Life is Good In Sumter 2022-2023

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Part of the CHANGE Khalil Graham

Liberty STEAM Charter School

Marion Newton

Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church

Mark Champagne

Sumter United Ministries

Working together, supporting local

artisans and craftsmen playing key roles in downtown redevelopment

Explore Sumter A guide to:



Thompson Construction Group focuses on industrial construction and on-site maintenance. Specializing in large industrial projects, we build and maintain facilities for a range of industries like Power, Paper, Steel, and beyond.

Thompson Maintenance Services provides equipment maintenance, facility maintenance, operations support, elevated cleaning, and small capital project improvements. Thompson’s Custom Fabrication provides sheet metal fabrication, structural steel fabrication, CNC plasma cutting, and on-site installation services. Thompson Turner, general contractors, builds commercial, government and educational facilities. We offer single-source, deadlines and budget-oriented delivery, including Design/Build and Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR).

Thompson Disaster Recovery Services provides recovery solutions to State and Federal agencies including the repair, replacement, and reconstruction of residential areas impacted by natural disasters.

Thompson Hydro Consulting and Maintenance Services offers highly trained and qualified, industry-proven hydro specialists for consulting, upgrading, maintenance, repair, and rehabilitation services across the hydroelectric power industry.

Thompson Power Services provides construction services related to boiler and major gas-path equipment installation and repair for electric utilities and industrial facilities.

Thompson Industrial Services provides safe, comprehensive industrial cleaning services to major industrial facilities. Our work is safer, faster and more precise with our growing line of advanced automation technologies.


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380 West Wesmark Blvd. Sumter, SC 29150

Carolinas Centers for Sight is thrilled to be able to serve the community of Sumter, South Carolina. Our outstanding doctors look forward to providing the best care for those who walk through our doors. Our team offers primary eye care, comprehensive eye examinations, contact lens fittings, and management of ocular diseases. We are proud to be the most TechnologicallyAdvanced Cataract and LASIK Eye Surgery Center in the Pee Dee Region. We are dedicated to providing quality eye care to patients, seeking to improve their overall quality of life. | (843) 664-9393

Grab a bite or a brew. Catch a fish or a show... We’ve got southern classics, taco Tuesdays, incredible burgers and Texas-style brisket. Or get out of the South with authentic Caribbean cuisine and far-out sushi rolls. Then round out your food tour with a stop at Sumter’s first microbrewery. Looking for entertainment? From summer concerts on Main Street and award-winning performers on the historic Sumter Opera House stage to the Sumter Little Theater, the Civic Center and Patriot Hall, we’ve got a show that’s sure to have you asking for an encore. And if you want to get out and play, there’s miles of hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, camping, fishing, kayaking, and motocross — plus top-notch sports facilities for tennis, soccer, baseball, football and more.

Outdoor adventures, great food & endless entertainment are just a few of the reasons why we #LoveSumter. See more of what we love at

Welcome from

The Sumter Item O @theitem @sumteritem

n behalf of the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, the Sumter Economic Development Board and my co-workers at The Sumter Item, I’d like to officially welcome you to the 2022 edition of Life is Good in Sumter. Inside these pages, you'll see a snapshot of life in Sumter - how we live, work, learn, play and pray. The Sumter of today is innovative. Sumter is bold. Sumter is a place of business and community. From Shaw Air Force Base to local industries to our beautiful downtown, growth is happening. It's happening not only through new buildings, businesses and incoming residents, but also through a sense of community, unity and belonging when we work on building something together. We're building a better Sumter with you in mind, and we need your input. In 2022, I’d like to encourage you to seek that community, to seek belonging. Build large bridges of unity with others who also make up the fabric of our area. Learn from those who have a different perspective of the world. Listen thoroughly with the goal of an even better tomorrow. As the area’s leader in media for more than 127 years, The Sumter Item is here to help build that community, hold the powerful accountable and promote economic growth. Local news does that, and we believe it’s important. Whether you’re a longtime resident or a newcomer to the area, we encourage you to subscribe to The Sumter Item, either through a print+online or an all-online subscription. At the very least, please sign up for our free email newsletter at We tell the stories of your community. We vow to listen and to elevate your voice. Inside these pages, you’ll see many of the people, places and businesses that make our community great. We’re here for you, Sumter, and we hope you enjoy this magazine.


Publisher, The Sumter Item T H E I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |


SUMTER EXPLORES Swan Lake Iris Gardens.................................................................. 10 Downtown dining guide ................................................................ 12 A guide to Sumter's arts scene...................................................... 14 Sumter Opera House..................................................................... 17 Public art on display downtown .................................................... 18 Cleaning up Sumter together ........................................................ 20

What's Inside


Sumter sales tax referendum ......................................................... 22 Elected officials ............................................................................. 25 Team revitalization ......................................................................... 26

SUMTER LIVES Tandem Health .............................................................................. 28 Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital..................................................... 30 McLeod Health Clarendon ............................................................ 32


Palmetto Tennis Center ................................................................. 34 High school athletes making it big ................................................ 36 Public parks in Sumter County ...................................................... 39 Golf courses close to home ........................................................... 40 Disc golf courses in Sumter ........................................................... 42




U.S. Army Central .......................................................................... 43 80 years with Shaw Air Force Base ................................................... 44 A leading voice for good: Mark Champagne .............................. 48 Building community: Rev. Marion Newton .................................... 50


SUMTER WORKS Economic development: The basics.............................................. 52 Nova Molecular ............................................................................. 55 Pilgrim's Pride................................................................................ 56 BD expansion into construction phase .......................................... 57


Central Carolina Technical College ............................................... 58 Morris College ............................................................................... 60 Sumter School District ................................................................... 62 Liberty STEAM Charter School's Khalil Graham ............................ 64 USC Sumter ................................................................................... 68 Sumter School District Teacher of the Year: Thomas Slater........... 69 Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year: Charlie Allen .................................... 71



The sweet history of Bradford watermelons ..................................... 72 Local farmers markets and farms welcome visitors .......................... 74 Resource list .................................................................................. 75 Sunday beer and wine sale referendum ........................................ 76


An archival photo of downtown Sumter is held up on Main Street to offer a glimpse into the past surrounded by the potential of the future.

hcare experts


Part of the CHANGE

ccess Specialists

dicated to supporting your healthcare for everyone across the Sumter area

Khalil Graham

ology, OB/GYN, surgery, orthopedics, ding campus houses many practices

Liberty STEAM Charter School

Marion Newton

Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church

healthiest you.

Mark Champagne


Sumter United Ministries

Photo by Micah Green. Working together, supporting local

artisans and craftsmen playing key roles in downtown redevelopment

Explore Sumter A guide to:




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PUBLISHER Vince Johnson EDITOR Kayla Green COPY EDITING Rhonda Barrick Shelbie Goulding Melanie Smith

EDITORIAL Shelbie Goulding Kayla Green Christopher Hall Alethia Hummel Tim Leible Alaysha Maple Bruce Mills Traci Quinn Christy Richardson Carrie Anna Strange Erika Williams Kareem Wilson


PHOTOGRAPHY Cal Cary Micah Green Sumter Item archives LAYOUT Janel Strieter

36 W. Liberty St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 774-1238

AD DESIGN Jivon Adams Janel Strieter AD SALES Karen Cave Devin McDonald Mark Pekuri

32 E. Calhoun St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 775-1231

Welcome from the

Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce O


n behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and nearly 800 member businesses, welcome to our home. For more than 100 years, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce has served as an anchor and champion for business and community advocacy. 2021 continued to bring our fair share of challenges as we guide our way through this ongoing pandemic. Through all the turmoil that faces our personal and professional lives, we still prove to ourselves and the region that we will always be Team Sumter. In today's economic world, businesses have been tasked with thinking outside the box to find new ways to advance our business-to-business and business-to-consumer relationships. We are fortunate to have a businessfriendly city and county government that understands our role in serving as the economic hub of our region. The Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce has made additional efforts to educate our community on the importance of doing business locally, even through e-commerce. While you are here, please be sure to visit our local restaurants and retail establishments. Please know we appreciate you visiting our community and patronizing our local businesses. If at any point you consider relocating, consider US! Our community resources, quality of life, cost of living and our hospitality will make you want to join Team Sumter.


Chris Hardy, CCE, IOM President & CEO




Going global

Swan Lake Iris Gardens named Level II arboretum site 10 |

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Sumter's beloved swan-filled garden that rests in the heart of the city received its Level II arboretum certification in 2021. "This was quite a recognition, and it has gone on for many years," Assistant City Manager Al Harris said. "This is a great achievement for Swan Lake." An arboretum is a botanical garden devoted to trees. Sumter's garden was named a Level I certified arboretum site in 2017, and the staff has been working to receive a Level II recognition for the past five years, according to Harris. The hard work paid off in April 2021. The requirements to receive a Level II certification include an arboretum plan and governance group, more than 100 labeled trees and woody plants, paid staff and management, being open to the public, enhanced public and educational programs and a collection policy for manager of the plant collection. The certification was provided by ArbNet Accreditation Program, the only international program of accreditation that is specific to arboreta. According to ArbNet, there are 2,092 arboreta worldwide in The Morton Register. Of these, only 457 have been accredited globally as arboretums in 35 countries. Of those 457, only 143 are Level II arboretums, including Swan Lake Iris Gardens. Level IV is the highest accredited arboreta, with 33 out of the 457, according to ArbNet. South Carolina alone has eight certified arboreta, all of which are Level I arboretums except for Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City (Level III), Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet (Level II) and Swan Lake Iris Gardens. "This is something that took quite a while," Harris said. "We're very proud of the hard work our folks have put into this to get us where we are." Brock McDaniel, horticulturist and arborist for the City of Sumter, was a key asset in receiving the certification, along with many other city staff members, Harris said. "We started this process in 2016," McDaniel said. "It took us a year in order to get to the Level I." According to McDaniel, it took several groups and partnerships just to reach the Level I certification, which consisted of 25 different species of trees. Today, with the help of many additional partnerships, Swan Lake houses more than 100 different species of trees and a total of 172 plants, McDaniel said. "It took a lot of hands from a lot of different areas to make this come to fruition," he said. Harris said the City of Sumter has plans to have Swan Lake become a Level III arboretum next, but it may take another few years and helping hands to reach that certification.

Swan Lake houses more than 100 different species of trees and a total of 172 plants

Nu-Idea is centrally located in Sumter, SC, and all administration, warehousing, etc. is located there. Your call will be answered by our staff and your needs met promptly. Nu-Idea routinely manages projects of all size and scope for its customers.

710 South Guignard Sumter, SC 29150




Downtown Dining 19.

1 2. 3. 9.


4. 6. 5 7

17. 17.

10. 11. 12.


13. 14.

15. 16.

Map Source: City of Sumter Downtown Master Plan, July 2019. Future visualization included. 12 |

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uide to




Baker’s Sweets Bistro & Bakery 119 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 2. Alderman’s Drug Co. and Medical Supplies 40 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 3. Sidebar 34 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 4. Jin Jin Chinese Restaurant 39 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 5. Hamptons 33 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 6. La Piazza 33 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 7. Rafters 33 N. Main St. floor 2, Sumter, SC 29150 8. Main Street Tavern 24 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 9. Hyatt Place Sumter/Downtown 18 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 10. Brubaker’s Café and Bakery 13 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 11. Subway 9 E. Liberty St., Sumter, SC 29150 12. Sumter Original Brewery 2 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 * Not visible on map

13. J. O’Grady’s 5 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 14. J. O’Grady’s After Hours 5 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 15. Cut Rate Drug Store & Coffee 32 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 16. Jeffrey Lampkin’s Country Boy Bistro 18 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 17. Sub Station II 15 N. Harvin St., Sumter, SC 29150* 18. Chinese Cuisine & Thai Food 130 E. Liberty St., Sumter, SC 29150 19. Tony’s Pizza 1 E. Calhoun St., Sumter, SC 29150 20. McDonald’s 101 N. Lafayette Drive, Sumter, SC 29150* 21. Taco Bell 25 N. Lafayette Drive, Sumter, SC 29150* 22. Wendy’s 216 E. Hampton Ave., Sumter, SC 29150* 23. KFC 215 E. Liberty St., Sumter, SC 29150*



The creative arts keep us connected as a community BY TRACI QUINN Few things beyond economic stability contribute to the health of a community more than its quality of life. The arts are an important element in the overall well-being of its residents. They take us beyond what is necessary to survive to what helps us thrive. Sumter is fortunate to have a vibrant and evolving arts community, offering everything from music and theater to dance and visual arts, from books and movies to festivals and history offerings that teach us more about 14 |

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our culture … and ourselves. The arts help us understand who we are; they can challenge us, stretch our minds and our hearts, help us develop empathy and compassion, serve as a catalyst for social change. Art of all kinds can comfort us or take us out of our comfort zones, energize us or restore a sense of wonder in a busy world. “The arts enhance the quality of life of our community,” said Karen Watson, director of the Sumter County Gallery of Art. “Sumter is

isolated from the important art centers in the U.S. by economics and geography – most of our citizens are not able to travel to New York City, Chicago or even Atlanta to see important art. SCGA resolved long ago to bring such art to our city. And admission is always free, so everyone has access.” Whether you want to witness it or take a more active role, there are plenty of ways to get involved in the arts in Sumter.

Sumter County Gallery Sumter Little Theatre (803) 775-2150 of Art (803) 775-0543

Since 1969, the gallery has promoted the visual arts by presenting culturally diverse, contemporary art that reflects the experiences of all in our community. SCGA features rotating shows of traditional and contemporary art by local, regional and nationally recognized artists. Its three formal galleries are considered to comprise one of the best exhibition spaces in the state. The gallery offers classes for young and old, and the SCGA staff also go off-site to provide creative opportunities to those who may have financial or transportation challenges. The HYPE (Helping Youth Pursue Excellence) after-school program and Seniors Making Art classes provide the gallery’s most significant outreach.

Get involved!

Take an art class. Attend an exhibition. Become a member. Volunteer. Help with a class or an opening reception.

Sumter Civic Chorale (704) 492-4761

“Music is a gift to humanity!” said Herbert Johnson, director of the Sumter Civic Chorale, which is in its 40th season. “Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, music is a mysterious phenomenon that transcends all generations and all cultures and is a unifying tool – which is what we need more than ever today!” The chorale is a community-based choral ensemble that appeals to people of diverse cultures, races and ages. It is open to anyone who loves to sing and enjoys a variety of genres and styles of music. Members range in age from their 20s to their 80s; some have strong music reading backgrounds while others have almost none.

Want to join?

No audition is required; call Johnson for details at (704) 492-4761. Rehearsals are 7-8:30 p.m. on Mondays.

“The return of live theater is an indication that life can get back to normal,” said Eric Bultman, SLT’s executive director. Theater is an important type of creative expression because it is intimate and immediate. With live theater, we share an experience unlike any other – and what we see and hear can promote conversation about difficult topics and provide opposing views in a safe space. SLT is a true community theater, offering children and adults the opportunity not only to see great plays and musical theater but to participate at just about any level.

Get involved!

Attend a performance. Audition for a show. Work at the box office. Design and construct costumes. Share your makeup and hairstyling skills. Build a set – or help design one! Learn: Theater School offers classes for students from elementary to high school.

Sumter Community Concert Band

The band – now in its 40th season – welcomes new members and draws musicians from Sumter, Shaw Air Force Base and beyond with varying backgrounds – from teachers, lawyers, farmers and pilots to homemakers, physicians, college students and retirees. Their common link is a desire to share their love of band music with the public. “Music transcends all cultures, all languages, all lifestyles,” said band publicist Rick Mitchum. “Music is good for the mind. There are no boundaries to music. It can create a mood or feeling you can’t create with words.”

Want to join?

No audition is required, but members must have played in a concert band in high school or college. Call Mitchum at (803) 775-9265. Rehearsals are on Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m.

Sumter County Museum

122 N. Washington St. (803) 775-0908 The museum interprets the history of Old Sumter District through exhibits, living history events and special programming. It includes the Jewish History Center, where visitors can explore Sumter’s connections to survivors and liberators of the Holocaust. Get involved by attending events at the Carolina Backcountry Homestead, take a Living History class in cooking, sewing or woodworking, attend author readings, children’s story time, book signings and lectures. Want a guided tour? Call (803) 775-0908.

Sumter Opera House 21 N. Main St. (803) 436-2616

The Sumter Opera House is an iconic venue with a rich history, offering a wide variety of music (including appearances by Grammy winners!), nationally known comedians and local entertainment in its 550-seat auditorium. There’s something for everyone: The Main Stage series with national talent, a Matinee and Cinema series, as well as the less formal Stage Door schedule of concerts designed to introduce artists in an intimate setting. Visit for a complete schedule of events. There are lots of other cultural offerings in Sumter, from dance performances to art exhibits at the local colleges, an art sale by the Historic Sumter Neighborhood Association and music presented by the Woman’s Afternoon Music Club or First Presbyterian Church with its renowned Service of Lessons and Carols and Spring Sacred Music Service. For resources and useful websites to find out more about what’s going on in Sumter, find the resource page list in this magazine.




800.888.7926 •

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Listed on the National Register of Historical Places, the Sumter Opera House, located at 21 N. Main St., was initially built in 1872. After a fire broke out during Chick Company’s performance in December 1892, the structure was rebuilt and reopened in May 1936 as a movie theater. Its $120,000 renovation created 300 jobs for Depression-era workers, and the first film shown was “Earthworm Tractors.” Tickets were $0.35 for adults and $0.10 for children. The Opera House served as a movie theater for 46 years until its doors closed in 1982. The City of Sumter purchased the building in 1984 for more office space and to attract more visitors to downtown. Renovations began in September 1985, and the building reopened in 1987. The Opera House currently hosts several city departments and offices, including City Hall and Sumter City Council chambers, and regularly hosts local, regional and national talent. Past performers include comedians Chonda Pierce and James Gregory and Grammy Award winners John Berry and CeCe Winans. Local groups like the Sumter High School Jazz Band, Sumter-Shaw Community Concert Band, Sumter Civic Chorale and Sumter Community Jazz Band also perform on its stage. The Opera House hosts several series: Matinee series, Stage Door series, Cinema series and Main Stage series. While schedules for the Matinee, Stage Door and Cinema series are announced throughout the year on its website, the Opera House released its lineup for its Main Stage series for January-April 2022. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.

