- Making a $1,000 donation for Harvest Hope Food Bank’s “Back Pack” and “Kids Café” programs to feed hungry children.
- Supporting domestic and overseas relief efforts with a total of $8,000 in donations for natural disaster victims in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
- Taking part in the World Polio Week international campaign to eradicate polio. The club raised $882, matched by Rotary District 7770 for a total donation of $1,764
- Assisting three local college students with scholarships that will total $5,000 per year each.
- Sponsoring two families through the Families Helping Families organization. Members contributed $625, then matched by the club, for a total donation of $1,250 used to purchase Christmas wish-list items such as clothing, toys, personal items, food and furniture.
- Continuing community service projects with weekly Meals on Wheels delivery and annual volunteering at Harvest Hope Food Bank.
- Supporting The Rotary Foundation with 55 Paul Harris Fellows ($1,000 donation), 40 Benefactors ($1,000 donation via will), four Bequest Society members ($10,000 donation upon death), six Major Donors (donation greater than $10,000) and eight Paul Harris Society members ($1,000 donation yearly).
- Exceeding the club goal ($1,680) for PolioPlus contributions (total $2,38 to date).
- Publicizing our activities with 45 club website and social media posts; reaching 6,181 people through social media; 2,262 website visitors; 40 postings on District 7770’s website and newsletters; 59 press releases posted by local media; and seven monthly club activity recaps e-mailed to members.
Does you club exchange club trading banners? The Summerville Evening Rotary Club does and when members travel or when Rotarians from around the world visit our club, we trade banners. It is a great way to share club information with other clubs and other districts. Here is Keith Alder (L) from Roswell Pecos Valley New Mexico club exchanging banners with club President Thomas Taylor (R). Roswell Pecos Valley is home to the UFO Museum and Area 57 where aliens crashed their UFO and were taken into custody by the federal government, never to be seen again. Mr. Alder thought some members of his club could be linked to those aliens but has not been able to confirm it. Any case, we love getting banners from around the world and hearing their stories. #SECRotary
2016-17 President Gray Ives holding the Presidential Citation AwardIn order to win this distinguished honor, a club has too accomplish a number of goals. The 2 mandatory activities lubs must achieve are: set at least 10 goals in Rotary Club Central and second, pay semiannual dues to RI on time in July and January. In addition to those, the club has to achieve multiple goals in the areas of: Membership Attraction and Engagement, Foundation Giving, Online Tool Adoption, Humanitarian Service, New Generations, and Public Image. It was truly a successful year put together by Past President Gray, his board, and the rest of club that chipped in and made it all possible. Way to go everyone!
Mt. Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie (photo courtesy of www.tompsc.com)Having been a columnist for both the Moultrie News and the Post & Courier, Mayor Haynie has been in the forefront of Mount Pleasant issues for years through his op-ed columns as well as through his involvement as a private citizen, a family man, and a businessman. In 2015 he decided to run for Town Council which he eventually won 31 of 39 precincts in a 3-way runoff. And in this past November election, he won the office of mayor by a 2-1 margin.
Mayor Haynie speaking to the clubMayor Haynie gave an energetic, humorous and passionate talk to the club and shared some of his visions for Mt. Pleasant, one of which is being more strategic with future development of the city. To see some of his plans for the city’s future, please click here for a summary. Thank you Mayor Haynie for paying our club a visit!
Shelby with sponsor Pat RichardsShelby is a Charleston native who enjoys staying active and taking on new experiences. She works in government contracting as a Management Analyst for a Venture Technologies company. Shelby recently graduated in May 2017 from the University of South Carolina Honors College with a Bachelors Degree double majoring in HR Management and Finance and a minor in Chinese Studies. Her journey with Rotary started in high school when she participated in a Rotary Youth Exchange year to Switzerland. After finishing her year abroad she came back as a Rotex member where she has helped facilitate the RYE Inbound Training Weekends every year since. In college she was a member of Rotaract and served as Treasurer the last 2 years and filed for USC Rotaract to become an official 501c3 entity with the IRS. As a senior, Shelby won the Carolinana Award at USC for her service and leadership on campus and in the community. She is excited to continue her journey as a Rotary member actively serving the local Charleston community! It’s an excellent example of how Rotary International can impact individuals even at a young age as Shelby was in high school when her Rotary journey began. Realizing her desire to serve her community and make it a better place with those experiences makes our club very happy to have her as our newest member. Welcome Shelby!