Life is Good In Sumter 2024

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LIVE WELL What drives Sumter

How to get outside, things to do, where to eat, health care, arts & entertainment and more

82 years of Shaw Air Force Base Chamber Business Person of the Year Sumter’s industrial growth eSTEAM Sumter Festival Liberty STEAM Charter School

Love pickleball?

South Sumter Park revitalization includes new courts


SUM S C TER Whether you’re a local, just moved here, or are just here for the weekend, we’ll help you discover the best things to do around Sumter! Find out what amenities the City of Sumter has available - from food, recreation, & shopping to relocation resources, we’ve got you covered.

Stop in and visit or call:

Sumter Visitors Center 822 West Liberty St. (803) 436-2640

Welcome from

The Sumter Item O @theitem @sumteritem

n behalf of the staff at The Sumter Item and all of our community partners featured in this magazine, I’d like to officially welcome you to the 2024 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, change is happening. It's happening not only through new buildings, businesses and incoming residents, but also through a sense of community, unity and belonging as we work on building something together. In 2024, 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 130 years, The Sumter Item is here to help build that community, hold the powerful accountable and promote economic development. Local news does that, and we believe it’s important. We’re a strong, independent local news voice and builder for all of Sumter. 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 At the very least, please sign up for our free email newsletter at newsletter. We tell the stories of your community. We vow to listen and to be a microphone for your collective lives. Inside these pages, you’ll see many of the people who and places and businesses that make our community great. We’re here for you, Sumter, and we hope you enjoy this magazine.

@theitem @sumteritem

Publisher, The Sumter Item TH E SUMTE R I TE M | 3

YOUR GUIDE TO Dining downtown........................................................................... 6 Public art......................................................................................... 14 Pet-friendly places.......................................................................... 32 Shooting ranges............................................................................. 34 Elected officials28.......................................................................... 40 Schools and colleges...................................................................... 46

What's Inside

FOOD & DRINK El Paso Tacos & Tequilla is downtown’s newest restaurant............. 8 Farmers markets offer fresh ingredients, chance to support local.................................................................. 10

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT Sumter Opera House to undergo renovations............................... 12

HEALTH & WELLNESS Tandem Health............................................................................... 18 McLeod Health............................................................................... 20 Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital..................................................... 22 Sumter Family YMCA..................................................................... 24





Parks and recreation........................................................................ 25 Disc golf............................................................................................. 27 Golf courses ................................................................................... 28 South Sumter Park revitalization plans include pickleball court................................................................ 33



Shaw Air Force Base....................................................................... 36 U.S. Army Central........................................................................... 38

BUSINESS & INDUSTRY Great Sumter Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year............................................................ 41 Sumter Economic Development’s eSTEAM Sumter Festival.......... 42 German manufacturer VAC bringing Sumter’s largest industrial investment........................................................... 44


University of South Carolina – Sumter............................................ 47 Central Carolina Technical College................................................... 48 Morris College................................................................................ 50 Sumter School District.................................................................... 52 Liberty STEAM Charter School....................................................... 54


PUBLISHER Vince Johnson

Sumterites stroll along the Shot Pouch Greenway, a 3.4-mile pedestrian greenway that offers a public greenspace for walking, biking and gathering in the great outdoors. The Greenway, which connects Swan Lake Iris Gardens in the City of Sumter to Dillon Park in Sumter County, was made possible by a Penny for Progress grant, a voterapproved 1% Capital Sales Tax.

EDITOR Kayla Green

Photo by Micah Green 4 | 2 024 L I FE I S G O O D I N S UM TER

COPY EDITING Rhonda Barrick Melanie Smith


WRITING Bryn Eddy Kayla Green Alethia Hummel Alaysha Maple Ashley Miller Bruce Mills Christy Richardson Carrie Anna Strange


PHOTOGRAPHY Adam Flash Micah Green Sumter Item archives MAGAZINE DESIGN Janel Strieter AD DESIGN Cary Howard Janel Strieter AD SALES Karen Cave Devin McDonald Mark Pekuri

36 W. Liberty St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 774-1258

Welcome from the

Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce I

@SumterSCChamber @SumterSCChamber

t is with great pleasure that we extend our warmest welcome to you whether you are visiting, looking to relocate or are a longtime Sumterite. Our community believes in the power of collaboration, innovation and mutual growth. We are deeply committed to fostering an environment where businesses can thrive, ideas can flourish and partnerships can be forged for a brighter future. As you go about your way in our community, we recognize the valuable contributions each of you makes that provide additional opportunities for Sumter. Every one of our businesses in Sumter is the driving force behind our collective success. We are confident that by working together, we can overcome any challenge, seize any opportunity and achieve remarkable milestones. Here at the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce, we represent over 800 partner businesses, and our team is always here to support you in any way possible. Whether you have questions, need assistance, wish to explore opportunities or just want to know your way around our community, we are here for you. Your satisfaction and success are our top priorities, and we are committed to providing you with the resources, guidance and support you may need. Thank you again for being a part of the Sumter community, even if it is just for a short visit. We sincerely appreciate your trust in providing you with the best experience while you are here. Together we have the opportunity to shape our own future and create a lasting impact for those to follow us. Thank you again for allowing us to be part of your journey!

Chris Hardy, CCE, IOM President & CEO


Your guide to dining


Downtown F

rom scones to filets, salads to chicken prepared this way or that, from breakfast coffee to late-night drinks over ping pong or karaoke, there is something for everyone in Historic Downtown Sumter. It’s a perfect mix of storied icons, found in diner booths with

a whirly ding and in glass shadow boxes hanging over your burger named after someone you’ll just have to ask about, and of newer must-eats, from Southern soul food to Tex-Mex tastes. And don’t you dare balk at the brisket.


2. 8.


3. 5. 4 6.


9. 10. 11.

17. 12. 13.

14. 15. 23.


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

1. Baker’s Sweets Bistro & Bakery 119 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 2. Sidebar 34 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 3. Jin Jin Chinese Restaurant 39 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 4. Hamptons 33 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 5. La Piazza 33 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 6 | 2 024 L I FE I S G O O D I N S UM TER

6. Rafters 33 N. Main St., floor 2, Sumter, SC 29150 7. Main Street Tavern 24 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 8. Hyatt Place Sumter/ Downtown 18 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 9. Brubaker’s Café and Bakery 13 N. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150

10. Subway 9 E. Liberty St., Sumter, SC 29150 11. Sumter Original Brewery 2 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 12. J. O’Gradys 5 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 13. J. O’Gradys After Hours 5 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 14. Cut Rate Drug Store & Coffee 32 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150

Sumter Original Brewery


Sumter Original Brewery is the very first brewery to open in Sumter. This 30,000-square-foot facility has three floors with large floor games like pool and ping pong on the second and a rooftop. Hours

Mon./Tues. closed Thur. 4 – 10 p.m. Fri. 3 – 11 p.m.


Sat.11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sun. noon – 6 p.m.

Type of Food Bar food

Baker’s Sweets

This longtime bistro and bakery, which is known for its cakes and desserts, moved to this spot from the hospital during COVID-19. They offer breakfast, soup, salads and sandwiches as well as sweet treats and a whole menu of specialty coffees. You can find them also on Alice Drive. Hours

Type of Food

Saturday & Sunday closed Monday through Friday 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Bistro & Bakery


J. O’Gradys

Dine inside or out on the recently renovated Rotary Plaza. Known for their burgers and sandwiches, J. O'Gradys offers a delicious menu and full bar. Hours

Mon. – Fri. 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 5 – 10 p.m. Sat. 11:3 a.m. – 10 p.m.

15. Jeffrey Lampkin’s Country Boy Bistro 18 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150 16. Sub Station II 15 N. Harvin St., Sumter, SC 29150* 17. Chinese Cuisine & Thai Food 130 E. Liberty St., Sumter, SC 29150 18. Tony’s Pizza 1 E. Calhoun St., Sumter, SC 29150

19. McDonald’s 101 N. Lafayette Drive, Sumter, SC 29150* 20. Taco Bell 25 N. Lafayette Drive, Sumter, SC 29150* 21. Wendy’s 216 E. Hampton Ave., Sumter, SC 29150*

Type of Food

Burgers & sandwiches

22. KFC 215 E. Liberty St., Sumter, SC 29150* 23. El Paso Tacos and Tequila 154 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150

* Not visible on map TH E SUMTE R I TE M | 7

Downt Sumteown newesr's restau t rant

El Paso

154 S. Main St., Sumter, SC 29150

Sunday - Thursday 10:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday - Saturday 10:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.