Night Videos, The Henry Cho Show on GAC, numerous sitcoms and Hallmark movies, and now he’s here to make you laugh!

Tokyo Joe Performs ROCKETMAN March 19 at 7:30 p.m. Tokyo Joe, a rock band from Columbia, replicate an Elton John concert experience, complete with costumes and lighting, sure to give every Elton John fan a tribute performance worthy of the original. The Duke Ellington Orchestra April 23 at 7:30 p.m. For the past 88 years, The Duke Ellington Orchestra has continued the Duke's tradition of touring and sharing his high-intensity, hard-driving jazz with the world, and Howard University professor Charlie Young, a talented alto sax player and arranger, will be leading the orchestra when their big band sounds the stage.

The 5th Dimension Feb. 18 at 7:30 p.m. Come experience one of the most prolific soul, R&B groups in musical history with Florence LaRue, of The 5th Dimension, as she and company continue to deliver dynamic performances after their 1967 hit, "Up, Up and Away.” Henry Cho March 5 at 7:30 p.m. American stand-up comedian Henry Cho, a.k.a. ‘Mr. Clean,’ has been on the Tonight Show, Young Comedians Specials, NBC's Friday T HE I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |


Art for everyone

Large-scale murals and public art installations bring color and vibrance to downtown Sumter

Loc ati on of mu ral : Sou th Art ist: TBD

Ma in Street

Locat ion of mural : F45/ Berenyi Inc. Artist: Amiri Farris

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Loc ati on of mu ral : Sumter Co un ty Museum Artis t: Ch ris tophe r Joh ns on


"The vibrant colors and intricate shapes on buildings throughout downtown and South Sumter encourage people to experience and explore the history of Sumter. The Creative Canvas Project works Lo catio n of mu ra l: F45/ Be re to bring more art to Sumter through ny i Inc . Artis t: Am iri Fa rr is murals. The Historic Preservation Design Review Committee approved the installation of eight large-scale murals painted on walls in the downtown design district and Thomas Sumter, whom the city is named various buildings in South Sumter. after, on the drive into downtown. Artists selected for mural installations The Imports LTD sign above the Sumter are paid with money from Central Carolina water fountain on North Main Street Community Foundation’s Connected showcases artist McClellan Douglas’ Communities grant of $50,000 along with a rendition of Swan Lake. Native to Columbia private investment from Bank of Clarendon and owner of Interactive Artworks, Douglas and Main Street Society. No tax money is wanted to make the entire building feel used for the project. underwater, unlike common Swan Lake “The purpose of public art, I think, is that paintings. Wide ranges of blues and use of it is accessible to everyone,” said Karen depth of field entice people to interact with Watson, executive director of the Sumter the artwork and surrounding businesses. County Gallery of Art and point of contact In the alley between The Sumter Item for the Creative Canvas initiative. “It’s also and Berenyi Inc., on West Liberty Street, is a a springboard for imagination, especially mural based on elements of Sumter by artist for youth. It’s a new way of looking at Amiri Farris, of Bluffton. The piece features urban planning, incorporating public art the South Carolina Gamecock, local flowers, that is interactive, and murals are definitely fighter jets, a swan, the Carolina wren and interactive.” more surrounded by bright colors, bold Watson said the committee and patterns and Farris’ stylistic paint drippings. community members experienced “first time According to Watson, the cold, rainy jitters” about murals but have done great so weather along with finding the next artist far as three of the eight approved murals are put a temporary halt to the Creative Canvas completed. Project. . The committee hoped to reconvene Christopher Johnson, a muralist from in January 2022 and discuss how to move Greenville who lives in Georgia, modeled forward with the project. the mural on the Sumter County Museum after an old postcard. Located at 122 N. Washington St., the mural features significant people and places of Sumter County like pioneer Mary McLeod Bethune and Gen.

Art takes flight

Amid the pandemic, color came to downtown.

Seven 3-foot butterflies were installed throughout the area in summer 2020 to provide public art and a pop of color and creativity. "We've been doing revitalization downtown for 20 years, and one thing we really don't have downtown is art," said Leigh Newman, downtown development coordinator for the city. "This was an art installation project that we wanted to do just to have some art downtown and brighten things up." Six local artists and a group of children painted 3-foot fiberglass butterflies, and now, their art is permanently displayed in the downtown area. T HE I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |



BY SHELBIE GOULDING The most common litter items can take the longest to decompose: 20 years for a plastic bag, 50 years for a tin can, 200 years for an aluminum can, 450 years for a plastic bottle and 1 million years for a glass bottle. Litter not only affects a community by clogging waterways and storm drains, creating road hazards and decreasing property value, but it also affects the wellbeing of the people who live and drive through it. Last year was a year to take charge in Sumter County. Both city and county governments began an initiative to clean up the community, one bag and volunteer at a time.

City of Sumter

The City of Sumter began its Litter Prevention initiative in August 2020. In that first year, the city hired its first litter officer, Glenn Button, and organized community clean-up days as well as other educational and hands-on programs. The impact? A total of 108,980 pounds of trash was collected in 2021 compared to 7,000 pounds in 2020.

Sumter County Government

Last summer, county government officials implemented a 2-mill increase in its fiscal 2022 budget to fund its $318,000 litter program. The money came after the community’s cry for a solution to the litter. Although it won’t necessarily solve the problem, it’s something that can mitigate the issue, thanks to volunteers, a litter rake machine, education pushes and enforcement measures; the program’s threelegged stool format focuses on cleanup, enforcement and education. The rake machine, a tractor to pull it and a dump truck for the litter cost $350,000. Although it’s not a vacuum truck, it can collect litter from roadways and shoulders with the help of a county-employed crew. The cleanup leg will consist of the machine,

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equipment, litter techs, contract labor, public works, community days, inmate labor and grants. The county created five new positions – two litter control officers, two Class I litter control operators and one Class II litter control operator. The enforcement leg will include two litter officer positions, imposing court fines and court-mandated cleanup, using cameras and getting help from the Department of Natural Resources and the Sumter County Sheriff's Office. The final leg, education, will also include the litter officers. They will use social media, agency media, printed material, editorials and grants to teach the public the effects of litter and promote the county’s efforts.

An impactful partnership

In July 2021, after months of collaboration, the joint city-county Litter Advisory Board met for the first time with 11 members and two representatives from city and county government. Ernest Frierson was elected to be the chairperson by public board members Barbara Richburg, Russell Branson, Beverly Davis, Scott Burkett and Joseph Brown Jr. Other board members are representatives of local and state organizations: Development Board appointee Erika Williams, Chamber of Commerce appointee Chris Hardy, SCDOT Sumter Office appointee Sandra Riley, Sumter County Sheriff’s Office appointee Joey Rogerson and Sumter Police Department appointee Robert Singleton. Representing the city is Sumter City Councilman Steve Corley and City Manager Deron McCormick, while Sumter County Councilman Charles Edens and County Administrator Gary Mixon represent the county; all are ex-officiates who take what is discussed at the Litter Advisory Board meeting to their councils. “We’re advisory on the side,” Corley said, “making little suggestions along the way. It takes time to get it going.” Corley and Edens were elected to be board representatives because the duo has been fighting Sumter’s litter battle for nearly five years with a group of concerned residents prior to the creation

of the litter initiative and programs. At the Litter Advisory Board’s first meeting, they encouraged members to get in the community and talk to, educate and inspire the public to get involved. With the same initiative in 2022, the city will use its small vacuum truck from Jet-Vac Equipment Co., which cost $164,495. New community clean-up days are scheduled for 2022, occurring one Saturday every two months in partnership with Sumter County Government, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, Palmetto Pride and the South Carolina Department of Transportation. Corley said the public can expect more energy, more effort and more commitment in 2022, as well as more enforcement and ticketing measures. “We’re not up to 30 miles an hour

yet,” Corley said. “Now, I see a lot of momentum.” SCDOT, the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, Sumter Economic Development, Sumter Board of Realtors, the Sumter School District … the list goes on as to who has gotten involved in the countywide mission, and Corley said the city plans to work ahead with SCDOT in 2022 to pick up litter off major roadways – like U.S. 378 – before they mow. “For me, the big thing is coordination. Getting the various parties together,” he said. “Now you have main players in the

same room.” Edens hopes to include education efforts in agencies across the county. For example, the county could work with Santee Wateree RTA and pay them to advertise bus signs promoting education on the litter issues, Edens said. Another idea he’d like to see come to fruition is to incorporate fundraising clean ups with local nonprofits, groups and churches. “It would be a great opportunity for them to incorporate another fundraising group,” Edens said. “And most of them, usually, take those funds and what they make from the fundraisers and do things for the community anyway, so it’d be turned around to the community, too.”

LEARN MORE: For more information on the City of Sumter’s Litter Prevention initiative or to schedule a volunteer cleanup day, visit www. or call (803) 305-5266. Community clean-up days are scheduled for: - Feb. 19 - April 16 - June 18 - Aug. 20 - Oct. 15 - Dec. 17 T HE I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |


Penny for Progress: 3rd round penny sales tax schedule set A quick guide to recent community projects funded by voter-approved sales tax referendums.

Photos by Joe Perry/ Sumter County Government


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Sumter County officials and residents are preparing for a third round of their Penny for Progress initiative, and the result may bring benefits to the whole community. Penny for Progress is a capital projects sales tax referendum that Sumter voters approved first in 2008 and again in 2014 to fund infrastructure, construction and renovation projects by raising the sales tax in the county by 1 cent and funneling those pennies to the initiative. The first referendum in 2008 funded 16 projects and ushered in a $75 million boost to the regional economy. The second, which is ongoing, began in 2014 with 28 projects and costs $75.6 million. "In total, over a 14-year period – which each penny series is seven years – it'd be roughly $154 million invested in the Sumter community, which is huge," Sumter County Administrator Gary Mixon said at a community meeting in December 2021. The sales tax is on gas, retail and other sales in the community. Mixon said one-third of the revenue generated from the tax comes from non-residents.

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"That's a pretty sweet deal having somebody else help pay for the amenities in Sumter," he said. "That was one of the major selling points when we first initiated this effort." The current Penny for Progress runs until April 2023, so the county has to get moving and have the referendum on the ballot in November 2022. Mixon said this third round would not add to the county’s current tax but simply continue it for another seven years. According to Mixon, the third round is anticipated to reel in just under $80 million, a slight increase since the previous referendum. A committee will develop a list of final projects, and that list must undergo three readings before it is passed by county council. If passed, between June and November is when the county hands off the list to marketing, which will campaign the third round of penny projects for the November election. The entire initiative will be voted for or against at that point, not specific projects.


According to Sumter County Communications Coordinator Joe Perry and Sumter County Government’s website, the following penny sales tax projects are ongoing:

Industrial infrastructure

This $2 million project is ongoing, but Race Track Road was paved, which helped Nova Molecular’ s current expansion. The county had matching funds from the S.C. Department of Commerce.

Manning Avenue bridge

What began as a renovation project changed to a replacement project after the South Carolina Department of Transportation determined the bridge's infrastructure needs a makeover. The bridge has preliminary design work, and an engineering consultant is finalizing work. According to Kyle Kelly, senior planner for the Sumter CityCounty Planning Department, there is about $18.9 million in federal and state money committed to the project by SCDOT. The $2.5 million in Penny for Progress funding will be used for aesthetic enhancements and additional bike and pedestrian access. Public information meetings are planned for spring 2022 with proposed construction to begin in summer 2023. Construction could take 18 to 24 months.

Manning Avenue and North Main corridor

A large-scale makeover of downtown Sumter's main artery is far along in the planning stages. About $11.4 million in federal dollars were paired with $5 million in Penny for Progress money to improve pedestrian safety, create a smoother traffic flow and enhance aesthetics in the corridor. City engineering completed water and sewer relocation plans for the Manning Avenue corridor, and construction is proposed to begin in late 2022 or early 2023. It could take 24 to 30 months for construction.

Final engineering design efforts are underway for traffic design and general construction funds for the North Main corridor; SUATS funds were added for both areas. Construction should begin mid-to-late 2022 and take 24 to 30 months to be completed.

Shot Pouch Greenway

Construction of a new 3.4-mile nature trail connecting Dillon Park and Swan Lake Iris Gardens is ongoing and is projected to be completed in Spring 2022. The section of the $4 million project from Broad Street to Miller Road was paved first. The next portion tapped was Miller Road to North Guignard Drive, and then the final portion will include a new 1,100-foot boardwalk. Benches and signs will be installed.

Downtown intersections

A lot of design work and engineering has been done for the improvement of pedestrian crosswalks, utilities, streets and sidewalks, lighting and landscaping in the historic Central Business District. Plans should be finalized in the first quarter of 2022.

Recreation renovations

New gyms opened for play in mid-November 2021 for basketball season next to the Sumter County Recreation and Parks Department on Haynsworth Street. “When the kids saw the new gyms, it was like Disney World. And I think the parents are pleased with how it turned out,” said Phil Parnell, director of Recreation and Parks. “Basketball season is underway, and we’re happy to have a new gym and a renovated gym for this popular recreation department offering.”

Property and building acquisition/renovation

With $2.2 million, properties will be purchased and renovated to provide new workspaces for five state agencies that provide services in Sumter. One building, the old Sumter Item/Osteen Publishing building on Magnolia Street, received an extensive makeover and renovations. Perry said more renovations are planned – HVAC upgrades, new lighting and more in a four-phase process – for Clemson Extension, Department of Juvenile Justice and S.C. Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole Services slated to move there.

Historic Sumter County courthouse

The $3 million refurbishing project is still underway with only the main courtroom renovations remaining. The main courtroom, known as the O.V. Player Courtroom, will be restored to its early grandeur with help of a private benefactor. The painting of Gen. Thomas Sumter will also be restored. The courtroom will be used for ceremonial purposes and swearing-in ceremonies once completed. Completed renovations included the exterior being pressure washed and painted, the installation of new energy-efficient windows, the removal of old windows, the installation of a new elevator tower at the rear of the building and the construction of ADA-compliant bathrooms.



Community sidewalks

Theater Drive, Lewis Road and North Lafayette Drive sidewalks are nearly complete. Henderson Drive and North Guignard are completed, as well as North Columbia Drive, Crestwood Drive, Highland Avenue, Lynam Road, West Oakland Avenue and West Red Bay Road.

high-paying wages as a result of these investments,” Sumter County Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. said. “I remember well when former Mayor Steve Creech said Sumter is too small, too rural and too poor for the city and county to not work together to make life better for all of us, and the Penny for Progress has been a major contributor to that factor.”


About 10 abandoned and dilapidated properties are demolished and have been cleared. Two projects – 706 S. Main St. and 100 E. Liberty St. – remain on the list.

Carnegie Library

This $300,000 project is not yet started but will restore one of 14 Carnegie Foundation libraries in South Carolina. There is interest in that area that may tie in with other projects, which is why it is being held until the “appropriate time.”

Paving and resurfacing

About 13.5 miles of dirt roads have been paved, with 6.5 miles remaining, while about 18.18 miles of roads have been resurfaced, with 2.1 miles remaining.


The project has not started but will see the development of a sports and wellness complex and recreational park with multisport fields, playground equipment, a picnic area, restrooms and parking at a cost of $200,000. The project scope may expand to include more robust recreational offerings. “The past two pennies have been a major benefit to our uptick in infrastructure, and we’re seeing the creation of new jobs with 24 |

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According to Sumter County Communications Coordinator Joe Perry, the following second-round penny sales tax projects have been completed: • New E911 Facility • Public Safety Complex – Sumter Fire Department and Sumter Police Department • Wilson Hall Road and Wise Drive • Wilson Hall Road and Carter Road • Administration Building renovations • Dillon Park renovations • Mayesville Downtown revitalization • Downtown Building renovations • Renovation of Industrial Engineering Building at CCTC • Mill Creek renovations • Renovations to Animal Control Building • Palmetto Park Renovations For more information on Sumter County’s Penny for Progress, visit

Elected officials SUMTER COUNTY VOTER REGISTRATION AND ELECTIONS OFFICE • Patricia Jefferson, director • 141 N. Main St. Sumter, SC 29150 • (803) 436-2310 • Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Lindsey Graham (R) 290 Russell Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-5972 508 Hampton St., Suite 202 Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 933-0112 public/ Tim Scott (R) 104 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 (202) 224-6121 1901 Main St., Suite 1425 Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 771-6112 Ralph Norman (R) 569 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-5501 454 S. Anderson Road, Suite 302 B Rock Hill, SC 29730 (803) 327-1114 James E. “Jim” Clyburn (D) 200 Cannon House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-3315 1225 Lady St., Suite 200 Columbia, SC 29201 (803) 799-1100 STATE SENATORS To email a member of the state Senate: https://bit. ly/2C2JWGK Thomas McElveen, (D-Sumter) District 35 Sumter 508 Gressette Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Business: (803) 212-6132 Sumter Office: (803) 775-1263 Columbia Office: (803) 212-6132 Home: (803) 778-0597 Kevin Johnson, (D-Manning) District 36 Clarendon, Darlington, Florence, Sumter 606 Gressette Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Business: (803) 212-6024 Home: (803) 435-8117

STATE REPRESENTATIVES To email a member of the state House of Representatives:

Will Wheeler III, (D-Bishopville) District 50 Kershaw, Lee, Sumter 422B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Bishopville Office: (803) 4845454 Columbia Office: (803) 2126958 Home: (803) 428-3161 David Weeks, (D-Sumter) District 51 Sumter 308D Blatt Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Sumter Office: (803) 775-5856 Columbia Office: (803) 7343102 Home: (803) 775-4228 Kimberly Johnson, (D-Manning) District 64 Clarendon, Sumter 422D Blatt Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Business: (803) 212-6929 Home: (803) 938-3087 Murrell Smith, (R-Sumter) District 67 Sumter 525B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Sumter Office: (803) 778-2471 Columbia Office: (803) 7343144 Home: (803) 469-4416 Wendy Brawley, (D-Hopkins) District 70 Richland, Sumter 309D Blatt Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Business: (803) 212-6961 Home: (803) 776-9286 SUMTER COUNTY COUNCIL Council meets at 6 p.m. every second and fourth Tuesday at 13 E. Canal St. During COVID-19, in-person seats are physically distanced. To watch meetings online, search Sumter County Government on YouTube. Carlton Washington (D) District 1 13 E. Canal St. Sumter, SC 29150 Home: (803) 436-2102 cwashington@sumtercountysc. org

Artie Baker (R) District 2 3680 Bakersfield Lane Dalzell, SC 29040 Home: (803) 469-3638 Jimmy Byrd Jr. (R) Vice Chairman District 3 P.O. Box 1913 Sumter, SC 29151 Mobile: (803) 468-1719 Fax: (803) 436-2108 Charles Edens (R) District 4 3250 Home Place Road Sumter, SC 29150 Home: (80) 775-0044 Mobile: (803) 236-5759 Vivian Fleming-McGhaney (D) District 5 9770 Lynches River Road Lynchburg, SC 29080 Home: (803) 437-2797 Business: (803) 495-3247 vmcghaney@sumtercountysc. org James T. "Jim" McCain Jr. (D) Chairman District 6 317 W. Bartlette St. Sumter, SC 29150 Home: (803) 773-2353 Cell: (803) 607-2777 Gene Baten (D) District 7 P.O. Box 3193 Sumter, SC 29151 Home: (803) 773-0815 SUMTER CITY COUNCIL Council meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Sumter Opera House, 21 N. Main St., 4th floor. During COVID-19, the second monthly meeting is reserved for in-person public hearings and public comment. To leave a comment ahead of time, go to https://www.sumtersc. gov/PublicCommentForm. To attend meetings virtually, go to CityOfSumter. The council is non-partisan. The mayor is elected at large.

