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Ladies of Lake Murray

Celebrating The Social Power And Influence of Women

ALICIA BARNES
Television Anchor/Reporter
WIS News

You've won several excellence in broadcasting awards. What's your personal approach for delivering top-notch community news?

My personal approach is to have empathy with every story I tell. As journalists, we tackle some of the most devastating issues that affect everyday lives.  I am a very down-to-earth person, and I like viewers to feel like we're just having a conversation, while I deliver the news of the day. One of the best compliments I received recently, someone told me the way I deliver the news is credible and calming. I just smiled. I anchor the 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. News on WIS, and the NEW 10 p.m. News on The CW.

I've lived in the Midlands since 2008; Lexington is my home. I've served on several boards, emceed various galas, chaired events, visited schools around the Midlands, picked up trash along 378. I'm very passionate about serving and giving back to my community. 

Currently, I serve on the Lexington Medical Center Foundation board of directors. 

With WIS News 10 being considered the No. 1 news team for the Midlands, what type of pressure does that place on you and your colleagues each day, and how do you handle it?

WIS has extremely high standards, which is nice, because when you look around our newsroom, every single person strives to be the best! Our news director, Brad Hyatt, believes in his team, so it’s encouraging to know when you see LIVE, LOCAL, NOW at the start of every newscast, it means we're live with the best local news coverage immediately. 

At the time of producing this feature, a pandemic state had been declared regarding COVID-19. How did this coronavirus pathogen impact your decisions and priorities about daily news coverage?

Words like “social distancing” became our new norm. Under the leadership of Vice President and General Manager Lyle Schulze, WIS News 10 took unprecedented steps of moving almost our entire staff to work-at-home stations. We had producers, editors and most of our talent, working from home. We didn't allow any in-studio guests as well. I was proud to know our company, Gray Television, Inc., made sure the health of their employees was top priority.

As a team, we continued to deliver breaking news and report daily briefings from Governor McMaster and the SC Emergency Management Team. We came together while working extremely hard in very difficult times.  

In what ways are you active in the Lake Murray region outside of the television studio?

We decided to live near Lake Murray because the first time I saw Lake Murray driving across the dam, there was a sense of peace that came over me.  Let’s face it, seeing the sunset on the water never gets old. Lexington feels very similar to where I grew up in Marietta, Georgia. The people are just the best! Not to mention we have two of the best restaurants in the Midlands:  Bodhi Thai Dining and Alodia’s Cucina Italiana. We've been members of the Lake Murray Boat Club, however, with two kids ages 1 and 2, we now spend more time at Saluda Shoals Park. I love walking across the dam, and you can usually find me at Barre 3 of Lake Murray.

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change in the world?

That’s easy, I would take away any threat of the coronavirus, COVID-19 and all infectious diseases. 

EDNA COX RICE, RDN, CSG, LDN
CEO/Owner
Carolina Nutrition Consultants, LLC

You and your team of experts provide nutrition and food service operations consulting to the healthcare and hospitality industries. How do you all keep up with changing dining trends and diet solutions for all ages?

Since beginning my practice in 1989, our staff has grown to more than 30 registered dietitian nutritionists throughout South Carolina. Our consulting services to healthcare communities and the hospitality industry has expanded on a national basis, and our Lexington office also provides nutrition coaching and medical nutrition therapy to individuals.

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) are the only credentialed nutrition experts with years of education and training on the most up-to-date evidence-based practice. Beyond their degrees and credentialing, a number of our RDNs earned specialty certifications, including certified diabetes educators, renal specialists, nutrition support clinicians, food safety specialists and personal trainers. One of my specialty areas is a certified specialist in gerontological nutrition.

Our RDNs work with clients of all ages and health conditions. We’re passionate about the power of food as medicine, and have worked with clients to prevent and reverse chronic disease through changing eating habits.

We now provide elements of our work remotely or via telehealth. Transitioning to virtual care for nutrition coaching and medical nutrition therapy services is a convenience our clients are loving.

The newest service we've added is Nutrigenomix testing – it’s genetic testing for personalized nutrition. The test is a simple DNA test that's sent to the Nutrigenomix laboratory for analysis. Test results are then interpreted and used by the RDN to develop a long-term nutritional plan to help the client continually make the best dietary choices to optimize their health and well-being.

In your speaking engagements, what are the most pressing questions you receive?

