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LAKE CITY — Lake City residents have another option for hardware much closer to home thanks to the opening of Simpson Ace Hardware.The company, based in Sumter, officially opened its Lake City location in the first week of May to plenty of enthusiasm from community members.“I’ve never seen so many people excited about a hardware store in my life,” said Jeremy Ohl, a part owner of Simpson Hardware.Simpson Ace Hardware has been family owned for 75 years, said Ohl, who married into the business. The ...
LAKE CITY — Lake City residents have another option for hardware much closer to home thanks to the opening of Simpson Ace Hardware.
The company, based in Sumter, officially opened its Lake City location in the first week of May to plenty of enthusiasm from community members.
“I’ve never seen so many people excited about a hardware store in my life,” said Jeremy Ohl, a part owner of Simpson Hardware.
Simpson Ace Hardware has been family owned for 75 years, said Ohl, who married into the business. The Lake City location is its fifth store. It has three stores in Sumter and another in Manning.
Ohl said the company has been eyeing Lake City for the past seven years. When True Value — the store which previously existed at the Simpson location — closed several months ago, Simpson moved in.
Barbara Vise, the Lake City store’s manager, has worked for Simpson Ace Hardware for 20 years, managing other locations for several years. She said the business has been warmly received by Lake City residents who told her the town needed a store like Simpson.
In addition to many of the typical products found at a hardware store, Simpson carries outdoor sporting equipment, such as firearms and fishing gear. That’s been a highlight for customers who no longer have to drive to Florence or Sumter for their purchases, Vise said. Also in high demand has been the store’s wide variety of paints.
“Other than bread and eggs, it’s like a one-stop shop,” Vise said, later adding the store likes to think of itself as “more than a hardware store.”
Both Vise and Ohl said they didn’t want to step on any toes by opening in Lake City, and they’ve targeted products that other stores in the area don’t carry, such as sporting goods, grilling equipment and athletic and work shoes. The company’s interest in Lake City was due to the identified need in the area.
Ohl also said the store tries to cater to a “Southern lifestyle.”
“Whether it be sunglasses, guns, women’s clothing, shoes, grilling — it just fits the southern lifestyle so well,” he said.
Vise and Ohl said they’ve been a bit taken aback by the enthusiasm from Lake City residents, who have been steadily streaming in and out since the store’s soft opening in March. While Ohl has been a part of opening other locations as well, the feedback from Lake City residents stands out.
“Every single person that’s walked in the door has given positive feedback,” Ohl said. “I’ve never been involved in anything as heartwarming than opening a store in Lake City, South Carolina.”
(TNS) — Salt Lake City has become one of the fastest-growing technology hubs in the country. The region's low cost of living and cheap real estate has drawn heavy-hitters like Microsoft and Facebook, and that success has helped Utah acquire one of the highest rates of billion-dollar startups of any state.But business leaders say the schools in this area, which has come to be known as "Silicon Slopes," need to build a stronger foundation in data and statistics skills for their future workers if that growth is to be long...
(TNS) — Salt Lake City has become one of the fastest-growing technology hubs in the country. The region's low cost of living and cheap real estate has drawn heavy-hitters like Microsoft and Facebook, and that success has helped Utah acquire one of the highest rates of billion-dollar startups of any state.
But business leaders say the schools in this area, which has come to be known as "Silicon Slopes," need to build a stronger foundation in data and statistics skills for their future workers if that growth is to be long lived. Elizabeth Converse, the executive director of Utah Tech Leads, an industry group in Salt Lake City, said she sees national declines in K-12 math performance, particularly in data and statistics, as economic "red flags" for her state as well as the nation.
"Our companies are growing at a clip that is kind of unimaginable in a state our size. We just can't, we don't have enough talent to fill the jobs," Converse said. "For us, it's really important that Utah lead the pack when it comes to absorbing data standards into everyday curriculum so that students are taught this from the very beginning."
Converse's group is working with the state board of education to develop a data-science pathway in high school and integrate more data science throughout the Beehive State's K-12 math standards, which are up for renewal this fall.
Converse said industry groups like hers are working to change the image of data science as only useful for science, technology, engineering, and math careers.