Thomas Lowery Mayor Pro Tem Ward 1 829 Legare St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 773-9298 James Blassingame Ward 2 3060 Foxcroft Circle, Sumter 29154 (803) 840-1029 Calvin Hastie Sr. Ward 3 810 S. Main St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 774-7776 Steve Corley Ward 4 115 Radcliff Drive Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 305-1566 Colin Davis Ward 5 720 Oak Brook Blvd. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 494-3337 Gifford Shaw Ward 6 28 Paisley Park Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 773-5918 SUMTER SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES During COVID-19, meetings have limited in-person seating and is available on a first come, first serve basis. Attend virtually by searching “Sumter School District Board Meetings” on YouTube, or watch on Facebook @SumterSCSchools. Trustees are non-partisan.

Matthew ‘Mac’ McLeod Area 3 2985 Bruce Circle Sumter, SC 29154 Cell: (803) 938-2701 Mac.mcleod87@ Johnny Hilton Area 4 2691 Wedgefield Road Sumter, SC 29154 (803) 468-4054 johnny.hilton@sumterschools. net Rev. Daryl McGhaney Clerk Area 5 9770 Lynches River Road Lynchburg, SC 29080 Home: (803) 437-2797 daryl.mcghaney@ or Gloria Rose Lee Area 6 PO Drawer 2039 Sumter, SC 29151 (803) 464-6414 Barbara R. Jackson Chairwoman Area 7 1510 Reedroman Road Sumter, SC 29153 (803) 775-2520 barbarar.jackson@ Frank Baker Vice chairman Member At-Large Seat 8 8670 Black River Road Rembert, SC 29128 Cell: (803) 968-5901 Shawn T. Ragin Member At-Large Seat 9 3835 Quiet Court Sumter, SC 29150 Cell: (803) 464-6859

Brian Alston Area 1 3385 N. Kings Hwy 261 Rembert, SC 29128 Cell: (803) 572-1938 Sherril P. Ray Area 2 528 Mimosa Sumter, SC 29150 Cell: (803) 491-7628

David Merchant Mayor 26 Paisley Park Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 773-1086 T HE I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |


TEAM REVITALIZATION Local artisans and craftsmen playing key role in downtown redevelopment BY BRUCE MILLS It was mostly a year of planning for some big things on the horizon on the downtown development scene, but one commercial “fixer-upper” showed the power of teamwork on display in revitalizing downtown Sumter. Local artisans Heather Tickel, Scott Carnelli, Lance and Tori Lesegne, and Frank Johnson might not be headline names when people think of the key players in Sumter’s downtown redevelopment, but their hands are literally all over the work, including last year’s addition of Baker’s Sweets. The popular bistro and bakery owned by Jennifer Baker added its second Sumter location and third overall in August on the corner of North Main Street and Law Range. 26 |

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WHAT’S IN THE WORKS FOR THIS YEAR? Jay Davis said he is still in the planning stage for some apartments and a condominium project for the downtown area. Also, two more commercial fixer-upper projects are planned to be announced in 2022, he added. Davis co-owns some downtown properties with private business owner Greg Thompson and his wife, Danielle. He credits the Thompson family and the City of Sumter for helping facilitate the downtown revitalization process. In the last decade, the Thompsons’ investments in downtown include La Piazza, Hamptons, Sidebar, the downtown Hyatt Place hotel and Sumter Original Brewery, among others.

*Photo: Left to right: Jay Davis, Tori Lesegne, Frank Johnson, Scott Carnelli, Lance Lesegne and Heather Tickel

A theme in recent years with the revitalization has been rede- downtown redevelopment work with Tickel and Davis. velopment and bringing the older downtown buildings back to Johnson said what he likes most about those projects is that life, and keeping their historic charm, according to Jay Davis, Sumter is working to improve its downtown. broker-in-charge of Coldwell Banker Commercial Cornerstone. “What I like most is I like the fact that we are doing it,” JohnThe bakery and coffee shop followed suit, he said. son said. “That we are a part of it and they are revitalizing According to Davis, the Baker’s Sweets addition at 119 N. downtown because for years that is not somewhere you would Main St. was the final 1,000 square feet in a 10,000-square-feet want to take somebody who came to visit from outside of town. square feet office project that was previously 100% vacant a Now, I would say, it’s one of the top destinations to take somefew years ago and now is 100% occupied with five tenants. body who comes in.” Davis said the current Baker’s Sweets Lance Lesegne added also a good property was completely dark on the inform of advertising for the business as "If I can be a part of side and in tearing down the sheet rock, many area residents notice the work. they discovered glass windows inside the Scott Carnelli’s local painting busisomething like that, wall along the side of Law Range. ness specializes in high-end, residential Then after taking down the extericustom work, but he also does some whether it is just a safe or brick, Davis’ team saw how much it commercial office buildings. brightened the environment. He has worked on a handful of projor a few buildings, I am “All those windows are the original winects downtown, and at Baker’s Sweets, dows,” he said. “When we tore down the Carnelli took on an unusual project to thrilled to do it. That is brick on the outside, we saw how much repaint an old, large safe that had been it brightened the space. That’s when in the building for several decades. something that will last we were like, ‘This needs to be a coffee Baker wanted to keep the safe on shop.’” display as part of the structure’s historic for decades after it's In the redevelopment work, Tickel, who charm. works with Davis at Coldwell Banker as Carnelli first met Tickel about 15 years done.” a broker associate and office manager, ago after he initially moved to Sumter —Scott Carnelli serves as the creative artist and designer, and worked part time as a personal and local craftsmen, such as the Lesegnes trainer. Tickel was one of his customers, and Johnson from Palmetto Metal Dehe said. signs, do custom work. Later, he started his custom painting business, and Tickel Tickel said she has a passion for art and dabbles in different joined Coldwell Banker in 2014. mediums. She loves bringing a business owner’s plans and “The whole thing, especially about Sumter, is just connections dreams to life. and relationships,” Carnelli said. “I enjoy working with people who have a vision of where they “The more people you know and you treat them right, they want to go with their business,” she said. “That kind of starts will pass your name around.” spinning my wheels as far as, ‘Oh, OK, this is their style and He added that he loves to see the progress downtown. how cool it would be to do this over here for them.’ The whole “The team associated with downtown is just classy people,” process is fun for me.” Carnelli said. “I love the whole downtown how it’s coming Davis and Tickel use Palmetto Metal Designs in downtown along. I love the restaurants; the hotel is beautiful. I just love redevelopment work for custom metal fabrication and other walking down there. People are doing great things and honestspecialized construction. ly Jay Davis and people like Heather, they are on it. If I can be At Baker’s Sweets, Lance and Tori Lesegne and Johnson built a part of something like that, whether it is just a safe or a few a handcrafted bar near the windows. They also constructed the buildings, I am thrilled to do it. That is something that will last bread racks and coffee signage both inside and outside the for decades after done.” shop. Palmetto Metal Designs regular business includes building ornamental gates and porch rails, but the employees’ enjoy the





A commitment to caring for all and growing with the community BY CHRISTY RICHARDSON

Photos provided

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andem Health has been in the business of hometown health care in the greater Sumter community for nearly 20 years. We pride ourselves on being local people helping local people and relish in the fact that we are able to provide quality, personalized health care services and patient-centered experiences to all. It's an honor to be able to serve patients of all backgrounds and ages and provide comprehensive and affordable health care no matter the patient’s insurance status or ability to pay. Our top priority is meeting patients where they are and ensuring they receive comprehensive health care by our knowledgeable and experienced care team, not just one single provider. We serve nearly 18,000 patients yearly and have a staff that continues to grow exponentially yearly and which currently stands at nearly 230 people consisting of both clinical and non-clinical members. Our main goal is to create a meaningful and personal relationship with our patients that lasts from the cradle until the grave, and we are intentional in creating programs and areas of specialty that cover all their various health care needs. We believe that health care should include not only checkups, prescriptions and monitoring, but also education for our patients. We want to give power to our patients on how to maintain and grow in their own personal health and that of their children. This is exactly the reason why we offer specific programs like diabetes prevention and management, substance abuse counseling, a centering program for expectant mothers, infectious disease education and more. 2020 and the pandemic has certainly brought numerous challenges to health care, but it also created an opportunity for us to grow how we connect and adequately serve our most vulnerable members of the community. Telemedicine, on-site testing and vaccinations have become the norm and have allowed us to continue to meet our patients' needs while ensuring their safety. When the world shut down, it brought clarity to how important our existence is and continued operations are to our community here in Sumter, especially when it comes to being able to provide affordable and accessible treatment and services to all who are in

need. It also helped to spotlight what areas of service we needed to expand to meet our patients’ biggest needs, and we were also able to focus on enhancing our safety procedures and protocols to ensure our staff members and patients remained protected and healthy. As we look to the future of Tandem, we are excited about the opportunity we have to continue to grow and serve even more of our community members. We look forward to continuing to be actively engaged within our community by supporting local events and creating new give-back opportunities and programs that benefit so many in need in our area. It is essential that we remain engaged and enthusiastic about what is to come because Sumter is growing and changing for the better, and we want to grow and change right alongside her. We want to always strive to be bigger, better and more to those who need and depend on us. The more programs, areas of service and staff that we add, the better we are going to be able to provide the needed knowledge and the high-quality, affordable health care and services. Both within and outside of our various locations, we intend to make our patients confident that we really are local people who love helping local people, and the more we learn and listen, the better we get at enhancing our patients’ experiences and the stronger our relationships to them grow. That’s why we love doing what we do every day. Our love and commitment to Sumter is strong and so is our love and commitment to our patients. We at Tandem Health would love the opportunity to become your new medical home. We feel confident that you will love your experience and care at any of our six locations, and we offer a wide variety of services and programs to fit your health needs and desires, including pediatrics, OBGYN, family medicine, behavioral health, adult medicine, immunology, dental services, diabetes prevention and education, two on-site pharmacies and so much more. Call us today to set up an appointment at (803) 774-4500 or check us out at www.



Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital Photo provided BY PRISMA HEALTH Established more than a century ago, Tuomey Hospital today is a 283-bed Joint Commission-accredited medical center dedicated to putting our community first. Our active medical staff includes more than 150 doctors representing more than 25 medical specialties. Our facilities include a 36-bed nursery, an expanded ICU, 10 operating suites, an outpatient surgery center, an award-winning day surgery unit, a beautiful women and infants pavilion and a satellite medical park. We offer diagnostic and treatment capabilities for cancer, heart care, maternity, wound care, orthopedics and surgery. Prisma Health’s purpose is to: Inspire health. Serve with compassion. Be the difference. That means providing the safest, most impactful care, considering a patient’s emotional health as well as physical health and finding new ways to help our community stay healthy. Tuomey Hospital is a part of the largest not-for-profit health care company in South Carolina, one that serves more than 1.2 million patients annually. Prisma Health employs more than 30,000 people who work to improve the health of our communities through improved clinical quality, access to care and patient experience while also addressing the rising cost of health care. More than 1,400 people work on the Sumter campus. The dedication of these team members has helped Tuomey earn prestigious designations as a Baby Friendly Hospital and Breast Center of Excellence. Being named a Pathway to Excellence hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center recognizes Tuomey as a place that encourages nurses to be their best, to seek continuous learning and higher certification, to provide strong leadership and help that engagement flow into other departments. The Tuomey Pharmacy opened in 2020, making it more convenient for patients to obtain their medications immediately following their appointments. The pharmacy keeps on hand the top 400 medicines ordered by area physicians so that patients can pick up their prescriptions without having to leave the campus. Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital also is administering the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the state’s response. Tuomey is also a satellite for Prisma Health Children’s Hospital in the Midlands, providing pediatric care that includes support from a pediatric pharmacy, nutrition therapy and the ability to 30 |

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keep smaller infants and those needing special care close to home and their families. The hospital supports a Level II nursery; an intensive care unit; 10 operating suites; centers for outpatient surgery, imaging and cancer treatment; an infusion center; an award-winning wound healing center; a heart failure clinic and cardiac, speech, physical and occupational rehabilitative services. Our diagnostic capabilities feature comprehensive pathology services, interventional radiology and cardiac catheterization. Transitional care is provided through our Home Health Services program, as well as hospice and palliative care.

Other Tuomey Hospital facilities include:

An intensivist care program is dramatically changing the way care is provided in the intensive care unit, with measurable increases in patient quality of life and significant drops in patient mortality among our most critically ill population. Tuomey became home to its first residency program in 2019. Eight family medicine physicians are completing their residencies in collaboration with Tandem Health to bring greater access to primary care to Sumter residents The Wound Healing Center specializing in the treatment of chronic wounds, such as diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers, venous stasis ulcers and dehisced surgical wounds. The center offers outpatient care and hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well as disease management, diabetes care, vascular studies, tissue culturing and biological skin substitute applications. The Cancer Treatment Center was one of the first in the state to offer TrueBeam radiation treatment, using state-of-the-art linear accelerators paired with CT-based treatment planning, which allows radiation oncologists to offer intensity-modulated radiotherapy. The center uses stereotactic body radiation therapy for early stage lung cancer to allow highly precise delivery of high radiation doses to a small target. The Women and Children’s Center includes the Birthplace and the Family Place, units dedicated to meet the unique needs of our pediatric, gynecological and obstetric patients. Pediatric hospitalists are trained to provide inpatient care for children and are often able to keep smaller infants and those needing special care close to home and their families by treating them locally. The Level II nursery allows the hospital to treat high-risk

newborns. The center also features breastfeeding rooms, a lactation consultant and education nurse, antepartum rooms and a bereavement room. Having an infusion center on site means patients can go home from the hospital more quickly and perhaps even avoid being admitted. We provide treatment for Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as infusions of medications such as antibiotics, antivirals and iron drugs in an outpatient setting. Our Wesmark Boulevard campus offers outpatient imaging (including bone density studies and 4D ultrasound for pregnant women), programs in physical therapy, speech and occupational therapy, cardiac rehab, audiology and one of the most comprehensive sports medicine/orthopedics programs in the region. We provide pre-season screenings for athletes, injury clinics to assess injuries post-game and onsite sporting coverage.

About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a nonprofit health company and the largest health care system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 hospitals, 2,947 beds and more than 300 outpatient sites with nearly 2,000 physicians, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Prisma Health’s goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. For more information, visit

Prisma Health physician practices aligned with Tuomey include: • • • • •

Prisma Health Pulmonology Prisma Health Cardiology in Sumter and Manning Prisma Health OB/GYN in Sumter and Manning Prisma Health Surgery in Sumter and Manning Prisma Health Pain and Spine

• • • • •

Prisma Health Orthopedics Prisma Health Family Medicine Prisma Health Infectious Disease Prisma Health Plastic Surgery Prisma Health Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Account openings and credit are subject to Bank approval. Member FDIC. T HE I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |


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CARING FOR THE COMMUNITY McLeod Health Clarendon’s expansion into Sumter is a commitment to the region

BY CARRIE ANNA STRANGE As the leader of health care in the community, McLeod Health Clarendon continues to fulfill its mission to improve the health and well-being of the residents in Clarendon and Sumter communities. “As a testament of our commitment, we are continually developing plans to expand our services, medical staff and medical capabilities to meet the needs of our community and the patients we serve,” said Rachel Gainey, McLeod Health Clarendon CEO. Our highly skilled physicians and medical staff provide a wide range of medical services designed to meet the unique needs of our patients. Services include an emergency department, intensive care unit, labor and delivery, medical surgical unit, surgical services, infusion services, sleep lab, radiology services, lab services, wound care center and a swing bed unit. Cardiac, speech, physical and occupational rehab services are located in our McLeod Health and Fitness Center Clarendon. Cardiology, general surgery, orthopedics and urology specialty services are also available. Our continuum of care for patients outside the hospital setting is provided by our home health, hospice, nurse-family partnership, sports medicine and occupational health services. “Community hospitals play a vital role in the economic growth and development of that community,” Gainey said. “At McLeod Health Clarendon, we strive to create meaningful, positive patient experiences with those who entrust us with their care. Although improvement efforts are continually in motion, the hospital has made significant progress in increasing access to specialty care through the McLeod Health network and ensuring every patient receives the quality care they deserve faster.”

Dedicated to serving the needs of patients from the Midlands to the coast, McLeod Health expanded its footprint into the Sumter community in 2017. Shortly after the acquisition of McLeod Health Clarendon, Palmetto Adult Medicine, located at 1295 Wilson Hall Road in Sumter, joined the McLeod Physician Associates network. These providers bring years of experience and compassionate care to the residents of Sumter, Clarendon, Lee and Williamsburg counties. Established in 2017, McLeod Medical Park Sumter, located at 540 Physicians Lane, encompasses McLeod Orthopedics Sumter, McLeod Cardiology Associates, McLeod Vascular Associates, McLeod Occupational Health, McLeod Urology Associates and McLeod Surgery Clarendon. “The continued expansion of McLeod Health in the Sumter area will have a great impact on the health of our region,” Gainey said. “The increased access to specialty services will bring experienced physicians to those in our region, making it much easier to receive care. As a testament of our commitment, we are continually developing plans to meet the spectrum of needs in the communities we serve.” “Every day, Sumter residents choose McLeod Health for their care, and it is our privilege to locate the specialty care services in this community,” said Donna Isgett, president and CEO of McLeod Health. McLeod Health services offered in Sumter include cardiology, electrophysiology, home health, hospice, internal medicine, nurse-family partnership, occupational health, orthopedics, primary care, surgery, urology and vascular. “We trust that patients will continue to look to McLeod Health as the choice for medical excellence,” Gainey said.



