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Edition: 09-25-2013 Print E-mail
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Fix it...or move it

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

The question of who owns the caboose that sits in the Conrad Ehrhardt Park at the corner of Highway 64 and Karesh Lane came up again at Ehrhardt Town Council’s September 17, monthly meeting. In an earlier meeting it was noted in the public comments portion of the meeting that some residents of the town were interested in knowing if the old caboose could be moved to the old depot with the intent of converting it into a museum. The question came up as to who owned the caboose and would the town own it if it were moved? It was stated in that meeting that the Heritage Corridor owns the caboose that was bought through a grant and the town “has no control over it.”

In Tuesday night’s meeting, town handyman Frank Ogle told council members the caboose was obtained through a $20,000 federal grant, which he noted means federal funds were given to the town to be used “for public use.” Ogle stated the Heritage Corridor “has nothing to do with the caboose.” He stated the caboose was involved so the Heritage Corridor could designate it as a site on the internet to increase the “visibility” of the town in the state.

“That’s the only reason the Heritage Corridor was in there,” Ogle said, noting that he was “tired of the negativity” he keeps getting from the mayor and town council in regards to respect and information. “I spent thousands of hours of my time in this town without one request except to be treated with respect. Every time something comes up that I’m involved with no one on council gives me a da*@ call and you know what’s going on.”

Mayor Bill Stanley told Ogle, “you were the one that wanted the caboose,” and no one else on council really wanted the caboose, that he said “has become a da*@ eyesore.” “One of two things will happen to the caboose,” Mayor Stanley said. “It will either be fixed up or we will move it.”

Also during the meeting; Officer Stroman reported the Ehrhardt Fire Department responded to three fire calls during the month. In the police department reported it was noted that the EPD created nine case files during the month that included burglary, assault etc.

In the parks and recreation report it was noted a resident of the town was complaining about not being allowed to cook at the ball field. Council members said they would speak to the manager of the ball field Harry Hughes to see what could be done. It was also noted the tennis court needed some goals. In the public works report it was reported collections in August were $12,064.02 and September collections to-date were $9,320.31. It was noted 18 customers were cutoff for nonpayment of water bills.

Town administrator Kathie Stroman stated that she has been in touch with USDA concerning the long anticipated police car grant and had heard nothing so far. Stroman said she is in the process of looking for streetscape grants and information has been forwarded. It was noted business licenses are “slowly coming in.” It was also stated a new drug store was reportedly coming to the town with the goal of opening in November. “That’s a plus for the town, a good thing, an asset to the town, we need a pharmacy,” Mayor Stanley said.

It was also reported in the meeting the town is still working on getting a sidewalk near the Family Dollar Store. Rep. Bakari Sellers got part of the money that is needed and it was noted Bamberg County Administrator Joey Preston is also working on obtaining some money, with other monies coming from SCDOT. The town is also in the process of obtaining a $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for improvements to the wastewater system. The grant would require a 55/45 match. Council members noted the “toughest” part would be coming up with the match.

Crosby receives commemorative UA All American Game Jersey

Jerry E. Halmon, Sports Editor

To the list of former Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School standouts that include Daquan Bowers of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, A. J. Cann of the University of South Carolina and Ricky Sapp of the New York Jets add the name of another B-E standout Kevin Corey “K.C.” Crosby. Crosby, like Bowers and Cann that preceded him was officially presented with his honorary game jersey on his selection to the 2014 Under Armour All American Game on Thursday in a packed Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School Gymnasium that included his teammates, family, BEHS faculty, students and local media. (Ricky Sapp was nominated and played in the U.S. Army All American Game.)

“This jersey is a symbol of his hard work and determination in the classroom, community and on the football field,” American Family Insurance Selection Tour Manager for the Under Armour All American Game Quentin Williams said in presenting Crosby with his white and red jersey to the loud applause from those in attendance.

K.C. Crosby, in receiving his invitation to the 7th Annual Under Armour All American Game that will be played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida on Thursday, January 2, 2014 live on ESPN at 4:00pm, joins more than 90 of the nation’s premier high school football players. K.C. Crosby was very humble in his acceptance speech:

“First I want to thank God for blessing me with this experience,” Crosby, who committed back in the spring to USC said. “I want to thank my family, Principal Randy Maxwell, students, faculty, teachers and my teammates for making everything possible,” he said adding “and thanks to Under Armour for making me a selection to their game, thanks.”

