Lexington Life Magazine - September 2023

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If you’re dealing with injuries or pain, you can count on the experts at Lexington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine to get you moving again. Our highly specialized physicians offer comprehensive care for patients at five convenient locations throughout the Midlands. Whether for diagnostics, treatments, consultations or physical therapy, our team is here to get you better, sooner.

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LexMed.com/Ortho West Columbia Lexington Medical Park 2 146 East Hospital Drive Suite 350 West Columbia, SC 29169 Lexington Lexington Medical Center Lexington 811 West Main Street Suite 101 Lexington, SC 29072 Irmo Lexington Medical Park Irmo 7033 St. Andrews Road Suite 104 Columbia, SC 29212 Northeast Lexington Medical Center Northeast 3016 Longtown Commons Drive Suite 200 Columbia, SC 29229 Chapin Lexington Medical Center Chapin 557 Columbia Avenue Suite C Chapin, SC 29036 ~ Lexington • Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

Whew!! Hot could be an understatement for this summer weather. Hopefully, the full force of this summer’s heat wave is behind us as we thankfully move toward autumn. What goes better with autumn than football? Are you ready for some football? I sure am.

Lexington, River Bluff, Gilbert, Northside Christian, plus Carolina and Clemson finally get back into action as the temperature begins to cool and the daylight begins to shorten. I anxiously await the crispness of cooler air, similar to visiting the mountains of North Carolina. How long it will take until that happens is anyone’s guess. For me, I am hoping sooner versus later. What about you?

I want to congratulate all the businesses nominated for the 2024 Best of Lexington competition. These businesses and, most importantly, business owners work tirelessly to provide the best products and services to our community. Today’s world is constantly changing and keeping up with the present while working towards the future is a never-ending challenge for small business owners.

New businesses are popping up all over Lexington County. Current road construction can make travel times longer, especially with school back in session. Please be careful on the highways and watch out for the workers who are trying to improve and make the roads better and safer for everyone.

Thanks for reading Lexington Life Magazine. Please vote at lexingtonlife. com to recognize our local businesses that make a difference. Enjoy your favorite football team and if the temperature stays too hot, there is always apple picking in North Carolina for a brief break from the humidity. Have a great autumn!


Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 7 contents 45 60 FEATURES 17 Easy Day Trips for Apple Picking 20 Carolina Football Preview 22 Clemson Football Preview 25 Don’t Hate, Just Tailgate! 26 High School Football Schedules 29 Best of Lexington Life Nominations 45 American Leadership Academy 50 Local Treatment Center Offers Education, Prevention, and Hope 54 Lexington’s Paint & Pour 57 Geocaching COLUMNS 13 Faith Matters 63 David Clark DEPARTMENTS 7 From the Publisher 11 Calendar of Events 15 Lexington Leader 60 Spice of Life CONTACT US LEXINGTON LIFE MAGAZINE • (803) 356-6500 • LEXINGTONLIFEMAGAZINE.COM JAN JOHNSON Editor & Director of Digital Media lexlifeeditor@gmail.com Follow us on Facebook
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Thursday, September 14 –

Sunday, September 17

Columbia’s 36th Annual Greek Festival

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1931 Sumter Street, Columbia

Thurs – Sat 10:00 am – 10:00 pm, Sun 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Come enjoy the music, atmosphere, food and drink, and learn a little about Greece. Visit columbiasgreekfestival.com for more information.

Friday, September 15

Steel Hands Oktoberfest

2350 Foreman Street, Cayce, 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Free

Celebrate Oktoberfest with authentic German music, contests, and a delicious menu of Oktoberfest-themed delights. Visit steelhandsbrewing.com for more information.

Saturday, September 16

Cocky’s Reading Express

Lexington Main Library, 5440 Augusta Road, Lexington, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, Free

Experience Cocky’s Reading Express with Valeria Byrd Fort from the University of South Carolina as she shares her love of literacy through books and stories. For families and children.

Saturday, September 16

Meeting Street Music Fest

600 Meeting Street, West Columbia, 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm, Free

The inaugural city-organized Meeting Street Music Fest will feature a variety of bands, including a to-be-announced national headliner. Visit meetingstreetmusicfest.com for more information.

Saturday, September 16

Lakeside Litter Sweep

Lake Murray, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm

Keep the Midlands Beautiful invites you to join them in cleaning up litter on islands and shorelines around Lake Murray. Pre-registration is required by Sept. 8th. Volunteers will receive a t-shirt, lunch, thank you gift, and a chance to win prizes from local businesses. Learn more at kmbsc.org or call (803) 733-1139.

Saturday, September 30

Palmetto Peanut Boil

2900 block of Devine Street, Columbia, 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm, Free

Now in its 16th year, the Palmetto Peanut Boil has grown from a small backyard affair to an annual outdoor festival drawing thousands of attendees from all over the Midlands. Highlighting the best of the best cooks and recipes in SC, live music, food, and kids’ entertainment. Leashed pets are welcome. All proceeds from the sale of food and beverages benefit Animal Mission. Visit palmettopeanutboil.org for more information.

Monday, September 18

Giving Back: Red Cross Blood Drive

Lexington Main Library, 5440 Augusta Road, Lexington, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Every three seconds a blood donation is the difference between life and death. Give blood and save lives. Registration is required, visit redcrossblood.org. (ages 18+)

Friday, September 29 & Saturday, September 30 Lexington Medical Center’s Irmo Okra Strut Festival

Irmo Community Park, 7507 Eastover Drive, Irmo Fri 6:00 pm – 11:00 pm, Sat 9:00 am – 10:00 pm

The Irmo Okra Strut Festival is free to the public thanks to sponsors. Individual fees apply for rides, amusements, and food/drink. The family fun, live music, and all the goodness that is okra. For more information visit okrastrut.com.

Saturday, September 30

2023 Harvest Festival

The FARM, 1127 Corley Mill Road, Lexington, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, $25

This family-friendly fall event is on an 8th generation family farm. The ticket price is for parking and all activities such as pumpkin puttputt and tic-tac-toe, barnyard bounce house, and more. Additional fees for food, produce, pumpkins, beer, wine, and vendor items. Visit thefarm1780.com for more information.

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Invisible Glue

In the late 1800s, French scientist Louis Pasteur proved his germ theory as he studied the previously unseen world of microscopic organisms that can cause illness and disease. In 1926, German Physicist Hans Busch developed the electromagnetic lens that eventually led to the invention of the electron microscope, yet again expanding our vision of this world and our perception of God’s creation.

Through science, we now know that our bodies are made up of approximately 37.2 trillion little bricks called cells. Not unlike a building or a brick wall, these cells need mortar or glue to hold them together. The glue for these cells is called laminin.

This microscopic glue holds your body together. Yet, what makes laminin amazing is what it looks like! When you use an electron microscope to look at the laminin that holds a cell together, you will see what looks like a cross.

Now, I don’t know if this was God’s way of signing his creation, but it is a wonderful reminder to us as followers of Jesus. In Colossians 1:16-17 Paul speaks of another, often unseen world:

16 For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together.

“In Him, all things hold together.” What a comforting message to us when it feels like everything is coming undone and coming apart around us. Our God is at work at every level around us, predominantly unseen to our eyes. His fingerprints are left on the very building blocks of our bodies. Laminin is a wonderful reminder that Jesus is the very glue that holds our bodies, our souls, and absolutely everything together.

Therefore, if you are feeling a bit anxious, or perhaps overwhelmed today, think about laminin, and remember how Jesus holds you together. There is still so much more that we do not understand about ourselves and our world, but we can rest assured that our God has it all wrapped up! n

5503 Sunset Boulevard, Lexington, SC 29072 803.359.7770 • www.saxegotha.org

Sun. Worship: Traditional 8:30 & 11:00 am, AWE Contemporary 10:45 am Livestream: www.youtube.com/user/SaxeGothaPres

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Elise Partin

As chief executive officer of a city, a mayor is responsible for the general welfare of the city. The duties are numerous, and the job requirements can be daunting to someone who doesn’t have the passion and understanding to do the job right.

Cayce Mayor, Elise Partin, has both, and more. Her passion for promoting public health, what she calls “taking a person or people from where they are to where they want to be,” drives her commitment to the office. Partin grew up in Charleston where her mother served as director of media relations under Mayor Joe Riley, who served for forty years.

As a young person, Partin grew up knowing that things like parks and sidewalks didn’t just happen; somebody thought those things out, had a vision, a plan, and enacted that plan. Riley’s time in office influenced Partin’s own career. In 2008, she was elected as the first female Mayor of Cayce. A Master’s degree in Public Health helped fine-tune her passion and understanding of leadership.

