With a recently released report showing the percentage of U.S.-consumed fruits and vegetables that are imported rising rapidly in recent years while production has been near stagnant or declining, a South Carolina peach farmer was in Washington, D.C., last week to champion for comprehensive immigration reform.
Chalmers Carr of Titan Farms in Ridge Spring told media outlets that comprehensive immigration reform is needed to increase productivity so that it can keep up with demand.
“Right now, the agriculture industry is the most dependent on foreign labor as any industry in the country,” he said on a conference call. “Out of the estimated 1.2 million workers, it’s roughly believed that 70 percent of those are not legally employable in the country. You have a need of future flow of workers through a guest worker program. There is where immigration comes forward, where you need border security, new employment verification standards, and those must go hand in hand.”
Carr said he’s been using the federal H2A program, which allows for foreign workers to legally work on farms on a limited or seasonal basis, for the past 16 years, but that many year-round farms can’t participate because of the time limitations.
“If we don’t figure out a system to get labor to come and work on our farms, our domestic prod of fruits and vegetables will move offshore,” he continued, “and that will bring up questions of food security and food safety in this country.”
Columbia Chamber Taps New CEO
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce's new CEO and president starts work on Monday after a search that lasted almost three months, the organization announced late last week. Carl Blackstone, a government relations advisor with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, a Columbia area law firm, was chosen from a pool of several dozen applicants.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected to lead the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce and serve this thriving community,” said Blackstone in a press release. “I am excited about the opportunity ahead to make the region more competitive and help align businesses with the resources they need to grow and expand, ultimately bringing new jobs into our community.”
Blackstone's most recent job required him to work closely with both the state legislature and governor's office. Prior to that, he served as senior legislative advisor to former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.
Blackstone is replacing former CEO and President Ike McCleese, who passed away unexpectedly in late October only a few weeks after announcing his retirement. McCleese had been with the Chamber since 1994.
EngenuitySC names New Executive Director
EngenuitySC, a local nonprofit specializing in development of the knowledge economy, named a new executive director last week. Meghan Hughes, who previously served in the role of senior project manager for the group, will be taking over for former Executive Director George Hutton.
In a press release, the organization said that “Hughes will oversee EngenuitySC’s ongoing economic development initiatives, including Ignite! and Science Cafe. She will also continue to oversee initiatives focused on clean and alternative energy (NuHub), sustainable planning and development of land (Urban Land Institute), and education and development of local K-12 talent (Richland STEM).”
"This is an incredible opportunity to lead a talented team and work with our dedicated Board to make the Midlands a more prosperous place to live," said Hughes. "I believe in the competitiveness mission of EngenuitySC and the power of our collaborative partnerships. Together, we are going to accomplish big things.”
S.C. Among Top States in Deploying Small Business Funds
Since 2010, South Carolina has used $16.5 million to support small businesses since 2010, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The funds were allocated as part of the State Small Business Credit Initiative, a national program aimed at strengthening state lending to small businesses and small manufacturers.
Since the program was instituted over three years ago, South Carolina has deployed roughly 92 percent of the nearly $18 million it received as part of the initiative. Locally, the S.C. Jobs Economic Development Authority has been directly responsible for distributing the funds.
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
Accepting Applications for Shakespeare’s Kidz!
Students ages 10-16 are invited to join South Carolina Shakespeare’s new youth company, with classes running September 20th-December 11th followed by a final performance. Learn and hone audition skills, monologues, and scenes from Shakespeare and modern works! Contact Katie Mixon with questions about scholarships and applications: PKatieMixon@gmail.com.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
A two-day outdoor art and crafts show celebrating its 38th year. Being held on September 5 & 6, 2014, Click for details
Back to School Tattoo Specials
Magnum Ink is offering 1/2 off all tattoos for students over 18 as well as 2 for $60 on letters or numbers for state employees. 1405 Rushmore Road, Suite B, right off of Broad River.
Music Break at Music Farm Columbia
Join COR for an evening of networking for music and business leaders on September 3rd, featuring performances by Josh Roberts and the Hinges, Death of Paris, Fat Rat Da Czar, and Lazy A and the Green Thang. Free admission for musicians and members! Register here.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Pool Cleaning-Full and part time available. Must have a clean driving record, be organized and have a professional appearance. Starting Pay is $10.00 per hr, please call for an interview, please bring a copy of your Driving record and a list of all past employers with duration of employment listed as well as telephone numbers for references. Cal 803-865-1200
Company seeking carpenters, plumbers, masons work is year around with a 40 year old company. Starting pay is $10.00 but experienced individuals will be compensated accordingly. Must have a clean driving record and must bring a copy of your driving record to the interview. Please call 803-865-1200.