Game, set, play

Final phase of Palmetto Tennis Center expansion to be complete in 2022

BY SHELBIE GOULDING For more than a decade, tennis has been a growing recreation amenity in Sumter. Today the racket sport stands as a sign of Sumter's growth after the completion of Phase 1 of the Palmetto Tennis Center project, making the city a destination for elite and avid players in the country. The community celebrated the grand opening of the newly expanded Palmetto Tennis Center, located in the center of the city near two of its three colleges, tucked within Palmetto Park, in late April 2021. The 400 Theater Drive facility is nationally ranked with a mission to serve Sumter by providing education, recreation, exercise and competitive tennis for all since 2004, but it looks different than it did back then. It now has a spacious operations building, pro shop, 24 lighted deco turf hard tennis courts, four pickleball courts – another sport gaining popularity – and a hitting wall. All amenities are free to the public. The center also hosts the Conference Carolinas Championship Tennis Event, now in its 17th year, and more than 25 events each year for more than 25,000 players across the country.

Sports tourism boom

With the help of the city and county governments, local businesses, the state Legislature and residents of the community, the completion of Phase 1 brought $18 million to the Sumter economy, according to Sumter Mayor David Merchant. The center was built before he entered local government, but he has seen it grow in his eight years on Sumter City Council and now as mayor since being elected

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in November 2020. "Sports tourism is big," he said during a grand opening last year. "What this center does is it continues to grow and continues to bring more sports tourism in our community." The idea of turning Sumter into a sports tourism destination came to life in the 2000s, when council members and former mayor Joe McElveen had a vision to get Sumter to where it is today. However, it was also made possible through a partnership with the state. "This has been a decades-in-the-making type of project," state Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, said at the grand opening. "It was first pitched to us years ago." Smith remembers growing up and playing tennis at Palmetto Park, and he always knew the facility had potential to grow into something greater. "This is going to be a huge win for Sumter because what this does is it brings people to our community," Smith said during the grand opening. "They see Sumter and see what a gem we are here in Sumter and what a desirable place it is." South Carolina is known for its tourism along the coastline and Upstate, leaving rural communities often unnoticed. Smith, along with other state delegates, fought to make sports marketing a new, innovative kind of tourism that focuses primarily on rural communities like Sumter. When people travel to participate in or support players in tournaments, they stay in local hotels and eat and shop locally, boosting the economy and putting Sumter on the map.

Phase 2 - Red clay courts

As the Palmetto Tennis Center continues to grow, Smith said he thinks Phase 2 will play a tremendous part in bringing more investment to the community and state. Phase 2, which was authorized for construction by Sumter City Council in February 2021, will consist of the installation of eight red clay pro tennis courts and other site improvements that will bring more elite players to South Carolina. According to Palmetto Tennis Center General Manager Sam Kiser, the imported European red clay made from recycled red roof tile will be a vital piece in the center’s economic impact because Sumter is slated to be the first installation of RedClay USA. "There's about six or eight private courses built around the country," Kiser said at the grand opening. "This will be the first major installation in the United States. We will be the innovation center for RedClay USA." Red clay courts are soft and easier on the knees compared to hard surface courts, Kiser said. He said he thinks tennis players from across the country will be sent to play in Sumter for regional and national tournaments once they are installed. "Everything we do is geared toward economic impact," he said. "It will be substantial when the clay is done." City of Sumter Construction Manager Tripper Lee said the projected completion date of Phase 2 is Spring 2022. The exact date is subject to change.

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ON the



Point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies

High school: Graduated from Crestwood in 2017 as their all-time leading scorer with 1,679 points. His jersey was retired at Crestwood in December. College: Went on to star at Murray State, where he made a name for himself in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. He was just the eighth player in tournament history to record a tripledouble as he led the underdog Racers into the second round. Next steps: The tournament run helped boost Morant into the top of the NBA Draft. He was selected No. 2 overall by the Memphis Grizzlies behind former AAU teammate Zion Williamson in 2019. He went on to be an immediate breakout star, winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Today: Morant has missed some time this season due to a knee injury but has since returned to the court. Through 24 games, Morant averaged 24.5 points per game, up five points from his career average, as well as averaged 6.6 assists and 5.7 rebounds. He is looking to lead the Grizzlies back to the playoff for the second year in a row. 36 |

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Starting pitcher for the New York Yankees

High school: Graduated from Sumter High in 2011. College: Played at the University of South Carolina.

Next steps: Drafted by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Montgomery made his MLB debut in 2017 with a start against the Tampa Bay Rays, where he finished with a no-decision. He finished his rookie season with a 9-7 record and an ERA of 3.88. He made just six starts the following season due to a torn ligament in his pitching elbow, which required Tommy John surgery. He missed the bulk of the following season. Montgomery returned to the rotation in 2020, pitching 44 innings in the COVID-19shortened season. He made his postseason debut that fall, allowing one run on three hits in four innings of work. He struck out four batters in a Yankee victory in the ALDS. Today: Montgomery completed a healthy season in 2021, starting 30 games for the Yankees. He went 6-7 with an ERA of 3.83, his best full MLB season. He struck out 162 batters on the season, averaging more than a strikeout per inning pitched.


Running back for the Baltimore Ravens

High school: Graduated from Crestwood in 2015.

College: Bounced around to three different colleges, starting at North Carolina, before transferring to South Carolina. He played his final year of college football at Bringham Young University. He tore his ACL during the season, causing him to go undrafted. Next steps: He was signed by the Baltimore Ravens immediately after the 2020 draft. He went on to spend the 2020 season on the team’s practice squad. He was elevated to the active roster for one game but did not play. Due to a series of injuries at running back, Williams started the 2021 season as one of the Ravens’ primary ball-carriers. He scored his first professional touchdown in the team’s season-opening overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. As the season wore on, the team added veteran running backs, and his role has been diminished. He’s spent the bulk of the season bouncing back and forth between the practice squad and active roster. Today: Through Week 16, Williams carried the ball 34 times for 181 yards and one touchdown.


Punter for the Pittsburgh Steelers

High school: Graduated from Sumter High in 2017.

College: Signed with Georgia Tech. He steadily improved during his time in college and broke out as a senior. He led the nation in punting with an average of 48 yards, which broke the ACC record. He went on to win the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter. He was the first Black punter to win the award. Next steps: Harvin was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventh round of the 2021 NFL Draft. He went on to earn the starting job in training camp. Today: In his first 14 games, Harvin averaged 43.3 yards per punt with a long boot of 64 yards. He pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line 22 times. He also serves as a holder for the Steelers. He missed some time late in the season after the loss of his father.

*photos: File/Sumter Item and AP T HE I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |



Defensive lineman for the New York Giants

High school: Graduated from Sumter High in 2017.

College: Signed to play football at Georgia Southern. Quickly became one of the top players in the Sun Belt Conference, earning an All-Conference honorable mention as a freshman before being named second team in 2018 and first team in 2019 and 2020. He was also named second team All-American by Pro Football Focus in 2020. He set a school record in 2021 with 15 quarterback hurries while adding 14.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks. Next steps: Johnson went undrafted in 2021 but was immediately signed by the New York Giants afterward. Today: In four games in 2021, Johnson had four tackles and earned his first career sack on Sept. 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

TALAYSIA COOPER, EAST CLARENDON Signed to play basketball at South Carolina

High School: Gatorade South Carolina Girls Basketball Player of the Year in 2020. Previously named the 1A Player of the Year by the South Carolina Basketball Coaches Association after scoring 23.7 points per game to go along with 12.8 rebounds and 8 assists. She also averaged 4.6 blocked shots and 2.2 steals as she led East Clarendon to a 10-1 record before a shocking early exit in the state playoffs. Shining moments: Made her varsity debut in seventh grade as the Lady Wolverines made a run to the state semifinals. Cooper and East Clarendon then won the 1A state championship in her eighth-grade season. EC then made the jump to 2A in her freshman year, where the Lady Wolverines again lost in the state semi-finals. Winning stats: Cooper scored 1,000 career points before reaching high school and scored her 2,000th point as a sophomore. She’s on pace to score her 3,000th point this season. Next steps: Cooper signed with the top-ranked South Carolina women’s basketball team on Oct. 22, 2021.

KYLIC HORTON, CLARENDON HALL Signed to play football at South Carolina

High school: Horton has been a dynamic football and basketball player for his entire Clarendon Hall career, which dates back to middle school. Plays 8-man football at Clarendon Hall. Shining moments: As a junior, Horton had 41 passes for 898 yards and 18 touchdowns while rushing for 104 yards. He returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and had two defensive scores, bringing an interception and a fumble back to the house. He finished his junior season with a total of 26 touchdowns in just nine games. Battled nagging injuries throughout his senior season and finished with 42 catches for 813 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also rushed 38 |

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for a touchdown and passed for two more. Defensively, he intercepted four passes. Winning stats: Horton jumped on the University of South Carolina’s radar at a camp in June 2021, where he ran a 4.4 40yard dash and had a vertical leap of 39 inches. Next steps: USC offered him on the spot. He also received offers from Virginia Tech and Coastal Carolina.

DAVIN JACKSON, SUMTER HIGH SCHOOL Signed to play football at North Carolina State

High school: Jackson was one of the state’s top defensive line recruits as a junior but tore his ACL at a football camp at Clemson the summer before his senior season. Shining moments: Played his junior season with fellow Division I defensive lineman Justus Boone, who plays for Florida. Winning stats: In his junior season, he racked up 57 total tackles with a team-high 26 of those takedowns going for a loss. He added four-and-a-half sacks and broke up four passes on a Sumter team that played for the SCHSL 5A lower state championship. Next steps: Still signed with N.C. State despite the knee injury, which cost Jackson his entire senior season.

PUBLIC PARKS IN SUMTER COUNTY Here is a list of public parks in Sumter County. For more information, including amenities and to find pet-friendly parks, go to outdoor.

City parks • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Benton Park Birnie Park Chamber park College Park Crosswell Park Dunway Park Eastwood Park Fulton Park Grier Street Park Herbert Circle Jenkins Center Lawton Park Lindley Park Logan Park Memorial Park (pet-friendly*) Moore Street Park North HOPE Park Optimist Park Palmetto Park (pet-friendly*) Parker Street Park Riley Park Rolling Creek Park South Sumter Park Swan Lake Iris Gardens V.I.M. Park Spray Parks (open Friday of Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day) Birnie HOPE Park (210 S. Purdy St.) Crosswell Park (130 Yeadon St.) North HOPE Park (904 N. Main St.) Palmetto Park (400 Theatre Dr.) South Sumter Park (630 S. Sumter St.)

County parks • • • • •

Cypress Park (pet-friendly*) Dillon Park (pet-friendly, with offleash option inside dog park) Mill Creek Park (pet-friendly*) Patriot Park (pet-friendly*) Veterans Park

State parks • • • •

Poinsett State Park (pet-friendly*) Thomas Sumter Memorial Park (pet-friendly*) Woods Bay State Park (petfriendly*) Manchester State Forest

*All pet-friendly locations require pet to be on a leash, unless otherwise stated.



The Links at Lakewood

Wyboo Golf Club Quixote Club

Beech Creek

Crystal Lakes The Players Course at Wyboo



links Numerous area courses offer wide variety for all players


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Carolina Lakes at Shaw


Quixote Club Access: Private

Beech Creek Golf Club is nestled in the historic “High Hills of the Santee” and opened for play in 1989. The golf course is located on one of the most scenic pieces of property in Sumter County with elevation changes that allow for views that can go for miles. Beech Creek is an 18-hole course that’s fun to play.

Quixote Club is a world-class golf course with a skillfully crafted clubhouse and first-class staff. Quixote invites generous, philanthropic-minded individuals from across the country to participate in a club that prides itself in leaving a legacy behind for future generations to enjoy. Based on the East Lake Foundation model in Atlanta, Quixote’s philanthropic mission is to support ongoing high-quality, free public education in the form of Liberty STEAM Charter School, Sumter’s first public charter school.

1800 Sam Gillespie Blvd., Sumter (803) 499-4653

1005 Golfcrest Road, Sumter (803) 775-5541

Beech Creek Golf Club Access: Semiprivate

Carolina Lakes Golf Course Access: Special-access – Shaw AFB

Carolina Lakes Golf Course offers 18 lush, emerald Bermuda greens and fairways tucked in a gently rolling landscape. A fully stocked pro-shop, driving range and restaurant are also at the course. The restaurant overlooks the scenic 18th hole and has a panoramic view of the course from nearly every seat. 400 Stuart St., Shaw Air Force Base (803) 895-1399

Crystal Lakes Golf Course Access: Public

Crystal Lakes is an 18-hole, 6,264-yard course (blue tees) that welcomes all levels of players. A driving range, putting green and practice area for pitching complement a clubhouse and snack bar for a fun and affordable outing. Seniors, children and serious golfers alike enjoy walking or riding in carts at this Sumter County course that has a new entrance and parking lot. 1305 Clara Louise Kellogg Drive, Sumter (803) 775-1902

The Links at Lakewood Access: Semiprivate

The Links at Lakewood has been under new management and ownership since May 2016. The Links’ goals are to provide a good, quality golf course to play, but at the same time keep it affordable. These goals have led The Links to be voted best golf course in Sumter County four consecutive years in The Sumter Item’s Best of Sumter readers choice contest. 3600 Green View Parkway, Sumter (803) 481-5700


The Players Course at Wyboo Access: Semiprivate

Nestled along the shores of Lake Marion, The Players Course has been voted the best golf course in Clarendon County four consecutive years in The Sumter Item’s Best of Clarendon readers choice contest. The Players Course is carved from wooded terrain and features large, undulating greens. The contrasting styles of the front and back nines make for a great round. 1560 Players Course Drive, Manning (803) 478-2500

Shannon Greens Golf Club Access: Semiprivate

Shannon Greens is one of the oldest golf courses in Clarendon County. The layout is made up of 18-hole championship tees. The course has five par 3s and five par 5s, making it a par 72 layout. There are tall pines, ponds, creeks and dog legs that give the course great character. The signature hole is No. 7, the island green. The pro shop is full of golf inventory, and there is a full-service bar and lounge area. 1435 Davenport Drive, Manning (803) 435-8752

Wyboo Golf Club Access: Semiprivate

Wyboo Golf Club is regarded by many as the best publicaccess golf course in the region because of its premier condition and layout. During the summer of 2021, Wyboo did a total renovation of the greens with Tifeagle Bermuda grass. Amenities include a driving range, practice putting green, fully stocked pro shop, snack bar and bar in a newly renovated clubhouse area. 2565 Players Course Drive, Manning (803) 478-7899




GOLF Disc golf courses in the Sumter area

Dillon Park

Established: 2015 Course: 20 holes Availability: Year-round Course details: Mostly flat going in and out of the words. A mix of tightly wooded holes and open. Two creeks coming in to play on almost all the holes. Tees: Concrete, grass, dirt, outdoor carpet Targets: Veteran Property: Mixed use, public park Services: Dogs allowed, cart-friendly, restrooms available, drinking water available Where: Clara Louise Kellogg Drive, Sumter Cost to play: Free

Live Oak Park

Established: 2021 Course: 18 holes Availability: Year-round Course details: Compact technical course with vines hanging as obstacles Tees: Grass Targets: Liberty Property: Mixed use, public park Services: Dogs allowed, cart-friendly Where: Live Oak Park, Sumter (intersection of U.S. 15 and Clipper Road) Cost to play: Free

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Lindley “Hidden” Park

Established: 2020 Course: 9 holes Availability: Year-round Course details: Open, some trees, flat. A short pitch and putt for novice players or for working on upshots. Distances range from 90 to 230 feet, with most around 150 feet. Neighborhood backyards surround the course with dogs in many. Tees: Grass Targets: Mach New II Property: Mixed use, public park Services: Dogs allowed, cart-friendly Where: Lindley Avenue, Sumter (access across from Lesesne Court at intersection of Lesesne Drive or on Lindley Avenue between Lesesne Drive and Benton Drive. It looks like a driveway, but it’s not.) Cost to play: Free

Shaw Air Force Base

Established: 2019 Course: 9 holes Availability: Year-round, military/DoD ID holders have all-day access. EAL individuals have weekend access. NonDoD ID holders can ride with military/ DoD ID anytime Course details: Brand new Innova DisCatcher Pros, tee signs/next tee signs and pads. Red (short) pads for beginners, white/blue (long) league alternate pads to make 18 holes. Elevation change. Moderately wooded. Some water hazard. Tees: Concrete Targets: DISCatcher Pro (original) Property: Mixed use, military base, private land Services: Cart-friendly Where: Shaw Air Force Base Cost to play: Free

Who is

U.S. Army Central?


The United States Army Central turned 103 years old in November 2021, celebrating more than 10 years at Shaw Air Force Base and with new faces to continue commanding the formerly known “Third Army” in Sumter.

United States Army Central turned 103 years old in November 2021, celebrating more than 10 years at Shaw Air Force Base. Formerly known as “Third Army” in Sumter, ARCENT moved to Shaw in July 2011, home to the 20th Fighter Wing, the U.S. Air Force's largest combat F-16 wing. Third Army was activated in November 1918 in Chaumont, France, with orders to disarm and disband German forces during World War I. The move to Sumter decades later gave its headquarters a home base on American soil, as well as the opportunity to accommodate more than 600 soldiers and civilians at Shaw. The base also leads 15,000 assigned soldiers in several locations around the globe in U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility, including several Middle East and Southwest Asia locations. To begin another year of leading from home, ARCENT welcomed a new commander and new command sergeant major near the end of 2021. Commander Lt. Gen.

