Thursday, November 27, 2014

Promoting Lake Marion as SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism Hot Spot

According to the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (PRT) -

Tourism is one of the largest industries for South Carolina, with an overall economic impact of about $18 billion, according to the PRT. The industry supports about 10 percent of jobs statewide and generates an annual average of $1.3 billion in state and local taxes.

The Director of the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism recently said he wants to draw more attention to lesser-known vacation hubs around the state that don't have as much money for marketing as cities like Myrtle Beach and Charleston.

We hope Lake Marion, Santee, and the Summerton area will be high on his list of new locations to further promote.

* See http://SummertonOutdoors.COSITech.Net

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Local Football Scores - November 22, 2014

The following are some of the key football scores and stats for local high schools in Clarendon County, SC:

  • Laurence Manning Academy Swampcats played against Hammond Prep. Skyhawks in Columbia today in the finals of the state SCISA AAA Championship. Unfortunately, they lost 17-0. Nevertheless, congratulation on a great season.
  • Clarendon Hall Saints ended their season with an overall record for this season of 9-3.  
  • East Clarendon High School Wolverines football team overall record for this season was 4-7.
  • Manning High School football team overall record for this season was 4-6.
  • Scott's Branch High School football team overall record for this season was 1-9.

* Check out MAXPREPS, a web site for team standings and more complete statistics.

South Carolina Man Wins Jeopardy 'Tournament of Champions'

For those of you who are avid Jeopardy fans, Ben Ingram, a technology consultant from Florence, South Carolina, made us all proud this past week when he won the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions.

My wife and I watched him on TV over the past 2 weeks as he steadily worked his way through the qualifying rounds to finally make it into the finals. He was a class act all the way representing his home town and our state very well.

He won the two-day final on the game show's annual Tournament of Champions, taking home the $250,000 grand prize.

Congratulations! You done good.

Consumers: Beware of Potential S.C. Utility Scams

South Carolina utilities have joined with the South Carolina attorney general, South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs and AARP South Carolina during International Fraud Awareness Week to warn consumers about a sophisticated phone scam victimizing customers here in South Carolina and across the country.
Utility customers across the state have reported instances of individuals falsely portraying themselves as utility employees over the phone. The scammer warns the customer that they're late on their utility bill or might need a new meter, and that their electric service will be cut off if they don't pay immediately. The scammer then instructs the customer to purchase a prepaid debit card and tells them to call back with the numbers on the card.
"Utilities, including SCE&G, never ask customers to purchase payment cards for bill payment purposes," said SCE&G President Keller Kissam. "If you ever doubt the legitimacy of a caller, hang up and immediately call your utility to verify, as well as your local law 
enforcement agency."
"This type of request is a huge red flag," said Carri Grube Lybarker, Administrator of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. "We receive thousands of scam reports a year, but hope with more awareness the public will be better equipped so they do not become victims."

For more detail, see Santee Cooper NewsRelease.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Notable Historic Sites Around Summerton, S.C.

There are numerous notable sites in the area around Summerton, S.C. These sites include historic battle sites, building, and homes, some dating back to the 1600's. For example, check out the following sites when you next visit the area:

Santee Indian Mound - This site was probably a burial or temple mound, likely constructed between 1200-1500 AD. The Santee Indian mound is typical of pyramidal, flat-topped mounds that can be found throughout the eastern U.S. The mound complex, the largest ceremonial center yet discovered on the coastal plain, represents a hub of late prehistoric activity in the area. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

Santee Indian Mound, Summerton, S.C.

Fort Watson - The first military post in S.C. retaken from the British. The stockade fort was built near an old Santee Indian mound. It controlled the road from Charleston to Camden as well as the Santee River. On April 15, 1871, Gen. Francis Marion and Lt. Col. Henry Lee encircled it with American troops. Maj. Hezekiah Maham built a log tower on the old Indian mound that allowed the Americans to fire down into the fort. On April 23, the Americans undermined the works and forced the surrender of Fort Watson.

Richardson Family Cemetery - This is one of the earliest graveyards in St. Mark's Parish. It is located near the town of Summerton. Buried here are Brig. General Richard Richardson, who fought in the Revolution War, along with James Burchell Richardson, South Carolina Governor (1802-04), and John Peter Richardson, South Carolina Governor (1840-42), and founder of the Citadel.

