Florence Revolutionary Rivers Trail Earns National Designation

The 60-mile trail in Florence County carries paddlers into the cypress and tupelo-laden swampland Francis Marion used as a hideout while fighting the British during the American Revolution.

Last month the 60-mile South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail on Lynches River became a National Water Trail in an effort spearheaded by the Friends of Revolutionary Rivers.

The official announcement was made on June 4, National Trails Day. Nine recreation trails in seven states, were added to the National Trails System.

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Volunteers Flock to Help Paint Downtown Florence Mural

Work on Florence’s new downtown mural began in earnest Saturday morning as a steady crowd of volunteers passed through the painting station on North Dargan Street across from Ideal Funeral Parlor.

“It is sort of a surprise. One of the people who is featured in the mural doesn’t know the mural is taking place,” said Hannah Davis, development manager for the city of Florence. “It’s going to be an amazing tribute to him and the contribution he has made to the African-American Historic District.”

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Florence 1 Schools In Strong Position To Start School Year

The Florence 1 School District will start the 2022-23 school year on Aug. 1 with nearly all its teaching positions filed, Superintendent Richard O’Malley said recently.

 In late June, the district had approximately 10 classrooms in need of a teacher, O’Malley said. The district started the 2021-22 school year with a teacher in every classroom.

 The district’s benefit package makes recruiting and retaining educators easier, O’Malley said. At the June 16 Board of Trustees meeting, the board added another benefit for teachers – paid maternity and paternity leave. “The quality of life issues that we’ve added to our benefits for our staff have been very much well-received,” O’Malley said. “Last year, we started no vacancies for the first time. This year, we are getting close to that. I think we have about 10 classroom vacancies.”

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Three SC Metro with Large Property Tax Increases From 2020 to 2021

An analysis published this week shows that three South Carolina metropolitan areas were amongst twenty other metro areas in the United States that saw the highest increase in property taxes from 2020 to 2021. The Greenville, Columbia, and Charleston metro areas ranked 18th, 14th, and 13th respectively in property tax growth from 2020 to 2021 with average property taxes rising roughly 10-12% during this time period. To be included in the report, each metro area had to have a population of at least 500,000.

Sales of homes in South Carolina increased by 11.1% during that same period while median sales prices also rose by 13.8% according to the South Carolina Realtors 2021 Annual Report.

Travis Tritt & Chris Janson Announce Co-Headlined Tour, “The Can’t Miss Tour” To Be In Florence SC

Two of Country Music’s most dynamic performers and multi- platinum selling and award-winning artists, Travis Tritt and Chris Janson, are set to embark on a co-headline tour, the Can’t Miss Tour, and it’s coming to Florence Center on November 4. Joining Tritt and Janson are War Hippies, who will appear as special guests along the tour.

For ticket information, click here.

Data Suggests “Great Reshuffling” Instead of “Great Resignation”

Newly released state-level Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that nearly 86,000 South Carolinians left their jobs in April to pursue other opportunities, with South Carolina employers adding over 113,000 new workers during that same time period. The total number of individuals that left their jobs is 3.7% of the state’s total workforce. As of May 2022, there were over 112,000 open jobs in the state and only 79,000 unemployed individuals.

While much has been made nationally about the “great resignation” with workers leaving their jobs at staggering rates, recent analysis by the US Chamber of Commerce has pushed back on that notion by highlighting that the national hiring rate (4.4%) has vastly exceeded the national quit rate (2.9%) since 2020 thus seeming to indicate that individuals are choosing to pursue other employment opportunities for a variety of reasons. A more apt description of this phenomenon would appear to be the “great reshuffling” instead of the “great resignation”.

The jobs report released on Friday by the BLS showed that the U.S. added 372,000 jobs in the month of June, exceeding projections by almost 100,000 jobs in a sign that the labor market around the country is still hot.

The Asiya Jordan Foundation Celebrates Joining the Florence Chamber

A ribbon cutting was held on Thursday, June 30th in the James Allen Plaza celebrating the Asiya Jordan Foundation’s joining of the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.

Cutting the ribbon was Shalanda Waiters, Director of the foundation, which was established in memory of her daughter, Asiya Jordan.

Sixteen-year-old Asiya Jordan died in a car crash on McIver Road in October 2019. Her mother said she was on her way to Florence-Darlington Tech.

She was a junior at Wilson and a varsity cheerleader.

Waiters said her daughter was very community-service oriented and wanted to make a difference in the world.

The foundation gives scholarships to deserving students in memory of Jordan.

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CARE House Holds Ribbon Cutting

CARE House of the Pee Dee held a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, June 28th celebrating joining the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce. Meg Temple, Executive Director, cut the ribbon and was joined by her staff, friends, and Chamber staff and ambassadors.

CARE House of the Pee Dee is a children’s advocacy center. Its mission is to promote, help, hope and healing in a nurturing environment for child abuse victims.

The center serves Florence, Marion, Dillon and Clarendon counties, Temple said.  Started in 2006, CARE House of the Pee Dee is a non-profit, one-stop center for child abuse victims.

It has been in its current location at 1920 Second Loop Road in Florence since 2019.

Temple said the center works along with DSS and law enforcement to help them get what they need in the least intimidating way from a child when investigating child abuse. She said the center provides forensic interviews, forensic medical services, advocacy and evidence-based therapy services.

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City of Florence is Recognized at MASC Gathering

The City of Florence received statewide recognition Friday at the Municipal Association of South Carolina annual meeting. The city of Florence was selected in the economic development category for the food, artisan, and warehouse district with the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Award for Economic Development on behalf of the city.. The city partnered with a private investor to establish Sav A Lot, downtown Florence’s first grocery store. The Redbone Alley Sauce plant opened anchoring the east end of the corridor.

The city of Florence constructed a permanent public space to cultivate food entrepreneurs with the creation of the City Center Farmers Market and Commercial Kitchen to spur entrepreneurial growth.

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After Three Generations, Jones Auto Wrecking Company Has Been Sold

For over a century, Jones Auto Wrecking Co. Inc. on Darlington Street has been a family-owned business. It has now changed hands. Stewart Jones, a third-generation owner of the auto repair business, is retiring.

On June 24, Jones sold the business to Classic Collision, a multi-shop operation. He said Classic Collision owns about 186 shops.

The company was started by J. W. “Duco” Jones, who opened the auto repair shop in downtown Florence in 1919 on the second floor of a building. Later it moved to Sanborn Street.

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