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High Rise Beverage Company halts distribution in South Carolina

The cannabis seltzer is taking the high road in light of the latest DHEC Statement

CHARLESTON, S.C. – High Rise, a leading name in the hemp beverage industry, announces a temporary pause in its distribution operations within the state of South Carolina, effective from Monday, February 5th.

This decision stems from the recent confusion surrounding labeling requirements imposed by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and High Rise’s unwavering commitment to consumer safety and product transparency.

As a brand intimately intertwined with the South Carolina community, High Rise cherishes its connection with local residents and has consistently prioritized well-being and transparency with its consumers. High Rise is diligently working to address the intricacies of DHEC’s new requirements. The company’s commitment to regulatory compliance and consumer safety is unwavering.

In the midst of this challenge, High Rise is thrilled to unveil the “Blackout Edition,” a new line of beverages without hemp or THC in them that embody the brand’s innovative spirit. This collection will present four beloved flavors, each infused with adaptogens, continuing High Rise’s mission of promoting health and wellness. Furthermore, High Rise pledges to donate $0.10 from every can sold from the “Blackout Edition” towards advocacy for hemp laws and educational initiatives in the field.

The “Blackout Edition” not only embodies High Rise’s commitment to innovation and community involvement but also signifies the brand’s determination to make a positive impact on the hemp industry.

This THC-Free lineup is set to launch in early March. “South Carolina is more than just our marketplace; it is our home, our community. Halting distribution was a challenging decision, but it reinforces our commitment to act responsibly for our community. The ‘Blackout Edition’ stands as a symbol of our dedication to innovation, community support, and the evolution of the hemp industry,” added Matt Skinner.

The company eagerly anticipates resuming distribution once there is a complete accord with the new regulatory requisites.

Stay tuned for updates on the release of the new “Blackout Edition” THC-Free product line and High Rise’s continued journey in South Carolina. For more information follow along on High Rise’s website or social media channels – @highrisebev

HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division Hires AVP Of Community Engagement

Amanda Lawrence

CHARLESTON, SC – HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division, part of HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA) – one of the nation’s leading healthcare networks, is proud to introduce Amanda Lawrence as the division’s first Community Engagement Associate Vice President. Amanda will oversee partnerships, foundation investments, colleague community involvement and volunteering as well as community outreach for our 11 hospitals and 185+ points of care across our markets in GA, SC and FL.

She has served in the nonprofit sector for fourteen years leading collective impact investments and initiatives in Education, Financial Stability and Health. Most recently, working to improve outcomes for children and families for Cradle to Career leaders, staff, and partners in twenty-nine states. Prior to that she served for eight years as the Vice President of Community Impact for the Trident United Way.

In her new role, Lawrence will provide thought leadership and subject matter expertise in leading a comprehensive community engagement strategy. “The goal is to direct and align community engagement initiatives that will enhance our ability to serve our markets,” said Hugh C. Tappan, President of HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division. “We are confident, that Amanda’s experience will help us identify and partner with organizations that are as equally committed to making real change and lasting impact in our communities as we are,” Tappan added.

Lawrence will oversee the implementation of a division-wide community engagement plan aligned to the intersection of business strategy, stakeholder engagement and local needs. “I’m excited for the opportunity to amplify meaningful impact by building and strengthening community coalitions and partnerships through HCA giving and volunteerism. I am passionate about working collaboratively to make a real difference in the lives of the people in the neighborhoods where HCA doctors, nurses, and clinicians live, serve and share that passion,” said Lawrence.”

Lawrence holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Business Administration from The Citadel. She also serves on the Board of Together SC.

