Business news: in the second quarter, South Carolina outpaced the nation in manufacturing growth -- 2.7 percent, above the national average of 2.5 percent and the Southeast average of 2.1 percent, according to the S.C. Department of Commerce. Columbia is now the hottest high-tech city in the South, recently ranked No. 2 in the U.S in high-tech employment growth.
As this column plays out, much of it concerns the exemplary Tom Mullkin. On Saturday, September 28, National Public Lands Day, Colonel Mullikin and members of the S.C. State Guard will organized the second annual voluntary15k (9.3 miles) “Hurricane Hike” to include participants from the United States Army, Navy and Air Force. National Guard Company commander Captain Dwight deLoach and soldiers from the Signal Company of the S.C. National Guard will be joined by 25 soldiers from the 3rd Special Forces (“Green Beret”) from Fort Bragg. The S.C. State Guard will prepare to complete the following missions: hurricane relief; search, rescue, and recovery; and damage assessment and route reconnaissance. With 45-pound backpacks, they will travel down Ehrenclou Drive, over to Historic Camden, up to Kendall Lake, and eventually end at Monument Square. Members of the local Daughters of the American Revolution will service water stations along the route and welcome volunteers to help them. If you’d like to contribute your time, or if you’d like to join the hike, contact: Thomas Mullikin Jr. at 425-7771. Members of the community are invited to the awards luncheon: 12 noon at 1308 Broad St. Hamburgers and hot dogs!
On Thursday, October 10, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the same Tom Mullikin, also head of the Mullikin Law Firm in the former Greenleaf Inn on Broad Street, and a government policy lawyer with an international practice, has organized a statewide Civil Rights Ride with Northeastern University where he teaches in the doctoral program in Law and Policy.
The event will begin in Charlotte, N.C., with a roundtable of elected officials from across the Southeast offering their perspective on Southern politics and the evolution of Civil Rights in the South.
That Friday, students will depart for an interactive “Civil Rights Ride” through key locations across the state. Beginning in Camden, the students will gather in an antebellum home for lectures. With moderators leading discussions on the ride, they will travel to Clarendon County to the Liberty Hill Baptist Church, and ultimately conclude their ride in Charleston.
Mullikin reminds students that the landmark case arose from a request for bus transportation. Black students were required to walk to school, while white students were permitted to ride the bus. After blacks requested one of the 33 buses occupied by the whites, the local school superintendent denied their request, stating that they did not pay enough taxes to warrant a bus.
On August 20, with the help of his son, Thomas, a master naturalist, Mullikin hosted an ecological teach-in with the outgoing Catawba Wateree River Keeper, attorney Rick Gaskins, for many county and city elected officials and staff.
Gaskins’ message: our beautiful river is threatened by pollution from sewage, industrial sources, timber harvesting and agriculture. In 2008, the Catawba-Wateree River was designated as the “most endangered river” in the United States by American Rivers, an advocacy group. In 2010 and 2012, the Southern Environmental Law Center identified the river as one of the 10 most endangered places in the Southeast. As Gaskins pointed out, many people feed their families with the river fish; the mercury in the fish, especially the catfish, is damaging children’s’ brains. If you know of persons doing this, please make them aware of the danger.
Afterwards, the more reckless members of the group, including me and my wife, Joy, kayaked down the swollen Wateree for seven miles. Mullikin’s intent: to make us aware of the untapped recreational potential of the river. This event arose from recent discussions between county and city to address the river’s potential for Kershaw County.
On dry land, the city has begun work at the Amtrak station paving the front road, repairing the curbs, and pruning the live oak trees. Next year, if all goes as planned, CSX will refurbish the iron canopy on the platform and address the station itself.
Store owners: after years of not being able to personally attend to the trees in front of your stores, you will soon be able to obtain a permit to trim the trees yourself, thanks to the efforts of our Urban Forester, Liz Gilland. Thank you, Ms. Gilland.