"All the way from our state legislature down to the student level, the way we talk about math is like this isolated thing like a club," she said. "Instead, data science needs to be a seamless transition. It needs to be a part of [students'] education overall."
The efforts of these advocacy groups are part of a nationwide trend to expand how teachers, parents, and students consider the full range of possible careers that utilize math skills.
Data and statistics know-how has become one of the most sought-after skills for new employees, even in fields outside of STEM. From a social entrepreneur using housing statistics to investigate building sites to a YouTube vlogger analyzing his content views and audience demographics, technology tools have made data a bigger part of many jobs.
"It's important to keep in mind that ... most of us are probably using statistics in our work under the hood," said Geoff Hing, a data journalist at the Marshall Project, a nonprofit investigative news group, "and that's especially the case with generative AI [artificial intelligence] as ChatGPT becomes a part of more and more industries."
The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that over the next decade, two of the 10 fastest-growing career fields will be related to data and statistics. The numbers of jobs available for statisticians and data scientists — both of which boast annual incomes around $100,000 — are expected to increase more than 30 percent, and most related careers also are growing faster than average.
"We see these effects cutting across sectors, and it's every entry-level job where data and technology and the basics of statistics are being used more frequently," said Zarek Drozda, the director of the nonprofit Data Science for Everyone, one of the groups helping Utah and other states.
Sheri Johnson, a math teacher at the independent Mount Vernon School in Sandy Springs, Ga., said schools across her state are expanding data and statistics standards across K-12 this fall, in part to broaden future job opportunities for students.
"There's a disconnect between what we learn in school and what employers want people to know. Employers really want employees who can use spreadsheets and data," Johnson said.
If schools begin to introduce data and statistics in elementary school, she noted, students are also likely to get earlier exposure to the kinds of jobs that use data.
While mathematics fields can seem abstract to students, statistics can give teachers a way to help students develop a personal stake in their careers, according to public-health researcher Kristin Baltrusaitis. For example, at Harvard University's Center for Biostatistics in AIDS Research, Baltrusaitis uses statistics from clinical trials to study differences between adults and children in effective doses and potential side effects for medicine used to treat HIV, the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
"I look at infants and children and pregnant people, because these are populations that are typically not included in regular clinical trial designs. So we want to look at how effective are these drugs in these different populations," she said.
When either teaching students statistics or guiding their career planning, "I think there's a huge benefit of making those interdisciplinary connections of [students] seeing the goal and the purpose of what they're learning in their math course and where it could be useful," said Baltrusaitis, who previously taught high school math and science through the New York City Teaching Fellows program.
Utah has long integrated different strands of math, including calculus and statistics, in high school. But in the run-up to math standards discussions in 2021, Mark Tullis, a co-founder of the Salt Lake City-based TechBuzz, a local industry-news group, surveyed the area's business leaders about the kinds of math they had learned in high school and the math they most needed in employees.
"So I asked them, 'Did you take calculus in high school?' And most of them said yes. 'And are you applying it in your work, your career right now?' And they would say, 'Indirectly, I guess calculus helped me achieve a certain level of problem-solving skills.'"
"And I said, well, did you have any data science in high school? Any statistics? 'No, in college but not in high school' was generally the response," Tullis said.
"Generally, the applicability of calculus or even algebra to their daily work was very small, like 5 or 10 percent said it was relevant to their current careers. But what they did say was that if they could have learned more statistics, more data science, and machine-learning skills in high school, it would have prepared them to a much greater extent," Tullis said. "The results were pretty clear, that the companies that are hiring for jobs that are math-related want data science to be taught in high schools so that the workforce is better prepared."
In most states, statistics is a high school elective after students complete a "traditional sequence" of at least Algebra 1 and 2 and geometry by grade 11. But the vast majority of students never get that far.
A 2022 study by the University of Texas-Austin's Charles A. Dana Center found that across nine states including Utah only about 27 percent of students complete that course sequence by grade 11, and only 15 percent ended up taking statistics in high school.
Low-income students and students of color, who are already underrepresented in calculus courses, likewise end up with less access to data and statistics courses, according to Josh Recio, a course program specialist in secondary mathematics at the Charles Dana Center at the University of Texas-Austin.