About HCA Healthcare South Atlantic Division

HCA Healthcare’s South Atlantic Division, headquartered in Charleston, SC, is dedicated to serving communities across Georgia, South Carolina and Northeast FL. Our 11 acute care hospitals, behavioral health hospital, and 185+ affiliated sites of care see more than three million patients visits a year. From the largest burn center in the United States, the John M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital of Augusta, to the only free-standing Children’s Hospital in Savannah, GA, our 22,000+ colleagues are committed to improving more lives in more ways. In 2022, we provided $286 million in uncompensated care and paid over $285 million in state and local taxes to help improve the schools, roads and infrastructure of the communities we serve. Learn more at

About HCA Healthcare

Nashville-based HCA Healthcare is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services comprising 182 hospitals and approximately 2,300 ambulatory sites of care, including surgery centers, freestanding ERs, urgent care centers, and physician clinics, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. With its founding in 1968, HCA Healthcare created a new model for hospital care in the United States, using combined resources to strengthen hospitals, deliver patient-focused care and improve the practice of medicine. HCA Healthcare has conducted a number of clinical studies, including one that demonstrated that full-term delivery is healthier than early elective delivery of babies and another that identified a clinical protocol that can reduce bloodstream infections in ICU patients by 44%. HCA Healthcare is a learning health system that uses its more than 37 million annual patient encounters to advance science, improve patient care and save lives. Please click here to connect with HCA Healthcare on social media.

McMillan Pazdan Smith Welcomes Samer Hamde as Healthcare Practice Leader

Samer Hamde, Healthcare Practice Leader, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture. Photo Provided.

McMillan Pazdan Smith (MPS), a leading architecture, planning, and design firm in the Southeast, is pleased to announce that Samer Hamde has joined the firm as Healthcare Practice Leader.

Hamde brings 25 years of progressive experience in architecture, engineering, planning, and program management, with a focus on healthcare design. He has held senior leadership roles with Amec Foster Wheeler, JLL, and NELSON Worldwide, where he was a Principal and National Practice Leader for Healthcare and CCJ&E.

“Samer Hamde is an exciting addition to our firm’s leadership. He brings a wealth of healthcare industry experience, insights, and trusted relationships with clients and stakeholders,” said Chad Cousins, CEO of McMillan Pazdan Smith. “The reach of McMillan Pazdan Smith’s healthcare design, planning, and advisory practice continues to grow, and Samer will work closely with our team to expand our service capability, and design-centered value and impact for the health and wellbeing of our regional communities.”

“MPS is known for creating patient-centered environments, optimizing workflow efficiencies, and integrating cutting-edge data and advisory services that are invaluable to the delivery of healthcare facilities,” said Hamde, “I am excited to begin this remarkable journey with this experienced and talented team.”

McMillan Pazdan Smith has healthcare-dedicated architects, designers, planners, advisors, and data-analysts across its eight studio locations throughout the Southeast. For more than 30 years, its healthcare practice has provided innovative and sustainable design solutions for a wide range of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, free-standing emergency departments, behavioral health clinics and medical office buildings.

MPS’ healthcare portfolio includes Bon Secours Mercy Health’s St. Francis tower modernization and emergency department addition (Greenville, S.C.), CaroMont Health’s new Belmont Campus (Belmont, N.C.), MUSC’s Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital (in association with Perkins & Will, Charleston, S.C.), and Prisma Health’s Multi-Specialty Ambulatory Care Center (MACC).

About McMillan Pazdan Smith
McMillan Pazdan Smith is an architecture, advisory services, planning, and interior design firm. Practicing since 1955, the firm currently has eight locations throughout the Southeast. As a community-based firm, MPS is driven by a collaborative culture, creative client solutions, and design excellence. With over 100 AIA awards since 2000, the firm’s purpose is to reimagine what’s possible and create meaningful and lasting impact for the good of all.

Charleston Wine Festivals Rescheduled Winter Wine Festival for February 24

Charleston Wine Festivals has rescheduled its fifth annual Charleston Winter Wine Festival for Saturday, February 24, 2024 at the Charleston Harbor Cruise Terminal from 1-5 p.m. For those who had tickets to the original event, tickets will be automatically rolled over to this event. Big Tickets will send an updated ticket to the email on file closer to the event. Guests who’d rather receive a refund or have their tickets rolled over to the Spring Wine Festival can contact by February 15.

