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Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC expanding operations in Charleston County

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC, a modern blacksmithing company, today announced plans to expand operations in Charleston County. The company’s $2.9 million investment will create 45 new jobs over the next three years.Founded in 2013, Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC intertwines traditional blacksmith techniques with modern machining and fabrication methods to craft iron pieces ranging from custom architectural ironwor...

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC, a modern blacksmithing company, today announced plans to expand operations in Charleston County. The company’s $2.9 million investment will create 45 new jobs over the next three years.

Founded in 2013, Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC intertwines traditional blacksmith techniques with modern machining and fabrication methods to craft iron pieces ranging from custom architectural ironwork commissions to volume-produced pieces of furniture, decorative hardware and cookware.

Relocating within the county to 56 Hayter Street in North Charleston, Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC’s new facility will expand the company’s operational footprint to accommodate production line growth.

The expansion is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2023. Individuals interested in joining the Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC team should visit the company’s careers page.

QUOTES

“We are excited about the next phase of Robert Thomas Iron Design’s growth and are very happy that we are able to do this on the historic Navy Base. Our expanded operations will enable our growing community of craftsmen and designers to have the space, equipment and support they need to keep the spirit of blacksmithing thriving in Charleston.” -Robert Thomas Iron Design Owner Robert Thomas

“The success of our existing industries is critical to South Carolina’s strong and growing economy. Today we celebrate Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC’s expansion and 45 new jobs in Charleston County. Congratulations, and we look forward to their continued success.” -Gov. Henry McMaster

“Congratulations to Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC on expanding in Charleston County. It’s particularly exciting to announce the growth of a modern blacksmithing company such as Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC. We look forward to seeing how the company continues to inspire modern craftsmanship in Charleston County and across South Carolina.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III

“Blacksmithing is experiencing a modern artistic revival, and we are proud that Robert Thomas Iron Design, LLC has committed to growing this craft in Charleston County. Their investment and creation of new jobs is a welcome addition to the community.” -Charleston County Council Chairman Teddie Pryor

South Carolina Ports announces end of Carnival Cruise contract

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Carnival Cruises will no longer depart and return to Union Pier Terminal in Charleston starting in 2024.On Wednesday, the SC Ports announced it will not be renewing the homeport cruising contract, and will instead focus on redevelopment of Union Pier. The ports do still plan to host ships as a port of call in the future.Jim Newsome, president and CEO of South Carolina Ports Authority, says this has been a conversation for a while.“As time has gone along, and certainly the real estate value...

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Carnival Cruises will no longer depart and return to Union Pier Terminal in Charleston starting in 2024.

On Wednesday, the SC Ports announced it will not be renewing the homeport cruising contract, and will instead focus on redevelopment of Union Pier. The ports do still plan to host ships as a port of call in the future.

Jim Newsome, president and CEO of South Carolina Ports Authority, says this has been a conversation for a while.

“As time has gone along, and certainly the real estate values have increased in Charleston and just the opportunity to do something really transformational. The City of Charleston has led us to the conclusion to do a complete non-maritime redevelopment. And the consequence of that is we really don’t have a place to do a home port operation after the end of this contract in 2024,” Newsome says.

Newsome says they have engaged Low Enterprises, the firm building the Cooper Hotel on Concord Street, for the redevelopment.

“So they are running point on the planning, and that planning really entails deciding what steps and taking the steps needed to get this property to what’s known as a planned unit development phase,” Newsome says.

He says the timeline goal is to move with the development as fast as possible once the 2024 contract with Carnival is up.

“Basically where there’s a master plan that can be approved, and then developers can then buy the property and do what’s in their best interest on that property,” Newsome says.

He says there will be an engagement phase to see what they want coming to the area while they make a master plan.

Newsome says he thinks the idea will have a lot of benefits.

“It’s attractive to everyone in the sense that the city will benefit by getting property back on its tax rolls. And really realigning the whole city of Charleston with its historic waterfront, there’s no access to the waterfront today if you think about it,” he says.

But the decision will impact how certain tourists engage with the city.

Erik Koenig is the Front of House at Queology Restaurant on Market Street, right across from the Carnival Sunshine Port. He is worried how this might change the business.

“When the ship is in, the crew gets off, they eat, they come by the shop,” Koenig said. “The people that are waiting to get on the cruise, they shop, they walk through town for hours and they settle in until it’s time to get on the ship.”

He says they will be grateful for port of call tourists, but have concerns with how construction and development will change the area in the coming years.