The Cantey Place - The Cantey Place has never had a special name but "Town and Country" would suit. The residence was built in the 1820's, and John J. Ragin is the earliest person known to occupy it. There are columns which outline the porch on three sides. It was built by slave labor with bricks made on the place and hand-hewn timbers put together with wooden pegs. The home was eventually acquired by Morgan Saab Cantey, who was a Presidential Elector. Harry Briggs, Sr., one of the plaintiffs in the famous Briggs vs. Elliot case was born in one of the buildings on this property.

For more detail on many of the other homes and sites in Clarendon County, make sure you visit the Clarendon County Archives & History Center.  

The James Home - This home is located on N. Duke Street in Summerton. It was built in 1840 by J. H. Colclough on land owned by W. C. Dukes. In 1904, Joseph Alston James, known as the "Cap'n", became the new owner. Cap'n" James was a railroad conductor for the Northwestern Railroad. The James family added four large upstairs rooms to the original story and a half structure as well as a handsome front stairway, an outstanding feature of the house. The present owners, Mr. & Mrs. Lionel Stukes, have extensively restored the home.

James Building - Also known as Summerton Hardware, it is a historic commercial building located in the heart of downtown Summerton. Built in 1905, it is a two-story brick building with a cast-iron storefront. The building has two storefronts and interior spaces with single-story sections to the rear. The building used to house the telephone exchange and a hardware store and was a central focus of the town in the early-20th century. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

Edgewood / Orange Hill - Formerly known as Orange Hill because of the back ground of Mock Orange trees, it was once owned by Mrs. Mary Gentry Sprott, a direct descendant of Mr. Thomas Connor, Jr. who erected the beautiful home. The architecture is peculiar to this part of the low country with double steps leading to the first floor piazza. The timbers are all hand sawed and pegged together. the bricks used in the basement and in the chimney were made on the place by slave labor and the clay pits may still be seen. The kitchen, that stands some distance from the house, is very much in evidence. The large home sits in a grove off Hwy. 15, just 2 miles out of Summerton.

The Burgess Home - Prior to 1881 the original three-room one-story house faced a small lane, now called Burgess Street, in Summerton. On Jan 21, 1881, W. B. James sold the land and house to Dr. Thomas Lesley Burgess. The original pillars on the back porch remain, as do the original hand turned banisters. The solid pine boards inside, put together with wooden pins, are six inches wide, and there are no joints in the floors or ceilings in its rooms. It was from this home that Miss Anne Custis Burgess, a music teacher, composed the lovely melody to accompany Timrod's poem, "Carolina". It was adopted as the South Carolina 'State Song' in 1911. Miss Burgess died on October 15, 1910. She is laid to rest in Summerton's Evergreen Cemetery while her beautiful melody lives on.   

The Harvey Belser Home - Located on N. Duke St. in Summerton, the Belser home was built in 1830 by V. H. Colclough for Mr. William C. Dukes. James Dingle acquired the house in 1883 and Mrs. Gulielma Belser bought it in 1886 and added a second story. It was originally a summer house with large front and rear doors which could be folded back to allow for the breeze. The house has 14 rooms with a wide center hall on the first floor.

The John McCuen Rowe Home - Located on Rowe Street in Summerton, S.C., this house was originally constructed around 1860. The bricks for the foundation and chimney were made from clay dug nearby while the timbers were hand-hewn. Around the turn of the century, in keeping with the current architectural style of the times, porches were built around 3 sides of the house. In 1990, Bob Davis purchased this home from John S. Anderson, Jr., great grandson of the original owner.

Taw Caw”Gentry – Grayson Home - “Taw Caw” is situated on the road leading to a creek by that name. This plantation home was built for Ezra Tindal. Members of the Sublett family and relatives of the Tindals lived there until T.H. Gentry bought it. It is now the home of his great granddaughter, Mary Anne Grayson Moore. Double steps lead to the second floor piazza, and the banisters and hand rails are all hand-turned. Built with slave labor from plantation timber, hand-sawed and hand planed, the massive girders underpinning the house are pegged together. Wide planks run the length of the large rooms without joints. The bricks in the enormous fireplaces and the hinges used for the doors and windows were all processed on the estate. The trees on the spacious grounds are in their third century of growth. This dignified home has double front doors adding to its hospitable atmosphere.