As originally planned, this 21+ event will feature over 50 wine selections, mimosas and beers. All beverage tastings are included in the ticket price. Food will be available for purchase from Roti Rolls. Guests also get to enjoy live music from Mike Huhn and DJ Brent Folks for no additional cost.

Tickets are on sale now for $50 each and will increase to $55 each after February 15. Tickets purchased day of (if available) will be $65. The first 200 re-launched tickets sold online will be only $40, so don’t delay! Each ticket includes a souvenir acrylic wine glass.

To purchase tickets, head to, and follow @charlestonwinefestivals on Instagram and Facebook for updates.

Lowcountry Food Bank Names Five New Board Members

Charleston, SC — Lowcountry Food Bank (LCFB) today announced that five new Board members have joined its Board of Directors: Elizabeth Starr Gephart (Pooh), Steve Gruidl, Kelly Hosack, Kenric Rivers, and Kevin Rourk.

The LCFB Board is comprised of community leaders who are responsible for good stewardship of LCFB, a commitment to the LCFB mission, managing policies and bylaws, identifying key areas of strengths and opportunities for Board development and understanding and supporting the fundraising needs of the organization.

“I look forward to working with our newest Board members as we move forward our mission to unite our community in pursuit of equitable, dignified, and consistent access to food,” said Nick Osborne, LCFB President and CEO. “Each of them brings expertise, new opportunity for collaboration, and innovation to serve our neighbors who face food insecurity.”

“Pooh” Gephart has served on several local and international human services and educational organization’s boards as an officer, including Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, Rift Valley Children’s Village in Tanzania, and Overbrook School of the Blind in Pennsylvania. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

Steve Gruidl is VP, North American Sales West at Sealed Air Corporation. He has previously served in many corporate sales leadership positions in the food packaging industry. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communications and a Minor in Marketing from Texas A&M University.

Kelly Hosack serves as the Managing Director for the architectural firm GF in Charleston (formerly SGA|NW). With a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Auburn University, Kelly has demonstrated a commitment to both architectural excellence and community service. Her client roster includes providing support for community members in maintaining their homes. Beyond her professional role, Kelly has actively participated and volunteered for committees and boards, such as the Association of Medical Facility Professionals, Leadership Charleston, Hearts and Hammers, and the Phoenix Dream Center. Her diverse experiences contribute to a unique perspective and unwavering dedication in every project she undertakes.

Kevin Rourk is South State Bank’s Charleston Premier Private Banking Director and Senior Vice President. His role includes assisting high net worth individuals and businesses with customized financial planning and credit solutions. He has 29 years of expertise in the banking industry. Kevin has served on many community boards, including Junior Achievement of Charleston, the East Cooper Land Trust board, and he currently serves on the Trident Technical College Foundation Board. He is a former Head Coach of Palmetto Christian Academy.

A native of Charleston, Kenric Rivers is the Director of Operations at Food Lion, where he has served in both district and store-level capacities for more than 25 years. In his role, he is responsible for oversight of all operational activities and ensuring efficiency and productivity. He has developed and implemented strategies that have enhanced employee performance and driven customer satisfaction.

Outgoing Board members are Amie Grimes, Michael Mintz, Monica Scott, Joel Smith, Bill Trull, and Michael Wilson. “I want to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to our outgoing board members for their outstanding leadership and dedication to our mission,” Osborne said.

To see a full list of the current LCFB Board, visit our website Board of Directors page here:

About the Lowcountry Food Bank: Feed. Advocate. Empower.

The Lowcountry Food Bank serves the 10 coastal counties of South Carolina and distributed more than 42 million pounds of food in 2023. The Lowcountry Food Bank helps fight hunger by distributing food to more than 230 partner agencies including on-site meal programs, homeless shelters and emergency food pantries. The Lowcountry Food Bank advocates on behalf of those who experience hunger and helps empower people to make healthy and nutritious food choices. For more information, visit the Lowcountry F

The Blood Connection President & CEO Elected to Chair Board of National Blood Organization

Blood Centers of America (BCA) has announced the appointment of Delisa English, President and CEO of The Blood Connection (TBC), as incoming Chair of its Board of Directors, beginning January 2024.

