Capital Rotary member Melissa Lindler and club president Philip Flynn display a patch received for taking part in a World Polio Day Rally to End Polio Now. The event was held at the SC State House last October to raise awareness about the continuing effort to end polio – a vaccine preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world. Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 per cent. Rotary has committed to raising $50 million a year in support of global eradication and has contributed more than $1.8 billion towards that end since 1985.
For safety’s sake, it’s important to know the signs of sex trafficking and for parents – especially – to ensure that children take charge of their own security. That’s what investigator Chandra Cleveland-Jennings told the Capital Rotary Club at its April 17 breakfast meeting. Cleveland-Jennings (shown in photo with Rotarian Frank Rutkowski) heads Columbia Private Investigations & Consultants. She’s also an ambassador for Shared Hope International, helping to improve sex trafficking laws and to train community, business and law enforcement personnel on combatting this type of crime. She noted that Richland and Lexington counties rank first and third, respectively, for sex trafficking in the state. Victims are lured into commercial sexual exploitation by traffickers using force, fraud or coercion. The trauma can be so great that many of those exploited don’t see themselves as victims or won’t ask for help. Cleveland-Jennings began her law enforcement career at the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and was the first female to be named “Deputy of the Year” in South Carolina. She’s a graduate of Benedict College and of the SC Criminal Justice Academy.
The Class of 2020’s Grace Cooney is the second University of South Carolina student asking Capital Rotary Club to endorse her application for a Global Grant Scholarship. Cooney (shown in photo) is a Greenville native majoring in public health. The award would enable her to pursue a Master’s of Science Degree in Migration, Culture and Global Health from Queen Mary University in London. She says this would expand her understanding of health to address not only the physical ailment, but also religious affiliation, native culture and socioeconomic status affecting patients. She hopes to become a physician practicing internationally, working with underserved and vulnerable populations abroad. Cooney has been a Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity officer, an anatomy lab teaching assistant and a volunteer at Carolina Survivor Clinic. In a four-year summer internship in Greenville, she experienced hands-on training, interactive workshops and professional engagement seminars. Recipient of a Stamps Carolina Scholarship – the university’s highest academic scholarship award – Cooney was one of three students granted enrichment funds for out-of-classroom experiences for excelling in leadership and service. Rotary International’s Global Grant scholarships support graduate-level study in one of six areas of focus: peace, disease prevention, water and sanitation, maternal/child health, education and economic/community development.
David Ballard works for the state’s Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office as a professional land surveyor examining county boundaries, but the passage of time can complicate that job. Ballard (shown at left in photo with Rotarian Mike Montgomery) was Capital Rotary’s Feb. 20 guest speaker. He explained how the South Carolina Geodetic Survey determines county lines even when many of the border landmarks of the past – like trees, roads and bridges – no longer exist or have been altered by history. Researchers may use colonial records, old maps, plats, land transfers and deeds to help determine boundaries. Fixing exact and proper borders can affect property taxes, fire departments, EMS and police services, schools, enforcement of property rights and election of public officials. It can also involve time and expense, Ballard said, noting that it took 20 years for the states of North and South Carolina to research and agree on the 337-mile border between them.
Capital Rotary members got a firsthand look Jan. 30 at Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation’s expanded facility in Lexington County. The $125 million investment adds 36,000 square feet of manufacturing space to the company’s West Columbia campus located off 12 Street Extension near the Amazon distribution center. Nephron is a leading maker of respiratory and other sterile medications for hospitals, retail pharmacies, mail order pharmacies, home care companies and long-term care facilities. Nephron announced plans to move to the Midlands in 2011 and relocated its headquarters from Orlando, FL. Capital Rotary first visited the campus in October 2014. The club tours various points of interest throughout the community as part of its Fifth Wednesday program that substitutes field trips in place of a regular weekly breakfast meeting.
Capital Rotary Club adopted a local family and provided gifts for the holiday season (shown in photo) as part of the 2018 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program, a Palmetto Project and WIS-TV initiative. Club members had the option of purchasing gifts or making a monetary donation. The adopted family included two adults and five children. One hundred percent of the club membership participated, according to Rotarian Catherine Mabry, who oversaw the project. The family also received a $100 Food Lion gift card. For 25 years, the Families Helping Families program has provided gifts, clothing, food and other essentials to thousands of Midlands neighbors in need, ensuring that all may share in the joy of the Christmas season.
Capital Rotarians went to historic Columbia College on Oct. 31 for a tour and briefing from president Dr. Carol Moore. She outlined plans to promote entrepreneurship and workforce development, noting that 51% of new business startups are headed by women. The college’s Institute for Leadership & Professional Excellence houses a McNair Center for Entrepreneurism – one of six such centers across the nation – for undergraduate and graduate students. Moore envisions a “consulting agency” approach where students with proper faculty guidance would work with businesses, combining academic knowledge and real-world job experience. Moore also spoke about plans for redevelopment projects at college-owned properties in adjacent neighborhoods, noting these would benefit students and nearby residents alike. Columbia College senior Marisa Thornton (left foreground) led Capital Rotary’s campus tour. Also pictured are club members (front row, from left) Mark Timbes, Ione Cockrell and Andy Markl; (back row, from left) Abby Naas, Philip Flynn, Paul Gillam, Daniel Moses and Austin McVay. Capital Rotary’s visit was part of the club’s Fifth Wednesday program featuring local field trips in place of a regular weekly meeting.
Capital Rotary Club members John Guignard (standing left rear) and Rowland Alston (standing right rear) helped deliver new paperback dictionaries to this Arden Elementary School third-grade class as part of the club’s participation in The Dictionary Project. The project – begun by a non-profit organization in Charleston in 1995 – aims to help young people become good writers, active readers, creative thinkers and resourceful learners. Capital Rotary donated dictionaries to some 900 students in 12 Richland County District One schools for 2018. Over the past 14 years, the club has distributed personal dictionaries to 14,000 students in the Columbia area. A number of other Rotary clubs in South Carolina and throughout the country are Dictionary Project sponsors. One of Rotary International’s major goals is improving basic education and literacy for adults and young people.
Lou Kennedy, President and CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, spoke to the Columbia Capital Rotary Club on Wednesday, September 5th. An avid Gamecock fan, Ms. Kennedy detailed Nephron’s move from Florida to South Carolina and its growth over the last five years. Currently employing over 800, Nephron has become an anchor for the Midlands’ economy while being actively involved in the community. She described Nephron’s newest endeavor in providing hospitals with ‘short-supply meds’ and filling a nationwide need. Ms. Kennedy gave a personal story on perseverance that resonated with club members.
Columbia College is reawakening the “pioneer spirit” from its founding 164 years ago and is focused anew on meeting community and educational needs, according to president Carol Moore. Dr. Moore (at left in photo with Rotarian Felicia Maloney) was Capital Rotary’s Aug. 15 guest speaker. She said the private liberal arts women’s college is expanding programs to include partnerships with Midlands Technical College, Benedict College, Northeastern University, non-profit organizations and business and industry. Evening and online offerings will grow in the areas of entrepreneurship and workforce development. “Columbia College has always been about experiential learning – applying learning out in the community,” Dr. Moore said. The school also supports the City of Columbia’s revitalization goals for North Main Street. With more than 40 years of education experience at six institutions of higher education, Dr. Moore holds BA and MA degrees in biology from Montclair State University and a doctorate in marine biology from Northeastern University. She came to Columbia College in September 2017 and was named president in January 2018.