Senn's Grist Mill, Blacksmith Shop, and Orange Crush Bottling Plant - A complex of several historic commercial buildings located at Summerton, S.C. The complex consists of three interconnected early-20th century buildings of similar size and construction. The grist mill was built about 1905, is an example of small independent grist mills that were commonplace in rural communities across the South back then. The blacksmith shop and bottling plant, built around 1921, are typical of early-20th century light industrial buildings. The complex was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1994.

Camp Bob Cooper - It's history dates back to the 1930s, when the South Carolina Public Service Authority repurposed the former farmland as a construction labor camp for the Santee-Cooper Hydro-Electric and Navigation Project. More than 12,500 workers cleared over 177,000 acres of farms, forests and swamps to create Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie - at the time, the largest land-clearing project in U.S. history.

Clemson University leased the property in 1942, and a Clarendon County 4-H camp was held there the following year. In 1945, Camp Bob Cooper was listed as a statewide 4-H campsite. For almost 70 years, thousands of people of all ages have enjoyed camps, conferences, retreats and other special events on the shores of Lake Marion. The property was named for Robert Muldrow "Bob" Cooper (1887-1966), who served as chairman and former director of the Public Service Authority.

Scotts Branch School - The school was originally knowns as the Taw Caw School, because classes were taught in the Taw Caw Baptist Church. At the turn of the century, a group of parents decided to move the school into the town of Summerton. They raised money and purchased a lot beside St. Mark A.M.E. Church. They purchased an old cotton gin house, rolled it onto this site and made it into a classroom. The school's name was changed from Taw Caw to Scott's Branch because of its location, by the little brook that runs behind St. Mark Church known as Scott's Branch.

Fire destroyed this "gin" classroom and the church after many years of use. The parents again banded together, raised funds, and built a two story building for classrooms along with an auditorium. As the years passed and the school population grew, the auditorium was converted into classrooms. In the meantime, St. Mark A.M.E. had also been rebuilt, so the church was again used for many school school activities.

In the Spring of 1937, there was another fire and the school building was destroyed. This time the parents decided to purchase the site on which the present Scott's Branch Middle School stands. The white frame building was built by the county, but the parents and teachers had to raise funds to put in electricity and water. Commencement exercises were alternated between Taw Caw Baptist and Liberty Hill A.M.E churches. School plays were presented at Taw Caw. This practice continued until the Gymtorium was constructed.

Today, conditions at Scott's Branch High School are a far cry from where things stood 50 years ago. The current Scott's Branch High School is located on Alex Harvin Highway (Hwy. 301). It is a modern facility with state of the art computer labs, fully equipped science labs, and all of the amenities necessary for modern day education. It has a football stadium, softball field, track, and a large gymnasium that can accommodate graduations, school plays, community events and indoor athletic events. On August 26, 1994, Summerton High School was listed on the
National Register of Historic Places.

For more detail on the historic class action suit Briggs vs. Elliott that ultimately led to the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education desegregating public schools across America, visit the Historic Clarendon County web site.

Palmetto Trail - Conceived in 1994, South Carolina’s Palmetto Trail is the state’s largest bicycle and pedestrian project, running from the mountains to the sea. This federally designated Millennium Legacy Trail is the signature project of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation. It is one of only 16 cross-state trails in the U.S.

The Lake Marion Passage is a 33-mile section of the Palmetto Trail that skirts along the high water mark of the north side of Lake Marion in Clarendon county. Much of the land along the trail is open for hunting and users should wear bright colors during big game hunting seasons, from the middle of August to January. Because of the trail’s proximity to Lake Marion some sections may be flooded during the wet season. However, these wet conditions add to the beauty of the area with a profusion of wildflowers. Learn more about the 3 main sections of the Lake Marion Passage.

SanteeNational Wildlife Refuge - Established in 1942, it is located near the town of Summerton in Clarendon county, South Carolina. This 15,000 acre refuge lies within the Atlantic Coastal Plain and consists of mixed hardwoods, mixed pine-hardwoods, pine plantations, marsh, croplands, old fields, ponds and open water. The refuge stretches over 18 miles along the northern side of Lake Marion. The Santee National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 500 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), an agency of the Department of the Interior.

Finally, to learn about the many historic churches in the town and outlying communities, make sure you visit the Historic Summerton web site.

Let our readers know about any other notable sites you have run across in the Summerton area.

Where Parks & Wildlife Preserves Abound - Summerton, S.C.

