Hospital in top 10 percent in U.S. in pulmonary care

It's getting a little easier to breathe in Rock Hill.

Patients at Piedmont Medical Center can let out a sigh of relief since the hospital was recently ranked in the top 10 percent nationally for its pulmonary care, which deals with the respiratory system, reports the 10th annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America survey.

The independent survey, compiled from hospital statistics and Medicare discharge analysis, also awarded the Rock Hill hospital a Pulmonary Care Excellence Award for the third consecutive year.

Piedmont CEO Charlie Miller said meeting the high standards set by HealthGrades can be attributed to the hospital's caring physicians and staff.

"We have no higher priority at Piedmont than delivering quality care to the patients we serve, and this recognition from HealthGrades is a testament to that," Miller said.

Piedmont Medical Center, owned by Tenet Healthcare, also landed a five-star rating from HealthGrades for its overall pulmonary services for the fifth year in a row.

Tropical Escape, White Horse are now smoke-free

Speaking of healthy lungs, a pair of Rock Hill watering holes are now smoke-free. Tropical Escape Cafe on Anderson Road banned smoking this month in its bar and dining room. Owner Roger Baldwin said he decided to make the change after increasing concerns from patrons.

For customers who need to light up after lunch or between beers, Baldwin built a patio outside where smokers can find respite.

"I just didn't want to subject my employees to it anymore. None of my bartenders even smoke," Baldwin said. "But there's a lot of good people who smoke, and I want to make sure they're still welcome."

Across town, the White Horse dining room now is entirely smoke-free. The restaurant, located on Camden Avenue near Winthrop University, recently limited smoking to its bar and outside patio. Sorry smokers, no more haze in the tiny back room.

Music, houses, hams and sneakers

Fort Mill-based Muzak has teamed up with Burger King to sell rock 'n' roll legend Fats Domino CDs at about 150 locations. The compilation, two-disc set from Vanguard Music will be sold to raise money for music education in New Orleans. The CDs mainly will be sold in the Gulf Coast region.

The York County Association of Realtors recently teamed up with York County Habitat for Humanity to build new homes for deserving families. The teams completed four houses in just one week last month.

Rock Hill's Honey Baked Ham Co., 2349 Cherry Road, is celebrating its parent company's 50th anniversary. The delicious spiral-sliced ham maker turned 50 on Oct. 24. It's a good year to celebrate for local franchise owners Grady and Nancy Love. Their franchise, on Cherry Road for seven years, was named the top franchise in the chain for 2006. The honor was handed out to the company that best followed Honey Baked Ham policies and logged the fewest corporate complaints.

"That doesn't mean we've never had a complaint, we just handled everything here at the local store," Nancy Love said. "You coulda scraped me off the floor when they announced us. ... It's been fun. Rock Hill has been good to us."

Reebok athletic shoes is using DuraForm Flex Plastic from the Rock Hill-based 3D Systems to manufacture prototypes of its products, the two companies announced recently. Chances are your next pair of Reebok kicks were developed with products coming out of your own backyard.

About me

As the new business reporter at The Herald, I want to help give you a more complete picture of what's happening in the York County and surrounding area business world. This column will appear periodically in your Sunday paper with interesting stories, bits of news you didn't hear during the week and the latest on what I'm hearing about new business developments. Whether you're a business executive, job-seeker or consumer, this column will have something you can use.

I love hearing from readers, so e-mail me at, call me at (803) 329-4069, or say hello if you see me around town. As Winthrop alumni, my wife, Ashley, and I will attend most Eagles basketball games this fall and winter. Find me tailgating before the season opener Nov. 10. Hint: I'm the guy with the fancy grill.