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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Support for Veterans

Dec 27, 2023 10:14AM ● By Donna Walker

Bamberg Unveils New County Veterans Affairs Office, Housed In Repurposed Historic County Hospital

(SCDVA photo)


Bamberg County and Bamberg City officials recently unveiled the new Bamberg County Veterans Affairs Office, now located in the repurposed historic Bamberg County Community Hospital.


The repurposed hospital has been transformed into complex that houses law enforcement, human services, the health department, and the Bamberg County Veterans Affairs Office.


"The project was 100 percent funded by the Capital Project Sales Tax, which includes the penny sales tax that was approved by voters in 2018," said County Administrator Joey Preston.


He estimated constructions costs to be around $1.3 million and exterior costs to be roughly $2.4 million for a combined total of $3.7 million.


"Our veterans bring leadership to their communities, their employers. They lead their communities, their churches. We need to invest in that talent. And this is a reflection of that investment throughout and that town will frankly have great returns for these communities," said South Carolina Department of Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Todd B. McCaffrey.


During the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Bamberg CVAO, Bamberg Veterans Affairs Officer Craig Walker was presented with a new county vehicle that will assist with transporting veterans to their appointments. 

Comporium Awarded $51.9 Million in Grants by the SC Broadband Office

The South Carolina Broadband Office (SCBBO) announced that it was funding 17 fiber network projects through its American Rescue Plan Act’s (ARPA) Capital Projects Fund (CPF 1.0) grant program. The SCBBO awarded more than $112 million statewide.


Four of those grants were awarded to Rock Hill, S.C.-based Comporium totaling more than $51.9 million. Comporium will use these grants, along with its own funds, to extend advanced broadband services to customers in nine SC counties.


Comporium estimates the total cost of the four projects to be just shy of $78 million and they will connect 6,610 addresses to its advanced fiber-optic network capable of delivering broadband speeds faster than 1Gbps.


Comporium is one of eight Internet Service Providers (ISPs) awarded grants by the SCBBO. This round of projects will connect over 16,000 addresses across South Carolina.


All projects receiving CPF 1.0 grant funding are required to be completed by Dec. 29, 2025.


The SCBBO estimates that the eight ISPs will collectively invest more than $162 million in South Carolina’s broadband infrastructure over the next two years.

Partnership Helps Small Farmers in SC Achieve Key Food Safety Certification

A new partnership is helping more South Carolina farmers show buyers their commitment to food safety.


The South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness Center for Research and Entrepreneurship (ACRE) is helping South Carolina farmers achieve Good Agricultural Practices certification thanks to a $100,000 grant from Duke Energy.


Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, is a voluntary federal audit showing that a farm is taking significant steps to reduce the risk of foodborne illness associated with fresh fruits and vegetables.


Some buyers, including some grocery chains and school districts, will only purchase from GAP-certified farms. Thus, GAP certification can be crucial for farms looking to scale up their operations and find sustainable markets for their produce, according to SCDA officials.


ACRE is partnering with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, the South Carolina Black Farmers Coalition, Pick 42 Foundation, and Bonita Global LLC to help growers prepare for a GAP audit and cover the costs of certification.


The program is targeting small, minority-owned farms in South Carolina.


“GAP certification means opportunity and access for small, socially disadvantaged farms,” said Larry Harris, a produce grower who owns Harris Farms LLC in Sumter County.


Harris has also worked to bring other farmers in to the program.  


Half of Duke Energy’s contribution is being used for the GAP assistance program, while ACRE is using the other $50,000 for small business development grants to agricultural producers in the region served by Duke Energy. 


Sonoco Implementing Price Increase for all Paperboard Converted Products

Hartsville, S.C.-based Sonoco (NYSE: SON) announced Dec. 18, 2023, it will raise the price for all converted paperboard products by a minimum of 6 percent, effective with shipments in the United States and Canada, on or after Feb. 1, 2024.


“This price increase is necessary due to continued increases in costs for uncoated recycled paperboard (URB), our primary raw material,” said Mike Thompson, vice president of Sales and Marketing for Sonoco’s North American Converted Paper Products Division.


Founded in 1899, Sonoco is a global provider of packaging products.


With net sales of approximately $7.3 billion in 2022, the company has approximately 22,000 employees working in more than 320 operations around the world.

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