Upstate, SC – Ten at the Top, an organization created to foster collaboration and partnerships across the Upstate, will focus the second Our Upstate Vision Forum of 2013 on the topic of Natural Resources and the Upstate Economy. The forum, which is free and open to the public, is being held from 3:00-5:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, 2013 in the AT&T Auditorium at CU-ICAR (5 Research Drive Greenville, SC 20607). A networking reception will immediately follow the forum.

    The overall theme for the 2013 Forum Series is “Destination 2030: Thinking BIG and BOLD About the Future of the Upstate.” Each forum will focus on a different topic and look at short, middle and long term opportunities that can help ensure that the Upstate in 2030 is universally recognized as a leader in that particular area. During this forum, we will explore the relationship between natural resources and the Upstate Economy.

    Speakers will include Deepal Eliatamby, President of Alliance Consulting Engineers, to look at the direct connection between the economy and our natural resources, as well as Myra Reece from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), David Bereskin from Greenville Water and Dr. Barry Nocks from Clemson University to look at the current and future status of our important resources of air, water and land.

    There will also be a group discussion where the audience and subject experts will discuss some of the specific challenges and opportunities facing the Upstate as we look toward maintaining our natural resources both for their relationship to quality of life and to economic vitality.

    The Our Upstate Vision Forum Series began in 2012 with TATT hosting four forums across the Upstate. The series continues in 2013 with BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina serving as the Series Premier Sponsor. The lead sponsor for the Natural Resources and the Upstate Economy Forum is TD Bank.

    There is no cost to attend the forum, but attendees are asked to register in advance at www.tenatthetop.org. Registration deadline is June 5th. For more information contact Ten at the Top at 864.283.2313.


    Upstate, SC– Ten at the Top (TATT), through a funding commitment from Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments Inc., has established the Hughes Investments Vibrancy Initiative: ELEVATE UPSTATE Grants (EU). The program is being announced in conjunction with the Ten at the Top Community Vibrancy Workshops being held at four locations across the Upstate this week.

    The purpose of the ELEVATE UPSTATE Grants is to identify and provide initial funding support for community based programs that promote community and economic vibrancy in local areas across the Upstate. The initiative will award two grants annually with each being for up to $5,000 (total of $10,000 per year for five years) from 2013-2017 to entities including neighborhood associations, civic or community based organizations, non-profit organizations or local governments that are committed to developing and implementing programs designed to increase local vibrancy in communities within the Upstate. The TATT Community Vibrancy Task Force will provide some guidance through the project implementation process if it is needed.

    “Communities often have great ideas for things they want to do to increase their local vibrancy,” Hughes said. “However, they often don’t have the seed money that can get an idea moving toward an action. We want ELEVATE UPSTATE to provide that initial support so communities can create new projects and grow the vibrancy within their community and thus within the Upstate region.”

    Applicants must be located in and do their work within communities in one of the ten Upstate counties: Abbeville, Anderson, Gaffney, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, or Union. Successful proposals for projects funded by EU should be able to clearly demonstrate how the implementation of the initiative that they propose will benefit and provide vibrancy in the local community. These proposals may seek to produce a physical result, such as a mural, sculpture or signage that will increase the vibrancy and sense of place within a community, or implement the first of a reoccurring or annual event or program that helps grow vibrancy within a community. Examples of projects that have provided vibrancy within communities across South Carolina and the United States are being highlighted as part of the Community Vibrancy Workshops and a list of nearly 50 vibrancy projects is available on the TATT web site (www.tenatthetop.org).

    “We are very fortunate to have leaders within our region like Phil Hughes who recognize not only the importance of promoting community vibrancy, but who are also willing to help provide funding support to help communities take projects from idea to action,” said TATT Executive Director Dean Hybl.

    The application for the first ELEVATE UPSTATE Grants will be available on the TATT web site by June 1st and the application deadline is September 15th. Recipients will be announced at the final TATT Forum of 2013 to be held in late November or early December.


