Grand Strand Newsmakers

Lisa Martin (center) and Kimberly Hardwick (left), HTC Holiday Drive coordinators, present a $1,200 check from HTC employees to Donna Bodie, financial coordinator (right) Gail La Salle (far right), financial coordinator for CAPS.
Lisa Martin (center) and Kimberly Hardwick (left), HTC Holiday Drive coordinators, present a $1,200 check from HTC employees to Donna Bodie, financial coordinator (right) Gail La Salle (far right), financial coordinator for CAPS.



CCU students set up Botanic Bank for rare plants

Benjamin Flo and Mitchell Wimberley, both senior biology majors at Coastal Carolina University, are doing their part to save endangered plants in Horry County. Barely keeping ahead of the bulldozers, the two students spent the fall semester digging up like pitcher plants and sundews in the area near the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve as the on-again, off-again construction battle over International Drive continues.

Guided by biology professor Jim Luken, the students have been working on an independent study project involving the rescue and relocation of carnivorous plants to a new Botanic Bank at the Horry County Solid Waste Authority (HCSWA).

The purpose of the project is to save those rare plants that would otherwise be destroyed by development and relocate them to a safe site where they can flourish. The Botanic Bank, a two-acre tract of land provided by the HCSWA, is located near the proposed path for the new International Drive.

Since the spring of 2015, Luken had been searching for undeveloped land that could lend itself to student research and projects. After talks with Danny Knight, director of the HCSWA, it was determined that two acres at the recycle facility on Environmental Way off S.C. 90 would be a good spot as the acreage is composed of former wetlands that are home to many endangered plants. All carnivorous plants tend to be relatively rare due to the unique type of habitats they require in order to grow: wet, open, nutrient poor and subject to frequent fire, according to Luken.

“These are very important wetland areas found in South Carolina that are home to some rare species of plants. Sarracenia oreophila (Green Pitcher Plant), Drosera (Sundew), Dionaea muscipula (Venus Flytrap) and Orchidaceae (Wild Orchid) are some of the rare plants that may be destroyed in the paving project of International Drive,” Wimberley wrote in his research paper on the project.

Construction of the 5.6-mile four-lane highway has been on hold pending the outcome of a court battle between environmentalists and developers.

After he graduates this semester, Wimberley, who is from Durham, N.C., plans to pursue a career in environmental consulting, conducting wetland delineations, plant inventory and other environmental tasks. Flo, who is from Conway, plans to apply for the Master of Art in Teaching program at CCU, hoping to teach high school biology. “I eventually want to be a professor, but teaching high school is a good start,” he says. The internship program will continue, Luken says, as long as there are students interested in doing the fieldwork.


St Andrew Catholic School Plans Event to Celebrate National School Choice Week

St. Andrew Catholic School will hold a special event on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 11:00 AM to celebrate National School Choice Week, school leaders announced today.

This event will feature students, teachers, and parents representing public, private, charter, magnet, and home schools from all across the state of SC. St Andrew Catholic School’s 7th grade students will be joining thousands of other SC students at the State House for a National School Choice Week Rally.

St. Andrew Catholic School is a Catholic school serving grades Kindergarten–8 with a student enrollment of 230.

St Andrew Catholic School is one of more than 13,000 schools participating in National School Choice Week (January 22–28, 2017). The goal of the Week is to shine a positive spotlight on all types of education options for children—from traditional public schools to public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, online learning and homeschooling. The event will be held at South Carolina State House.​

“We are thrilled to have St Andrew Catholic School participate in National School Choice Week by holding this special event,” said Andrew Campanella, National School Choice Week president. “The Week provides an opportunity for families in communities across America to discover more about the education options available to children. We salute the students, teachers and staff at St Andrew Catholic School for their dedication to providing a quality education for children, and for their involvement in this nationwide celebration.”

For more information about the event, visit http://www.standrewschoolmb.com.

For more information about National School Choice Week, visit schoolchoiceweek.com.


Rotary Club hosts Sunrise Speaker


HTC Employees Give Money And Hope For The New Year

HTC officials are proud to announce the results of the 15th Annual Holiday Food Drive coordinated solely by HTC employees to help those struggling in the community the Cooperative serves.

HTC employees organized the campaign that raised over $7,500 and collected thousands of food items to benefit local food banks and charities including Christian Mission Outreach, CAPS, Master’s Table, Shepherd’s Table, North Strand Helping Hand, and Community Kitchen of Myrtle Beach. The donations have already had a significant impact on many individuals and families troubled with life challenges through hot meals over the holidays and will continue to do so into the New Year.

“HTC employees truly have a passion for giving, and the food drive is always a great way to conclude our annual employee giving campaign each year,” said Brent Groome, HTC Chief Executive-Marketing, Economic, and Strategic Initiatives. “For the past 15 years, the annual holiday food drive is one of the many ways that HTC employees connect with the community we serve. As a cooperative, we recognize the power and spirit of working together to help others-especially those dealing with adversity. Our employees consistently strive to help those in need, and I am very proud of their daily humanitarian efforts.”

For more information about year round community outreach, visit www.htcinc.net/about-htc/connecting-with-community.


AAST student selected as National Recipients of the 2017 NCWIT Award

The National Center for Women & Information Technology, or NCWIT, proudly announced the 2017 NCWIT Award for AiC national recipients, honoring four hundred women in high school from all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and all U.S. overseas military bases.

Each year, U.S. high school women in grades 9 through 12 are eligible to receive recognition for their demonstrated interest and achievements in computing, proven leadership ability, academic performance, and plans for post‑secondary education. This year, 50 winners and 350 honorable mentions were selected from more than 3,500 amazing, talented young women.

