In This Weeks Edition: 09-01-2010

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County-wide water and wastewater system

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

A proposed county-wide water and wastewater system, to be overseen by a regional water and sewer authority, is drawing more questions from Bamberg Board of Public Works officials than answers.

Bamberg Board of Public Works General Manager Bruce Ellis told BPW Commissioners at Monday night's meeting that after a recent meeting with County officials, officials from the other municipalities in the county and Representative Bakari Sellers, he came away with many unanswered questions about the proposed county-wide water and wastewater system.

“I’m concerned, Ellis said. I can’t get a lot of the answers I’m looking for. The BPW and the towns of Denmark, Olar, Govan and Ehrhardt will have to make a big decision.”

As for the proposed new water and wastewater system being placed under the watch of a regional water and sewer authority that would control outside interest and buy and distribute water.

“ To be honest, we’re a small county. We’re too small for that. You can’t compare us to Lexington County and the growth they have there. We're the smallest county in the state. There are no customers out there and to have another governmental agency in Bamberg County, I don’t understand,” Ellis said.

Another concern Ellis had with the proposed new water and wastewater system is the affect it would have on the BPW’s balance sheet and having to write-off large amounts of money as depreciation. “Itmakes it look bad on our books. Are they going to put it on their books? Who's going to pay for this if they can’t make it up in the sale of water-which they won't be able to.” Ellis said funding for the proposed system would come in the form of grants and long-term loans.

“When it comes time to making the payments and the county is going to have to guarantee them, if they can't make it through revenue sale of water or waste water then the county is going to have to pay. Show me a business plan where the money is coming and going.”

Ellis noted that 85 percent of the citizens in the county reside in one of the county’s municipalities that already have water and waste water capability that they are maintaining. He noted that very few if anyone in the county is going to get off a well or septic tank that is “working perfectly.”

As for the question of economic development, Ellis said that a lack of water and wastewater is not the problem. He noted the recent expansion of two industries in Barnwell County that he said had 1/10 the wastewater capacity of the Board of Public Works.

“They’re not coming to Bamberg or Denmark because we already have more wastewater than Barnwell but they’re still building in their industrial park. Don't throw wastewater capacity in my face.”

“Wastewater is not the solution, people want rail and truck lines to get to Aiken so they can get to Atlanta on I-20.”

In other business:

Ellis said that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be stepping up its enforcement of the industrial and institutional discharge of fuel, oil and grease into sewer lines. He noted that the EPA oversees the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) who oversees the BPW. “EPA will be looking over our shoulder. The BPW will be making sure people clean out grease traps,” Ellis said.

Bamberg Pastor Dies

Bamberg Pastor Gary Arnold of The Word of Life Pentecostal Holiness Church at 85 North Street died suddenly on Monday afternoon, August 23 leaving the community and church members in great shock.

Pastor Arnold and wife Brenda have been the pastors since May of this year. He was a great man of God and if you didn’t have the opportunity to hear him preach God’s word or meet him and get to know him, you really missed a great blessing. He will surely be missed by many.

Pack This Pick-up

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated held its annual Operation Big Book Bag project. This national project is designed to address the needs, challenges, and issues that face school-aged children. Through this program, chapters and members collect and donate educational materials, equipment and school supplies. The program has expanded in recent years to include mentoring and tutoring and has given rise to the sorority’s annual Youth Symposiums. However, the local chapter put a special twist on the national project when hosting its Annual Back To School Drive. This year’s theme was, “Pack the Pick- Up”

Sigma Gamma Rho addresses concerns that impact society educationally, civically and economically. Members of the sorority thank each person who donated and made “Pack the Pick-up” a successful project.

Aaron Manigault Scholarship

The Manigaults hosted a 2010 Cook-Off Competition on Saturday, August 7, at Richard Carroll Recreational Grounds in Bamberg. The purpose of the annual scholarship fund is to provide financial assistance to a graduating high school student from Allendale-Fairfax and Bamberg-Ehrhardt who exemplifies hard work and dedication, excelling academically in his/her studies and athletically demonstrating leadership skills.

AJA’s New Headmaster

Jerry E. Halmon, Staff Reporter

Jamee Barnes is the new Headmaster at Andrew Jackson Academy.

Barnes, who worked 14-years in the public school system, said that he was fortunate to have worked with high school students in Bamberg School District One with the Measures of Academic Performance (MAP) Program which has proven beneficial in his new job. The new headmaster acknowledges the opportunity that he got under late Bamberg District One administrator Ronald Bunch, “I had the opportunity to fill in for him and get some good experience there. I think I was ready because of the experiences I received in the public school setting.”

Barnes said that he was happy in the classroom working with children, but when the time came he said that he would seek opportunities in the area of administration. He noted that he is still teaching a few classes, “I still enjoy going into the classroom not only to observe but to assist.”

“My goal is to prepare the students that leave AJA to compete in the world of the future. Last year 11 of 12 AJA graduates went to college and my goal is to continue that success,” Barnes said.