Back in Utah, nearly 40 districts have signed onto the state pilot to develop a data-science pathway.
"Because we have standards revisions coming up in the fall, the data that we collect from the pilot, I think, will make a compelling case for a data-science strand to be built," said Lindsey Henderson, secondary-math specialist for the Utah board of education.
Evidence of effectiveness will be critical because in other states like California, standards changes have led to conflicts between advocates for calculus and those who favor statistics pathways, something San Antonio statistics teacher Dashiell Young-Saver, called "weird and unproductive."
Instead, Young-Saver, who creates statistics lessons for teachers on the site Skew the Script, argued that schools would be better off infusing data and statistics education across the curriculum — both in math and in other subjects like science or civics — to encourage students to think more broadly about their applications.
"I think students are not fully aware that statistics is one of the most relevant maths for the professional world now," he said. "Ultimately, calculus is used by engineers, physicists, and a few other professions. Stats is used by everyone else — and also engineers and physicists."
©2023 Education Week (Bethesda, Md.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
LAKE CITY — Nearly every Lake City resident knows the name of the man taking shape on the corner of North Acline and Sauls streets.Ross Matthews stood on that corner for more than 50 years selling fruits and vegetables.Now, seven years after his death, he’s returning, slowly, paint stroke by paint stroke, next to the home of Matthews Fruit Stand.“There was nobody anywhere near here that didn’t know him,” said April Matthews, Matthews’ granddaughter and new owner of Matthews Fruit Stand...
LAKE CITY — Nearly every Lake City resident knows the name of the man taking shape on the corner of North Acline and Sauls streets.
Ross Matthews stood on that corner for more than 50 years selling fruits and vegetables.
Now, seven years after his death, he’s returning, slowly, paint stroke by paint stroke, next to the home of Matthews Fruit Stand.
“There was nobody anywhere near here that didn’t know him,” said April Matthews, Matthews’ granddaughter and new owner of Matthews Fruit Stand. She’s in the mural as well — the young girl smiling in her grandfather’s arms.
“I mean, he was here for so long. Everybody knew him, and nobody’s ever spoke an ill word of him. He had a heart that was entirely too big.”
The mural is being painted during ArtFields, the 10-day art celebration and competition held in Lake City in southern Florence County each year.
ArtFields visitors frequently stop to admire the work of the muralists, Andrew and Sarah McWilson.
At midday April 27, a group of middle school students lined up in front of the mural and peppered the McWilsons with questions. They wanted to know what inspired the mural, who that man is and who is in his arms.
“What was our inspiration? Our inspiration is always the human story. We love meeting people, we love stories that people can know,” Andrew McWilson said. “And this is a very special story.”
“What kind of story?” asks a student.
“Well, I’d say it’s a story of a relationship between a person and someone above them that cares about them,” he said. “For instance, this is a young girl that has a papa that really just cares for her and really just gave her a good life with a lot of love. I think a lot of people can relate to that.”
As the students file off to the next location, Sarah McWilson smiles at Andrew.
“Your ‘middle school art teacher’ really came out there,” she said.
The McWilsons, who are married and work under the name Hand in Hand Creative, are traveling artists. They live out of a box truck they converted into a tiny home, moving from community to community, painting murals and making friends.
The mural in Lake City came about when April Matthews asked the McWilsons to paint an image of her grandfather on a wall next to the fruit stand. She wanted something to memorialize Ross Matthews and his place in the community.
Ross Matthews began working at the fruit stand in 1963, purchasing it in the late 1970s. He also raised April, whose parents were absent early in her life.
“If it wasn’t for my granddaddy, I probably wouldn’t be alive. I probably would be dead somewhere,” she said. “My granddaddy, he was my eyeball, and I was his eyeball.”
April Matthews grew up in the fruit stand. She learned the alphabet on the sidewalk out front, jumping rope as her grandfather quizzed her. She was put to work at a young age, the only one small enough to fit certain places in the store.
Today, her daughter, Daisy, stands beside her as she rings up customers.
