PICKENS — Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and Blue Ridge Security Solutions have announced that the 19th annual Blue Ridge Fest, held earlier this month, raised a record-breaking amount of $201,000 to benefit local nonprofit organizations in Greenville, Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties.
This is the first year the employee organized and executed event surpassed the $200,000 mark. Since the event’s inception, almost two decades ago, Blue Ridge Fest has donated more than $2.2 million to numerous agencies in the Upstate area.
This year a number of nonprofits received funds from Blue Ridge Fest. The 2016 beneficiaries include Cancer Association of Anderson, Collins Children’s Home & Ministries, Center for Developmental Services, Dot’s Kitchen, Emerson Rose Heart Foundation, Feed A Hungry Child, Foothills Alliance, North Greenville Food Crisis Ministry, Rosa Clark Medical Center, Samaritan Health Clinic of Pickens County, The Dream Center of Pickens County and Wilderness Way Camp School.
Representatives from both Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative and Blue Ridge Security Solutions will host check presentations later this month for each nonprofit organization receiving funds.
“This year’s Blue Ridge Fest reached a long-time goal, allowing us to support our community at a very high level,” president and CEO Charles Dalton said.
PICKENS — The Pickens Recreation Department is currently registering youth for its fall 2016 cheerleading and football season.
Deadline for registration is June 8. Parents can register their children at the Pickens Recreation Center on Sangamo Road in Pickens.
The following age divisions are offered: 6-year-old/100 pounds; 7-8-year-old/100 pounds; 9-10-year-old/135 pounds; and 11-12-year-old/150 pounds.
There will be no weight limit, which means players weighing over the weight limit may still play but must play the interior line and not carry the football.
In the 11-12-year-old division, the first 28 boys to register will be taken and a waiting list will be kept after this number has registered.
Cheerleaders must cheer within same age classifications as football players. Birthdate cut-off is Sept. 1, 2016. Birth certificates are required at registration.
Following registration, a skills evaluation day will be held for football participants. The registration fee for football provides a jersey and helmet decals, while cheerleaders are provided a clinic and T-shirt. Football players are required to furnish their own equipment, and cheerleaders will have an additional uniform expense of $98. There will be two fitting dates for cheerleaders: Wednesday, June 1, and Wednesday, June 8, both from 6-7:30 p.m.
The registration fee is $45 for in-city residents and $55 for out-of-city residents. If you are interested in coaching or need additional information, call the Recreation Department at 878-2296.
COUNTY — Alliance Pickens, with input from Pickens County existing industry partners, the Pickens County Career and Technology Center (CTC), and Tri-County Technical College, developed the Scholar Technician initiative in 2012 as a workforce development activity and economic development program. This initiative focuses on the subject areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and its purpose is to encourage students to pursue technical careers while also assisting existing Pickens County STEM manufacturers with an increased volume and velocity of technically trained employees. By using extensive hands-on technical training, this initiative encourages students to apply STEM principles to solving problems with their minds and their hands.
The Scholar Technician initiative has received international acclaim. First, published for international release by Crown/Random House Publishing in January 2015, the award winning book Job U, authored by Nicholas Wyman, extensively discusses Scholar Technician. Wyman holds the Pickens County workforce development model as the model for the U.S. to follow in bridging the skills gap that exists between young people and employers.
“I showcased Pickens County, South Carolina, on the world stage as a shining example of community partnerships that work,” said Wyman.
Next, Forbes Magazine in July 2015 discussed Pickens County’s workforce development effort. In that article, Wyman states “Today, the best brand-name manufacturing companies send recruiters to Pickens County to look over the latest crop of tech-savvy students – like Major League football teams sending their scouts to check out the upcoming talent.”
In September 2015, Scholar Technician was recognized as the nation’s third best workforce development human capital program by the International Economic Development Council.
Lastly, on April 15, the New York Times published an op-ed by Katherine Newman and Hella Winston that commended the CTC as “an example of a school that works.” Newman and Winston also discuss the CTC in their 2016 book “Reskilling America: Learning to Labor in the 21st Century.”
Much of the success and acclaim of Scholar Technician® can be attributed to the tireless efforts of Alliance Pickens, existing Pickens County industry, and the CTC for working together to enlighten students of the careers awaiting them and giving these students the encouragement to learn and develop the skills required of these careers.
We’ve owned many Chihuahuas in our time, but we’ve never owned one like Toby Lee Fowler. They’ve all been intelligent little dogs, but he is perhaps the smartest of all. He is certainly the most willful and manipulative dog we’ve ever had, and he definitely has his own agenda.
The dog guide that tells you how to train your puppy has proved useless with Toby Lee. Obviously, he thinks the book should be banned. He certainly ignores everything in it.
It’s very like the baby book they used to give you when you were ready to bring the new baby home from the hospital filled with hope and expectations. And then your baby cries and cries, and nothing in the baby book works.
Well, Toby’s issue is with obedience. He pretends to be deaf when he is called. He won’t even turn your way, but continues to stroll about the yard looking at grass and sniffing the plants. He might glance at you as if to say, “what’s your problem?,” but clearly it has nothing to do with him.