Summerton has become well known across the South for its offering of a wide range of outdoor recreational activities like camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, biking, boating, and golfing to its many visitors. Because of the many parks and nature preserves in the area, it has become one of the better places to visit on the East coast for wildlife and outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Parks are open-space areas set aside for recreational use. It can be in a natural, semi-natural state, or planted state. They are often set aside for either human enjoyment or for the protection of wildlife or natural habitats - and to prevent these areas from ever being spoiled by uncontrolled development.

If you are planning a visit to the area, check out some of the following local, state, and federal parks and wildlife refuge areas around Summerton and nearby Lake Marion.
* Also, check out the Summerton S.C. Nature & Outdoor Recreation web site.

Summerton Weekly News Roundup Activates Its 'Social Media' Sites

The Summerton S.C. Weekly News Roundup now has several companion 'social media' sites. Check them out by going to:

Also, remember to check out the Historic Summerton, S.C. web site at http://SummertonHistory.COSITech.Net

We have also set up the Summerton Open Technology & Solutions web site where you can obtain access to a wide variety of free & open source software (FOSS) and other products. See http://SummertonOpenTech.COSITech.Net

Finally, check out the new Summerton Nature & Outdoor Recreation web site at

All of these free web sites and services are provided by the non-profit Collaboration, Open Solutions & Innovation (COSI) information technology organization based out of Summerton, S.C. You can visit their master domain on the Internet at WWW.COSITech.Net

Please share the links to these sites with your friends, neighbors, and business associates in Summerton and the surrounding area.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nature, Wildlife & Outdoor Activities in Abundance

Summerton is a small town in rural South Carolina by the shores of beautiful Lake Marion. The town and the surrounding area have become known as a wonderful place to vacation, raise a family, run a business - or retire to, when all is said and done. The deep spiritual commitment and sound family values of its people are reflected in the many churches and close-knit residential communities in Summerton and the surrounding area.

Summerton has become well known across the South for its offering of a wide range of outdoor recreational activities like camping, hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, biking, boating, and golfing to its many visitors. It has become one of the better places to visit on the East coast for wildlife supporters and outdoor sports enthusiasts.

In addition to the outdoor activities and abundant wildlife, Summerton and the surrounding area are also known for its rich local history encompassing the early settlement of the area by Native American tribes such as the Catawba and Santee Indians, followed hundreds of years later by the some of the first European settlers.

The history of Summerton is also closely coupled with many other events such as the daring exploits of the 'Swamp Fox', Gen. Francis Marion, during the Revolutionary War; Gen. Potter's raid during the Civil War; key events leading up to school desegregation in the U.S.; construction of the Santee-Cooper canal and dams at the start of World War II; the creation of Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie, and much more.

Take some time to learn more about the town of Summerton and Historic Clarendon County by beautiful Lake Marion in South Carolina.

While Summerton still retains the feel of a small rustic town, it is slowly changing and benefiting from the creation of numerous new residential and business communities that are continuing to grow up around Summerton and beautiful Lake Marion. Vacationers and retirees continue to flock to the area in ever greater numbers.

Summerton---where the fish are jumpin' and livin' is easy.

* Make sure you visit the new Summerton SC: Nature & Outdoor Activities web site.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Local Football Scores - November 14, 2014

The following are some of the key football scores and stats for Summerton and other local high schools in Clarendon County, SC:

  • Laurence Manning Academy Swampcats head to the state finals after beating Wilson Hall 44-7.
  • Clarendon Hall Saints lost to Carolina Academy 28-22, losing their bid to get to the state finals. Their overall record for this season is 9-3.  
  • East Clarendon High School Wolverines football team overall record for this season is 4-7.
  • Manning High School football team overall record for this season is 4-6.
  • Scott's Branch High School football team overall record for this season is 1-9.

* Check out MAXPREPS, a web site for team standings and more complete statistics.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Prominent Citizens from Historic Summerton, S.C.

The following are brief profiles on some of the more prominent citizens from Summerton and the surrounding area:

Joseph Cantey, planter and member of the Commons House of Assembly. Cantey purchased the Mount Hope Plantation around 1739. He served as a captain in the militia of what was then Craven County. He also served as justice of the peace, then represented Prince Frederick´s Parish in the Commons House of Assembly from1754-1757. Learn more about the Cantey family at Internet Archives.