BCA is the largest blood supply network in the United States and is comprised of over 60+ independent blood centers who collect and distribute over 50% of the nation’s blood supply. The Blood Connection, a long-standing member of BCA, is one of the area’s largest independent blood providers serving 130 hospital partners in communities throughout South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia.

“It is a privilege to be chosen to serve on the Board for BCA. I’m looking forward to working alongside the BCA committee advocating and educating for the nation’s blood supply in the various communities these independent blood centers represent and serve,” says English.

With over 28 years in the blood industry, English has served as President and CEO of TBC for the past decade. Prior to joining TBC, English held several leadership roles with The American Red Cross Biomedical Services. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Tennessee and a Bachelor of Science degree from Auburn University. English is active in the Greenville community volunteering with several organizations and serving on non-profit boards.

“It is an honor to be able to have Ms. English serve in this capacity with Blood Centers of America”, said Bill Block, President and CEO of BCA. He adds, “Ms. English has significant expertise and tenure in serving the Cooperative for many years in Committee leadership as well as on the BCA Executive Committee. I look forward to working with her and fellow blood centers across our organization to continue to combine our deep local knowledge with our extensive national network to expand services to the communities we serve.”

About The Blood Connection
Founded in Greenville, SC, (formerly the Carolina Georgia Blood Center) The Blood Connection has been committed to saving lives since 1962. TBC is an independently managed, not-for-profit, community blood center that provides blood products to over 130 hospitals within South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia. Recognized by the U.S. Congress for its dedication to disaster preparedness and the community, TBC works diligently to collect blood from volunteer donors to meet the ever-increasing demand. By keeping collections local, TBC serves hundreds of thousands of patients a year in its communities. TBC is licensed and regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For more information, visit

Dining Locally in Mount Pleasant Benefits Everyone in the Community

The Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce (MPCC) and the Town of Mount Pleasant have joined forces once again. This time to encourage residents to support local restaurants and other food and beverage establishments. The third annual Dine Where You Live campaign begins on February 1 and will continue through the end of February.

“We’re excited to join forces once again with the MPCC for the #DineWhereYouLive initiative,” said Mayor Will Haynie. “We take pride in promoting ongoing support for Mount Pleasant’s restaurant community and shining a spotlight on the numerous contributions they make to our town.”

Dining locally supports the food and beverage establishments that are owned and operated by your friends, neighbors and family members and keeps dollars in our local economy. Every week, the Chamber will give away a $50 gift card for a Mount Pleasant restaurant to one lucky diner who posts a photo of their dining experience at a participating Mount Pleasant establishment on Instagram or Facebook and follows the instructions on how to enter.

Participating establishments include (as of 1/31/24):
Bon Banh Mi *
Burtons Grill *
Condado Tacos *
The Dolly Llama Waffle Master *
For All The Tea *
Graze Craze *
Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
Nautical Bowls
Nick’s German Kitchen
Nothing Bundt Cakes *
Ruby’s NY Style Bagels *
SAVI Cucina + Wine Bar
Sheffield’s Wine Bar *
* Denotes MPCC Members

To enter:
1. Simply post a photo of your dining experience at a participating establishment on Instagram or Facebook.
2. Tag @mtpchamber, @experiencemp and the participating location.
3. Include the hashtag #DineWhereYouLive

“The annual Dine Where You Live campaign is a way for everyone to embrace the amazing flavors of our community. The MPCC is proud to once again partner with the Town of Mount Pleasant as we continue to support our local restaurants. We invite everyone to join us in this culinary adventure to savor our homegrown businesses. Participation in Dine Where You Live is open to all restaurants in our local community,” remarked MPCC President Kathi Herrmann.