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Sumter residents can finally fiesta their way downtown. El Paso Tacos and Tequila, a family owned and family operated restaurant, planted a new location in downtown Sumter at 154 S. Main St. "We fell in love with the building," said Roy Chavez, owner/manager of El Paso Tacos and Tequila. "It used to be The Sidewalk Café." The previous occupant, Tracey Flemming, was running Dr. Macaron's Bakery in The Sidewalk Cafe after renovating the space. While she no longer operates her South Main Street location, she still sells her goodies at Baker's Sweets. In her place, the space has been transformed on both floors. Greeted by a large sign on the entrance wall, customers will read "Viva Sumter El Paso Tacos and Tequila" in bright colors on the original brick surface. As they enter the restaurant, it's a noticeable renovation flip. The Sidewalk Café's square-tiled floors now showcase a beautiful, artisan design, and its cream-colored walls are now decorated with beautiful bold colors and artwork, which shine bright with star lights hanging from the ceiling. "I think people are really going to love what we did there. The artist that we brought in did a really good job. I just know that it's a whole different vibe," Chavez said. Texas-based, Latino artist Marte was hired by El Paso Tacos and Tequila to paint all the restaurants, according to Kalleb Pereira, owner/manager of El Paso Tacos and Tequila. The restaurant's furniture and design also mirror its other locations, with the signature ceiling lights, chairs and tables. The bar is even handcrafted with intricate detail to the counter, which is decorated with bottle caps they've bought from collectors. The family is leasing the building but hopes to own it in the near future, according to Chavez. Sumter was the perfect place to build another El Paso Tacos and Tequila in South Carolina that's here to stay. "We do a study and see what kind of county we could possibly open the restaurant. We have a very particular town we like. We like towns that are clearly developing," Pereira said. The El Paso Tacos and Tequila family liked Sumter's downtown scene and its recent growth in the past couple years. The restaurant's style, in Chavez's mind, reflected the revitalization efforts. This is South Carolina's second location, with the other in Spartanburg. However, there are locations across the country's South region in Georgia, Florida, Texas and Louisiana. "I would call it a family, private chain," Chavez said. "More than anything, my family has been in business since '95, and it's recipes passed down from my grandma, really. They're passed down through generations. Apart from that, our margaritas, we're

very much into handcraft margaritas. We don't use too many mixers. It's all fresh-squeezed." Food-wise, those craving authentic Tex-Mex won't be disappointed. The menu is large with a variety of options from nachos, tacos, burritos and enchiladas to plates, from the grill, vegetarian dishes, endless a la carte and more. The Tex-Mex options even have their own category, and customers can order tableside guacamole. Recipes date back generations but have stayed consistent since 1995. Chavez said that even the customer service and family atmosphere are as family friendly as day one. "One thing that's important to us is for everyone to feel welcomed into our restaurant," he said. When it comes to the bar's menu, Pereira said the options are endless for tequila fans - serving many fresh margaritas and cocktails. "We have a huge variety of drinks, cocktails and are always doing specials," he said. "We always try to incorporate the holidays on our menus." Chavez said they use the Sumter location's Facebook page to announce specials and updates and also host gift card giveaways and raffles. Whether you're hosting a work lunch, family reunion or birthday party upstairs at their long tables or grabbing a margarita at the bar after work, El Paso Tacos and Tequila is further proof that the dining scene in downtown Sumter is thriving, growing and making us all hungry.


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.


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 treelined, 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 Dwarf goats. Every animal is cared for on the farm, and fresh eggs, bales of hay and goats are sold. Its hours of operation are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-5

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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, and is open Monday-Friday. 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 or a precut Fraser Fir Christmas tree. Custom ornaments, fresh eggs, homemade cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookie dough can be pre-ordered through the farm’s Facebook page. If you can’t get enough of the baked goods, the rows of Christmas trees serving as a beautiful backdrop are sure to make holiday pictures festive and bright. Coleman Family Farms is open from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., located at 2165 Lloyd Drive.

SUMTER FARMERS MARKET 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 sumterfarmersmarket.


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 ready-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 Americanlegionfarmersmarket or learn more at americanlegionfarmersmarket. com.

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 locally made produce and food.

CERTIFIED SC GROWN Choose local, choose fresh. South Carolina has nearly 25,000 farms that cover about 5 million acres. Thanks to our rich soil, warm weather and more than 360 growing days a year, there’s always something fresh. See what’s in season now, as well as where you can buy local all over the state, by going to

ZUCCHINI ONION 'PIE' 1 cup grated cheese 1/2 cup canola oil 1 T minced parsley 1 garlic clove, minced

3 medium onions, sliced 1/4 tsp baking soda 1 T brown sugar 1 T butter 1 T olive oil 5 cups zucchini, sliced 3 large eggs

1/4 tsp salt 1/8 tsp pepper 1 cup biscuit/baking mix


s. Spray 9x13-inch pan with Preheat oven to 350 degree pan, with olive oil in large saute cooking spray. Melt butter Stir ar. sug wn bro and a ing sod and add sliced onions, bak zucchini add n the wn, bro p dee frequently until onions are ness. Let cool, and then mix and cook until desired soft r into with vegetable mixture. Pou remainder of ingredients d. wne bro tly utes until ligh pan and bake for 25-35 min



Adapted from Taste of Hom



must go on! THE


estled within the hustle and bustle of downtown Sumter rests one of the city’s oldest and most iconic venues for the arts – the Sumter Opera House. First destroyed in December 1892 by a fire, the Opera House’s current exterior was constructed from 1893 to 1895. The venue was renovated into a movie theater, creating 300 jobs during the Depression era and showing its first film on the big screen, “Earthworm Tractors,” for 35 cents per ticket for adults and 10 cents for children. Listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1973, the venue is no stranger to renovations, undergoing several over the years and closing its doors in 1982. It would reopen in 1984 after being purchased by the City of Sumter and renovated into office space by 1987. In the rear of the venue, City Hall and many of the city’s departments and offices, including City Council Chambers, are still housed. However, in the coming months, the Opera House will spruce up its look once again as it undergoes a $15 million renovation first proposed in 2020 by Gov. Henry McMaster. “Renovations have always been

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part of the history of the Opera House. This next renovation step aligned with our mission and vision of being an indispensable cultural asset and providing diverse creative experiences,” shared Seth Reimer, cultural manager for the City of Sumter. “It may be workshops, it may be master classes, it could be Q and A, it could be meet and greets; if the Opera House is going to be around for another 100 years, it's time to step in that direction for our community and in providing diverse creative experiences.” Projected to begin in May 2024, the renovation of the Opera House will expand its lobby and entrance along with the dressing room and backstage amenities, ultimately connecting to 19 N. Main St. right next door. The stage and seating within the house will remain untouched, preserving its Art Deco style and intimate vibes the shows thrive on. With these renovations comes new opportunities, which Reimer hopes the community will take advantage of. “I hope the different spaces within the Opera House will draw the community in - whether it's historical in nature, entertaining in nature or by invitation, making people feel not only welcome,

also that we took the extra time to make it accessible for them,” he expressed. Ahead of the renovations, you can still get your fill of music, movies and more through the 2024 lineup of national acts featured in the venue’s Main Stage Series. The Opera House also hosts educational performances for K-12 students for its Matinee Series and its YES! Program. But don’t fret too much because despite the renovations, the show must go on! “We're gonna be doing some performances in the City Center, which is not a part of the renovations. We're going to continue with our YES! Programming and our matinee shows – but those may be in alternate locations throughout the community,” Reimer explained. “We're not only trying to invite people to the Opera House for these diverse creative experiences, but also get into the different neighborhoods and the different areas of Sumter that maybe people who aren't able to get transportation here might be able to walk to see a performance.”

The Sumter Opera House will announce more artists and events throughout the year. To stay up to date on all the entertainment to pass through – and around - its doors, follow the Opera House on social media or sign up for its weekly newsletter at


Fluttering into downtown Sumter

9 new butterflies featured in 2nd round of art project


pectacular hues and artistic brilliance have, once again, taken flight in downtown Sumter, leaving the city aflutter with vibrant charm as the second round of installations for the Main Street Society’s butterfly project is complete. The invasion started in 2019, when the first round of butterflies was announced, funded by the Main Street Society members and sponsorships. It wasn’t until 2020 that the seven crafted creatures were painted and installed across the Central Business District down both Main and Liberty streets. Three years later in February 2023, the society and City of Sumter called for more local artists to spread their creative wings for the chance to paint seven more butterflies. The answers were more than they could’ve imagined. “This time, we had a lot of people come forward, and we had a lot of proposals, and I mean, we had to not use some great proposals because we got more than we needed,” said Leigh Newman, downtown development coordinator with the City of Sumter. “I think for the new butterflies, we got 20 submissions, and the last time, we got eight for seven butterflies.” Newman explained there are sponsorship opportunities for the butterflies. With

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$500, a sign can be placed alongside the butterfly with the name of the artist and the willing sponsor. Sponsorships are offered to the Main Street Society members and then to the general public. In the past, sponsorships have honored family members and deceased loved ones. They have not installed the signs yet, Newman said. The new submissions varied in style and sentiment, just as Jenna Binion, president of Main Street Society, and Newman wanted. In front of the Church of the Holy Comforter, 213 N. Main St., one butterfly depicts a detailed scene of downtown Sumter, painted by Meredith Rogers. About two blocks down near the old Main Attractions Barber, at 101 N. Main St., a butterfly honors the efforts of animal rescue in Sumter, done by Abbie Mason. A short stroll to 21 N. Main St., a butterfly with the defining elements of Sumter - including Swan Lake, elements of Shaw Air Force Base and the iconic clock - greets patrons on their way into the Sumter Opera House, designed by Mandi Windham Chiappone. The recently opened El Paso Tacos and Tequila Restaurant, at 154 S. Main St., was accompanied by a butterfly with a still of downtown Sumter, depicted in hues of yellow and orange,



Swallowtail (original) Artist: Cleo Klopfleisch Sponsored by: Heidi Burkett Location: 2 N. Main St. Unnamed (new) Artist: Carolina Grace Hoppmann Location: El Paso Tacos and Tequila Restaurant Unnamed (original) Artist: Connie Brennan Sponsored by: Barbara and Harry Burchstead Location: Old Sumter County courthouse All These Little Creatures (original) Artist: Matthew Morse Sponsored by: Matthew Morse and Jenna Brown Location: The lighted walkway between Berenyi Inc. and The Sumter Item Lucidity (original) Artist: Nurai Tucker Sponsored by: Jere and Bobbi Pound Location: Rotary Plaza Variegated Flutter (replaced) Artist: Erin Duffie Sponsored by: Hobby and Greg Williams Location: Sumter Opera House


by Nurai Tucker, at the Rotary Plaza sponsored by Jere and Bobbi Pound.