There have been notable improvements during her tenure. Cayce’s River Arts District, the original heart of the city, has eye-catching murals in vibrant colors, sculptures, and even an Art Lot. The downtown area is bike friendly and boasts new small businesses, and safe clean sidewalks for visiting them. Cayce’s location provides trailhead access to over 20 miles of trails along the river for people to walk, hike, or skateboard. Partin says, like an iceberg, visitors only see the results of the work. Below the surface is the work the city does to keep its employees safe, and to provide the right equipment for groups, like the sanitation team or firefighters, to execute their jobs safely. The city does so much unseen work, yet still has one of the lowest taxes and fees in the entire region.

Upon his retirement, Riley asked himself, “Is what we’re doing right now responding to the hearts of the people so that when done, the citizens will say, ‘This is wonderful.’”? Partin leads with the same goal, saying, “It’s about their voice. I love what happens at the local level, where we live. We can see a tangible positive difference in people’s lives. Do we have places where we can gather with friends and neighbors—in parks, or even in the local coffee shops? Do we feel safe? Is it beautiful? Can we enjoy the outdoors? All of those things matter.”

There is a reason why Partin has held her position in Cayce for 15 years. She cares for her constituents and loves her city. n

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Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com LEXINGTON MEDICAL CENTER PROUDLY WELCOMES Benjamin L. White, MD Dr. White joins the board-certified surgeons and highly skilled staff at South Carolina Obesity Surgery Center to help patients reshape their lives with weight-loss surgery. This practice provides patients with comprehensive, continuous care to improve their health today and reduce their risk of developing health conditions in the future — all while improving their self-confidence and self-image. LexMed.com/HVC • (803) 744-4900 Lexington Medical Park 2 146 East Hospital Drive, Suite 400 • West Columbia, SC 29169 Now Accepting Patients • Free Seminar at SCObesity.com • (866) 560-4415

Easy Day Trips for Apple Picking

South Carolina orchards are among some of the most beautiful in the South with a variety of apples each season. Some of them are U-pick orchards, while others have roadside markets where you can buy already-picked apples and other products. Several variables go into the ripening dates in South Carolina, but most apples are ready for picking from July through mid-October each year.

Check out our Spice of Life recipes this month for apple snack ideas.

Bryson’s Apple Orchard in Mountain Rest, SC

Bryson’s Apple Orchard is in the Long Creek area of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the Chattooga River and Oconee State Park. They have both U-pick apples and already-picked apples available to purchase. Try free samples of their cider and a wide selection of jams, jellies, canned goods, honey, and syrup. Pack lunch as they have picnic tables for guests. They also offer peaches through September.

Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill in York, SC

Windy Hill is a family-owned boutique apple orchard and hard cider producer located in the upstate. Stop in for a tasting of their hard cider or pick your own apples. There are several varieties to select from or check out their market for already picked apples. Throughout the fall, they have special activities such as music, hayrides, and festivals.

MacGregor Orchard in Travelers Rest, SC

MacGregor Orchard is located off the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway and is a family-owned orchard growing 11 different fruits with 111 different varieties. They make their own fresh fruit preserves and fruit butters. They press fresh apple cider and make their own applesauce. In addition, they carry a variety of local vegetables and other fruit from selected South Carolina farms while in season.

Chattooga Belle Farm in Long Creek, SC

Chattooga Belle Farm is a 198-acre working farm nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They offer U-pick apples and a general store full of a variety of items. They also have a bistro where you can have lunch and a distillery to grab a drink. You can play disc golf and schedule a full farm tour. Make a weekend out of it- they offer several lodging options and campsites. n

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Outdoor Lighting and Exterior Cleaning

That Transform Properties

Walters Exterior is the premier provider of landscape lighting, pressure and soft washing, and holiday lighting solutions in the Upstate and is expanding to the Midlands. Their experienced professionals are dedicated to enhancing the beauty and functionality of outdoor spaces, from custom landscape lighting installation that creates the perfect ambiance for outdoor gatherings to gentle yet effective pressure and soft washing services that remove dirt, grime, and mold from exterior surfaces without damaging property. And when the holiday season rolls around, they will create a magical wonderland of lights and decorations with custom design, installation, maintenance, and removal services. They take pride in delivering exceptional quality and customer service, to provide personalized solutions that exceed expectations and bring outdoor visions to life.

Exterior Cleaning

Walters Exterior understands the importance of maintaining the appearance of a property’s exterior, which is why they offer comprehensive exterior cleaning and soft washing services. Their team of skilled professionals use state-of-the-art equipment and eco-friendly cleaning solutions to remove dirt, mold, mildew, and other surface buildup, leaving them looking like new. Their simple, efficient, and effective process transforms a property’s exterior quickly and easily without damaging it. They offer a wide range of services, including soft washing, which is a gentle approach to exterior cleaning that’s safe for delicate surfaces such as stucco, vinyl, wood, windows and more. Soft washing results have been proven to last 3-6 times longer than traditional pressure washing.

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Outdoor Lighting

At Walters Exterior they believe outdoor lighting is an essential aspect that can significantly improve the appearance and functionality of a property’s exterior. Their team of skilled professionals is well-versed in providing custom outdoor lighting installations designed to enhance the beauty and practicality of outdoor spaces. They work collaboratively with each client to understand their unique requirements and preferences. Their outdoor lighting services are designed to meet specific needs, whether it is to accentuate garden or pool areas or create a warm and inviting ambiance for outdoor events. They use only the highest quality lighting products and equipment to ensure that the lighting system is both durable and dependable.

• Landscape Lighting

• Curb Appeal Lighting

• Deck & Patio Lighting

• Pathway Lighting

• Christmas Lighting

• Proactive Maintenance

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• Pressure Washing • Gutter Cleaning • House Washing • Gutter Guards • Windows • Roof Cleaning • Driveway Cleaning • Deck/Fence • Patio • and much more! LifetimeWarranty!

University of


As Shane Beamer enters his third year as head coach for the Gamecocks, the momentum from last year is at an all-time high. Even though their 8-5 record ended with a loss in the Gator Bowl to Notre Dame, beating 3rd ranked Tennessee and 8th ranked Clemson (for the first time in 8 years) has this team and their fans ready for more. There is a lot of energy and excitement around these players.

Quarterback Spencer Rattler returns with hopes of cementing his place in Gamecock history. And with Trey Knox at tight end and Antwane “Juice” Wells at wide receiver – both placed on the nation’s top watch lists – he might be able to do it this year. Dowell Loggains, new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, brings thirteen years of NFL coaching experience that this offense needs to consistently execute plays.

Special Teams will remain one of the best in the nation. With seniors Kai Kroeger and Mitch Jeter leading the way, it’s Beamer Ball at its finest.

On the defense, Jordan Strachan and Mohamed Kaba, both injured last year, are back in action. Sophomores, and Columbia natives, DQ Smith and Nick Emmanwori, will both be looking to build off their successful freshman year.

South Carolina’s first game will be Saturday, September 2nd against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. The game will be the site for ESPN’s College Gameday 9:00 am-12:00 pm with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 pm on ABC. n

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by Benjamin Johnson

University of South Carolina Football Schedule

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DATE OPPONENT LOCATION TIME September 2 North Carolina Charlotte, NC 7:30 pm September 9 Furman Columbia, SC 7:30 pm September 16 Georgia Athens, GA 3:30 pm September 23 Mississippi State Columbia, SC TBA September 30 Tennessee Knoxville, TN TBA October 14 Florida Columbia, SC TBA October 21 Missouri Columbia, MO TBA October 28 Texas A&M College Station, TX TBA November 4 Jacksonville State Columbia, SC TBA November 11 Vanderbilt Columbia, SC TBA November 18 Kentucky Columbia, SC TBA November 25 Clemson Columbia, SC TBA

Clemson University FOOTBALL PREVIEW

As Dabo Swinney enters his 15th full season as head coach at Clemson, hopes are high to return to the College Football Playoff. With an 11-3 season last year and an ACC championship win over North Carolina, the bar is set. Ranking #1 in the 2023 ACC preseason poll, Clemson is expected to keep their streak alive as ACC champions for the eighth time in the last nine years.

Quarterback Cade Klubnik, on pre-season national watch lists, is an energetic leader who took over for DJ Uiagalelei in the ACC championship game last year. However, a loss to Tennessee in the Orange Bowl has fans wondering what to expect this season. New offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Garrett Riley, who coached Heisman Trophy finalist Max Duggan at TCU last year, could be the reboot the Tigers’ offense needs. Klubnik is fast on his feet and has an accurate arm. With junior RBs Will Shipley and Phil Mafah, and WR Antonio Williams, the Tigers should have a dynamic offense.