Six years ago, the McWilsons pulled up stakes, making the decision to quit their day jobs — Andrew McWilson was an art teacher and Sarah McWilson a writer — and begin a life on the road. It was soon after a visit to ArtFields that they made that decision. Seeing what art could do in a small town like Lake City, just shy of 6,000 people, encouraged them to focus on rural communities in the Southeast.
“We think art’s really important, and we love bringing it to places where it’s not always abundant,” she said. “We live in the South, so we know that art can bring people together, it can start dialogue.”
The McWilsons are intentional about living in the communities they work in. Depending on the size of the mural, they can spend months in a single place. Leaving can be hard, they said, describing the moving process as full of “small griefs.”
“I think we’ve had special connections in different ways with every place we’ve created for,” she said. “That’s a hard thing about leaving, because we really do invest when we’re there, and it feels like home for a season. We always make friends along the way.”
One of those friends is April Matthews, who the McWilsons met when they painted another mural across the street from the fruit stand a few years ago.
Painting the mural of Matthews and her grandfather has been a different experience, they said.
Matthews has posted social media updates about the mural’s progress. The posts have received dozens of comments from people fondly remembering her grandfather and the stand.
“Just the amount of local people that were just in love with the message and what was happening — I don’t know that we’ve done a mural quite like that up to this point,” Andrew McWilson said. “So that’s really special to us, because it taps into something. Not that our other murals don’t, but this one strikes a chord.”
As the McWilsons work and ArtFields visitors stop to admire the mural, Matthews continues to bag fruit and chat with regulars who stop at the stand. Between customers, she glances toward the wall where she will soon be able to see her grandfather every day.
“I’m just glad he’ll still be here,” she said.
Seeing the mural take shape on Sauls Street is just one of the many things at ArtFields for visitors to do.
Until April 29, when the celebration ends, there will be a wine walk, artist talks, live music, and a screening of the documentary “Invited,” on the revitalization of Lake City.
The documentary screening, followed by a panel discussion, are new, said Roberta Burns, director of ArtFields presents.
“That’s something that we’re really excited about,” she said.
The screening begins at 6 p.m. April 27.
LAKE CITY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s official, Yamekia Robinson has been sworn in as Lake City’s first female African American mayor.“I was born and raised here. I left and went off to school but I came back and for me to be able to step into this type of role of leadership, it means the world to me,” said Mayor Robinson.The sentiment was mutual as those in attendance shared in the special moment, the room filled to capacity, overflowing into the lobby area.“We’re going into a change, with Ya...
LAKE CITY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s official, Yamekia Robinson has been sworn in as Lake City’s first female African American mayor.
“I was born and raised here. I left and went off to school but I came back and for me to be able to step into this type of role of leadership, it means the world to me,” said Mayor Robinson.
The sentiment was mutual as those in attendance shared in the special moment, the room filled to capacity, overflowing into the lobby area.
“We’re going into a change, with Yamekia being our first mayor in 16 years. Just being able to work with her continuing to build on Lake City is amazing,” said Nicole Singletary councilmember.
Singletary begins her second term as a councilmember, after being sworn in during the same ceremony.
Robinson’s campaign manager Malcolm Pressley says the strategy for her win was simple.
“The main thing was getting Yamekia to get a game plan on and what was her mission. That is serving the people of Lake City,” said Pressley.
For Yamekia’s mother Margaret Robinson, watching her daughter make history was an emotional moment.
“I always tell her, stay humble, put God first there’s nothing in this world that you can’t do if you put your mind to it,” said Margaret Robinson.
Yamekia’s daughter Taylor, also in attendance is proud of her mom.
“I feel wonderful because she’s shown me to do better things and has encouraged me and my sisters to do more,” said Taylor.
Jason Brown was also sworn in for his first term as a city councilmember and has a list of goals of his own.
“I want to see this city grow and prosper and bring in more industry and bring in more for the youth,” said Brown.
One thing made clear this evening--Mayor Robinson is confident in getting the job done.
“I didn’t receive permission from man to run for office, so I don’t need permission from man to hold my head up and walk into my destination,” said Mayor Robinson.
In her first one hundred days in office, Mayor Robinson says she would like to see more affordable housing projects citywide and wants to make Lake City a destination for everyone.
