Dominion Energy’s proposed $14.6 billion merger with South Carolina’s SCANA Corp. is a remedy for “the largest utility failure in modern history” – that is, the $9 billion loss of the abandoned V.C. Summer nuclear power plant. That’s according to Dominion executive Dan Weekley, who told Capital Rotarians March 14 that the Virginia-based company seeks this “friendly acquisition” because it believes the Palmetto State is “on the verge of explosive growth” needing energy reliability. Weekley said merger benefits include (1) a $1.3 billion cash payment to customers – a value of $1,000 for average residential users; (2) additional reductions of up to 7 percent from current electric and gas rates; and (3) a $1.7 billion write-off of existing debt related to the failed nuclear project. Weekley noted that Dominion already has a business presence in the state, citing recent construction of an 1,100-acre, 270,000-panel solar farm in Jasper County. He said Dominion – the sixth-largest producer of solar power in the country – is about 10 times SCANA’s size, with projects equally divided between electricity and natural gas. Weekly joined the company in 2000. He’s a graduate of Marshall University and earned a master’s in business administration from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
At a mid-year assembly to review Capital Rotary’s accomplishments to date in the 2017-2018 Rotary year, president Blake DuBose thanked members for achieving highlights that included:
- Attaining a current membership level of 61 Rotarians; plans are under way to create a new online proposed member application form plus an online explanation of membership responsibilities.
- Donating 936 free dictionaries to third-graders in 14 Richland County District One schools.
- Collecting 65 units of blood at the annual Red Cross Blood Drive, each donation helping to save the lives of up to three people.
- Making a $1,000 donation for Harvest Hope Food Bank’s “Back Pack” and “Kids Café” programs to feed hungry children.
- Supporting domestic and overseas relief efforts with a total of $8,000 in donations for natural disaster victims in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Mexico.
- Taking part in the World Polio Week international campaign to eradicate polio. The club raised $882, matched by Rotary District 7770 for a total donation of $1,764
- Assisting three local college students with scholarships that will total $5,000 per year each.
- Sponsoring two families through the Families Helping Families organization. Members contributed $625, then matched by the club, for a total donation of $1,250 used to purchase Christmas wish-list items such as clothing, toys, personal items, food and furniture.
- Continuing community service projects with weekly Meals on Wheels delivery and annual volunteering at Harvest Hope Food Bank.
- Supporting The Rotary Foundation with 55 Paul Harris Fellows ($1,000 donation), 40 Benefactors ($1,000 donation via will), four Bequest Society members ($10,000 donation upon death), six Major Donors (donation greater than $10,000) and eight Paul Harris Society members ($1,000 donation yearly).
- Exceeding the club goal ($1,680) for PolioPlus contributions (total $2,38 to date).
- Publicizing our activities with 45 club website and social media posts; reaching 6,181 people through social media; 2,262 website visitors; 40 postings on District 7770’s website and newsletters; 59 press releases posted by local media; and seven monthly club activity recaps e-mailed to members.
Commercial banker Austin McVay (second from left in photo) and healthcare professional Jon Belsher (second from right) have been inducted into Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club. McVay – shown with sponsor Denise Holland – is a Greenville native with undergraduate and graduate degrees from Clemson University. He is a commercial relationship manager with TD Bank and previously worked at Verizon Wireless and ScanSource in Greenville and for GE Energy in Atlanta. Belsher – shown with sponsor Tommy Gibbons – is president and chief operating officer of UCI Medical Affiliates, Inc. A native of Palo Alto, CA, he was educated at Amherst College, the University of Arizona and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He has worked for the Mayo Clinic and Scott & White Healthcare and spent 13 years in the Air National Guard. He’s a former Big Brother and Special Olympics clinical director.
