BY BRUCE BRANUM
The Greenville Standard
The year 2020 has not been entirely a pleasant one. We don’t have to ask what the number one culprit for our anguish was.
Yes, indeed, COVID-19 played havoc, and still is, from waking moment and throughout the day. It has dominated almost every part of our lives.
It was by far the biggest newsmaker, handily crushing all comers. What about the historic year for tropical storms you might say, they were just blips in time. Even a national election year couldn’t turn its head for a moment without being slapped down with more numbers of deaths and infections and vaccines, home remedies, and how everyone was dealing with it all.
Well, as with all things, there are silver linings to be found in 2020.
So as we look back over 2020, here are some of the bright spots that should relate a positive perspective and hope for a better 2021.
The unemployment rate for Butler County was at 3.2% at the end of November 2019. It hit a high of 19.7% in April 2020 after the first serious rounds of lockdowns on businesses and public movement due to the virus. It has since dropped in almost every month and the November 2020 unemployment rate is projected at 6.0%
From a service standpoint, a few businesses were lost, but more were gained. Ruby Tuesday closed but Zaxby’s and Uncle E’s BBQ opened and are doing good business.
Long standing Bate’s House of Turkey in Greenville celebrated its 50th anniversary of operation and Camellia Bakery celebrated its 10th anniversary.
On the retail side, Fred’s closed but we now have Rose’s. Greenville Motor Company announced and is currently constructing a new Jeep/Dodge dealership. In Georgiana, Pharmacare set up shop in the old Alabama Power building and Family Dollar took the place of Fred’s.
On a larger scale, our industrial companies, such as Coastal and Hwashin are implementing plant/technological expansions. Peak Energy Corporation plans a $65 million project with long term investment in Butler County
Education was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. Schools were open then closed then open. Virtual learning has presented new problems as it learns how to walk.
Graduations were interrupted and morphed into multi-media events. Events and sports games were cancelled.
The social aspect and comfort of a normal routine was changed and from it all the numbers show a decline in achievement.
The silver lining in education is that we have a committed community and the school systems have dedicated and experienced staff that care about our children. We’re realizing what works with whom and adapting.
The elections and Census are over for a while. Outcomes and counts were not pleasing to everyone, but it won’t ever be. The new faces who now sit in local office are qualified, competent, and committed to their service of the citizens of Butler County.
Studies show greenhouse emissions are down.
There are more silver linings than I can list, so I will leave you the two most promising for our community.
With more personnel time came reflection and many have adjusted their priorities of what’s really important.
The last and most promising is by mentioning our healthcare workers, first responders, care givers, and armed forces personnel. Their dedication and caring for our safety through the pandemic are evident and inspiring.
Happy New Year to everyone!