Richard Richardson, Brigadier General and Legislator. He became a land surveyor and moved to South Carolina in the 1730's. Richardson commanded the militia of South Carolina in campaigns against the Indians where his reputation as a officer was first noted. In the Cherokee Indian war of 1760 and 1761 he acquired a colonel's commission. Realizing the imminent conflict with England, he was elected a delegate to the First Provincial Congress at which he would assist in framing the first constitution and was elected a member of the legislative council.

Prior to the start of the Revolution War, Richardson was appointed a Brigadier General. Continued disturbances against the Whigs by the Tories in the upstate commanded him to quell the disturbances by force. He brought his army of 1000 men to engage the Tories and later crushed them. This was later known as the "Snow Campaign" and was credited with the drastic reduction in Tory violence and insurrection. Richardson went on to participate in the battle of Sullivan's Island in June of 1776, the battle at Savannah and the battle of Charleston in which the Continental Army surrendered to the British in 1780.

Richardson was made a prisoner after the fall of Charleston and would be confined to his quarters until he fell gravely ill. He was given permission to return home where he died. Colonel Banastre Tarleton, the English Colonel went looking for Rebels and came to Richardson's plantation and soon ordered his men to exhume the deceased Richardson. Tarleton claimed he wanted to view the face of the man with such decided character, but most felt it was to see if the family silver had been buried with him. Before leaving Tarleton would order everything burned and destroyed. Six of his descendants would became Governor of South Carolina. See

James Burchell Richardson was born October 28, 1770, in what is now Clarendon county. He was the son of famed Revolutionary War General Richard Richardson. In addition to being a planter and horse breeder, fought in the Revolutionary War, was active in politics, serving in both houses of the state legislature. On December 8, 1802, the General Assembly elected him Governor of South Carolina. He served from 1802 to 1804. He is buried at the Richardson Cemetery outside Summerton, S.C.   Learn more at SCIWay

John Peter Richardson II, was born on April 14, 1801, at Hickory Hill Plantation in what is now Clarendon county. Richardson graduated from South Carolina College in 1819 and practiced law upon passing the bar. At the age of 24, Richardson was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1825. He was elevated to the South Carolina Senate in 1834 and won a seat in Congress for the 8th district after the death of Richard Irvine Manning. In 1836, running as a Democrat, Richardson won re-election for a full term to the Twenty-fifth Congress.

Richardson was elected Governor of South Carolina in 1840. Upon leaving the governorship in 1842, Richardson remained active in politics by participating at the Southern Convention of 1850, the Southern Rights Convention of 1852 and he signed the Ordinance of Secession at the Secession Convention of 1860. He died in Fulton on January 24, 1864, and was buried at the Richardson Cemetery on Hickory Hill Plantation near the town of Summerton. For more information, see Wikipedia.

Judge Mary Thomasine Grayson Mason - She was born November 7, 1917, in the St. Paul community near Summerton. She graduated Summerton High School and attended the University of South Carolina. In 1940, she enrolled in law school at the University of South Carolina, one of the first two women to attend. She graduated from law school on June 1, 1942. After World War II, she returned to Summerton and worked with her brother operating the family farm, cotton gin, seed processing, and grain elevator.

Thomasine Grayson Mason was elected to the South Carolina Senate in 1966 representing Clarendon and Sumter Counties. She was the second woman to serve in the South Carolina Senate, and on February 22, 1967, she was called to preside over a session of the Senate becoming the first woman to preside over that body. In 1971, she was appointed as a Federal Administrative Law Judge for the Social Security Administration. She served as a Chief Administrative Law Judge for 17 years. In 2008, she was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by the Governor of South Carolina. Judge Mason died on May 4, 2012.

Anne Curtis Burgess (1874-1910) composed the music for the state song "Carolina", based on a poem by Henry Timrod. Miss Burgess graduated from Converse College and became a music teacher. She lived in Summerton, S.C. from 1881-1910.

The entire Citadel Class's of 1917 and 1918 eventually served in the armed forces during World War I, with 5 graduates earning the Distinguished Service Cross and 3 more earning the Navy Cross--all presented for "extraordinary heroism". One of these men was Captain Julius A. Mood, from Summerton, S.C. He was killed by hostile fire on July 21, 1918, in Soissons, France. The VFW Post in Summerton is named after him.