Defensively, this group has a lot of experience. AllAmerican seniors, Xavier Thomas and Tyler Davis, will lead their team to dominate on the field. Davis could join the elite company of Christian Wilkins and William Perry as a 4-time All-ACC DT at Clemson. The junior linebacker duo, Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter, Jr, are arguably the best in the country and Ruke Orhorhoro is back even though he had a good NFL Draft grade.

Clemson’s first game will be Monday, September 4th against the Duke Blue Devils at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, NC. The game will air at 8:00 pm on ESPN. n

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Clemson University Football Schedule

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DATE OPPONENT LOCATION TIME September 4 Duke Durham, NC 8:00 pm September 9 Charleston Southern Clemson, SC 2:15 pm September 16 Florida Atlantic Clemson, SC 8:00 pm September 23 Florida State Clemson, SC TBA September 30 Syracuse Syracuse, NY TBA October 7 Wake Forest Clemson, SC TBA October 21 Miami Miami Gardens, FL TBA October 28 NC State Raleigh, NC TBA November 4 Notre Dame Clemson, SC TBA November 11 Georgia Tech Clemson, SC TBA November 18 North Carolina Clemson, SC TBA November 25 South Carolina Columbia, SC TBA
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Luke Lorick, a graduate of Lexington High School and Darla Moore School of Business at USC, is on a mission to share his passion for tailgating with the world.

In elementary school, he often went to see the South Carolina Gamecocks play football. From those young experiences, he developed a love of tailgating.

About ten years ago he founded “Tailgating Challenge”, a platform to bring fans of all sports together to share food, drink, and new product ideas. Luke is a tailgating expert, having tested over 700 unique tailgating items. With his winning smile and quick wit, he shares unique tailgating ideas and honest product reviews. To date, he has about 275,000 social media followers making it the world’s largest social media tailgating site. The hashtag #NationalTailgatingDay trends regularly.

“Tailgating with family and friends will continue to grow because people love to share food and have fun in a safe and friend-

ly environment. You never see unhappy people at a tailgating event,” Luke believes.

Tailgating isn’t his only accomplishment. Always looking for new challenges, Luke set a Guinness World Record for the longest backward corn hole toss in June 2022. He also had a cameo in the new Warner Brothers Barbie movie with a licensed clip of his YouTube Tailgating Challenge review.

National Tailgating Day began in 2016 and is celebrated on the first Saturday in September. Luke loves to hear how others plan to celebrate and will feature fan photos celebrating National Tailgating Day. Be sure to share and tag them and use #NationalTailgatingDay.

And with the motto “Don’t Hate, Just Tailgate” – who wouldn’t want to join in?

For more information on how to get involved visit Tailgating-Challenge.com or follow them @TailgatingChallenge. n

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Football Schedules

Lexington Wildcats

August 18 .................................................... West Florence

August 25 South Aiken

September 1 @Stratford

September 8 .............................................. @Blythewood

September 15 @Gilbert

September 29 Chapin

October 6 @River Bluff

October 13 ....................................................... White Knoll

October 20 Aiken

October 27 @Dutch Fork

River Bluff Gators

August 18 Lugoff-Elgin

August 25 @Swansea

September 1 ............................................................... @Irmo

September 8 South Aiken

September 15 @Lower Richland

September 22......................................................... Dorman

September 29 White Knoll

October 6 Lexington

October 20 @Dutch Fork

October 27............................................................. @Chapin

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SCHOOL Football

Football Schedules

Northside Crusaders

August 18 ..................................... @First Baptist School

August 25 @Greenwood Christian

September 1 Orangeburg Prep

September 8 ......................................... Camden Military

September 22 Williamsburg Academy

October 6 Georgia School for Innovation & Classics

October 13 ...................................... Bethesda Academy

October 20 Palmetto Christian Academy

October 27 @Spartanburg Christian Academy

White Knoll Timberwolves

August 18 ...............................@Orangeburg-Wilkinson

August 25 @Spring Valley

September 1 @Colleton County

September 8 ..................................................... Westwood

September 15................................................. South Aiken

September 22 @Lancaster

September 29 @River Bluff

October 6 .......................................................... Dutch Fork

October 13 @Lexington

October 20 Chapin

Gilbert Indians

August 25 ........................................ Batesburg-Leesville

September 1 @South Aiken

September 8 @Pelion

September 15...................................................... Lexington

September 22 Saluda

September 29 Lower Richland

October 6 @Swansea

October 13 ................................ Orangeburg-Wilkinson

October 20 Dreher

October 27 @Brookland-Cayce

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Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 29 Congratulations to the 2024 Nominees for the Best of Lexington Life Magazine Contest! Vote for your favorites today at lexingtonlifemagazine.com Deadline to vote is December 15, 2023 Winners will be announced in the February 2024 issue of Lexington Life Magazine.

Best Accounting Firm

Deese and Company

Dooley & Company

Thomas, Watson, & Company

Best Aesthetic Practice

Cardinal Wellness and Aesthetics

Enhance Image Spa

Lexington Aesthetics Medical Spa

Best Aesthetic Spa

About You Aesthetics

Allure Medical

The Essential Face

Best Afterschool Program

Big Blue Marble Academy

Palmetto Athletic Center

Vitali Family Karate

Best Allergist

Allergy Partners of the Midlands

Palmetto ENT and Allergy

SC ENT Allergy & Sleep Medicine

Best Alterations

Jackie Lynn Tailoring & Alterations

Kimmy’s Alteration Shop

Zebra Cleaners

Best Ambulance Service (Private)

First Priority Medical Transport For Life Medical Transport

MedTrust Medical Transport

Best Apartment Complex

Cedarcrest Village Apartments

River Bluff of Lexington

Waterway Apartment Homes

Best Asian Restaurant

Antai Asian Dining

Ganbei Japanese

Red Bowl Asian Bistro

Best Assisted Living Facility

Lakeside Place Senior Living

Oakleaf Village of Lexington

The Legacy of Lexington

Best Attorney: Criminal Defense

Bland Richter

Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr.

Williams, Stitely & Brink

Best Attorney: Family Law

Jewitte Dooley Law

McCutchen McLean

The Farley Law Firm

Best Attorney: Litigation

Johnson + Johnson

McCutchen McLean

Morgan Litigation Group

Best Attorney: Personal Injury

Harling & West

Johnson + Johnson

Lyle Law Firm

Best Attorney: Probate/Estate

Amy Cofield Law Firm

McCutchen McLean

Williams, Stitely & Brink

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Best Attorney - Real Estate

Clark Law Office

Dial, Grimm & Rupert

The Templeton Law Firm

Best Audiologist

Digital Hearing Outlet

Lake Murray Hearing

Midlands Hearing Associates

Best Auto Body Shop

Birchmore Paint & Body Shop

Ellison Collison & Customs

Gilbert Paint & Body

Best Auto Performance Shop

Automotive Experts

Kestner Automotive

North Lake Auto Repair

Best Auto Repair

Shop: Domestic

Abbott’s Auto Care & Tire

Christian Brothers Automotive

Lexington 1 Stop Auto Shop

Best Auto Repair Shop: Foreign

Abbott’s Auto Care & Tire

B&T Automotive

North Lake Auto Repair

Best Auto Service

Department Dealership

Herndon Chevrolet

Honda of Columbia

Jim Hudson Ford

Best Bank

First Citizens Bank

First Community Bank

First Reliance Bank

Best Barber Shop

Ivy League Barber & Beauty

Lexington Barber Shop

Terry’s Barber Shop

Best BBQ Restaurant

Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ

Maurice’s Piggie Park

PK BBQ Bar & Grill

Best Breakfast

Cafe Strudel

Creekside Restaurant

Eggs Up Grill

Best Buffet

Blossom Buffet

Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ

Shealy’s Bar-B-Que

Best Burger

Goodfellas Grill and Bar

O’Hara’s Public House

The Root Cellar

Best Car Wash

Marty’s Car Wash


Take 5 Car Wash

Best Carpet Store

Carpet One Floor & Home

Door To Door Floors

Floor Boys

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VOTE ONLINE AT LEXINGTONLIFEMAGAZINE.COM Vote for your favorite businesses today at lexingtonlife.com celebrate THE BEST OF THE BEST

