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In This Weeks Edition: 03-14-2012 Print E-mail

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County receives mixed opinions on audit

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Bamberg County Council members received their long awaited 2011 audit at a special called March 8, meeting and the information they received was not pretty. Because the county’s governmental wide statements of general capital assets records were “not up to speed” the county received an “adverse opinion” in that area. However the county received an “unqualified clean opinion” at the fund level.

“The fund levels are in conformity with general accounting principles required by the Governmental Standards Board,” Robert Milhous, CPA told Council members, noting that he could not offer an opinion on the general capital assets of the County at this time.

Milhous reported the County’s statement of net assets governmental wide showed assets of about $15 million and liabilities of $5.1 million. The County’s total net assets were reported at $9.8 million, and were showed to have an unrestricted deficit at the governmental wide level.

The County was reported to have total assets of $3.2 million in the governmental fund and general fund total assets of $2.3 million (made up of cash). Liabilities in the general fund were reported at $1.9 million. Total revenue the County budgeted for last fiscal year was $7,668,650, the actual amount collected in all funds was $6,765,970 which resulted in a difference in the budget and actual revenue of a deficit of $902,680, which was noted as “an overestimate” of what the millage would produce.

“The 2011 budget that was passed did not anticipate the shortfall,” Milhous said. He noted in his report that local sources of revenue was “ahead of the game” by collecting $301,000. On the expense side the County had total budgeted expenses of $7.6 million in 2011 and actual expenses of $8.7 for a variance or deficit of $1.1 million.

Some reasons noted for the budgetary shortfall were a reduction in the amount of property taxes collected of $1.5 million and a reduction of state revenue in the amount of $186,000. The County has had expenditures of approximately $400,000 on the proposed countywide water and sewer project over a period of several years.

County Administrator Rose Dobson-Elliott noted that expenditures on the water and waste water project, other county expenses last year and expenditures on the hospital “ate up” the fund balance. She stated in dealing with the budget deficit, the County has implemented a hiring freeze and other reductions at this time totaling approximately $164,959.

Council Chairman Chris Wilson noted that in trying to hold down expenditures, the County has placed a freeze on all future expenditures without coming before the full County Council for approval first.

Also during the meeting Council members gave third reading approval to a proposed ordinance authorizing the issuance of General Obligation Bonds not exceeding $1.1 million. It was noted that the bonds would “replace and recoup” and pay off two TANs that are due on April 15. Passage of the bond resolution now places the County at the limit of its bond capacity for the County.

Also during the meeting Council members tabled an ordinance that was referred to the planning committee on flood control to April. An issue cited in implementing the ordinance was the cost of right to appeal. And the State of South Carolina has given the County the option to enforce the ordinance.

Denmark man charged with arson

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

A Denmark man has been charged for allegedly setting a fire to a former night club in the Denmark area. According to Bamberg County Sheriff’s Office Incident Report, Danny Glover of 962 Shilly Road in Denmark was charged with Arson/Arson Third Degree and according to an affidavit “willfully and maliciously caused an explosion, set fire to, burned, caused, aided, counseled or procured the burning that resulted in damage to a building, the old Rivers Edge Club, which is located in Bamberg County.”

Bond was set on Glover at $5,000 security. Damage to property was valued at $60,000. According to the incident report on October 22, 2011 Bamberg County Deputies responded to a fire at 252 Frank Court. When officers arrived on the scene they were informed by fire personnel on the scene the fire “was suspicious” because the utilities at the business was turned off and the business has been closed “for years.” Fire personnel also reported they observed a one quart motor oil container that was “half empty” that was setting in the front of the business. The container was collected and will be put into evidence. The Bamberg Sheriff’s Department, the Denmark Fire Department and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) responded to the scene.

Hospital Auxiliary disbands after 58 years

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

On February 27, the Bamberg County Hospital Auxiliary at its monthly meeting voted to disband its organization after 58 years of service to the Bamberg County Hospital and the Nursing Center now (UniHealth Post Acute Care of Bamberg). In one of its final acts of kindness, the auxiliary voted unanimously at its final meeting to donate a portion of the funds in the treasure to be used by a student in Bamberg School District One and a student in Bamberg School District Two who will be entering into a medical field in the fall of 2012. A sizeable donation was also given to the Cheeze and Cracker Box and to the activities department at UniHealth Post Acute Care of Bamberg.

At Monday’s awards presentations Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Principal Randy Maxwell in accepting the award for his school said that he “appreciated” all the auxiliary has done for the community and he hoped they would reorganize after the new hospital is built.

Denmark-Olar School District Two Superintendent Dr. Thelma Sojourner said that on behalf of School District Two she too was “appreciative” of what the auxiliary has done.