    Greenville, SC– During a community presentation held at A.J. Whittenberg Elementary School, the Duke Energy Foundation presented the Upstate Air Quality Advisory Committee, which is coordinated by Ten at the Top, with a $75,000 grant to support the Clean Air Upstate outreach, education and action strategy in the region.
    The grant will be split into two components with a portion used to expand current no-idling programs in the region and the remainder used to develop a public outreach and education initiative. Specifics on each program are highlighted below.

    South Carolina’s Upstate currently meets EPA’s minimum ozone attainment levels, but EPA is expected to announce tighter standards later this year (for implementation in 2014) that could potentially put most of the Upstate, as well as Columbia and Charleston, out of attainment and result in tighter regulations on industries looking to locate or grow in the Upstate while also limiting how highway funds are spent and potentially requiring vehicle inspections and other emission reducing measures.

    The voluntary actions identified by the Upstate Air Quality Advisory Committee in the Clean Air Upstate program serve as a proactive regional approach to try and reduce emission levels before the region is potentially impacted by additional EPA regulations.

    “Ensuring our air quality levels meet EPA standards is both a public health and an economic development issue,” said Ten at the Top Executive Director Dean Hybl. “This grant from Duke Energy has allowed us to jump start the education and action programs developed by the Upstate Air Quality Advisory Committee and also to leverage that funding with support from other organizations to maximize the impact of the program.”

    CLEAN AIR UPSTATE PROGRAM COMPONENTS: Breath Better No Idling Program: The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) currently coordinates the Breathe Better (B2) No Idling Program in approximately 50 schools across South Carolina. There are currently 14 schools in the Upstate participating in the program. The goal of the Clean Air Upstate initiative is to increase the number of Upstate schools participating to 40 by the end of 2014. The Duke Energy funding will allow for the expansion of the Clean Air Upstate B2 Grant Program, which was started earlier this year in Greenville County through a $10,000 funding grant from the Hollingsworth Funds to the rest of the Upstate. Any school in the Upstate that is currently participating or successfully starts the Breathe Better program will receive a one-time $400 unrestricted funding grant and be eligible to compete for one of five $1,000 sustainability grants that will be awarded across the region during the 2013-2014 school year.

    According to DHEC, the 38 schools across South Carolina that participated in the program and provided B2 statistics for 2011- 2012 school year accounted for a combined reduction of 991 tons of CO2 and 121,659 pounds of CO while saving 6,120 gallons of diesel fuel and 95,193 gallons of gasoline. Idling time eliminated through the program totaled 12,240 hours of school bus time and 190,620 hours for personal vehicles. If Clean Air Upstate is able to grow the program to 40 or more schools within this region, it would have a significant impact in reducing emission levels.

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    No Idling Parking Lot Program: Expanding on the Breathe Better program, which focuses on schools, Clean Air Upstate is creating the No Idling Parking Lot Program and is encouraging parking lot owners to designate their parking lots as “no idling zones.” Greenville Developer Phil Hughes and Hughes Investments has committed to placing the “no idling zone” signs in his parking lots around downtown Greenville. Hughes Investments will place a total of 12 signs at their parking locations with the signs expected to be placed by mid-June. This is a voluntary program with no specific enforcement, but it is hoped that the signs and awareness of the value of turning off car ignitions when parked (both to the environment and in cost savings for the driver) will encourage people to adhere to the message.
    It is hoped that other developers and companies that control parking lots across the Upstate will choose to make their lots “no idling zones” by participating in this program.

    Clean Air Upstate Chart and Tips: In partnership with SC DHEC, The Upstate Air Quality Advisory Committee has developed an Upstate Air Alert Chart that outlines the various stages of air quality alerts and the potential physical impacts at each level. It also includes actions that can be done on Air Alert Days to reduce emissions. The committee has also developed a set of “Clean Air Tips” that will be highlighted during the upcoming public outreach/education campaign. These tips identify 11 things that all Upstate residents can do to help reduce ozone emissions.

    Regional Clean Air Pledge: To date, four counties (Anderson, Greenville, Oconee and Spartanburg) along with more than a dozen businesses and organizations have approved the Clean Air Upstate Pledge. The pledge is part of the Upstate’s participation in the EPA Ozone Advance Program and illustrates a commitment by communities and organizations across the region to implement actions that can reduce emission levels. The pledge and a full list of organizations that have approved the pledge are available at www.cleanairupstate.org.