For more information on how to sign up as a participating business and a list of already participating businesses, visit

About MPCC: Since 1992, the MPCC has brought together business leaders from the East Cooper community for mutually beneficial purposes. The membership is a mix of professions including advertising, publishing, finance, health care, food and beverage, hotel, retail, insurance, legal, and service businesses of every description. MPCC aims to encourage business and community success East of the Cooper. MPCC was named a Noteworthy Network in the 2023 Lowcountry Diversity Leadership Awards by the Charleston Regional Business Journal and Best Activist Group or Effort in Best of the Best 2023 by Moultrie News.

First Reliance Bank Promotes Shanell Cook To Treasury Services Officer

Shanell Cook, Treasury Services Officer, First Reliance Bank

Shanell Cook has been promoted to Treasury Services Officer for the Winston-Salem branch. As Treasury Services Officer, she supports the team’s effort to grow the bank’s deposit base through treasury service products. Additionally, she supports team members and clients in the First Reliance footprint with treasury management training, support, and financial analysis with proformas. She will continue in her role, supporting the bank with merchant services and credit card services while serving as liaison with third-party vendors.

Shanell joined the bank in 2021 with 24 years of banking experience with strengths in customer service and treasury services.

Suzanne Hill, First Reliance Market President for Winston-Salem said, “Shanell’s promotion to Treasury Services Officer is well deserved. She is a proven leader who consistently delivers hard work, determination, and a positive attitude to staff and our customers.”

Shanell and her husband of 22 years have six children and are a foster and adoptive family. Consistent with First Reliance’s founding principles, “Reagan’s Promise,” the bank’s adoption awareness program, the Cook Family positively impacts the people around them. We applaud their commitment to caring for children in this realm.

Founded in 1999, First Reliance Bancshares, Inc. (OTC: FSRL.OB) is based in Florence, South Carolina, and has assets of approximately $950 million. The Company employs more than 200 professionals and has locations throughout South Carolina and central North Carolina. First Reliance has redefined community banking with a commitment to making customers’ lives better, its founding principle. We offer a full range of personalized community banking products and services for individuals, small businesses, and corporations, including a full suite of digital banking services, treasury services, a Customer Service Guarantee, and a Mortgage Service Guarantee. First Reliance also offers two unique community customer programs, which include Hometown Heroes, a package of benefits for those serving our communities, and Check ‘N Save, an outreach program for the unbanked or under-banked. Additional information about the Company is available at

Charleston Gaillard Center Presents: Jurassic Park in Concert, Film with the Charleston Symphony

The action-packed adventure pits man against prehistoric predators in the ultimate battle for survival. Featuring visually stunning imagery and groundbreaking special effects, this epic film is sheer movie magic 65 million years in the making.

Now audiences can experience Jurassic Park as never before: projected in HD with a full symphony orchestra performing John Williams’ iconic score live to picture.

Charleston Gaillard Center Presents: The Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley & Bucky Head

The Lovin’ Feelin’ is Back – The Righteous Brothers Live!

Blue-eyed soul pioneers The Righteous Brothers are back! With a string of #1 classics, including the most played song in radio history, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo of Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield topped the charts in four decades. After Bobby’s death in 2003, Bill Medley continued to perform to sold-out crowds around the world, but fans and friends pleaded with him to keep The Righteous Brothers alive. Says Medley … No one could ever take Bobby’s place, but when I caught Bucky Heard’s show it all came together – I found the right guy to help me recreate the magic. The concert experience features their biggest hits – Lovin’ Feelin’, Soul & Inspiration, Unchained Melody, Rock and Roll Heaven, Medley’s Grammy-winning Dirty Dancing theme The Time of My Life, and much, much more!

The Bill Medley/Bucky Heard pairing came as something of a happy accident. Medley says it just seemed right … I’d been friends with Bucky for years, but when I caught his show he just killed me! The next day it hit me – that’s the guy, someone I could sing hard with, laugh hard with, love and respect – on and off stage. He fits The Righteous Brothers live performance show perfectly. And, we’ve even recorded some new material together, I’m really excited!

Bill Medley is truly one of the iconic figures in American music history. His instantly recognizable baritone voice has anchored some of the biggest recordings of all time. He’s won a Grammy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and an American Music Award.