Ronald P. Clark took command following Lt. Gen. Terry Ferrell’s retirement to civilian status after 37 years of service. He served as ARCENT commander for a few years prior to the changeover. Clark comes most recently from Hawaii, where he served as chief of staff for the United States Indo-Pacific Command. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1988 and served as a rifle platoon leader and scout platoon leader in the 5th Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Armored Division in Germany and in Southwest Asia during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm at the beginning of his career, according to his Army biography. Command Sgt. Maj. Jacinto Garza took over the responsibility of Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Hester, who had served ARCENT since September 2019. Garza was previously the senior enlisted adviser at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics & Technology) at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.




Archival pho tos from The Sumter It em and historian Sa mmy Way

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Shaw AFB grows from South Carolina landscape to a highly active base It’s hard to think about Sumter without its longtime military neighbors. From community involvement to economic impact, Shaw Air Force Base has grown to be an asset to the community and continues that same prosperity to date. For 80 years, Shaw Air Force Base has served as a vital line in the U.S. Air Force and Military Forces. However, the vitality of the base beats even stronger as the heart of military warfare. In a span of 10 years, Shaw’s prospering personnel growth and base operations grew more than 24% in personnel, which came from military and local leaders working together to bring a quality of life to airmen and a handful of squadron units. According to Air Force Magazine, Shaw had a total of 5,912 active-duty members under its wing in 2011. By 2020, that total grew to 7,376 active-duty personnel, noting that is one of the

May 1941

Sumter is awarded the development of an airfield to be built at $3 million, covering 2,830 acres of land. It is designated to serve as a basic flying school for the United States Army Air Corps.

August 1941

The airfield is officially named after the Sumter County native, and construction is underway for the Shaw Army Air Field. It isn't until the end of the month that Shaw Air Field opened with a mission to train air cadets how to fly.

The American Legion Sumter Post 15 adopts a resolution recommending the airfield be named the Sumter Army Basic Flying School in honor of First Lt. Ervin David Shaw, a Sumter County native who was among the first combat pilots – and the only aviator from Sumter – to die in World War I.

July 1941

largest increases among U.S. Air Force bases in the world. That does not even count today's total. During that time, Third Army/U.S. Army Central relocated to Shaw, according to Capt. Amanda Herman, 20th Fighter Wing chief of public affairs. The 15th Air Force also became the operational headquarters of six additional wings and three direct reporting units. The Ninth Air Force (U.S. Air Forces Central) then grew after its headquarters returned to Shaw from its previous position in the Middle East; this also brought the 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron — otherwise known as Kingpin. Herman said Shaw still holds the same official total as 2020, but some soldiers and airmen are currently deployed or geographically separated under Shaw's command. Army and Air Force personnel duty physically stationed at Shaw today totals about 5,800, she said. According to Mayor David Merchant, Shaw Air Force Base reels in more than $1.5 billion per year in economic impact in the Sumter community.

November 1941

Thirty-three of the 236 commissioned officers to be stationed at Shaw Field arrive in Sumter, 15 of whom bring their wives and children to become Sumter residents.

Flying activities over Shaw begin in Sumter with the first airplane landing at Shaw Field. It is a basic trainer piloted by Shaw Field Commander Maj. Burton M. Hovey, along with passenger Capt. H. G. Gerdes, the engineer in charge of construction. Lt. Col. Emory J. Close transfers to Shaw at the end of the month to take Gerdes’ place in constructing the $4 million air school.

October 1941

January 1942

Shaw Field officers and cadets fly 4,750 hours in first few months of operations without a mishap.

The Empire of Japan attacks Peral Harbor. Commanding officer Maj. Burton M. Hovey announces that orders from the war department in Washington, D.C., order construction work and grading at Shaw resume on a 24-hour basis following defense protocols after the attack. Shaw Field later begins operating with security protocols in place at the base’s entrance. Guards are strapped with weapons, and everyone must present a pass to enter or leave the grounds.

Twenty-two states, the District of Columbia and England are represented by aviation cadets who receive basic training at the flight school on Shaw Field.

January 1943

December 1941 Photos by Kareem Wilson T HE I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |


July 1945

Nearing the end of World War II, approximately 8,300 German prisoners of war are held at camps in South Carolina, 357 of whom are held at Shaw Field.

December 1949

Shaw Air Field is to be declared a permanent base, depending on the completion of property transfers between Sumter and the Department of Defense.

Headquarters Army Air Forces establishes the 20th Fighter Wing. Ninth Air Force (Air Forces Central) organizes the wing at Shaw Air Field three weeks later. Shaw Air Force Base also houses the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the 4411th Combat Crew Training Group, the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the 363rd Fighter Wing and the 363rd Tactical Fighter Wing.

January 1951

The Ninth Tactical Air Force assumes control of four additional bases, including Shaw in Sumter. Later the same month, the first Air Force service women arrive for duty at Shaw Field.

The outbreak of the Korean War spurs the deployment of the 20th Fighter Wing’s flying units to Royal Air Force Station Manston, United Kingdom.

Summer 1950

January 1972

Shaw reports a tremendous impact on Sumter’s economy. The total amount of money spent during the 1971 fiscal year reached an estimated $42 million, bringing more revenue to the community.

Shaw Air Field is reorganized to become the official headquarters of the Tactical Air Division.

April 1951

The 363rd Fighter Wing, which called Shaw home since the base’s first years of operations, is placed on inactive role.

December 1993

July 1947

Source: The Sumter Item Archives, Shaw Air Force Base, Ninth Air Force and U.S. Army Central Sammy Way contributed. 46 |

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2021 May 2005 January 1994

The 363rd Fighter Wing is redesignated as the 20th Fighter Wing, the host unit at Shaw Air Force Base.

The Base Realignment and Closure Commission not only does not close Shaw, but also pushes U.S. Third Army to relocate its headquarters to Sumter.

The 20th Fighter Wing begins executing combat air patrol missions over major U.S. cities following the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., and continues to perform in the homeland defense role to date.

June 2011

U.S. Army Central/Third Army Headquarters begins its transition to Patton Hall at Shaw Air Force Base.

The 20th Fighter Wing is allocated to the Ninth Air Force.

August 2009

The 20th Fighter Wing is tasked to support ongoing operations in Southwest Asia, to include Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.

Ninth Air Force units are reallocated under the 15th Air Force at Shaw Air Force Base.

August 2020

September 2001

Jack Osteen

Broker Associate 2 N. Main St. Sumter, SC 29150 803-468-1010 (cell)

Interested in leasing or buying commercial real estate in Sumter? I can help.



A leading voice

for good

Sumter United Ministries’ Mark Champagne receives former mayor’s final Gamecock City Award BY KAREEM WILSON


he week was a busy one for Mark Champagne. Not only did the executive director of Sumter United Ministries coordinate a Thanksgiving drive-through food drive, but he also received one of Sumter’s highest honors: the Gamecock City Society Award. Champagne is no stranger in the community, as this Sumterite has led Sumter United Ministries, a church-led nonprofit that provides assistance with food, crisis relief, shelter, housing assistance and other emergency services, for more than 15 years. He started out as a volunteer for two years working at the crisis relief ministry. Afterward, he was appointed to executive director at the community shelter and has worked in the position since. In those years, he has seen the ministry go through a lot of changes with the additions of a food pantry, utility bills and rent assistance, a construction ministry, a shelter, a free clinic and clothing and education assistance for those in need in Sumter. When asked how he felt to receive such an honor,

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Champagne merely chuckled and said he humbly accepts the award. Before he retired from his 20-year tenure as mayor, Joe McElveen awarded Champagne with the Gamecock City Society Award, the highest honor for a Sumter resident who has made meaningful contributions to the community and its residents. It was only the 38th such award given by McElveen. But it was also the last. Champagne expressed that while it has his name engraved on it, the award is for all the ministry’s staff and volunteers for their continuous service to the community. Nonetheless, he is grateful for the recognition by the mayor and thankful to God for helping those in need in the community.


Photo by Janel Strieter

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Building Community

Rev. Marion Newton BY KAREEM WILSON After serving in the South Sumter community for nearly 40 years, the Rev. Marion Newton was blessed this year to receive an honor that few people get.

Newton, 82, was honored by family, friends and his congregation at an anniversary gala in November celebrating his 39 years as senior pastor at Jehovah Missionary Baptist Church and 50 years of ministering. During the ceremony, he was gifted two big surprises: the Phi Beta Sigma J. Carlton Yeldell Service to Humanity award and the Order of the Palmetto, the highest award a citizen in South Carolina can receive by the state. The Order of the Palmetto is given by the governor's office to South Carolinians who make contributions of statewide significance such as Newton for his years of service and contributions in South Sumter. "I want to take this opportunity to thank God for the journey," Newton said after receiving both awards. "When you've been called to this by God, He gives you what is needed to stay on the journey, and this has been a great journey." His congregation applauded him after he received the award knowing his history being an instrumental force in development for the community. "I feel really good to make it this far,” he said. The things that he accomplished in the community trace back before his arrival in the Gamecock City.

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“When I became the pastor at Jehovah, that’s when I began going to [city, council and chamber of commerce meetings] because I felt like if I was going to be a leader around people, I needed to know what was going on in the community politically so that I could inform my congregation.”

Before Sumter

Newton’s journey was a long one. The Jasper County native's story began in 1970 when he was licensed by Bethel Baptist Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and was ordained a year later at Rock Spring Baptist Church in Grays. The Brick Baptist Church in Frogmore was where Newton was given the opportunity for his first practice. He later became the pastor at Meadow Prong Baptist Church in Effingham. After servicing at the church for almost a decade, he moved to Sumter in 1982 to become the pastor at JMBC at the behest of the church committee and attended at Morris College. He was also employed at the college as coordinator of student activities, assistant dean of student affairs and acting dean of student affairs. He also served in the capacity of church relations and alumni affairs officer from 1987 to 1996 before relinquishing his duties to provide his full attention at JMBC. “When I became the pastor at Jehovah, that’s when I began going to [city, council and chamber of commerce meetings] because I felt like if I was going to be a leader around people, I needed to know what was going on in the community politically so that I could inform my congregation,” he said.

Stigma on South Sumter

When he arrived to take on his duties in an unfamiliar area, he was “culture shocked” at the slower pace of the town. “When I came here… it was like the world stopped turning,” he said. His time here has allowed him to see the problems in South Sumter over the years. “We had problems over here with drugs, alcohol and crime,” he recalls. “We had a stigma on this side where people were afraid to come on this side.” He said it was not unusual for him to see people transacting “business” on the campus with selling drugs and prostitution. He has worked with the city police department and the county’s sheriff’s office to rid the community of these detrimental issues in the community. “I did not want to move out of this neighborhood. I was determined to not let them run us out of this neighborhood,” Newton said. He also saw Black-owned businesses decrease in the area replaced with liquor stores and the crime rate increasing. In recent years, he said things have changed for the better. “We made a big change,” he said. “I believe in community, and we have to be able to communicate with each other in order to get things done. I think that’s why we were able to get a lot done in the past.”

Plans for the community

Newton is known not only for his community involvement but also for his commitment to his congregation church. His three-phase "vision" plans included renovations to the sanctuary and the building of the Jehovah Child Development Center, now known as the Jehovah Christian and Academic Schools with the addition of the MH Family Life Enrichment Center named in Newton’s honor. The third phase of his vision is in progress with the construction of a new state-of-the-art facility expected to be underway in fall 2022. The man of faith often quotes his favorite Bible verse found in Luke 12:48, “For unto whomever much is given of him, shall much be required,” but about making a difference for others. He can’t wait to celebrate his 40th anniversary in 2022 and said none of what he did could have been possible without his wife, Corine, his family and community members who work to make their home a vibrant and better place.



Economic Development:

The Basics


“Everyone wants a win, but a community must first

set the stage with a game plan and a winning attitude along with players that are excited to be on the field.” This statement, made some years ago by Sumter Economic Development CEO Jay Schwedler, remains relevant and accurately portrays the strength of Sumter’s economic strategy. The General Assembly was well-intentioned when the Sumter Development Board was created in 1957. As a result, many industries found new homes in Sumter. Time and technology brought new changes, challenges and opportunities. Each time, Sumter answered with a better, more dynamic method of

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delivery that has emerged into the current Economic Development model we have today. And while the culture continues to transform, the breadth of economic development is often misunderstood. Long before a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled, or an announcement is made regarding a new company moving into the region, there are a host of stages and variables that must align to create a climate to attract new business to the area. Economic Development adopts new technologies that lead to the transition from an agriculture-based to industry-based economy and improves community living standards. Still, this definition does not wholly encompass or articulate the

economic development process, nor does it highlight the enormous effort that goes into landing an industrial project. The normal method of development begins with a company hiring what is known as a site consultant to identify the ideal location for business expansion based on a pre-determined list of criteria set by the company. The site consultant will then research specific locations that meet the qualifications and meticulously pursue additional information. Traditional criteria include acreage, infrastructure, proximity to airports, highways and railways. And while these factors are still significant, availability of workforce is the No. 1 factor impacting the final decision.

Our goal is always to stay out front and ahead of other states, regions and municipalities. As areas are eliminated, community visits may be requested for those that still qualify. In addition to the main criteria, Sumter’s quality of life and vibrant downtown improvements help us sell Sumter as the best possible match for the company. For more than 65 years, Sumter Economic Development has been driving growth and seeking ways to make Sumter more appealing globally. Beginning with the Sumter Smarter Growth Initiative in 2006 (Now Sumter EDGE) and then TheLINK Alliance in 2014 – a partnership with Lee County - we’re

proving over and over that those partnerships within the model work best. These initiatives have historically driven economic progress. Sumter EDGE grew out of a desire by local businesses and individuals to boost community progress and connects private investors in areas of economic development that fully support and complement the efforts and funding of local government. Our mission in 2006 remains the same today: To be the galvanizing force for economic development in the community and region. We are succeeding. We are investing in the community and making progress. To date, we have seen the creation of more than 6,000 direct new jobs and

“Everyone wants a win, but a community must first set the stage with a game plan and a winning attitude along with players that are excited to be on the field.” — JAY SCHWEDLER Sumter Economic Development CEO



More than 75 manufacturing and industrial facilities call Sumter County home. Here are the top 10 industrial employers in Sumter.



2 Pilgrim's Pride more than $2 billion in investment over the past 15 years. We continue to embrace the model of partnerships as we work with a plethora of businesses, local government and educational entities to develop world-class talent. There are many elements that differentiate us from other communities—one in particular is the development of homegrown talent to fill the highly skilled, highly-technical requirements of today’s manufacturing demands. A welltrained workforce that stands at the ready is the most critical element and the future of our community. It is essential for recruitment and expansion of industry and for our community at large. We are often asked: “When will we be getting a Target, Publix or an Olive Garden?” The economic development engine is charged with bringing well-paying jobs to the region and increasing per capita income. Once those jobs are in place, and per capita income is on the rise, Sumter has a better shot at drawing larger retail stores and restaurants that are attracted by the demographics that are the result of industry coming to our area. For definitive examples, drive down Broad Street where large franchises have set up shop. Sumter Economic Development’s strategy is to implement marketing on a global scale through a variety of delivery systems; however, we do not heavily publicize recruiting activities to prevent losing the deal. When companies are looking to expand, they are doing it to gain an advantage over their competitors. While it would most often appear to the general public that this type of activity is positive news, if we openly discuss projects or companies we are working with our competitors and their competitors would have leverage and gain advantage over our abilities to succeed. Sumter is well-positioned to succeed in the competition for industries looking to locate here. When prospects come to look at us, they are impressed not only by what Sumter has to offer, but also by the team approach to ensuring their success. With all that companies stand to gain, Sumter makes sense as the best place to do business, and that translates to the “win” that improves quality of life for all of us.








