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Bamberg Civic Center to be used as ‘warming place’

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

With nighttime temperatures hovering well below freezing the last few weeks, the Bamberg County American Red Cross, the City of Bamberg and the Bamberg County Department of Social Services, have teamed up to provide a temporary “warming place” for citizens of the county whose power and heat may have been cut off.

Bamberg County American Red Cross Executive Director, Harvey Kling stated Monday that the Bamberg County Civic Center is being used temporarily as a” warming place” for county residents whose power and water may have been cut off for financial reasons. “If they have no place to go because their power and heat have been cut off, they can go there,” Kling said. Kling noted that the Red Cross cannot pay people’s actual heating bills and the civic center is not being used for a homeless shelter.

Bamberg County Department of Social Services Director Anita Butler said that her office received a call recently from someone who had on heat. “This would be a great help for us to direct them to the American Red Cross,” Butler said. “We depend on the Department of Social Services quite a bit,” Kling added.

Kling noted that the civic center has 40 cots and bedding is available and American Red Cross disaster team will be on site to help. A person or family needing temporary shelter in the Bamberg Civic Center must contact Bamberg County American Red Cross Executive Director Harvey Kling first at 682-4800.

Kling also commended Bamberg City officials for allowing the Civic Center to be used for the recent Toys for Tots and Teens program in which 350 kids received at least three toys each. Bamberg City Clerk/Treasurer Bruce Watson noted that the National Guard has designated the civic center as a staging area in case of a natural disaster. “The civic center is for the people of Bamberg County to use," Watson noted.

Vendors Request Signage

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Johnette Whetstone, representing the merchants in the Main Street Market in downtown Bamberg addressed Bamberg City Council Monday night about the need to increase the amount of foot traffic in the area in an effort to keep the stores viable.

Whetstone stated that the merchants held a meeting in December to discuss improvements and how to improve foot traffic flow for the businesses. She noted that several options were discussed and asked for council’s help with one of the groups’ suggestions.

“We would like to ask council for your help, It would be very good, I believe to erect three new signs that would simply say Main Street Shops additional parking in the rear.”

“These signs would do at least three things: One, it would advise our potential shoppers that there is additional parking and entrance in the rear. Two, hopefully it would improve our shoppers and the viability of our shops and these building staying in business. And three it would make use of property that has had some work done on it, with more work to be done on the parking area behind the shops in the future.

Harry Crissy, Regional Economic and Community Development Agent, who followed Whetstone saying, “I really see the need to finish this plan (referring to the creation of more parking, the removal of the fence and a new truck route downtown in Bamberg). I really need your apology. I have to have a couple more weeks. We’ve had a budget cut; we’re losing people, so we have to do more with less people. This is a priority for me; I just ask for a little more patience, we’re almost there,” Chrissy said.

Best-Selling Author

On Thursday, Jan. 21 at 11 a.m. in Massachusetts Hall Auditorium, Voorhees College will celebrate the life and times of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with best-selling author and scholar Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Admission to the program is free.

Dyson is presently a professor of sociology at Georgetown University. He has also appeared on nearly every major media outlet, including “The Today Show,” “Nightline,” “O’Reilly Factor,” “The Tavis Smiley Show” and “Real Time with Bill Maher,” and he has cemented his star appeal on such shows as “Rap City,” “Def Poetry Jam” and “The Colbert Report.” He is also a contributing editor of Time magazine.

Grand Opening

Main Street Wireless located at 196 City Hall Street in Denmark held its grand opening Saturday morning. A large crowd was waiting outside in freezing weather when the store opened its doors for business.

Denmark Mayor Gerald E. Wright welcomed the new business to Denmark. “On behalf of the city of Denmark and City Council we would like to welcome Main Street Wireless to Denmark. And we hope that Mr. Salley will have a successful stay that will profit both the citizens of Denmark and him as proprietor of this new business. We welcome any new economic development in this town, we are glad that he has come,” the mayor said.

Building Permit

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Bamberg County Council members approved on first reading a proposed ordinance to increase the fee on building permits at their Monday January 4 meeting and then referred the matter to its finance committee for more study.

Bamberg County Buildings Inspector Bill Johnson stated that he had researched permitting software for three years and noted that prices ranged from $10,000 to $30,000. He stated that he received a “competitive quote” but needed a way to pay for it. Johnson proposed fees on building permits being increased $5.00 for an administrative fee to cover the yearly software maintenance cost.

Also during his report, the building inspector recommended that the cost of demolition permits be changed from $50.00 to $25.00. And change fees on wireless telecommunication towers to a standard fee of $3,000 for any new tower and $1,500 toll location fee on existing towers. “That’s very compatible with the other counties in the state." Johnson said.

Transition of Administration

The Bamberg County Hospital Board of Trustees and the Bamberg County Council, jointly announce plans for a transition in Hospital Administration to be effective February 1, 2010.

Stovall Management, LLC, (Stovall) – Clinton, Mississippi, (formally the Advisory Services Division of PHNS in Dallas, Texas), has provided professional administrative services to Bamberg County Hospital since July, 2008 and is completing its engagement effective January 31, 2010. Stovall Management, LLC is a professional services firm specializing in interim management placement in the healthcare industry.

Carl Menist, an integral member of the Stovall administrative team over the last eighteen months, is being retained as Chief Financial Officer with an expanded role as the principal administrative officer for the Hospital effective February 1, 2010. Menist, a Certified Public Accountant, (CPA), is a corporate healthcare finance professional with extensive experience in financial and operational management. This experience ranges from work for several of the largest healthcare corporations in the United States to services for sole community based entities such as Bamberg County Hospital. His practical experience includes 11 years in healthcare financial and operational management consulting, 11 years as a chief financial officer and 8 years in public accounting with a Big 4 firm.

Bamberg County Administrator Rose Dobson-Elliott stated “We are very excited and confident as we move into the next phase with the Bamberg County Hospital. The announcement by the Hospital Board of the selection of Carl Menist to be the Chief Financial Officer and principal administrative officer of Bamberg County Hospital is fantastic news. Mr. Menist has been an integral part of the success that we have had for the last year and a half. I believe we need the continuity of Mr. Menist’s experience to move us even further forward.”

 
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