Thumbs up to McCall Farms, which plans to invest $23 million in a four-year plan that will create approximately 150 jobs. On Thursday, the Florence County Council approved a second reading of an ordinance that allows the county to enter into a tax agreement with McCall Farms to facilitate this project. McCall Farms will build a facility this year in northern Florence County, one in 2017 and one more in 2019. We all get excited when a new company comes to Florence County, but we all need to appreciate the companies that are already here. When they expand, it sends a good signal beyond our region. “The expansion of existing industry in Florence County proves that we mean business,” said Florence County Administrator K.G. “Rusty” Smith. “McCall Farms is an outstanding organization, and both the family and business have left a legacy not only in the county but statewide.” We echo that sentiment.


Thumbs up to the participants, organizers and judges who were involved in the fourth-annual Camp RAE’s Got Talent event that was held Thursday at Calvary Baptist Church in Florence. The fundraiser and “fun” raiser involved singing, dancing and gameshow-style skits. Camp RAE is held for four weeks each summer at Calvary Baptist Church in Florence. Campgoers receive daily speech therapy, occupational therapy, massage therapy and physical therapy. Campers also enjoy lots of music, swimming, bowling, fishing, food and field trips as well. We encourage donations and volunteers. Anyone who wishes to donate to Camp RAE or volunteer can visit or visit the group’s Facebook page. Last year’s talent shows raised more than $4,000. Meagan Johnson, a Camp RAE organizer and the event’s emcee, hopes the total will be bigger this year. “We started this not only as a way to raise funds but we also wanted a way for the community to come see how special and talented our kids are,” Johnson said. “They have these wonderful talents, and even though they might do things a little differently, they’re still able to sing and dance and do these amazing things like everyone else.” The children, indeed, are amazing.


Three thumbs up for the five-star performance by Florence City Manager Drew Griffin and his department directors. That comes from Frank J. “Buddy” Brand II, the city of Florence’s mayor pro tem. “For the fourth year in a row Florence has distinguished itself among all South Carolina cities by being awarded the Municipal Achievement Award,” Brand wrote. “In 2013 Florence received the award for Economic Development for FMU Performing Art Center; in 2014 for Public Works with the Wastewater Treatment Facility; in 2015 for Public Works again for the acquisition and upgrade/repairs to the Timmonsville Water/Sewer System and most recently in 2016 for Public Service in the area that is now HopeHealth.  This represents an abundance of hard work by ALL our city employees.  Congratulations!!  Florence is truly a city of fine character.”


Thumbs up to the Southeastern Grain Company, which was presented the Pride of Darlington Award on Wednesday by the city of Darlington beautification board. Southeastern Grain is located at 213 E. Broad St. in Darlington. Franklin Whaley is the company’s manager. The board solicits nominations from the public for the city’s Pride of Darlington Awards and changed its schedule to select award winners. Nominations of residential property should be made by April 1 and October 1 of each year and by January 10 and June 1 of each year for businesses. The business award nominees can include the interior of businesses and other non-residential property other than churches. All nominees should be located within the city limits. Submit nominations to the board by email to or by calling 843-398-4000, ext. 103. Please include the address and name of the owner, if known.


Thumbs down to ABC Nightly News. That comes from Bill Flynn of Florence. “On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week the LEAD story was whether or not Melania Trump had plagiarized Michelle Obama's 2008 speech,” Flynn wrote. “Really!! With all the other news in the United States the media believes the most interesting piece of news is this? It is easy to see why most Americans believe there is bias among the media. But, I can remedy this simply by refusing to watch this news channel in the future. So long, ABC News!”


Thumbs up, thumbs down is a regular feature of the Morning News and appears each Saturday on our Opinion page. We seek nominations for both good and bad deeds from our readers. Send nominations to us by email at Be sure use the word “thumb” in the subject and include a contact number. Thumbs can also be mailed to us c/o The Morning News, 310 S. Dargan St., Florence, S.C., 29506.

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