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Friday, January 7, 2011

Roper Mountain Planetarium Upgrade, Roger Milliken, I-385 Construction Begins

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Happy New Year Ya'll!

FireworksThe holidays are over and everyone is back to the usual hustle and bustle of life. We had a couple of unique events over the past two weeks that are notable. First, Greenville had the first white Christmas in many years as we got about two inches in the afternoon of the December 25th. The last time there was any snow on the ground for Christmas was in 1963 when there was little left over from 1.4 inch storm two days earlier. Going back to the 1940's, records show only traces of snow and a couple of ice storms, so this year was a rarity indeed. The kids had a lot of fun in the yards, but the roads were clear.

Roger Milliken Passes

Also notable was the passing of Roger Milliken at the age of 95. He was an international textile magnate and visionary who played a major role in the economics of the Upstate of South Carolina. After moving the family business to Spartanburg in 1954, he became a major employer in the area building one of the top privately held companies in the U.S., regularly winning national awards for excellence in the workplace. The Milliken campus houses one of the largest textile research facilities in the world; they hold over 2,300 patents in the U.S. alone. As jobs began disappearing to overseas competitors, he lobbied long and hard in an effort to keep textile jobs in the United State and started the "Crafted With Pride in the USA" campaign. Never an idle man, he was instrumental in pushing for the creation of the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) in 1962 and was the chairman from it's inception until his death. He helped to shape the Republican Party in South Carolina and was a philanthropist too, especially to Wofford and Converse Colleges in Spartanburg. Roger Milliken was rare business icon that blessed not only South Carolina, but the entire nation.

Roper Mountain Planetarium Upgrade

The Roper Mountain Science Center's planetarium is back in the fast lane with a high-tech projection system that will debut this week. The first show is "Astronaut" and portrays the life of an astronaut in training on the 50-foot dome. The $300,000 state of the art digital projection and sound system guarantees that the show will boggle the mind with sensations. The new system was funded entirely by private funds as grantors stepped up to make the transition happen... not an easy task in today's economic climate. Roper Mountain has the eighth-largest telescope in the U.S., the largest planetarium dome in South Carolina, and functions as a training center for the state’s science teachers. For more information on Greenville area communities Click Here.

Interstate Construction Begins
The I-385 widening project between Simpsonville and Mauldin is under way and is expected to take about 30 months to complete. The 5.5 mile section north of West Georgia Road will be widened from four to six lanes, with most of the work being done at night. That should really help out the daily commuter traffic from Simpsonville and the southern portion of Greenville County. A two mile section of the highway between Woodruff and Roper Mountain roads will also be repaved. Plans for a complete reconstruction of the I-85 / I-385 interchange are still being considered and should be finalized in the next year or so, but that project won't get started until 2013.

Greenville SC Weather
Greenville Weather
This week the weather looks like clear and a bit colder with highs in the mid 40s and lows in the upper 20s. Might even be a chance of snow late in the weekend.