“We appreciate anything we can get,” Koenig says. “But the port of origin is very important to us because this is where all the folks come to this corner, this area, the market and everything else which is a huge impact on us. So we’re a little bit concerned right now about this.”

The Coastal Conservation League released the following statement in support of the decision:

While we are optimistic about what appears to be a new direction for the future of the cruise industry in Charleston, we look forward to learning more about the implications of this decision. We support limited port of call business—especially smaller ships that will have a greater economic impact—as long as the SPA continues to abide by a previous agreement to limit cruise ships in Charleston to 103 visits or fewer each year. We also need more information about whether ships will be docked overnight.

Newsome says the terminal is a great asset to the city and this opens up a lot of opportunities for how people will interact with the area in the future.

“This decision came clearer and clearer over time and ultimately, it’s the best business decision for the port,” Newsome says.

Carnival Cruise Line issued a statement on the decision Wednesday morning.

“It is amazing to see the continued growth of Charleston’s tourism economy, and Carnival is proud to have been a part it of since 2010. While exciting for the future of Charleston, the redevelopment of Union Pier Terminal will, unfortunately, mean Carnival will no longer homeport a ship in Charleston beyond 2024. We will work with the Ports Authority to explore future opportunities in Charleston. In the meantime, it is business as usual and we look forward to seeing our guests aboard Carnival Sunshine through 2024.”

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Charleston County emergency rental assistance applications close Tuesday

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County will stop accepting emergency rental and utility assistance applications for their COVID-19 relief program Tuesday.The program was created last year after the county received $42.5 million from the U.S. Treasury. So far, the county has distributed more than half of the funds.Since the start of the program in April 2021, Charleston County has assisted more than 3,617 tenets and 715 landlords....

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston County will stop accepting emergency rental and utility assistance applications for their COVID-19 relief program Tuesday.

The program was created last year after the county received $42.5 million from the U.S. Treasury. So far, the county has distributed more than half of the funds.

Since the start of the program in April 2021, Charleston County has assisted more than 3,617 tenets and 715 landlords.

The program is intended for those at risk of homelessness, housing instability or unsafe living conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To qualify, one must have a household income that’s equal to or less than 80% of the area median income.

Chelsea Diedrich with Charleston County says those who apply by Tuesday are eligible to have the current month paid in full and any other money owed.

“Based on assistance requested, approved applicants are able to receive rent and utility assistance and have their arrears covered,” Diedrich says.

Payments are made directly to landlords who are also required to apply through the same online portal tenants use.

For those needing technical assistance, Charleston County Public Library branches or Charleston County’s Public Services building will help. The county asks that you make an appointment first if you decide to get assistance from them.

If any funds are left over the county says they will be used to support people battling eviction. To apply you call 843-202- 6960.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. All rights reserved.

Three Summer Cocktails to Sip

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina is a Baja-inspired beach bar with locations in Sullivan's Island, West Ashley and Mount Pleasant and prides itself on providing an endless summer to customers year-round with craveable tacos and memorable margaritas.The restaurant’s main inspiration came from their surf trips down the Baja Peninsula, cruising down the Mex 1 highway, stopping along the way for light, fresh flavors at local cantinas....

Mex 1 Coastal Cantina is a Baja-inspired beach bar with locations in Sullivan's Island, West Ashley and Mount Pleasant and prides itself on providing an endless summer to customers year-round with craveable tacos and memorable margaritas.

The restaurant’s main inspiration came from their surf trips down the Baja Peninsula, cruising down the Mex 1 highway, stopping along the way for light, fresh flavors at local cantinas.

As one of the top Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in the area, the food at Mex 1 is inspired by the flavors of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula. Their fan-favorite Baja fish tacos, Mahi-Mahi rice bowls, guacamole, and smoked pulled pork nachos are among their most mouth-watering dishes, bringing Charleston locals and summer tourists back for more (and more).

In addition to Mex 1’s locally sourced, high-quality food; their delicious summertime cocktails provide the perfect escape from the daily grind of life.

Mex 1’s cocktails are made with only 100% agave tequila, setting them apart from the other margaritas in town. This purest form of tequila means no hangovers, no additives, and a much more enjoyable cocktail experience.

Whether you’re sipping at the shoreline or enjoying beverages at home with friends, Morgan Hurley, Marketing and Beverage Director at Mex 1 Coastal Cantina, provides his list of the top 3 summer cocktails that everyone should try over the next few months.

