Monday, July 16, 2018

States Regulating, Taxing and Managing the Marijuana Industry

I recently visited Oregon and spent 10 days driving around the state. Very scenic. However, one of the things that stood out on the trip was seeing small stores in every town selling marijuana next to liquor stores, dry cleaners and supermarkets. It’s apparently not a big thing out there like it is in our state.

I stopped and went into one of the stores to see what they were like and to ask questions and satisfy my curiosity. It turned out to be an interesting experience. The store was very nice, tastefully set up, and not crowded with customers. In fact, during the half hour I was there only a handful of well dressed middle aged customers came in to make small purchases as they headed home for dinner.

I asked what the rules were and how things worked. The clerk said the store was overseen by the same agency that handles liquor stores. The main requirement to make a purchase was a check of your driver’s license to make sure you were at least 21 years old. Being a visitor, the clerk also touched on some of the state regulations, emphasizing that its against the law to drive ‘high’.

When I asked about the marijuana being sold, he showed me various samples of their products – from marijuana vaping cartridges, medicinal oils, edible candies, and the more traditional buds one smokes. I asked about the prices and he said they sold marijuana for about $5 per gram or about $80 an ounce. He also said citizens could grow up to 4 plants of their own at home.

It was a very weird experience. No police, no threats of arrest, imprisonment, fear… Whatever was being sold in limited quantities was being taxed, was part of a growing private industry with no ties to drug cartels and their dealers. It just seemed so natural and logical. It certainly opened my eyes to a better way to handle the issue than how we still do it in South Carolina and many other states.

I know this is a touch subject for many, but what do you think? How do you think we should be handling the marijuana and hemp growing industry in South Carolina? Do we regulate, tax, and handle marijuana just like we do with alcohol?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Local Clarendon County SC Annual 'Benefits Run' for Veterans

The Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) are holding their annual 'Benefits Run' for veterans in Clarendon County on August 4, 2018. Every year the local Manning chapter of the VVA holds a 'Benefits Run' fundraiser to provide assistance to our local veterans and to fund the Robbie Hodge Memorial College Scholarship and the Fallen Comrade Members Memorial College Scholarship. FYI - there are currently 2,500 veterans living in Clarendon County. 

This years Benefit Run will start at 11 am al Lakevue Landing on Lake Marion. The run will be held between marinas on the lake in Clarendon County and will include boatsm motorcycles, and automobiles. If you would like to be a sponsor of the Benefit Run or want to know more about it, call Dennis Reynolds, Fund Raising Committee Chairman, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 960, at 803-460-8551. Entry fee is $10 for all participants.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Overview of Strategic Management

Strategic management is the art, science and craft of formulating, evaluating, and implementing major programmatic decisions that will enable an organization to achieve its long-term mission, vision, goals and objectives. It then involves developing policies and plans, often in terms of projects and programs, and then allocating resources to support the organization’s mission, vision, plans, policies, and major programs.

Strategic management seeks to coordinate and integrate the activities of the various functional areas of a business in order to achieve long-term organizational goals and objectives. Strategic management is the highest level of managerial activity. Strategies are typically planned, crafted or guided by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), approved or authorized by the Board of Directors, and then implemented under the supervision of the organization's top management team or senior executives.

Back in 1982, Tom Peters and Robert Waterman released a study that asked “What makes an excellent company?”  They looked at 62 companies that they thought were fairly successful. They concluded in In Search of Excellence that there were 8 keys to excellence that were shared by all. They are:

  • A bias for action — Do it. Try it. Don’t waste excessive time studying it with multiple reports and committees.
  • Customer focus — Get close to the customer. Know your customer. Know the difference between your customer and concerned stakeholders.
  • Entrepreneurship — Even big companies can act quickly in today’s fast changing world by giving people the authority to take initiative.
  • Productivity through people — Treat your people with respect and they will reward you with productivity.
  • Value-oriented CEOs — The CEO should actively propagate its key corporate values throughout the organization.
  • Stick to the knitting — Do what you know well, but turn to other experts when needed.
  • Keep things simple and lean — Complexity encourages waste and confusion.
  • Simultaneously centralized and decentralized — Try to have tight centralized control, while also allowing maximum individual autonomy.

