COLUMBIA — Scout Motors Inc. is establishing its first manufacturing plant in Blythewood, north of Columbia.
At the Richland County site, the company will build all-electric, next-generation trucks and rugged SUVs harkening back to the iconic Scout vehicles produced from 1960 to 1980.
The company’s $2 billion investment has the potential to create 4,000 or more permanent jobs. At full capacity, more than 200,000 Scout vehicles may be produced annually at the facility.
“Scout Motors will provide thousands of South Carolinians with previously unimagined opportunities and prosperity for generations to come,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “The Palmetto State, with its rich history, superior people and sterling automotive manufacturing reputation, is the perfect place to restart this iconic American brand.”
Scout trucks and rugged SUVs will be built on a newly designed all-electric platform that delivers credible capability and off-road prowess.
With internal engineering focused on attributes including ground clearance, approach angles, robust axles, payload capacity, all-electric range and new digital features, Scout products will honor its heritage, while injecting fresh American ingenuity to create a new era of iconic all-purpose vehicles.
“We’re honored to partner with South Carolina to usher in this new era for Scout,” said Scott Keogh, Scout Motors president and CEO. “Scout has been an American icon since introducing an SUV in 1960. It’s the vehicle that took your family on a camping trip, that gave access to the great outdoors, and that showed up on the job site every morning.
“Today, we’re reimagining Scout’s original ingenuity and electrifying its future. We’re bringing the Scout spirit to South Carolina and it’s going to be a hell of a ride.”
Headquartered in Tysons, Va., Scout was formed to craft all-electric trucks and SUVs rooted in the same tradition that made the original Scout vehicle an American icon. The company is revitalizing a legend and returning manufacturing to American shores.
The Blythewood Industrial Site, off Interstate 77, encompasses about 1,600 acres, with the plant itself occupying 1,100 acres. Vehicle production is targeted to begin by the end of 2026.
The site is about 50 minutes from Lancaster.
Scout Motors is an independent U.S. company, backed by Volkswagen Group, with an experienced board of directors, including Dr. Gernot Doellner, head of Group Strategy at Volkswagen AG, and Peter Bosch, member of the Bentley Motors Board for Manufacturing. Scout is currently evaluating the potential for outside investment.
Individuals interested in joining the Scout team should visit readySC’s recruitment website to explore opportunities. Companies interested in becoming a supplier for the company should complete S.C. Commerce’s online interest form.
Today, March 15, is the grand opening and ribbon cutting for the Great Falls Recreation Flow Release Project, which will return water to two channels of the Catawba River, creating opportunities for whitewater enthusiasts.
Duke Energy has completed its construction work on significant recreational and environmental enhancements at Great Falls Reservoir.
The Great Falls enhancement project returned water to two river channels, which were dewatered when the Great Falls Hydro Station was built in 1907, restoring habitat for aquatic life and creating recreational opportunities for the public. The project has taken over a half decade to complete and will include whitewater recreation, boater access, parking and trails.
Public access will open with the first scheduled recreation flow release Saturday, March 18, along with the opening of the Nitrolee Access Area, 528 Catawba River Road, Great Falls. There will be another release March 25, and they will continue into October. Recreational releases are scheduled from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
These scheduled releases will provide whitewater enthusiasts the opportunity to paddle the 2-mile stretch of the long bypass reach from the Great Falls Reservoir to the Cedar Creek Reservoir.
It is important to note that when the water is released, it will rise quickly in the bypass channel. Scheduled flow releases are subject to variability based on natural conditions and/or unexpected changes in hydro project operation.
Modification of the dam that creates the long bypass river channel includes the creation of two release points for flow. One will be used to provide a continuous flow for improving aquatic habitat downstream, as well as recreational flow.
The other entrance will be used only for flow for recreational use, helping to provide a safe access route into the river for boaters who wish to navigate the more than 2 miles of the downstream river channel. This original section of the river contains Class II and III rapids.
Farther south on Great Falls Reservoir, pneumatically controlled steel gates have been installed on more than 500 feet of the short bypass concrete dams to provide aquatic flow releases, recreation flow releases and flood management.
This section of river will be accessed from the Great Falls canoe/kayak access trail on Mountain Island. The river section downstream of this area is about .75 miles long, and the recreation flow releases will have a rapid flow of water that is expected to create Class III and IV rapids for advanced paddlers.
Flow releases into the short bypass reach will begin in May.
A full listing of recreation release dates can be found at https://lakes.duke-energy.com/index.html#/flow.
For the most up-to-date information about lake levels and scheduled releases, visit duke-energy.com/lakes or download the free Duke Energy Lake View mobile app.
Lancaster City Council prioritized its nine budget goals for the upcoming fiscal year at its March 8 budget goals meeting.
Its top three goals are updating the city’s website, upgrading and repairing the city’s sewer systems and funding $30,000 to a private group to build six new pickleball courts at USCL.
Those goals were labeled as “must do,” while the middle three goals were labeled as “should do” and the last three goals were labeled as “could do.”
Council started with a total 14 goals to prioritize.
The “should do” goals voted in resulted in seven action items, as there were three ties. First was a tie for aiding law enforcement recruitment, compensation and developing a career ladder, and annexing both new and previously developed land, with the possible option of holding an annexation session with council.
The second “should do” tie was for improved customer service in all city offices, including diversity training for city employees, and researching and developing a splash pad, with a possible tennis court location.
The third “should do” tie was for three items — upgrading video and sound technology in council chambers for the livestream, improving the exterior look of historic downtown Lancaster, and integrating and expanding Lancaster city parks and greenway trails.