The most frequently asked question is:  “What diet should I follow?"  When this question is asked, there’s often a sense of urgency; the individual is looking for a quick fix. Or, they're frustrated because they’ve received conflicting information. With the flood of misinformation about nutrition, people assume no one really knows what’s best, so they continue doing what they’ve always done. Whether talking with health care organizations, the hospitality industry or individual clients, we translate nutrition and regulatory information into everyday practices, and focus on helping people acquire skills they need to actually implement change in their organizations and their lives. There is truly no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition. 

At the time of producing this feature, a pandemic state had been declared regarding COVID-19.  How will everyone maintain proper eating habits and healthy food supplies during this health threat?

Two of the biggest challenges during the pandemic state proved to be:  possible shortages in our food supply and the potential for weight gain due to the “all day boredom buffet."

When the first couple of weeks the grocery store shelves and meat counters were bare, we encouraged a plant-forward approach. Lean and green protein helps to stretch the food supply and the food budget. Using a shopping list was even more important at this time instead of arriving at the store and getting caught up in the panic of what everyone else was buying. Planning ahead helped to keep people on track with purchasing foods to prepare for meals, not just purchasing convenience foods or snack items. We coached clients to look for healthy, shelf-stable protein sources that are also easy to prep options, such as canned tuna and salmon packed in water, beans, legumes, tofu, quinoa and lentils.

During this time at home, people could try good vegetable sources of protein rather than meat at every meal. It doesn’t mean completely removing meat from the diet, just experimenting with meatless meals. 

A few times the news referenced “be careful of the Corona 15,” like the “Freshman 15” weight gain secondary to people being homebound and eating in response to boredom. One of the best things to do is establish some sense of routine with eating, such as preparing a meal and sitting down to eat rather than snacking throughout the day. More time at home equates to more time available to cook, which can be an activity to help decrease boredom and a great time to try new recipes. It’s an opportunity for families to cook together. Perhaps meatless Mondays can become the norm for people even after the health threat has ended.

In what community ways are you active in the Lake Murray region?

As a company we’ve been supporters of the Midlands Heart Association. We feel that in aligning with the Heart Association, we can assist with educating all communities in the Midlands on heart-healthy nutrition. 

Preventing hunger is another area that we try to stay involved with; our staff routinely volunteers at Harvest Hope Food Bank.

We support local businesses by hosting quarterly staff meetings at area restaurants or other meeting venues.

My husband and I live on Lake Murray, and enjoy spending every opportunity we can boating on the lake.

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change in the world?  

My wish is twofold:  that the family dinner would maintain the comeback. Food and sharing a meal is so much more than just the food we eat or the nutrients we're getting; food is the center of most social gatherings. Food nourishes the body as well as the soul. And I want people to realize that through nutrition they have power over their health. Nutrition is truly the foundation of good health; food is medicine. Eating is something we do three times a day and every bite does count.

Food is not just fuel. Food is about family, food is about community, food is about identity. And we nourish all those things when we eat well.

LEAH AVERY
Owner/Founder 
Shift Staging and Design 

You help clients sell homes faster and for more profit -- how critical is relevant interior design to that process? 

When a potential buyer enters a home, statistics show they will form an opinion about the space within 8 to 10 seconds.  In that short amount of time, they'll decide if this could be their new home.  Staging the home with relevant, transitional furniture gives the potential buyer a sense of scale and furniture placement to enhance the flow and functionality of the space.  Seeing a correct furniture layout helps them to think about how their own furniture will look in the room.

What's the difference between home decorating and staging?  Home decorating lends itself to a certain level of personalization for the owner.  When we stage, our mission is to neutralize the space so that others can imagine how their personal decor would look in each room.  We are also sure to make rooms look bigger, brighter, and easy to navigate.

In what non-work ways are you active in the Lake Murray region?  

I live within a mile of the dam, so we enjoy being on the lake with friends.  We also have two sons that are active in sports in the Irmo/Lake Murray area.

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you change in the world?  

My wish would be for more leaders (on all levels) to have the ability to show more empathy and compassion for others. In such uncertain times, it seems as though many of the people in leadership roles lack the ability to put themselves in the shoes of others that may come from different paths in life. If we could all take a moment to understand the views and opinions of others, we could be a more united society. The divisions between us are so often based on simple misunderstandings.  We are all similar in more ways than we are different, and we all seek to simply be loved.

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