Winged Revival (original) Artist: Liz Duffy Sponsored by: Heart of Sumter Location: Sumter Opera House Unnamed (new) Artist: Meredith Rogers Location: Church of the Holy Comforter Unnamed (new) Artist: Abbie Mason Location: Main Attractions Barber Unnamed (new) Artist: Mandi Windham Chiappone Location: Sumter Opera House Unnamed (replaced) Artist: Julie Watts Location: Cut Rate Drug Store Unnamed (new) Artist: Hannah Morris Location: 133 S. Main St. Unnamed (new) Artist: Matthew Morse Location: 12 W. Liberty St. Unnamed (new) Artist: Laila-Vice Johnson Location: 100 W. Liberty St.


courtesy of Carolina Grace Hoppmann. Two of the new butterflies were installed at previously selected locations. Erin Duffie’s artwork was reinstalled next to the Opera House parking lot after a fresh coat of paint and coating to prevent fading under the sun’s rays. Near Sumter Cut Rate Drug Store, at 32 S. Main St., rests a new butterfly, repainted with a true wow factor in a pop-art style, illustrated by Julie Watts. The remaining three butterflies are the work of Hannah Morris, with her multi-colored, shape-filled butterfly at 133 S. Main St.; the retro robotic, primary-colored floral scene painted by Matthew Morse, at 12 W. Liberty St.; and Laila-Vice Johnson’s cool-toned Swan Lake scene at 100 W. Liberty St. Newman and Binion discussed branching out to Calhoun and Bartlette streets for butterfly locations. However, once boots were on the ground, they realized there were fewer light poles in that area. The 14 total locations, seven new and two replaced, are spread out enough to where the city and the society are satisfied. If any further rounds are announced, it would be to replace the original seven installed. The lifespan of these exquisite beings in downtown is unclear. Whether it’s two years or two decades, once removed, they will find their way back to their sponsors, providing a timeless connection to local art and the heartbeat of Sumter, Newman shared. For now, this fluttering fleet of creative creatures has been an enjoyment for frequent flyers of the downtown area, as the response “has been great,” according to feedback Newman received. She and Binion have no doubt this new fleet will bring both color and camaraderie to the city. “We really want people to come down when the weather gets a little bit nicer because they’re all walkable. Easily within

30 minutes, you can walk all around downtown and see all the different butterflies,” she said. “We want people to have things to do downtown. If they come down and, you know, they wanna eat dinner and are like hey, let’s go walk around and look at the butterflies. It’s really just kind of another activity that also is beautification.” “I am so excited about the second round!” Binion expressed. “We were blown away by the talented artists who participated in this project and inspired by the diverse styles and themes the artists brought to their individual pieces. The final butterflies are each so unique and creative - just like our community! We have a beautiful downtown and adding local, one-of-a-kind art only makes it better.”

Centrally located in Sumter, SC,located Nu-Idea in Nu-Idea is centrally services allSumter, of the Southeast providing SC, and all modernizations to K-12warehousing, schools as well as etc. administration, commercial offithere. ces. Our attentive staff of be is located Your call will experienced leaders, sales personnel, and answered by our staff and your interior designers drive every project to needs met promptly. Nu-Idea success. We are confident that we can meet all routinely manages projects of all of your furniture needs and look forward to size and scope for its customers. what 2024 will bring.

710 South Guignard Sumter, SC 29150

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McLeod Health Providers Primary Care

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Eagerton Family Practice

McLeod Women’s Care Clarendon

Robert S. Eagerton, MD* / Carmen Roberts, DO* Amber P. Newman, NP

Monica Ploetzke, MD / Thomas C. Key, MD Katee L. Wyant, MD / Tom Chappell, CNM Allison Saran, CNM, WHNP Rebecca Cartledge, APRN, CNM Shaquinda Dowdle, DNP, APRN, CNM

200 East Hospital Street, Manning, SC 29102 (803) 433-0439

McLeod Primary Care Clarendon Lisa E. Heichberger, MD* / Laine Way, MD Susan Caulkins, FNP / Susanne Johnson, FNP 50 East Hospital Street, Suite 3 Manning, SC 29102 (803) 435-8828

50 East Hospital Street, Suite 2, Manning, SC 29102 (803) 433-0797

Orthopedics McLeod Orthopaedics Associates

Palmetto Adult Medicine Sumter

Rodney K. Alan, MD / Chaz McDonald, NP Scarlett Manchin, NP

Harry A. Jordan, Jr., MD Andrew J. Reynolds, MD Hugh T. Stoddard, Jr., MD Katherine S. Coffey, PA-C James R. McMahon, FNP Emily J. Miller, PA-C

540 Physicians Lane, Sumter, SC 29150 (843) 777-7900 50 East Hospital Street, Suite 6, Manning, SC 29102 (803) 433-3065


1295 Wilson Hall Road, Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 905-6800

McLeod Surgery Clarendon

McLeod Primary Care Turbeville Michael O. Ouzts, DO / Abbie Kirby, PA-C Amanda McConnell, PA-C 944 Smith Street, Turbeville, SC 29162 (843) 659-2114

Devonne D. Barrineau, MD / Laura Collins, FNP 50 East Hospital Street, Suite 4, Manning, SC 29102 (803) 435-2822


McLeod Family Medicine Kingstree

McLeod Urology Associates Sumter

Andrew Gulledge, FNP Raina McKenzie, PA-C 1200 North Longstreet Street, Kingstree, SC 29556 (843) 355-5459

Michelle B. Miller, NP 540 Physicians Lane, Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 340-5100



McLeod Cardiology Associates Prabal Guha, MD / John Rozich, MD, PhD Dennis Lang, DO / Brett Lynam, NP 540 Physicians Lane, Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 883-5171 Manning Clinic: 21 East Hospital Street, Manning, SC 29102

McLeod Vascular Associates William C. Jackson, DO 540 Physicians Lane, Sumter, SC 29150 (843) 777-7043 * Not accepting new patients at this time

McLeod Health Clarendon



Affordable health care fit to your needs T

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 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 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 18 | 2024 L I F E I S G O O D I N S U M TER

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 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

ESSENTIALLY LOCAL. AUTHENTICALLY SUMTER. The Sumter Item is the only source of daily local news in Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties. We hold the powerful accountable and help you make informed decisions, celebrate your wins and educate your children, all to live your best life. Without us, your stories would often go untold.

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McLeod Health Clarendon’s expansion into Sumter is a commitment to the region A

s a 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,

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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, nursefamily 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 most recent expansion was the announcement of McLeod Health's partnership in Sumter with Wesmark Ambulatory Surgery Center. The partnership will expand jointly offered multi-specialty ambulatory surgery services for the Sumter community at what will now be known as McLeod Surgery Center Wesmark, at 420 W. Wesmark Blvd., and will continue to provide access to multi-specialty surgery in ENT, gastroenterology, ophthalmology, orthopedics and urology. “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.