Santee Print Works


Caterpillar Hydraulics





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American Materials Company


CAN-DO ATTITUDE Nova Molecular’s local operations earn expansion over Texas site

The "can-do attitude" of a locally based operation as opposed to a second site in Texas was a key factor in a chemical purification company picking Sumter for its current expansion. A groundbreaking ceremony for Nova Molecular Technologies' 25-job expansion announcement was held last year in Pocotaligo East Industrial Site near U.S. 521, and company President Chris Adams discussed a brief history of his firm with The Sumter Item after the event. A leading producer of high-purity solvents specially through a waste recovery and return program, Nova Molecular previously operated solely out of Bayport, Texas. Adams said in 2014, company founder Mike Clumpner became interested in a Sumter-based chemical company named Emes. Emes, which featured a solvent recovery program in the paint market, had a successful business model and Clumpner decided to purchase the business, according to Adams. That operation became known as Nova Sumter and there was also Nova Bayport. In a few years, Adams said, it became clear that the company's best opportunity long-term was with Nova Sumter. "One, there was a great business model," he said, "but, I think, more importantly the 'can-do attitude' of the people in the Sumter business was really infectious. In Bayport, they would tell you all the reasons things couldn't be done. And here, they would figure it out. It was a very entrepreneurial, scientifically, problem-solving organization." At the end of 2018, Nova sold the Bayport business to another chemical company and focused solely on the Sumter operation. The sale of Bayport helped partially fund the current local expansion, which totals $14.9 million in capital investment, Adams added. Nova Sumter currently has about a 2.5-acre site location. The new operation in Pocotaligo East Industrial Site will be 15 acres. Nova is the first tenant in the 143-acre industrial park, which is basically next door to Continental Tire. Nova Molecular Human Resources Director Jackie Evans said the company has already added some jobs in the expansion and will be looking to add about 20 more, rounding out at about 70 total employees. Nova is currently recruiting distillation operators with workers experienced in wastewater or chemicals, she said. The company is expected to begin making materials at the new site this spring. Nova's expansion announcement was made in October 2020.







ilgrim’s Pride is offering an easier path for its employees to earn a chance for higher education. JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Pride announced in March 2021 the launch of their Better Futures program, which provides free tuition for two-year community and technical college to qualifying applicants and dependents who want to get their associate degrees and trade certificates. Headquartered in Greeley, Colorado, Pilgrim’s Inc. is one of the largest chicken producers in the United States and Puerto Rico. Since many families are also first-generation Americans, the company also vowed to help people navigate the application process. The program is part of the company’s Hometown Strong initiatives, community investment projects by JBS USA and Pilgrim’s that aim to bring stability and opportunities in rural communities. “We will be delighted if some choose to build or continue their careers with us when they graduate,” said Andre Nogueira, chief executive officer of JBS USA. “Yet our larger aim is to unlock rural America’s potential through free college education for our team members and their children.” The Pilgrim’s Sumter production facility – located off U.S. Highway 15 South – is the second-largest industrial employer in Sumter County. The company said this nationwide program will remove a major financial barrier to college attendance and stands to

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become the largest free community college tuition program in rural America. “It gives our team members and their families the opportunity to reap the benefits an education can provide,” Nogueira said. Eligibility for the program requires an employee to have worked with the company for at least six months and remain in good standing during their educational pursuit. College tuition is paid by the company upon enrollment to ensure members will not need to take out student loans. “Earning a college degree has the potential to improve lives in our region and open doors for generations to come,” said Keith Martin, Pilgrim’s Sumter complex manager. JBS said if there is a college nearby, such as Central Carolina Technical College, that offers the program, team members must be a resident of the state where the college is located. if there is not a college nearby, it would provide an online partner college option. For more information, go to

Phase 2

BD enters construction phase of expansion BY BRUCE MILLS

Continuing to grow. That was a theme for everyone who took part in a groundbreaking ceremony at one of Sumter's top industrial employers, BD. In May 2018, the medical device manufacturer of blood tubes and needles for the health care industry announced a $150 million capital investment and 125 new jobs were coming to the Sumter facility at 1575 Airport Road. BD has held to that commitment, already hiring about 80 of those new full-time positions, and now is on Phase 2 of the project, which involves new warehouse construction at the facility. BD has been in Sumter for 51 years, dating back to 1970, and features about 950 current associate jobs, according to Plant Manager Ken Lee. The vast majority of those positions are in technical fields mechanical, electrical and robotics. With 25% to 30% of its workforce being Baby Boomers who will reach retirement age in the next few years, "technical skill sets are the future of BD," Lee said. That is why the manufacturer has developed partnerships in recent years with two nearby middle schools in Sumter School District to encourage STEM coursework and will continue to rely heavily on Central Carolina Technical College for workers, he said. Apprenticeships are also available for district high school seniors to help grow

the workforce pipeline. "We are trying to commit to growing technical talent at home," Lee said. Starting pay in many of those technical positions is $18 to $25 per hour, he added. Phase 2 of the expansion will last close to two years and will increase total facility size by about 25% to 620,000 square feet, according to Lee. Phase 3, likely in 202425, will include new amenities inside the plant, such as a new employee cafeteria and restrooms. "Get used to a construction zone at BD Sumter for the next four years or so," Lee said. Due to COVID-19, attendance at the groundbreaking was limited but did include Sumter Mayor David Merchant, Sumter County Council Chairman James T. McCain Jr. and Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Hardy, among a few others, who were all smiles. Merchant noted BD's history in Sumter and that the manufacturer is an integral part of the community and values the local workforce. "This is manufacturing of very precise, high-end medical devices that they do here," Merchant said. "It's super sterile, super clean and just very important, and they have their systems in place. To have an international company with locations all over to continue to invest here and add employees is great."

McCain and Hardy spoke on the economic boost that BD provides locally. "BD is a staple of our community," Hardy said. "They support our community, and their employees are part of the community. This is big from both a qualityof-life as well as economic development impact." By the end of the project, Lee said he hopes to exceed the investment total and new job totals. "Clearly, if you look around, we are definitely investing for the future," Lee said. "We've been here for 51 years, and there is no doubt about it, we want to be here for another 50 or more. It's a flagship facility for BD, and the people of Sumter should be proud that BD is here in the community and that we continue to provide good-paying jobs that are stable."

DID YOU KNOW? Of BD's 86 facilities across the world, the Sumter facility ranks among the top three sites for facility size, total employee headcount and annual production of cost of goods sold. T HE I TE M.C O M/L I FE I SGO O D |


Training for the future

Central Carolina Technical College offers more than 50 academic programs and degrees ranging from business and public service to education and engineering.


entral Carolina Technical College (CCTC) is a public institution of higher education primarily serving Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee and Sumter counties by providing innovative programs designed to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for all residents. CCTC offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in the areas of business, public service, industrial and engineering technology, health sciences and the arts and sciences through traditional and distance learning instructional methods. In addition to excellence in teaching, the college provides credit and continuing education programs and student support services to prepare students to enter the workforce, earn college credit before high school graduation, 58 |

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transfer to senior colleges and universities and achieve their professional and personal goals. The college offers more than 50 academic programs, multiple transfer programs and a full array of student support services. Central Carolina was named the “Best College/University” and “Best Place to Work” for The Sumter Item’s Best of Sumter 2021 readers’ choice competition. As the regional resource for training and education, the college is committed to abundant learning through excellence, integrity and innovation. Become a Titan today. Visit to find out more.

H e for Li Obstetrics and Gynecology

Primary Care

McLeod Women’s Care Clarendon

Eagerton Family Practice

Robert S. Eagerton, MD | Carmen Roberts, DO 200 East Hospital Street, Manning, SC 29102 (803) 433-0439

McLeod Primary Care Clarendon

Lisa E. Heichberger, MD | Susan Caulkins, FNP Susanne Johnson, FNP 50 East Hospital Street, Suite 4 Manning, SC 29102 (803) 435-8828

Monica Ploetzke, MD | Tom Chappell, CNM Allison Saran, CNM, WHNP 50 East Hospital Street, Suite 4A Manning, SC 29102 (803) 433-0797

Orthopedics McLeod Orthopaedics Associates

Palmetto Adult Medicine Sumter

Harry A. Jordan, Jr., MD | Ansel R. McFaddin, MD Michael O. Ouzts, DO | Andrew J. Reynolds, MD Hugh T. Stoddard, Jr., MD | Katherine S. Coffey, PA-C James R. McMahon, FNP | Emily J. Miller, PA-C 1295 Wilson Hall Road, Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 905-6800

Rodney K. Alan, MD | Chase Godwin, NP Chaz McDonald, NP 540 Physicians Lane, Sumter, SC 29150 (843) 777-7900 50 East Hospital Street, Suite 6 Manning, SC 29102 (803) 433-3065


McLeod Primary Care Turbeville

Abbie Kirby, PA-C | Amanda McConnell, PA-C 1126 Clarence Coker Highway, Turbeville, SC 29162 (843) 659-2114

McLeod Family Medicine Kingstree

Andrew Gulledge, FNP | Raina McKenzie, PA-C 512 Nelson Boulevard, Suite 200 Kingstree, SC 29556 (843) 355-5459

McLeod Surgery Clarendon Devonne D. Barrineau, MD

15 East Hospital Street, Manning, SC 29102 (803) 435-2822 Sumter Clinic: Danielle Saldaña, MD 540 Physicians Lane Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 340-5110



McLeod Cardiology Associates

Ryan C. Garbalosa, DO | Prabal Guha, MD Dennis Lang, DO 540 Physicians Lane, Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 883-5171 Manning Clinic: 21 East Hospital Street, Manning, SC 29102

McLeod Urology Associates Sumter Michelle B. Miller, NP

540 Physicians Lane, Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 340-5100

Vascular McLeod Vascular Associates Gabor A. Winkler, MD

540 Physicians Lane, Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 777-7043

Carolina Forest • Little River • Loris • Sunset Beach • Myrtle Beach |




The pandemic pivot

Morris College reflects on challenges and triumphs post-shutdown

BY DR. CHRISTOPHER HALL When the college reopened its campus in January 2021 after almost a year closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tensions were high. Although carefully laid plans had been made and fine-tuned since August 2020, when the college had initially hoped to welcome students back on campus, the unpredictable nature of the pandemic kept the college’s leadership team on high alert. College president Dr. Leroy Staggers met with his cabinet and other staff members multiple times per week to make sure no stone had been left unturned. “Our students were always at the forefront of our minds as we discussed what measures we should take. Keeping their needs first helped guide all of our decision-making as we prepared for them to come back,” he said. REUNION To prepare for a safe return, to prepare for a safe return, the college worked tirelessly with the state health department, testing services and other

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agencies to ensure that all COVID safety protocols were followed to the letter. These protocols included mandatory mask-wearing, temperature checks and bi-weekly testing. Modifications also had to be made to the campus to accommodate social distancing, complete with posted reminders to stand six feet apart from others and wash hands frequently. All things considered, they were ready. On Jan. 19, 2021, just over 200 students were welcomed back on campus. “It was such a great feeling to have our students back. They are truly the life of the college, and we missed them,” Staggers said. The college also chose to continue offering online courses for students who were not ready to resume inperson classes. This decision alleviated the anxiety of some faculty members who were apprehensive about inperson classes. “Although the majority of our faculty were ready to resume classes face to face, some were still nervous

and their concerns were taken into consideration,” Staggers said. REINVENTION Despite a rocky transition, the college was intentional about making improvements in response to the pandemic. One of its major changes was revamping the technology infrastructure – a must for delivering quality online instruction. Improvements included a Wi-Fi upgrade, the purchase of 100-plus new computers for student use and updating faculty and staff desktops. The college also continued its partnership with the South Carolina Department of Education to provide hotspots for students. Like most colleges and universities across the nation, standard practices such as in-person meetings changed drastically. Staff meetings, office hours with students and even brainstorming sessions were all held virtually, primarily using Zoom and Microsoft Teams. For such a tight-knit campus community, this was challenging. “Most of us at the college have

been working with each other for years and have established great relationships. We were so used to seeing each other and meeting up regularly, but the pandemic changed all of that. After the students returned, we resumed with more meetings in-person, and it was refreshing,” Staggers said. REFLECTION It would be an understatement to say the pandemic caused a global paradigm shift, particularly in higher education. One of the many lessons Morris College learned is the importance of adaptability. The swift shift to online instruction was unexpected for the college, but it was necessary. “When the history books are written, what will separate the good institutions from the great ones is the ability to adapt and adjust accordingly. I think we’ve done a good job of that,” Staggers said. Another lesson the college learned is that of resilience. Since its founding almost 114 years ago, the institution has never faced anything quite like the pandemic. However, Morris College treads on with faith and fortitude, no matter how stony the road. Perhaps among the most important lessons the college learned is about the power of community and teamwork. The college witnessed the strength of its support system as churches, alumni, businesses and community members came together to raise funds and lend helping hands. Donors gave generously. Even more, faculty and staff dug their heels in and worked together throughout the pandemic in ways they hadn’t done before, further cementing their bonds. “It’s been said that teamwork makes the dream work. We’ve definitely seen that in action since last year. Without a team mindset, we might not have been able to experience the success that we saw,” Staggers said. One year later, with vaccines and boosters now readily available, it seems as if a light is finally at the end of the tunnel. Through the omicron variant and whatever else comes our way, the college plans to continue offering in-person classes for the spring and fall 2022 semester with the appropriate protocols in place to keep the campus community safe. No matter what new challenges await Morris College in the coming year, it is certain that they will face it with the ferocity of the Hornet’s Nest.

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Building their


Sumter Career and Technology Center offers STEM-certified programs

BY BRUCE MILLS Success often leads to more success, and that is the trail Sumter School District's high school career and technology center is trying to blaze going forward. Sumter Career and Technology Center administrators and staff shared how the addition of higher-end career programs in recent years has paid dividends in the form of increased enrollment and more partnerships, and now they say they think a national STEM certification will bring more

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opportunities. Leading educational certification group Cognia awarded Sumter Career and Technology Center its national STEM credential in April 2021, and the center is now the fourth school in the district that has STEM certification. The others include Bates Middle School, Alice Drive Middle School and Alice Drive Elementary School. STEM is an educational curriculum focused on the integration of science, technology, engineering and math with the other core subjects. Newer programs of study, to include three specifically related to

21st-century jobs in manufacturing/ mechatronics, aerospace engineering and cyber security, to supplement traditional programs have enrollment at 392 students this year. That's the highest total in Principal Shirrie Miller's eight years at the school and nearly double from her initial years. The career and technology center is changing with the times, and classroom buzzwords include projectbased learning, problem solving, troubleshooting, student ownership of learning, innovation, awareness, empowering and exposure. The center's goal is to have programs that are both beneficial to students and the community. Walter Robertson, the career center's guidance counselor, has experience in business and industry and also served as the school's STEM coordinator for the certification process. He said the STEM certification is a step in the process of providing business and industry managers and leaders what they are looking for. "It shows that we are doing our part to be innovative, to be forward thinkers, to create new opportunities for our students," Robertson said, "because the world around us is changing. The days of vocational training and education is a thing of the past and behind us. As the district's career and technology education center, we must ensure that we stay in line with the careers out there." Those careers are computer-based and require technology-savvy workers,

he said, and it is best for students to understand processes to troubleshoot effectively in the workplace. The cyber security program is in its first year, and Betty Brown is the course instructor. Students learn about various types of security breaches, and she said she thinks the program provides a greater awareness of what is out there for students as far as careers. Brown is working on articulation agreements with Central Carolina Technical College and Morris College, and Miller, the principal, said the center is working on program partnerships with area colleges. In the center's two-year health science program for high school juniors and seniors, students learn the basics of patient care and can earn their Certified Nursing Assistant certification by the time they graduate high school. Morgan Martinez is a Sumter High School senior and has taken the health science courses as a steppingstone into a health care postsecondary education and career. She plans to focus on pre-med in college at the University of Alabama and then attend medical school there to eventually become an OBGYN. "This is an amazing program," Martinez said. "It's given me so much more information than I ever thought it would give me. I would definitely recommend to others really paying attention in that first year, where every single day in class you are just hit with more and more information. But, when you retain all of it and you get in the second year, and you feel like you just know everything."

About Sumter School District

Financial Aid and Scholarships Available

Find Out More at


Sumter School District was formed in 2011 by consolidating two districts within the county. The district serves more than 16,000 students in preschool through 12th grade and employs over 3,000 staff members. It encompasses 682 square miles and includes 15 elementary schools, seven middle schools, three high schools, one alternative learning program, an adult education program and the Sumter Career and Technology Center. For more information, go to www.sumterschoolsnet. Sumter School District is governed by nine elected members of the Board of Trustees. Seven members represent single member districts throughout Sumter, and two are members at-large. The Board of Trustees meet publicly on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6 p.m. unless otherwise announced. Special meetings are scheduled as needed. For information about meetings and coverage afterward, follow The Sumter Item.



KHALIL GRAHAM "In reflection, the excellence in the school wasn't in test scores. I couldn't tell you what our test scores were at Poly Prep. I could tell you, though, people walked through the halls and they felt a standard for 'this is what it means to go to this type of school.' I look back now, and I am like, 'They just expected it.'"

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'Part of the change'

Liberty STEAM Charter executive director wants school to be ‘spark’ for area education



rom high school dropout to promoting excellence as a standard in K-12 education. From poverty and rough neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York, to creating opportunities for students. That is the "unlikely story" of Khalil Graham, in his own words. Graham is executive director of Liberty STEAM Charter School, Sumter County's first-ever tuition-free public charter school, which opened for its inaugural year in fall 2021 to serve kindergarteners and first-graders. With the addition of a new 110-student kindergarten class chosen through a lottery system in this spring, the fall 2022 year will serve 330 students in grades K-2. The school will add one grade per year until it is built out through K-12. Graham’s role is similar to a district superintendent, inspiring and equipping teachers and staff toward excellence in a school and changing the landscape for what kids and their families believe is possible. OPPORTUNITIES PASSING BY Graham's story starts in sixth grade. As "a talented, innercity kid," he said, he received a scholarship to attend a highperforming private school in Brooklyn named Poly Prep Country Day School. Excellence was the standard and the expectation at Poly Prep, he said, and it offered him the opportunity to see what a good school looked like. "In reflection, the excellence in the school wasn't in test scores," Graham said. "I couldn't tell you what our test scores were at Poly Prep. I could tell you, though, people walked through the halls and they felt a standard for 'this is what it means to go to this type of school.' I look back now, and I am like, 'They just expected it.' "And me being there over the course of time, I learned to expect, 'Oh, excellence is something that is achievable when people hold that as a standard and don't let go.' So, I am really glad I had that experience." It was a totally different dynamic from his neighborhood,

where he admits he was "floating by without a purpose" in high school. In October 2002, as a junior, he dropped out. Then his grandmother who raised him kicked him out of the house, he said. Graham would live on the streets of New York and the Q Train, which runs from Coney Island in Brooklyn to mid-town Manhattan and Central Park, for about a month. On the train, he got to see the highs of the city and lows of tougher neighborhoods, he said. He also met homeless, runaway kids and learned their stories. They were smart, but hard circumstances had forced opportunities to pass them by, he said. The experience ignited a fire in Graham to get back in school with the ultimate goal of creating change opportunities for students. His grandmother let him come home, but she told him his life was going to be about developing his own goals and not having things simply given to him. He finished his junior year at the local public high school, George Westinghouse Vocational Technical High School, where Graham was put in a program to learn how to reinstall computer boards in the large computers of the time. That school year, 2002-03, he said, out of a graduating class of 400 students at George Westinghouse, six planned to go to college. "It was eye-opening," Graham said, "because you think since you are from Brooklyn and you maybe grew up closer to those neighborhoods that you would be just like those kids. But, in reality, my mind was a mile away from that type of environment. I really wanted to be in a place that would develop me and help me to see and be more." THE GATEKEEPERS The same group that initially offered him the scholarship to attend the private school stayed in contact with Graham when he dropped out.



The agency helped him get into a boarding school about 2.5 hours from home in Windsor, Connecticut, for his senior year. That year away taught Graham how to become self-sufficient, he said. Next, he received an academic scholarship to attend the University of Richmond and played "watched mostly from the sidelines" - football. He learned how to be part of a team, Graham said. Seeds had already been planted in him to desire a career to help other people, and now he was growing in the world of education, he added. BECOMING INVESTED IN EDUCATION After graduation, he got his first job in education, serving as a tutor and in other roles in Richmond. Graham's next pursuit was his master's in education at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, while continuing to teach. In his first year back in Connecticut, he taught at a charter school. In his second, Graham taught in a public school. With his master's degree in one hand and teaching certification in the other, he began looking into doctorate programs. He earned a scholarship to attend the University of Kentucky. While in its Ed.D. program from 2010-13, had the opportunity to meet and learn from outstanding educators across the state and country, including Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington, D.C., Public Schools when it was going through reform efforts. After earning his doctorate in education leadership and urban education, Graham started pursuing K-12 school leadership jobs. WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF PUBLIC CHARTERS His first position after Kentucky was with the charter network Yes Prep, based in Houston, Texas, as an instructional leader at one of their campuses. The network serves about 20,000 students across Houston. Next, Graham got an opportunity to open a grade 6-12 college prep school as a principal in San Antonio, Texas, in 2014 with IDEA Public Schools, a national charter network that currently serves more than 70,000 kids. He likens that experience to Sumter and Liberty STEAM. "Learning all of the ropes in that process was helpful with what we are doing here," Graham said. "Because so much of it was similar. Like, alright, you don't know what you don't know, so you got to go figure it out. Being there for that the first time was helpful." When that school opened, 65% of its students were twoplus years below grade level. Graham said he was "sad and heartbroken" that kids went to schools like that.