Best Catering Company

Carolina Smoke N Fire

Maurice’s Piggie Park

RF’s Corner Grill

Best Cell Phone/Tablet Repair

CPR Cellphone Repair

Smart Phone Medic


Best Charter School

Gray Collegiate Academy

Midlands Middle College

SC Whitmore School

Best Chiropractor

Bigbie Chiropractic

Old Mill Chiropractic

Vital Nutrition & Chiropractic

Best Coin or Collectible Dealer

Gilbert Coin & Collectible

Golden Eagle Precious Metals

Palmetto Cards

Best College for Working Adults

Midlands Technical College

Strayer University

USC Palmetto College

Best Commercial Contractor

Hazelwood Construction Company

Hill Construction Company

Springhill Construction

Best Commercial Real Estate Agency

Century 21 803 Realty

Southern Visions Real Estate

Trinity Partners

Best Consignment Shop

Good As New

Magnolia Boutique & Resale


Best Cosmetic Dentist

Columbia Smiles

Dr. James Denny

Southern Shores Dental

Best Cosmetology School

Kenneth Shuler School

Lexington Technology Center

Southeastern Esthetics Institute

Best CPA

Burkett, Burkett, Burkett

Deese and Company

Dooley & Company

Best Credit Union

Palmetto Citizens

SAFE Federal Credit Union

SC State Federal Credit Union

Best Custom Home Builder

Epic Homes

Gage Construction

Reese Builders

Best Damage

Restoration Services

Palmetto Commercial Services

Rumsey Construction

Rytech Restoration of the Midlands

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Best Dance Company

Elite Ballroom Dance Academy

South Carolina Dance Company

Stepping Out Dance Studio

Best Day Spa

Lexington Aesthetics Medical Spa


WellSoul Spa + Salon

Best Daycare

Big Blue Marble Academy

Calvary Christian Day Care

Northside Baptist Church

Best Dentist: Adults

Northwood Dental Associates

Robinson Dental

Sherry Powell Dentistry

Best Dentist: Kids

Midlands Pediatric Dentistry

Palmetto Smiles

Sunset Children’s Dentistry

Best Dermatologist

Columbia Dermatology

Columbia Skin Clinic

Palmetto Dermatology

Best Dessert

Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop

Mingos Cookies & Bubble Tea

O’Hara’s Bakery Cafe

Best Dry Cleaner

Lexington Dry Cleaning

Tripp’s Fine Cleaners

Zebra Cleaners

Best Engineering Firm

E Haselden & Associates

Mead & Hunt

Tobias & West

Best Electrician

Grow Electric

Mr. Electric

Rytec Electric

Best Event Venue

Corley Mill House & Gardens

Southern Oaks

Twelve Oak Estate

Best Exterminator

Baine Termite and Pest Control

Cramer Pest Control

Hartley & Sons Pest Control

Best Facial

Holistic Skincare & Waxing

OCCO Luxury Spa

The Essential Face

Best Fast Food


Sonic Drive-In


Best Fence Company

Palmetto Southern

Ryan Brewer Enterprises

Seegars Fence Company

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you Best Electrician

Best Fitness Center

Fit Body Boot Camp


ISI Elite Training

Best Florist

Lexington Florist

Storey’s Florist

Worthy’s Florist

Best Foot Store

Fleet Feet

Foot Savi Shoes & More

The Good Feet Store

Best Funeral Home

Barr-Price Funeral Home


Thompson Funeral Homes

Best Furniture Store

Economy Furniture Company

Marty Rae’s of Lexington

Scott’s Furniture Company

Best Garden Center

A-Oak Farms

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Wingard’s Market

Best Gastroenterologist

Columbia Gastroenterology

Consultants in Gastroenterology

Best Glass Store

Absolute Glass

ACE Glass

Central Glass

Best Golf Course

Charwood Golf Club

Country Club of Lexington Golden Hills Golf & Country Club

Best Greek Restaurant

Angelo’s Greek & Italian

Bellis House of Pizza Showmars

Best Group Fitness Studio

9Round Fitness

Orangetheory Fitness

RockBox Fitness

Best Gun and Ammunition Store

Amick’s Guns

JCs Outdoors

Palmetto State Armory

Best Gym

Dynamic Health and Fitness

MUV Fitness

Planet Fitness

Best Hair Salon: Adults

Free Spirited Hair

Milk & Honey Fine Salon

Salon M

Best Hair Salon: Kids

Ivy League Barber & Beauty

Sharkey’s Cuts For Kids

Snip-its Haircuts for Kids

34 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Hairstylist

Arianne Connors, Free Spirited

Marina Wilson, Elevate Salon

Zena Quattlebaum, Zena Salon

Best Happy Hour

LJ’s Par and Grill

O’Hara’s Public House

Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

Best Hardware Store

Bob’s Ace Hardware

Do it Best

Lexington True Value Hardware

Best Healthy Eating Restaurant


Clean Eatz

Clean Juice

Best Heart Doctor

Dr. Amy Epps, LMC

Dr. Dan Bouknight, CCVA

Dr. Garrison Morgan, MUSC

Best Heating and Air Company

All American Heating & Air

Comfort Experts

Mid-State Heating and Air

Best Home Builder

Great Southern Homes

McGuinn Hybrid Homes

Stanley Martin Homes

Best Home Health

Hands and Hearts Home Care

RetireEase Senior Services

Solutions for Living at Home

Best Hospice Care

Agape Care SC

Heart of Hospice

Medical Services of America

Best Hotel

Hampton Inn & Suites

Quality Inn & Suites

Wingate by Wyndman

Best Ice Cream Shop

Ice Cream Taco

Lick’s Ice Cream

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

Best Insurance Agent

Hal Girard, State Farm Ins.

Misty Stathos, State Farm Ins.

Patrick Williams, Williams Ins.