Prisma Health and Tuomey Hospital

Photo provided

Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital

Local lawmakers said they were thrilled, and Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital's Susan Gaymon said it was an "exciting day for Sumter" as officials unveiled an expansion to the hospital's emergency department in September 2023. It was about eight years in the waiting, but Prisma officials told a gathering of about 50 local leaders at its grand opening that the new, state-of-the-art facility checks off all the boxes in modern health care and will improve emergency room care. The two-story, 13,000-square-foot ER addition is phase one of a 10-year expansion and renovation project at Tuomey that has been steered by Prisma Health. Prisma officials said the addition will help improve patient flow and reduce overall wait times in ER. With the expansion, the emergency department is adding 13 beds to 39 total now, and capacity should increase by 33%, according to department medical director Dr. Eric Wernsman. A new 24-hour retail pharmacy on hospital property outside the facility opened later in 2023 to provide medications to patients who are discharged in the middle of the night, said Gaymon, the hospital's chief nursing officer who has worked at Tuomey for more than 30 years. Phase two will consist of the renovation of part of the existing ER space already in use. Tied to phase three is a $9.1 million state grant from the General Assembly for a mental health Crisis Stabilization Unit at the hospital. South Carolina Speaker of the House Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, said his father is a doctor and that his family moved to Sumter in 1977 during his youth, and he said it has been great to see Tuomey's growth over time. He added the new facility will be a major benefit to Sumter. "This is a great day," Smith said. "Access to health care is very important. In every economic development trip that I ever go to when we see people coming here or any other county in the state, the three things they ask about is 'What does your workforce look like, what does your education look like, and what's your health care? Can we keep our workers healthy?' "That is a huge consideration, and that is why this facility and this hospital is essential to our growth in Sumter County." The project took the extended timeframe, Gaymon said, because, one, leaders wanted to get it right and also because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The entire project was delayed in 2020 and 2021. "It is very rewarding to see the whole process," she said. "To me it's very surreal, and it's an exciting day for Sumter to say we have this brand-new ER. People keep telling me, 'It's the prettiest ER in Prisma.' And I say, 'Well, yeah, it's the new ER in Prisma. But Sumter County deserves a new ER that will meet the needs of this community." Thompson-Turner Construction was the general contractor on the project. The last major expansion and renovation at Tuomey was in 1999, also to the ER department. 22 | 2024 L I F E I S G O O D I N S U M TER

Tuomey Hospital is a part of Prisma Health, the largest not-for-profit health care company in South Carolina, and one that serves more than 1.2 million patients annually. Prisma Health employs 29,000 people who work to improve the health of our communities. More than 1,200 people work on the Tuomey campus in Sumter. The dedication of these team members has helped Tuomey Hospital earn prestigious designations as a Baby Friendly Hospital and Breast Center of Excellence. Prisma Health Tuomey Hospital has also been recognized by the South Carolina Hospital Association and the Leapfrog Group for high quality/safety. 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.

Prisma Health physician practices aligned with Tuomey include:

Prisma Health Pulmonology, Prisma Health Cardiology, Prisma Health OB/GYN, Prisma Health Surgery, Prisma Health Pain, Prisma Health Orthopedics, Prisma Health Family Medicine, Prisma Health Infectious Disease, Prisma Health Plastic Surgery, Prisma Health Gastroenterology

Other Tuomey Hospital facilities include: Wound Healing Center Cancer Treatment Center Women and Children’s Center Infusion Center

Wesmark Boulevard facility includes: Outpatient Imaging Outpatient Rehab Services Cardiac Rehabilitation Services

Facility Locations Outpatient/Retail Pharmacy *open to the public (803) 774-8772 Medical Office Building 1, Suite 220 115 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m. Prisma Health Cardiology - Sumter Medical Office Building 2, Suite 205 100 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 434-3800 Prisma Health Cardiology - Hartsville 701 Medical Park Drive; # 301 Hartsville, SC (843) 383-5978 Prisma Health OB/GYN in Sumter Medical Office Building 1 115 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 Suite 110: OB Office (803) 774-9650 Suite 200: GYN Office (803) 774-8351

Prisma Health Surgery - Sumter Medical Office Building 1, Suite 300 115 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 775-1550 Prisma Health Plastic Surgery Medical Office Building 1, Suite 115 115 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 774-7546 Prisma Health Pain and Spine Medical Office Building 2, Suite 320 100 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 774-6824 Prisma Health Orthopedics Medical Office Building 2, Suite 200 115 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 774-7621

Prisma Health Family Medicine - Sumter Medical Office Building 1, Suite 400 115 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 934-0810 Prisma Health Family Medicine - Bishopville 116 Hospital Square, Bishopville, SC (803) 484-9424 Prisma Health Pulmonology - Sumter Prisma Health Infectious Disease Sumter Prisma Health Gastroenterology Sumter Prisma Health Neurology - Sumter Medical Office Building 1, Suite 315 115 N. Sumter St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 774-9787


Find your fit at the Sumter Family YMCA Aquatics – Swim lessons for youth and adults; swim teams for ages 5-21; lap swim and fitness swim. Athletics Basketball: Leagues for youth (ages 5-15) OctoberFebruary and men (ages 25 and up) September-October; personal training and clinics for youth (ages 7-16). Flag football: Leagues for youth (ages 7-13) March-April. Soccer: Leagues for youth (ages 3-8) March-April. Gymnastics – Classes from preschool to adult; competitive team for girls; cheer and tumble clinics; birthday parties. Summer camps – For ages 3-14. Camp Mac Boykin, specialty camps (aquatics, basketball, gymnastics and nutrition). Fitness – Personal training; group exercise classes; nutrition consultations; Enhanced Fitness (program for individuals with arthritis); Exercise Is Medicine (bridge program from physical therapy); Women On Weights (program on proper mechanics for lifting). Wellness YFIT: 8-week educational program looking at all aspects of lifestyle and how to overcome barriers and make changes to improve personal well-being. No fee with physician referral and complimentary membership. StrongHeart: 12-week program for heart attack and stroke survivors or individuals at risk for both. Medical clearance from physician necessary to participate. Diabetes Exercise Program: 12-week activity/educational program. No fee with physician referral. Medical clearance from physician necessary. Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program: 16-week program that is a 1-on-1 with a Healthy Heart Ambassador to track and improve blood pressure. No fee with physician referral. Youth – Birthday parties; afterschool programs; Kids Night Out event monthly. Active Older-Adult Activities – Arts and crafts; monthly movies; holiday-themed activities; field trips. Scholarships Assistance is available for membership and programs. (Forms located on website or at front desk).

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LETDOWN? You may have the wrong internet speed. The speed you need depends on how many people and devices you have in your home. It’s important to make sure your internet service can keep up with your family’s tablets, laptops, smartphones and more.




Parks & Recreation Palmetto Tennis Center Find a free place to play, relax or exercise

Here is a list of public parks in Sumter County. For more information, including amenities, addresses and hours, go to community/outdoor.

The Palmetto Tennis Center is located inside Palmetto Park. It boasts state-of-the-art hard tennis courts and four new pickleball courts all lit for night play, and four on-site tennis pros offer private lessons and group clinics for beginner to advanced players from ages 3 and up. Other amenities include a tennis shop, two ball machines, stringing service, tournament-training building and restrooms. Admission for regular tennis or pickleball play is free of charge and first come, first served. Check in at the main officer prior to entering a court.

Contact for more information

Phone: (803) 774-3969 Email: Where: 400 Theatre Drive, Sumter, SC 29150


Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. I Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. I Sunday: 1-9 p.m. * Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, special events and during inclement weather.


PATRIOT PARK 380 General Drive, Sumter, SC 29150

County parks • • • • •

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

SWAN LAKE IRIS GARDENS 822 W. Liberty St., Sumter, SC 29150

State parks • • • •

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*)

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• • • • • • • • • • •

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

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

Disc Golf Dillon Park

Established: 2015 Course: 20 holes

Availability: Year-round

Course details: Mostly flat going in and out of the woods. A mix of tightly wooded holes and open. Two creeks coming in to play on almost all the holes.

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

Tees: Concrete, grass, dirt, outdoor carpet

Property: Mixed use, public park

Property: Mixed use, public park

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.)

Targets: Veteran

Services: Dogs allowed, cartfriendly, 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, cartfriendly

Where: Live Oak Park, Sumter (intersection of U.S. 15 and Clipper Road) Cost to play: Free

Services: Dogs allowed, cartfriendly

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. Non-DoD 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)

Lindley “Hidden” Park

Property: Mixed use, military base, private land

Course: 9 holes

Where: Shaw Air Force Base

Established: 2020

Services: Cart-friendly

Availability: Year-round

Cost to play: Free


Hit the


Numerous area courses offer wide variety for all players Golfing is a pastime and sport well-loved in the South and across the country. With the area's climate that is pleasant much of the year, sunny skies and wide-open spaces, courses abound in the Sumter region. From public and semiprivate to private and exclusive, each course offers a different experience. Keep going back to your favorite one, or make your way through this entire list. Either way, fore!

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SUMTER Beech Creek Golf Club Access: Semiprivate

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

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

Quixote Club

Carolina Lakes Golf Course offers 18 lush, emerald Bermuda greens and fairways tucked in a gently rolling landscape. A fully stocked proshop, 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

Crystal Lakes Golf Course

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

Quixote Club Access: Private

Beech Creek Golf Club

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. 1005 Golfcrest Road, Sumter (803) 775-5541


CLARENDON 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

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

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

Look what a Penny can do! $42 million spent improving transportation infrastructure from 2008 to present - roads, intersections and sidewalks.

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STORE Functional meets fabulous with these Sumter Item gift ideas.