Althea Gibson (1927-2003) was born on August 25, 1927, in the village of Silver just 3 miles from nearby Summerton, South Carolina. In 1930, during the Great Depression, her family decided to move to Harlem, New York. By 1939, at the age of 12, she was the New York City women's paddle tennis champion. In 1941 she entered—and won—her first tournament, the American Tennis Association (ATA) New York State Championship. She won the ATA national championship in the girls' division in 1944 and 1945. She then went on to win the ATA national championship for women.

In 1956, Althea Gibson, a native of Clarendon county, became the first black person to win a Tennis Grand Slam title (French Open). The following year she won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Nationals (U.S. Open), then won both again in 1958, and was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in both years. In all she won 11 Grand Slam tournaments, including six doubles titles, and was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame and the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. See Wikipedia.

Rev. Joseph Armstrong DeLaine (1898-1974) was a minister and civil rights leader from Summerton in Clarendon County, South Carolina. He received a B.A. from Allen University in 1931, working as a laborer and running a dry cleaning business to pay for his education.

DeLaine worked with Modjeska Simkins and the South Carolina chapter of the NAACP on the case Briggs v. Elliott, which became one of the five cases argued under Brown v. Board of Education. These cases brought an end to racial segregation in public schools across South Carolina and the United States.

As a result of his activism, Rev. DeLaine's home was burned down, as was the church of which he was the pastor. He was ultimately forced to leave South Carolina, never to return to his home state before his death. He moved first to New York City and then on to Buffalo, New York, where he founded another Methodist church. He died in 1974.

Rev. DeLaine had taught school in South Carolina and served as the principal of Scotts Branch school, also known as the Liberty Hill colored school. He was also the pastor of Liberty Hill African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. In 2006, he was inducted into South Carolina's Educational Hall of Honor at the University of South Carolina.

In 2004, Rev. DeLaine and 3 other plaintiffs in the Briggs v. Elliott court case were posthumously awarded Congressional gold medals in 2004 for their courage and persistence in changing the education system in the U.S. for the better, despite repeated acts of community violence against them.  See Wikipedia.

Charles Alexander & Cathy Jane Harvin - Born on February 7, 1950, Charles 'Alex' Harvin was a Democratic Party politician and legislator from Summerton, South Carolina. He represented District 64 in the S.C. House of Representatives of South Carolina. His District covered both Clarendon and Williamsburg counties. He served as a state representative from 1977 until his death in 2005. Rep. Harvin was a member of the House for 29 years, making him the longest-serving member of the S.C. House of Representatives at that time. He served as the House Majority leader from 1982 to 1986. Upon his death, his wife Cathy Harvin was elected to his seat in a special election and served until her own death in 2010.

Other Notable Figures

* Visit Historic Clarendon County to read about other key figures in history from the surrounding area.

Please send us suggestions and information about other prominent citizens from the Summerton area that we may have missed.

Strategies for Small Town Success

I was recently reading an article on “Strategies for Small Town Success.” It stated that leaders in struggling rural communities and small towns often pin their hopes for economic prosperity on the recruitment of a large manufacturing plant to “save” their town. Many small towns are sure that their big break is just around the corner, if only they can come up with the right financial incentives and industry recruitment strategy.

An unfortunate consequence of relying on strategies that focus exclusively on industrial recruitment is that many communities undervalue, or don’t understand, the importance of other determinants of a strong local economy. For example, existing business retention and expansion, entrepreneurial development of new small businesses, tourism, and retiree attraction often receive short shrift when compared to industrial recruitment efforts.

According to the article, it turns out that successful strategies for small town development typically include the following key elements: 1) Developing strong and diverse community leadership that is all inclusive, collaborative, and connected; 2) Identifying local assets and creating and carrying out a strategic plan based upon these assets; and 3) Joining with other nearby towns to maximize economic resources.

Thinking about the town of Summerton and the surrounding area, one of our major strengths lies in the abundance of opportunities for participating in outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, camping, golfing, birding, hiking, biking, kayaking, and eco-tourism. It quickly becomes apparent that for outdoor enthusiasts and vacationers, this area may be one of the best places to visit on the East coast.

In addition to the outdoor activities and abundant wildlife, Summerton and the surrounding area also has a rich history encompassing the settlement of the area by Native American tribes, such as the Catawba and Santee Indians, many hundreds of years before the first European settlers arrived. Couple this with the exploits of Gen. Francis Marion during the Revolutionary War, Gen. Potter's raid during the Civil War, key events related to school desegregation, and you can see why the area continues to attract many visitors to the area.