Top 3 summertime cocktails:

1. Ranch Water Cocktail

This effervescent cocktail is typically made with Topo Chico sparkling mineral water, tequila, and lime. This beverage can be easily crafted at home and brought to enjoy on boat excursions or pool days. You can even enjoy it in the Topo Chico bottle if you gently pop the top off and just add tequila and lime juice.

Mex 1’s version of the ranch water comes with its own twist as a Pineapple Ranch Water made with pineapple infused tequila, Topo Chico sparkling mineral water, a slice of lime and a lime sugar/salt rim; served right in the Topo Chico bottle. Try it with Mex 1’s Bangin’ Shrimp Tacos for a full summertime Baja experience.

Hurley says, “Serving the cocktail in the Topo Chico bottles adds a bit more mineral water. This makes for a much lighter drink so you can enjoy a few on a hot summer day.”

2. Watermelon Margarita

Watermelon margaritas are an in-season summertime staple with watermelon, tequila, lime, and agave. These cocktails are perfect for batching ahead of time for parties. Hurley says, “Batching watermelon margaritas takes the work out of summertime. Just set it and forget it before enjoying a pitcher of margs by the pool.”

Mex 1’s variation of a watermelon margarita is their award-winning Baja Tanga. Their blend of tequila, lime, agave, watermelon and rosé wine creates the light, refreshing beverage that won first place at the Charleston Margarita Festival. Sip on this drink while enjoying smoked pulled pork nachos for a perfect combination of sweet and savory.

Want to enjoy a few watermelon margs at home without mixing them up yourself? This margarita is also sold seasonally as a mix, so customers can pick up a bottle from Mex 1, bring it home, and just add tequila.

3. Classic Margarita

You can’t go wrong with tequila, lime and agave. However, if you choose to make your own margaritas at home; Hurley reminds folks to only purchase 100% agave tequila and stick with seasonal tequila preferences.

He says, “If you’re at the store and the bottle doesn’t say 100% agave tequila, put it back on the shelf. Blanco and Reposado tequilas are perfect for summertime, while Anejo tequilas are better enjoyed in the fall and winter.”

All Mex 1’s margaritas are crafted with 100% Agave Tequila and their signature Mex 1 Mix, a blend of fresh lime, lemon, orange juice and a touch of simple syrup. The crowd favorite infused margaritas feature their infused Tequilas made in house with fresh fruit like pineapple, pineapple habanero, strawberry cucumber and jalapeno. The infused Tequilas provide a potent flavor that’s consistent across all margaritas, creating a premium sipping experience.

For a surf-inspired, laid-back beach bar atmosphere, craveable tacos, and memorable margaritas; Mex 1 is your vacation destination for an endless summer.

20 S.C. airports to share nearly $19M in FAA grants

CHARLESTON — Twenty airports in South Carolina will received a share of nearly $19 million in federal grants to help pay for terminal upgrades, runway repairs and other improvement projects.More than two-thirds of the money will go to the state’s four largest airports, The Post and Courier reported....

CHARLESTON — Twenty airports in South Carolina will received a share of nearly $19 million in federal grants to help pay for terminal upgrades, runway repairs and other improvement projects.

More than two-thirds of the money will go to the state’s four largest airports, The Post and Courier reported.

Charleston International Airport, traditionally South Carolina’s busiest airport, is getting $2.5 million to improve taxiway lighting and and its terminal building.

The money for terminal upgrades will help pay for design work on proposed changes as the airport studies expanding its ticket counter and adding a third wing with more gates, said Charleston airport spokesman Spencer Pryor.

Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport will get $4.5 million for apron and taxiway rehabilitation and pavement sealing. Another $3.3 million will go to Columbia Metropolitan Airport for apron reconstruction. And Myrtle Beach International will get $2.2 million to remove a taxiway and rebuild it.

The remaining $6.3 million will get split between smaller county and regional airfields in South Carolina.

The South Carolina grants are among $518 million total the Federal Aviation Administration is awarding to airports across the U.S. for repairs, maintenance, improvements and new equipment.

The grants are the second round this year funding through the agency’s Airport Improvement Program. The FAA so far has awarded $1.1 billion in total grants through the program — roughly one-third of the $3.2 billion in funding available this budget year.

“In communities of all sizes, airports are vital to local economies, sustaining jobs and getting people and goods where they need to go,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “We’re pleased to announce this important funding to help improve airports around the country and better serve all Americans.”

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