Best Insurance: Auto

Daniel Scott, Allstate

Misty Stathos, State Farm

Ryan Grubbs, State Farm

Best Insurance: Health

HealthMarkets Insurance

Lourie Life & Health

Mauldin Insurance

Best Insurance: Homeowners

Herring Insurance Services

Scott Amick, State Farm

Tidwell Insurance

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 35

Best Insurance: Life

Berry Insurance Group

Farm Bureau Insurance

Larry Hutto, State Farm

Best Interior Design

e.d.’s Paint & Decorating

Erin Rasmussen Design & Dwell

Paige Butler Interior Styling

Best Internet Service Provider

Carolina Connection



Best Investment Firm

Ameriprise Financial Services

Cornerstone Financial Management

Crescent Financial Group

Best Irrigation

Lexington Sprinkler Repair

SmartYard Irrigation

The Lawn Smith

Best Italian Restaurant

DeLucca’s Italian Grill

Luce Cucina Italiano

Travinia Italian Kitchen

Best Jewelry Store

The Chapman Company

Moseley’s Diamond Showcase

Tidwell Jewelers

Best Karate/Martial Arts Studio

Black Belt 4 Life

Black Tiger Tae Kwon Do

Vitali Family Karate

Best Kid Friendly Restaurant

Diablo’s Southwest Grill

Flight Deck Restaurant

Salsarita’s Fresh Mexican Grill

Best Landscaping Company

Elite Landscaping

Greener Solutions Company

Saluda Hill Landscapes

Best Landscaping Supply

Carolina Turfgrass

Pinestraw Place

W.P. Law

Best Learning Center


Kumon Math & Reading Center


Best Manicure/Pedicure

Diva Nails

Luxx Nail Spa

VIP Nail Bar

Best Manufactured Home

Hoover Building Systems

Lexington Discount Homes

Palmetto Home Outlet

Best Marina

Big Man’s Marina

Lighthouse Marina

Southshore Marina

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Best Massage

FLOW Massage

Massage Mechanics

Soothing Sessions Massage

Best Mattress Store

Economy Furniture Company

Marty Rae’s of Lexington

Michaelas Mattress

Best Meat Store

Caughman’s Meats

Four Oaks Farm Country Store

Old Timey Meat Market

Best Medical Imaging

American Health Imaging

Lexington Radiology Associates

Palmetto Imaging

Best Medical Spa

Allure Medical Spa

Cardinal Wellness & Aesthetics

SC My Care

Best Men’s Clothing Store

BP Skinner Clothiers

Craig Reagin Clothiers

JCs Outdoors

Best Mexican Restaurant

Brothers and Beer

Diablo’s Southwest Grill

El Jimador

Best Microbrewery: Local Hazelwood Brewing Company

Krafty Draft Brew Pub

Steel Hands Brewing

Best Milkshake

Cook Out



Best Mortgage Company

Guaranteed Rate Affinity

Movement Mortgage

Synovus Bank

Best Mosquito Treatment

Cramer Pest Control

Mosquito Joe of Lake Murray

Mosquito Squad

Best Moving Company

Gamecock Moving

The Moving Squad

Two Men and a Truck

Best Music School

Freeway Music

Lexington School of Music

Musician Supply

Best OB/GYN Practice

Carolina Women’s Physicians

Kraemer Women’s Care

Lexington Women’s Care

Best Oil Change

Abbott’s Auto Care & Tire

Christian Brothers Automotive

Express Oil Change

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 37

Best Oncologist

Lexington Medical Cancer Center

SC Oncology Associates

Best Ophthalmology Practice

Cardinal Vision

Columbia Eye Clinic

Palmetto Ophthalmology

Best Optometry Practice

Envision Family EyeCare

Eye Care of Lexington

My Pharmacy & Optical

Best Orthodontist

The Braces Place

Purnell Orthodontics

Whitehead Orthodontics

Best Orthopedic Practice

Lexington Orthopaedics

Midlands Orthopaedics

Palmetto Bone & Joint

Best Pain Management

Carolina Spine & Pain Center

Physicians Pain & Spine Center

Thrive Wellness & Rehab

Best Pediatric Practice

Lexington Pediatric Practice

Palmetto Pediatric

SouthernMED Pediatrics

Best Periodontist

Columbia Periodontal Associates

Palmetto Endodontics

Southern Roots Periodontics

Best Personal Trainer

Coach Lindsay, Bodyshop

Faith Barbare, Simply Fit

John Scarborough, ISI

Best Pet Groomer

Bubble Buds

Lexington Pet Lodge

Sutton’s Southern Pet Retreat

Best Pet Hospital

Cherokee Trail Veterinary Hospital

Grace Animal Hospital

Veterinary Care Center

Best Pet Kennel/ Boarding Facility

Central Bark

Lexington Pet Lodge

Sutton’s Southern Pet Retreat

Best Pet Supply Store

Hollywood Feed

Lazy Creek Pet Food Center

The Leash Connection

Best Pet Trainer

Krista’s Pawsitive K-9 Solutions

Sam Dooley, Walk N Wag

The Leash Connection

Best Pharmacy: Local Medicine Mart Pharmacy

My Pharmacy & Optical

Riley’s Drugs

38 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Physical Therapy Practice

Drayer Physical Therapy Institute

Fyzical Therapy & Balance

INSHAPE Physical Therapy

Best Pizza

Bellacino’s Pizza & Grinders

Clara & Ray’s Ristorante Italiano

Nicky’s Pizzeria

Best Place to Buy a Boat

Captain’s Choice Marine

Cove 2 Coast Marine

Dynamic Marine & Motorsports

Best Place to Buy a Car: New

Herlong Chevrolet

Herndon Chevrolet

Steve Padgett’s Honda

Best Place to Buy a Car: Used

B & L Auto Sales

Hyatt Cars of Lexington

Rock & Roll Auto Sales

Best Place to Buy a Pool

Aquarian Pools

Griffin Pool and Spa

S&S Pools

Best Place to Buy a Prom Dress

Dazzles Pageant & Prom Apparel

Greg McKenzie Pageant & Prom

Tylar Rose Pageant Prom

Best Place to Buy an RV

Blue Compass RV

Camping World

Lester RV

Best Place to Buy Bath or Kitchen Fixtures

Gateway Supply Co.

KB Kitchen & Bath

Stroud Supply

Best Place to Buy Eyeglasses

Envision Family EyeCare

My Pharmacy & Optical

Sansbury Eye Center

Best Place to Buy Hardwood Floors

Carpet One

Door to Door Floors

Floor Boys

Best Place to Buy

Organic Products

14 Carrot Whole Foods

Clean Juice

Garner’s Natural Life

Best Place to Buy Outdoor Furniture

Carolina Pottery

Costless Outlet

Lowe’s Home Improvement

Best Place to Buy Paint

e.d.’s Paint & Decorating

Lexington Paint & Flooring

Sherwin-Williams Paint Store

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 39
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Best Place to Buy Propane

AmeriGas Propane

Barnes Oil & Propane

Palmetto Propane, Fuels, & Ice

Best Place to Buy Tires

Bo Tire & Oil Company

Mavis Tires & Brakes

Old School Automotive & Tire

Best Place to Buy Windows

Absolute Glass

Pella Windows & Doors of Irmo

Stroud Supply

Best Place to Sell Gold

Gilbert Coin and Collectibles

Palmetto Gold & Pawn

Golden Eagle Precious Metals

Best Place to Work

Hands and Hearts Home Care

Lexington Medical Center


Best Plastic Surgeon

Carlin Plastic Surgery

Lefkowitz Plastic Surgery

Palmetto Cosmetic Surgery

Best Plumber

Delta Plumbing

Piedmont Plumbers

Smooth Waters Plumbing

Best Pressure

Washing Company

Mathias Pressure Washing

Not Your Average Joe’s

Super Soakers Pressure Washing

Best Private School

Grace Christian Academy

Hammond School

Northside Christian Academy

Best Produce Farm

Four Oaks Farm Country Store

Wingard’s Nursery

WP Rawl

Best Property

Management Company

Rogers Property Management Scott

Properties of the Midlands

Southern Dreams Realty

Best Real Estate Agent:


David Brock, ERA Wilder Realty

Dustin Johns, Resource Realty Group

James Spangler, Fuzion

Best Real Estate Agent: Residential

April Stroud, Resource Realty Group

Patrick Connor, Coldwell Banker

Tim Williams, Century 21 803

Best Residential Contractor

Anthony John Construction

New Level Construction

The Wright Group Construction

40 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com

Best Residential Real Estate Company

Century 21 803 Realty

Resource Realty Group

Southern Dreams Realty

Best Ribs

Carolina Wings & Rib House

Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ

Willie Jewell’s Bar-B-Q

Best Roofing Company

Beaver Roofing & Gutters

Premiere Roofing

Vista Roofing

Best Salad

Momma Rabbit’s

O’Hara’s Public House

Twisted Roots Bar and Grill

Best Sandwich Shop

Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop

Firehouse Subs

Groucho’s Deli

Best Seafood Restaurant


Catch Seafood

Poke Bros.

Best Self-Storage Facility

Charter Oak Self Storage

Crescent Self Storage

Morningstar Storage

Best Senior Home Care

Assisting Hands

Hands and Hearts Home Care

McLeod Home Care

Best Senior Living Community

Lakeview Retirement Community

The Legacy of Lexington

The Village at Southlake

Best Shooting Range

C2C Arms

Kilo Charlie Shooting Range

Palmetto Outdoors Shooting

Best Sign/Graphic Design Shop

Guerrilla Graphix


The Graphics Source

Best Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Lexington Extended Care

Millennium Post-Acute

NHC HealthCare

Best Smoothie Clean Juice

Smoothie King

Tropical Smoothie Café

Best Southern Cooking

Hudson’s Smokehouse BBQ

Lizard’s Thicket

Willie Jewell’s Bar-B-Q

Best Steak

Big Tuna’s Kitchen

O’Hara’s Public House

Private Property

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 41 Thank You DHEC License # IHCP-0494 ©2023 Assisting Hands® Home Care, Nampa, Idaho 83687. All Rights Reserved. Serving the Midlands Since 2012 104 Hamilton St., Lexington SC 29072 803.661.7557 for nominating Assisting Hands® for Best Senior Home Care 4 years in a row! We appreciate your vote! Your Home. Our Care.®

Best Subs

Groucho’s Deli

Jersey Mike’s Sub Station II

Best Sushi

Antai Asian Dining

Ganbei Japanese

Sukiya Japanese Steak House

Best Sweet Tea

Cribb’s Sandwich & Sweet Shop

McAlister’s Deli

PK BBQ Bar & Grill

Best Tanning Salon

Carolina Tan Factory

LexingTAN & Retail Therapy

Palm Beach Tan

Best Temporary

Employment Service

Express Employment Professionals

Roper Staffing


Best Towing Service

Freedom Towing & Recovery

Pee Wee’s Towing

Wingard Towing Service

Best Travel Agency

Cruise Planners

Diserella Travel Company

Travel Leaders of Lexington, SC

Best Tree Removal

Boozer’s Tree Service

Mike’s Tree Service

Spotted Dog Outdoors

Best Unique Gift Shop

Blush Boutique & Home

Gifts Galore & So Much More

Just For You by Lu Boutique

Best Upholstery Repair

Gunn’s Upholstery

Hot Rod’s Upholstery

Polk’s Furniture Service

Best Urgent Care

Doctors Care

LMC Urgent Care

Veritas Urgent Care

Best Urology Clinic

Dr. Richard Morrow

Lexington Urology

Southern Urogynecology

Best Veterinarian Practice

Crossroads Veterinary Services

Grace Animal Hospital

Veterinary Care Center

Best Wait Staff

Eggs Up Grill

Goodfellas Grill and Bar

O’Hara’s Public House

Best Wedding Venue

Southern Oaks

Stone River

Twelve Oak Estate

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Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 43 Your Place for Good Food and Good Times! Best Weight Loss Program Bigbie Chiropractic Profile Plan SimplyFit Best Women’s Clothing Store Aiden Lane Charleys Clothing & Apparel Tulip Boutique Best Women’s Gym 9Round Fitness Burn Boot Camp HOTWORX Best Yoga/Pilates Instruction Club Pilates Pink Lotus Yoga Center Stretch Zone Best Write In Category Lexington Dog Walk Merle Norman Hair Studio Palmetto Archery Targets Thank you for Voting! VOTE ONLINE AT LEXINGTONLIFEMAGAZINE.COM
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American Leadership Academy: Promoting Family Values and Educational Excellence

In South Carolina, school choice means that parents have more opportunities to select a quality educational setting that best fits the academic and personal goals and needs of their family. Charter schools—tuition-free institutions that are publicly funded and overseen by an independent, state-approved academic agency—are one of these options. In the fall of 2023, the town of Lexington welcomed its first charter school, the American Leadership Academy. This K-12 initiative promotes a positive learning environment where academics, ethics, and extracurriculars align with traditional family values.