Iris Gardens. But traditions are loved for a reason, so the studio couldn’t bear to part with its Santa’s Workshop scene. However, at the end of the show, everyone will return “home,” a new scene for the show but a familiar sight for audience members. Though Govier kept tight lipped about the sure-to-be grand finale, she assured that Sumterites will feel more connected to this year’s show. “I feel like people could see themselves [in this show], and everybody likes to see themselves in things. So, that's what we've done,” she explained. “It's not Radio City, it's Sumter City.” With the revamp of the show, there will also be a return of some familiar faces. Govier, whose smile could barely be contained, spilled the beans that Sepulveda, co-originator of Jingle with the Arts, would return to the stage, not to sing but to lend her talents in instrument playing. In her place as choral director will be Herbert Johnson, director of several community choirs, including the

now here I am putting it together and Sonja was a part of it, and now Herbert has her old job, so it’s come full circle,” she gushed. Govier also was moved by the willingness of so many community arts groups, including Lemira Elementary School’s percussion group and their director, to help make the vision become a reality. “I just can't believe it — it is really extraordinary. To see something start to come together, and the cast is bigger this year than we've had it,” Govier gushed. “What's most exciting for me right now to see, bringing all of these people from different places together in one place at one time, and if it works, that would be my favorite part. The look of it, the sound of it — it’s going to be different.” So, you don’t want to miss it! Jingle with the Arts will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Patriot Hall, 135 Haynsworth St. Tickets are $10 in advance and can be purchased at

Healthcare Providers and sysvey questions, offering a c tems data from Centers for prehensive assessment of Medicare and Medicaid Sertients' perceptions regardi vices, McLeod Health Clarenthe clarity of explanations don has secured its place tentive listening and court among the top three hospitals and respectful treatment b in South Carolina and one of nurses. This rating is grou 350 top hospitals in the nation. ed in survey data collected “It is an honor for our facilifrom hospital patients ty to be recognized by Becker’s throughout the calendar y as one of the top 350 hospitals 2022. across the nation for nurse Jolley said their team m communication. When pabers embody the McLeod tients are in a hospital to have values and truly care abou a baby or when sick, a compatient and their family. mon emotion is fear,” said “Our nurses do all they Chief Nursing Officer for Mcto ease those fears. They a Leod Health Clarendon Kim don’t focus solely on their Jolley. They embrace opportuniti According to its website, respond with compassion, Becker's Healthcare stands as fering not only medical ca TH E SUMTE R I TE M | 31 the primary resource for but also personal, emotion health care decision makers, and responsive caring to t



Where you can let the dogs out

Friendly Places in Sumter

Pets are family, and more people are choosing to include them in their travel plans. While health and safety regulations prevent your pet pals from enjoying some spaces, you will find that Sumter also contains many places where your furry (and not-so-furry) friends are more than welcome! From parks and campgrounds to a cozy B&B, outdoor dining, a rooftop brewery and two dog parks, there are plenty of opportunities to get your pets in on that family selfie, night out, or evening under the stars.



• • • •

Leashed pets are welcome at numerous chains, including Petco, Lowe’s, Tractor Supply, Harbor Freight and more. Call for individual store policies.

Candlewood Suites Hyatt Place Quality Inn Rodeway Inn


• • • • • •

Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant and Bar Pelican’s Snowballs (outdoor seating) Sidebar (outdoor seating) Sonic (Broad Street and McCrays Mill Road) Starbucks (outdoor seating) Sumter Original Brewery (rooftop)

Dog-friendly parks • • • • • • • • • • • •

Dillon Park (off-leash dog park) Sumter Dog Park (off leash) Gen. Thomas Sumter Memorial Park Memorial Park Woods Bay State Park Palmetto Park SPCA Bark Park (off leash, membership) Poinsett State Park Patriot Park Mill Creek Park Cypress Park and Trail Palmetto Trail

For more pet-friendly fun than you can wag your tail at, visit or call the Sumter Convention & Visitors Bureau at (803) 436-2640. 32 | 2024 L I F E I S G O O D I N S U M TER



plans include pickleball court


he South Sumter Park revitalization project will soon be underway. The park is at 630 S. Sumter St., and as it stands today, there are basketball courts, a playground area, a splash pad and lots of grassy areas. Revitalization plans, however, include a pickleball court, new playground equipment, restrooms, a pavilion and sidewalks. The basketball courts will also be replaced, and there is a possible phase two of the project city officials are still working on that may put an airnasium over the new basketball courts so they are covered. The city is paying for the revitalization out of a state appropriation, or grant, that was awarded specifically for the project thanks to Rep. J. David Weeks, D-Sumter. There are also private contributions helping to pay for the project. Construction should be completed near the end of 2024, according to Director of Public Services Michael Geddings. This park project is one of three South Sumter park projects city officials are working on. Construction has begun on the South Sumter Art Park on the corner of Orange Street and Manning Avenue where the former Sumter County Sheriff's Office substation used to be. Upon completion in 2024, there will be two basketball courts, an artthemed playground, bathrooms, parking and a wall for various creative installations. The city also announced plans for an African American history-themed park to be built at 341 Manning Ave. and 8 E. Fulton St., not far from Bostick Tompkins Funeral Home of Sumter. There are not a lot of details available on it, but that project, as well as the South Sumter Art Park project and the South Sumter Park revitalization, were made possible by state grants.



RANGES Outdoor and indoor opportunities available in area for firearms enthusiasts


Wateree Rifle and Pistol Range Hermitage Farm Shooting Sports Access: Public

About: Operated by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Wateree Rifle and Pistol Range just two miles across the Sumter County line and over the Wateree River Bridge is a manned range with an officer on duty at all times. It consists of 14 rifle stations with targets up to 100 yards and 12 pistol stations up to 25 yards away. It is part of a larger facility that includes a shotgun sports facility next door. Location:14069 Garners Ferry Road (U.S. 378) Eastover, SC 29044 Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Web: wateree.html Phone: (803) 240-7368 34 | 2024 L I F E I S G O O D I N S U M TER

Access: Public About: Nestled just south of Camden and near the Interstate 20 interchange in Kershaw County, Hermitage Farm Shooting Sports is a sporting clays course on a 1,500-acre tract. Similar to skeet shooting, the sport of shooting “clay pigeons” first developed in England and was introduced in the U.S. in 1980. Location: 2362 Tickle Hill Road, Camden, SC 29020 Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5:30 p.m. Web: Phone: (803) 432-0210

INDOOR Ricochet Range

Access: Private (membership packages available) About: Ricochet opened in 2020 and features a 10-lane training bay range, a state-of-the-art target retrieval system, a “smokeless range” simulator, classrooms and a retail area. Several classes are also offered. Location: 1410 U.S. 15 South Hours: Hours: Wednesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Web: Phone: (803) 938-5713

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I believe the most important part of my job in Congress is helping folks who live here in South Carolina. If you or someone you know needs assistance with the federal government - I’m here to help. It’s an honor to serve you in Congress! Ralph Norman

Member of Congress

Sign up for my monthly email newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest from Congress, or follow me on social media. Get the Latest Information from Congress Online at Facebook: Twitter: @RepRalphNorman Instagram: RepRalphNorman

Washington, DC Office

Rock Hill, SC Office

For information about my votes in Congress, legislation, or federal policies, please contact my office in Washington, DC.

For help with any agency or department of the federal government, please contact my Rock Hill office.

(202) 225-5501

(803) 327-1114

Prepared and printed at taxpayer expense.


82 YEARS AND COUNTING: Shaw Air Force Base continues to

have local and international impact It’s largely responsible for the health of Sumter’s local economy. It takes up more than 3,500 acres in the city of Sumter, not including additional acreage it has custodial responsibility over in the surrounding areas. And it has influence around the world, through deployments, missions and even through drones thousands of miles away that are controlled by airmen on base. Shaw Air Force Base, activated in 1941, boasts a huge presence in the South Carolina Midlands and it’s undergone a lot of changes within the past nearly eight decades; however, the name, Shaw, as it relates to base, goes back even further. Here is a timeline of some of the most notable moments that have made Shaw what it is today (this information comes from the Department of Defense website, the Shaw Air Force Base website, the U.S. Air Force website and reporting from The Sumter Item): On Sept. 30, 1894, Ervin David Shaw was born about 15 miles south of Sumter in Alcolu. His parents then moved the family to Sumter from Alcolu, and Shaw attended Sumter High School in 1911. In spring 1918, Shaw became one of the first American flyers to see action after the United States engaged in World War I. On July 9, 1918, Shaw’s plane was shot down, and he was killed. On June 27, 1941, construction started on Shaw Air Field. It was also in 1941 during a class reunion that Shaw’s former classmates endeavored to have the air field named in his honor. In December 1941, the first class of pilot cadets started training on Shaw Air Field. By 1948, Shaw faced its first deactivation scare. The

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U.S. Air Force considered deactivating Shaw Air Field, but in the end, the Air Force opted to rename it Shaw Air Force Base. In 1993, Shaw Air Force Base became the official home of the 20th Fighter Wing. In 2005, the base faced its second threat of closing. Shaw’s name was on the U.S. military’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) plan as a possibility. BRAC is a process the Department of Defense undergoes to improve organizational readiness. In 2011, the Air Force part of the BRAC plan that started in 2005 was complete, resulting in seven closures and 63 realignments which impacted 122 installations, but left Shaw Air Force Base still active. From 2011 to 2020, Shaw Air Force Base saw significant growth - more significant growth than any other air force base was seeing throughout the world. More specifically, Shaw had 5,912 active-duty members in 2011 and by 2020, there were 7,376 active-duty personnel. And Shaw continues to pull in more personnel since the Secretary of Defense’s August 2023 decision to designate Shaw Air Force Base as the primary U.S. Air Force Central Combined Air Operations Center. This decision results in 349 new personnel moving to Sumter and it results in around 700 fewer deployments from Shaw annually. This

decision essentially reverses how many U.S. Air Force Central personnel are stationed at Shaw Air Force Base and how many are stationed at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The city of Sumter is making preparations for future base expansion. A 2024 conservation easement with the Congaree Land Trust seeks to preserve land adjacent to Shaw Air Force Base to allow for future base expansion and extra protection of the base from any future development. After over 80 years of growth, Shaw Air Force Base continues to expand and pull in airmen and other personnel ready to call Sumter home.