Clarendon County's economic development activities are heavily focused on bringing manufacturing and other new businesses to the area, which also benefits inhabitants of Summerton and the surrounding area in many ways. However, Summerton is already benefiting from a different 'informal' strategy by the local business community that has focused more heavily on catering to vacationers and retirees attracted by the rich history, outdoor activities, wildlife, and the traditional small town values of our town.

It would appear that developing a 'formal' long range strategy for growth and success of Summerton should involve getting the the entire community to think, work, and act together to help concentrate efforts on attracting visitors and retirees to the town and the surrounding area. In turn, tourism and retirement communities will bring all sorts of new 'service industry' businesses into the area to meet their needs.

Think about it. Does this make sense to you? Should the town of Summerton develop a 'formal' long range plan and strategy aimed specifically at bringing vacationers and retirees into the area? Share your thoughts with our readers.

* Also, make sure you visit the new Summerton S.C.: Nature & Outdoor Activities web site.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Local Football Scores - November 7, 2014

The following are some of the key football scores and stats for Summerton and other local high schools in Clarendon County, SC:

  • Laurence Manning Academy Swampcats defeated Cardinal Newman 51-14 to advance to the state semi-finals. 
  • Clarendon Hall Saints beat Cathedral Academy 36-30, winning a trip to the state semi-finals.  
  • East Clarendon High School Wolverines lost to Allendale High School 38-6.
  • Manning High School football team overall record for this season is 4-6.
  • Scott's Branch High School football team overall record for this season is 1-9.

* Check out MAXPREPS, a web site for team standings and more complete statistics.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Santee Cooper Conducting Aerial Treatments for Invasive Plants in Lake Marion

From November 10 - 21, Santee Cooper will conduct helicopter treatments of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved aquatic herbicides in upper Lake Marion, targeting the invasive aquatic plants crested floating heart and water hyacinth.
These applications should improve lake access for residential and commercial properties, improve recreational opportunities and wildlife habitats, and help prevent the spread of these plants to other areas within the Santee Cooper Lakes system.
To notify boaters of spray operations, Santee Cooper employees will patrol the spray sites on airboats and post signage at public and commercial boat landings located near the targeted locations.
Lake users in Clarendon county are asked to avoid the following areas during these operations:
  • Clarendon County: Elliott's Flats/Tree Line, Bee Tree Lake, north shoreline below Seaboard Coast Line railroad trestle to Houseboat Slough, Santee River discharge and areas adjacent to Santee River discharge channel to channel marker 158, navigable channels north and northeast of Persanti Island.
Santee Cooper is required by federal law to maintain navigation in the lakes. Questions concerning these operations can be directed to Santee Cooper's Analytical and Biological Services unit at 843-761-4078. For more detail, you can also read Santee Cooper's News Release.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cuddo Unit of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge near Summerton, S.C.

Cuddo?!?! Cuddo is one of four units of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge near Summerton, S.C.  It was established in 1941 as a sanctuary for the wildlife displaced by the Santee Cooper hydro-electric project that first brought electricity to many rural areas in the midlands of South Carolina. In total. it encompasses approximately 13,000 acres along the shores of beautiful Lake Marion.

The Cuddo Unit of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge includes a 7.5 mile wildlife drive and another 8.5 miles of hiking and bicycling trails that let you explore the fields, woods, and wetlands and observe a wide range of wildlife, e.g. birds, deer, alligators. The Cuddo Unit also includes at least 8 miles of watercourse for canoe or kayak enthusiasts to enjoy.

The refuge is normally open year round from dawn until dusk. However, visitor access to portions of the refuge are seasonally restricted to provide migratory bird sanctuary areas for wintering ducks and geese. For example, the waters of Cantey Bay Savannah Branch, and Black Bottom are restricted from the beginning of November through the end of February. Visitors should stop at the main office of the wildlife refuge check the schedule.

Both hunting and fishing are permitted in the area, subject to state, federal, and refuge regulations. Permits are available at no cost from the main office or the Santee National Wildlife Refuge web site. Enjoy your visit to the Cuddo Unit of the wildlife refuge and make sure you explore other sites around nearby Historic Summerton, S.C.