In 1996, the South Carolina Charter Schools Act was passed to provide for the establishment of charter schools. With the sponsorship of the South Carolina Charter School District, the public school district, or institutes of higher learning, these autonomous educational initiatives have been founded to offer an enhanced academic environment for school-aged children throughout the state. Just like conventional public schools within the district, charter schools are available to the local community and are tuition-free.

Since this law was passed, the number

of these charter schools, and the population of the students who attend them, have steadily increased. Several are located within the greater Columbia area, but the latest of these—and the first to be opened in the town of Lexington—is the American Leadership Academy (ALA). This impressive campus is located at 109 Innovation Place, a thoroughfare off of South Lake Drive near Interstate 20. ALA officially commenced its first school day on August 21, 2023, shortly after a welcoming event was held for the enrolled families.

“ALA Lexington looks forward to partnering with parents in the local community to deliver a high-quality education inclusive of a values-based curriculum in a moral and wholesome environment this fall,” says Melody Hudson, director of marketing and public relations for Charter One, the agency appointed to oversee the operations at ALA Lexington. “Charter One is a national education management organization that supports Pre-K-12 charter school operations across Arizona, North Carolina, and South Carolina schools, with continued growth planned for the future.”

At ALA, “Parents can drop their children off in one location because the lower

ALA Lexington looks forward to partnering with parents in the local community to deliver a high-quality education inclusive of a values-based curriculum in a moral and wholesome environment this fall.

school serving students in grades K-5 and the upper school serving students in grades 6-12 are located in the footprint of one convenient campus,” explains Ms. Hudson. “Therefore, students can stay on one campus and in one school family for their entire K-12 experience.”

Furthermore, ALA Lexington offers “the full high school experience and a wide variety of extracurricular activities at both the upper and lower school,” says Ms. Hudson. “In addition to the core curriculum that aligns with South Carolina state standards, we will also offer Dave Ramsey financial literacy courses, entrepreneurship courses, dual enrollment courses with area colleges, band, orchestra, choir, robotics, sports, and more!”

“Unlike traditional schools, charter schools have no boundaries, so we offer more school choice to area families,” says Ms. Hudson. “ALA Lexington is different on purpose. The school will focus on creating tomorrow’s leaders today by instilling values, patriotism, and creating civic-minded individuals.”

With an approach that extends beyond textbook learning, ALA’s objective is to identify and develop each student’s unique abilities so they can grow to become well-rounded citizens who are pos-

itive contributors and leaders within the greater community. “We teach students how to think, not what to think,” says Ms. Hudson, “so they can help learn, lead, and change the world in ways that support the school’s RAISE values, which stand for Respect, Accountability, Integrity, Service, and Excellence.”

“The benefits of attending ALA Lexington are vast,” Ms. Hudson continues, “but among those most important are that we reinforce what’s being taught in the home, partnering with parents at every turn. Our traditional approach to education creates distraction-free learning in a moral and wholesome environment. For example, ALA students wear uniforms, are seated facing forward to get the most out of their lessons, and recite the Pledge of Allegiance each morning.”

The concept and trademark of the American Leadership Academy were “established in Phoenix, Arizona, in 2009 by its founder, Glenn Way,” says Ms. Hudson. “Mr. Way sought to create the kind of school he wanted to send his children to, a school with a values-based curriculum in a moral and wholesome environment. He did just that and quickly found that other parents in the community wanted the same things for their children. Since then, ALA

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has grown in popularity and locations.”

Ms. Hudson explains that 18 other ALA campuses have been opened in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona with two additional schools in North Carolina. ALA Lexington is the first in South Carolina.

Cameron Runyan serves as the superintendent and chief executive officer for the Charter Institute at Erskine, a statewide school district and charter school authorizer affiliated with Erskine College, a historic, private Christian institution located in the Upstate region of South Carolina. One of his responsibilities within this position is to identify unique charter schools in the United States that have strong reputations for their academic and cultural excellence and to establish those same exceptional educational models within South Carolina.

Founded in 2017, the Charter Institute at Erskine is a 501(c)(3) organization that oversees 28 schools across the state. According to Mr. Runyan, “We have students in every single zip code, and teachers in every single county in the state of South Carolina now.”

Another main function of the Charter Institute is to ensure that each academic facility maintains its compliance with the proposal that the school submitted in the application process. In addition to supervising areas such as finances, discipline, and academics, Mr. Runyan says, “We oversee federal programs, state testing, [and] state programs; we have a communications department; we handle school improvement; we do data reviews with the schools, looking in their academics and where they can improve and where they’re doing things well; and we put resources behind them to help that. So basically, we’re a school district, in essence, but we’re different because we’re private.”

The schools that the Charter Institute is

seeking to bring to South Carolina must also match three fundamental criteria, which Mr. Runyan lists: “We look for schools that, number one, will reinforce the values of the family; number two, they will teach understanding and respect for our Western traditions and institutions, most notably as found in the United States of America; and number three, they will produce excellence in academics and extracurriculars.”

While attending a charter school conference hosted in the West, Mr. Runyan first learned about the American Leadership Academy model. Intrigued by this concept, he toured an ALA campus in Arizona; interviewed students, staff, and leadership; and observed the classrooms and overall culture of the school.

After recognizing that this model was in alignment with the Charter Institute’s three core values, Mr. Runyan told them, “I’d like for you to come to South Carolina, but I’m not interested in you coming to open one school—if you’re going to come, you need to come to open more than that. So, we have worked together, and we have granted them approval to open a total of eight schools across the state of South Carolina, and Lexington [ALA] is the first.”

“Anybody can open a school,” he adds, “but can we run a school that reinforces our historic values in this country? And I think that’s what you are going to see at ALA. This is a very value-centric education, and of course, they rightfully bill it as a moral and wholesome education, and that’s what families want.”

“To this day,” says Mr. Runyan, “we continue to expand. We have already authorized an additional, approximately 30,000 students to join our portfolio in the coming years, all in schools that do this, producing these three things.”

“I love it so much, I have four daughters, and my children started ALA along with everybody else,” he says.

More information about the school and its application processes for both students—and qualified educators seeking employment—can be found on ALA’s website at www.alaschools.org.

“All parents in the state of South Carolina are welcome to apply for enrollment at ALA Lexington. We are nearly fully staffed,” says Ms. Hudson of Charter One, “but are always accepting applications. Interested candidates are encouraged to apply.” n

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Local Treatment Center Offers Education, Prevention, and Hope

A local substance misuse center is making a difference with the programs and the hope they offer to individuals and families. On top of that, their upcoming Rock 4 Recovery concert is one many won’t want to miss.

The Lexington/Richland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council, now known as LRADAC, is a non-profit organization providing treatment programs, education, prevention, and intervention to those living in South Carolina’s Lexington and Richland counties. The two substance misuse treatment centers, in Lexington and Columbia, provide day treatment and withdrawal management. Their programs reach out to the community with resources to educate, inform, and assist those in need.

Nearly 5,000 people receive help annually.

People are oftentimes the backbone of an organization that provides opportunities to help others. “With a dedicated staff and innovative programs and services, LRADAC takes a proactive approach to fighting addiction and substance misuse in our schools, businesses, and neighborhoods,” Robbie Robertson, communications director shared. “We tailor our programs to meet the ever-changing needs of the communities we serve. Our prevention, intervention, and treatment programs spread the message that there is hope and that substance misuse and addiction are preventable and treatable.”