Sumter/Downtown (803) 774-8100

Demographics of Sumter Population: 104,012 Veterans: 10,824 People under 18: 23.6% People over 65: 17.8% Black: 47.9% White: 47.7% Hispanic or Latino: 4.5% Median gross rent: $879 Median household income: $45,661

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High school graduate or higher: 85.5% Bachelor’s degree or higher: 19.3% Source: Census 2020

The workforce

Out of the eight military installations in South Carolina, Shaw has the third-largest military presence by total volume of military-related activities, behind only Charleston and Columbia. $1.5 billion: Shaw’s overall annual economic impact on Sumter region $2.1 billion: Shaw’s overall annual economic impact on South Carolina

$1 billion: Labor income generated for Sumter region 11,671: Employment impact 31,000+: Active duty, military family and retirees living in Sumter Source: Love Sumter |

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Shaw Air Force Base is home to a handful of numbered Air Force units, but another branch also calls it home. U.S. Army Central’s lineage goes back to the Third U.S. Army, established on Nov. 7, 1918, during World War I. Under Gen. George S. Patton, they helped change the tide of World War II toward the Allies by rolling back the Nazis from France all the way to Austria. It has since been tested on the battlefield in Operation Desert Storm and in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Third Army was redesignated as U.S. Army Central Command in June 2006. It relocated its main command post to Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter on July 15, 2011. USARCENT provides continuing support to the Joint Force, sets and maintains the theater and leads Building Partner Capacity missions to secure U.S. and allied interests in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility. On order, USARCENT can transition to a Coalition Forces Land Component Command to enter conflict. USARCENT exercises administrative control of all U.S. Army forces in the Middle East and Central Asia, which includes supplying, equipping, training, servicing, administrating and maintaining forces. USCENTCOM's area of responsibility consists of 21 countries spanning over 4 million square miles, containing three internationally strategic chokepoints in the most volatile and contested territory in the world. USARCENT is led by Lt. Gen. “Lucky 6” Patrick D. Frank. His command staff includes Deputy Commanding Gen. Maj. Gen. Wendul “Glenn” Hagler II, Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Matthew L. Eichburg and CSM Jacinto Garza. For more information on USARCENT, go to Source: U.S. Army Central

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U.S. ARMY CENTRAL maintains lineage from World War I to Sumter

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• Patricia Jefferson, director • 141 N. Main St. Sumter, SC 29150 • (803) 436-2310 • Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION REPRESENTING SUMTER COUNTY 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 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: 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

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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) 484-5454 Columbia Office: (803) 212-6958 Home: (803) 428-3161

Charles Edens (R) District 4 3250 Home Place Road Sumter, SC 29150 Home: (803) 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

David Weeks, (D-Sumter) District 51 Sumter 308D Blatt Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Sumter Office: (803) 775-5856 Columbia Office: (803) 734-3102 Home: (803) 775-4228

James T. "Jim" McCain Jr. (D) Chairman District 6 317 W. Bartlette St. Sumter, SC 29150 Home: (803) 773-2353 Cell: (803) 607-2777

Fawn Pedalino (D-Manning) District 64 Clarendon, Sumter 422D Blatt Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Business: (803) 212-6929 Home: (803) 938-3087

Eugene "Gene" Baten (D) District 7 P.O. Box 3193 Sumter, SC 29151 Home: (803) 773-0815

Murrell Smith, (R-Sumter) Speaker of the House District 67 Sumter 525B Blatt Bldg. Columbia, SC 29201 Sumter Office: (803) 778-2471 Columbia Office: (803) 734-3144 Home: (803) 469-4416 SUMTER COUNTY COUNCIL SUMTER COUNTY COUNCIL Council meets at 6 p.m. every second and fourth Tuesday at 13 E. Canal St. Carlton Washington (D) District 1 13 E. Canal St. Sumter, SC 29150 Home: (803) 436-2102 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

SUMTER CITY COUNCIL Council meets on the first Tuesday at 1 p.m. and the third Tuesday at 5 p.m. at the Sumter Opera House, 21 N. Main St., 4th floor. Trustees are nonpartisan. David Merchant Mayor (803) 773-1086 Anthony Gibson Ward 1 (803) 565-0760 James Blassingame Ward 2 (803) 840-1029 Calvin Hastie Sr. Ward 3 (803) 774-7776 Steve Corley Ward 4 (803) 305-1566 Colin Davis Ward 5 (803) 494-3337 Gifford Shaw Ward 6 (803) 773-5918

SUMTER SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD OF TRUSTEES Attend virtually by searching “Sumter School District Board Meetings” on YouTube, or watch on Facebook @SumterSCSchools. Trustees are non-partisan. Daniel Palumbo District 1 6585 Hidden Haven Rd. Sumter, SC 29154 (803) 883-6119 Brittany English District 2 6760 Spring Hill Rd. Rembert, SC 29128 (803) 968-8899 Ralph Canty Sr. Chairman District 3 104 S. Salem Ave. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 983-1469 Tarah Cousar Johnson District 4 4770 Narrow Paved Rd. Lynchburg, SC 29080 (843) 412-4811 tarah.cousarjohnson@sumterschools. net Shawn Ragin Clerk District 5 3835 Quiet Court Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 464-6859 Matthew "Mac" McLeod District 6 2985 Bruce Circle Sumter, SC 29154 (803) 938-2701/Cell Shery White District 7 1300 Goodson Rd. Sumter, SC 29153 (803) 983-7157 Jeff Zell District 8 440 Veranda Dr. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 607-0797 Bonnie Disney Vice Chairwoman District 9 Swan Lake Dr. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 983-0268

Jimmy Davis

Air Solutions Heating and Cooling CEO Jimmy Davis was named the winner of the 2023 Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's Philip L. Edwards Business Person of the Year award


drive for personal excellence and investing in others leads Jimmy Davis' business mindset, and for that, he has been recognized with the area Chamber's highest honor. Davis, CEO of Air Solutions Heating and Cooling, was presented with the 2023 Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce's Philip L. Edwards Business Person of the Year award at the organization's gala in 2023 at La Piazza downtown. Davis said his parents and personal mentors have been his biggest role models in guiding his business philosophy to offer exceptional service to customers and groom his employees for personal success. After starting his career as a home builder, Davis in 2013 began his heating, ventilation and air-conditioning services business in his garage with one partner. A decade later, Air Solutions Heating and Cooling has 35 total employees and two locations - one at 2190 Storage Road and another in Florence. After the initial years of building the business, Davis said "his passion" now is to invest in his employees to include financial coaching and other assistance. "I love seeing young students who come to me right out of HVAC school at 22 years old, and then five years later, they are buying homes and starting families and are successful," he said. "That is really what I have taken pride in is helping that person build a lifestyle." Davis said he considers Ed Bynum of Assured Partners, formerly Bynum Insurance, as his biggest role model in this management aspect. They have had a close friendship for

about 10 years, he said. "I have noticed in working with his company that all of his employees have a story of where Ed invested in them," Davis said. "He knows their families personally, and he has built a culture over there that is unmatched. When you walk in, you can tell. It's unlike any other workplace you go to. It is not just people working there doing a job; the culture is phenomenal." A strong work ethic is also essential in business, he said, and he has a saying that "average is the enemy." "If you shoot for average, most times you will fall on the wrong side of the fence," he said. A motivation for personal excellence was key when he switched careers from home building to the heating and air-conditioning services business. It involved taking chances and often circumstances were not comfortable, he added, including buying his first van for $5,000 and buying land and property for the business. At 37, Davis is also the youngest winner of the Chamber's Business Person of the Year award. His family includes his wife, Savanah, and two children. A member of Christ Community Church, Davis said a strong Christian faith has been important for him and his wife. "We have a very strong faith, and it's played a huge role in keeping us grounded because we have had some tough times when I was taking a lot of those chances in the business," he said. "Having a strong faith and a strong wife have definitely made those times much easier."



Organizer says 6,500 attended 2023 kid-focused festival



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Thousands gathered in downtown Sumter on Oct. 7, 2023, for the fourthannual eSTEAM Sumter Festival. This event was all about local youth. Nearly 100 businesses and groups from across the area set up tables on and around Main Street where kids could learn about careers involving science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. Every table had an interactive activity to help engage kids' minds and get them thinking about what area of STEAM they could see themselves entering. Erika Williams from TheLINK Economic Development Alliance,

which is the group responsible for the event, said this year's eSTEAM festival was a success thanks to an "outstanding team of folks." Williams said the 2023 attendance was more than 6,500, which surpassed the 2022 attendance of approximately 3,000. She also said it's special to see her and her team's hard work come to fruition a fourth time in six years (the pandemic canceled the event two years in a row). "There are always things to be improved upon," she said, "but my heart is full."



German manufacturer VAC produces magnets in motors for growing EV industry; will build facility locally

Planning for the future

Made alongside South Carolina's top elected officials and business leaders, the VAC announcement is the biggest economic investment in Sumter County's history.