And it’s not as though he doesn’t understand what you’re saying. He does. If it’s something he wants to do, then he’s Johnny on the spot.
But if it’s something unimportant to him, he ignores you.
Most of our previous Chihuahuas were very picky eaters. He is also an exception to that rule. We once had a Chihuahua, Tinkerbell, who went on a three-day hunger strike, refusing to eat her dog food. We finally had to feed her egg yolk, honey and canned milk, because she’d gotten so weak she couldn’t walk. She simply wouldn’t eat dry dog food, so we had to feed her canned dog food. And she never ate a whole lot of that. But she was affectionate and cooperative in every other way.
Choco was a sweetheart. She would eat just to please us, but never seemed really hungry. Sometimes the children would offer her tidbits from their plates. She wouldn’t eat them, but would take them away and hide them, just to be polite.
Cheetah was a lovey dove. She would eat puppy chow, but for a long time she’d only eat a few tidbits every now and. She enjoyed playing with her dry food and would toss it into the air and try to catch it.
But Toby Lee Fowler would probably eat a rock if you had one on your plate. He is a shameless beggar and will carry on as though he has been starved. If you relent and give him anything, it’s all over. Occasionally he’ll be given a pork chop bone — not by me — and he’ll carry it around and put it in his bed and gnaw it and keep it safe. If an attempt is made to take it away, he’ll run with it and a chase will take place. He’s pretty fast and maneuvers like nothing you’ve ever seen. When he runs really fast, his ears go straight back and he’s just a blur.
He always has a plan. When he’s ready to go to bed at night, he will attempt to make you cut off TV and go upstairs. He’ll run from the TV to you and then to the foot of the stairs. He’ll bark, and if you ignore that, he’ll attempt to talk, facing you and moving his mouth around to try to form words. He’ll keep this up until he gets his way. He has more stamina than I and will wear me down.
I no longer have the energy to stay on top of a Chihuahua. Apparently there’s been a role reversal. But he is an engaging little scamp and is loving and loyal. All in all, we’re happy with the little devil. He’s certainly one of the most entertaining little dogs we’ve ever owned. He may not be perfect, but he’s ours and we love him.
Suggestions for the creed
The Oconee County Republican Party has recently opened a headquarters office on Townville Street in Seneca. Prominently displayed in the storefront window is a document titled “The Republican Creed.” It consists largely of a list of the writer’s choices of “rather thans” in conducting his affairs (opportunity rather than security; incentive rather than dole; fulfillment rather than utopia; freedom rather than beneficence, etc.).
The writer might consider a choice between two other alternatives: originality rather than plagiarism. The content of the “creed” is apparently lifted almost verbatim from a piece by Dean Alfange (or, going back further, maybe Thomas Paine).
We would all like to see the Republicans adopt a “creed” that includes such things as: their constructive participation, rather than overt obstructionism, in the conduct of our nation’s affairs; working toward increasing voter participation in elections, rather than the disenfranchisement of thousands through repressive and unnecessary voter identification requirements; working toward every American having health insurance, rather than refusing to allow hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians to have insurance that is readily available for them; working toward solutions to real problems, like our disintegrating infrastructure, rather than frittering away their time and effort on such foolishness as legislation to ban Sharia law in South Carolina.
My party’s Oconee County headquarters office is across the street from the Republican office. If the writer of “The Republican Creed” would like to participate in a sincere, constructive effort in dealing with the nation’s governance, he might consider joining us.
Someday you will fly
“Born in Hell, live in Hell, die and go to Hell.” These words were written on the wall of a local laundromat. I was 15 years old, and upon reading those words I never forgot them.
What we have here is a person who has given up on life, probably because they thought all life is like what they grew up around. I remember when I was growing up I caught a lot of flak and grief from those I grew up with. I kept telling myself that there was a better world somewhere and I would find it.
It gave me hope and helped me keep my sanity.
Two things that were my strength, no matter how rough it got, were my faith and my dreams.
Faith in a higher power — God, who takes His vengeance on our enemies. Truly he does. As for my dreams, I used to draw and paint. Never did make it as a cartoonist, but it kept me sane.
Any child or young person reading this, I want you not to give up. Smoking your brain cells out on marijuana or crawling in a liquior bottle to drown your sorrows only adds to the problem.
I left school the night of graduation, and after going to summer school left forever.
You can find your little bit of Heaven someday. Life does not end at 18. At least it didn’t for me. My best years came later, as I had believed. After leaving school, I lost my job and had to work in another town. I found I was right — that not everywhere is the same as where you grow up.
These people were rank strangers who took me in.
After a while, they became my friends, and shortly thereafter, they became family.
I worked in Walhalla for 32 years and lived there for two years in the late ‘70s.
I’ve since had to leave for another job in another place.
God has been good. I have always had good people to work with, as with the people at the new place I work at. It’s been 10 years, and I can’t complain. These people are family, too. So glad I didn’t give up like so many do. There is a better world out there. Don’t give up — your time to celebrate will come. Just stay straight and keep hoping. To give up hope is to be defeated.