The agency spreads the word through informative community events and projects including initiatives, overdose awareness, and town hall meetings. In April, town hall meetings were held to address underage drinking and substance abuse. “When it comes to conversations about substance misuse, transparency and candid

50 | LEXINGTON LIFE | September 2023 lexingtonlife.com

communication are vital to make a real impact on our youth,” said Ashley Bodiford, LRADAC’s director of prevention. “Parents, other family members, and additional role models need to start open and honest conversations about substance misuse because when communities start talking, young adults do listen, and we can have a direct and long-lasting impact on our kids’ choices.”

To be able to help so many people with various services, it takes a staff of employees, volunteers (who have helped with past events), and dedicated board members who serve on one of two boards. Robertson explained the responsibilities of the two boards. The LRADAC board oversees the day-to-day operations. The volunteer-based Foundation Board is a community organization that helps support the LRADAC programs and services. This board also provides financial assistance to those seeking recovery who may not be able to pay for assessments, treatment, and other programs.

“Once a person decides to seek help, the cost of services is often the primary barrier to participating in treatment,” Robertson said. “Thankfully, LRADAC does not turn patients away because of an inability to pay for services. Because of charitable contributions to the LRADAC Foundation, individuals, and families without insurance or those facing financial hardships can apply for financial assistance that can help get them on the road to recovery.”

LRADAC recently had a change in leadership. After thirteen years of serving as vice president and chief financial officer at LRADAC, Wendy Hughes took on a new role as president and chief executive officer on June 1. “As we’ve all seen over the last several years, South Carolina—like most anywhere in our nation— continues to have high rates of substance misuse and mental health challenges,” said Hughes. “And while the opioid epidemic, the fentanyl crisis, and overdose rates make the most headlines these days, alcohol and other primary substances of misuse like marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine remain constant challenges that we continue to address for our patients.”

Having a support system in the local community is more than a convenience for individuals and families dealing with these challenges.

“The combination of these challenges seems daunting for our communities, and that’s why our work is more crucial than ever,” Hughes continued. “I know that with the hard work and dedication of our staff and community partners, LRADAC has been and will remain a constant and trustworthy resource for anyone who wants to get on the road to recovery.”

Federal grants, corporate and individual donations help with the necessary funding, as well as fundraising events. Fundraisers include Midlands Gives Day and Facebook individual fundraisers,

Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com | 51
“I know that with the hard work and dedication of our staff and community partners, LRADAC has been and will remain a constant and trustworthy resource for anyone who wants to get on the road to recovery.”
— Wendy Hughes

as well as a Rock 4 Recovery fundraising concert.

An upcoming concert marks the fourth fundraising Rock 4 Recovery event. This concert’s headliner is Taylor Dayne. It will be held Friday, September 29 from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm at the Icehouse Amphitheater located at 107 W Main St, Lexington, SC 29072. Local food trucks will be available before and during the concert. Tickets for Rock 4 Recovery are $30 and are available for purchase at rock4recovery23.eventbrite. com. Proceeds from this substance-free concert will help raise awareness about the power and healing of recovery from substance misuse and help support those in financial distress to fully participate in recovery services for themselves and their families.

One concert has the potential to make a big impact.

“With the generous support of our presenting sponsor Dominion Energy, we are thrilled to bring Taylor Dayne to Rock 4 Recov-

ery,” said Leslie Maley, LRADAC’s Foundation chair. “With such a high-profile act like Taylor, Rock 4 Recovery has grown into one of the Midlands’ most anticipated concerts—and one of the only events around that offer a substance-free and safe environment for live music lovers of all ages,” Maley said. “In addition, because of the continued success of past concerts and other fundraising events, the LRADAC Foundation helps families and individuals enter recovery who could not do so on their own because of a lack of insurance or inability to pay. Each year, approximately 1,000 families receive the treatment they need in part because of the money raised at our concert.”

Dominion Energy has been a consistent sponsor. “We are blessed to live and work in a place where friends, neighbors, and organizations like LRADAC are there for you when you need them most,” said Keller Kissam, President of Dominion Energy South Carolina. “This amazing event is a testament to the collective power of our community as we stand together to support the critical work they do for families across the Midlands.”

Robertson explained a broader picture of the work done throughout the state. “As a non-profit agency, LRADAC is one of 33 county alcohol and drug abuse authorities recognized by the state of South Carolina. This network of direct service agencies provides prevention, intervention, and treatment programs to citizens in all 46 counties of the state,” he wrote. “More than 50,000 South Carolinians receive direct intervention or treatment services through county authorities each year.” n

Learn more at LRADAC’s website lradac.org.

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lexingtonlife.com September 2023 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 53

As the newest owner of Lexington’s Paint and Pour, Kimberly Rauch is transforming the business to serve a variety of customers. Starting as a “Ladies’ Night Out” business ten years ago with the first owner and then becoming a place to learn artistic techniques under the second owner, Kimberly is transforming it into an enjoyable place where anyone can let their creative juices flow regardless of age or artistic ability.

Kimberly has a background in early childhood education, working as a preschool teacher for the last twenty years. She tends to lean toward the fun side of art, using it as a form of relaxation and a way to socialize. Working with her daughter, Tallie, and several local artists, the goal is to provide diverse events and experiences.

During the summer, they offer kids’ camps with creative themes such as animals, superheroes, princesses and fairy tales, sports, recycling, and the ocean. Once a month, local artist Rachel Hall holds “Preschool Friday.” Kimberly wanted to allow moms to get their little ones out of the house to explore art in a fun, creative space. During the school year, they follow the Lex-

ington One School District calendar to offer events for students on early release days.

For many adult events, usually held on Saturday nights, Kimberly partners with Olive Some Cheese Charcuterie. When registering for the night, you can add a charcuterie snack to pair with your project of choice. Beginning in September, local artist Barbie Mathis will hold month-long classes on Tuesdays. Airielle Sadler often brings in her fresh sugar cookies to teach a cookie decorating class throughout the school year. Saturdays are open for walk-ins from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm. Staff members are available during walk-in hours to help as little or as much as the customer feels they need.

They also hold private events such as birthday parties, engagement parties, and team building.

For private parties, the customer generally chooses from available images to paint, as well as the type of canvas they wish to paint on – 11x14, 16x20, skinny board, and wood door hanger. Custom canvases are available upon request. For parties with a

54 | Vote now for the

guest of honor, the special guest can choose to have everyone do the same picture or each attendee can choose something different.

If you can’t get to the studio, the studio will come to you with DIY Paint Kits To-Go. This is a great activity for anyone unable to come in person but would still love to paint. They are perfect for date night at home, a unique party gift, a painting party, or an at-home activity.

Lexington’s Paint & Pour is located at the Old Mill across from the BrewPub with plenty of parking in the back lot by the lake. Visit their website at Lexingtonpaintpour.com and view the calendar section tab for upcoming events. Pre-registration is required for most scheduled events and larger events may require a deposit. Also, follow them on Facebook @lexingtonpaintpour or call 803626-3975.

Lexington’s Paint & Pour will celebrate its 10th birthday in February 2024. Details of events during the month-long celebration will be posted on the website and Facebook page as the date approaches.

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56 | Vote now for the Best of Lexington Life 2024 at lexingtonlife.com BETTER BREATHE BETTER SLEEP BETTER LIVE BETTER Nationally Renowned Expert in Sinus, Allergy, and Snoring Dr. William A. Wells, MD 803-626-9164 4711 Sunset Blvd., Lexington, SC 29072 columbiabreathefree.com

A Modern take on the old-fashioned game of hide-and-seek

Geocaching is a modern version of the old-fashioned game of hide-and-seek by using GPS technology for outdoor exploration to find the ultimate hidden prize.

As National Geographic reports, geocaching has evolved from a small hobby to huge, well-organized treasure hunts for people of every age and ability. There are nonprofit organizations, as well as businesses for geocaching, the largest being the website geocaching.com, which is a treasure trove of information. Geocachers can record their explorations, learn about others, and compare their adventures to others.

Although there are many newcomers to the hobby these days, some fans have been at it for years, among them Irmo resident Billy Easterbrooks. Starting out, he used a kayak for his geocaching expeditions. He began enjoying the hobby while an executive with a pizza restaurant chain. His pleasure in organizing geocaching expeditions allowed him to develop his dream job. When he stepped away from the pizza

business, he formed Carolina Outdoor Adventures in 2015, which provides kayaking and camping trips for outdoor enthusiasts. For years, he has been the administrator for the Facebook group, Geocachers of the Midlands, open to anyone who enjoys the hobby or wants to get started.

As a teacher in Lexington District One, Dr. Tamela Jett had the opportunity to attend a professional development session where she was introduced to the world of geocaching. That same summer she was on a hike with other teachers when a geocacher led the group to a hidden ammo can cache at a granite outcropping. The teachers stood around in awe as the can was taken out of its hiding spot and the small treasures were revealed.