The expansion of parks and greenway would include the possible purchase of property, hiring a parks planner and looking specifically at Springdale Park.
Among the “could do” goals, reviewing and updating the city’s mission and vision statement ranked first. Creating a business incubator with private and public partnerships and tied to the Main Street program, and starting the Red Rose Development Corp. for redevelopment tied for second.
In third place, council voted to create a sports center that will recognize athletes from Lancaster and promote indoor sports and tourism.
The goal-setting session was facilitated by Charlie Barrineau, a field services manager with the Municipal Association of South Carolina. He works with MASC to facilitate goals sessions with a dozen South Carolina counties.
Barrineau used a five-step system, which involved brainstorming goal ideas as the first step.
Then he began the session with introductions, asking each council member how long they had been serving, as this was his first time working with the city.
He then asked council members to share their goal ideas, one by one, until all ideas had been presented and written on large yellow sticky notepaper, which was then put up on the wall.
Council then ranked their top three goals for each category of “must do,” “should do” and “could do,” with weighted tallies for each category. The tallies were totaled to determine the majority winners.
Municipal staff will combine the 14 goals into one prioritization list, with clear and concise tasks. Each action item for the budget will be assigned to an individual or department on a timeline for completion.
The plan will be presented to council for a vote at the March 28 City Council meeting.
The goals will be implemented into council’s budget for the fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Items that received some votes, but not enough to make the list, included improving low- to moderate-income housing, hiring an architect for the new city Fire Station 3, forming a partnership with United Way of Lancaster and S.C. Housing Corp. to address homelessness, and fixing road conditions with the County Transportation Committee.
“We sure appreciate your help,” Lancaster Mayor Alston DeVenny told Barrineau. “We certainly appreciate you helping us formulate the things we need to do.”
DeVenny said the workshop “is an enjoyable part of services, because you get to think about the things that we need to do and then think how it is possible to do the things that we think we need to do for the people in this community.”
COLUMBIA — Carolina Gateway and The Lancaster News both received top overall recognition at the S.C. Press Association’s annual banquet Friday, March 10, at the Cooperative Conference Center in Columbia.
Carolina Gateway received first place for General Excellence in the weekly newspaper division for publications with circulations of 3,000-6,500. The Lancaster News received second place in the same category. The editorial staff of TLN also won six other awards.
“Quality overall coverage presented in a well-thought-out and laid-out newspaper,” one judge wrote of Carolina Gateway. “I felt like I knew the pulse of the community after reading these entries. Good job.”
The general excellence criteria includes every aspect of journalism, including content, writing, design, editing, headlines, use of photos, editorial page quality and sports and lifestyle coverage.
“I am just thrilled to have both of our newspapers — Carolina Gateway and The Lancaster News — win first and second in General Excellence, which judges everything in the paper except advertising,” said Jane Alford, editor of both papers.
“It’s a tribute to the high quality of journalism we hold ourselves to here. Although we’ve seen a lot of changes here in the last year or so, that’s one thing that hasn’t changed,” she said.
“I’m also proud of all of our staff and freelancers’ individual awards. Competition is stiff in the weekly contests, so it means a lot to have our work recognized as among the best in the state.”
There were 2,700 entries from 68 papers in this year’s competition, which was judged by the Georgia Press Association.
Former reporter Greg Summers received first place in Profile Feature Writing for his May 4 story, “Luckiest man on Earth,” which profiled Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke, a Lancaster native.
“The amount of detail that went into this story is simply amazing,” one of the judges wrote. “Although long, I could’ve read it for pages and pages. You have a real gift for storytelling and painting a detailed picture.”
Sports editor and reporter Mac Banks received second place recognition for his Growth and Development Beat Reporting.
“It’s always nice to win something,” Banks said. “I never take it for granted, because it is extremely difficult to place in the top three with the number of other journalists out there vying to win something.”
Robert Howey, the paper’s former sports editor, also won second place for Sports Headline Writing and Sports Column Writing.
“I consider it an honor to receive awards at the annual S.C. Press Association awards banquet,” Howey said. “It’s nice to receive a first, but a second or third makes you proud because each category is competitive with a large number of entries. Over the years, I have seen the quality and quantity increase.”
Alford won second place for Feature Page Design for the front page of the Senior Lifestyles section.
Freelancer and former TLN reporter Mandy Catoe won third place in Profile Feature Writing for her story on artist Fran Gardner in Today’s Woman.
“I am extremely proud of Jane (Alford) and our newsroom on their awards. They work hard to keep our readers in Lancaster County informed and it is nice to see them recognized by their peers,” said Dale Morefield, publisher of both papers.
“I am especially proud of the General Excellence awards since they take into consideration the entire newspaper, over a period of time. Lancaster County is fortunate to have this team of award-winning journalists covering the county.”
Morefield had a lot to celebrate beyond the eight awards for Carolina Gateway and TLN. He is also publisher of The (Chester) News and Reporter, which won 17 awards, including the Montgomery/Shurr Freedom of Information Award, and The (Camden) Chronicle-Independent, which won one award.
“Thank you for all that each of you do every day to make our newspapers great and relevant in our communities,” Morefield told the staffs of each paper. “Please know it is appreciated and recognized. Congratulations to those honored last Friday. We are all proud of your accomplishments!”
Howey extended his congratulations to his local and regional colleagues.
“I also congratulate my fellow winners on their awards,” Howey said. “The awards won by the Carolina Gateway and The Lancaster News and their staff members let me know the job is getting done at a high level. Also, kudos to The Chester News and Reporter on their awards.”