Don’t ever give up — you will make it someday if you don’t ever give up. Someday, as the eagle, you, too, will spread your wings and fly.
Tri-County Technical College’s welding students garnered six awards — including three first-place recognitions — at the 34th annual South Carolina Technical College State-wide Welding Competition hosted by Greenville Technical College April 22. Pictured from left, are Dakota Phillips of Walhalla, third place, Category 4; Brandon Patterson, dual enrollment student from Easley, first place, Category 2; Charles Orr of Simpsonville, second place, Category 1; Bryson “Ty” Nettles of Easley, first place, Category 5; Andrew Abstance of Aiken, first place, Category 3; and David “Clarke” Richey of Belton, second place, Category 6.
CLEMSON — The sixth annual Clemson Festival of Arts is scheduled for this Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. in downtown Clemson at Catherine Smith Plaza and Jaycee and Abernathy Parks.
There is no charge for admission.
This year will introduce the first-ever “Parade of Characters” for all ages featuring princesses, superheroes and other popular costumes. The parade kicks off the festival at 10 a.m., and judging of costumes will take place around 10:45-11 a.m.
The Clemson Festival of Arts is different from other area festivals. Children, family and friends will be able to enjoy an “art full” Saturday. There is a Kids Art Park with lots of creative, fun hands on projects going on all day. In addition to fine, handcrafted art for sale, there will also be artists’ demonstrations in woodturning, glass bead making, fiber art, clay and book art sculptures. There is also an Art in Action tent to make and take art projects such as painting, fiber art, mixed media, clay and jewelry making throughout the day.
Visit explorearts.org for festival activity details, project and demonstration times.
LIBERTY — Keith Culbreath has announced his bid for Pickens County Council for the Liberty district.
According to Culbreath, council needs to focus on economic growth in Pickens County in order to bring much-needed jobs to the area.
“We also need to repair relationships with the municipalities in our county and to make sure things like the coal ash dump are put to rest for good,” Culbreath said.
“My platform is simple — I will work for the citizens of Pickens County and of the Liberty district for the good of the people that I represent,” Culbreath added.
Culbreath said he will work with anyone on anything as long as it is for the citizens and not that of a chosen few.
“I will be accessible, and above all I will be honest,” he said. “Thank you for your support.”
Culbreath retired from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office in 2011. He is a board member of the Liberty Area Fire District. He and his wife attend Norris First Baptist Church.
CENTRAL — A Southern Wesleyan University student was honored for making a difference in the lives of residents in an area recovering from plant closures and a tragic chemical spill.
Anne Fulcher of Warrenville was enrolled at Southern Wesleyan’s North Augusta learning center and graduated May 6 with her master of science in management and leadership.
Anne Fulcher, above, received the Provost’s Community Leadership Award April 28 at Southern Wesleyan University in Central. Dr. Tonya Strickland, Southern Wesleyan’s provost, presented Fulcher with the award.
Fulcher is the editor of the GVW Report, a community activism newspaper that was started last year as a way to help redevelop the towns of Graniteville, Vaucluse and Warrenville following a devastating chlorine spill from a 2005 tanker derailment. She also volunteers as the Graniteville Community Coordinator for the Graniteville Brownfield Project, in which she works with local businesses, churches, and nonprofits to help make the area a better place to live.
Fulcher also serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including Area Churches Together Serving, Christ Central/Hope Center Graniteville, Masterworks Chorale, Aiken County Family Y, Midland Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and the GRACE Study. She has written multiple funded grants for the area.
Dr. Tonya Strickland, Southern Wesleyan University provost, shared comments about Fulcher, describing her as an individual of “strong moral fiber,” character, leadership ability, enthusiasm and a willingness to help others.
Fulcher was selected out of three finalists.
One of the finalists, Lindsay Blair, is enrolled in the bachelor of science in human services program at Southern Wesleyan’s Greenville learning center and is the founder of Switch, an Upstate-based non-profit organization aimed at fighting human trafficking. As its Survivor Services Director, Blair focuses her efforts on fighting human trafficking and sexual exploitation on a local level through awareness, prevention, demand, intervention, and restoration.
Another finalist is Tim Prendergast, who attended Southern Wesleyan’s North Augusta learning center and graduated May 6 with his master of science in management and leadership degree. Prendergast served in the military for 26 years and is currently veterans outreach coordinator at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Augusta Vet Center. Prendergast serves veterans who are institutionalized in nursing homes and is spearheading an effort to visit veterans in local nursing facilities to ensure that they are aware of their earned benefits.
EASLEY — Nearly two dozen Easley High School students earned national recognition for excellent performance on the 2016 National Spanish Examinations.
Ashley Lynch earned gold placement, Ashton Downs and Prajwal Patel earned silver placement, and Leanna Gibson, Levi Wilson, Katelyn Dailey and Olivia Roach earned bronze placement, along with 15 honorable mentions.
Attaining any placement is very prestigious because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States, with well over 160,000 students participating in 2016.
Students from Easley High School have a long history of high achievement on these exams and were taught by Spanish teachers Shannon Wood, Brad Seabrook, Juan Ubeda, Sara Abarca and Monika Santiago.