BEHS head football coach Butch Crosby noted that the recognition that his son and star player received was “a team effort.” “It gives us great pleasure to be able to stand here and experience this with K.C. To me as a head coach and as a dad it is a privilege and honor to be standing up here before you most of all I want to give credit to his teammates. Without his teammates it wouldn’t be possible. This is a team effort,” Coach Butch Crosby said.

When asked in an interview session after the presentation how he felt being invited to a game that has seen the likes of current USC star Jadeveon Clowney and NFL star A. J. Green just to name a few, K.C. Crosby said: “Being invited to this game is a blessing because a lot of people don’t get this chance I’m getting . I feel very honored I was chosen.”

Asked to take off his coaches hat for a minute and speak as a dad as to what made the day special for him, Coach Butch Crosby said something any proud father could relate to: “Just seeing him get a chance to go off and play in a nationally televised All Star Game. Watching him grow from a little boy to the player he is now. It’s a blessing to do that and coach also. You get a double-dose being dad and coach. You talk about certain things when you get home and certain things you don’t. It’s been fun, a great ride watching him grow and develop.”

BSD1 board votes for bi-monthly pay - decreases pay of faculty and staff

Mallory D. Biering, Staff Reporter

The Bamberg School District One (BSD1) Board of Trustees voted at the August 2013 meeting to change from monthly to bimonthly paychecks for employees in the district.

According to Devon Furr, BSD1 Financial Director, at the September 23rd meeting, doing this would cause a decrease in the overall net pay of employees ranging anywhere from $7.25 to $15.62 per pay period.

Due to the board having already made the decision to go forward with changing the pay for the district, Furr was asked to give a time when the change could occur.

Due to the board having already made the decision to go forward with changing the pay for the district, Furr was asked to give a time when the change could occur.

Rita Sease BSD1 board chair, and board members Kedra Rivers and Tony Duncan, voted in the August meeting against Chris Wallace and John Hiers for this change. None of the board members had any information concerning how much this change would cost, before making the vote.

Rivers and Sease both said in the September meeting they came prepared to make a decision on when this change would take place.

However, after being presented with the information from Furr, and questioned by the press and audience, Rivers said more time was needed to make the decision.

Sease said, “They want to talk to you in executive session tonight. Can you do that?” speaking to Furr.

The board was asked, “Is it legal for the board to make the decision to cut someone's pay like this, without their approval?”

“Cut their pay? I've never heard of a cut until [Furr] came up with this tonight. I don't know what the laws are now, and I'm going to check on that. It's not the idea of, if it is legal or not. It's the idea of whether or not we decide we want district employees to be paid twice a month. We [the board] are the final decision," replied Sease.

Phyllis Schwarting, Superintendent of BSD1 said it was not illegal to make the change.

“We want to discuss it more. This information came into us tonight and we were not aware of this. We are going to talk with our financial person. We will wait until we go into executive session.” said Sease.

Discussing the bi-monthly employee starting date was not listed as an item to discuss during executive session, however it was discussed in some detail.

Sease was told by a reporter because the item was not on the agenda, it could not be discussed during executive session, as to which Sease said she knew.

During the September meeting, Schwarting also presented Richard Carroll Elementary and Bamberg- Ehrhardt Middle School with flags for the recent letter grades of their evaluations. Presentations from each school were given, which included the goals of how the schools made such successful years.

Bick Halligan, gave a presentation on the Affordable Care Act, which will affect the district's part-time workers who work more than 30 hours per week. The measuring period for this will begin, and as time gets closer to this period Halligan hopes to have more answers to questions the board might have.

Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School (BEHS) guidance office presented a PowerPoint presentation outlining what their office does for the students from 9th grade until after students graduate.

Rivers gave an update on the recent school law conference the board attended. The board learned a lot about laws, and how those laws relate to BSD1.

During executive session, student transfer requests, employment recommendations, the superintendent's evaluation were topics to be discussed, along with the results of a recent lawsuit.

The lawsuit discussion dealt with legal fees for BSD1. The case concerned a special education matter, which was dropped by the parent. The total amount of attorney fees BSD1 will need to pay is $47,979.53.

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