Key Links

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Southern Churches

St. Matthais Episcopal Church
Don’t you just LOVE Southern Churches? I’m not talking about the monster mega-churches you might find in larger cities. I’m talking about small town churches—you know, the ones that have been there forever and are filled with families who have been attending the same church for generations. These unique places are not only houses of worship—which is their primary and most important function—they are also places that are the social, moral and charitable centers of many areas, villages and towns all over the South.
Nathaniel Hawthorn wrote in The Scarlet Letter, “The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized that among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison.” Around these necessary cemeteries, churches were usually built. In later years, churches moved away from that practice; however, small Southern churches remain essential centers of small Southern towns.
Taw Caw Missionary Baptist Church
I personally love taking photos of picturesque churches as I travel around the South. I am fascinated with the architecture of them. Some are gleaming white clapboards. Some are red brick monoliths. Some have grand columns. Some have bell towers, and others have steeples. Some have elaborate stained glass windows, and some have artless glass through which the sun streams brilliantly. Some churches are simple, and some are grand. Doors can be doubled or single or even configured with multiple sets of accesses, which I often wonder if they were designed to allow for a rush into or out of a particular church. Perhaps the congregation put them there to accommodate for overzealous preachers stepping on too many toes on Sunday mornings.
The unique architectures do not end on the outsides of those buildings. Inside, distinctive features can be found, as well. Carved wooden alters, elaborate cornice work, old timber floors, curved pews, grand lecterns and clergy chairs and more decorate the interiors. Some have ornate chandeliers, columns, tapestries, statues, and even balconies. Because churches are centers of worship, many are decorated with the very best a congregation can afford; however, do not dismiss the simplistic beauty of humble places of worship because many of them have an allure with which grandeur cannot compare. Sometimes I’d like to think that God may like them best, but, then, this isn’t a discussion about religion.
Summerton United Methodist Church
I have particularly fond memories of attending a small, Southern church when I was a child. I loved dressing up in my finery on Sunday mornings with my little patent leather shoes, listening to old hymns echo through a lofty building and being amazed at the way the sun streamed through the textured windows and illuminated all that was around me. The church ladies would comment on my little dresses or bows, and I would run and play with my friends on the grounds after the service had ended. Ah, childhood! But I digress.
Summerton, South Carolina, the small town in which I live now, is populated with varied and beautiful churches of all sorts and all denominations. Taw Caw Missionary Baptist church (which is filled with the most INTERESTING history ever), St. Matthias Episcopal Church, Summerton United Methodist Church, Summerton Baptist Church, Liberty Hill AME Church, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Summerton Presbyterian Church, Andrews Chapel, Calvary Baptist Church, and believe it or not, many others anchor the extremely small town! Churches are serious business in the South!
Summerton Presbyterian Church
One can learn a great deal about a town and its people by attending a small town church. Is the congregation formal or informal? Are the people friendly or aloof? Are they focused on local charity or on missions in foreign counties? All are important elements to consider as far as differences go, but there are some similarities in small Southern churches, as well.

Southern churches are great places to celebrate all of life’s big events: weddings, baptisms, christenings, Christmases and Easters. They are essential to making connections, personal and professional. They are places where you are taught the morals and mores of local society. Some have schools, and many have daycare centers. They are places where you are held to standards, and if you fall away from those standards, there are always the ubiquitous “church ladies” who will try to keep you straight, if they can. Many times churches are places of love and acceptance, and they will be the place from which you’ll receive meals when you are ill, cards or calls when you go missing, invitations to worship at special events, and visits from the minister at your home or in the hospital when you are leaving this earth.
Summerton Baptist Church
One of the most important social features of Southern churches is the breaking of bread together. Again, I’m not talking about the more reverent “Communion of Saints;” I’m talking about Sunday dinners on special occasions. It is called by many names: homecoming, dinner on the grounds, church suppers, church socials, potluck dinners, fellowship dinners. No matter the name, it involves eating the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted. Why? Because that’s when all the ladies break out their special recipes to show off their cooking skills! And if those ladies have ever gotten together to publish a cookbook, well, you’d better buy one because they are filled with the best recipes in the region!

St. Mary's Catholic Church
I could go on forever—especially about the food—but that would be tedious to readers. In summation, many good things come from Southern churches. They are places to connect, to understand the culture and town, to admire beauty inside and outside the buildings, to learn and to teach, to give and to receive, but no matter the reasons that bring you to the buildings, they are first and foremost places to worship as you choose, if you choose.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Best New Business Ideas for Small Towns

Interested in starting a new business? A quick review of the literature on the Internet about successful new businesses for small towns like Summerton surfaced the following articles and ideas.

There are many other articles along the same lines that you can find on the Internet if you want to do your own search.

The following list of 25 businesses that may best apply to Summerton was culled from the articles listed above and many others:

  • Local Tours – Nature, History…
  • Local Garden Center
  • Local Artisans Center
  • Local Sports & Fishing Center
  • Local Farmers' Market & Vendors
  • Local House Cleaning Service
  • Local Home Rental Services & Supplies
  • Delivery Service for Local Businesses
  • Local Roadside Food Truck
  • Local Web Site Developer
  • Local Online Business Information Hub
  • Local Pet Grooming
  • Local Pet Sitting Service
  • Local House Sitting Service
  • Local Personal Shopping Service
  • Local Catering Service
  • Local Car Wash
  • Local Consignment Sales Store
  • Home Health Care Services
  • Local Equipment Rental
  • Local Food Delivery Service
  • Local Clothing Alterations Service
  • Local Boat Cleaning Services
  • Local Pest Control Service
  • Local Power Washing Service
  • Local Personal Storage / MiniWarehouse

What other ideas do you have for potential new local businesses for our town? Please share your constructive suggestions with our readers.