Excited about the discovery, Jett saw the hobby as a learning experience for her children who were 8 and 10 at the time. She and her husband, James Jett, set up their account on geocaching.com, establishing themselves as the JettClan. Their first cache

was found on February 26, 2011.

Through Facebook, JettClan discovered the Midlands Geocache Facebook page. By connecting with fellow cachers and attending events, they began to learn the tips and tricks of caching. Since a GPS is needed to cache, as youngsters Taryn and Matthew Jett received their own handheld Junior Garmans - later replaced by cell phones - that were created just for geocaching. Taryn and Matthew were able to learn to estimate distance because of their geocaching experiences.

Although the JettClan doesn’t cache as often as they once did, they still find the time to look for a cache when traveling. Most recently, James and Tamela were able to reconnect with fellow cachers from the Midlands Geocache Facebook group during a summer event.

For newcomers, the website hobbyhelp.com offers “The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Geocaching,” which covers everything from how the game is played to

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58 | LEXINGTON LIFE | September 2023 lexingtonlife.com

the essential equipment you need. Readers also learn about the different types of geocaches, how to find them, and the terminology you need to master.

As the Jett family discovered, geocaching is a great activity for all ages and an ideal way for a family to enjoy outdoor adventures together. Although opportunities are as wide as all outdoors, people can find at least one geocache at most of South Carolina’s State Parks. Some state parks have many geocache locations. To find the coordinates of these caches and for all other information, consult the major website geocaching.com. Just type in the name of the park or geocaching locations you are interested in visiting. If you would like to place your own geocache trackables in a park, you should contact the park directly before doing so.

Players may register on geocaching.com, the most popular geocaching website, enter their postcode and obtain coordinates for geocaches around them. Geocachers obtain the coordinates for caches and log their findings in today’s updated take on an old-fashioned game - finding the prize at the end of the hunt. These are hidden or camouflaged containers placed all over the world by other members of the geocaching community – usually filled with knickknacks and small items.

A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and sometimes a pen or pencil. The geocacher signs the log with their established code name and dates it, to prove that they found the cache. After signing the log, the cache must be placed back exactly where the person found it. Larger containers such as plastic storage containers can also contain items for trading, such as toys or trinkets, usually of more sentimental worth than financial.

Geocaching was started in 2000 by a group of people in Oregon who were interested in technology and geography. Growing in popularity across the world in all kinds of exotic outdoor locations, geocaching has evolved from a small hobby to huge, well-organized treasure hunts for people of every age and ability. There are nonprofit organizations, as well as businesses for geocaching. The largest is geocaching.com. Dr. A. Brady Self and Keryn B. Page of Mississippi State University have developed an excellent guide for people wanting to learn about geocaching as the outdoor pursuit grows in popularity.

According to www.geocaching.com,

there are more than 3 million active geocaches spread across 191 countries on all seven continents. Over 1.3 million of these are hidden across North America. Caches are hidden in parks, along hiking trails, on street signs, beside roads, on/in/ under bridges, in cemeteries, around businesses and historical sites, underwater, and countless other places. Cache owners often hide geocaches in places that are interesting or have a special meaning to them. That’s what makes the game so interesting and exciting. n

tial equipment you need. Readers also ing is a great activity for all ages and an ties are as wide as all outdoors, people can Carolina’s State Parks. Some state parks geocaching.com. Just type in the name of the park or geocaching locations you are interested in visiting. If you would like to place your own geocache trackables in a park, you should contact the park directly

Players may register on geocaching.com, ter their postcode and obtain coordinates for geocaches around them. Geocachers obtain the coordinates for caches and log

at the end of the hunt. These are hidden or

A typical cache is a small waterproof times a pen or pencil. The geocacher signs the log with their established code name

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Apple Smoothie

2 cups fresh apple chunks (skin on)

1 ripe banana

½ cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup milk

8 ice cubes

½ tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp cinnamon

Optional: ½ tablespoon maple syrup or honey

Chop the apple & break the banana into pieces. Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until creamy and frothy. Garnish with an apple slice, pour into serving glasses, and serve immediately.

Sweet and Savory Apple

Apple Fritters

1 cup cake flour

1 tbsp sugar

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg, room temperature

1/3 cup 2% milk

4 tsp butter, melted

1 tbsp orange juice

2 tsp grated orange zest

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped peeled tart apple

Oil for frying

Confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, butter, orange juice, zest, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients just until moistened and fold in the apple. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat 1/4 in. oil to 375°. Drop batter by round tablespoonfuls into oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm.

Apple Nachos

2 apples

½ cup full-fat Greek yogurt (or plain yogurt)

2 tbsp pure maple syrup or honey, plus more for drizzle

1 tbsp peanut butter

3 tbsp sliced almonds

Cinnamon, for dusting

Other toppings: granola, mini chocolate chips, etc.

Slice the apples. In a small bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, maple syrup or honey, and peanut butter. Drizzle the yogurt sauce over the apples. Top with sliced almonds and a few pinches of cinnamon. If desired, add another drizzle of honey or other toppings.

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Dried Apples

3 medium apples

Cinnamon, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 225ºF. Slice the apples very thin, about 1/8” (a mandolin is recommended if you have it) Leave the cores in the apples but remove any seeds as you cut. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Lay the apple slices on the tray in a single layer, as close as possible without touching. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until curled and lightly browned. Store the apple chips in a sealed container or mason jar at room temperature for about 1 week.

Apple Peanut Butter Energy Balls

1 apple, peeled and diced

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup dates, whole (not chopped)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tbsp chia seeds

Add everything to a food processor and process until well combined. Once well combined, roll into balls and refrigerate. These taste best chilled straight out of the fridge.

Peanut Butter and AppleCinnamon Topped Toast

4 tsp creamy peanut butter

1 slice of bread, lightly toasted

¼ apple, cored and sliced

Pinch ground cinnamon

Spread peanut butter on toast. Arrange apple slices over peanut butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Apple Donuts

1 apple cored and sliced

frosting of choice


mini chocolate chips

Spritz or dunk your apple slices with lemon water. Dry them gently with a towel and then spread on the frosting. Once they’re covered with frosting on the top, sprinkle with sprinkles and chocolate chips. n

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My Daddy was born in 1917 in western Kansas. His father wandered off in 1925 and left a wife and six younguns. They never saw him again.

Daddy said the only thing they noticed from the Great Depression in ‘29 was that several men in town killed themselves “because they lost everything.” Daddy said they didn’t really understand what it meant to “lose everything” because his family had nothing to lose.

It stopped raining around 1931 and didn’t rain for three years. Some of Daddy’s schoolmates were part of the group of whole families who starved to death in their beds. Daddy’s family had a cow and a few chickens, so they ate eggs and milk every day until a man in town brought my Grandma a keg of dried Navy Beans. Daddy said they ate Navy Beans every day for a year and “were proud to have ‘em.”

He and his brothers went to the CCC and finally began getting three meals a day, and then the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and all the boys went to war. Uncle Bob was at Pearl Harbor. Uncle Dean

The Old Men

was in Patton’s Army. Uncle John went across North Africa and up into Italy.

Daddy served in the newly formed Air Force and was a “desk Sergeant” most of the war in Georgia. He sailed for Guam at the end of July of ‘45, got dysentery after two days with all the other boys on board, and heard about Japan surrendering while still on the way to Guam.

By the time I came along in ‘59, all these WW2 men were in their 30’s at the youngest. Daddy was 42. Twenty years later all these men were at the top of their game in terms of knowledge and experience. If you wanted to learn anything of substance, you learned it under the watchful eye of one of these “old men” who’d served in World War II.

These men were patient. They were hard and harsh and tough. They didn’t care two cents what we thought about anything, because they knew we didn’t know anything -- and they were right.

They expected a young man to use his brain and listen. They expected a young man to be on time, pay attention, and improve every day. If they had to tell you

something twice, they usually just fired you instead.

Today’s world views these old guys as impossible. But consider that just a few years earlier they had been fighting for their life with a Kabar knife against a Japanese soldier who’d jumped in their foxhole at night -- or some similar experience. Everything they faced afterward was easy compared to that nightmare. “Nobody’s shooting at you -- quit complaining.”

Most of my generation and those following us -- our children -- have had it incredibly soft. My generation was the last of a Golden Era and didn’t know it. We allowed a nation to be destroyed, and the replacement model materializing doesn’t appear to be pretty. n

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David Clark writes and works in Cochran, GA. Connect with him at cw.w4trj@gmail.com.