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umter is entering the electric vehicle industry with a $506 million capital investment and 300-job announcement by German manufacturer VAC, or Vacuumschmelze. Local and state leaders and VAC CEO Erik Eschen made the public announcement before a large gathering at Sumter Opera House in late 2023. VAC makes high-end permanent magnets that are placed in the rotor of an electric motor and help power the vehicle. The company is the only producer of the permanent magnets in the Western Hemisphere, Eschen said. Today, most magnets for motors in battery electric vehicles are produced in China and a national initiative has been directed toward reducing that overseas dependency, he added. VAC will be in Pocotaligo Industrial Park off U.S. 521 South in Sumter County and build a state-of-the-art production facility. Site construction will begin in mid-January, and the company plans to be operational by the fourth quarter of 2025, according to officials. The Sumter operation

will have the name eVAC. The 300 jobs will be created within a fiveyear time frame, possibly sooner. The EV announcement was the second in two days for South Carolina, which continues to grow its electric vehicle cluster. State Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey noted the automobile industry is the largest manufacturing sector in South Carolina, and the state is preparing those 75,000-plus workers for the future of the industry. "It's critical as the industry makes a pivot from the internal combustion engine to the battery electric vehicle that we be part of that and protect those 75,000 South Carolinians' jobs," Lightsey said. "And this is just another step in that direction." VAC is a 100-year-old company and considered world class in its technology. It has entered a contract with General Motors to provide magnets for the future release of about 25 models in its EV platform, according to VAC Vice President Alexander Barcza. VAC also provides components used in U.S. Department of Defense applications.


PUBLIC SCHOOLS Sumter School District 1345 Wilson Hall Road, Sumter, SC (803) 469-6900

Elementary Schools Alice Drive Elementary School 251 Alice Drive, Sumter (803) 775-0857 Cherryvale Elementary School 1420 Furman Drive, Sumter (803) 494-8200 Crosswell Drive Elementary School 301 Crosswell Drive, Sumter (803) 775-0679 High Hills Elementary School 4971 Frierson Road, Shaw AFB (803) 499-3327 Kingsbury Elementary School 825 Kingsbury Drive, Sumter (803) 775-6244 Lemira Elementary School 952 Fulton St., Sumter (803) 775-0658 Manchester Elementary School 200 Clark St., Pinewood (803) 452-5454 Millwood Elementary School 24 Pinewood Road, Sumter (803) 775-0648 Oakland Primary School 5415 Oakland Drive, Sumter (803) 499-3366 Pocalla Springs Elementary School 2060 Bethel Church Road, Sumter (803) 481-5800 Rafting Creek Elementary School 4100 Hwy. 261 North, Rembert (803) 432-2994 R.E. Davis College Preparatory Academy 345 Eastern School Road, Sumter (803) 495-3247 Shaw Heights Elementary School 5121 Frierson Road, Shaw AFB (803) 666-2335 Wilder Elementary School 975 S. Main St., Sumter (803) 773-5723 Willow Drive Elementary School 26 Willow Drive, Sumter (803) 773-5796

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Middle Schools Alice Drive Middle School 40 Miller Road, Sumter (803) 775-0821 Bates Middle School 715 Estate St., Sumter (803) 775-0711 Chestnut Oaks Middle School 1200 Oswego Road, Sumter (803) 775-7272

PRIVATE AND INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS Ragin Preparatory Christian Academy 68 Market St., Sumter (803) 774-5549 or (803) 469-6058 Sumter Christian School 420 S. Pike West, Sumter (803) 773-1902

Ebenezer Middle School 3440 Ebenezer Road, Sumter (803) 469-8571

Thomas Sumter Academy 5265 Camden Hwy., Rembert (803) 499-3378

Furman Middle School 3400 Bethel Church Road, Sumter (803) 481-8519

Wedgefield University for Kids 6220 Wedgefield Road, Sumter (803) 494-3887

Hillcrest Middle School 4355 Peach Orchard Road, Dalzell (803) 499-3341 R.E. Davis College Preparatory Academy 345 Eastern School Road, Sumter (803) 495-3247

High Schools Crestwood High School 2000 Oswego Road, Sumter (803) 469-6200 Lakewood High School 350 Old Manning Road, Sumter (803) 506-2700 or 803-506-2704 Sumter High School 2580 McCrays Mill Road, Sumter (803) 481-4480 Sumter Career and Technology Center 2612 McCrays Mill Road, Sumter (803) 481-8575

Alternative School Sumter Academy for Support and Intervention 475 Crosswell Drive, Sumter (803) 774-5900

Adult Education Sumter County Adult Education 905 N. Main St., Sumter (803) 778-6432

Charter School Liberty STEAM Charter School Administrative Office 117 N. Main St. Sumter, SC 29150 (803) 720-5652

Westside Christian Academy 554 Pinewood Road, Sumter (803) 774-4406 Wilson Hall 520 Wilson Hall Road, Sumter (803) 469-3475

COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES Central Carolina Technical College 506 N. Guignard Drive, Sumter (803) 778-1961 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University 398 Shaw Drive #112, Shaw AFB (803) 666-7401 Morris College 100 W. College St., Sumter (803) 934-3200 Saint Leo University 2751 S. Wise Drive, Sumter (803) 469-0026 Troy University 465 Rast St., Sumter Sumter campus (803) 773-0025; Shaw campus (803) 666-3313 University of South Carolina Sumter 200 Miller Road, Sumter (803) 775-8727 Webster University 398 Shaw Drive, Shaw AFB (803) 666-2254





anked as one of the top community colleges in South Carolina*, the University of South Carolina Sumter has a faculty and staff 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 post-graduate 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 2023.

Learn More About USC Sumter

Address: 200 Miller Rd, Sumter, SC Phone: (803) 775-8727 TH E SUMTE R I TE M | 47

A brighter future ahead

for Central Carolina College holds groundbreaking ceremony for new Academic Student Services Building


he sunshine in Sumter was symbolic of the festivities at Central Carolina Technical College as officials broke ground on a new, three-story building that will modernize the main campus. College leaders, faculty, staff, students, Sumter County council members and state Speaker of the House Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, all took part in the official groundbreaking ceremony for CCTC's new Academic Student Services Building scheduled to be completed in two years and open in January 2026. The 58,000-square-foot facility will feature two three-story wings joined by a connecting hallway and will reorganize and cluster many of the college's student services together in a single wing, providing easy access to departments including admissions, dual enrollment, academic advisement, financial aid, finance and career services. That wing will also include a flexible multipurpose space and adjoining commercial kitchen to accommodate a variety of student life and campus events and functions. The other side will be an academic wing and will provide additional classroom and lab space and will consolidate faculty 48 | 2024 L I F E I S G O O D I N S U M TER

and instructional space into a single location. The state's technical college system includes 16 technical colleges and has always had a reputation for meeting industries' workforce needs. Central Carolina serves the greater Sumter region, which also includes Clarendon, Lee and Kershaw counties, and CCTC president Kevin Pollock also announced additional appropriations that have been made for the college's Advanced Manufacturing Technology Training Center on Broad Street and also at the Kershaw and Lee sub-campuses. Smith said the groundbreaking and other college funding made it a "very good day" in the Sumter community but also for the four-county region. "This is about educating students for today, but more importantly for this community, this is about the future of our community," Smith said. "The students who attend here, we ultimately place them for jobs and jobs that are needed to be filled at this point. "This is where the rubber meets the road. I can tell you the best place where you can produce a ready workforce is right here at Central Carolina Technical College."

Pollock said the three-story building will be the tallest structure on the main campus on Guignard Drive and was originally planned to be two separate buildings. However, given current inflation, the college was not going to be able to afford them. According to Pollock, Smith assisted the college with obtaining more money and the concept of combining the two structures into one large-scale building actually saved about $10 million in construction costs. The total cost for the project is $39 million in state funding, he said. In the construction process, the college will also demolish some older facilities to include the M200 Building and wing of the M100 Building. Pollock added the project was "truly a team effort" on the part of the college's leadership team and the legislative bodies. The project architect is Quackenbush Architects, based in Columbia. Construction will be handled by Hood Construction, also based in Columbia. Building construction is scheduled to begin early this year with an anticipated completion date of November 2025 in time for

spring semester classes, which will begin in January 2026. Central Carolina's fall enrollment is 3,002 students, officials said.

