Telling Colleton’s story at annual event | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | March 9, 2018 5:00 pm
Last Updated: March 7, 2018 at 9:17 am
The Walterboro-Colleton County Chamber of Commerce brought together county and municipal officials and educators to provide the 2018 State of Colleton.
The annual event, co-sponsored by PRTC, gave chamber members a chance to hear from USC-Salkehatchie Dean Dr. Ann Carmichael, Colleton County Councilmember Dr. Joseph Flowers, Edisto Beach Administrator Iris Hill, Walterboro Mayor Bill Young, Colleton School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Juliet White and SouthernCarolina Alliance Marketing Vice President Kay Maxwell.
Dr. Carmichael told the breakfast audience gathered at Dogwood Hills Golf Course about the success of the campus’s nursing program and the new initiative that will seek to address the area’s shortage of people to fill engineering jobs.
Things like the nursing and engineering programs, she said, “make it possible to grow our own work force.”
Salkehatchie, Carmichael said, tends “to focus on what we can do, not what we can’t.”
Flowers gave the audience a brief recap of the previous year, highlighting the work being done to improve county services and quality of life through the Capital Project Sales Tax and the economic development efforts of the county.
“We are moving in the right direction,” Flowers said. “Our best days are yet to come.”
Hill’s examination of Edisto Beach in 2017 bore a lot of similarities to Mayor Jane Darby’s report at the previous year’s State of Colleton.
Back then, Darby’s report focused on dealing with Hurricane Matthew; for Hill it was the town’s dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irma.
Despite the need to address the results of three hurricanes in the last three years, Hill said, the town has continued to strive to improve the infrastructure of Edisto Beach with things like a $7.2 million water improvement project that aims to address both water quality and quantity, as well as a pending South Carolina Department of Transportation grant that will help the town address some of its flooding issues.
Young highlighted Walterboro’s “sound financial shape,” the continuing work on the Business Loop Project and the plans soon to go out for bids on the Walterboro Wildlife Sanctuary’s Discovery Center project.
City officials want to work with USC-Salkehatchie to see the campus continue to grow and to continue their work with county officials to improve the quality of life.
“I believe there are great things on our horizon and I look forward to what the future holds for us,” the mayor said.
White, standing in for Colleton County School Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster, told those gathered at the forum that in most cases, the issues Colleton School District faces are not unique, they can be found throughout the nation.
The district, she said, continues to contend with the national teacher shortage to put qualified teachers in their classroom and, like the rest of the nation, continues to grapple with security “to keep our kids safe.”
While striving to address those issues, she added, the district celebrates its successes, like its graduation rate, which is higher than the state average, and its work to introduce the New Tech teaching program to Bells Elementary, making it the first elementary school in South Carolina to employ that innovative teaching methodology at that level.
Maxwell said appearing last on the program to discuss the work of the multi-county economic development organization was appropriate.
To have the other leaders highlight what they are doing provided a backdrop to Colleton County’s work with the alliance.
She said the Colleton County story was “an example of what we need to do — the work done here affects the region.”