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But, by the end of his tenure, the school's distinction in the state was for having 80% proficiency across the board, he said. "When you see that stuff and you have literally flipped that narrative for the same group of kids, it's really powerful in what it looks like," Graham said. In 2017, he decided he wanted to get closer to home and took the head post of a turnaround charter school in Washington, D.C., with Friendship Charter Schools Network and saw more of the same situation. Then Graham went back to Texas, taking a leadership coaching position for new principals in Dallas with Teaching Trust. In the job, he taught at Southern Methodist University, mentoring 35 new principals each year at public schools and charter schools both big and small. His focus was building up leaders and giving them the support they needed, he said.

"When you see people live it the right way and the sacrifices they make for themselves, for their families, for the betterment of kids in a community, that part really resonated with me. And, I was like, 'If I can have an impact, I wanted that to be my legacy: to be part of the change that a lot of our kids deserve." "I have been extremely blessed along the way to work with some amazing educators and to learn from some fantastic organizations that have really grounded themselves in putting kids first," he said. "Now, that is a phrase that every educator will say. It's part of our motto and creed. But you can tell real quick when you go through people's doors who does it. "When you see people live it the right way and the sacrifices they make for themselves, for their families, for the betterment of kids in a community, that part really resonated with me. And, I was like, 'If I can have an impact, I wanted that to be my legacy: to be part of the change that a lot of our kids deserve." THE PANDEMIC AND A CALL FROM A FRIEND Graham said he enjoyed living in Dallas, but then "the world stopped" in March 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. Next, he received a call from a friend and associate who worked with a group called Building Excellent Schools. She wanted a couple names of people who might be interested in an executive director position with a new charter school opening in South Carolina. Knowing the history of rural education in South Carolina through watching the documentary called "The Corridor of Shame" in graduate school, Graham said he was curious and wanted to know more. The film documents poor student achievement along Interstate 95. "It pulled at my heart," Graham said. "But I wished at that time that I knew how to make an impact. I didn't know when I was in grad school and teaching statistics classes at the University of Kentucky. But, at this point in my career, where I knew so many good leadership practices and I had gotten to do them at different schools, it felt like something I could have an impact on. So, I decided to come and have the conversation."

ON TO SUMTER He said meeting people in Sumter when he arrived for the interview sold him the most. Graham talked to people in stores on Main Street who said they never liked going to school while growing up here. Their kids didn't like school, and their grandkids didn't like school. Then he met Liberty's founding Board of Directors. "I see a board of people who were like, 'We want to find somebody who really wants to make a change,'" Graham recalled. "I told them, 'I can help you get to this level, but here is what it's going to take. You got to invest in these areas.' And nobody ever flinched. Nobody said, 'How much is it going to cost?' Nobody said, 'Why are we doing that?' "They just said, 'Will these give us excellent schools for kids?' and I said, 'Yeah.' "And since then, the commitment has been there, which has been something I have been really, really thankful for." Liberty ran its first year at a renovated campus just south of West Liberty Street with 192 students split evenly between kindergarten and first grade. He said the school is already changing the landscape for what kids and their families believe is possible. Kids are learning at a solid rate, and nobody has left. "When you open a bad school, guess what? The families don't stay," Graham said. "When you look at the data that shows what the kids are learning, I am really excited for when we get to the point where we are able to go and showcase them with the state exams and say, 'Hey, there is nothing wrong with our kids.'”



USC Sumter: High-quality learning close to home Ranked as one of the top community colleges in South Carolina, the University of South Carolina Sumter and its faculty are dedicated to student success. Students come to USC Sumter for many reasons, whether it be to complete some of their general education requirements, earn an associate degree or work toward one of 19 bachelor’s degree programs offered online through Palmetto College. These degrees can lead to some of today’s most in-demand career opportunities in public health, early and elementary education, computer science and more. In 2021, USC Sumter began offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in partnership with USC Aiken. Graduates of this program are prepared for a career in a variety of settings. The nursing curriculum at USC Sumter offers not only the basics in nursing procedures but also hands-on, practical clinical experiences. A BSN program graduate will also earn the necessary background for postgraduate nursing education. The nursing program is approved by the South Carolina State Board of Nursing and is fully accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission. USC Sumter offers many of the same experiences that students have at a large university. In fact, USC Sumter’s athletics program fields a total of nine sports, including baseball, softball, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer and volleyball. The school also boasts the first collegiate Esports team in South Carolina. No matter your path, USC Sumter has flexible and convenient options to help you reach your goals. Campus offices are open Monday through Friday to help you navigate the admissions and registration process. Financial aid and scholarships are available. Visit and apply today. *Ranked #2 by for 2022. 68 |

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Spotlight T h o m a s S l at e r Sumter School District

Teacher of the Year


A chorus and music teacher entering his 36th year in public education said the day was "the icing on the cake" for him. Chestnut Oaks Middle School's Thomas Slater was "shocked" when Sumter School District Superintendent Penelope Martin-Knox and other leaders made a surprise visit to his choir room about 9:20 a.m. on what he thought was a regular weekday in fall 2021. Instead, they announced he would be the District Teacher of the Year for the upcoming school year.

After about 10 minutes of hugs, pictures, compliments back and forth with district and school staff - and a few tears - Slater said his passion continues for the kids after all these years. Slater offered a look into the life of a middle schooler and the potentially under-the-radar impact a music teacher can have on a child's education at that age. It's an age when youth are coming into their own. Having an inviting fine arts program can make a big difference. "I have found that some of my students that have

come to me may not be the best in the core subjects, but before they leave they discover they can do well," Slater said. "As they meet my demands, they start doing well in their core subjects, too. "So, music is something that they cling to because they do it well and - they really don't know this - but it does spill over with other disciplines because what we do is build discipline and responsibility. Those things are necessary for real life and for their other courses." One night after summer band camp while in high school, Slater, who comes from a family of educators, had an epiphany. "You know what, I can do this band stuff for the rest of my life. I love doing this," he said of his realization, "and that kind of gravitated me to it." A trained musician since his early teens, he is a 1980 graduate of the former Mt. Pleasant High School in Lee County. After college,

Slater went back home to teach band and chorus in Lee County's public schools, mostly serving at Mt. Pleasant and then Lee Central High School when the two high schools in the county consolidated into one. In 2018, he said it was time for a change and moved to Sumter School District and Chestnut Oaks Middle to fill an open choir teacher position. Looking back, Slater said, he is glad he did that. Middle school music is not as hectic personally as high school, he said, given all the events that go along with teaching at the high school level. Slater said it has allowed him more time to focus on his teaching. "Even though I have 35 years of experience," he said, "I think I have done some of my best teaching here at Chestnut Oaks because I have had time to do things that I never had time to do when I was a high school director."






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Do I still have to wear a mask? What about kids? BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The government's new guidance on masks for vaccinated people has left some Americans confused and sent businesses and states scrambling to adjust their rules. Target and CVS on Monday became the latest retailers to say vaccinated shoppers and workers don't have to wear masks in stores. New York said it will adopt the new mask advice this week, while California said it

will wait a month. About 123 million Americans — 37% of the population — are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, and more than 157 million, or 47%, have received at least one dose.

WHAT'S THE NEW ADVICE? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week said people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors and can stop social distancing in

most places. Fully vaccinated means two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot. "If you are vaccinated, we are saying you are safe, you can take off your mask, and you are not at risk of severe disease or hospitalization from COVID-19," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, said on "Fox News Sunday."


The Grind: Swampcats’ Griffith balances internet fame with life on the gridiron B1





FROM STAFF REPORTS South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster’s executive order on May 11 allows parents to opt their children out of wearing masks in public schools because of widespread coronavirus vaccine access for adults in South Carolina. Parents of children in public school must fill out a form to opt their children out. The form developed by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control is available for Sumter School District students at It can also be downloaded from DHEC’s website at A separate form must be filled out for each child. The governor’s order also limits local governments from issuing mask ordinances based on his prior emergency declarations related to the COVID19 pandemic. Those governments will have to find justification for such mask rules within their own ordinances.


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EXPERIENCED HVAC INSTALLER/TECHNICIAN WANTED Pay Based on Experience Must have your own reliable transportation Location: Sumter, SC Job Requirements: 2+ years' experience installing new HVAC systems, preventative and general maintenance servicing systems, installing duct work, extensive troubleshooting, and HVAC knowledge. Please call (803)968-4718 if interested.

Help Wanted Live in care giver needed for elderly woman. For more info please contact 267-442-8603 or 267-608-7952 Tru by Hilton person at Spring Hill Suites 2645 Broad St. Seeking front desk clerk, house keeping and maintenance engineer.

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LEGAL NOTICES FOR: Replacement of outside security lights and fuel pump lights Santee Wateree Regional Transportation Authority (SWRTA) is soliciting proposals from certified light installers to replace outside lighting at the maintenance facility and fueling station located at 21 Holmes Gardner Road, Sumter, SC 29153 to LED lighting upgrade / retrofits. More detailed information and specifications are found in the solicitation which can be obtained by contacting, Patricia Drakeford, Compliance officer at 803-934-0396 ext. 103, or via email at or via website at All Disadvantaged Business Enterprises are encouraged to submit proposals



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AP source says Biden, officials encouraging PM Netanyahu to stop country’s Gaza attacks

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and administration officials have encouraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials to wind down the bombardment of Gaza, a person with knowledge of the discussions said Tuesday, as the BIDEN Israeli and Palestinian death tolls mounted and pressure grew on Biden to move more forcefully to stop the fighting. Top Biden adminNETANYAHU istration officials underscored to the Israelis on Monday and Tuesday that time is not on their side in terms of international objections to nine days of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rockets and that it is in their interest to wind down the operations soon, according to the official, who was not authorized to comment publicly on the private talks and spoke on condition

Senior Living Apartments for those 62+ (Rent based on income) Shiloh-Randolph Manor 125 W. Bartlette. 775-0575 Studio/1 Bedroom apartments available EHO


R.E. Davis College Preparatory Academy school nurse Marlee Wells, left, and math interventionist Tammy Bilton take a short break during lunch in the school’s employee wellness room.

Huntington Place Apartments Rents from $625 per month 1 Month free* *13 Month lease required Leasing office located at Ashton Mill Apartment Homes 595 Ashton Mill Drive 803-773-3600 Office Hours: Mon-Fri 9-5

R.E. Davis kindergarten teacher Lacey Thompson reads a book in the wellness room recently.

Artwork of scenic areas in the eastern portion of Sumter County was placed in the room last week.

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R.E. Davis College Prep Academy adds an employee wellness room BY BRUCE MILLS The focus on the social and emotional well-being of students has been expanded in K-12 education during the pandemic, but what about addressing those similar needs in teachers and staff ? R.E. Davis College Preparatory Academy’s leadership team has taken a step in that direction recently with

the creation of an employee wellness room, and many of the school’s 65 or so staff are now feeling the good vibes with the addition. Zach Lowe, the school’s curriculum coach, was one of the facilitators of the idea after he did a summer internship with cable TV network C-SPAN a couple years ago. Lowe said he was blown away by the network’s employee lounge — which was a great space for employees to relax — and he’s

will be taking applications for our waiting list, you must be 62 and older and meet our income eligibility requirements.

learned the concept is somewhat common in the corporate world. A schoolteachers’ lounge doesn’t provide quite the same ambiance, he added, with its hard furniture and vending machines, and they are often considered “working lounges.” Most understand that classroom teachers have faced the tall challenge of simultaneously teaching virtually

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Questions concerning this Proposal will be accepted in writing via mail or email to the office through January 19, 2018 at 4:00pm. Deadline for proposals is 2/01/2018 at 2:00pm.

Summons & Notice SUMMONS AND NOTICES (Non-Jury) IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS C/A NO.: 2017-CP-43-01794 FORECLOSURE OF REAL ESTATE MORTGAGE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA COUNTY OF SUMTER Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, Plaintiff, v. Any heirs-at-law or devisees of Robert A. England a/k/a Robert England, deceased, their heirs, Personal Representatives, Administrators, Successors and Assigns, and all other persons or entities entitled to claim through them; all unknown persons or entities with any right, title, estate, interest in or lien upon the real estate described in the complaint herein; also any persons who may be in the military service of the United States of America, being a class designated as Richard Roe; and any unknown minors, incompetent or imprisoned person, or persons under a disability being a class designated as John Doe; Sonja G. England a/k/a Sonja England; Brittany England, Defendant(s). TO THE DEFENDANT(S) ABOVE NAMED: YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED and required to appear and defend by answering the Complaint in this action, a copy of which is hereby served upon you, and to serve a copy of your Answer on the subscribers at their offices at 3800 Fernandina Road, Suite 110, Columbia, SC 29210, within thirty (30) days after the service hereof, exclusive of the day of such service; except that the United States of America, if named, shall have sixty (60) days to answer after the service hereof, exclusive of the day of such service; and if you fail to do so, judgment by default will be rendered against you for the

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Summons & Notice relief demanded in the Complaint. TO MINOR(S) OVER FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE, AND/OR TO MINOR(S) UNDER FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE AND THE PERSON WITH WHOM THE MINOR(S) RESIDES, AND/OR TO PERSONS UNDER SOME LEGAL DISABILITY: YOU ARE FURTHER SUMMONED AND NOTIFIED to apply for the appointment of a guardian ad litem within thirty (30) days after the service of this Summons and Notice upon you. If you fail to do so, application for such appointment will be made by Attorney for Plaintiff. YOU WILL ALSO TAKE NOTICE that Plaintiff will move for an Order of Reference or the Court may issue a general Order of Reference of this action to a Master-in-Equity/Special Referee, pursuant to Rule 53 of the South Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. YOU WILL ALSO TAKE NOTICE that under the provisions of S.C. Code Ann. § 29-3-100, effective June 16, 1993, any collateral assignment of rents contained in the referenced Mortgage is perfected and Attorney for Plaintiff hereby gives notice that all rents shall be payable directly to it by delivery to its undersigned attorneys from the date of default. In the alternative, Plaintiff will move before a judge of this Circuit on the 10th day after service hereof, or as soon thereafter as counsel may be heard, for an Order enforcing the assignment of rents, if any, and compelling payment of all rents covered by such assignment directly to the Plaintiff, which motion is to be based upon the original Note and Mortgage herein and the Complaint attached hereto.

LIS PENDENS NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT an action has been or will be commenced in this Court upon complaint of the above-named Plaintiff against the above-named Defendant(s) for the foreclosure of a certain mortgage of real estate given by Robert A. England and Sonja G. England to Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc., as nominee for Amerigroup Mortgage Corporation dated March 21, 2002 and recorded on April 5, 2002 in Book 837 at Page 1842, in the Sumter County Registry (hereinafter, "Mortgage"). Thereafter, the Mortgage was transferred to the Plaintiff herein by assignment and/or corporate merger. The premises covered and affected by the said Mortgage and by the foreclosure thereof were, at the time of the making thereof and at the time of the filing of this notice, more particularly described in the said Mortgage and are more commonly described as: THE LAND REFERRED TO IN THIS POLICY IS SITUATED IN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, COUNTY OF SUMTER, AND DESCRIBED AS FOLLOWS: ALL THAT CERTAIN PIECE, PARCEL, OR LOT OF LAND, TOGETHER WITH THE IMPROVEMENTS THEREON, IF ANY, SITUATE, LYING AND BEING IN THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SUMTER, STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, BEING SHOWN AND DESIGNATED AS LOT # 14, AS SHOWN ON THAT CERTAIN PLAT PREPARED BY JOSEPH R. EDWARDS, RLS, DATED MARCH 14, 1986, AND RECORDED IN THE OFFICE OF THE REGISTER OF DEEDS FOR SUMTER COUNTY IN

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Summons & Notice

Summons & Notice


787-9678, be and hereby is appointed Attorney for any unknown Defendants who are, or may be, in the Military Service of the United States of America and as such are entitled to the benefits of the Servicemember's Civil Relief Act aka Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act of 1940, and any amendments thereto, to represent and protect the interest of said Defendants,

This being the same property conveyed to Robert A. England by deed of the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development of Washington, D.C. dated November 12, 1984 and reocrded November 12, 1984 in book 385 at page 443 in the records for Sumter County, South Carolina. Thereafter, Robert A. England conveyed his interest to Robert A. England and Sonja G. England, as joint tenants, with right of survivorship, and not as tenants in common, be deed dated October 27, 1998 and recorded November 2, 1998 in book 722 at page 149 in the records for Sumter County, South Carolina.

Estate Notice Sumter County



Persons having claim against the following estates are required to deliver or mail their claims to the indicated Personal Representatives, appointed to administer these estates, and to file their claims on Form #371PC with the Probate Court of Sumter County Courthouse, N. Main Street, Sumter, SC, 29150, on or before the date that is eight months after the date of the first publication of this Notice to Creditors, (unless previously barred by operation of Section 62-3-803), or such persons shall be forever barred as to heir claims. All claims are required to be presented in written statements, indicating the name and the address of the claimant, the basis of the claim, the amount claimed, the date when the claim will become due, the nature of any uncertainty as to the amount claimed and the date when due, and a description of any security as to the claim.

TO THE DEFENDANTS ABOVE NAMED: YOU WILL PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the original Complaint, Cover Sheet for Civil Actions and Certificate of Exemption from ADR in the above entitled action was filed in the Office of the Clerk of Court for Sumter County on October 3, 2017. A Notice of Foreclosure Intervention was also filed in the Clerk of Court's Office.