Social media and the Internet make it easier to spread “fake news” today, but there are several key factors for judging the reliability of what we hear and see reported locally and nationally, according to John Monk, a writer for The State newspaper since 1997. Monk was Capital Rotary’s Nov. 15 guest speaker, sharing what he’s learned after some 40 years as a journalist in South Carolina. To judge a story’s merits, Monk suggested readers or listeners should: (1) see if the story comes from a major news organization that carefully checks facts before publication; (2) consider the personal reputation and reliability of the reporter; and (3) remember that news is a “continuing conversation” that “hopefully is not the final word.” He told Rotarians that “there is a good deal of evidence that propaganda spreads through fake news.” Monk is a Maryland native, attended Davidson College and spent five years as Washington correspondent for The Charlotte Observer.
Lee Ann Rice (center) is welcomed as Capital Rotary’s newest member by sponsor Katherine Anderson and club president Blake DuBose. Rice, a Greenville native, is the S.C. Human Affairs Commission’s general counsel. She formerly practiced law in Myrtle Beach, where she was a Chicora Rotary member, a Paul Harris Fellow, and was 2011 Rookie Rotarian of the Year. Rice is the mock trial team coach for Brookland Cayce High School and is a Women In Philanthropy member through United Way. She’s also a candidate for the state government’s Certified Public Manager program, Class of 2019. She attended Furman University and the University of South Carolina’s School of Law.
Callie McLean (left) and Emma Goldrick, student leaders of the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club, are welcomed by president Blake DuBose to a recent Capital Rotary meeting. McLean, a junior public health major, is from Charleston. She is Rotaract vice president and has participated in a host of activities including Relay for Life, the Carolina Judicial Council and AED, a pre-health honors society that undertook a medical mission trip to Nicaragua last spring. Goldrick, a junior majoring in marketing and management, is from Hilton Head Island. She is Rotaract secretary, participated in Relay for Life, is current president of CHAARG (Changing Health Actions and Attitudes to Recreate Girls) and is a peer consultant at USC’s Student Success Center. Rotaract clubs are open to adults ages 18-30 interested in community service, in developing leadership and professional skills, and who enjoy networking and social activities.
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose presents a $1,000 check supporting child feeding to Denise Holland, CEO of Harvest Hope Food Bank. The funds will go for (1) a BackPack Program providing child-friendly, nutritious, easy-to-open food to last the weekend for needy children and (2) the Kids Café Program serving an average of 300 children over 3,100 nutritious, warm meals monthly at 13 after-school sites including churches, community centers and Boys & Girls Clubs. DuBose said Harvest Hope has worked since 1981 to alleviate childhood hunger, a concern embraced by Rotary International worldwide.
Rotary District 7770 Gov. Gary Bradham (right) congratulates Capital Rotary past president David Boucher as the club’s nominee for a Four-Way Test Award to be presented at the March 2018 district conference. The award is predicated on the “Rotary Four-Way Test” set of guidelines adopted in 1942 as a standard for ethics in business management. The 4-Way Test considers the following questions in respect to thinking, saying or doing: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Capital Rotary Club of Columbia has installed new board members for 2017-2018. Pictured are (from left) David Boucher, membership director; Blake DuBose, president; Neda Beal, at-large director and service chair; Ben Carlton and Gloria Saeed, at-large directors; Craig Lemrow, treasurer; Abby Naas, secretary; Ione Cockrell, at-large director; Bill Beers, at-large director and sergeant at arms; Tommy Gibbons, past president and Rotary Foundation chair. The club’s new president-elect is Philip Flynn (not pictured).
Twenty-one members of Columbia’s Capital Rotary volunteered at Harvest Hope Food Bank to help pack over 150 boxes of groceries for distribution to the needy and elderly. Their participation was part of Rotary District 7770’s call for community service projects fighting hunger in the first quarter of 2017. Harvest Hope began in 1981 and since has expanded to feed the hungry across 20 counties in the Midlands, Pee Dee and Greater Greenville regions of South Carolina. The club counts the food bank’s executive director, Denise Holland, in its membership ranks.