    Clean Air Upstate Outreach and Education Campaign: A portion of the Duke Energy funding is being used to start a public outreach and education campaign around air quality. WSPA-TV has stepped forward to serve as a partner in this effort and is donating more than $35,000 of in-kind support to the effort. Beginning in June, WSPA and CW television stations will run Public Service Announcements featuring their television personalities Jack Roper, Kimberly Kelly and Megan Heidlberg with the messages focusing around the “Clean Air Tips.” The campaign will also feature a presence on the WSPA-TV web site, mobile applications, news programs and weather casts on ozone alert days.
    Also serving as a media partner is GSA Business, which is donating print advertising and will be highlighting air quality issues in their publications throughout the summer.

    “We hope this combination of focusing on actions and awareness will help grow the impact of the Clean Air Upstate efforts across the region and result in a reduction in emissions,” Hybl said. “While many of the individual actions may not seem significant if done by only one person, if these efforts become common practice for all 1.36 million people in the Upstate the impact would be tremendous.”

    In addition to these components of the Clean Air Upstate initiative, the Upstate Air Quality Advisory Committee will continue to identify additional opportunities to reduce ozone emissions in the region. For more details or to become involved, please check out the Clean Air Upstate web site (www.cleanairupstate.org.)


    Upstate, SC – Ten at the Top (TATT) will be culminating a year-long initiative to identify examples of communities from across South Carolina and the entire United States that have increased the vibrancy within their local community through specific programs and initiatives by hosting a series of four Community Workshops across the region on May 22-23. Workshops will be held in Spartanburg and Greenwood on May 22nd and Clemson and Greenville on May 23rd.

    The initiative represents a partnership between the Ten at the Top Community Vibrancy Task Force and Urban Policy & Planning classes at USC Upstate. For two semesters, classes under the direction of Dr. Abe Goldberg identified communities that have created local vibrancy through initiatives focused on their neighborhoods, downtowns, arts & culture, parks & recreation or programs & events. The result of the project is a Community Vibrancy Great Ideas list of nearly 50 examples that include communities of all population sizes.

    At the workshops, representatives from nearly a dozen communities highlighted in the Great Ideas list will share insight on how they were able to increase the local vibrancy within their community. Currently, local leaders representing projects in South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Texas and California have committed to participate. The workshops will be very interactive as each community leader will give a brief overview of their project and then attendees will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with those leaders whose project is of particular interest to them.

    “Compiling a list of examples is great,” said Dean Hybl, Executive Director of Ten at the Top, “but rather than just reading about what others have done, we felt like it would be more valuable if we could make the great ideas come alive by bringing to the Upstate some of the people who have created successful community programs.

    “Regardless of where you are located, chances are you face some of the same challenges and problems when trying to invigorate a local community. We hope by having the chance to talk directly with others who have faced similar challenges, that folks from our local communities, neighborhoods, governments and planning commissions will get a ‘spark’ that helps them perhaps gain an idea or inspiration for something they can do in their own community. By hosting these workshops across the region, rather just in one central location, we hope that interested residents from all Upstate communities will have an opportunity to attend a session and be inspired to make a difference within their own community,” Hybl said.

    There is no cost to attend the workshops, but attendees are asked to register in advance at www.tenatthetop.org. For more information contact Ten at the Top at 864.283.2313.


    May 22 – 9:00-11:00 a.m. – USC Upstate Olin Sansbury Jr. Campus Life Center, 800 University Way, Spartanburg, SC
    May 22 – 3:30-5:30 p.m. – Greenwood Arts Center (Reception Hall), 120 Main Street, Greenwood, SC

    May 23 – 9:00-11:00 a.m. – Clemson City Hall (City Community Room), 1250 Tiger Boulevard Suite One, Clemson, SC
    May 23 – 3:00-5:00 p.m. – The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, 424 Westfield Street, Greenville, SC