ORDER APPOINTING GUARDIAN AD LITEM AND APPOINTMENT OF ATTORNEY It appearing to the satisfaction of the Court, upon reading the filed Petition for Appointment of Kelley Woody, Esquire as Guardian ad Litem for unknown minors, and persons who may be under a disability, and it appearing that Kelley Woody, Esquire has consented to said appointment.

Estate:/Rollie K. Jackson #2017ES4300722

Personal Representative Ellen B. Jackson 4760 Olivia Lane Pinewood, SC 29125

Estate:/Waddell Williams #2017ES4300725

FURTHER upon reading the filed Petition for Appointment of Kelley Woody, Esquire as Attorney for any unknown Defendants who may be in the Military Service of the United States of America, and may be, as such, entitled to the benefits of the Servicemember's Civil Relief Act, and any amendments thereto, and it appearing that Kelley Woody, Esquire has consented to act for and represent said Defendants, it is

Personal Representative Colette W. Terrell 1057 Crown Landing Pkwy McDonongh, GA 30252

Estate:/David L. Lee, Jr. #2017ES4300720

Personal Representative James T. Lee C/O A. Paul Weissenstein, Jr. Attorney at Law PO Box 2446 Sumter, SC 29151

ORDERED that Kelley Woody, Esquire, P.O. Box 6432, Columbia, SC 29260 phone (803) 787-9678, be and hereby is appointed Guardian ad Litem on behalf of all unknown minors and all unknown persons who may be under a disability, all of whom may have or claim to have some interest or claim to the real property commonly known as 609 N Magnolia Street, Sumter, South Carolina 29150; that she is empowered and directed to appear on behalf of and represent said Defendants, unless said Defendants, or someone on their behalf, shall within thirty (30) days after service of a copy hereof as directed, procure the appointment of Guardian or Guardians ad Litem for said Defendants.

Estate:/Vinia Gamble Williams #2017ES4300726

Personal Representative Colette Terrell 1057 Crown Landing Pkwy McDonongh, GA 30252

Estate:/Raymond Eldrid McIntosh #2017ES4300721

AND IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Kelley Woody, Esquire, P.O. Box 6432, Columbia, SC 29260 phone (803)



Brock & Scott, PLLC 3800 Fernandina Road, Suite 110 Columbia, SC 29210 Phone 844-856-6646 Fax 803-454-3451 Attorneys for Plaintiff

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AND IT IS FURTHER ORDERED That a copy of this Order shall be forth with served upon said Defendants by publication in The Item, a newspaper of general circulation published in the County of Sumter, State of South Carolina, once a week for three (3) consecutive weeks, together with the Summons and Notice of Filing of Complaint in the above entitled action.

Property Address: 609 N Magnolia Street, Sumter, SC 29150

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Spotlight Charlie Allen Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year BY BRUCE MILLS He works and leads in the service industry and can be described in many ways as "a man of service," and for that, Charlie Allen was recognized with the area Chamber's highest honor. Allen, CEO of Black River Electric Cooperative, was presented with the 2021 Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's Philip L. Edwards Business Person of the Year award during the organization's annual gala at La Piazza downtown. BREC's service and mission is to provide its customers (or members) access to low-cost and reliable electricity in rural portions of the greater Sumter region to include Sumter, Clarendon, Lee and Kershaw counties. He said people generally take electricity for granted; however, it has only been around in its current capacity for all residences for about 80 years, and it's critical. "Yet, when electricity goes out, people suffer and people die," Allen said. "So, I feel like it's an important service that helps communities." That motivates him and his employees to work hard at what they do, he said. Attached to Allen's resume is also a long list of community-service work, such as serving on boards for The Salvation Army in Sumter and the University of South Carolina Sumter. He's also a member of the Sumter Rotary Club, among numerous other civic-related activities. When it comes to his biggest role model and inspiration in life, Allen said honestly it is Jesus Christ, the foundation of the Christian faith.

"The real motivation for me is the motivation that I get from Jesus Christ and my salvation," he said, "and wanting to help others and do things that make a difference." He added that his family is a big motivation for him, given their support, and the electric cooperative model is also a motivator. That structure is based on people working together to an end, he said, and BREC is a nonprofit, meaning it only gets paid for the service and all

residential and commercial, in the four counties. On the industrial side, BREC also works to encourage development to help the communities. As it's structured, the cooperative is allowed to redirect some tax money to fund local economic development projects, such as infrastructure needs to include water, sewer, gas and roads. In recent years, BREC helped the City of Sumter, Sumter County and Sumter Development Board to fund

profits go back to its members. "It doesn't do me any good to earn a bunch of money because I give it right back," Allen said. "So, that really helps us to focus on what it means to help the community and work together with the community and help my fellow man in what he needs in order to prosper and survive." BREC has 30,000 customers, mostly

the construction of the speculative building in Black River Industrial Park. BREC provides electricity to the park. That building will be the future home of King Machine, which is expanding and creating 30 new jobs, and is a supplier to Continental Tire the Americas, Sumter's largest privatesector employer.



sweet Ahistory BY KAREEM WILSON

Sumter is home to one of the most famous heirloom watermelons, a story that has been rediscovered

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The Bradford watermelon - known for its "sweet taste and delicate texture" - was a coveted melon in the late 1800s in the South. "We always knew this was a special watermelon in our family," said Nat Bradford, owner of Bradford Family Farm on Dubose Siding Road in the northern part of Sumter County. Bradford has traveled throughout the state talking about his family's sweet lost-and-found heirloom from Sumter whose history began during the American Revolution and involves a prisoner of the war named John Franklin Lawson. About the 1850s, Nathaniel Napoleon Bradford developed a unique combination that crossed his seeds with Lawson's, and the Bradford watermelon lasted until the 1920s. It used to be "the most luscious watermelon in the Deep South," according to an NPR article (Bradford and his family's story has also been featured in Southern Living, Garden and Gun and newspapers and magazines throughout South Carolina), and it was so coveted that growers in the 1800s used to guard their fields with armed men and dangerous "electrocuting wires." The melon fell out of commercial circulation, however, when new breeds of watermelon were developed that sacrificed flavor for harder, thicker skins and tougher rinds that shipped better. Nat Bradford's botanical interest started when he was around 5 years old. He remembers his captivation from a young age of agriculture, seed cultivation, flower gardening and, most importantly, growing watermelons, and he attributes this to his grandfather. While the commercial Bradford watermelon disappeared, his family never stopped growing them. "I was one of the last grandchildren coming up. I was a kid when he was in his retirement years, and I got to spend a lot of time with him," he said. "I learned how to grow watermelons for him." He said the fruit was recorded in a book called "50 Years Along the Roadside" by J.M. Eleazer, who was a Clemson Extension agent and close friends with Bradford's great-grandfather in Sumter County. "It became kind of like a family keepsake," he said. "This is our watermelon recorded in this book." Then came David Shields, a professor at the University of South Carolina and author of "Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine," who spent a decade researching Southern foods lost throughout history and worked on restoring and cultivating them in modern times. Shields began his hunt for a surviving Bradford melon about 2005. Upon meeting Bradford in 2012 and examining the watermelon he was growing, he identified it as the Bradford watermelon. He urged Bradford to preserve the heirloom watermelon that fell out of larger

Sumter/Downtown (803) 774-8100

cultivation and went undetectable for a century. Bradford said he didn't know he was preserving the watermelon undetected in his own fields and thanked Shields for his insight that brought back a piece of his family's history to light. In 2013, on a cold, wet summer, Bradford planted his heirloom seeds for the first time with the intention to revive them commercially. "We barely got out of 80 degrees, which is unheard of for our region," he said. On that cloudy and rainy day, Bradford was nervous as he didn't know if he was going to get a watermelon crop during the unprecedented weather. Lucky for him, their crop survived. Bradford said it was a miracle and felt their crops pull through because of the resilience and process of reselecting that crop every year. Now, eight generations in, Bradford and his family work to preserve this delectable heritage. Even if the melon isn't perfect, he said, they still have plenty of visitors who want a taste of the melon. They do, however, have to deal with some of the same limitatons as their predecessors that caused them to lose popularity. "Our watermelon is still not a shipper," he said. "How do people enjoy it? Are we ever going to get where we can ship it? I don't personally want to repeat that part of food history." Now, Bradford wants to keep the family legacy alive for future generations. "If I can advance it to the next generation, that's fantastic," he said. "I'm going to move the ball down the field for my generation to pass it on. Hopefully, they'll continue moving it and preserving the flavor and the nuances that makes it great." The trademark watermelons are expected to be ready by mid-August, and they go quick now that people know about them again. In spite of their shipping limitations, people physically flock to the farm to get them, some even from other states. The farm pre-sells the melons, or you can grow your own from seeds on their website at He is proud to champion the legacy of his family and hopes their trademark sweet fruit doesn't disappear anytime soon.

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Sumter Farmers Market

Sumter farmers Markets In Sumter, we love to support our local businesses, and one of the best places to shop local is at a farmers market. There are four markets open at various times in Sumter throughout the year, so you can explore them all to find your favorite produce farm, crafter or ready-to-eat food vendor.


200 Miller Road Founded in 2017, the Sumter Farmers Market offers local farmers, artisans, bakers, food trucks and other vendors without a storefront a venue to sell their products directly to the consumer. Produce farmers grow at least 75-80% of what they sell, and livestock farmers humanely raise their animals on pasture with no antibiotics or added growth hormones. The market is governed by its own board and held weekly on Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. from April 1 through Nov. 18. Follow them on Facebook for vendor updates at

American Legion Farmers Market

2 S. Artillery Drive Open on Fridays from noon to 5 p.m., this market offers fresh produce, locally raised meat products, crafts and gift items and read-to-eat food. The best part? It’s inside a building on the American Legion and county fairgrounds, so they can stay open year-round. Follow them on Facebook for vendor updates at facebook. com/Americanlegionfarmersmarket or learn more at

South Sumter Farmers Market

312 Manning Ave. This market offers fresh produce and other craft and community items seasonally in an area of Sumter that does not have nearby access to fresh produce. There’s usually someone cooking hot meals at the market. SFMNP senior and WIC vouchers are accepted. The market is open June-October on Fridays between 2 and 6 p.m.

Downtown Sumter Farmers Market

Corner of Main and Liberty streets Open May through September on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., this small market offers local made produce and food.

Go straight to the source

Along with Sumter Farmers Market, there are local farms open to the public that sell different produce and products. About 40 miles outside of downtown Sumter sits a big, bright red barn nestled along a tree-lined, lush green pasture. Richard Harrington Farms, located at 380 Myrtle Beach Hwy., is a small rural farm, home to Willie the rooster, Badonkadonk the donkey, chickens and a herd of Nigerian Dwarfs goats. Every animal is cared for on the farm, and fresh eggs, bales of hay and goats are sold. Its hours of operations are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. On the outskirts of Sumter, Dorr Farms offers produce fit for each season. In the spring, strawberries are ripe and bright, blueberries and blackberries shine in the summer, and pumpkins are perfect for picking in the fall. The farm hosts fun days that include picking what is in season, games, hay-less hayrides, a petting zoo and learning about honeybees. Dorr Farms is located at 5225 Dorr Acres Road, Gable, SC, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Make your Christmas memories merrier with Coleman Family Farms. Starting in October, bring a piece of the farm home with one of their Leyland Cypress or Carolina Sapphire Christmas trees for $50 or a precut Fraser Fir Christmas trees for $60. Custom ornaments, fresh eggs, homemade cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookie dough can be preordered through the farm’s Facebook page. If you can’t get enough of the baked goods, the rows of Christmas trees serve as a beautiful backdrop are sure to make holiday pictures festive and bright. Coleman Family Farms is open from 11 a.m.m-5:30 p.m., located at 2165 Lloyd Drive. 74 |

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The world may be at our fingertips, but the internet can be daunting if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Whether you’re new to the Sumter area or wanting to refresh your memory of what’s available all around us, here’s a short list of some helpful websites to help you stay in the know.

Websites to know The Sumter Item: The Sumter Item’s COVID-19 coverage: The Sumter Item Digital Archives:

Shaw Air Force Base: Sumter Police Department: dex.php Sumter County Sheriff’s Office:

Sumter School District:

Gov. Henry McMaster’s Office:

City of Sumter:

Find a COVID-19 vaccine location:

Sumter County:

Find a COVID-19 testing site near you: covid-19-testing-locations CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker: ta-tracker/#trends_dailytrend scases

Sign up for The Sumter Item’s free daily email newsletter to receive headlines and story bites, advertising promotions and other community information:

Social media sites to follow

The Sumter Item’s Facebook: @theitem

The Sumter Item’s Instagram: @sumteritem The Sumter Item Sports’ Facebook/Instagram/Twitter: @theitemsports

The Chamber of Commerce’s Shop Sumter Facebook group: groups/585976795338109/ Sumter School District’s Facebook: @SumterSCSchools


Top 10 Things to Discover in Sumter: community/top10

Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce: www.sumterchamber. com/ Sumter Economic Development:



Sumter Police Department’s Facebook: @sumterscpolice Sumter County Sheriff’s Office’s Facebook: @SumterCountySheriff City of Sumter’s Facebook: @SumterSC Sumter County’s Facebook: @SumterCountySC Gov. McMaster’s Twitter: @scgovernorpress



2021 – A first for Sunday beer sales in Sumter stores General election referendum passed and helped ‘shop local’ theme, officials say BY BRUCE MILLS


Number of Sumter County retailers that obtained the seven-day beer and wine license in 2021. Source: S.C. Department of Revenue

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Last year was the first time that adults could buy beer and wine from stores in Sumter on Sundays, and area officials see the change as a benefit both to customers and retail businesses. Area grocery store and liquor store owner Ricky McLeod said Sumter retailers previously lost out on Sunday alcohol sales to neighboring counties that allowed seven-day licenses to grocery stores, gas stations and convenience stores. With the November 2020 general election, that changed. Sumter voters, by a two-thirds majority, supported allowing alcohol sales seven days a week. By the end of 2021, 108 Sumter County businesses had applied and been approved by the state Department of Revenue for what is officially called a seven-day, off-premise, beer and wine license. The license allows the holder to sell beer and wine for off-premise consumption only. The retail permit in Sumter was previously for six days, excluding Sundays. For several years now, Sumter has allowed restaurants and bars to sell beer, wine and liquor for on-site consumption on Sundays. State law still prevents liquor sales in stores on the first day of the week. With the change, retailers have gained by being able to sell the beer and wine they already stock on an extra day of the week, and more tax dollars are spent in the Sumter community as opposed to outside it. McLeod, who owns three Piggly Wiggly grocery stores in Sumter and a total of eight in the region, said he assumes many grocery stores obtained the permit last year. McLeod added he thinks there is a convenience benefit to the customer and also a general benefit to some extent to the community with less drunken driving on Saturday nights. Before the change, he said, every Saturday night between 11:15 and midnight his stores and others would be filled with people loading up on beer for Sunday when they were already drunk. “People were already drinking on Saturdays and would say, ‘Oh, heck, we got to go buy beer for tomorrow,’ and they are out there driving drunk,” McLeod said. “They don’t have to do that now. That’s the positive that I got out of the whole thing.” Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Chris Hardy said it would be the middle of this year before any economic impacts in the form of added sales taxes could be derived from the state Department of Revenue. Hardy added he expects the local retail business count for Sunday alcohol sales permits will increase each year.

Industrial Infrastructure Race Track Road property was purchased and the road was paved as Nova Molecular helps grow our tax base and create highpaying jobs in Sumter, S.C. Your Penny hard at work.

Public Safety

The Capital Projects Sales Tax Referendum 1 and 2 supports our community with new headquarters for Sumter Fire and Police departments and new E-911 Communications Facility. To learn more about the Penny for Progress, visit


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Farm Credit has been the lender of choice for rural South Carolina for over a century. Give Baker Myers a call today to see how he can help with a loan to purchase or refinance rural property.


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Your local healthcare experts


Personalized Care Access Specialists At Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital, we’re dedicated to supporting your healthcare needs. We’re making healthcare exceptional for everyone across the Sumter area and surrounding communities. Our hospital specializes in cancer care, cardiology, OB/GYN, surgery, orthopedics, pediatrics and wound care. Plus, our surrounding campus houses many practices and specialty programs. We’re doing even more to help you be your healthiest you.

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Articles inside

Downtown dining guide ................................................................ 12 A guide to Sumter's arts scene article cover image
Downtown dining guide ................................................................ 12 A guide to Sumter's arts scene
pages 14-17
Sumter Opera House ..................................................................... 17 Public art on display downtown article cover image
Sumter Opera House ..................................................................... 17 Public art on display downtown
pages 18-19
Cleaning up Sumter together article cover image
Cleaning up Sumter together
pages 20-21
Sumter sales tax referendum article cover image
Sumter sales tax referendum
pages 22-24
Elected offi cials article cover image
Elected offi cials
page 25
Team revitalization article cover image
Team revitalization
pages 26-27
Tandem Health article cover image
Tandem Health
pages 28-31
Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital..................................................... 30 McLeod Health Clarendon article cover image
Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital..................................................... 30 McLeod Health Clarendon
pages 32-33
High school athletes making it big ................................................ 36 Public parks in Sumter County ...................................................... 39 Golf courses close to home article cover image
High school athletes making it big ................................................ 36 Public parks in Sumter County ...................................................... 39 Golf courses close to home
pages 40-41
Economic development: The basics .............................................. 52 Nova Molecular article cover image
Economic development: The basics .............................................. 52 Nova Molecular
pages 55-56
Pilgrim's Pride ................................................................................ 56 BD expansion into construction phase article cover image
Pilgrim's Pride ................................................................................ 56 BD expansion into construction phase
pages 57-61
Central Carolina Technical College ............................................... 58 Morris College ............................................................................... 60 Sumter School District article cover image
Central Carolina Technical College ............................................... 58 Morris College ............................................................................... 60 Sumter School District
pages 62-63
Liberty STEAM Charter School's Khalil Graham article cover image
Liberty STEAM Charter School's Khalil Graham
pages 64-67
USC Sumter article cover image
USC Sumter
page 68
The sweet history of Bradford watermelons ..................................... 72 Local farmers markets and farms welcome visitors article cover image
The sweet history of Bradford watermelons ..................................... 72 Local farmers markets and farms welcome visitors
page 74
Sunday beer and wine sale referendum article cover image
Sunday beer and wine sale referendum
pages 76-78