In This Weeks Edition: 02-02-2011

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Department of Commerce and Legislative Leaders honor Ellis

Tim Ellis was honored yesterday as an Ambassador for Economic Development by the Department of Commerce and legislative leaders as part of South Carolina's 20th Annual Industry Appreciation Week. The ceremony took place in Columbia on Tuesday, January 25 at the Statehouse and highlighted 47 individuals from 46 counties for their exceptional efforts to bolster community and economic development activities in South Carolina.

“Secretary Hitt and I have one very clear focus – to make our state the best and most competitive in the country for business development. "Can't isn't an option for us. But we can't do it alone. We need partners across South Carolina to grow the businesses we have, recruit new ones and help put our people back to work, and that's what today is all about,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.

In 2008, Mr. Ellis purchased the property and assets of Coastal Lumber Company in Denmark, which had ceased its operations and displaced 32 employees. He reopened the mill as Denmark Lumber with a staff of 13. Under Mr. Ellis's ownership, Denmark lumber has expanded and presently employs 40 individuals.

“Serving as examples of economic success, our state's existing businesses are one of our most valuable economic development tools,” state House Speaker Bobby Harrell said. “These private sector leaders are at the frontlines of job creation and industry promotion for South Carolina and they do more for our economy than government can ever contribute. Our Ambassadors for Economic Development serve as a true asset to our state and deserve real credit for their leadership.”

“The health of our state's economy hinges on the important contributions made by business leaders and entrepreneurs throughout South Carolina. Whether it is bringing more capital investment and jobs to our state or supporting initiatives that bolster economic activities in communities, these ambassadors are committed to improving economic opportunities for all South Carolinians. We congratulate each Ambassador for Economic Development and thank them for their efforts,” said Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce.

“We are so pleased to have Denmark Lumber honored by the Governor, and we are very appreciative of the job creation and capital investment that Tim Ellis and his company have made in our community,” said Kell Anderson, SouthernCarolina Alliance’s Economic Developer for Bamberg County.

“Bamberg County Council is pleased to congratulate Mr. Ellis and the Denmark Lumber team,” said Alzena Robinson, Chairwoman of Bamberg County Council.

“SouthernCarolinaAlliance stands ready to assist Denmark Lumber in any way that we can to ensure their continued growth and success,” said SouthernCarolina Alliance President Johnny Williamson of Denmark. “Communities are built on good jobs, and Tim Ellis is a great example of how an investment in the people of our community can grow a business and improve the quality of life. He’s a true economic ambassador.”

Each year the Department of Commerce joins local communities to thank businesses for their vital contributions to South Carolina's economy. The Department of Commerce kicks off Industry Appreciation Week each year by recognizing individuals throughout South Carolina as Ambassadors for Economic Development. These individuals include local leaders from the private sector representing a variety of businesses and economic development organizations committed to securing new jobs and investment in their communities.

Motor Home Fire

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Members of the Bamberg Fire Department responded to a structure fire just outside the city limits on property owned by James Dempsey Friday, January 28. According to fire department officials, the fire, that caused extensive smoke damage and fire damage to the contents and the inside and exterior of the motor home was apparently caused by a faulty refrigerator.

Brandon Hall, who was in the structure when the fire started, was alerted of the fire by his brother and was able to get outside safely. Hall said Thursday night was the first night he had spent in the motor home and he was just grateful that he was not injured.

Black History Month

Voorhees College will kick off Black History Month with a program on Thursday, Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. in Massachusetts Hall Auditorium featuring the first African American head coach of a NCAA Division 1-A football program.

Willie Jeffries, a 1960 alumnus of South Carolina State University, completed his career as head football coach at SCSU in 2001,when he retired as a Bulldog mentor after 19 seasons.

In 2010, Jeffries was named South Carolina Head Football Coach Emeritus and inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. The SCSU alumnus also had the field at Oliver C. Dawson named for him and earned “Person of the Year” accolades from the Times and Democrat newspaper in Orangeburg. He is scheduled to be inducted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame during Black History Month.

During Jeffries’ 29-year collegiate head-coaching career, which included five-year stints each at Wichita State and Howard University, he compiled a 179- 132-6 record. This worksheet included six Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships, two national titles, several post season appearances, and numerous coaching awards. Jeffries also produced a number of players who have distinguished themselves in professional football and other professions as well.

Award Winning Artist

Christian Country artist Rene’ Jones will be performing at Andrew Jackson Academy on Saturday, February 26. Jones grew up on a farm in Ashton and graduated Andrew Jackson Academy in 1976. He currently resides with his wife, Edie, on the outskirts of Nashville in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Jones has received the 2007 & 2009 Male Vocalist of the Year Awards, the 2008 Soloist of the Year Award, and the prestigious 2009 & 2010 Christian Country Crown Jewel Awards (equivalent to Entertainer of the Year for his genre) by the United States Association of Gospel Entertainers and Musicians. He has also been nominated for Artist of the Year, Song of the Year (for I Know Him By Heart and Rockin’ On The Front Porch), and Male Horizon Awards. Jones has definitely cut out a place for himself in this genre of the music industry. Though he appreciates being recognized with his various awards and numerous nominations, he keeps his feet grounded and his heart humble. Jones says, “It’s not about me; it’s all about Him. I am nothing without Christ. My mission is to be a servant and to bring the lost to Christ.”

The concert will be held at Andrew Jackson Academy’s gymnasium at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 26. Tickets will be $5 at the door, $3 for students.

Black Testifies

President Barak Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future held hearings on January 7th in Augusta, where SouthernCarolina Alliance President Danny Black testified before the panel at the invitation of the commission’s co-chairmen, former National Security Advisor General Brent Scowcroft and former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton.

“Our community supports full utilization of the Savannah River Site’s impressive capabilities in meeting the country’s challenges,” said Black, who pointed out that the Savannah River Site region is uniquely positioned and motivated to handle the country’s future nuclear energy needs.

Black, who was invited to speak for not only the counties of the SouthernCarolina Alliance Region (Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell and Hampton Counties), but for all of the Georgia and S.C. communities affected by Savannah River Site, reminded the commission members that the federal government has a responsibility to provide a permanent repository for commercial spent fuel and high level defense waste, and a failure to do so could negatively impact future economic development efforts throughout the region.