BY THE NUMBERS 39 MILLION: Total financial allocation and cost for new project 58,000: Estimated square footage for new building 3,002: Fall enrollment at CCTC this semester 4: Counties in CCTC's service area (Sumter, Clarendon, Lee and Kershaw counties) 3: Number of stories in building (will be tallest building on campus) 2: Number of wings (with one connecting hallway) Source: Central Carolina Technical College TH E SUMTE R I TE M | 49

MORRIS COLLEGE, SUMTER'S HBCU HIGH SCHOOLERS LEARN MORE ABOUT CYBERSECURITY, ESPORTS IN MORRIS' AWARENESS DAY; COLLEGE SEEING ENROLLMENT GROWTH College is all about presenting opportunities to students, and the world of cybersecurity and esports was on display recently at Morris College. Our world is constantly changing, given technology and everyone's connectivity to smartphones and devices, and because October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Morris welcomed 300 Sumter School District high school students to showcase its development in the cybersecurity arena and current and future job opportunities during the month in 2023. In the ever-evolving world, security and defending resources - such as bank accounts and medical records - must also change, and with that, new jobs are constantly being added. Morris senior Rebekah Grissett is a cybersecurity major and said that she decided to pursue the career field because several of her older family members have gotten hacked by online predators, and she wanted to help them and the greater community. College Cybersecurity Project Director Radman Ali said local industries, the hospital system, private businesses and the military all need cybersecurity analysts these days to protect their data in a growing pervasive environment with hackers. About five years ago, Morris added the cybersecurity major, and most recently it also added three esports majors in esports 50 | 2024 L I F E I S G O O D I N S U M TER

cybersecurity, which is a combination of both fields, esports video game design and esports management. Currently, the college has 27 students majoring in cybersecurity, which is up from the previous year. Ali and other college officials expect that total to continue to grow significantly in the years to come. With the curriculum additions and also adding a supply chain management major, Morris is working to stay on the front end of changing career opportunities, leaders said. Its official enrollment for fall 2023 was 421 students, up about 6% from 398 one year ago. Morris' exhibits at the October 2023 event focused on its opportunities in esports and cybersecurity but also included its STEM majors in biology, chemistry, physics and forensics, among others. Lakewood High School senior Rashad Frierson said he was impressed by the program put together by the college, especially around cybersecurity. "I didn't really know about cybersecurity, and I enjoyed learning about it," he said. "I didn't know it paid so well either, and it is definitely something that I will consider as an opportunity since I have always been around computers in my life."

Account openings and credit are subject to Bank approval. Member FDIC.


t c i r t s i D l o o h c S r Sumte



K e l l i Howard

For Kelli Howard, the third time is the charm. After earning her third campus teacher of the year honor in three districts in her career, Howard took home the 2023-24 Sumter School District Teacher of the Year award at the district's Back to School Rally at Sumter County Civic Center. A Buffalo, New York, native, Howard is a fifth-grade English language arts and social studies teacher at High Hills Elementary School on Shaw Air Force Base and said it was an honor to receive the award from among the district's 26 campus teachers of the year. She has a "genuine love" for teaching and enjoys supporting students toward "light-bulb moments" and achievement in the classroom, Howard said. "I love making kids see that they can do something and they can achieve it and being that person in their corner," she said. "A lot of kids are missing that at home, but once they see that

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someone is in their corner and pushing for them, that is what keeps me going every day." She added that High Hills Principal Mary Kay Norton is a great leader and gives teachers autonomy. "But she really wants us as teachers to have relationships with each other and with the kids," Howard said. "Being fully engaged is something that is an expectation but something that we all love to do at the same time." A High Hills Elementary teacher last won the district teacher of the year honor five years ago for the 2018-19 school year when Shasta Smith took home the award.

Chris Hardy, IOM, CCE, CCEC President & CEO

Debra Mims Office Manager

Josh Morrell Director of Partner Development

Breanna J. Hughes Director of Programs & Events




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future Liberty STEAM Charter School continues adding classrooms


here were not any drumrolls, but with a few mouse clicks, Liberty STEAM Charter School added 144 more seats to its class rolls for the 2024-25 school year in its annual online enrollment lottery in December 2023. With more student applications than available seats again this year, Liberty conducted its fourth-annual lottery, and the public charter school will now have another class of kindergartners brought on for the 2024-25 school year through the randomly selected lottery process. For the upcoming year, Liberty will have 750 total students across kindergarten through fourth grade. Kindergartners and first-graders are housed at the primary academy campus, 15 School St. in South Sumter. Second-, third- and fourthgraders will be at the school's elementary campus in Sumter Mall at the former JC Penney site. The new fourth-grade wing consisting of six classrooms was recently completed, and meeting participants took a

tour of the new area before the lottery was conducted. In 2023-24, Liberty had 586 students as a K-3 school. Families are given five business days after the lottery to make their decision and then 10 days to complete their enrollment paperwork. For spaces available after that time, the wait list will be utilized, Executive Director Trevor Ivey said. A total of 303 kindergarten applications were received during the fall enrollment application period. The school received an additional 450 applications for students to be potentially placed in grades 1 through 4 next year. Liberty STEAM initially opened in August 2021 as a K-1 school with 192 students. In its current K-12 growth model, Liberty adds one grade per year. As students – or scholars as the school refers to them – reach a grade level higher each year, a new class of kindergartners is brought on board.


A CONNECTION TO THE PAST TO BUILD THE FUTURE U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., has visited many schools in his political career, but a visit to Sumter in 2023 was a trip down memory lane. Clyburn, who represents the 6th Congressional District of South Carolina, toured Liberty’s Primary Academy campus, which is the site of the former Liberty Street Elementary School where the congressman attended fourth through sixth grades while growing up in South Sumter. Liberty STEAM is Sumter's first tuitionfree public charter school, and it was the first time that a state Congressional member has visited the school. Just before 10 a.m., Primary Academy students holding a Liberty banner greeted Clyburn when he arrived at the front entrance to the school at 15 School St. Ivey then invited the congressman inside where he first visited a kindergarten classroom that was his sixth-grade classroom in the early 1950s. The original school was built in 1949 and served Black children in grades 1-6 in the former Sumter School District 17 during segregation in the 1950s and `60s. 56 | 2024 L I F E I S G O O D I N S U M TER

Clyburn sat in a student chair and read a Thanksgiving book to the kindergartners. Later, he participated in a Community Culture Day celebration in the school's cafeteria, where he was greeted by firstgraders who performed various classroom

chants. In addition to high curriculum standards, Liberty's teachers and administrators expose students to the school's three core values, which involve personal responsibility, teamwork and a growth mindset. The values are also recited in a chant, which was repeated numerous times by students during Clyburn’s visit.

Clyburn participated in the celebration by helping students who were recognized don their award-winning jackets. Ivey then took the congressman on a tour of the rest of the campus, including Clyburn's former fourth-grade classroom, and briefed him on Liberty's co-teacher, classroom model and other standards. After about an hour, Clyburn and other officials left and toured Liberty's Elementary Academy campus inside Sumter Mall. There, Clyburn stayed in the student cafeteria with students during activities and capped off his visit by speaking to the students. Clyburn said he was "very pleased" by the energy and culture at the two campuses and said that he always supported the concept of public charter schools. In the political realm in the U.S. -- and now also in the country's greater social realm -- he said people have not explained the concept of charter schools well. "We let the soundbites control people's actions," Clyburn said, "because soundbites keep them from thinking. They

simply react to the soundbites and that is what has hurt charter schools." If people understood the charter school concept more fully, then they would support it, he said. "So much of what goes into developing these core values that the students and staff talked about today requires much more than a soundbite," Clyburn said. "And that to me is what I think this school seems to be doing a pretty good job of, and I just hope the community supports it the way they should." Clyburn added that he felt the enthusiasm and student participation in his visit to Liberty. "To see those classrooms that I sat in look the way they look today, and you can feel it in the rooms," he said. "One thing that I learned about politics a long time ago is it is a business where you have to learn to feel. If you don't feel it, it really does not exist. When I walked into those classrooms, you could feel it and you know these kids are getting a real wholesome education that is going to be very beneficial to them for the rest of their lives." After visiting the two campuses, Clyburn went to Quixote Club to play golf at the course off Pinewood Road. The private golf course is linked to Liberty STEAM Charter School through the Quixote Foundation, which is its philanthropic arm to the school.

LIBERTY STEAM LOTTERY BY THE NUMBERS 2037: The high school graduating year for next year's kindergarten class 753: Verified applications for lottery 450: Total applications for grades 1-4 next year 303: Total kindergarten applications

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y name is Bryn Eddy, and I am The Sumter Item’s newsletter editor. I came back to work at The Item after interning here in college. The newsletter editor position caught my attention because it presented itself as an opportunity to exercise my casual writing skills. As someone with an English degree and bookshelves full of classic literature, I have always been close friends with “fancy writing,” but the point of our daily newsletter, which is called the Daily Item, is to give our readers content that’s easily accessible on the platforms you’re already using. So, I like to write like I am right now - casually and conversationally. The newsletter is intended to pop into Item supporters’ inboxes at about the time they return from their lunch breaks. It only takes a few minutes to read and scroll through. The top has a quick intro, which most of the time is written by me. It could be about a cool thing I tried in Sumter, or it could be a mini sermon on supporting local news. Then under that are our top headlines. Readers can get the gist of all things public safety, entertainment, government, sports and more. The newsletter is also designed to be a quick way for readers to engage with our content and provide feedback at their convenience. By just hitting reply, you have a direct route to my inbox, and I always have my email notifications on, so odds are, I’ll reply pretty quickly. It’s free to sign up, and you’ll get the Daily Item Tuesday-Saturday, the days our newspaper is printed. I also send other newsletters that vary in being free or for our paying subscribers. They’re all meant to help you feel more connected with your community. Oh, and I also cover Shaw Air Force Base and the military beat for The Item, so if you see me around or have a story idea, give me a shout.



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