Copyright 2023 WMBF. All rights reserved.
Florence County, Open Space Institute, and Pee Dee Land Trust Announce Creation of New County Park Along State Scenic Lynches RiverLAKE CITY, SC (April 13, 2023)—Florence County, the Open Space Institute (OSI), and Pee Dee Land Trust today announced creation of a new county park along the State Scenic Lynches River. The 498-acre park will create a vibrant community resource while establishing additional public access for a celebrated, multi-county paddling trail. (Map and photos available ...
Florence County, Open Space Institute, and Pee Dee Land Trust Announce Creation of New County Park Along State Scenic Lynches River
LAKE CITY, SC (April 13, 2023)—Florence County, the Open Space Institute (OSI), and Pee Dee Land Trust today announced creation of a new county park along the State Scenic Lynches River. The 498-acre park will create a vibrant community resource while establishing additional public access for a celebrated, multi-county paddling trail. (Map and photos available here).
Adjacent to the popular paddling take-out point at Bennie Landing, the “Independence Farm” property includes 1.3 miles of riverfront as well as inland forests and freshwater forested wetlands. The new county park will become an important access point, along with the upstream Lynches River County Park, for the South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail, a National Park Service-designated National Water Trail. In addition to paddling, overnight camping platforms, hiking, and other uses will be evaluated for the park.
“The Open Space Institute is proud to add a county park for the residents of Lake City and for the greater Pee Dee region,” said Maria Whitehead, OSI Vice President and Director of Land for the Southeast. “This park is both an important next step in protecting the Lynches River, and a huge win for public access and the region’s burgeoning outdoor recreation economy. We thank Florence County and Pee Dee Land Trust for their dedication to enhancing the Lynches River visitor experience, and we appreciate the support of the South Carolina Conservation Bank and the Lynches River Conservation Fund.”
“We are excited at the possibilities this property holds as we strive to conserve our natural resources and provide public access to one of our county’s most beautiful assets, Lynches River,” said Florence County Councilman Jason Springs. “We thank the Open Space Institute and the Pee Dee Land Trust for their assistance in securing this property and dedication to this project.”
After acquiring the land in May 2022, OSI will transfer the property this month to Florence County for creation of the park. Pee Dee Land Trust will hold a conservation easement on the property, forever protecting its natural resources. The South Carolina Conservation Bank and the Lynches River Conservation Fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation provided funding for the project.
“Pee Dee Land Trust is proud to partner with Florence County as the conservation easement steward in perpetuity,” said Lyles Cooper, Pee Dee Land Trust Executive Director. “Our work primarily focuses on working with private landowners, however we were excited to partner with Florence County and Open Space Institute to help with the addition of a low impact park for public enjoyment.”
“This project will showcase the Lynches River as one of South Carolina’s most scenic and ecologically important waterways. I hope that our partners can build on this success and protect more land along the broader corridor in the coming years,” said Raleigh West, Executive Director of the South Carolina Conservation Bank.
“Since its inception, the Lynches River Conservation Fund has permanently protected over 3,700 acres of land within the Lynches River watershed,” said Erin Johnson, Vice President, Community Investment at Central Carolina Community Foundation. “This new county park will allow for almost 500 more acres to be conserved while also providing residents of Florence County access to the river.”
“With the growing popularity of the Revolutionary Rivers National Water Trail, this park site will be a preferred stopping spot for paddlers,” said Holly Beaumier, Executive Director of the Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau. “The Florence Convention and Visitors Bureau looks forward to promoting this new County treasure.”
The state-designated scenic portion of Lynches River stretches 111 miles and is home to Blueback Herring, American Shad, and Hickory Shad, all of which are designated with the highest priority for conservation under the State Wildlife Action Plan. The park also contains habitat for the federally at-risk Spotted Turtle, while significant fish species include American Eel, Sawcheek Darter, and Ironcolor Shiner.
The South Carolina Revolutionary Rivers Trail is a National Recreation Trail that highlights the Southern Campaign of the American Revolution, following the Lynches Scenic River from Lynches River County Park to the confluence. The 66-mile-long trail offers paddlers the unique experience of floating through lands once utilized by Patriots as they fought British Loyalists.