Thanks to the generous support of NCWIT Award for AiC National Sponsor Bank of America, each of the 50 national award winners receive various prizes, cash, and a trip to Bank of America headquarters on March 3-5, 2017 for a celebration and networking with Bank of America employees.

View a complete list of the 2017 national winners here: http://bit.ly/17HSwinners. A complete list of 2017 honorable mentions are available here: http://bit.ly/17HSmentions.

Kristina Matthews, a Computer Science Major senior at AAST, has been named a South Carolina winner in the Aspirations in Computing competition, part of the National Center for Women & Information Technology or NCWIT. She is one of 16 in the state. https://www.aspirations.org/users/kristina-99680

Jenna Nesmith, a junior Computer Science Major, earned an honorable mention in this competition.

A reception to recognize the accomplishments of the South Carolina winners and honorable mentions will be held at Columbia College on January 28, 2017. Columbia based IT-oLogy serves at the South Carolina affiliate for the Aspirations in Computing award. IT-oLogy will host the reception with educational partners, Columbia College and Winthrop University. IT-oLogy is a nonprofit working to grow the number of IT professionals in South Carolina .For more information on IT-oLogy, please contact Rachel Barnett at rachel.barnett@it-ology.org.



Communities In Schools of Brunswick County Board of Directors announces new Executive Director

The Board of Directors of Communities In Schools (CIS) of Brunswick County is pleased to announce that Bonnie Jordan, BSW, has been selected as the new Executive Director of the nonprofit organization. Ms. Jordan succeeds Nancy Lamb who resigned from CIS in September 2016. The selection was made after an extensive search and selection process during which time Jordan served as Interim Executive Director.

Jordan’s passion for education and her community service experience prepares her well to lead CIS of Brunswick County. “We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” reported Dr. Susanne Adams, President of Brunswick County Community College and CIS of Brunswick County Board Chair. “Ms. Jordan will bring leadership and creativity to CIS programs and a deep sense of commitment to improving education for Brunswick County students. She has served nonprofits at various program and leadership levels, with a breadth of perspective and experience.”

Jordan’s resume includes over 17 years of planning, grant writing, and program management in the nonprofit sector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, and completed master’s level courses at Rutgers University. She joined the CIS of Brunswick County team in 2013 as the Program Operations Officer and secured many grants to sustain and grow the CIS Action for Success Dropout Prevention Program. Jordan successfully wrote a grant for over $1 million to fund the 21st Century Community Learning Center Afterschool Programs at Cedar Grove and Shallotte Middle Schools. She has served as a key member of the CIS Senior Management Team, working closely with staff, Board of Directors, school leadership, and community partners. Prior to joining CIS, Jordan served as the Program Director for Catholic Charities Emergency and Community Services in Burlington County, NJ, which provides support to those struggling with hunger and homelessness.

When asked about her new position as Executive Director Jordan stated, “I look forward to the opportunity to lead an organization that has a long and successful history of providing vital support services to students and families in Brunswick County. This is a wonderful county in which to live and work, and we owe it to our students to ensure they have the academic and interpersonal skills they deserve to finish school and to be successful as they move on to college, enter a career, or serve in the military. Our community is growing and changing and CIS is committed to meeting the needs of our student population both today and tomorrow.”

Jordan continued, “Having the opportunity to lead CIS as we plan for the future is both exciting and humbling, and I look forward to working with our community partners, staff, Board, donors, and volunteers to help fulfill our mission to empower students to stay in school and achieve in life.”

CIS currently provides an Action for Success program in five middle schools that incorporates Success Coaches, community volunteers and club and business partnerships to support student achievement. CIS assists Brunswick County students through tutors, mentors, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, After School programs, Teen and Peer Court programs, and parenting education, with a major focus on dropout prevention services.

Founded in 1995, it is CIS of Brunswick County’s mission to “surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.” The efforts of CIS making a difference in the lives of students and families are well-documented. In the 2015-2016 school year, organization efforts resulted in more than 3,500 students receiving services including academic tutoring, social enrichment, and intervention services that reach far beyond the classroom.

For more information about CIS of Brunswick County, please contact the CIS office at 910-457-3494 or visit www.cisbrunswick.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


NMB Tree of the Month goes to Richard and Janet Spencer

Richard and Janet​ Spencer recently accepted the Tree of the Month Award for January from the North Myrtle Beach Tree City Board for their commitment to preserving and nurturing a large Live Oak tree during the construction of their home at 221 9th Avenue South.

The Spencers purchased their property in 2002 when it was home to an old cabin and the very large old Live Oak tree.

In 2003, the Spencers began developing their property and building a new home.The slope and height of the property made it difficult for them but preserving the Live Oak was paramount in their plan. Their new home was designed to highlight the oak tree in the rear yard and that presented a large challenge for their builder.

The Spencers supervised the placement and construction of their new home to make sure the Live Oak’s limbs and root system were not disturbed. Today, the area is a haven for raccoons, birds, deer and other wildlife, and the tree remains a focal point of their home and property.

Property owners and developers who are interested in finding out more about how they can preserve trees on their property are invited to contact the Board at nmbtreeboard@nmb.us or 843-280-5571.

The Tree of the Month program began in 2010 as a way to recognize trees within the community that have been preserved over the years. It also provides a platform to remind people of the benefits and importance that trees offer in our everyday lives.

If you think you have the biggest, prettiest, or most unusual tree in North Myrtle Beach, or that your tree has a unique story attached to it, the Tree City Board encourages you to contact Parks & Grounds Superintendent Jim Grainger at (843) 280-5571 or via email at nmbtreeboard@nmb.us.