In a brief history of the organization, the Auxiliary was organized in 1953, just one year after the hospital opened. The yearly dues at the time were one dollar and the first president was Mrs. Mildred Knoy. The auxiliary has supported the hospital and nursing center in many ways over the years. Some of the organization’s projects have included landscaping and up keep of the hospital grounds, establishment of a memorial fund, sizable contributions towards the purchase of air conditioning, room dividers and other large items as needed by the hospital and nursing center.

Auxiliary members stated that in the future when the new hospital is built a new organization may be formed.

Red Raider Strength Team dominates Region meet

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

Again this year the 2011 defending State Champions Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Red Raider Strength, Speed and Conditioning Team ran away from all competitors in the Region 7 Strength, Speed and Conditioning Meet held at the BEHS sports complex on Wednesday.

BEHS 2011 Class A State Strength, Speed and Conditioning Coach of the Year Corey Crosby said it was “good” for his team to face strong competition like previous state champion Timberland, and other teams like Edisto and Blackville-Hilda early to “know where your team stands.” Crosby noted that the event which include weightlifting in the Red Raider weight room and sprints at Leon Maxwell Stadium was “one of the best events” in the last two or three years.

Red Raiders athletes who placed in events Wednesday were: Jeffery Graham (150) 1st; Diamante Davis 2nd; RaQunn Brown (160) 1st Best Squat 315lbs; (170) Brandon Thomas 1st; (180)Tyrell Wilson 1st bench 235 lbs. and squat 405 lbs. (broke record); Jamal Odom 2nd; (190) Markus Moody 1st 275lbs. bench and 315lbs. squat; (205) Austin Jones 1st 225lbs. bench; (220) K. C. Crosby 1st 315 lbs. bench and 425lbs. squat; Unlimited Class: Lavaris Singleton 1st bench 340lbs. and squat 455lbs.

(150) Shaquille Singleton 2nd; (170) Maurice Duggins 3rd 315lbs. squat and 245lbs. bench; (180) Mark Moody 2nd 235lbs bench and 315lbs squat; K’ Oshae McMillan 1st 315lbs. bench and 405 lbs. squat; Larry Cann 2nd 230lbs. bench and 345lbs. squat; Martin Aiken 1st 315lbs. bench and 405lbs. squat; Unlimited: Austin Collins 2nd 325lbs. bench and 450lbs. squat.

Coach Crosby noted the future for the Red Raider strength team looks good with underclassmen like 7th grader Desmond Johnson who recorded a 170lbs. bench and 270lbs squat and 7th grader Raysheem Dickerson who recorded a 180lbs. bench and 260lbs squat. Eighth grader Jeffery Graham also turned in a strong first place performance in the 150lbs weight class.

St. Patrick’s Day

Submitted by Annette Resseau

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17, the day of his death. The wearing of the green is typical to avoid a pinch by school children. But this is the story of St. Patrick in the fifth century. When he was about 16, he was captured from Wales, England, by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. It was during this time, he became aware of the Druids and the pagan worship. There were altars and fires in the woods. The Celts, the first religion of Ireland, worshiped spirits of trees and nature. They did not believe in God.

When Patrick entered the Catholic Church; the first Christian church, Ireland was his calling. After his service, he was sent to Ireland as an ordained bishop in the north and west of the island. He was tireless in his work to talk about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. St. Patrick was originally the color blue of his order. However over the years, the color green began to represent the idea of St. Patrick because of the Shamrock.

The Shamrock was all over Ireland and was associated with the Celts and their religion. St. Patrick was wise and was said to have used the shamrock, a three leaved plant to explain the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit; the Trinity. As early as the 17th century, Green ribbons, and the shamrock were worn in celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day. The wearing of the green means to wear a shamrock or any green on your clothes. This was representative of the soldiers in the 1798 rebellion of Ireland against England wearing green uniforms.

A tale about Patrick is that he drove the snakes from Ireland. Different stories show him standing upon a hill and planting his wooden staff to make the serpents, representing the Devil, into the waters banning them from Ireland forever.

One story tells that an old snake wouldn’t leave and Patrick outsmarted him. He made a box and asked the serpent to enter. The snake said it was too small, and they debated back and forth. Finally to prove his point, the serpent entered the box to show he couldn’t fit. Patrick slammed the lid closed and threw it into the ocean.

Some say this is not a true story that snakes just couldn’t access the island surrounded by water and the snakes that St. Patrick drove away was really the Celt practice, because the Celts often had snakes tattooed on their arms, so they were the snakes. Whatever you believe, St. Patrick was a Christian who proclaimed God’s Love in Ireland. Remember the Shamrock and the Holy Spirit when you wear the green this St. Patrick’s Day.

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